unfortunately my Portuguese hasn’t improved any since the previous post. has yours? meh. you should be able to enjoy this anyway. duelling melodic guitars that rapidly exchange the listener’s focus with perfected lines of power chords and sugar sweet picking, with a pleasant rhythm section consisting of bass lines softer than the softest of duvets and an easy on the ears drum kit with lots of toms and nice fills. finally to top it off there are vocals that blend comfortably in with all of the other equally vital ingredients of Polara, making this album just as safely a bet as the previous one. this might even be better – at least to my ears. I’d like to make a bold comparison to Sugar, with their “cleanly distorted” guitars and unmatchable sense of melody. this is simply brilliant. and for all of you who were slightly annoyed by the occasional low quality recording on the previous album, rest assured – this album is much more consistent in terms of audio fidelity. so audiophiles, come on in you as well. I present to you twelve delightful emo songs from the Brazilian masterminds Polara. enjoy!
archive for February, 2010
now over to one of those bands that I know absolutely nothing about sans the fact that they make great music. these guys have uploaded their music for free on last.fm, and so I thought I’d do the users of that’s punk a favour by uploading it here as well. and believe me, this is a favour you’ll appreciate. Polara are an emo band from Brazil, a country we haven’t explored thoroughly enough on this blog. actually, I think that the only other band from Brazil that makes an appearance is DDT punkrock. so let’s welcome Polara to the party! they play a sort of Cap’n Jazz-esque emo with tons of energy. the songs are one or two minutes of uplifting guitars and harmonic vocals. this is punk rock that just shines of feelgood and joy. some of the songs are rather lo-fi, but most have more than satisfactory recording quality. and the musical quality is dependable on each track. for the most part, this is uncomplicated punk rock with guitars, shouting and upbeat drumming. some tracks experiment outside of that scope, but the tracks that I like the best are the ones that are just rocking out. so check this out for some great happy emo. and if anyone could direct me to where to buy their stuff in Europe or how to get in touch with them, let me know!
with twinkling very Penfold-esque guitars and soft drums and bass this band’s sound is extremely reminiscent of Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson, particularly their first album. what sets them apart from them though is that their love affair with Mineral and the other greats of ’90s emo is far more apparent. though these guys have definitely picked up on the modern progressive rock trend, they aren’t as planted in it as Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson are – though they do move into these pleasing American Football affairs from time to time. I’m not going to compare the bands in terms of quality, because this is highly subjective. that’s for you to decide, which one you prefer. I will however say that they hit different moods, but are to me fairly equally satisfying experiences. e! e! are generally a far more bleak and dismal affair. the lyrics are easily compared to Mineral’s, generally not filled of metaphors or overly complex wordings – but somehow there is something poetic and deep about them. this is no doubt caused by the culmination of the lamentable delivery, the melancholic atmosphere and the simply depressing words about hearts being torn out and lungs giving out. lyrically, this is simply a very consistently sad record. and the music definitely reflects that, if it isn’t the lyrics that are reflecting the music – because let me assure you, it is a depressing affair of soft nervous drumming, harmonic bass lines, and twinkling clean guitars building up into weeping minor chords and feedback with frail vocals shouting words of greater torment and pain over furious crisp drums. if you have forgotten what anxiety feels like, this is the album I’d recommend you to pick up. this record expresses grief and sorrow like few others. so check it out. and if you like it, you should pick it up from http://www.cylsrecords.com/ – because these guys deserve every buck they get. so help keeping both e! e! and cyls afloat by picking up this CD, because it really is fantastic. the artwork (I have the Japanese version) is great also. artsy, but great. pick it up! if you’re from Europe, you should consider getting it from http://sncl.collective-zine.co.uk to save some bucks on shipping.
