31 December 2011

Albums That Were Too Late

So, a couple weeks ago, I put out my top albums of 2011 list. Since then, there are some albums that I actually just listened too, or just really got into, that could have easily been [or been higher] on that list, but just missed there opportunity. So, in honor of them, let's celebrate those albums too. Cause they are equally great albums of power.

The Hood Internet Cover Art

Sunrise Sleepy Eyed Cover Art

30 December 2011

CONCERT REVIEW: Stiff Middle Fingers

Stiff Middle Fingers Bring An Energetic End To The Year

When you hear that the band your going to see is named Stiff Middle Fingers, you may get a little skeptical about seeing them. but trust me, this band is well worth your time if you want to have a good one.

A trip downtown in winter with a friend is always an adventure. We went to get a pizza, went to a coffee shop and had cereal and coffee and watched "Betty Boop", then headed down to our local record store to check out the music. 

In our town, we have a little thing on the last Friday of every month where all the downtown art galleries/record stores/music venues/places that are cool put up art and some host local bands. On this night, we got the pleasure of seeing the band Stiff Middle Fingers.

On approaching the store, we could hear the noise of loud punk music. As we entered, that's exactly what it was. On entering, we found 4 guys in t-shirts and either short or long jeans just rocking everyone to death. Their sound combined covers, punk, rock, and metal/screamo all into one. The sounds where attracting one of the largest crowds I've ever seen at the record store. 

The band performed mainly covers [or so they told us], and they we're really well done. The band showed everything I'd really look for in a good punk show. Loud, energetic, crowd-energizing, and great musicianship. Certainly not the loudest band I've ever seen (e.g. A Lull, Mansion, Mouthbreathers, Dry Bonnet), but they brought the perfect level of noise to make the store shake and shock my friend (who hadn't been to a local show before). 

Let me tell you something. The lead singer of Stiff Middle Fingers is the craziest, most eccentric live performer I've ever seen. The dude ran from the back of the store (were they were playing) all the way to the front and back again while singing at the same time. I was continually afraid that the mic cord would trip someone. It was all over the place. He used his mic stand once, and knocked it down before the end of the song. He ran behind a desk area, sat down, chilled, then came back around and started singing again while the band was still playing. 

Stiff Middle Fingers put on a GREAT punk show, and I'd definitely try and see them in the future. I found myself smiling, laughing and generally the happiest I've ever felt at a punk show.

Sorry for the poor quality on some of them, but these guys move so fast it was sometimes hard to catch them on camera. Enjoy.

29 December 2011

Local Music End Of Year List

Here we go folks. As some of you know, I am very supportive of my local music scene, so I only thought it fair to give them a list too. Enjoy the bands that you haven't heard of, but need too.

Top 15 Local LP's
The Panda Magic Happy Fun Show Cover Art
1. Panda Circus-The Panda Magic Happy Fun Show
2. Hospital Ships-Lonely Twin
3. The Magetntlemen-The Magentlemen
4. C V L T S-Theta Distractions
5. Rooftop Vigilantes-Real Pony Glue
6. Living Ghost-Lavinias Hands
7. Hidden Pictures-Sychronized Sleeping
8. Agent X-12-The Key To The Scroll Lock
9. Say My Name-Say My Name 2
10. Emo Side Project-The End Of Something
11. The Rackatees-In Crime We Trust
12. The Donkey Show-The Second Coming Of... The Donkey Show!
13. Greg Enemy-x tra Small
14. 18 Carat Affair-Televised Tragedies
15. Snakebite-No Honor Among Thieves

Top 15 Local EP's

1. The Faded Age-The Faded Age EP
2. Ponyboy-Little **** Demo
3. heartscape landbreak-Unreleased
4. Hello Biplane-Xmas 2011 EP
5. Robocopter-Dead With It EP
6. Hidden Pictures-Tangerine
7. Steddy P.-No Days Off 2 Ep
8. C V L T S/Goodwillies-C V L T  S/Goodwillies Split c30
9. Dean Monkey And The Dropouts-EP
10. The Spook Lights-Live From Sleaztopia
11. Minden-Gold Standard
12. My Brother, The Vulture-Now's Your Chance
13. Major Games-EP1
14.  Spirit Is The Spirit-Mother Mountain EP
15. Emo Side Project-A Schwab Too Faour EP

