Wednesday, October 31, 2012

NMNG Essential Listening I

Here we are, kicking off the Essential Listening list! Each post will consist of an image with a 3x3 grid of album covers and their titles. Then, underneath I'll get to explaining why I think they're such important albums. At the end of each post I'll link back to all of the older posts. If any readers would like to contribute to the list, please let me know via the comments below, Facebook or e-mail. Please at least list off the albums and artists as well a small blurb on each one (you'll see how it's all laid out below). If you can't think of 9 at a time, don't fret, just let us know which ones you want to be on the list, and once we've got 9 albums, we'll stitch 'em all together and post it!

Without further ado:

The White Stripes - Elephant
This is the first album I ever bought with my own money. At this time in my life I was listening to a lot of Metallica and Megadeth, and ol' Jack and Meg proved to me that sometimes simpler is better. Elephant still stands as one of my all time favorite albums, ever.

Mastodon - Crack the Skye
Another one of my all time favorites, Crack the Skye is the first whole album that mentally and emotionally moved me. I guess it just entered my life at the right place and time. A progressive metal album with no equal, and the inspiration behind planning my first tattoo.

Pig Destroyer - Prowler in the Yard
This is beautiful. This is art.

Meshuggah - Nothing
Ain't nobody groove like Meshuggah grooves. Pre-Nothing I barely paid any attention to the rhythm and flow of songs. Meshuggah changed that. This is one of the heaviest recordings I've ever heard.

Childish Gambino - Camp
This is the album that sparked my interest in hip-hop and rap. Considering that before this I was almost exclusively anti-rap, this is a big deal.

Andrew W.K. - I Get Wet
Believe it or not, this album functioned the same way as Camp, but for pop music. I guess I needed the cheery and catchy melodies mixed in with heavy music before I was able to handle them in lighter genres.

Tool - 10,000 Days
Another album that can send me floating off in space. Tool were the first band that showed me that just because something is morbid, doesn't mean it can't be beautiful. If I hadn't been exposed to Tool, I doubt I'd listen to half of the extreme stuff I do now.

Sleep - Dopesmoker
On par with Electric Wizard's legendary Dopethrone as the heaviest piece of music ever, Dopesmoker is a single, unbroken track that lasts for over an hour. This shit is so thick and heavy that I think my hearing is forever skewed to think everything else just isn't heavy enough.

Daft Punk - Alive 2007
As Camp and I Get Wet, but for dance and electronic music. If anybody is looking for something to boogie down to, this should undeniably be your first choice.

So there we have it, our first 9 albums on the NMNG Essential Listening List! Let me know what you guys think, and remember that you can contact us if you want to recommend some albums for the list!

That's all for now, folks! Happy Halloween! I'm going to go get drunk and play D&D with my housemates now.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Idea: NMNG Essential Listening List

I've been surfing through /mu/ a lot recently, and there are tons of "Essential Listening" lists floating around so I figured, hey, why don't we make one here?

Well, I'm going to start it. I hope that if anyone reading has any albums to recommend that they do so. The whole point of this blog for me is to introduce people to new music, and I think this is a great way to go about making a large list of must-listen albums for everyone. From old swing jazz records to modern day drum 'n' bass albums, I want this to be a big clusterfuck of everyone's favorite music.

So, whatdaya say? It'll take for-fucking-ever, and it'll most likely separated across many, many posts (or placed on a different page on this blog) but if we believe in the heart of the cards, anything can come true! Let me know what you guys think about this in the comments below, on Facebook, or shoot me an e-mail.

That's all for now, folks!


Saturday, October 27, 2012

EP Review: Hoodie Allen - "All American"

I'm not sure what the weather is like where ever you are, but here in Guelph it's been bleak, cold, windy and rainy for the past week or so. Considering it's also midterm season, I've been stuck living in the UoGuelph engineering building with all the other engineering students. As a result, I've been looking for some music to pick me up after a long day of not understanding my electrical devices class. Queue my friend Luke who posted a Hoodie Allen song on Facebook a week ago or so.  I had never heard of Hoodie Allen before and for some reason I was expecting Hoodie Allen to be either fucking brutal deathcore (a la Acacia Strain) or really abrasive electronic music (like Stephen Walking). Then, I click on the link and listen to this:

Feel good jams ensue.

Hoodie Allen (Steven Markowitz) is an American (I totally couldn't tell by the album cover!) hip-hop/ pop artist who only recently came onto the music scene. He self-released his debut Bagels and Beats in 2009, and just dropped All American, an EP this spring. Hoodie seems to be apart of the new "nerdy white people trying to rap" trend (Kreayshawn, MC Frontalot, etc.), but luckily for him, he actually pulls it off.

All American is a great blend of hip-hop and pop music. Hoodie's songs feel like happy, upbeat rap songs during their verses, but turn into big, over-the-top pop tunes with lots of catchy hooks and simple lyrics that get stuck in your head for the choruses. A couple songs deviate towards other genres, with the song "Small Town" hitting disco/ dance club levels of fun, and "No Interruption" sounding like a modern R&B tune. Whichever way Hoodie presents his music, I guarantee it'll always get you dancing.