in 2005 the world was exposed to one of the most exciting début albums ever, not to say one of the most exciting albums ever period. Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson hit the ground running, and impressed many people in doing so. the album had one foot in the emo genre with their delightful ’90s emo picked guitars and the occasional screamed vocals drew comparisons to acts such as City of Caterpillar on one hand, but then The Gloria Record on another level. Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson’s other foot stood balanced and firm in the progressive rock genre with their progressive and clever compositions. patient like Godspeed You! Black Emperor and climactic like Sigur Rós. in addition to these foots, Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson naturally had arms. one of which was a bit longer than the other, the dreamy ambient one. the other somewhat shorter arm was just as important though, the electronica arm. together, these four limbs crafted a somewhat introverted and philosophic kid who wore his feelings on the outside of his skin for everyone to see. and now Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson are back. with what is easily one of the most anticipating albums of the year, they face a great challenge in following their majestic début album (which also is up for download here somewhere down the list, by the way). what better way to take on the challenge then, but to produce one of the most ambitious releases of all time? none. released as a 32-paged book that comes with multiple colour variations of the cover and with a written text inside that varies from version to version, as well as many pretty pictures and beautiful colours, and on two CDs – this is definitely something more than just a second album. check out the cover. that picture as well as two more are included in the download. and here is two random pages in the book as well. and two more for good measure. and finally – a picture of the CD. and while they look lovely like that, I cannot stress how much you should definitely invest money in this album if you can afford to, because it’s rather cheap for a 32-paged book – and it’s so definitely worth it. you should probably buy it even if you don’t like the music – because it really is that good. and it feels nice to know they’ve put so much effort into this magnificent packaging. it just goes to prove that this band is interested in offering something different, something consistent and thorough. this will be a long post, demonstrating what a fatal flaw the design choice of one paragraph per post… but there are two discs, so I arrogantly divide this into two paragraphs to make it at least slightly easier to read.
like this… so now – to the music. because that is what truly matters. to me at least. while the book and the pictures inside of it gets me excited in its very inviting presentation, it is essentially worthless to me without the music to back it up. don’t get me wrong, I like pretty pictures – and if you are into that stuff you should as mentioned pick up the book even if you’re not into the music – but my relationship with pictures is mostly «hmm… that’s pretty… hmm… that’s also nice…» – it rarely goes way past that level of enthusiasm. so to me, the book is a compliment to the music – not a necessity. but it adds another level of ambition, and it’s so awesome that they are so dedicated to delivering a product that is flawless in each and every way, that you should really stop reading this and head over to http://www.howisannierecords.com and pick up your very own copy of this. actually I’m willing to bet that if you have heard this band before, you have probably already ordered a copy purely based on the début. if you however are in some kind of doubt – click the download button, and continue to read on. this album is a perfect album. or should I say these albums? because it’s divided up into two albums, “Puzzle” and “The Detective”. actually I’m not even sure I want to call it albums either. yerp. it’s official! we need a new term to do these glorious objects d’art proper justice. anyway – to compare this object d’art to the début is sort of hard, I guess. the reason being simply that both of the releases’ songs are so closely knitted together. the songs on the first release belong there, and putting them on this one would be wrong. and so, even comparing them gets a bit weird to me. but what I can say right of the bat is the obvious lack of electronic elements, the complete lack of programming, which might perhaps lend this album a more organic and timeless quality to it. there are also more vocals evident on this, something that sets them effectively apart from most of the ambient progressive rock bands who tend to be nearly or completely instrumental. Gjermund, the main vocalist, has a very mellow voice that blends in with the soft pieces of the compositions effortlessly and elegantly. and occasionally Torbjørn, the second to main vocalist, gets the opportunity to scream until his lungs give out here, just like he did on the début. these two vocalists are distinctly different from each other, and serve distinctly different yet equally important purposes. what great fortune this band has struck upon with two so gifted though different vocalists! or rather, what great fortune we – the fans – have struck upon, finding this band. this is generally the feeling that rushes through my body whilst listening to this. what great fortune! whenever the guitars twinkle and twinkle into a shining climax that is utterly useless to even try to compare to anything else ever, it’s another reason for me to rejoice. whenever the cello graces the soundscape by taking control, as if it’s running off a cliff, forming wings just before the take-off, it’s another reason to rejoice. the band describes the songs as sorrowful hymns somewhere inside the 32-paged book, but to me this album is joy embodied in the form of music. it’s essentially happiness inside of a book. with seven members, Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson creates a lot of happiness, and a lot of noise. several layers of noise even. some mellow noise, some crisp noise and some harsh noise – all pretty noise. with twinkling minor chords, sparkling major chords and extremely intense drumming not contrasted but complimented by soft and harmonic bass lines and cello – this band creates an angst-ridden playground, in which they bend and break the nerves with every opportunity that are presented for them. claustrophobic build-ups that lead into open and wide but focused and aimed climaxes. this object d’art is what you get if someone dumps every potential human emotion in an ocean of emotionally charged, dynamic and beautiful noise. take the picture now, because it doesn’t get more perfect than this exact moment. download. buy. http://www.howisannierecords.com
when someone from a band contacts me and says something along the lines of “hey I saw you posted e! e! and thought you might like our stuff”, I feel fairly confident I’ll like it long before I get the chance to listen to it, and thoroughly look forward to the moment when I actually find a chance to do so. and thankfully It’s Just Vanity didn’t disappoint one bit. but if you are expecting them to sound like e! e!, you might be surprised at the more Small Brown Bike-y approach. it’s more Deep Elm/Drive-Thru driven than e.g. e! e! is, but at times it still draws comparison to stuff like Mineral, when it’s at its softest and the guitars twinkle and so on. they generally favour melodic riffs over intricate picking most of the time but are definitely masters of both arts. they also utilize some solid rock solo picking with just enough distortion to make it sound right. it’s sort of reminiscent of an emo band paying the occasional homage to classic rock. anyways, you should all check this band out if you like very melodic and catchy emo like Small Brown Bike and don’t mind twinkly passages like those of Mineral. it’s good. maybe especially the epic six minute closer. download this! you can even get it in FLAC if you want. :)
Ethan from [insert half of the bands on that's punk here] is back with a band called Screaming and Dreaming, in which he and his brother pretty much hammer through these ten uplifting tunes. sounding like something between the psychedelic schizophrenic rock of Rudimentary Peni, the carefree experimental jams of Edward Kasperl Band and the insecurity of screamo bands that never made it out of the rehearsal room – this record shows us all that rock isn’t about technical ability or production value. it’s about expressing yourself in a manner you deem fit. thus this record is an exoneration to all the punks and a penance for all the math and prog kids. download this and go nuts, like these guys did when they recorded it.
