Damned Constant Future…

Parts & Labor returns with their fourth LP, Constant Future. And sure, our future may be ever looming and bleak but at least it sounds good. Parts & Labor’s lead singer, Dan Freil, injects a dose of morose with his lyrics as he scrutinizes life’s follies. And though the band has downsized from a quartet, you’d never know an instrument was subtracted from their “musical equation” as the three gents still manage to produce massive, harmonious commotion.

Blurt review below:

Photo by Brock Fetch
Photo by Brock Fetch

Nine years and counting, Brooklyn trio Parts & Labor continues to astound with the amount of layered, sonic commotion they can create with just drums, bass, a keyboard and a guitar. Constant Future, their fourth full length, bursts through 12 songs in a mere 39 minutes.

Perhaps this fast playback attributes to some songs blurring into one, but luckily there are a few tracks that rises above the amalgam and hook you with their catchy melodies and riffs. “Fake Names,” “Outnumbered” and “Neverchanger” are the definite forerunners; and though the dynamic music is entrancing, equally impressive are the existentially, poetic lyrics and Dan Freil’s fast delivery. How often does one utilize words such as “beleaguered” and “unencumbered” in one song (“Outnumbered”)? Constant Future is an adrenaline charged album that proves Parts & Labor still know how to rock.

DOWNLOAD: “Outnumbered,” “Skin and Bones”

Be sure to visit Parts & Labor’s site to discover more about this kinetic, noise band.

Drum roll for my favorite track, “Skin and Bones!”
[audio:http://writographer.co.nf/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/07-Skin-And-Bones.mp3%5D

101 Reasons to Love 101

101. It’s a delicately, beautiful album.
100. Keren Ann has…
99. = |

No way am I continuing that! But Keren Ann has indeed delivered a lovely LP that deserves all the praise it has received. For her sixth album the songstress melds jazz and folk to produce a gracefully lavish release. Read my Blurt review below:

101, Keren Ann’s sixth studio album, is a calm, jazzy and hauntingly beautiful foray into the lovelorn recesses of her mind; and the quiet, well orchestrated music perfectly complements Keren Ann’s gentle vocals. What’s equally impressive: Keren Ann’s lyrics. The title track is a spoken-word affair as she counts down from 101 random references such as “52 white keys” to “1 God.”

From the juxtaposed, cheeky, Bonnie and Clyde-esque song “Blood On My Hands” – chronicling her misadventures with a man toting “a Winchester pre-64” – to the contemplative, melancholic track “Strange Weather,” where she declares “I will love again,” Keren Ann covers the many facets of the subject.

KerenAnn1011

Lead track “My Name Is Trouble,” the most upbeat song on the album, is immediately ear-catching; nevertheless, even the decidedly slow paced numbers begin to permeate your subconscious. 101’s subdued, ethereal atmosphere makes it an album to enjoy one quiet, pensive afternoon.

DOWNLOAD: “My Name Is Trouble,” “Run With You”

Be sure to visit Keren Ann’s site to discover more about this talented singer/songwriter.

AgesandAges Is Restless

Alright You Restless proves to be a strong debut from a blossoming band. What else can you suspect from a seven piece, alt-folk band from Portland whose producer was Viva Voce‘s Kevin Robinson? (And if you are not familiar with the Viva’s click on that link back there.)

Some words I used to describe Restless…”organic, emotive, upbeat, positive, charming…” Sounds good so far? Then read the full Blurt review below:

AaA
Photo By: Alicia J. Rose

Portland seven-piece folk outfit, AgesandAges, releases an upbeat, positive debut that clandestinely lifts your spirits. Damn them. With their memorable harmonies and melodies Alright You Restless proves charmingly simple yet intricate. Though Tim Perry is the band’s lead vocalist, all members lend their voices and AgesandAges manages to beautifully balance everyone’s instruments (strings, drums and the occasional piano or accordion) to orchestrate heartfelt music that channels Americana.

“No Nostalgia,” “Alright, You Restless,” and “So So Freely” are all quality tracks where the music and Perry’s vocal stylings permeate your mind after several listens. Yet the songs that prove the most outstanding are those where the other members of AgesandAges join Perry. The two closing tracks, “When I Was Idle” and “Souvenir,” best illustrate this element and are the most pulsating numbers. Alright You Restless is an organic, emotive album that will remind music aficionados that good music thrives.

DOWNLOAD: “When I Was Idle,” “Souvenir”

And, of course, be sure to visit AgesandAges’ site find out more about this new, promising band.

