Monthly Archives: September 2009
Monday, Oct. 5
13 Day Mission, Vegan Coke @ Drunken Unicorn
Friday, Oct. 9
Wizard Smoke, Subrig Destroyer, Swamp Ape @ Club 529
Saturday, Oct. 10
Faust, Circulatory System @ the 40 Watt
Sunday, Oct. 11
Thievery Corporation, Ancient Astronauts @ the Tabernacle
Thursday, Oct. 15
Electa Villian, Birds & Wire, Nate Nelson @ Caledonia Lounge
Friday, Oct. 16
Os Mutantes, De Leon @ Variety Playhouse
Saturday, Oct. 17
Dinosaur Jr. @ Variety Playhouse
Monday, Oct. 19
Atlas Sound, Broadcast @ the Earl
Thursday, Oct. 22
Pinback, Bellini @ the Masquerade
Music Hates You, Javelina, Sons of Tonatiah, Fluff @ Drunken Unicorn
Thy Mighty Contract, Roman Photos @ 529 ($3 show)
Friday, Oct. 23
Meat Puppets, Dead Confederate cd release @ the Masquerade
Thursday, Oct. 29
Russian Circles, Young Widows, Coliseum @ the Earl
Trivium, Chimaira, White Chapel @ the Masquerade
Saturday, Oct. 31
Jungol, Odist Halloween show @ North River Tavern
So I was having a conversation with my friend Anthony over facebook about hip hop and made a vague reference to Q-Tip and Kamaal the Abstract. I asked for his simple and most basic opinion of the record. Well, Anthony is a huge hip hop head. He’s been listening to rap and hip hop since he was maybe four or five. He still stays up late and tapes the most recent and fresh tracks that are broadcast over college radio, moreover, he can spout off the names, song titles, release dates and even personnel featured on almost any hip hop and rap record produced after 1992 (seriously, I’m not kidding). I don’t anybody who’s a bigger rap/hip hop reference library than him. Ultimately, his opinion about Kamaal the Abstract was anything, but simple and basic. Here is my friend Anthony Jackson’s unofficial, but officially sanctioned guest review of Kamaal the Abstract.
1. “Blue Girl” – Best song in my opinion on the whole cd. This shit is ridiculous
2. “Do You Dig U” – It’s a little too long. Tip should of ended it a little bit after the four minute mark or so, with the beat fading out and the girl singing or something. I love the vibe of it, real funky and laid back, and I like all the different instruments he encompasses within it. My second fave, although I think some peope have a love/hate relationship with this track. I liked it as soon as it hit my ears
3. “Even If It Is So” – This song is really hot. The beat, the horns, everything. I also like the way Q-Tip spits on this. I would put this as my second favorite song, but I like “Do You Dig U” just a little more. Either way this song has to be in everyone’s top three off this album. Dope ass track
4. “A Million Times” – I Like this song a lot, just real funky. It sort of reminds me of something D’Angelo would sing on or produce.
5. “Abstractionsims” – This is probably my fifth favorite song. The beat is dope, and Q-tip is more in his rhyming mode which is also a plus.
“Feelin” – I think this track is cool, but the only thing I really like about it is when it smooths out at 1:13-2:10. After that part I usually just skip. It can get boring and repetitive to me.
“Make It Work” – Decent song, but it doesn’t really stand out to me. It sounds like maybe two or three other songs on here. Weakest song on cd, I guess that’s why it’s a bonus. They should of put “Damn You’re Cool” as a bonus instead of “Make It Work” . Shit, I think “Damn You’re Cool” is better than like at least two or three tracks on the main album, but “Damn You’re Cool,” I think is some new shit post-renaissance album shit, so I guess that song doesn’t count, but they have it on the I-Tunes version of Kamaal.
“Caring” – Dope as hell. It’s a nice little slow joint, but it’s too short to make it to my top five
“Barely In Love” – Another good song, but might be a little too rock-sounding” for me if that makes any sense. Not saying that’s a bad thing, but it’s not in my top five…still a solid joint.
