Monday, 28 February 2011

EP Review : Magari - A Crescent Dream

Magari are a new, three-piece psychedelic rock slash prog-metal band from Connecticut, USA. Their debut EP – ‘A Crescent Dream’, released February 1 – shows real promise, and Magari could well turn out to be welcome additions to a genre dying for some new blood.

‘A Crescent Dream’ has a mini-concept running through its three songs – a dream sequence covering loss and its subsequent displacement, and the journey for getting back on track. Clocking in at 20 minutes, this EP is an ambitious first release for a band with clear aspirations to transcend genres and inject some excitement back into prog-metal.

Track one (or perhaps I should say part one) – entitled ‘Pensive’ – is a sublime instrumental with eerie keys and layered of ambient guitar noodlings. It’s post-rock of the highest caliber, which despite being lyric and vocal free manages to convey a strong sense of melancholy. ‘A Look Through Fog’ is the first time we hear the harmonious vocals of the trio, and marks a shift from prog-rock to prog-metal, with sludgy metal riffing entering from about half way through the track. To be in honest, the vocals aren’t the most striking element of Magari’s music – they’re fairly bland and slightly flat in places. But this band is about progressive instrumentation, and this is shown no better than on the final segment of the EP ‘Oceans Away’. 

Kicking off with some tinkling piano and acoustic, folk strumming this epic, nine-minute track is reminiscent of prog-metal overlords Opeth at their most somber – it’s a tender and affecting intro. Then, just before the two minute mark, it goes all loopy when some crazy, Celtic-inspired synths are introduced – although it took a couple of listens before I could decide that these synths worked, love it or hate it this is innovative stuff. The melodies of this song have a similar style to the clean vocals from the first From Autumn To Ashes record ‘Too Bad You’re Beautiful’. Towards the end of the end of ‘Oceans Away’ some of the music from ‘Pensive’ is spliced into the song, and there’s some divine, chilled guitar soloing.


Now, ‘A Crescent Dream’ certainly shows a lot of potential, but it’s not without its faults. As already mentioned, the vocals could do with some work. But what lets this EP down is the production quality. I understand that this debut must have been recorded on a shoestring budget, but the metal of this prog-metal outfit almost goes unnoticed because the guitars are too low in the mix – the heavy metal aspect needs to be heavier! Saying that, the raw vibe does make the music that little bit more intimate. For fans of prog-rock and prog-metal it’ll certainly be worth your time keeping an eye on these newcomers. // Magari \\

III. Oceans Away by Magari

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

New Music : Seri Doja

Seri Doja is a provocative and interesting hip hop artist who has been making music since 2006 and is currently working hard on making a demo for the masses. The first single I push the button on is the track ‘Hung Like a Parliament’, a hard hitting and thought provoking tune about the current economic, political and social issues that surround a recession hit Britain in 2011. 

The rhymes on this track feel like they are well written and a lot of thought has gone into each punch that Seri throws. The beat provided on this track does not disappoint and once the track gets going you’ll find your head uncontrollably nodding to the tempo.

Another track that grabbed my attention is the aptly titled ‘Big Brother’, which is Seri’s tribute to his love of music and the influence that it has had throughout his life. The rhymes on this track are again cleverly constructed with every line easily conceived as a double entendre. This track has a laid back flow that you can enjoy in a relaxed atmosphere and although isn’t as hard hitting as ‘Hung Like a Parliament’ it is a very intelligent piece of music that any hip hop fan would enjoy.

Although both of these tracks take completely different directions, they are both superb examples of British Hip-Hop that leaves you wanting to hear more. Seri Doja is a refreshing listen compared to the generic path hip hop artists can quite easily go down, with lyrical content nearly all listeners can relate to. For these tracks and more from Seri hit up his Soundcloud... You won’t be disappointed. // Seri Doja

01 Hung Like A Parliament (Studio Edition) by Seri Doja

03 Big Brother by Seri Doja

Sunday, 20 February 2011

New Music : Round Up Sunday

Before we get into this week's Round Up Sunday, we would just like to mention that Music Liberation has been picked by FHM as one of their favourite music blogs, as you can see by that lovely badge on the right hand side. You can check out their article and the other blogs mentioned here

We are also on the lookout for new writers to join our team, so if you're interested then please pop an email over to musicliberation@hotmail.co.uk.

