Listening…

I’ve been meaning to post about many albums, but I’m just getting around to starting, so perhaps I will eventually catch up to the cool stuff I’m listening to lately, but for now this is what you get:

Mutemath: I’ve been listening to pretty much everything Mutemath has available. The self-titled album with single Typical, and their EP, Reset, along with their version of the Transformers theme song from the film (which I unfortunately have not yet seen!). Part of me wants to love this band, and some songs make me do so. Others…they sound like this weird amalgamation of The Police and Filter, the latter primarily because of the Paul Meaney’s vocals and the electronic flourishes, though it is also his vocals which remind me of Sting at times. Hmmm. Either way, they are worth checking out.

Wired All Wrong: Album–Break Out the Battletapes. I listened to this for the first time today. I’ve been digging the song Elevatin’ for a while now, and since I really liked God Lives Underwater I was expecting a bit. Unfortunately, that song is only somewhat indicative of the rest of the album and liking the prior work of Jeff Turzo didn’t help much. Sure, the electronica that characterized God Lives Underwater is here, amped WAY up, but Break Out the Battletapes sounds primarily like a nu-metal album, if nu-metal suddenly achieved retro-cool status, which I don’t think it has yet. That being said, however, if this album had come out 10 years ago, it would have been phenomenal (though I said the same thing about Vanilla Ice’s nu-metal/hardcore album Hard to Swallow when it came out in 1998…ICE ICE BABY TOO COLD TOO COLD…if that had come out in 1990 when To the Extreme did, he would have the success Korn has had and would not be sharing the screen with Ron Jeremy in the craptastic Surreal Life). As it is, Break Out the Battletapes is awesome for listening to while driving at high speeds (the same reason I loved Limp Bizkit’s album Significant Other) and is at the top of anything nu-metalish alongside Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory. Speaking of which, I haven’t listened to that in about 4 years…maybe it needs to go into the car for a while.

The Frames: Album: Burn the Maps–WOW. This album kicks some serious ass, though it does have its ups and downs (but the high points far outweigh the lows). These guys from Northern Ireland are masters of what I like to call “epic” music featuring building momentum, and a climactic crescendo of guitars and drums. For the most part, this album leaves me stunned with both its aching beauty and melodic bombast. Songs such as Dream Awake and are near perfect in my opinion, striking that perfect balance between discord and harmony. At other times, such as the song Fake, The Frames become reminiscent of 90s bands like Better than Ezra. The low points come when the band takes on too much of an “indie rock” vibe and end up sounding like The Tragically Hip, which, come to think about it, really isn’t all that bad. Also, I can’t wait to see the film Once starring Glen Hansard, lead singer for The Frames, it sounds like an absolutely fantastic film.

Type O Negative: Album–Dead Again. I’ve always had problems with Type O albums. They are usually overwhelmingly hard to listen to because the band insists on add large amounts of crap (as does Tool) to the album. For instance, World Coming Down featured a song called Skip It which was simply the sound of a CD skipping…a complete waste of time and money. Likewise, October Rust opened with Bad Ground, a track of total silence. Their greatest hits disc, The Least Worst of…, covered the majority of the best Type O Negative tracks (though not necessarily all my favorites, and put them in one place without the crap, but it also only had the shortened “radio” versions. For example, Christian Woman and Black No. 1 are both amazing songs, but something is definitely lost when edited down from 8.5 and 11 mintues long. Dead Again, however, is the Type O Negative album to actually have all of. It’s possible to make a one or two disc set of your favorites from all albums prior to Dead Again and not need the crap filler (most likely a two disc comp since most of their best songs are very long). Dead Again, though, is completely awesome. The title track is Type O at it’s tongue in cheek, yet gloomiest, catchiest, best with the chorus:

“I can’t believe I died last night. Oh God, I’m dead again. I can’t believe I died last night. I’m fucking dead again.”

The album is loud, dark, plodding, thundering, kitschy, catchy, metal. It is the best of all prior Type O Negative work. Yet, it is also shows musical progression. At times, the band evokes a much more classic rock sensibility, seeming to include almost Allman Brothers-esque composition into their trademark sound. Another great thing about this album is, in this day and age where people get off selling albums for full price that clock in at less than 35 minutes long, Dead Again is over 77 minutes of music (and at only 10 tracks we’re averaging song length about twice what a radio friendly song is nowadays). Plus, to top off everything that is great about this album, I truly think it includes their greatest song to date, far surpassing their previous hits (including the aforementioned Christian Woman and Black No. 1): September Sun. Well over 9 minutes long, but you never once get bored. Each second of the track pulls you along, washes over you with both anger and joy. It’s a darkly beautiful song.

Alright, that’s just four things I’ve been listening to lately. Check back for more. 😉

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