If you could’ve picked any volume of Review Rundown to dive into, this is certainly one of the finer ones, if it is not too bold to say so. This week we have an unbelievable palette for you to feast upon, ten stellar bands from many different genres coalescing thanks to our five wonderful writers. On our platter today are Goldlink, Ripped To Shreds, Kate Tempest, Silversun Pickups, The Callous Daoboys, Beshken, Serpent of Gnosis, Twin Oaks, Sonoran Rebel Black Magick, and Nautilus.
If you want to check out more new releases which might’ve slipped under the radar, take a look at our previous editions of Review Rundown here.
It’s time to chill! Jump in a damn hammock and relax. Wait, never mind, it’s time to dance! Get on your feet and move to the beat. No matter what you’re looking to do, you’ll find GoldLink’s latest album Diaspora to be a worthy companion with some smartly executed diversity and an inclusive soul.
The name Diaspora wasn’t an accident – what GoldLink set out to do was pay tribute and show appreciation to a number of cultures and their art. He’s using his music to dance to the beat of others’ drums so to speak. Although I am in no place to speak on appropriation/appreciation merits of this or music like it, it’s quite apparent that the DMV artist put a lot of heart into this, shirking the temptation for over-the-top parody or caricature.
Some production is based in Afrobeat (“Zulu Screams” in particular), utilizing artists from Africa like Maleek Berry and WizKid (who have Nigerian roots). There’s even some Carribean dancehall influence with GoldLink himself donning a patois to mix in different flows and cadences with WSTRN (“Yard”). If you’re more of a traditionalist, you’ll find solace in songs like the fun “Joke Ting”, trappy “Cokewhite” with Pusha T, and love-stricken “U Say” with Tyler, The Creator and Jay Prince.
There’s no bad vibes here, just love and respect for a special diaspora close to GoldLink’s heart and mind. A real party starter of an album that truly brings people together.
Ripped to Shreds are fucking back. I rather liked their debut album Mai-Zang, reviewing it a little over a year ago before we underwent our metamorphosis at Everything Is Noise. Much like our change, the California death metallers have also taken on some welcomed additions and polish in this short EP, Demon Scriptures.
Since its inception by mastermind Andrew Lee, the band has always carried the torch for hard-as-nails death metal with an old-school-ish flair. Not much has changed in that regard – “Sangjua (In Mourning)” is flashy with the riffs and quick-paced. Vocals are abysmal in the spacious sense, buried deep down in the mix as if bellowed from hell itself. Unless you’re well-versed in Chinese, you won’t understand the lyrics even if you could hear them well, suffice it to say the EP deals with themes of evil spirits, ripping death, and vengeance if Google Translate is to be believed (it’s generally not).
With Demon Scriptures, we see some tendrils reaching out to adjacent influences to mix things ups. “Jianghulangzhong (Pseudoelixer)” is a straight-up grindcore song, taking 45 seconds to pummel you into mulch. Kevin Paradis’ drums jackhammer into you at mach speed, everything is just searing. Topping it all off, “Riyueshengjiao (Sun Moon Holy Cult, Part 1)” is a ten-minute death-doom setpiece with a slow build and an explosive midsection.
Instrumentation is incessant, atmosphere is cavernous, the mood is vile. It’s great death metal for ‘Entombedcore’ fans – everything it should be. Real good stuff.
Fans of spoken word, poetry, or even rap stop here and check out Kate Tempest. The Book Of Traps And Lessons is a somber piece of written art mixed with quiet yet intense music. Kate speaks of hope, political unrest, a downtrodden world, and love among other things, within this beautifully crafted display.
There are no breaks between songs – each track moves into each other seamlessly. Kate Tempest holds a bleak mirror up to our dreary world and speaks with such remorse and truth. Besides all the hopeless feeling there is always an underlying ray of hope – a light so dim that it’s hard to see but still a brightness within the darkness and therefore always visible.
I could quote this entire album and just leave it here as my review but I’ll try and resist. There are many pieces of word bits that speak so true that it’s scary at times. An example that speaks to me is: ‘And our leaders aren’t even pretending not to be demons/So where is the good heart to go but inwards?/Why not lock all the doors and bolt all the windows?/All I am are my doubts and suspicions/I against you against we against them/This is how it begins/And this is how it will end’ *Shudders* poignant stuff that’s for sure.