Antidotes

We first discovered Bath five piece Antidotes back in January of last year, with a review of their debut EP 'Adventures Closer To Home'. They return to our sound systems with 'Between Soundwaves', a two-tracker featuring 'Pickups' and 'The Gold Coast'. The band sound altogether much tighter and more mature this time round, with their melodic rock being instantly infectious. EP Download

// Antidotes \\

Antidotes - Pickups by Music Liberation
 
The Raveonettes

Ahead of the release of their fifth studio album 'Raven In The Grave', Danish/American duo The Raveonettes return with the first single to be taken from said album in the shape of 'Forget That You're Young'. It's a swirling guitar led pop song, where you can easily get mesmerized by vocalist Sharin Foo with her heavenly tones, coupled with the strangely bleak but up lifting music behind her. The album is released April 5th through Vice Records.

// The Raveonettes \\

The Raveonettes - Forget That You're Young by Music Liberation

Robin Grey

Early last year Robin Grey seemed to open my ears to a genre of music I had previously paid little attention to; Folk. We gave his album 'Strangers With Shoes' a rave review, and have been eagerly awaiting new material since. Therefore it was with great delight when he recently sent us a new track 'Mariam's Cake'. At nearly the six minute mark, Robin has ample space to take the listener on a journey, from the soft and mellow opening, to the energetic ending. Ultimately his greatest weapon is his dynamic voice, which can be quite captivating.

// Robin Grey \\

Robin Grey - Mariam's Cake by Music Liberation

Thursday, 17 February 2011

New Music : Nicole Atkins

New Jersey born Nicole Atkins returns this year with her second album titled 'Mondo Amore'. Released through Proper Records on March 28th, it is the follow up record to her 2007 debut 'Neptune City'. According to Atkins "Neptune City was a record about my hometown and finding a way out of it. Mondo Amore is a record about heartache and finding a way out of that. It’s songs for people to fuck and fight to". 

All interesting stuff i'm sure you'll agree, and you can check out a full review of her new album on Music Liberation in a few weeks time. For the moment check out the video for 'Vultures', which will be the first single from the new record, as well as listening to 'Cry Cry Cry which is also taken from the album.

// Nicole Atkins || Twitter || Proper Records \\

Thursday, 10 February 2011

EP Review : Beneath the Beach, the Pavement - As Applicable for the Chemical Symbol for Sodium

Beneath the Beach, the Pavement are an experimental math pop trio from London. Having recently released their debut EP 'As Applicable for the Chemical Symbol for Sodium', as well some relentless touring in and around the capital, the band are starting to make some headway with their complex ideas.

Kicking off their EP with 'B Minor Suite', the band launch into their abstract take on electronica, with sweeping guitars and off key sample beats aplenty. Although initial comparisons can be drawn with the likes of Foals or Late of the Pier, it quickly becomes apparent that a vocalist is not needed for this band, with a plethora of voice samples from various key speakers used to provide a social commentary on current affairs instead. 'Wish I Could Be Like Alan Watts' chops and changes its tempo to great effect, taking an almost grunge like approach. The third track of this EP '2' is perhaps my favourite, not least because it uses a sample of Professor Brain Cox (Wonders of the Universe), but also because the band seem to cram a huge manitude of ideas into its two and a half minutes.

The final two tracks of the record, 'A Brain To Brittle To Bend' and 'Watermark' suggest a bright future ahead for this young band. Wisely the number of voice samples used are severly reduced, placing a much needed emphasis on the talent and ideas of the musicians themselves. Whilst the samples initially stand out on the earlier tracks, they tend to become less important on repeat plays, and can actually detract from the music. 'Watermark' in particular demonstrates how the band have found the right balance, executing the effect of the samples in perfect harmony with their groovy guitar led music.

'As Applicable for the Chemical Symbol for Sodium' is a strong debut EP, from a band who are clearly bursting with ideas and intentions of creating something different. You can catch Beneath the Beach, the Pavement at Catch in Shoreditch on February 15th. // Beneath the Beach, the Pavement // Listen to the full EP.

2 by beneaththebeach

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Album Review : Tu Fawning - Hearts On Hold

Tu Fawning: Like Portishead. Still, as they say “If you create a melancholic album of minor key, jazz infused songs with yearning female vocals accompanied by the occasional ambient drone, off beat rhythm and soulful sentiment you’re going to get compared to Portishead”. It’s not a well known expression, but it seems appropriate here.

