Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Album Review : Hectic Zeniths - Hectic Zeniths

Hectic Zeniths’ self titled debut is the work of Brooklyn, NY native and current Philadelphia resident Adam Morgan Prince. His moniker is an anagram of Zeitschtichen, a German word meaning shifts in, or layers of time. This is an apt name for both the artist and the album, as each track is a richly layered, brooding soundscape.

Anyone who frequents QN5 Music’s forum will already be aware of what happens when Prince gets hold of a piano. Under the moniker ‘amplifya’, his take on CunninLynguists’ ‘The Light’ from the QN5 Rmx Vol. 2 EP (2006) was well received, whilst he also showcased his chops in a cover of ‘Gathered’ from Tonedeff’s Archetype (2005).

His album follows a loose formula and is successful for it. Most of the tracks are built around a melancholy piano section and either live or sampled drums. Added to this are vocal samples that work like added instrumentation, violins and a couple of tracks featuring guitar (‘Why Shoot Debris About It’ and ‘Zeitschtichen’), making a dark and sombre LP that is perfect for bumping in your headphones on a cold winter morning.

The intro, ‘One That Got Away’ sets the mood well, with reversed strings, a mournful vocal sample and playful beat, before segueing into the first piano led track, ‘Then and Now’. The album goes from strength to strength from there. ‘I Might Drown’, a standout among an album full of strong cuts, features an upbeat drum pattern that contrasts the subtle keys, haunting vocals that drift eerily in and out of the song and the dramatic bursts of violin. The subtle guitar in ‘Zeitschtichen’ compliments the piano and plodding beat well and an airy vocal weaving through the piece wraps things up nicely.

While never reaching their cinematic heights, Hectic Zeniths draws comparisons with Blue Sky Black Death or Emancipator, each known for creating rich and densely layered music. At eleven tracks long and clocking in at half an hour from beginning to end, some may feel it may be on the short side, but with each song containing so many elements, replay value will undoubtedly be high.

Hectic Zeniths will be released 10th January 2012, you can stream or pre-order the album now
I might drown by hecticzeniths

then and now by hecticzeniths

Friday, 25 November 2011

New Music : Rosa Valle / Therapist / Smother Party

Rosa Valle

Uncompromising math rock four-piece from Middlesborough, Rosa Valle recently released their debut EP titled 'Holy Bermuda', through a split between Holy Roar Records and Big Scary Monsters. Sounding like a cross between Rolo Tomassi at their heaviest, Foals at their gentlest, and The Murder of Rosa Luxemburg at their craziest, this EP demonstrates a band with a clear belief in their ideas and a band who possess an inherent desire to express themselves in whatever way they see fit. I'm expecting big things from these chaps when it comes to the recording of their debut LP. *Recommended track - 'Mathemagician'.*

Mathemagician by Rosa Valle

Bursting out of Phoenix CA come Therapist, a bouncy electro punk act who first came to our attention with the track 'I Know What I Want'. Released through Indian Gold Records, that song was very much reminiscent of the likes of  Teenagersintokyo, Chaingang, and Operator Please, with the stop start jerky combo of the vocals and the bands stripped back electro punk working to great effect. This week the band releases their debut EP, titled 'Hearts Beats', featuring more of the same bass heavy electro punk vibes. 

Therapist - I Know What I Want by diganant

Smother Party

Based out of Brooklyn, Smother Party are a groove laden instrumental rock three-piece who earlier this year released their debut album, 'Casa Limon'. Whilst being a challenging album it will reward those who stick with it, as repeated plays open up a whole new world of what can be acheived with two guitars and a drum kit. In parts bewildering, in parts brilliant, 'Casa Limon' showcases a band with abstract ideas above the 'normal' rockers station. Particularly of note is the sound of the guitars on this album, which almost sound out of tune at times but are still somehow hugely rhythmic and head nod-able, like 'Serious Beef'.

Stream/Download on bandcamp || Variant Records || Smother Party

Smother Party - Ghost Games by variant_records

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

New Video : The Producers - Episode 2: The Bullitts

We featured The Bullitts earlier this year with a single review of 'Run & Hide', a collaborative track that featured Jay Electronica. We also enthused about the 'beautifully crafted cinematic experience' that accompanied the song, a pattern which has been repeated with each track that has been taken from The Bullitts debut LP 'They'll Die By Dawn And Other Short Stories'. Well now thanks to a new six part music documentary being put together by Red Bull Studios and Vice Media titled 'The Producers', you can now meet the man behind The Bullitts, the enthralling Jeymes Samuel

In episode 2 of the ongoing series, Jeymes talks about everything connected with his love for music and films, as well as behind the scenes footage of him working with Syience on a short film project score. It's really quite inspiring stuff, and shows a man with a genuine interest for making art, with a clear intent on truly making a mark on those around him.