Kate Tempest offers a bleak but hopeful view of the world. If you’re feeling like things have been falling apart around you a little more lately this may be for you. Either way, buckle in when listening because it’s sure to move you.
For whatever reason I had written off Silversun Pickups a long time ago – I guess they didn’t suit my specific music persona at the time *cringe*. I decided to give Widow’s Weeds a chance after I heard the song “Freakazoid” and was quite impressed which led me to kick myself for ignoring this band for so many years.
This album has an alternative/indie rock core while adding some strings and synth for added depth and emotion. There’s a whole lot of that packed into this collection of songs too! Brian Aubert really belts out his feelings here and it’s so great to hear that expression. Some days I just need to feel some raw emotion backed by a solid foundation of music.
“Freakazoid” has an aura of confusion mixed with frustration throughout. I love the slight pauses they have utilized through the track, it gives unease to an otherwise almost normal sounding song. The bass playing by Nikki Moninger is phenomenal and subtly laid in the background but adds a nice touch of technicality. This is a very nice introduction to the album as it shows songwriting skills and the backing emotion that goes with the music.
Widow’s Weeds is a solid effort by Silversun Pickups and is definitely worth a listen. I always have an appreciation for musicians who can take their time between albums and really create something wonderful. With that, I leave you with the aforementioned track “Freakazoid”. Enjoy!
The second I heard the vocalist and both guitarists of Job For a Cowboy were forming a new band, I was ecstatic. I personally loved every evolution of them, and Sun Eater is one of my favorite albums ever. As soon as I heard “The Colorless Capsules” I knew we were in for a wild, and different, ride. This album is pure filth. It is gritty, grimy, and absolutely frantic. Machine gun blast beats paired with pounding guitar riffs never cease. Every song is like a tornado, a destructive maelstrom that is sure to annihilate anything in its path. Then it’s over before you know it and you can breathe again- at least until the next song begins.
As fun and wild of an album as this is, it leaves me desiring more at the end. More as in I wish it was a bit longer, but also that I wish it did just a bit more. The pure and unrelenting deathgrind is perfect for what it is, but “Cognivity” takes a slightly different approach to the pretty formulaic album that I wish was expanded on a bit further. It falls more into a melodic death metal realm, with slowed down and more varied instrumentals. I still love Serpent of Gnosis for what they are even if this track is a one-off taste in what will be a continued foray into punishing deathgrind. If you want something disgustingly heavy and relentlessly paced, let this tear through you like a storm- it won’t take long.
I’m going to say it from the jump- Die on Mars is exactly what mathcore should be. Everything about this album nails down the genre in my opinion. From weird ass song names, to just as strange contents in them. Jumps from frantically odd-metered guitar riffs and piercing screams to singing-led jazz interludes with violin make this album absolutely thrive.
In the realm of mathcore, there is The Dillinger Escape Plan, and then there’s everybody else in my opinion. Not much can compare to them and the impact they had on this scene. The Callous Daoboys struck gold with Die on Mars and there are a lot of moments where I draw a lot of comparisons between the two bands on this album. I can easily say this is something I’m going to be listening to all year and beyond.
Die on Mars is pure energy. It pushes the pace until it feels like it can’t possibly go any further and then it does anyways. You can never know what to expect. Is this wild riff going to speed back up and break your neck? Or will it turn into another pounding breakdown? Perhaps this time there will be another spoken-word segment or random saxophone addition? The Callous Daoboys are just as varied as they are good, and when pretty much no thirty seconds of this album sounds the same, you can draw the conclusion to what that means. Just listen to “The Absolute Barnstormer” and let it tell you everything else you need to know.
See You When I See You is a beautiful and atmospheric album from Twin Oaks. You get hooked from the first note on the opener “Montauk”. Singer/songwriter Lauren Brown’s voice is warm and fits so well with the post-rock guitars and synths. Aaron Domingo is the other half of Twin Oaks, providing backing vocals, guitars, piano, and synths. For this project, the duo added bassist Aroldo Rios and drummer/percussionist Marilyn Beltran. See You When I See You is just the second full length from Twin Oaks, but they have such a mature sound for a newer band.