The instrumentation on All American is simple, but effective. Synth, keyboards, pianos, funky guitars and bass and drums are pretty much all that are used here and it's really for the best. Most of the songs have a really simple, catchy backing track, and as the song moves onward, new lines and melodies crop up from the other instruments. Production is nice and shiny, with everything sounding spit-shined and sparkly. Normally I'm a fan of warmer production sounds and tones, but for music this upbeat the vibrant production really drives home the feel-good sound.

The only things that disappoint me on All American are the last two songs. Hoodie changes gears instantly from "lets go adventure and have a summer road trip!" down to "let's just sit around and get really high". The music is still good, it just doesn't fit with the rest of the EP at all, in my opinion. It's not a big gripe, but I find myself just playing the first 6 songs over and over, constantly ignoring the last two. At least the songs I don't like are both at the end of the album so it's not like they break up the stretch of songs I do like.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: No Interruption, Eighteen Cool, Small Town

On a Playlist With: Whatever's on your summertime playlist.

Overall Score


Hoodie Allen brings some tasty feel-good jams with All American. Other than the last couple songs on the EP, you can tell me it'll be soundtrack for the next American Pie movie and I'd totally believe you. If you're feeling down, just give Hoodie a chance, and I'm certain it'll turn your frown upside down.

That's all for now, folks!


Friday, October 26, 2012

Album Review: Wintersun - "Time I"

After reviewing the highly anticipated Pig Destroyer album Book Burner, which took five years after their last album to hit the shelves, I'm going to review another long-awaited album that has finally came out. Y'know how PxDx took five years to release Book Burner? Well Finnish melodic death metal band Wintersun took eight years to release the appropriately titled Time I. Not even all of it, either. Time II is slated to be released next year, so hopefully we'll have it by 2020. Yeah. Eight fucking years. And it's finally (half) here.

And holy balls, was it worth the wait.

Wintersun are a Finnish melodeath band that formed after vocalist and guitarist Jari left folk/ melodic death metal giants Ensiferum in 2004. In that same year he put together the first self-titled Wintersun album, which was received with much praise from critics and fans alike. Wintersun essentially operated as a modded version of Ensiferum, dropping a little of the folky sounds and pumping up the aggression and speed.

Eight years later and we have the first taste of what a new, evolved Wintersun sounds like. What kind of evolution was it? Well, it's like seeing your Charmander evolve right into a motherfucking Charizard. Yeah, it doesn't make a lick of sense, but who cares, because it's fucking awesome. If 2004's Wintersun was a spear to the chest, Time I is a +10 frost enchanted adamantium katana to the throat.

If the artwork and title font don't give it away, Time I musically seems to live in a majestic, snowy, Oriental winter fantasy land. It's kind of like if there was Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2: I Wish You a Blood Red Christmas. Time is crammed full of massive sounds, from thick, distorted guitars, to massive orchestral arrangements, to giant choirs, to throat shredding screams and growls and more. The intro track "When Time Fades Away" wears it's Japanese influences on it's sleeve. The giant orchestra and pounding drums play with Eastern melodies and rhythms, which build up and build up like the score out of a martial arts movie.

One vast improvement between Wintersun and Time I are Jari's vocals. There are a bunch of vocal styles that crop up on the album ranging from Jari's death metal growls, Jari's clean vocals, and a choir consisting of members of the folk metal bands Turisas, Tyr, Kiuas, and Jari's former bandmates in Ensiferum. Jari's guttural vocals have gotten much deeper and fuller sounding on Time I, and his clean vocals have taken on an almost Devin Townsend-ish tone, pumping out massive sweeping operatic lines.

The music the band plays is great, as expected, but the focus on the album is more on the band's ability to blend classic metal instrumentation with orchestral arrangements rather than the band's technical ability. Riffs as powerful and catchy as the classic intro riff in Wintersun's "Beyond the Dark Sun" don't crop up often on Time I, which is a little disappointing considering Jari's well-proven riff writing abilities (See Ensiferum's Iron). The symphonic compositions all sound great, with enough rhythms, melodies, and counter-melodies to keep you busy while you dissect the layers upon layers of music thrown at you. The only gripe I have with the orchestral sounds are that they are synthetic, with the instruments' sounds clearly emulated by a computer or keyboard. That being said, they don't sound bad, I just believe the album would have sounded much better with the addition of a live orchestra.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: When Time Fades Away, Sons of Winter and Stars

On a Playlist With: Ensiferum, The Okami Original Soundtrack, Devin Townsend

Overall Score


So 8 years after Wintersun dropped, Jari and the Wintersun crew have definitely shown a lot of positive growth with the music they make.If you're a fan of Ensiferum or large scale cinematic scores (especially those with an Eastern flare), Time I has something to offer you. Time II is scheduled to be released in 2013, and I can only hope it lives up to it's predecessor in quality.

That's all for now, folks! Now we only need to wait for the new Necrophagist album (I heard it was coming out December 2056).


