Arena Negra by The Myrrors [Review]


Listen to the guitars drone and slowly build build build build to nothing. The first track is over 11 minutes and it’s layers and layers of musical drone. It just drones. On top of that vocals sound like they’re being chanted in the background.


At no point above was I being sarcastic or negative.
Droning fuzzy riffs.

The Myrrors’ new album Arena Negra feels like desert people making music. Despite the horns and the violins and the flutes, they sound nothing like Jethro Tull but they sound everything like the sand and the cactus and the perspiration you feel in the middle of the night in July in any southwest city.

I’m still working to get beyond the fuzz. I’ve listened to the album 5-6 times and I haven’t been able to identify each instrument listed on the back cover. The gives you a lot to travel through and a lot to discover. Dig through the fuzz man.


White Lighter’s Self-Titled New Album [REVIEW]


Are you into rock albums?

How about well written non-pretentious not too artsy rock lyrics that work with the music that surrounds it?

Well boy, then I got a deal for you!

White Lighter is a new project from Mark Salomon and Steven Dail from the golden age of “we’re not a christian band, but christians in a band” era of hard rock. Mark Salomon you may know from his most popular group Stavesacre, he has also done interesting stuff with The Crucified, Neon Horse and memorable guest spots with Argyle Park and Chatterbox (go find Chatterbox kids.. really go we’ll wait). Outer Circle, his foray into old school punk is one of my favorite punk albums ever.

Steven Dail played his part in one of the better Nu-Metal bands Project 86, yup I called them that, and was also a member of Neon Horse and the cray cray under appreciated Crash Rickshaw one off album.

Now along with Jason Martin who’s paid his dues in Starflyer and Neon Horse (wait a second, isn’t this group literally Neon Horse?) and a soon to be released project called Low and Behold.

That’s more background than I’m used to giving.

Mark Salomon is a guy that probably waits tables by day, yet his song writing has had a profound effect on me. I’ve enjoyed its mystery and its nuance, I’ve loved the way it allowed me to insert my own meaning to the words despite knowing he’s probably writing about something completely different.

On some occasions his song writing style has allowed me to interpret them in different ways across different moments in my life.

I am a fan. You may not be.

This album might be too standard for you. But when it comes to these three I’m used to nuance and I expect it and I get it here.

This probably won’t go down as my favorite piece of work by anyone in this group, simply because I’m older and I’ve been influenced by other art at a time I was more apt to be influenced. But these artists haven’t let me down, I am aware of the standard and quality I’m going to get from them and that’s why I buy their music and that’s why I’ll watch them live if they mosey through Las Vegas.

White Lighter’s debut album is good piece of work and is a definite must if you’re familiar with the group and perhaps if you’re young enough, an album whose music and lyrics will leave an imprint on your heart and mind.

Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes [Review]

Am I allowed to write about albums that are a few years old? Let me check with my editor.
Okay we’re cool.

Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes is grand! And it was important to get on this because this album was released in 2011 and they’re likely thinking of releasing new music soon. I have to give a warning though, their harmonies and lyrics are subdued it doesn’t make them an immediate favorite. In fact it’s a few full listens before you even realize there are some loud parts on this album.

Robin Pecknold’s harmonies eventually pull you in and the lyrics have a worldly Grapes of Wrath/John Steinbeck feel. They might come off as dry at first but eventually you learn and the album blossoms from good to exquisite.

You should listen to this because it’s a good example of an album that can blossom.

Back before we could all listen to 150 albums a year we were forced to listen to OK Computer multiple times and that’s what made us realize how incredible a piece of work it was.

In today’s climate that’s not an option. Music geeks are inundated with new this and new that. And if you cross genres you’re basically screwed, you simply can’t be an expert unless you’re paid to listen to music.

It’s difficult to identify those albums that need to sit for awhile. We can’t sit around hoping every album that we almost like might blossom into something beautiful. We have to tell each other. Well here I am telling you that this Fleet Foxes album gets better and better over time.

Subpop records is a strong record company. I can’t speak to things like how they support or pay artists but they have it down when it comes to finding incredible art. Helplessness Blues is another release for which they can be proud.

The Terror by The Flaming Lips [REVIEW]

An artistic and relevant band that has been around a long time is going to have a lot of variations and stages in their development and sound. The Flaming Lips are no different (even if they're different in almost every other way) The Terror is a black line in the sand. It’s not as big a jump as the Soft Bulletin was from their earlier punk rock style but it is a change in tone. The music is now the opposite of uplifting and dreamy and the lyrical tone follows suit.

In this album the band is giving us a tour of their dark emotional side. It’s a beautiful and scary album and is nowhere near their giant pink bunny Yoshi sound that is expected. What is different from this type of darkness and the kind you hear in the world of Nu Metal is that it’s a very adult darkness and a very adult discovery. Where one set of bands is writing boring cliche lyrics and riffs about their father, the Flaming Lips are exploring things on a more abstract and exciting level.

It’s well worth a listen or thirty. In fact I’m not so sure I really understand the album quite yet.

We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic by Foxygen

This is one of my favorite albums of 2013. I’m late on the Foxygen train, but in today’s internet culture the eclectic listener will often be late when his ears aren’t listening to as much indie or metal or whatever I haven’t been listening to as much as something else.

This here is an important rock record. At times it feels like something I’d find at show that had the Pixies and Something Corporate headlining and other times the album sounds like the grandchild of the Rolling Stones or the Velvet Underground’s drug dealer.

The lead singer seems obnoxious and pretentious (I’m not sure if I’m talking about Sam France or Jonathan Rado) but that’s probably because he really wants to be a rock star and hopes to pay the bills by being a musician forever. That’s cool with me, we’re never going to hang out and I’m never going to lend the dude money. I mean the album is named We are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic, who the hell do you think you are? That album name sounds like what the Flaming Lips would call an album if a drunk Harry Potter took over as lead singer.

The actual music on the album on the other hand significantly increases my enjoyment of life. I’d say the most annoying thing about it is that it came out at the beginning of the year and I’ve heard it too much in the mix of my 2013 rock playlist. I’ll probably have to stay away from it for awhile and listen to it again towards years end to see where it really belongs on my top ten for the year.

So yeah, go buy it, download it, listen to it on Spotify. It’s good piece of work.

Queeens of the Stone Age …Like Clockwork [REVIEW]

I like rock music, regular rock and roll whether classic or modern. There isn’t a whole bunch of it that is relevant right now. There’s that annoying poppy sort, like Nickleback. There are some semi-grunge bands that are working hard putting out new albums but not putting out “new music”. Then there’s what the internet brought us which is all the niches.

Queens of the Stone Age and their new album …Like Clockwork is a rock album. It doesn’t fall into any of those niches. It isn’t screamo,emo,nu metal,blackend death metal,indie or skate punk. It’s just a rock record.

It’s true that Queens of the Stone Age comes from the remnants of a popular Stoner Rock band Kyuss. If you really want to throw them into a category Stoner Rock or Stoner Metal those are as good as any, but …Like Clockwork isn’t as heavy as the earliest of QOTSA’s albums. It’s much more melodic, it screams when it appropriate and Josh Homme sings mostly.

I like this album because it’s a group of guys (who might be a bunch of jerks but I don’t care about that) who want to play rock riffs and they want to hit the drums really hard and they want their songs to have interesting parts and a discernible rhythm. It’s that kind of album.

It’s a rock album. I’ll likely never know what the songs lyrics are about mostly because I’m enjoying the rare occurrence of just a good regular rock band putting out a heck of an album. You should do the same.

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