Top 5 Local Singles
Final Exit Cover Art
1. Umberto "Final Exit"
2. Mouthbreathers "Anxiety"
3. Mansion "23"
4. Nature Boys "Rabies"
5. Minden "Swift Way On"

27 December 2011


Final Exit Cover Art
Artist: Umberto
Song: Final Exit
Genre: Ambient, Electronica

Rating: 10/10

Hey Guys.... ahh.....

Umberto is a Kansas City instrumental electronic musician that I've been following since he was on a split 7" with C V L T S, one of my favorite ambient artists around today, back in February. He has released plenty of of tapes and albums over the past year or two, all of which experimented quite a bit with the genre. Now, this new song, "Final Exit", really isn't like anything Umberto has released before. It is something different.
The overall concept of this 15min. song is preparation for death. These are the words of Umberto on the song:
"Do not expect the "Goblinish" Umberto that you’ve listen in his past records. The aim of this track, the only one, that compose the record is to accompany the last moments of your life. 15 minutes to reach that peace of mind that you need to abandon the temporal and embrace the great unknown. Every B side is needless: who will turn the record ?'

It's a very daring thing to do. And Umberto does it right. The song is a swirling, epic masterpiece that does everything its description needs to be true. In ambient music, there are a lot of amazing things to listen to, but this is a beautifully woven-piece of sound that everyone on earth really needs to fully listen too at least once. One man has created the soundtrack to death. I couldn't recomend a song more. I really think you just need to go listen to it yourself. Now.

25 December 2011

mewithoutyou VS. La Dispute

Welcome Guys. Hmmm...

Now for those of you at home who don't know who the 2 above bands, here is a little background information.
mewithoutyou is an art rock/folk band from Philly and have released 4 records, all of which have amazing lyrical themes, different musical styles, and rather spoken/shouty vocals. Their last record, It's All Crazy! It's All False! It's All A Dream! It's Alright!, the band really brought a lighter, odd baroque folk style to the table. One of my favorite records of 2009.
La Dispute is a post hardcore group from the great state of Michigan, who has released 2 albums, one of which I listen too as I write this article.

I've seen the occasional argument go up about one band being better than the other, because to a lot of people say they sound the same. Now, I'm here to give my opinion. Personally, I don't think they're quite the same to begin with.

mewithoutyou gives some stuff I really don't hear to often, and that's something I love about them. They have the ability to bring the noise, and they can craft that noise with a rather lo-fi atmosphere. It has a lot of boundary crossing, and rough vocals. La Dispute really has a lot more production, and a slightly heavier sound. i think the reason that people compare them so much is the guitar style and vocals.

Admittedly, the guitars on La Dispute's latest LP Wildlife could be comparable to mewithoutyou's first album. The vocals have plenty of similarities with their delivery, but in the end I could tell the difference between the 2 bands.

In the end, I think the answer to who is better is your decision. if you like more production, go to La Dispute. If you're interested in something a little different, go for mewithoutyou. My personal opinion goes to mewithoutyou, but I think both bands are still really good.

23 December 2011

Interview with Dan Barrett

Well, It's finally here. My interview with Dan Barrett, runner of Enemies List Home Recordings, and member of the bands Have A Nice Life and Giles Corey. Enjoy.