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Album Review: Pig Destroyer - "Book Burner"

Here it is. After slowly discovering my love of grindcore this year, my favorite grind band Pig Destroyer is releasing their first album since 2007. Pig Destroyer have always taken their sweet ass time between releasing albums, but it's always worth the wait. Good ol' Piggy D always serves up a nice hunk of thick, bloody, perverted grind, and this time is no different.

Book Burner is a lean, mean, grinding machine. It clocks in at just over half an hour which is a little short for most albums, but after getting the shit beaten out of your ears for 32 minutes straight Pig Destroyer style, you couldn't fathom listening to any more, but for some reason, you want to. That's the magic of Book Burner, it's long enough to sufficiently pummel you into the dust, but just short enough to make you cry for more.

"So what's so great about Book Burner, David?" you ask. Well let me tell you, reader. Book Burner is a fucking monster of an album. Pig Destroyer swapped out drummer Brian Harvey for one Mr. Adam Jarvis of Misery Index fame. Both Harvey and Jarvis are fantastic drummers, but where they differ is that where Harvey could unleash a blistering flurry of blasts and thrash beats (and his phenomenal solo on Prowler), Jarvis can groove much better. Book Burner is Pig Destroyer at their most invigorating, because when Jarvis and guitarist Scott Hull lock into a groove together, holy fuck, mountains crumble.

Starting at 1:34 is the sound of all your insides ejecting themselves out of your body at once.

Hull still stands tall as the master of riffage here. He has no shortage of both catchy melodic riffs and angular, head-fucky riffs, and knows just when to switch to which riff. Things mostly sway between fast and faster, but mid-paced sections crop up along the course of the album, with songs like "The Diplomat" and the first half of "Valley of Geysers". The only breathers are the electronics and samples that show up, but even then, you're still fully engulfed in the menacing and urgent atmosphere. For example, the transition between "White Lady" and "The Bug" had me shitting my pants in terror as the modulated voice of some old man was telling me he'd sing and dance on my corpse.

Yeah. Fuck.

Pig Destroyer are using a fourth member and of course, it isn't a bassist. That would just be too logical. PxDx have re-enlisted Blake Harrison (he was on their 2007 album Phantom Limb) to cover electronics, sampling and ambiance duties. I'll be honest, other than the voice samples on "Sis", "Baltimore Strangler" and "The Bug" and the background fuzz on "White Lady" and "Valley of the Geysers", I can't hear many of electronics or background samples. The most noticeable is on "The Bug" where it sounds like a cross between a man screaming his lungs out and a power drill. Make of that what you will.

Despite all the awesome that Book Burner has to offer, there is only one flaw that keeps me from giving it a perfect score. Scott Hull might still be the king of riffs, but he dropped the ball on production here. Funnily enough, he messed up the production on his own instrument. J.R. Hayes' vocals are brutal as fuck and Jarvis' drums are expertly mixed, but Hull's guitar tone is just too thin for the classic Pig Destroyer sound. It's still a heavy and thick tone, but on Book Burner, you can really hear the lack of bassist in the mix, where usually Hull is able to fill up those low end frequencies with his tone and production sorcery. There is however, a special edition of Book Burner which was specially mixed to sound the best when played out of large speakers at maximum volume, so maybe that version is where all the bass frequencies have gone. I've already pre-ordered the album a month ago, and I should receive it soon, so I'll let you guys know what it's like.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: Valley of the Geysers, Machiavellian The Bug, Burning Palm

On a Playlist With: Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Wormrot, Misery Index

Overall Score


What can I say. Pig Destroyer have dropped another beast of an album. Any fan of grindcore, hardcore, or death metal (maybe even thrash metal) can find something to bang their heads to on Book Burner. Reflecting back on the match-up I made between Book Burner and Converge's All We Love We Leave Behind, I'm honestly torn between the two albums, but I do know for a fact, both will end up on my year end list of my favorite albums of 2012. You can give all of Book Burner a (legal) listen for free here.

That's all for now, folks! I will sing while you croak. I will dance over your dirty corpse.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Album Review: Nails - "Unsilent Death"

After taking a look at the latest John 3:16 album and what's probably Kanye West's most famous album, I think it's time to review something moshtastic. While surfing around one of my favorite blogs, Stuff You Will Hate, I stumbled upon a band called Nails. I liked what I heard, so I checked out their 2010 album, Unsilent Death (that title is metal as fuck. I'm just sayin') and all I have to say is:

Holy fuck.

Nails: Masters of grade 9 Comm. Tech.
Nails is a band from California that play a very different type of hardcore. Well, it used to be very different, but after Nails gained popularity every new hardcore band and their mothers started playing this particular style of music. The music is occasionally dubbed Entombedcore, meaning a cross between hardcore and Entombed's classic Left Hand Path death metal sound.

Thicker than Kim Kardashian's booty.

