Monday, May 17, 2010

Evol Intent

Evol Intent's Album "Era Of Diversion" was released in 2008 but I just became aware of it last week. If you like your Drum and Bass on the dark and heavy side, this album was made for you. This CD begins with an introduction of a narrator telling us how life has become hell on earth, with references to over consumption which has made us complacent. The solution...get mad. This morphs into the first track with samples of George Bush's speech about why terrorists hate us, "Because of our freedom." At the very end of this sample a haunting voice proclaims "Go to sleep America, We have everything under control." We are then forcefully ripped out of our post 9-11 slumber by 71 minutes of relentless aural assault.
While some tracks start out with a calm-before-the -storm, trancy vibe, they quickly devolve into the sound of hell crashing into hell. There are a couple of old school jump up references that Evol also manage to rip the support out from under and cast them into utter chaos. Most of my favorite tracks on this album tap into hip hop for the vocal tracks. Serious attention should be paid to the tracks "Death, Lies and Videotape", "Odd Number" and "Reality Check" which uses a sample from N.W.A.'s song "Protest." N.W.A. + D&B = Good. The track immediately following "Reality Check", entitled "Smoke and Mirrors" flips the script to the hardest hardcore punk / metal / D&B track ever to grace my eardrums. It is about as subtle as a gunshot to the head. Not many female vocal tracks on this album but Evol does deliver with the track "Middle of the Night." The track begins subtly but the crescendo launches you into the stratosphere. My only regret is that this track is not the last on the album. The slow come down and references to sleep are powerful reminders that Evol Intent will be controlling my nightmares for years to come. Evol never sounded so good!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

First Review-Vampire Weekend

I can NOT stop listening to Vampire Weekend! The last time I was so enamored by a band was when I first heard Operation Ivy around 1990. Both bands make me feel the same way and they transport me to a different time. No matter what the weather in Cleveland may be, once I put Op. Ivy or VW in my car stereo I feel 20 again with the windows rolled down in my red Chevy Corsica speeding down the interstate without a care in the world. The day is always bright and sunny with the wind and music perfectly combining in my ear.
Anyways, onto a bit of what's in store for you...

Vampire Weekend's first self-titled CD is a non-stop good-vibe pick-me-up that had me hooked from the opening song "Mansard Roof" to the slight come down of "The Kids Don't Stand a Chance." The climax of the album comes early in the uncontrollable energy of the song "A-Punk" which is immediately followed by the tropical paradise sounding "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa." Kwassa kwassa is a sped up version of the musical genre Soukous, formerly known as the African rumba which originated in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I listened to this album over and over and my wife Stephanie still hasn't complained. It is now a staple on road trips and in the studio. In fact, just yesterday I caught Stephanie at her work table in the studio kicking her feet around in time with the music, a sure sign that this album is great AND has staying power.

We tried out "Contra ," Vampire Weekend's second album, on a trip to Toronto. The album delivers immediately on the tropical paradise transportation as the steel drums and xylophone notes of "Horchata" go right to work tinkling all the right pleasure centers of my brain. A second after you have almost processed that the song is over "White Sky" begins slow and sultry (Insert reference to Paul Simon's voice here) and culminates in vocal eruptions from vocalist Ezra Koenig that are so high pitched "Ahhho, Ahhhoo, Ohhoho" that they can pull you right out of your worst day. The aptly named "Holiday" follows and once again sand and surf visuals explode across my visual cortex. "California English" follows with stutter-fast words that I'd have to consult the liner notes to decipher. "Taxi Cab", a slow-building beauty of a song, gives me a breather and allows me to prepare for round two. "Run" is next and once it begins I visualize running through the streets of NYC. Next, the guitar and drums for "Cousins" are chaotic: if my brain can shake, it is. Next up, a bit of a recovery song. "Giving up the Gun" takes the tempo down a few notches. We are now nearing the end of the album. "Diplomat's Son" feels like a late night dinner on the beach with "I Think Ur A Contra" perfectly ending the album, the summer evening, the summer. The only next logical step: put both albums on Repeat!