“Heels” – Man, I kind of hate to put “Heels” down here, but it was a toss up between this and “Abstractionisms,” but I couldn’t put this song over “Abstractionisms.” If “Abstractionisms” wasn’t on Kamaal the Abstract, I would put “Heels” as number five with no hesitation.
I’ll give it about four mics, solid album overall. It sucks that they shelved it because I remember reading around 01′-02 when he was working on the album and mentioned how he was taking a different direction from Amplified. I understand why the Arista or whoever didn’t release it because it probably wouldn’t put up big numbers like Ja Rule, Eminem, Jay, etc. You’ve got to remember back then if it wasn’t platinum or better, you’re outta there. What did Amplified do sales-wise anyway?
Anthony’s final rating: four out of five mics
Shot From Guns final grade: A-
* According to the most advanced and intelligent Wikipedia sources, Amplified has, “as of July 2008, the album has sold 675,000 copies in the United States.”
So this is going to be a short review because I’m kind of slackin/chillaxin at the moment. I heard about a band from Murfreesboro, TN called Blastoids via Davy Minor’s awesome Ohm Park website (www.ohmpark.com). They had a link to download the entire album for free so I figured why not.
My initial impressions of the Blastoids is Animal Collective. They remind me of a lot of bands that have succumbed to this contagious trend of wanting to sound like Animal Collective. Personally, I feel this is critical misstep in any group or artist’s career because Animal Collective is so unique, groundbreaking, and innovative that attempting to replicate what they do comes off as the exact opposite of what the band stands for…that is redundancy, mundane, bland, vanilla, failure.
However, Blastoids have not failed. They ride a fine line between sounding like an Animal Collective tribute band and delicately paving their own sound and footprints within the indie music scene. I liked the album and will give these guys the benefit of the doubt. It took Animal Collective years to craft brilliant albums such as Strawberry Jam and Merriweather Post Pavillion. Who knows, maybe Blastoids will move in a completely different direction and surprise us all. Nonetheless, they still run the risk of coming off as Animal Collective trend humpers and coattail surfers, but I wish these guys good luck. It’s hard to pull off that sound and they’ve done a solid job of it.
Final Shot From Guns grade : B-
For more about Blastoids, be sure to check out their website http://www.myspace.com/blastoids and hear the entire album streaming.
Robin Guthrie is an international man of mystery. The former Cocteau Twins member has traveled to multiple cities worldwide, tactfully eluded the mainstream press on three different continents, and released eight albums, two film scores in addition to spawning multiple collaborations with indie artists all while under the public radar. Robin is usually a very private person, but he has taken the rare opportunity to enlighten Shot From Guns on details pertaining to his upcoming album Carousel and other events going on within his life.
Many people are familiar with the work that you did with the Cocteau Twins; however the group disbanded in 1997. How have you kept yourself busy since then?
I have been living in the north of France for years. I moved away from the main music business sectors like London because of all the dirty politics and so on. I started doing music for animated films/media. That’s a way for me to experiment with film and pictures. In terms of doing movie soundtracks, I enjoy soundtracks because I can help someone tell a story. With movie scores I look to the director for what he or she wants to create. Overall, I don’t feel tied to the routine constraints of making one album to the next, I do music for my own pleasure. I have to do it.
How long did it take you to start writing and recording new records after the break up of the Cocteau Twins?
First I started a record label with Simon Raymonde (former drummer for the Cocteau Twins), but completely lost interest. I realized that labels, even well meaning ones, can exploit musicians and that’s the nature of the music business. It’s about selling stuff and profiting and I’m not very interested in that. From there I started working with Siobhan de Mare of Violet Indiana, I spent a couple years doing that and now I write and perform instrumental music. I feel there are less constraints within instrumental music.
You’re coming out with a new record called Carousel. Please elaborate upon the release of this new album.
Carousel will be released later this month. There’s no single or anything, I’m not big into singles. I will also have a different ep released in November called Songs to Help My Children Sleep
Can you explain the writing and recording process behind Carousel? Did you have any specific goals or objectives before recording?