The thick as fuck buzzsaw guitar and bass tones were compliments of one of Sweden's most famous metal recording studios, Sunlight Studio and ever since Left Hand Path dropped in 1990, it's been the undisputed champion of heavy, thick, and raw production. Naturally, this lead many bands to attempt to emulate this sound, with many falling flat. Nails manage to capture the visceral tones in Unsilent Death, and miraculously make things a bit clearer without sacrificing overall brutality.

What sets Nails apart from the simple Entombedcore sound is that they also incorporate some old school grindcore flair, a la Repulsion. This is honestly what sets apart Unsilent Death from other Entombedcore albums, like Black Breath's Sentenced to Life. Nails are able to swing from slow and groovy slams right up to blistering speeds capable of melting faces and busting guts. It's the unrelenting intensity that wins me over with this album. Unsilent Death's slow sections make me throw my hands in the air Fenriz style, and furiously fast sections that incite nothing but violent moshing in everything within earshot.

The only downside to Unsilent Death is that it runs for less than 15 minutes. Yeah. It's short enough to be in EP territory, but it's technically a full length release. Honestly though, it's brutal enough that if it went on for 40 or so minutes, I'd probably get bored with it. There's only so much you can do with this style of hardcore,  and playing it safe by only filling up 14 minutes worth of it on a CD might have been for the best.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: Conform, Traitor, Depths

On a Playlist With: Black Breath, Entombed, Magrudergrind

Overall Score


There's really not much more to say about Unsilent Death that can't be said in those few paragraphs. Nails drop a filthy, nauseating, bonecrusher of an album. If you're looking for a swift and brutal drop-kick to the face, this should be what you check out first.

That's all for now, folks! You are all good and lovely.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Album Review: Kanye West - "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy"

Yeah. I'm reviewing Kanye West. The internet made me do it.

I'm not going to introduce Kanye West, because honestly, whether or not you've heard his music, it's almost a fact that you've heard of him somewhere, somehow. Maybe it was from South Park, maybe it was from his outburst at the 2009 VMAs. Either way, you've heard of the guy. I've never been a fan of the man; he's been way too much of a dick for me to care about his music. However, after finding what I thought to be a very inspirational YouTube video, I decided to give him a listen. Because hey, #YOLO, right guise?

I'll come right out of the gates, guns blazing with this one: I liked My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. I thought it was a pretty solid rap/ hip-hop album. Now, I can never remember where I've heard this, but it's just ingrained in my mind that everybody just loves this album. I'm convinced that every music critic and reviewer seems to think that if you don't love Fantasy with all your heart, you're a soulless, distasteful, and shameful excuse for a person. Well, I can't say that I love Fantasy, but I did enjoy a fair few songs on it. The entire album runs for almost 70 minutes (excluding the bonus track), which is a hella-fuckin'-long album in my books. The running time is so long mostly because a lot of the songs run on for 7 to 9 minutes. I'm generally a fan of longer songs, but they really need to be done well to keep my attention for their whole running time.

Funnily enough, the longest song on the album, "Runaway" is one of my favorites. It clocks in at just over 9 minutes, but when the 6 minute mark hits, things get funky with some heavy strings and what sounds like someone's voice through a talkbox, distortion, and a sub octave. This is going to be a ridiculous comparison, but the ending of "Runaway" reminds me of the ending of "Straws Pulled at Random" by Meshuggah. Musically they couldn't be any more different, but it's just that sudden change of sonic direction that seems to grip me so furiously. Maybe I'm just a big wierdo. Who knows.

The beats, rhythms, backing tracks on Fantasy are probably my favorite part of the album, especially on the first half. "Power" has the badass-as-fuck chanting, tribal drums, and soloing guitars and piano pushing everything forward. The only thing I still don't like about this song are the samples from King Crimson's classic song "21st Century Schizoid Man". The samples fit the music, but I'm just not a fan of artists ripping bits and pieces from my favorite songs for their own music. Kudos to Kanye for knowing who King Crimson are, though.

The instrumentation on the rest of the album is lush and thick. Strings feature heavily all over the place, almost always accompanied by piano. Sounds from trumpets and other horns also come up sometimes, most memorably on "All of the Lights". Things swing from empowering and inspirational down to heavy and angry and back up again. The album seems to shoot all over the place emotionally, which kind of makes Fantasy seem a little incoherent. Luckily for Kanye, like, a bajillion people feature on this album, from Raekwon to Jay-Z to Bon Iver, and the featured artists fit perfectly with whatever tone he's trying to set with each track.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: Power, All the Lights, Runaway

On a Playlist With: Childish Gambino, Jay-Z, Death Grips

Overall Score


Like I said, I liked My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, but I didn't find it the mind-blowing second coming of Jesus that some people seem to think it is. It's a solid rap album with wicked production, but too much of it is "just a another rap album" to me. That being said, the parts I like, I like a lot. Kanye might be a douche, but he's a pretty good musician.

That's all for now, folks! I'm going to go eat some fishsticks.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Album Review: John 3:16 - "Visions of the Hereafter - Visions of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory"

As many of you know, I listen to a lot of aggressive, fast, and heavy music. What a lot of people don't know is that I also fancy some ambient and droning music from time to time. Thing is, when it comes to droning music, I usually prefer things on the softer side. Things like later Earth and Alcest as opposed to things like Sunn O))) and early Earth.

