Thursday, June 26, 2014

Album Review: Enemy Planes "Beta Lowdown" (pre-release) - Second Favorite album of the year 2013-2014

The hauntingly beautiful singing and enveloping atmospheric sound of this album stood out immediately for me when I was considering my favorite albums for the last year.  Though the first pick for my favorite local album in the last year was clinched by the upbeat message of the under-appreciated sophomore EP released by the band Moving Parts, my second pick goes in basically the opposite direction.  The message is darker and embodies the nihilistic love lost frustrations of an older generation.

I got a copy of Enemy Planes' forthcoming release "Beta Lowdown" when they gave a few out at a "Monastery" house party a few months back.   Though it is not even technically out yet, it easily takes second place among my favorite local albums in the year since I started my blog.  This album stands out for me based on the sheer musicality of the sound and the dynamic flow of the album as a whole.  It's cynical and jaded lyrics are juxtaposed against intensely perfected rhythmic shifts and soaring electronic sounds that remind me of the orchestrations I love by bands like Radiohead and M83.  It's ethereal melodies will overwhelm your senses leaving the empty you decaying away into a void, replaced by a shade looking down from above at your former self falling away.

I know it's not fair to say this is one of my favorite albums, since the general public can't get it yet, but you'll just have to wait in anticipation as these guys build momentum to become one of the next big bands out of Minnesota.  They are set to release the album next January 2015.

In addition to the quality of their studio recordings, this band has the adult perspective towards playing music that comes from members of the band working for years on the other side of the stage at venues like Cause Spirit and Soundbar in Minneapolis.  Likewise, this group's live shows at house parties and small local venues have been just as musically intense as their well crafted studio versions.  These guys thoroughly deserve to be acknowledge for their incredible musical talent and professionalism.

So far they have released two official music videos to Youtube.

With more than 11,000 views since it was released, "We Want Blood" will give you a glimpse into the dreamlike melancholy frustration that flows freely in this album.

The song "We Want Blood" is also available for purchase on Bandcamp for $1

Their second music video "Bare Your Teeth" is currently at 2,000 views since it's release a couple months ago.

If you want a brief introduction to more of the songs from the album you can find it on their Soundcloud profile here.

You can also follow them on twitter to stay informed about upcoming shows, etc.

Want to get in on the action before they get big?  Buy some merch!  These are the shirts I like the most, but they have more available through their full website here.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Album Review: Moving Parts "Music From The Monastery" Favorite underfamous local Album of the Last Year 2013-14

From the very first words of their short sophomore EP to the soft accoustic finish of the last song, the music of this local band is upbeat happiness mixed with notes of the melancholy misunderstood.

I love the way you speak our language/
most disregard me as a strange kid/
but you find beauty in the strange/
I've made a point to do the same/
and I love it when you speak my language/

Moving Parts is a local band out of the Twin Cities of Minnesota including musicians transplanted from the likes of Iowa, Indiana, and South Dakota to this city of independent artists looking for their big break in the Midwest.

Each track has it's own special message that has resonated with me from the moment I first heard it.  It's truly easy to start "trippin on our ego", "getting locked up in your head" looking for that next big break.  Their wonderfully humble perspective is juxtaposed against the mundane selfish indulgence of our daily lives.  In addition to the quality of this album, they have consistently refined their live sound and energy on stage to fill their audience with the undeniable desire to dance away their worries and find the strength to abandon the selfish indulgences of our modern reality.  With light and airy guitar riffs mixed with perfectly placed keyboard flourishes and dancy rhythms, this brief album will leave you refreshed and introspective about the deep significance of the lyrics, which will linger in your head to reinforce the positive messages hidden in it's passages.

We have walked for days, just to loose everything/
And I've been seeing things, nobody else has ever ever seen/
I feel like an empty shell, oh, the sea knows something but can't tell you...

Music From the Monastery is an album of upbeat positive music that should be on everyone's listening list.  Of all the albums by local musicians that have flown under the radar of the mainstream music interests in this big small town over the last year, the one that I think for sure deserves way more exposure than it has received is this beautifully succinct set of music.  I do not use these words lightly when I say that this album is my favorite of the last year.  There have been many other great albums from local underfamous artists like Danger Ron and The Spins, Enemy Planes, Dead Larry, The Jelly Project, The Lone Crows, Turn Back Now, the list goes on and on.  But, though many of those are fun to listen and dance to, this one struck me with it's truly substantive and positive message that has helped to reinforce my own desire to flourish in life.  The positively optimistic message of this album stands out over the others, which have sought different purposes for their self expression.  Each song in this album has a positive message that hides beneath the misunderstood reality of our modern day lives.

We're passively vicarious, I find that to be the scariest/
We live through a screen, through the eyes of another being/
Well, I know, yes I know, that we don't know, na we don't know a thing/
They like to think they know a little something, about everything/
Well you can tell us we're the reason/
I'm gonna have to disagree/
Oh, You just keep your composure/
keep living passively...

I know it may seem like I am trippin on my own ego, since I now live with these guys at the monastery(house).  However, it was precisely that possitive mentality and desire to attain meaning in life that drew me to live with them in the first place.  Besides, these guys haven't been, and that's why they are still an unknown.  But they deserve more.  Not only do all of the songs of Music From the Monastery have a fun, upbeat, and lively sound, they also each hold a message of constructive thinking and hopefulness that fills me with intrigue and thoughtful circumspection each time I hear them.  It's five songs are a brief interlude into the mundane daily frustrations we encounter.

We'll celebrate in your memory/
well be dancing at the revelry/
I hope we live until were 93/

It's not about the bad times anymore/
its bout what the future has in store/
there's bound to be so much more...

Find the full album on Bandcamp

Also Check out their Music Video for the song "The Free People"

Finally, come See them July 24th with two other impressive local bands Chalk and So Big at The Nomad World Pub in Minneapolis, MN.