It really depends on the kind of project I’m doing. Some of my tracks are very spacey and atmospheric, I could probably explain better with the ep Songs To Help My Children Sleep. The ep was meant for my little girl and designed to be very soothing, bedtime-kind of music. With Carousel, I engineered and produced it. When I create a work, I produce all the artwork, music, mastering, everything. But in terms of other artistic influences or goals, movies and the like don’t influence me as much as books. Movies are passive entertainment and everything is already packaged, books require you to use your own creative intuition and mind. When I make an album I want it to be a journey.
Carousel is being released on Darla Records. How did your current deal with Darla come about? In the current musical climate, why go with a label?
I control all my music now and license my music to be distributed. I chose Darla because I enjoy working with people I like, know, and understand. I’m so used to the politics of a major label and needed change.
You were born and raised in Grangemouth, Scotland. Does your Scottish heritage influence your songwriting? How does your world view impact how you approach music?
No, my Scottish heritage doesn’t particularly influence my songwriting (laughs). I scratch my head sometimes and wonder what influences my songwriting. Yes, inevitably whatever comes into one’s mind will manifest in their work, whether you’re time traveling or doing whatever. I remember the last time I was in Atlanta, I was on an Amtrak train. I was taking the train from New York to Los Angeles and I recall I had my laptop with me. I composed an entire piece of music on my laptop while on the train and then performed it during my set in Los Angeles. I’m not really sure which part of the piece reflected Atlanta, but I’m sure it was in there (laughs).
Whenever I listen to your recordings I hear very light and airy melodies that are coupled together to create these relaxing and diaphanous soundscapes. You use a lot of different effects on your guitar to attain this sound. Are you trying to make your guitar sound like another instrument when you do this?
I feel delay (audio effect) is quite expressive and cerebral. I’ve been using delay since 1981 and I was building my own effects, but I couldn’t play the guitar too well. I had to utilize the materials I had and the resources I had. I have very little interest in guitar equipment, it’s just tools. But as a musician I’ve definitely gone through my gearhead phases. All the new technology and modeling equipment is somewhat fascinating to me. A lot of kids nowadays have easy access to all of these things. I remember I used to use two old, scratchy tape delays that were daisy chained together. Nonetheless, I learned to play the guitar and manipulate the effects at the same time. The guitar is strictly a tool and I play it for recording and shows. I don’t find much pleasure in playing the guitar for hours on end (laughs).
Robin, I became interested in your work through the albums that you did with ambient composer Harold Budd. How did those albums come out?
First off, I worked with Harold Budd while in the Cocteau Twins. But after the Cocteau Twins broke up, I was still in London for a while and maintained contact with Harold. He invited me to perform at his retirement party, which he never really retired, he came back, but we linked together from there. The two albums After the Night Falls and Before the Day Breaks, I produced those really. We recorded the initial tracks in San Francisco and I mixed and engineered them in France.
Are there any new musicians that you’ve been digging recently?
No, not really. I don’t listen to a lot of music, I’m more into creating it.
What about an artist such as Fennesz, who also utilizes treated guitars to make electronic music?
Funny you say that, I was actually thinking of Christian Fennesz, but just didn’t say it. I played a show with him a few weeks back in Ancona, Italy, and he approached me and said I was a huge influence on him and so on. If I am indeed an influence on him, I think it’s really cool that he’s taken that and done his own thing. Fennesz has created his own sound and moved in different directions, that’s what you’re supposed to do. You’re supposed to take the sounds you hear and interpret them in your unique way.
Cool, I’m a fan of Fennesz and feel the same way. Any last words Robin?
Only that I’d like to get a chance to come and play Atlanta, I’m currently performing a live soundtrack to one of my films “Galerie,” and it is the most enjoyable show to play. I’m just waiting for someone to book…
For more about Robin Guthrie, check out his website www.robinguthrie.com to view his bio, entire discography and store items.