All 3 entries tagged Rock

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August 02, 2006

Evanescence

Evanescence

As a music fan who tends to lean more towards indie, post–punk and dance–pop, Evanescence have always been a bit of a dirty pleasure that I've always been a bit embarassed to admit. Written off as a Christian angst–rock group that should be kept exclusively to 13 year old goth girls with dyed black hair and far too much eye makeup, Evanescence have never been the most fashionable of bands to like, but you can't deny the catchy, moshy pop appeal of their music.

Like most other Evanescence fans, I went to see Daredevil, which featured two songs: Bring Me To Life (which afterwards became a #1 hit in the UK) and My Immortal (before it was bastardised upon single release). I came home and pre–ordered their debut album, Fallen, on import and thanks to Amazon got it the day before its' release. It's a common story, and one which has been repeated several times with other bands whose mainstream appeal has been catapulted by a popular film. (See: The Shins)

Fallen, upon arrival, turned out to be rather good. In the meantime I've also purchased two of Evanescence's earlier demo/EP work: Origin, a demo, and a self-titled EP. Now, almost 3 years later, Evanescence are preparing to release a second album, The Open Door.

The first single, Call Me When You're Sober is, in my opinion, rather good. You can listen on Evanescence's MySpace or as a direct stream (see below for links). It's more of the same, but perhaps slightly more refined – it's out sometime in the future, it seems.

Samples

Call Me When You're Sober Streaming WMA | Streaming Real | MySpace
My Immortal (Album Version) MP3 Expired from Fallen
Farther Away MP3 Expired from Anywhere But Home

Buy

The Open Door
Fallen

Links

Official Website
MySpace


July 17, 2006

Album/Art – Good News For People Who Love Bad News

Modest Mouse

Given the number of great writers on this blog, I've decided to take an alternative approach to this whole thing. I'm not the best writer in the world, so I thought this would provide a bit of a different kick.

I'm simply going to take an album that I'm currently in love with and draw the lovely band in question, or if the chance comes, something else art–y that's relevant, be it photo, painting, collage, sketch whatever. I'm not saying I'm the best artist at the world either, but I'm having a good damn go at it.

So, first, if you haven't noticed, is Modest Mouse's 2004 album Good News For People Who Love Bad News. To be bluntly honest with you, I picked this up second-hand in Auckland's greatest music store, Real Groovy, and it's been on constant rotation while I drew the picture above. The album also hosts the brilliant single, Float On, but I've chosen three different cuts here that display the brilliant range of moods and styles the album crosses.

It's my first real connection with the band, an almost impulse buy, so I'm keen to hear the rest of the band's catalogue…any suggestions?

Modest Mouse – Ocean Breathes Salty MP3 Expired
Modest Mouse – The View MP3 Expired
Modest Mouse – Blame It On The Tetons MP3 Expired

Amazon.co.uk (only £4.97!)
[Buy Good News For People Who Love Bad News]


July 02, 2006

Muse – Black Holes and Revelations

Title:
Rating:
4 out of 5 stars

I think it was fair to say that on the first listen to Muse's first single from their new album, Supermassive Black Hole, everyone was a little worried that Devon's best space rock group had lost the plot a little bit and gone a bit mental as they matured to their fourth studio album. Sure, SMBH was good, with the Prince/Franz Ferdinand inspired disco funk combined with Matt Bellamy's falcetto tones, certainly a track that fulfilled Bellamy's promise to release material that "would make girls want to get up and dance", but at the same time fans wondered whether it signalled the end of the epic stadium rock that had been the cornerstone of Showbiz, Origin of Symmetry and Absolution. However, with the release of Black Holes and Revelations, it all becomes clear that any worry that the Muse of old were dead is baseless.

Sure, Muse have matured as a band. Gone are the pianos that were so loved, and most of the thrashy riffs are gone too, but in is the funk and electronica that inspire people to get up and dance where before they would've moshed, yet still maintaining the air guitar lovers' need for the epic guitar solos. This album could well turn out, looking back, to be Muse's magnum opus, where they have matured, like a fine wine, to near–perfection, mixing Soulwax, Franz Ferdinand, Prince and Rage Against the Machine into their influences for a tour–de–force album.

Proceedings begin with Take a Bow (see below for sample), an epic, classic Muse track that settles the nerves of all the doubters who believed that they might have descended into madness and abandoned their former fanbase. But beneath the surface lies a further beat, less a rock drum beat as a disco drum beat that inspires the listener to bop away. This then fades into Starlight, not a classic track but with the classic vocals of Bellamy. It all seems like it's building up to something, something special…

Muse

Suddenly, the synth–disco–rock of Supermassive Black Hole kicks in, pulsing away as a completely new sound from Muse's point of view, repetitive lyrics were never the bed of Bellamy's music but they seem to work for this track, one of the strongest of the album but going into perhaps the strongest track on the album, Map of the Problematique, continuing along a similar road of funk–rock, but this is more the Muse we know and love… long, searching vocals but with a dance beat to the back to it, still dancey but with an edge.

At this point, the album gives the listener a breather, helping the transition from the funk–induced, dancefloor–filling Muse to the more epic, stadium–space rock that older fans enjoy. Soldier's Poem and Invincible are both slower songs, breathers, reminiscent of Unintended and with beautiful lyrics. Following this though, a resurgence takes place. Whereas Absolution gave the air-guitar thrashing, moshing Muse fan Hysteria, this album gives them Assassin (see below for sample), a heavy drum beat and thrashy guitars - the Muse we know and love. Following this, Exo-Politics continues onwards, suggestive lyrics, Bellamy's attack on Bush. Everything is wonderful on Exo-Politics, a wonderful, wonderful track, the highlight of the album…

Another transition takes place as the equivalent of Stockholm Syndrome rears its head in the thrashy City of Delusion, giving the transition strength into the climax of the album, which begins in Hoodoo. Hoodoo is a strange track in many ways, it begins as a slow, climactic, beautiful, string-induced sojourn into Bellamy's mind, before springing to life with a heavy end as a prelude to the epic finale. Knights of Cydonia (see below for sample) begins with the sound of hooves (presumably the four knights - the Horsemen of the Apocalypse), and then transforms into a pressing, searching track not heard from Muse since the likes of New Born - and that is the only track that can really compete with Knights of Cydonia for the kind of wonderful sound that completes the album. Pushes Exo-Politics right to the wire as best track of the album, with a wonderful sound that lends itself only to a last track or a first track.

All through the album, Bellamy's lyrics supplement the sounds beautifully. On Knights of Cydonia (Cydonia is a reference to the area of Mars where many believe there used to be life, and presumably the Knights refer to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse), Bellamy screams "No one's gonna take me alive, the time has come to make things right, you and I must fight for our rights, you and I must fight to survive" in a way that will almost definitely fill dancefloors soon enough, building to a crescendo and the end of a superb album. Supermassive.

Black Holes and Revelations is released in the UK on July 3rd and the US on July 11th.

8.5 out of 10

Tour Dates
  • July 2nd – Eurockeennes de Belfort, Belfort
  • July 7th – Stockholms Stadion, Stockholm
  • July 8th – Quart Festival, Kristiansand

From July 18th onwards, Muse begin a US tour, but return for the UK stadium season:

  • August 24th – T on The Fringe, Edinburgh
  • August 26th – Reading Festival, Reading
  • August 27th – Leeds Festival, Leeds
Buy

Black Holes and Revelations is released on Monday, July 3rd in the UK.

Samples

MP3 Expired Take a Bow

MP3 Expired Assassin

MP3 Expired Knights of Cydonia

NME are currently hosting all of Black Holes and Revelations for streaming here

Links

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