Archive for May, 2009

Nadja – When I see the Sun always shines on TV

Posted in Review on May 26, 2009 by joeki2000

I promised some metal reviews in my previous post. Well you ask : I deliver.
I haven’t reviewed a Nadja record since like 2007 so what a great place to start.  And this one is deffonetly worth a review.

When I see the Sun always Shines on TV” is a collection of 8 cover songs by Nadja (who’m I hope will need no introduction). It clearly gives us an idea where Nadja got the inspiration for their shoegazing blend of  doom/ambient metal. I know the duo can produce great tracks of their own but how will they fare when they treat songs by other bands. Let’s find out :

My bloody Valentine is the first band to undergo the treatment. And talk about a strong opening. “Only Shallow” was one of the strongest tracks on ‘Loveless” and a great pick. They treat the song with a lot of respect : you can immediately recognise it, even if you are not a MBV fan (you are sure to have heard this track at least once in your life, if you haven’t : get to it.) Aidan sticks to the shoegazer vocal style well (meaning extra fuzz). The chorus riff is  power full but to my surprise the rest of the track is quite gentle to Nadja standards. It’s almost easy listening. Wonder full opener.

The second cut is “Pea” by Codine. I had never heard the original so judging this one was easy.  It’s absolutely lush. Very fuzzy and reverbed opening. The vocals are a lot more prominent here. A very slow and sad track that lends itself well to this kind of treatment. The whispered chorus gives it an extra dimension ; a form of heightened tension. Melancholy with a dark edge and I assume there’s more of a Nadja stamp on this one compared to the first track. The second part of Pea however is very relaxed, perhaps a little bit too relaxed for my liking, but I’m guessing that’s because the original is that way.
Conclusion : so far it’s two out of two.

Next up : “No Cure for the Lonely” by The Swans. This track is a legend. A risky undertaking some would say but Nadja had already tackled this one in a live setting : to the utmost success. Absolutely beautiful stuff , dare I say surpassing the original?  Probably the most melancholic track you’ll hear all year. Highlight of the album.

Nadja covering Slayer is something I had never expected but yes here it is. “Dead Skin Mask” undergoes the treatment just the same. As you can expect this is by far the darkest track but again it just sounds better to these ears when fuzzed out drone guitars and layers of reverb/static are placed  over Aidan’s harmonic vocals. The original is far from my favorite track but this cover version makes  it very bare able.

Next up :  the title track if you will. Anyone born in the 70’ies knows this track and band. A-ha‘s “The Sun Always shines on TV” : Another one of the highlights on the album : completely blows the original away (this can be taken quite literally).

Needle in the Hay” by Elliot Smith is another track I was unfamiliar with so I can only judge the  performance here. Again a great job as Nadja proves they can handle more relaxed songs quite well.  I can’t say more really : good vocal and instrumental performance. The chorus is quite weak but I suppose this is again sticking true to the original.

“Long dark twenties” (by Kids in the Hall) was already out on 7″ and it’s another one of the highlights of the album. The interpretation of the chorus is dark and heavy whilst the rest is again rather lush. Some nice contrasts.
Which brings us to the closer : The Cure – “Faith“. Now I can finally say for the first time : “I like the original better” (had to wait seven tracks for that). Seriously there is nothing wrong with what Aidan & Leah do with the track, but as a fan of The Cure I found little extra appealing to this version (the interpretation came across as quite dark to me). But  7 out 8 is not too bad though is it?

A more than succesfull undertaking, that’s what this cover cd is. I think many a band can be envious of what Nadja do here. A very diverse set of songs all treated with the care and proffesionalism whe have come to expect from Canada’s best metal band. A special shout out to “Klawful”  who made the artwork for the release. Avalanchers representing!  Go get this now!

May : Dubstep Update

Posted in Review on May 12, 2009 by joeki2000

So a few new releases out there that require some attention.
This time ’round I will be limiting myself to dubstep, but don’t worry : The summer has a lot of  metal related releases planned so expect an update on that shortly.