Yet unlike their trip-hop predecessors, Tu Fawning rely less on electronics as they prefer to flex their musically competent muscle through a myriad of traditional instrumentation: guitars, pianos, organs, trombones and alike are used with aplomb to carve out their songs.

Yet such a display in musical mastery has only served to create fragmented and patchwork music that flits too easily from one idea to another. Perhaps this is a nod to an improvised style and as such is knowingly done, but that doesn’t stop this cacophony of sounds drowning us in a sea of pseudo –jazz clutter.

More straight forward arrangements such as ‘Apples and Oranges’ and ‘Just Too Much’ achieve a level of emotional connection that is conspicuously absent on the more audacious numbers. ‘The Felt Sense’, ‘Sad Story’ and ‘Diamond in the Forest’ all have their moments but any highlight is quickly skipped over in favour of another sparse brass breakdown or more thumping tribal drum changes.

A musical ADHD runs through the whole of ‘Hearts on Hands’ which makes for sometimes boring songs that frustrate more than surprise. Tu Fawning need to decide if they want to create vocal led songs or ambient atmospherics. And whilst they tussle with this choice the results created are messy and unfocused. Flashes of brilliance (the looping trumpet on ‘Multiply A House’, the roaring reverb guitar on ‘Hand Grenade’ or the eight bit drum beat on ‘Mouths of Young’ for example) appear too infrequently to make this record anywhere near cohesive. For an album that promises results through competent craftsmanship, it ultimately delivers little more than confusing noise.


I Know You Now by Tu Fawning by PMA

Sunday, 6 February 2011

New Music : Round Up Sunday

Hold Your Horse Is
One of our favourite new acts from last year, Hold Your Horse Is return early in 2011 with a new single 'Forgive and Forget', which carries on where this mathy pop rock trio left off. It's quick, heavy, and fun. You can download it for free from the bands site now. // Hold Your Horse Is
Hold Your Horse Is - Forgive and Forget by Music Liberation

EMA
Previously one half of Gowns, EMA is striking out on her own with her debut single 'Grey Ship' out March 7th. It's bleak, bewildering, but utterly convincing, as EMA's courageous balance between folk and rock sensibilities collide amidst pale vocals and sonic guitar feedback. // EMA



Bag Raiders 
Signed to the excellent Modular Records, Bag Raiders recently released their self titled debut album. Very much a forward thinking dance album, the duo of Bag Raiders make things simple with big bouncy baselines and sweeping vocals from a variety of guests such as Dan Black to great effect.  // Bag Raiders
Bag Raiders - Sunlight (feat. Dan Black) by modularpeople

Mute Swimmer
Having recently relocated to Berlin, Mute Swimmer is an intruiging artist signed to a new Brighton based label, Burning Heart Recordings. His music is stripped right back to the core, with dark undertones running throughout the acoustic stop start track 'Song Against Itself'. It's challenging music but well worth sticking with. // Mute Swimmer
Mute Swimmer - Song Against Itself by Bleeding heart recordings

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Single Review : Dead Red Sun - Facility

Having formed just over a year ago, London 3-piece Dead Red Sun look set to up the anti in 2011 with a new single 'Facility' and a forthcoming EP, to go along with their constant touring in and around the capital.

'Facility' perfectly encompasses what this instrumental band are all about. Beginning with a recorded voice sample, things quickly move into instrumental territory as Mike Guppy's guitar, Ollie Bremner's bass, and Tom Murphy's drums all collide with pin point precision. The pace is fast and unnerving, making the listener acutely aware that a full on crescendo is about to occur, and it dutifully does just over halfway through the track. From here on in Dead Red Sun effortlessly evoke emotions out of their instruments, employing mathy time signatures to alter the flow and direction of the track. It's saying something that the 6.09 minutes of this track seem to go by so quickly, and a repeat play is almost guaranteed upon every listen.

It's fair to say Music Liberation is eagerly awaiting the debut EP from Dead Red Run, which is expected later this year, after being entirely capitvated by their first single release in the form of 'Facility'. // Download the single for free from the band's bandcamp site. // Dead Red Sun

Dead Red Sun - Facility by Music Liberation