An Autumn Evening – Loraine (2012)

Loraine

Album artwork for An Autumn Evening

I’d say that post-rock is definitely one of the more difficult genres to stand out in.  Although plenty of bands succeed in creating a worthwhile representation of the style, you would often be hard-pressed to remember any of their material.  Potentially great music, just not quite memorable enough. Today, I’m here to turn your ear on to Loraine, a band out of Atlanta that just released their first EP, entitled An Autumn Evening. Although the group, with just over 2,000 likes on Facebook, is still fairly underground, this five-track EP is a product that deserves a much wider audience.  Every note is played with great emotion, every song is a perfect transition from the last, and every moment listening is spent in blissful reverence.  Strong words to start out with, I know, but post-rock seems to have a way of calming your mind and bringing out the more sentimental thoughts.  The point is that it’s clear this is a band that has connected with their music on an deep and impassioned level.

Now before I continue any further, I’d first like to say that the album artwork (pictured above) is an absolutely stunning work of art done by modern impressionistic artist Leonid Afremov. It also happens to go beautifully with the design of my website, so major brownie points for that.  Now, to business.  A few weeks ago, I posted about the new album from the band Swans, which also has post-rock tendencies.  While that album focuses on the darker, more “noise”-oriented side of the genre, Loraine brings a much more ambient and melodic sound to the table.

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The Dead Symphonic EP – Zomboy (2012)

Album artwork for The Dead Symphonic EP

Album artwork for The Dead Symphonic EP

Dubstep.  Or brostep, if you prefer. It seems like it’s the only thing people are talking about nowadays. At least, that’s the case here in Miami.  And of course, there are a million amateur producers that are clogging up the pipes with nothing but cheap emulations of the greats, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still quality music to be found. Joshua Mellody, better known as Zomboy, has been absolutely killing it in dance clubs across the globe.  He’s a natural at heavy dubstep production.  His sophomore release, The Dead Symphonic EP, came out in September of this year, and never before have I seen so much energy and quality packed into a six-track EDM release.  I had the good fortune of seeing this man perform a live set in Tampa a few weeks ago, and I consider it to be one of the best dubstep shows I’ve ever attended, even rivaling such heavyweights (pun intended) as Datsik and Kill the Noise.

Zomboy works within a genre that is defined by fairly universal sound production methods, so the fact that his music is easily distinguishable from the sounds of his peers is certainly commendable.  He does pull heavily from the well-known styles of Skrillex and Knife Party – “Vancouver Beatdown” calls to mind the memorable “Devil’s Den” (Skrillex and Wolfgang Gartner), while “Deadweight” bears a striking similarity to Knife Party’s “Centipede” – but rather than casting the ugly shadow of unoriginality over his work, he uses such resemblance to establish himself as a bold player who can hold his own in the big leagues.

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People Hear What They See – Oddisee (2012)

Album artwork for People Hear What They See

Album artwork for People Hear What They See

If you’ve been following this blog for a while now, then you may have noticed that there’s been something missing since its inception: hip hop music.  For a site that claims to support all styles equally, this certainly seems like a problem that needs to be addressed.  Well, I’ve finally gotten around to it, and today I present to you People Hear What They See, the latest from rapper/producer Oddisee.  This is a quintessential hip hop album.  It’s an incessant spark that adds to the bonfire of hip hop culture, and it’s a great use of 45 minutes for rap aficionados and novices alike.

Enjoying hip hop music has always been a bit of a struggle for me.  I’m going to spin you a bit of a personal story here, but bear with me (I’ll try to keep it short).  Don’t get me wrong, I always appreciated the genre, but I’ve never quite been able to get into it.  I hold no confusion as to the reason – it’s a direct result of my instrumentally-focused musical foundation.  Progressive rock was the first style and subculture to kindle my love for music into a full-blown passion, and that’s about as far away as you can get from hip hop.  Thus, it’s in my nature to place less emphasis on the lyrical content of a song, which of course is a defining characteristic of rap music.

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The Seer – Swans (2012)

Swans

Album artwork for The Seer

Alright, so I’m going to go ahead and give it to you straight.  The Seer, released in August by experimental rock band Swans, is a masterpiece.  It is probably one of the most brilliantly constructed albums I’ve heard all year.  It is a journey in meditation – a mental experience as much as an auditory one.  And it becomes more and more enriching of an experience with each new listen.  Every time I press play, I perceive it in even more detail, and pick up on more subtleties than I did the previous time.  According to the band’s frontman Michael Gira, the album took “30 years to make.  It’s the culmination of every previous Swans album as well as any other music I’ve ever made, been involved in or imagined.”  This is something that becomes immediately evident.  A seemingly carelessly-laid assortment of eclectic sounds, reexamined, becomes an elaborate array of intriguing sounds and samples, with each element in its proper place.

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Now, I know what some of you may be thinking.  You’re not really into the whole noise rock scene.  You might even rather listen to a baby screaming all night long.  But here’s the thing about post-rock.  It’s about composing soundscapes.  It’s not so much about writing catchy music or fast-paced songs.  It’s about the cumulative experience.  And with The Seer clocking out at the two hour mark, it’s definitely a thoroughly-thought-out experience.  Thom Jurek sums it up pretty accurately in his review: “it is not an endurance test, but an argument for compulsive listening.  It’s an exquisitely wrought journey through post-rock, electronic soundscapes, haunting acoustic songs, punishing noise, and (lots of) percussion.”  This style of music is not one that frequently attracts the casual listener.  It has a much more meaningful effect once you understand the philosophy behind it, and that can only be achieved by surrendering yourself to the music.  Take in everything that you hear with an unbiased ear.  Once you can do that, you can reap the pleasures of that artist’s creative mind.

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