Today I'm writing about an album I heard for the first time last night. I actually heard it for the second and third time last night as well and a fourth time today while driving. "What's going on? Is your iPod stuck on repeat?" I hear you, concerned readers, asking but the answer is a reassuring no, although if it were I can think of a lot of albums I'd be worse off being stuck with. This fantastic piece of art is STEM, a solo album by current Friend For A Foe vocalist Maxi Curnow. I heard/read his name for the first time when FFOF released their song Kona and despite being a massive fan of Chris Barretto I can confidently say that Maxi is a perfect replacement. So with that in mind I was quite interested when I saw an announcement that Maxi's solo project STEM was to fill one of the many vacant spots at the UK Tech Metal Fest after yesterday's cancellations. I ventured to Bandcamp where the beautiful cover art welcomed me and the idea of the asking price going to an orphanage in India made the purchase so much sweeter.
A Lot Like Birds have, in my opinion, everything going for them.
The first time I heard them I heard a twenty or thirty second piece from a song and I immediately went to Amazon to order both of their full lengths and got their debut Plan B off of Bandcamp. I just couldn't imagine going on without having this band in my life, they are that good.
Today I want to talk about their debut full length Conversation Piece for the simple reason that I listened to it today so it's on my mind.
Today's album is the newly released A Voice Within by Intervals. While it's their third release overall it is the first one to feature vocals and those are professionally handled by ex-The HAARP Machine vocalist Mike Semesky. It has, in my opinion, most of the things that made Intervals exciting as an instrumental band with the added bonus of having great vocals on top but still it feels like something's missing. Recently I've had difficulties getting into instrumental metal as I feel like it needs to offer something that wouldn't work with vocals or else I'll feel like it's kinda missing something (I'm still waiting for 15 year old me to bitch slap me through the space-time continuum for saying that) and although Intervals worked as an instrumental band I loved the idea of them adding vocals. With the vocals out of the way I'll tell you right away that the instrumental side of the music is fantastically played as well, great melodies and catchy compositions, however the album is a bit samey throughout but it's good nonetheless. I can't quite put my finger on it but it feels like there is something missing to make it truly great. If you want one song to check out I'd recommend Moment Marauder but the whole thing is pretty good.
Today's album of the day is one of last years best releases, I'm talking about Every Sick, Disgusting Thought We've Got in Our Brains by The Venetia Fair.
This album could be described as a more circus-y, Danny Elfman-y version of My Chemical Romance's Black Parade and it has rocked my world from the first time I heard it. Featuring theatrical vocals, the mostly upbeat songs with sometimes vaudevillian piano playing and brass instruments used for great effect it sneaks into your brain and claims it as its home. Every person I've introduced to this band gets hopelessly addicted and as a true pusher of good music I'm giving you guys and gals a sample taste to get you hooked as well.
So far, so daily. Good job me!
Tigran Hamasyan is one of my favorite jazz musicians so I wanted to share that love with all of you. His recent album Shadow Theater is a beautiful, complex but still catchy album. Amazing piano playing, great drumming, solid saxophone playing and interesting vocal delivery by Areni Agbabian who manages to shine amongst these instrumental greats instead of being overpowered. I've decided to leave the Court Jester video below but there are live videos of a lot of songs from the album and I honestly recommend the entire show, all his albums and as always; if you like it, buy it and support the artist.
The not so daily album of the day, quite a mouthful I know but I guess honesty really is the best policy.
Other titles pondered:
Newey Lewis and the News
Records drawn at random
Today's choice is an odd album, fresher than the fruit they're named after and different from everything I've heard before.
New Apple Taste's album Abuseum is, musically, quite similar in sound to 70's prog rock and funky fusion jazz but what makes it stand out and brings the freshness (funky fresh) is the fact that over this fantastically written music are the rhymes of two emcees.
It's a mix I don't think I've ever heard before but my interest was piqued the very second I heard it. They released a video for a song off the album called Look at those Skinny Legs and I feel like it's an odd choice as it is, to me, probably the worst song on the album. I recommend listening from the first song onwards on Bandcamp but if you only want to check one song out I recommend the second one, Canish-Nikov:
It's only $10 so if you like it it's definitely worth the money. Great musicianship, nice flow and interesting cover art.