New Year's Resolution (Blog)
Enemies List Home Website

Me: How Many Bands Have You Been In?
Dan: How many bands have I been in... Uh.... Hmm... I don't know that's a good question. *Laughs*
I've been in bands... More or less consistently since I was in 6th grade, which was a while ago now.... Like a lot of people who played music, I was in bands in high school and sorta started doing music seriously when I got to college.. So since then, I've been in about 4 or 5 bands.
Me: So Which Bands Are You Currently In?
Dan: Uh, well I'm currently in the band Have A Nice Life, Which is myself and Tim Macuga, who's a really good friend of mine, And we started Have A Nice Life when we were in college. And then I'm currently doing a side project called Giles Corey, which I released a first record for just this year. And you know, the are always those.. Offsite projects that are, in my head and that I want to address but don't really exist, but those are the 2 that.. Take up my time.
Me: Tell Us A Little Bit About Enemies List Recordings.
Dan: Well, Enemies List Home Recordings is the record label that Tim and I actually started about 5 or 6 years ago  now. And it basically started as a way to put out Have A Nice Life stuff. We were just kinda recording on our own and didn't really know anybody. We were very disconnected, and still are, from the regular music scene, because we don't really play concerts, we don't really.. You know where just not quite tapped into that regular scene. We were very skeptic. We didn't really know anyone that would want to put out our stuff, or even knew we where in a band, so we started Enemies List as a way to release our own music. And, ya know, its kinda grown from there. Essentially, it's a label that releases home recordings, so we really focus on people who are recording outside of the kind of studio system. And we really just try to put out music that is.. Interesting, or important, or shares our aesthetic sense, you know. It doesn't really matter what genre it is, it's really more of an issue of sharing a similar philosophy and sharing a feeling of what music and good music.. is. And its just grown steadily since then, still the same people, and we still use it to put out our records and records that we like.
Me: What other artists have you put out music from on Enemies List?
Dan: Um, well, theres a couple different.. Yeah, one of the first records we put out was an album recorded by my brother, my brother Will Barret, who records under the name AfterLives, And he's kind of the perfect example of what we put out. He had never recorded a record before, never even written music before, so it was really interesting to hear. You know, you could like go back in time and say "what was the first song I ever wrote?", It's just this thing that comes out of you, and that's kinda what we got out him. We  put out our friend M. Kestigan, who has a band American Addio, and it's this really fanatic, almost like hyperactive synth, sorta pop project, but it's mainly stuff that is really fun to listen to. He has these really... Intellectual lyrics, and it's really incredible. We have this guys named Mamaleek, who are really bizarre, black metal brothers from San Francisco, who have, ya know middle eastern influences, world music influences, stuff like that. The next album we're releasing ia from a band named Dweller On The Threshold, an they are... Just, completely amazing. Just really amazing. They have all these members from other bands. They have a really.. Sprawling, epic kind of... It sounds like a  western scene. Lots of Indie or post rock. It's just essentially people who send us stuff that we like.So it's a lot of different bands, but they're all pretty awesome I think.
Me: Could We Ever Expect A Have A Nice Life or Giles Corey Tour?
Dan: It's not really like we made a concept decision that we wer never going to play out, not play shows, i mean, I love playing live, It's one of my favorite things to do. The problem is really 2-fold for us, and It's a kind of problem that show us up for most of the music that Enemies List puts out, is that 1): these songs are part recorded, you know, It's not like we get together in a basement and we write songs and we play them, kinda like you would with a more traditional band. You know Giles Corey and Have A Nice Life are written as recordings! There's... a lot of instrumentation, there's parts for you know 7 or 8 people, but there is actually only 1 or 2 people there recording it. Like, for Have A Nice Life, It's really hard for us to re-create some of that stuff live, without having a lot of it pre-recorded. And were not really interested in becoming that kinda of band, or playing like that. And 2): The second part of it is that, you know it's really really hard to try and get prepared, get people together, make a practice schedule, and get stuff really ready to be played live. And it's really hard for us to get people together. I mean, Tim and I, we really don't see each other too often. We both work full time, he has a lot going on, and I'm running the label and doing all this other stuff too. So, when we do actually get together, we focus on recording music. We can't together 3 times a week to make music. You know, it's not something that I would say won't happen, I mean I'd love to play out with Have A Nice Life, or maybe even Giles Corey, but it's just a very difficult proposition. And if were doing that, were really not making new stuf or working on the label. So my typical answer is that I'm just waiting for the right thing. Alcest came from Europe and we played a couple shows with them, cause I love that band, and it was really cool. If we have a lot of pre warning, we'll try to do it. I mean, I'd love to play out all the time, It's kind of how I got into music, and did a lot when I was younger, but it's hard to fit that into a stable life. It's one thing when you're 21, and you're just kind of touring around all the time, but i'm getting older. I have a job, and it's really hard to manage that stuff. So, you gotta pick your time and place.
Me: So, who are some of your musical Influences?
Dan: Well.....It's kind of a funny thing. I kind of have a rack of inspirations it seems for every project. Like, for Have A Nice Life, our goal was kinda to hit Sisters Of Mercy, Joy Division and My Bloody Valentine. Those 3 bands are 3 HUGE bands to me, and they really changed the way I thought about music. The Smiths are my favorite band, and ironically i don't feel they influenced the way I play. I mean, I just love that band, but I don't really hear much of them in the music I write. In terms of Giles Corey, I was really thinking in terms of old country singers, like Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash. I really like that era, you know with people like Willie Nelson, And just kind of smashing that into stuff like Elliot Smith, you know kinda that brand of indie-folk.... I don't know, I mean I don't really see a lot of connections between the music i play and the music I like. *Laughs* And I think that that might be because I'm not too good at music *Laughs Again*. I can't play The Smiths on guitar, because I'm not very good at guitar, so I have to work around my limitations, and that has a really big impact on how what I play sounds. But those are my big influences. Those are the big guys. To me.
Me: So are your home recordings made straight to tape?
Dan: Uh, everything we do is digital, I mean when we started, I literally knew NOTHING about recording. And I still know very little *Laughs*. I'm really can't stress this enough. i really don't know much about recording. Our first album was recorded almost entirely on Garage Band. Because it's what we had. It was free on my computer, and for the longest time I couldn't figure out how to plug a guitar into a computer. So it took me a while to figure that stuff out, I mean I didn't have any of that knowledge. I was always the singer in all of my bands. So i didn't have the equipment, the guitars, i mean that's just how we did it. Know, we use a logical recording program, and its done with guitar space, and looping drums and stuff like that. I mean people go to school just to learn all this stuff, and we just kinda fell into what we used. Literally just, add a little piece here and there. I used to just record into the microphones that went into my computer, cause it was all I had! So i mean I think it says a lot about where we are in our music and recording music. But those songs, like when I find an older song from that.. Era, I mean it sounds bad, but it actually also sounds partly decent! Even the horrible recording, even with not knowing how to record music, can be good enough to put a musical idea on paper and send it to someone. You don't really know a whole lot about it to at least start making music on your own.
Me: This is on topic, believe it or not, but have you heard of a music website named The Needle Drop?
Dan: Yeah. Anthony Fantano, he's from Connecticut. Definitely.
Me: Did You Know he made a review of the Giles Corey LP?
Dan: Yes I did. I saw it.
Me: How did you feel about it? I mean, he gave it a good one so...
Dan: Yeah. He's awesome. And he's from Connecticut, which is where I'm from, and so our local NPR station plays his show, which is also called The Needle Drop, And it's great. The dude is really goods at what he does. He knows a lot about music, he plays really interesting music, I really like his style of review, yeah. So I felt pretty honored to be on there and felt really good that he liked it. And he's a really cool dude. Hope to meet him sometime.
Me: Just had to ask, because that was how i found out about you, through the Giles Corey review.