Full Length :

Caspa – Everybody’s Talking,  Nobody’s  Listening (sub soldiers)
Now I’ve never been the biggest Caspa fan so I was more than hesitant to give this album a shot. But it turned out all right in the end. Don’t get me wrong : this is not a masterpiece of a dubstep album and so far no competition for Martyn’s full length. But it’s  a heavy yet varied attempt sure to please some dance floor steppers. It’s got some grimy bits ( Rat-tat-tat for example, a vocals version of My Pet Monster ) , a few wobble horror tracks ( we already knew The Terminator ) and a few soul full songs ( Victoria’s Secret feat. D1 for example ) so it’s not just bonkers all the way. Good on ya Caspa , still looking forward to seeing you live though.

EP’S :
iTAL tEK – Massive Error EP
(Planet Mu)
So far the only competition for Hotflush this year seems to be coming from the Planet Mu label. And this is the strongest effort so far on that label and also the strongest EP all year. I had the pleasure of catching the man performing as well and it’s just too much !
Ghost Cloud seems to be a left over from the last full length ( Cyclical ) but that doesn’t stop it from being an ace track. The 2 gems on this release though are Octa & Strange Love . Truly emotive dubstep that still has the ability to shake dance floors (albeit a bit more subtle).  The self titled track is a monster too.  In between is the more experimental Snowburst , the only slightly disappointing bit on this release. Still it’s going to be hard to beat this as EP of the year ( Jesu maybe???) .

Bullion – Young Heartache EP ( One-Handed Music)
I read somewhere that Bullion is classified as the new UK hip-hop sensation. Well the music is more of a mix between breaks, dub & sampled vocal bits and this makes for an absolutely lush experiment. Great positive vibes & beats that are just out there. The use of the vocals is so fitting. This was my formal introduction to the man but it’s a welcome addition to my (and anyone’s) music collection I’d say.

12″ / Single’s :
Burial & Four Tet – Wolf Cub / Moth
( Text Recordings )
The first of what I hope to be many Burial releases this year. This is a collaboration with Four Tet who traditionally does more 4×4 inspired music. Wolf Cub rhythm wise is a trademark Burial track. 2 step madness. But the subtle atmospherics are Four Tet’s stamp on this track. The second combination is even better. Here we see a slowed down 4×4 beats matched with Burial’s deformed vocals and haunting melodies. So far thé 12 inch of the year for me. 

Synkro – Tell Me  / Everyday ( S.Y.N.K.R.O. )
This man is hastily becoming a dubstep Don.  My own world was his first hit of the year (on Mindset label) but with this self released bit he is just confirming once again that he’s the man to beat when it comes to garage inspired dubstep. Tell Me is trademark Synkro stuff : A garage vocal mixed with chilled out dubstep / 2-step beats. Very Melancholic. Everyday packs a heavier bass and this time some r’n’b vocal addition makes for a heavy melancholic track (which is perhaps slightly repetitive ).

Search & Destroy – Blue Mantra / Daybreak ( Destructive Recordings )
That’s right , the duo S&D is back. The A side to this release though is not as dark as you’d expect from them. It’s an atmospheric / melodic track with a great vocal sample. The AA side though is S&D back again at it’s darkest. Though I prefere the A side. Welcome back guys : keep making tunes like this!

Breakage – Together / Rain ( Digital Soundboy )
This was one of the earliest releases of the year but I forgot to mention it before. Both of these tracks are still getting massive play time at parties or on radio shows and with good reason.  I discussed Breakage on here before but I would surely rate him as one of the top 5 producers of the moment. Perfect balance between heavy and atmospheric (chek Rain ! )

And these 5 are also worth a mention at least : Perhaps a full review will come later :

  • Pinch – Attack of the Giant Robot Spiders / Teleportation ( Planet Mu )
  • Sigha – On the Strip / Remembrance ( Hotflush Two )
  • Clouds – Protecting Hands Pt. 1 & 2 ( Deep Medi Musik )
  • Calibre – Dutty / Stolen Shadow ( Deep Medi Musik )
  • Late – Saw, Sine, Square / Voices from the Night ( Disfigured Dubs )

More from me later! Cheers.