RUN & HIDE by TheBullitts

Monday, 21 November 2011

Album Review : Evidence - Cats & Dogs

As is often the case with artists that earn critical acclaim, ‘backpackers’ favourite, LA’s Dilated Peoples never seemed to be able to turn that praise into the commercial success they deserve. With four albums under their belts, DJ Babu, Rakaa Iriscience and Evidence decided to take a break from recording as a group and focus on their solo careers. Of the group’s two lyricists, it is Evidence that has successfully managed to maintain something of a cult following in an increasingly crowded hip hop market.

Following the meteorology theme Ev started on his well-received debut LP 'The Weatherman' in 2007, Cats & Dogs is his first release for Minneapolis based Rhymesayers Entertainment.

While Evidence may not be the most technically gifted emcee, his voice is engaging, his flow polished and on every track he oozes a laidback confidence that fans of West Coast Hip Hop will be familiar with.

What does need to highlighted, though, is Ev’s ear for beats. Simply put, it is impeccable. While he is himself an accomplished producer, only two tracks on the album ('I Don’t Need Love' and 'Late For The Sky') boast his name in the liner notes, even then only with co-production credits. Instead he hands production duties to long-time friend and collaborator The Alchemist, duo Sid Roams, Rahki, Charli Brown and Twiz the Beat King, the lesser-known names more than holding their own in esteemed company as the album shifts from soulful and introspective to big and brash seamlessly.

The album also features the legendary DJ Premier who laces the understated single 'You' and the darker, horn-based album closer 'Epilogue' with his trademark chopped samples and scratched hooks, to the delight of this fan-boy, at least.

The featured guests are also strong. Aloe Blacc drops in to add some soul to the sinister opener 'The Liner Notes' and 'The Red Carpet' sees Evidence hold his own with two of Rap’s most celebrated lyricists; Raekwon (of Wu-Tang Clan) and West Coast veteran, Ras Kass over a smooth vocal-sample based Alchemist backdrop. Label mates Slug and Aesop Rock turn up on Emo-Rap fans’ wet-dream 'Late To The Sky' and underground Rap’s current golden boy (and deservedly so) Roc Marciano blesses the moody strings and guitar lick of 'Fame' alongside Mobb Deep’s Prodigy.

With no trace of a radio-friendly single or a floor-filling club banger, Cats & Dogs may not win Evidence new fans, but after two decades in the business, it is clear that isn’t important to him. He knows his strengths and he plays to them.

If you like whiplash-inducing beats and solid rhymes, you won’t go wrong with this LP.

You can buy the album now from Rhymesayers Entertainment // Evidence

[*Many thanks to Tom Nash for his first article for Music Liberation, find out more about Tom on his The Write Tom Nash site.*]

NEW Single 'Red Carpet' by EVIDENCE feat. Raekwon the Chef & Ras Kass by Suniula.D

Friday, 18 November 2011

Single Review : Cloud Nothings - No Future No Past

A little over a year ago Ohio based foursome Cloud Nothings released their self titled debut record to much critical acclaim and blog lauding. So there was much anticipation last week when it emerged a new track had surfaced which is set to appear on the band’s new album stated for release through Wichita Recordings on February 6th 2012. The album will be called ‘Attack On Memory’ whilst the newly surfaced song is titled ‘No Future / No Past’.

The track kicks off the new LP and as opening tracks go it’s really quite a monster. Beginning in a haunting fashion with distant piano and slow methodical bass and drums, front man Dylan Baldi croaks in an ever demanding voice as the music slowly builds and builds. And keep it keeps building until the wheels start to fall off, but the band keep going, with Baldi’s call to arm shouts of “No future, no past” surrounded by crashing drums and flailing guitars (ED: Gotta love those flailing guitars...). The intensity and passion of this opening track really does set the album up well, with the potential shown a real yardstick for the untold possibilities of the forthcoming album.

Did I forget to mention that LEGENDARY producer Steve Albini has produced the record? Yeah well he has. And there’s a nine minute track called ‘Wasted Days’ which is apparently MEGA heavy.

Excited much? Music Liberation is.

Cloud Nothings - No Future / No Past by Wichita Recordings

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

EP Review : Lucy Rose - Middle Of The Bed

You may recognise Lucy Rose from her appearances alongside Bombay Bicycle Club on their recent UK tour, as well as her stand out performance on their cover of Lana Del Rey’s ‘Video Games’ for the BBC’s Radio 1 live lounge. Now she is set to stand on her own two feet with the release of her first EP, produced by Charlie Hugall (Florence & The Machine, Jack Peñate, Crystal Fighters), and released through Fauna Records.