Me: What was the last concert that you went to?
Dan: The last concert that I went to.. I actually very rarely go to see live music. It's weird, I used to go all the time, but as I get older, it has to be something really special for me to go out, because I'm crazy busy all the time, and the way I listen to music now, like when I'm walking or in quiet space. But the last show I went to, was actually the band Bear Hands. It has 2 people from the band In Pieces, a band I used to be in, and they're really good friends of mine, and now they're in Bear Hands, which is a really poppy, dancy band, and they're doing super well. They write really cool music. So it was a good night, got to hear some good msuic and see my friends. So yeah.
Me: What was the last album that you listened to [prior to this interview]?
Dan: Let me think.. That would have been... yesterday. What did I listen to yesterday... I think the last album that I listened to was... Actually i just listened the other day to the new Roots album, which is called Undun.
I listened to that, and thought it was pretty interesting. I actually really like Hip-Hop, but very rarely listen to it anymore. I mean, every day I listen too, all the bands I mentioned earlier, and all the bands I'm used too, so it was kind of a nice, branch out moment. So yeah. It was cool. It was a good album.
Me: Well, that was my last question. Any random stuff you'd like to say?
Dan: Uh, nope. Thanks for the interview, and tell people if they want to know more, visit the Enemies List website or Twitter. And that would be awesome.

