Monday, July 15, 2013

Ramshackle Glory (Republish)

It took me several years to come to terms with the fact that as time moves forward I grow increasingly cynical and bitter toward the world around me. In other words, I’m like an old crotchety man sitting on his porch with a shotgun wailing wildly at the moon. Were there a soundtrack to compliment the disgusting taste in my mouth Ramshackle Glory’s, Who are your friends gonna be? would be it. Hailing from Tucson, these young men are the soy sauce to my sushi of punk rock angst.

While Ramshackle Glory promises the audience, “Punk rock with all the wrong instruments,” the sentiment could not be further from the truth. Who are your friends gonna be? may not be conventional punk rock, but the instrument selections and musical arrangements are just what punk rock needs.

The album not only provides a powerful punk rock symphony fused with a collection of slap-you-across-the-face true stories, but also a spectrum of emotion and a picture of the world that cannot be ignored.

Fuck Everything. I mean, “Fuck Everything” has to be my favorite song, and not simply because of the clever title. This song, like many others, covers a plethora of subject matters with foot stomping discontent, and ends in a tale of racist intolerance I know all too well.

While it’s not the direct subject matter, songs like, “Fuck Everything,” may be the key to burning a beautiful hole into the souls of right-wing Republicans everywhere.

Ramshackle Glory can be found somewhere between the intersections of Ween and D.I.Y. and Bob Dylan and anarchy. Regardless, of the musical awesomeness that the members of Ramshackle Glory possess, one of the most charming aspects of this group happens to be the clear and defined purpose, direction, and message of their songs as they too wail at audiences and the moon abroad.

This article was originally written & published for a different publication in September of 2012. Some grammatical corrections made. "Fuck Everything" was not really my favorite song. I just wanted an excuse to write 'fuck' three times in an article.

An ILLustrated Mess (Republish)

Lately, it seems as though my level of cynicism grows daily. I am often quick to outwardly reflect the animosity I feel toward particular mediums.

However, the root of my condition is merely an attempt to purge life-force-draining energy rather than breed additional dark matter and chaos.

Not necessarily elitism, but instead simply not settling for work that I feel lacks passion and natural charisma.

Many instances in which I attempt to be inspired by others' work, I feel as though I come out of the situation with a cup of salty tap water and the type of stimuli that an old hag's warts arouse sexually. Therefore, I feel obligated to purge and unabashedly express my distaste.

This is not one of those instances.

Upon rare occasion, a fleeting suggestion of random recommendation magically crosses my path, and the icky storms of mediocrity and loathing abruptly subside. Released in June, An ILLustrated Mess describes A Lack of Creativity as neither a mixtape nor a demo, but rather a, "Little pre-demo demo tape." Whoa. A pre-demo? While I fully understand the concept, with a total of seven quality tracks, I would categorize A Lack of Creativity as a solid first ep. Yet, the distinction lacks importance, and despite modesty A Lack of Creativity inspires applause and a heightened degree of powerful appreciation.

Based out of Flagstaff, An ILLustrated Mess delivers a slick and classy composition of intellectual lyricism and hip-hop beats set upon a backdrop of melodic jazz loops. Reminiscent of Deep Puddle Dynamics or a forest dwelling Tribe Called Quest, A Lack of Creativity resonates with sentimental yet brutal optimism and vibrant energy.

Meanwhile, even in moments of bolstering a lyrically inflated ego, An ILLustrated Mess continues to be unpretentious and impervious to harsh criticism.

An ILLustrated Mess offers A Lack of Creativity as a free download.

Be sure to comment, tell us your thoughts, share, Tweet, +2, and what have you!

This article was originally written & published for a different publication in November of 2012. I was pretty well drained when I wrote this. I guess I went a bit off the rails of musical blog sanity. Shit happens.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Field Tripp: Super-Ego Friendly (Republish)

I would not call myself a fan of folk in general. Some folk, of course, should not be commented upon by little old me, but in general I prefer the genres with a bit more foot-stomping energy. Without it, I tend to get sleepy.

At first glance, I thought that Field Tripp’s Super-Ego Friendly was not only going to put me to sleep, but also make me want to slowly slap someone for putting another “folk” group in my ears.

However, this could not be further from the reality of Super-Ego Friendly. First, despite starting as a “Power Folk Pop trio” Super-Ego Friendly makes it clear that Field Tripp will not be tied down to genre or my pre-conceived notions of an album with a cover designed primarily in pink.

Super-Ego Friendly has charming elements of letting oneself bleed out in a blissful bath of warm water, and I am not saying that as an insult. Field Tripp’s mix of heavily distorted fuzz guitar, soft melodies, and keys found throughout the album turns my tough guy attitude upside down. The album gently whispers that when I’m done with my cleansing cry for attention I should go out, buy myself a yellow shirt, and have a picnic with the frequency of the universe. This experience is merely the first half of the album.

With songs like “The Wife and Kids” and “Innocent” Field Tripp has found a way to musically lobotomize me. They send me on an up and down flashback of teenage acid trips. Then “Conversation Flammable” kicks in with the feeling found the morning after in which everything is perfectly empty and the world crumbles around all of us.

Fortunately, with their final track “Dogbite,” Field Tripp graciously allows me to have my tough guy bravado back, but only under the terms and conditions of softening my heart more often. Fine.