we’re moving from Kazakhstan to Pennsylvania, and to the gentlemen of Street Smart Cyclist, who more than enjoy comparing themselves to Boys Life and Cap’n Jazz. these comparisons are legitimate though, seeing as this band definitely belongs in the sort of wuss rock category with twinkly guitars, shouting, upbeat drumming and the feeling of being a kid running around at full speed in the living room doing whatever as long as you do it really really fast and it annoys your parents. it’s sugarrushcore. some of the tracks are even acoustic, but they still manage to convey the energetic approach inherent in this band. what all of this means is that you need to download this discography and rock out.
today we continue our exploration of Kazakhstan’s musical affairs with Carina Rossa and their creeping and haunting atmospheric guitars and intense screams – and complete lack of drums on three of the four tracks presented on this little demo collection. it’s intimate, ghostly, chilling and well worth a listen. download this and give it a go! there’s also a video of the band performing a track included in this post, so check it out.
the first time I ever heard of this band, I saw one of the members’s shout in I think Mineral’s shoutbox or the shoutbox of one of their songs on last.fm. he said something akin to “yo… so there’s this mid-west emo revival thing going on in Michigan and thereabouts”, and he linked to some bands – including his own, this band. so I checked them out because… you know… they like Mineral, what could go wrong? well anyway, it turns out I made the right choice. because this band completely blew me away! it’s sort of Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson but without the electronica and ambient noise parts, so it’s a much more purely bred style of emo. it’s progressive and fairly grand, but still it’s far simpler than Youth Pictures, and consequently distinctly different, despite sharing many key traits. the songs flow beautifully, and the energy these guys provoke is reason enough for exulting. the sensitive and emotional vocals compliment the equally sensitive and emotional guitars that along with the commanding though soft drums and bass lines make up the dreamy and longing melodies that force me to – without any qualms at all – compare this 7″ to the glorious February/M.D. 7″ by none other than Mineral. yes. it’s that fucking good. e! e! sings “wear your heart out”, and I encourage you to wear your ears out by listening to this record. it’s oop, but you can catch other e! e! stuff at http://www.cylsrecords.com – and you should. this Michigan emo really makes an effort to bring back that soft, intricate, melodic and to a certain degree popular style of ’90s emo portrayed by bands like Mineral and American Football. hints of Knapsack, The Get Up Kids and gods reflex are to be found, particularly in Keith’s voice. the end result sounds a lot like the Norwegian emo orchestra Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson mixed with some of the newer and fresh American emo bands, e.g. Castevet and Joie de Vivre (who both are on the label that is to the extent of my knowledge started by the members of e! e!). do yourself a favour and check out this band!
to continue our exploration and appreciation of the glorious nation Kazakhstan, here is another Kazakh artist. Ochra Days covers an entirely different sound than Mapadelmundo though. we’re going from whiplash screamo to trance-inflicting ambient music on that’s punk, because that’s punk! Ochra Days is a synth-heavy project that evokes many different moods by moving throughout various atmospheres elegantly. the transitions are performed with much grace. this is the kind of ambient that is soft enough to put on in the background, but detailed enough to be reward an attentive listener as well. the modus operandi for Our Dreams Are Drawn In Grey is mainly wide and layered arrangements that sometimes find their way into distorted noise climaxes. if this sounds appealing to you, I urge you to check this out. it’s quite the experience. Borat approves of this post.