Best EP's of 2011

Well, here we go: Best EP's of the year (according to MTYMNHKA).

15. Relient K K Is For Karaoke

14. Mouthbreathers Anxiety 7"

13. C V L T S/Goodwillies Split C30

12. Robocopter Dead With It

11. Blasterhead Killbots EP

10. Gonjasufi The 9th Inning

9. Wormrot Noise

8. Mac Lethal The Fred Phelps EP

7. Sabrepulse First Crush

6. The Faded Age EP
Profile Picture by

5. Crosses +++ EP

4. Living Ghost Lavinia's Hands

3. King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard Willoughby's Beach 
Willoughby's Beach EP Cover Art

2. Nicolas Jaar Don't Break My Love

1. Levi The Poet Monologues

20 December 2011

Top 10 Daytrotter Sessions

I will be honest guys, this list was the hardest list of all. Yes, even harder than the LP list. This website releases 3 live sessions a day, and rounding up my 10 favorites wasn't an easy task. This list doesn't really do all of them justice, so if you wanna see all of the ones I liked (approximately), go here. And also, since i'm unfortunately cheap, I didn't get the paid daytrotter membership, so my listening of sessions was... not cut off, but slowed down. If you don't know what Daytrotter is, it is a website that records bands live sessions in their studios across the country then puts them on their website. I have a link to it on the blog on the link list, don't worry.

My 10 favorite Daytrotter Sessions of 2011

10. Colin Stetson
Colin Stetson
At first, I really didn't think of this as music, but then I realized that this was just one guy, one saxophone. I flipped and loved it.

9. Doldrums
This session did exactly what a Daytrotter session is supposed to do: give me a band I didn't know about before, and make me love them. This is a beautiful little experimental session that involves looping, interesting vocals and a wonderful electronic feel.

8. Marijuana Deathsquads
Marijuana Deathsquads
Ignore the guy flipping you off in the cover and the chipmunk voice this guy gives in their opening welcomes on the session. This thing has some intense electro/drum combos that are powerful and loud. I'm very disappointed I'm missing their live performance in my town soon.

7. Cowboy Indian Bear
Cowboy Indian Bear
These guys are one of my towns local sweethearts, and they  pulled out a great session. I was very proud.

6. My Gold Mask
My Gold Mask
Very intricate guitar work, perfect drumming, and  wonderful vocals. A very different session that intrigued me for a long time. And now they're following me on twitter. #OMG

5. A Camp 
A Camp
This session struck a chord with me for its loveliness. Each song is a wonderfully done masterpiece that drives a nail into your heart with its simple yet great lyrics and great tunes.

4. Reggie Watts
Reggie Watts
Improvised comedy music at its best. Reggie is a master of his craft.

3. Casiotone For The Painfully Alone
Casiotone For The Painfully Alone
This final session from CFTPA (aka Owen Ashworth) is a heart wrenching wonderland that just makes me sadde and sadder every time i listen.

2. The Devils Horns Kill The Matador
The Devil's Horns Kill The Matador
This session is like nothing I've ever really heard before. These guys are a 2-piece from Philadelphia, but for a while I thought they were a 7-some piece. Just so different. These guys use keys, organs, slide whistles, kick drums, pots and pans, accordion, and other instruments I'm not really sure of.

1. Kid Koala
Kid Koala
I know it's weird, but this was my introduction to Kid Koala. This thing just had 3-powerhouse tracks right from the beginning. This think just shows how amazing KK is with his tables. This session held my interest long after it came out.