The title track ‘Middle Of The Bed’ begins quietly but we are quickly introduced to Lucy’s dainty yet strangely intoxicating vocals of which this track is based around. Demonstrating an ear for vocal tempo changes and a song writing talent beyond her tender years, she sings with great confidence in her own ability and ideas. The music behind her vocals builds throughout the track to a gentle crescendo, much like some of the material on Foals ‘Total Life Forever’ LP, with the two elements combining to create a euphoric soundscape.

Also check out the video for the track, which whilst being simply shot and produced does work really well with the song, helping to invoke those emphatic feelings. It is directed by Orestes Mitas

Elsewhere on the EP there are four remixes of Middle Of The Bed, including one from Bombay’s Jack Steadman, with all of them demonstrating the variety that can be found within the track to play around with. I suspect that this diversity within Lucy Rose’s music is sure to become a prominent feature of her success on forthcoming records, with new song 'Scar' an example of that.

You can grab ‘Middle Of The Bed’ now through Fauna Records // Lucy Rose

Lucy Rose - Middle Of The Bed by Lucy Rose

Monday, 14 November 2011

Competition : Win tickets to see Mazes at the 100 Club / Converse Series

Continuing the successful partnership between Converse and the legendary 100 Club venue in London, Music Liberation is pleased to announce we have 10 tickets to give away for the next gig the venue and brand are putting on. The series of gigs first kicked off this summer with Graham Coxon headlining, and he has since been followed by the likes of Everything Everything, The Rapture, and Fanfarlo. November 24th see’s the next instalment with Music Liberation favourites Mazes topping the bill (check out our review of their ‘A Thousand Heys’ LP from earlier in the year), with support coming from Eagulls, and The Static Jacks.

To win a ticket to this event you simply need to ‘like’ the Music Liberation facebook page, and then send us an email with '100 Club Competition' in the subject, as well as your facebook username and your contact details. The closing date for entries is November 21st at midday, upon which a random draw will take place and the winners will be notified via email. Good luck and see you down the front!


Mazes - Summer Hits by Fat Cat Records

Friday, 11 November 2011

Single Review : Francis Neve - Dance Around The Fire

We picked up on Francis Neve earlier this year with his spell bounding video and track 'I Won't Make You Feel Better' which came out through his own label FRR Records. Well now he is back with a new single and EP, released again through his own label on December 5th. The single 'Dance Around The Fire' is joined by the track 'I Lie', and two remixes of his older song 'Brian's Drying Up' by Bangatang and DJ Ruckspin.

Dance Around The Fire brings about somewhat of a change in style for Francis, with an increased tempo, and an all round general feel good factor. It's a song that will help bring a sense of positivity amid these cold and ever darkening November nights. Neve himself confesses "I’ve got a lot more positive energy at the moment and it’s coming through in my music...the song is trying to focus on the good things in life and how we treat each other rather than the bad that we always hear about in the news. Its hopeful".

There's a video too, (Ed: surprising that...) and in what is becoming an almost customary Francis Neve style it's quite bewildering and beautifully shot. For you fact fans it was directed and shot by Brad Verlander and Hayley Graves.

The single and EP are released 5th December through FRR Records. // Francis Neve

Dance Around The Fire by Emms_Publicity

Monday, 7 November 2011

New Video : MODDI - Smoke

Beautiful song, beautiful video. 'Smoke' is taken from young Norwegian artist MODDI's debut LP 'Floriography', which is out now through Propeller Recordings. The video is made by Jørgen Nordby. // MODDI

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Cutting Noise podcast 1

So believe it or not Music Liberation used to do podcasts. Way back in 2008 we made 3 in a row for the months of February, March, and April. And then we stopped, for over 3 and a half years. 

Today however we release a new one, under the name Cutting Noise.

Featuring 10 tracks from new artists from around the world, as well as a bit of 'informed chat' from me, the aim is to make them a regular monthly feature. Let's see how that works out this time!

You can get at Cutting Noise on twitter, facebook, and tumblr.
1. Trails - We’ve Got It All Right (taken from self titled EP)
2. DZ Deathrays - Gebbie Street (taken from Brutal Tapes EP)
3. Future Islands - Before The Bridge (taken from On The Water LP)
4. Keaton Henson - Sarah Minor (taken from Dear… LP)
5. Surfer Blood - I’m Not Ready (taken from Tarot Classics EP)
6. Rosa Valle - Mathemagician (taken from Holy Bermuda EP)
7. Lana Del Rey - Video Games (Joy Orbison remix) (Buy single)
8. Cuttooth - This War (Featuring Bridie Jackson) (taken from Elements LP)
9. Casa Limon - Whiskey Sheen (taken from Smother Party LP)
10. Urusen - The Islander (taken from the double A-single)