John 3:16, a project by Swiss based musician Philippe Gerber will be releasing a new album, Visions of the Hereafter - Visions of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory (herein just called Visions, because fuck me that's a long-ass album title) that falls under that lighter, droning and shoegazing style that I seem to like.

So, Philippe has been doing his thing for a while, originally being a member of the UK band Heat from a DeadStar. While in HfaDS, Gerber released four albums on various record labels as John 3:16. After HfaDS disbanded in 2010, Gerber carried on with John 3:16 as a live act rather than only a studio one. He went on to release an EP titled Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God in 2011. John 3:16's newest album Visions comes out this month.

Visions fulfills the one criterion I ever want my drone and shoegaze to fulfill, and that is that the music needs to be able to take me away from where I am. I need the music to envelope and wash over, blurring away space and time. Whether I'm cranking out an assignment for my electromechanical devices class at midnight or just taking some time to relax by myself, I need something that will separate me from the outside. Some sort of musical force field that can keep all the annoyances and irritations of life away and lets me hang out with just my thoughts.

John 3:16 creates that force field with Visions. Layers and layers of guitar, bass, keyboards and drums fill the air, saturating it with different sounds. Instruments take on oodles and oodles of reverb and echo, making notes stretch on forever and making chords flow and shimmer like water. If there is any visual representation I can give of Visions, it would have to be a large pool of crystal clear water during a starry night. The water ripples, ebbs, and flows ever so slightly, but the source of the motion can't be found. It isn't windy, but it's cool outside. Refreshing, even. You stand dumbfounded, lost, staring in the water until you turn your head up high and gaze into the endless cosmos. 

Queue Neil DeGrasse Tyson:

I'm not crying, I just have dust in my eyes... I swear...

The only problem I have with Visions is a slight one with production. It's not the EQing, everything sparkles with beautiful highs and resonates with thick lows. It's not the quality of the recording, everything sounds crisp and clear. It's with the levels. The bass, drums and samples (maybe even Gerber's voice, I'm not sure) are all pieced together great, but the drums sometimes seem too distant sounding and quiet. This is a real bummer on some tracks that groove as nicely as "Throne of God/ Angel of the Lord". It's the only problem I can find with the album, but I feel like if it was remedied, I would have enjoyed the album a lot more.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: Throne of God/ Angel of the Lord, Through Fire and Through Water, Fall of the Damned (Into Hell)

On a Playlist With: Explosions in the Sky, Alcest, Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Overall Score


Visions of the Hereafter - Visions of Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory is a really solid shoegaze and drone album. John 3:16 manages to transport you to another dimension with his beautiful music. Just pour yourself a nice tall drink, sit back, toss on Visions, and you've got a great fifty minutes ahead of you, I can assure you of that.

Visions of the Hereafter - Visions of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory comes out October 22 in digipack CD and digital on Alrealon Musique. You can check out John 3:16 on Bandcamp, Facebook, Blogger, Tumblr, and Soundcloud.

That's all for now, folks!


Album Review: Sexgender - "Transgenital"

So this morning I checked my email and I found one from a Mr. Austyn Sullivan. Ausytn is the drummer to a Baltimore, MA based hardcore punk and noise rock band called Sexgender. He asked kindly if I could review his band's first album and their split with their friends in Baklavaa. Someone asked me to review their band's album. Wow. Look at me, moving up in the music reviewing world!

Egotistical ravings aside, I gave Sexgender's debut, Transgenital a listen and I'll call it as I hear it.

"This is disgusting. It's pornography... No. No. No. This is beautiful. This is art." -- J.R. Hayes
Honestly, this is one of my first experiences with noise music and punk this experimental and avant-garde. I've listened to some Merzbow tracks here and there, but not much more. That being said, I didn't find Transgenital to be too overpowering as far as the noise part of their music went. There's tons of screeching guitar and feedback, especially on the opening track "Knifetie", but the feedback especially shows up all over the place on this album. At first, because it was hella-fuckin' early, the screeching was annoying, but after I gave the album a couple listens through, it really started to grow on me.

The guitar playing in general on Transgenital is well done. Aside from the feedback, the riffs are pretty catchy and sometimes remind me of riffmaestro Scott Hull's brilliant guitar parts. The distorted guitar tone is thick, crusty, and crushing. The drumming is impressive too. Blast beats show up occasionally on the album, most memorably on the track "The Phallus". Alongside the wailing guitar, the drums really make it seem like the music is about to fall apart.Rhythms disassemble and reassemble as the music twists, turns and slithers, but the music really gets going once the drums lock into a groove. The playing is still loose and fluid, but things get driven forward powerfully.

The last thing I want t touch on is the vocals. The vocals seem either to be under reverb or echo (possibly both?) and sound like commands pouring out of a megaphone. I feel like under any other musical context, making all of the vocals on an album sound like this wouldn't be the wisest choice, but with Sexgender's wall of sound approach to music, the vocals fit perfectly over top.