Fujiya & Miyagi’s Dummy Act

Man! Every time I attempt a catchy headline it comes off snarky, but never fear! Snark not intended, in fact I’m talking about Fujiya & Miyagi’s latest LP Ventriloquizzing. This album finds Fujiya & Miyagi expanding their sounds to include darker hints.

 

Some have come to love it, some pine for the sounds of yesteryear. Read my review at Blurt below, check out Fujiya & Miyagi and take a listen to their older tracks. You weigh the difference…are you for the old or new F&M?

Ventriloquizzing continues down the mellow path of albums past with its slow, rhythmic reverberations that blend dance, rock and pop with British quartet Fujiya & Miyagi’s charmingly inane lyrics. And though they remain true to their laid-back approach to dance music, the delivery of the songs has metamorphosed into one that strays from the lively beats, balancing the relaxed melodies and introducing a darker undertone.

FM

Gone are the semi-funk grooves of Transparent Things’ “Photocopier” and the upbeat, plucky beats of Light Bulbs’ “Pterodactyls” that perfectly complemented David Best’s vocals. What remains is an album layered with dark, methodically muted compositions for Best’s whispers to float between. By far the strongest track is the single “Sixteen Shades of Black and Blue,” while “Yo Yo” slightly picks up the pace mid-album and the heavy bass riff at the latter end of “Tinsel and Glitter” subsequently injects a jolt of adrenaline in Ventriloquizzing.

The crucial component that has made Fujiya & Miyagi an enticing band to follow has somewhat faded. Though there are a few tracks that successfully balance their signature of unconventional lyrics and quiet harmonies with dance and rock, it’s not quite enough to spark a dance party. Ventriloquizzing (their first non-self produced) is characterized by a new, melancholic direction, and to some the darkness may be interpreted as dreary.

DOWNLOAD: “Sixteen Shades of Black and Blue,” “Tinsel and Glitter”

LCD Is Happening

Can LCD Soundsystem ever do wrong? No really, not a rhetorical question…James Murphy is one talented musician and, with the aid of equally talented friends, always manages to create captivating albums. With This Is Happening he continues down the “kick ass dance music” path. This is a fine release that I REALLY enjoyed, read my Blurt review here, check out LCD if you are not already familiar with his work and BUY THIS ALBUM. I love it!

LCD Soundsystem can do no wrong sonically. James Murphy, the mastermind behind LCD and DFA
Records, has the knack and talent for creating bodaciously catchy tracks that will incite the most uncoordinated soul to dance. This Is Happening, only LCD’s third LP, continues in this impressive pattern and includes tracks that dip into Murphy’s customary genre pallet.

The hour long album includes nine tracks that range from ‘80s new wave to dance-punk to
hypnotic trance. And again Murphy contemplates sizeable subjects as love, life, and hypocrisy all behind the upbeat veil of electronics. Opener “Dance Yrself Clean” slowly pulls you into Murphy’s world as it quietly pulsates before exploding with drums, synths and beats. “You Wanted A Hit” touches on the 
exasperating demands of the music biz; with the chorus “We won’t be your babies anymore,” Murphy begins “You wanted a hit/But maybe we don’t do hits/I try and try /It ends up feeling kind of wrong.”

Perhaps this track is an insight to Murphy’s profession that This Is Happening may be his last LCD Soundsystem album. Hopefully those words were that of an overwrought artist in need of a siesta because This
Is Happening is a work of art.

Standout Tracks: “Dance Yrself Clean,” “You Wanted A Hit”

Here’s my favorite track from the album, You Wanted A Hit…wait for it folks, it’s an excellent build up!

You Should Know Pax & Pry

Welcome to my brand new You Should Know section of ye olde blog. Here I’ll discuss some under appreciated artists that should be on your radar. The lucky contestants to be mentioned first, Dutch rap group, Pax & Pry. Now, I am one who quickly tired of the same ol scheme we tend to see in rap, it is definitely not what it used back when I was a youngin’. So I searched far and wide for some unique groups.

With great beats laced together by Pry and Pax’s lyrical stylings, this talented duo is just giving it away for free! No really! The duo is open to sharing their artistic expression with all and have both of their jam packed releases for free downloads on their site. When is the last time an artist has done that? So, please, give Pax & Pry a listen, spread the word and enjoy their music…

Here is my favorite track from their 2007 release A Day At The Office, enjoy!

Pax & Pry – Back Again

[audio:http://writographer.co.nf/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/06 B(ack) Again.mp3]

In fact, be sure to check out Pax & Pry’s label, Beats Broke, they have A LOT of excellent artists on their roster.