There are times while listening to this album that I question my own sanity, and again I feel it necessary to affirm that the self-investigation is not a bad thing. Super-Ego Friendly makes me want to dance slowly through a field of daisies and make wishes while blowing on the seedheads of dandelions.

This article was originally written & published for a different publication in April of 2012.

Scenery: Everything Orbits Something (Republish)

Scenery is a mixture of downtempo, shoegaze, and electropop. Their newest album Everything Orbits Something is a musical attempt to examine the, "Limited lifespan and the definition of an individual’s life determined by relationships."

Everything Orbits Something has a wintery, introspective atmosphere that helps hold true to these goals. It digs into life’s memories. There is a loneliness, but not one of desperation. It is comforting in its isolated coziness and necessary for reflection.

Most of the music that emerges from Scenery’s genre has a tendency to bore me. The songs are monotonous and draw on. It may have something to do with the fact that they remind me of a gentle Death Cab for Cutie, but Scenery avoids this problem. The songs are interesting and hold my attention without boredom or an aching for the end.

It comes as no surprise the song, “Yeti’s Rejection Letter” made Radio Reddit’s (user based selections) Top 100 of 2011. While “Yeti” may be a fan favorite, it is the song “Animous” which stands out the most for me. A sustained organ tone lays out the scene, then a deep bass line brings the song to life. A gentle low piano sound glides in, and a single note guitar transforms into falling riffs. The entire song jumps off a cliff incorporating all of the instrumental elements into a blissful free fall. Everything Orbits Something is the perfect soundtrack to a quiet melancholy day, and has songs that indie film studios would beg to exploit. While listening, I was under a calming influence that left me with a lasting tranquility.

Everything Orbits Something comes with an 18 page booklet that contains a collection of lyrics, artwork, a film scene, an entertaining short story about space travel via time folding, poetry, and writings inspired by the album. This bonus material is a perfect addition to an already complete artistic vision.

This article was originally written & published for a different publication in February of 2012. Some minor grammatical corrections have since been made. 

Buy their new album here: 

Kitaru (Republish)

After years of exhaustive efforts, the award winning production company Aoineko Studios will soon release Kitaru: A fantasy world conceived by Aoineko owner Ben Steele. The pre-production of Kitaru’s story, film, and video game has taken over five years. Five years dedicated to creating an alternate universe and reality that stands out high above the crowd of innovation, design, and gaming.

Steele, adding to his already prolific resume of writer, director, composer, Walken impressionist, and video game designer also manages to take on photography and video production work as well.

The game takes on a traditional RPG format of gameplay set in Steele’s fantasy world, “unlike any other game” the industry has seen. Players will have the ability to utilize holographic world maps and character movements via touch screen interface. The sleek game controls allow an open and fluid range of movement, perfect for the ever-budding mobile platform of gaming.

The visuals of Kitaru are extremely stimulating, and the attention to detail causes mouth breathing stares of amazement. Steele adds a sense of depth to the alternate realities he creates that make a person feel as though they could jump into frame never to be seen by the likes of Earthlings again. After thousands of days and pages of development Steele also hopes to provide an accessible story, set apart from those which gamers have grown accustomed. The excitement is scheduled to begin in September when Aoineko Studios will release the highly ambitious and visually stunning video game for iPhone, Android, PC, and MAC.

If the already gargantuan workload of creating, designing, and developing a video game was not enough, Aoineko Studios will release Kitaru the film sometime after the game is published. The storyline of the film will continue where the game ends. Innovation and creativity does not stop at the boundaries of Kitaru’s game and film development. Aoineko plans on implementing a unique marketing innovation as a part of their business model for fund raising through Kickstarter. Aoineko Studios and the Kitaru Development Team plan to animate the contributors of large donations into the world of Kitaru. The characters will appear in both the video game and the film.

Aoineko and the Kitaru Development Team are a merry band of artists, coders, and all around bad ass nerds from Italy, the UK, Germany, United States, and, of course, Arizona. The previews of thing to come on YouTube and Kickstarter are spectacular accomplishments of animation and awe inspiring alternate realities created with meticulous detail. It will not come as a surprise when Kitaru goes viral.

This article was originally written & published for a different publication in May of 2012. A couple grammatical adjustments have been made, and September 2012 (release date) has long since past without a game release.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Viable Solution

Does anyone remember Chris?
Does Chris remember Chris?
He had a voice so strong,
and power behind a fist

He was a curse of nurture over nature
They would point a finger, and I fell too
The tides that seize the soul retreat so quickly
Like a memory that slips so intentionally

I will  lend you a hand, but will not invite you in
This town, these cowards (superficial) have worn me thin

I should have learned from Chris
I should have stuck to my list

Back and forth and round and round
And back and forth and round and round
And forth and back around

I guess it's just our way
I only get one today
Only so much to take
You can seize the stage
Blaring out, Across the crowd
But here you have no voice
Here you have no say

I should have learned from Chris
Sometimes the answer is as simple as a fist

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Flags in the Wind

Pick a side and wave a flag
Wave it high and wave it proud
You need it now, Silly clown
Pick your side and hold it close
Raise your arms up to the sky
Take a shot, Try it once

Pick a side and tear me down
You get one shot, Take it now
This ends here, On this night
Just one shot, That's all you get
I warned you once
I warned you twice, but you
Pick a side and wave a flag

Wave it high and wave it proud
This ends here, On this night
Wave your flag, It's all you have
Wave your flag, Wave your flag