Production is rough around the edges, but honestly, for music like this, I wouldn't want it any other way. The only gripe I have with this album, and it may just be my inexperience with the genre, is lack of dynamics. On Transgenital, things are always loud all the time. It's like they wrote their music in caps lock. I'd like to hear some quieter or maybe even more ambient passages on their next release, just to break up all of the constant, aggressive noise. That being said, this album only runs for less than 20 minutes, so it's very manageable to digest the entire album in one sitting, even for non-noise rock listeners such as myself.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: Christs and Queers, The Phallus

On a Playlist With: Converge, Pig Destroyer (Prowler in the Yard)

Overall Score

3.5 (That's 3.5 out of 5, a "Good" if anybody doesn't know how my scale works)

I've got to say, I enjoyed Transgenital. Sexgender have made a chaotic flurry of crusty punk and noise to beat the shit out of your ears. It's less a wall and more of an electric barbed wire fence of sound. Again, I'd like to see some variation in their music next time, but this is their debut album, so they've got plenty of room to grow. I was also asked to review their split with Baklavaa, but it's midterm season in university, so I'm not sure when I'll be able to get around to that.

You can listen to and download Transgenital on the band's Bandcamp page. You can check 'em out and find tour dates on their Facebook page here.

That's all for now, folks!


Monday, October 8, 2012

I need help

By that  I mean: Out of the 10 million subscribers we have on facebook, I'm sure one of you enjoys watching Anime. In a more literal sense, I need some ideas for movies to watch (pertaining to animated film(s)). Since the only thing I do is stare at equations all day or words that explain the equations I'm writing down, I've essentially lost all comprehension of the word "creative". Ie. Im drained as fuck and I-want-to-write-but-I'm-way-too-damn-lazy-to-come-up-with-some-damn-OC until-this-year-is-over.


With that being said, please list any movie you deam to be super awesome pants ! 

I compiled a list of movies I have/want to watch (Any movie with a star beside it I've seen):

Voices of a Distant Star
The Place  Promised in Our Early Days 
5 Cm Per Second*
Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time*
Summer Wars*
Digimon: The Movie*
Nausicaa of The Valley of The Wind*
My Neighbour Totoro
Kiki's Delivery Service
Porco Rosso 
Princess Monoke 
Spirited Away*
Howl's Moving Castle*
Castle In the Sky
Grave of the Fireflies

So, basically I want to watch all of these (especially the ones I haven't seen), but since I comsume media faster that light can travel, I obviously want more things to keep me entertained (and if anyone has super foresight abilities, then they would have realized that I want to review said films after I've watched them :] ).

With all of this being said, If you don't have a movie to contribute, or if its already on the list, just let me know what movie you think I should watch and review first ! :3 

As well, anyone is invited to watch these with me, although I have no idea when I will be, I just do things at random.

I leave you with the man I wish I could be,

Imagine the looks you'd get at wine tasting!!!!!

(In contrast: the highlight of my day was realizing the one mistake I had in an assignment was just not taking into account that I was missing a negative sign from taking the complex conjugate of a wave function, yeah.). 


-The Cat

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Album Review: BadBadNotGood -"BBNG2"

I've gotten another request for a review from my friend Tracy. This time she wants me to take a listen to BadBadNotGood's newest album, BBNG2. Well, here we go.

BRB, never sleeping again.
BadBadNotGood (BBNG from here on in), according to Wikipedia are a post-bop, instrumental hip-hip and urban jazz group hailing from Toronto, Canada. They've only put out two studio albums, creatively titled BBNG and BBNG2, but they have worked with some of rap's recent big names like Tyler The Creator and Frank Ocean. That being said, I can't imagine the music in BBNG2 being able to fit in a hip-hop or rap setting, even one as alternative as Odd Future's.

To me, BBNG2 is a jazz album. Most of the sounds come in the forms of an upright bass, electric bass, keyboards/ piano, and drums. The first track on the album, "Earl", features some really nicely placed electronic buzzsaw synth, which I hoped would show up more on the album. Both "Earl" and the song "UWM" feature saxophonist Leland Whitty who I must say does a bang up job.

The entire sound of the album can't help but remind me of jazz fusion legends Return to Forever, with most songs following a semi laid out structure, while each member takes their turn soloing over the jam. Bassist Chester Hansen can really shred on both electric and upright bass, but everything stays really jazzy or funky. This offers a nice contrast to keyboardist Matthew Tavares' and drummer Alex Sowinski's soloing styles which border on the more spastic and chaotic side of improvisational jazz.

I've got to mention though, that BBNG really manage to keep an eerie and dark atmosphere throughout most of the album, and they manage to build suspense into massive musical climaxes. A perfect example of this is on the track "Bastard/ Lemonade". The song starts like it could be in the soundtrack for Silence of the Lambs before building up and exploding into a frantic piece that would be right at home being a soundtrack for a big chase scene. Throughout the entire album, BBNG show me they are masters of dynamics.

