True fans of music spend countless hours searching for that next great song, album or artist, whether it be online or in a local record shop. The beautiful thing about music in today’s age is that technology has created an infinite supply of great music that is available to us at the click of a mouse. How perfect is that? We can discover a brand new artist on the opposite side of the globe in seconds without a radio or a music television channel. It only makes sense that a website so dedicated to this gorgeous universe of music would want to celebrate the greatness and share it with anyone who is looking.
My name is Eric and I am your host of Straight from the Teet, where I will delve into 7 new albums per week and let you know which tracks I loved from the albums I listened to. I hope that my exploration through this never-ending sea of music will help satisfy that hunger for the brand new tracks you have been seeking.
MONDAY: Foals – Holy Fire
WEDNESDAY: The Joy Formidable – Wolf's Law
FRIDAY: Guards – In Guards We Trust
- Warner Music / Transgressive
- February 11, 2013
Holy Fire is the third LP released by the post-punk, sometimes math rock band, Foals. the 5-piece indie band is from England and formed spontaneously after each member's original project had fallen apart or grown too tiresome to continue. With an abundance of different influences and styles ranging from post rock to math rock, the band was able to create a very dynamic and interesting debut album. Their fan base would only grow after the release of their sophomore album which consisted of a heavier math infused style as the arrangements seemed much more complex. With the substantial reviews of their first couple records, a lot was expected of their highly anticipated third effort. Holy Fire begins where Total Life Forever left off. The band has once again blended in some different musical ideas and with this progressing genre evolution, the band continues to grow more and more intriguing. This record is composed of mostly post-punk anthems but the math rock guitar verses surround each lyric and create a huge energy boost for each song, especially on tracks such as "Inhaler" and "My Number". Other songs employ some post-rock melodies such as the album's intro track. It almost catches you off guard as the band definitely likes to keep their listeners on their toes. This change in dynamic has really added to the enthusiasm behind their music and I continue to have a great time with their albums. Once the band can find a solid ground with their songwriting to make the entire album continuous and consistent, Foals will really become one of the better indie rock bands around.
The Man Who Died In His Boat
- February 4, 2013
For those of you unfamiliar with Grouper, it is the solo project for Liz Harris, a highly respected ambient artist from Oregon. Harris has been releasing albums since 2005 and each album has been a very complex glimpse into her soul, especially the dark end. Her music has always revolved around ethereal vocals and atmospheric instrumentals but she has also been known to use her acoustic guitar quite a bit as well. The Man Who Died In His Boat is her newest release and it comes with a very interesting back story. As Harris explains, this album is actually a collection of unreleased material which had been written about a dreary moment in her childhood. When she was a young child, she and her father had been walking on a desolate beach when they came across an abandoned, wrecked boat on the sand. Plenty of different thoughts scattered inside her mind and these ideas would eventually translate into the story of this album. The songs tell a tale of the final life events of a sailor trapped in a storm. This dreary story is a chilling and depressing one and Harris, as usual, totally connects with the subject matter. Her storytelling has always excelled but here, we are really given the final days of a poor old sailor and it's done so well, that we actually feel like we are in his own shoes at that unfortunate time. It's quite interesting too that this album shows off Harris' amateur production techniques. Although I think this album would have benefited from a more in depth approach from the effects board, I still like the haunting qualities that we receive from a minor touch on the production side. This album isn't quite as good as some of her more recent material but this story is excellent and with a little patience, I think most of you could really enjoy this chilling tale.
The Joy Formidable
- January 18, 2013
This is the third album by alternative band The Joy Formidable and after a couple records that showed a band with a tremendous amount of potential, the band still seems to be hanging from that same thread. This trio has used their primary influences of alternative rock and shoegaze to create their sound. Although it's nothing unique, the fact that they are able to basically rock your face off gives them a decent amount of recognition. Their first few albums though, built up a great deal of energy and just left us hanging by the end of it. It was like back to back cliffhangers as the music seemed to be there but they just couldn't capitalize and bring it all together for us. Wolf's Law is the name of their newest record and was supposed to be a major turning point for the band, a way to get over that mountain peak. For one thing, the band has really grown as a song writing entity. This album revolves around themes of nature, rejuvenation and spiritual re-connection which are far more personable concepts then what came out on the band's first two albums. The instrumentals have also grown but only a fraction. The band has established themselves as a shoegaze band with primary alternative roots and they have an extraordinary amount of energy behind each chord. The band though, still finds themselves unable to truly complete their album themes. The songs all sound pretty damn good by themselves but as a whole, cohesive work, the songs just find it difficult to establish much continuity aside from the lyrics. What's also odd to me, is the fact that the best song on this album is the album titled track which actually is nothing more then a hidden song at the very end of the album. Not sure why the band decided to mix it this way but it did bother me. Once again, I feel as though I am left wanting just a little bit more then what is offered here. I do think this is the band's best effort yet but it still hasn't shown their full potential.