Twin Oaks usage of dynamics and tempo changes really depicts which mood they are striving for from song to song. Some songs are slow dream pop, some are quicker post-rock and shoegaze. My favorite songs are the more stripped down ones like “The Worst of It”, “The Last Call”, and “Visitor” which are mainly pads and guitars over Brown’s haunting vocals. If I had to compare Brown’s vocals to anyone, I would say Natalie Merchant, which is a pretty great comparison. And on the other side is Twin Oaks dream pop songs which have shoegaze and post-rock feels to them like “Montauk” and “So Close”. See You When I See You is a must-have for anyone who likes beautiful music!
Aisle Of Palm by Beshken is a fun glitchy, dancey, poppy album. It explores many sounds and effects, all with pulsating low end. I immediately got a Bear Cubs vibe from the slow tempo bass-driven electronic sound. Beshken is Ben Shirken, who wrote, recorded, and produced all of the music as well as the vocals.
Aisle Of Palm begins with a bang. That is, after the intro which really doesn’t provide much. Fortunately, the first three songs following the intro hit hard, yet unfortunately, these three songs are the best on the album. I feel it’s like a movie that has a great first act, and then it really doesn’t go anywhere. Honestly, I got bored as the album went on. “Passion” really sets the tone with its glitchy keys and synth bass. It also has one of the catchier choruses. “Grey Ghost” and “Cursed” follow with memorable vocals and funky synthesized soundscapes. From there you can skip till the end.
Maybe if it was five or six songs opposed to eleven, it might have a better effect. It’s good for driving or background music, but it really doesn’t provide much else. The final two songs, excluding the outro, help Aisle of Palm finish strong. Beshken has some bangers within Aisle of Palm, but I wish more songs were as memorable as the beginning few,
Western-tinged folk isn’t a thing that’s new or novel by any stretch. With any genre or style though, there’s always room to try new things and add a unique twist on the sound to set what you’re doing apart from the rest. That’s exactly what Sonoran Rebel Black Magick are doing. True Western Doom is an interesting collection of sounds and songs that vary wildly from monotone dirges to electronic-infused ballads and black metal even rears its head a few times. Across its eight songs and 35 minutes, this album makes use of space and atmosphere to set the mood but does so without layers and layers of instrumentation. It’s a bleak album that leaves plenty of space between the bars but still manages to cage the listener throughout the entire experience.
“Poetry Of The Desert Tomb” is a funhouse take on gypsy-leaning folk with it’s lilting rhythms and bouncy basslines. It still manages to feel dark and threatening despite the playful veneer. This is one of the aspects that make this album a fun listen: it subverts expectations often. After the first few songs, I thought I figured out what this album would sound like through and through, but along came “Devil Shine On Me” to prove me entirely wrong. With vocoders shaping the vocals, synth keys, and downright Priest-sounding beats, it was totally different but equally great. If you’re looking for something entirely different, check this one out.
There’s probably a long German word for the feeling that you get when you crack open a cold, refreshing drink on a hot day. Whatever that word is, is what the genre of this music should be. Yeah, it’s jazzy math rock, with dashes of post-rock thrown in for good measure, but it’s so much more than that. With synchronized riffing across guitars and bass and drumming that pulls itself to the front on at just the right moments (see “Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice”) the construction of these tracks is like standing in the ocean and letting the waves just roll over you. I guess Tidal Dreams is the perfect title for this album.
With most tracks sitting at four minutes or lower, the pacing of the record is quick, darting from one song to the next. It’s an effective way to keep things moving but still allows each track to fully express itself without overplaying each sentiment. This is Nautilus‘ debut LP and they’re already showing some veteran wisdom in this regard. Ben Barett joins on the title track and it’s a lovely and fitting feature as the song manages to dovetail nicely into the album without being a jarring change up for its own sake. The only track with vocals features Robyn White to lend her soulful pipes to “Surely, Shirley” and is a nice late-album wrinkle to reinvigorate the listening experience.
Tidal Dreams isn’t to be missed. If you’re looking for refreshing, tasteful music, get on this.