Something I didn't realize while I was listening to the album, but only found out later was that more than half of the songs on BBNG2 are covers. Artists covered include Tyler The Creator, Kanye West, and Feist. I didn't catch any of these covers because I haven't listened to much of those artists' works, but I'm sure fans of them would be able to pick out the renditions and arrangements BBNG have put together. I won't tell you which tracks are covers of what, because that'll just spoil the fun.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: Rotten Decay, Limit to Your Love, Bastard/ Lemonade

On a Playlist With: Return to Forever, Ratatat, Exivious

Overall Score


BadBadNotGood have put together probably one of my favorite jazz fusion albums. I wouldn't put it up there with the classic Romantic Warrior by Return to Forever, but I'd definitely say I love it as much as I love Exivious' self-titled debut. For those of you who don't know how much I love Exivious, I love it. A lot. BBNG2 might just end up making my year end "Best of 2012" list.

That's all for now, folks!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

New Track: Capillary Rise - "Bacon Pancake"

So after starting my one-man grindcore/ death metal project called Head Loss (named after the loss of pressure in a piping system. Fuck yeah fluid dynamics!) I was approached by my housemate Ross and his friend Paul with a wicked band name: Capillary Rise. Yes, it's another fluids based name, but it sounds badass, so it's all good.

Fluid Mechanics: Siqq as fuk.
We decided to make this a grind/death/folk/prog/slam band with short and furious songs (plus the mandatory 30+ minute long prog rock epic). Here's the Adventure Time inspired song "Bacon Pancakes" which contains my first ever recorded vocal track of one word.

Dat totally 100% realistic drum machine tone.

"Bacon Pancakes" will be featured on our upcoming demo Grind Eggs and Ham.

That's all for now, folks!

We're on Facebook!

I've made a Facebook Fan Page for Needs More Noise Gate so that I won't spam up my friends' news feeds every time I make a new post. If you're on Facebook and want to stay up to date with what we're posting here, just click that little "Like" button on the ol' Facetubes!

Enough shameless promotion for one day. You can find us on Facebook here.

That's all for now, folks!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Vinyl Collection: Part 1

After showing you guys my new General Surgery EP, I decided to finally start showcasing my record collection! Whenever I get a chance I'll make a post about a few albums at a time. There won't really be an order to which ones I show when, pretty much whatever I feel like at that time. Eventually I'll cover all of them. I'm also going to make posts about any new pieces I pick up.

For these posts, I'll explain anything cool about where or how I got the record and if there is anything interesting about the copy that I have. These posts will be pretty short for the most part. Cool?

Cool. Let's get to it.

First off are a triplet that I bought this summer. White Pony by Deftones, Electric Wizard's Dopethrone, and Pentagram's Day of Reckoning. The latter two are wicked doom and stoner albums. I got both of them off of a wicked metal distribution site called Hell's Headbangers. They were shipped really quickly and in great condition. Dopethrone is a double LP and is probably the heaviest sounding thing I own.

White Pony I picked up from a local used music store. It's a double LP and I picked it up in mint condition. Luckily I was able to find it immediately when I got into Deftones after seeing them at Heavy T.O.. Everything sounds brilliant with our new speaker setup, with beautifully balanced highs and mids and chest crushing bass.

By the way, my house's sound system looks like this:

Tutankhamun: Guardian of music.
So we can rock the neighborhood whenever we throw a party. Once Dopethrone gets tossed on, I'm certain Natural Resources Canada suddenly sees a 6.8 on the Richter scale originating in southern Guelph.

That's all for now, folks!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Album Review: Converge - "All We Love We Leave Behind"

I'm not even going to dick around here. Converge have written one of the best, if not, the best metal album this year. To be fair though, I can't call it quite yet because I haven't heard the new Pig Destroyer album. By the end of the month, I'll most likely have my year end champion.

Converge are a Massachusetts based hardcore band who're known for pushing the boundaries of extreme music since the beginning of their career. They're recognized by their furious, twisting, emotional songs, none of which seem to conform to any sort of predetermined standard.

I've never listened to Converge before All We Love We Leave Behind was released, and just by listening to the first track on the album, "Aimless Arrow", I can already tell how intense this album is going to get. Guitars flare around while drummer Ben Koller smashes his kit into the ground, sounding like he'll fall off his drum stool any second just from playing so hard. Vocalist Jacob Bannon lays down some fantastic vocals that are both dripping with hate and versatile. His growls get down to demonic levels while his higher register vocals have a beautifully distressing quality to them.

This album offers no breathing room. It isn't for the faint of heart or the soft of ear. All We Love is a swirling maelstrom of riffs that turn on a dime from mauling your face off to snaking and winding their way up to dizzying lead lines. The album is the perfect length. It clocks in at just under 40 minutes, which at first seems short, but after being subjected to this intense of an aural beating, is just long enough.