Shrine Of New Generation Slaves
- February 5, 2013
Sure, progressive rock is nowhere near the popularity it was back in the 1970's but bands such as Porcupine Tree, Dream Theater and Riverside have kept the lightning striking for the genre. Riverside has been one of the most consistent progressive metal bands in the business since their formation in 2001. Getting your music heard as a 4-piece band from Poland is no walk in the park but with the release of some outstanding material, Riverside has become a strong candidate as one of the leaders of progressive music in the modern day. Of course I have had my issues with a couple of their albums especially their last record Anno Domini High Definition which left me bored and with a serious need of some kind of melody or innovation rather then the same old bullshit. Well, it seems as though my hopes have been filled with the band's newest record, Shrine Of New Generation Slaves. The album follows suit with some of the more modern progressive metal bands as guitars play the most key role but drums serve as more of an instrument of beauty rather then just a metronome time keeper. This album finally shows the band perfecting their craft as lead vocalist Mariusz Duda is able to sing gorgeous harmonies while the band doesn't overpower him. At the same time though, the instrumental sections still serve as a secure platform with plenty of hard rocking energy and metal infused anthems. This album is purely the most well balanced record to date and this maturation in songwriting and also production really sets this record apart from the rest.
In Guards We Trust
- Black Bell Records
- February 5, 2013
2013 is still very young and already, we have seen a great deal of psychedelic pop music. I'm not sure if the genre is pushing for a comeback or it's just coincidence, but somehow I'm already kind of over it. Foxygen was great, yes, and both Ducktails and The Growlers made some decent records but I feel like the overall quality of sound is already growing tiresome. Guards seems to have showed up a bit late to the party and although I don't use this as a method of my final judgement on the album, it did sort of effect my interest in listening to this record off the bat. In Guards We Trust is an overly simple psych record that does it's best to not reach for the stars. Instead, everything sticks to basic formats and uses pop rhythms and concepts as a catalyst for their direction. I actually enjoy psych pop music and continue to enjoy it but this album had almost nothing interesting to put out onto the table. Aside from a few gritty songs that had a certain edge to them such as "I Know It's You" and "Heard The News", this album was a serious yawn. The songs all sounded like kid friendly psychedelic songs with very little flavor. Even when you look at this band, they seem to have zero personality. The three members almost look like identical twins and have zero idea how to smile or frown. Everything is just this mechanical style of power chord progressions and slashing as songs begin and end with zero excitement. Not a very good combination for psychedelic pop.
The Lives Inside The Lines In Your Hand
- February 5, 2013
Matt Pond, formerly known as Matt Pond PA, is a project that was started by the singer/songwriter of the same name back in 1998. Throughout his career as a musician, he has employed countless supporters to join his band but the cast has always been a morphing body. Recently, Pond decided to drop the "PA" in his band's name which I think was a way to identify it as more of a solo project. Although Pond still has his buddy and guitarist Chris Hansen at his side, this album feels like much more of a solo record then his others prior. The sound is generally the same but the focus is definitely more on the lyrical composition and much less on the instrumentation. Acoustic guitars do their jobs backing up each vocal and some subtle electric guitar licks add some depth to each note but in the end, without the surrounding composition up to the par of what it once was, it feels as though something is truly missing from the picture. Pond continues to write terrific lyrics though and each song ends up being incredibly catchy and highly melodic but I fear that this transition to a more accessible, mainstream sound is not in his best interest. The blissfulness in these pop tracks can only go so far and without a more dynamic array of band members, it seems Matt Pond the band is just not benefiting.
One Big Particular Loop
- January 22, 2013
Polyensō is an interesting story. The band, although they themselves claim they started in 2012, actually were created back in 2007 under a different name. They were originally known as Oceana, a post-hardcore band whose aggressive sound never seemed to fit their identity. If you ever get a chance to listen to their bandcamp page , you'll notice the screamo qualities. These styles are totally absent now on the rejuvenated band, who now are known only as Polyensō. One Big Particular Loop is the debut record for the band under their new name and the changes are absolutely stunning. They sound like an entirely new band, capturing melody after melody and using some slight experimental features to create a more complex indie rock sound. The music is enhanced with non basic rock band instruments such as steel slide guitar, violin, saxophone and other horn instruments. This wild transformation is completed with some harmonized vocals that are atmospheric and subtle. The overall change in sound is a total 180 and it's all for the better as the band seems to have finally found themselves musically. This record is probably the best surprise of year so far and is a huge achievement for the Florida 5-piece whose name up until now has been totally invisible. This record will surely get them on the map though.
Albums To Look Forward To Next Week:
- Steven Wilson – The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories)
- Atoms For Peace – Amok
- Tortuganonima – Tortuganonima
- Jose James – No Beginning, No End
- Wooden Wand – Blood Oaths Of The New Blues
- Dumbo Gets Mad – Quantum Leap
- Veronica Falls – Waiting For Something To Happen
After another good week of album listens, I am more than ready to start another. If anyone is interested in purchasing or simply hearing any of these albums online, I have linked them for you at the top of this page to make it simple. I hope you have enjoyed reading this week's edition of Straight From The Teet and I look forward to bringing you a new group of records next week. Please leave comments here at the bottom and let me know what you liked or didn't like from this week's lineup. Have a great week and please support these terrific bands!