Guitarist Kurt Ballou throws a couple very interesting licks towards the listener which will grab your attention immediately, most notably the intro and verses of "Sadness Comes Home" and the beautiful guitar solo in "Coral Blue". The latter brings in thoughts of Mikael Akerfeldt of Opeth with it's almost bluesy and jazzy sound and only slightly overdriven tone.

If there's any one drum technique I love, it would be the tasteful use of double bass pedals. Speedy kick passages show up here and there on this release, never making it too thrashy for it's own good. These sections are perfectly placed and spaced to make some of the most moshtastic songs I've heard all year. "Trespasses" = all of my mosh. All of it.

Once again to bring it back to a Pig Destroyer vs. Converge thing: take Converge's "Trespasses" versus Piggy D's "Burning Palm". Which one makes you bang your head more? Let me know in the comments. If you just leave a flurry of letters, I understand. It's tough to mosh and type at the same time.

I can't vouch for the safety of any drop-kickable objects near me when this song starts.

Starting at 1:35 = I'm punching everything within arm's reach.

Production is really well done here too. Everything is audible, even though most of the album takes on a wall of sound approach. Nothing overpowers anything else, and everything compliments all the other instruments. Everything is thick, heavy, and uncompromising.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: Trespasses, Sadness Come Home, Coral Blue

On a Playlist With: Between the Buried and Me, (old) Mastodon, (new) Napalm Death

Overall Score


Converge are the definition of "organized chaos". Anyone interested in punk, thrash or extreme metal should love All We Love We Leave Behind. But you won't ever want to leave it behind. See what I did there?

That's all for now, folks! I'm going to go back to listening to Converge while I wait for new Pig Destroyer.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Vinyl Update: General Surgery EP

I guess this would be the first of many posts showcasing my music collections! Yay! Today my housemate met a sketchy dude in downtown Guelph who was selling records and picked me up a little somethin' somethin'.

Spinning my new slab of vinyl!
It's a 10" record of General Surgery's 1993 EP, Necrology (this copy is the 2011 Relapse Records re-issue)! It's my first piece of extreme metal on vinyl, and it definitely won't be the last! I've pre-ordered the new Pig Destroyer album, Book Burner on a nice white vinyl, and I should get that in a month or so.

Just thought I'd share the newest addition to my collection! I'll make some posts soon about the records I currently own, and maybe the ones my housemates own as well (the In Rainbows in the picture is one of my housemate's) as well as anything new I pick up. It'll be a good ol' time.

That's all for now, folks!

Album Review: Bruce Springsteen - "Wrecking Ball"

The Boss is back! Bruce Springsteen pumped out his latest album, Wrecking Ball this March, three years after his 2009 album Working on a Dream. Springsteen has been releasing material at a solid pace since his haitus from '95 to '02. Even though my history with Mr. Springsteen only runs as deep as his two most famous albums, Born to Run and Born in the U.S.A., when I heard about his new album I decided to give it a shot.

Despite having a discography that traces all the way back almost 40 years, the Boss still manages to keep things fresh with Wrecking Ball. Since the beginning, Springsteen's key demographic has always been the average, working man. He's delivered solid rock albums meant to pick you up after a hard day's work or quieter folk compilations that you can unwind and relax to. Wrecking Ball seems to fall somewhere between the two, but also expands into completely different territory.

This release definitely seems to lean towards the folky side, with the inclusion of a bunch of American folk instruments. Banjos, fiddles, and the like make their appearance left, right and centre on Wrecking Ball and the E Street Band's multiple vocalists lend some extra help with their background singing. Although there are a couple songs that the Boss plays on electric guitar, they still hold their folky vibe with simple tried and true chord progressions.

As folky as it can get, this release is very energetic. The opening track, "We Take Care of Our Own" is instantly a classic anthem. Things stay afloat with a couple more powerful tracks before taking things down for one of the longer tracks, "Jack of all Trades". This track really pushes the small, blue collar American town feel. Springsteen's voice hits a country timbre, and with the slow melodic piano and trumpets in the background, images of farmland and simple folk putting in a hard day's work come to mind.

Immediately after "Jack of all Trades", the Boss swings to a different kind of folky. "Death to my Hometown" really reminds me of some Irish-American bands like Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly. Obviously, Springsteen and the E Street Band aren't a punk outfit, but the mix of leading flute lines and Springsteen's versatile voice really draw a connection to those Irish-American rock sounds.

Something very interesting happens in the penultimate song of the album, "Land of Hopes and Dreams". During the intro section of the track, Springsteen uses electronic percussion which really throws the listener through a loop. The rest of the track jumps to a more driven rock sound and features a beautiful sax solo about mid way through.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: We Take Care of Our Own, Shackled and Drawn, Death to my Hometown

On a Playlist With: Neil Young, Mumford & Sons, Dropkick Murphys

Overall Score


Springsteen puts out a solid folk rock album with a couple songs I'll keep coming back to. Things are catchy, simple, but powerful on Wrecking Ball and it's really surprising how fresh the Boss' music is after this long. I have no idea when he's planning on releasing another album, but if it's anything like Wrecking Ball, I will definitively look into it.

That's all for now, folks! We take care of our own.