Friday, January 30, 2009

Eyes Averted - Self Titled EP

I love Eyes Averted. They are one of the best, most original acts the Syracuse, NY area has offered. Yep, I said it. I’ve known these guys for an incredibly long time and I’ve seen them progress and get better and better over the years. In my personal opinion, they have really peaked with the sound they established on their full length “Paralyzing Passion and Motion”, released in 2006. Having seen pretty much every incarnation of the band leading up to that album and hearing all the different sounds they produced up to that point, I can easily say that they hit their sweet spot. The power trio. Time tested, mother approved.

The “Eyes Averted” EP continues with their trade mark style, and they are still on top of their game. 4 songs, almost all of them under 3 mins long. But from the brief inhale of breathe at the beginning of “Epidemic Of Disaster” to the end of “Casting Shadows” this EP does not let you down for a second. The opening track immediately kicks in with EA’s high energy. Powerful screams, vocal harmonies, noodlely/riffy guitar parts, technical drumming and equally technical bass work. I mean, this is Eyes Averted’s bread and butter. If you’ve heard them before, none of this will be a surprise to you. This EP is a great follow up to “Paralyzing Passion and Motion.” Pretty much continuing, and expanding where they left off.

If you havent heard them, well, where the fuck have you been? A Disturbed concert? While so many bands out there, that I suppose could be considered contemporaries to EA, are trying to make Calculating Infinity: Part Deux, Eyes Averted plays there own kind of mathy metal that in no way sounds anything like that. Its spazzy. Its all over the place. Start/Stop dynamics. Overall, its refreshing.

How this band is not signed and the biggest thing around is beyond me. Honor Bright is on MTV with all their mediocrity and yet this band sleeps in obscurity? I’ll never understand why things are the way they are in music. Hopefully someday soon Eyes Averted will get the credit they deserve. The members of EA are all over the country now but expect them to keep releasing amazing music in the future. Please just do yourself a favor and check out this band!

On a personal note, I would just like to thank the band for allowing me to hear and review this EP before its even released. You can trust I've listened to it more times then I can count in the couple days I've had it. Haha.

-matthew st.

The EP I reviewed is going to be coming out in the near future. "For The Weary", one of the tracks off of the EP, is on Eye Averted's Myspace page. Go listen to that track and the other songs they have up there.
I also highly recommend purchasing their full length “Paralyzing Passion and Motion”

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Lynx was a four piece instrumental math rock band from Boston that ended up moving to Chicago and then broke up. They were only around for a couple years. Short lived, but very good. Their guitarist, David Konopka, went on to be in Battles. I’m sure that’s how most people hear about this band. Fuck, its how I heard about them honestly. But personally, their bassist Paul Joyce’s musical track record is much more impressive to me (I’ll be reviewing at least one more of his bands in the near future). Anyway, they’ve been compared to bands like Oxes, Don Caballero, and even Tristeza. So definitely give them a listen.

-matthew st.

Personal LP Highlights:
-Explosive Diarrhea
-Look At That Table And Make It Spin In Your Head

Both of these releases are from now defunct record labels. They arent made anymore and you probably cant get them. You can always check your local independent record store though.

This fan myspace page has unreleased songs and a full live show! Get into it!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Oh, Canada (Part 2): Jakartah - In The Nervous Lights Of Coincidence

Even though this band is a recent find for me, they are from Canada, so I will include them in my ongoing “Oh, Canada!” series. Also, they are fucking great, so why not show people another awesome Canadian band?

After much pondering, I think I have come up with a short description of this band, and more specifically this album, that is at least mostly accurate. Jakartah sound like a more riffy Jawbox, or a heavier Burning Airlines, with a singer that sort of sounds like the singer of Young Widows. Weird right? Haha. Please give it a listen and let me know what you think. I recommend it to any fans of Jawbox and other good post hardcore bands in that vein. And though I’m not sure if fans of Young Widows would like it, I still say at least give it a listen. Cause you never know. This is the Vancouver band’s first and only full length. They broke up. Which is bummer fo shaw. But it’s also kind of amazing, considering they released stuff of this caliber right off the bat.

-matthew st.

Personal Album Highlights:
-A Young Boy Forgets About Heaven
-Rosa Unida drinks Anxiety
-A Thousand Miles Connects You To Me
-Liaisons At The Woodward Building

If you like it, please purchase it from your local independent record store

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I'm going to try to keep it short today as per Tisdale's request/expectations of us contributors. But believe me that I could go on and on about Joiya. They are great people and good friends of mine. They are also probably one of my all time favorite bands I've ever seen live.

This Michigan band blew my fucking mind when I first saw them 5 years ago. It was another case of “why does this awesome band, like my shitty band?” haha. The four piece consisted of a guitarist, drummer, cello player and a piano/violin player. Both male and female vocalists. They played an awesome blend of mellow and high energy indie rock. They also did some extremely mathy and technical stuff. These guys are real musicians and their music can easily be appreciated by other musicians. But I think fans of bands like Aloha and Rachel’s could easily get into them. They sadly don’t play anymore because the members are spread all over the country. Its truly sad because they created some really beautiful and original music together. One can only hope that Joiya will someday be able to reunite and produce more awesomeness.

-matthew st.

Here is their amazing full length Sometimes Is And Kinda
I've also uploaded their unfinished album. Just note that the unfinished album is just that, unfinished. Its unmixed and alot of the songs are just ideas. The few "finished" songs are quality though. Included with that is a track off a Xmas comp that they did and a demo song "Rogue", which would go on to be called "Rivers."
You can get all of that right here.

Sometimes Is And Kinda personal highlights (even though i love the entire album):
-We're Just Gonna...
-Kill Colours With Kindness

Unfinished Album personal highlights:
-Suicide Is Painless
-Death and Departed
-The Funearl

Monday, January 26, 2009

37500 Yens - Astero

So oh hey France, when the fuck did this happen? And I guess the better question would be, why was I so late to notice this? It seems that somewhere along the line, all of these instrumental mathy guitar/drum duos popped up all over the country. I’m going to be talking about the band 37500 Yens, but I have a feeling that in the future I will do a review of another French duo, Cheval de Frise.

Of these French bands I have recently heard, I can honestly say that 37500 Yens is probably the most heavy and aggressive. This record opens up with a dissonant guitar arpeggio that becomes the building block for the rhythmic guitar and drum interplay that punches in and asserts itself for the remainder of the record. This band sounds more like A Minor Forest hopped up on super cool then it does Hella. Jumping from here to there, but never sounding overly bombastic or riffy. From the first song on, you’ll realize that though 37500 Yens is only guitar and drums, they use loops and samples to fill in space when it is needed. Even a saxophone pops up to spread some free jazz love. “Astero” ends with a moment that is the complete opposite to how the record begins. Almost as if the whole album is a build up to that moment. Listen for yourself.

If you are into A Minor Forest, Don Caballero (Mike Banfield era), Hella, Tera Melos, or pretty much any heavy mathy instrumental bands, I highly recommend this album.

-matthew st.

Personal album highlights:
-Carnard Boiteux
- The Sullivan's Quartet

If you like this album, please try to buy it from your local independent record store

Oh, Canada (Part 1): The Plan - Only These Movements Remain

There is something about Canada and me. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I have a French Canadian last name, with no actual Canadian ancestry. Maybe I’m searching through the music of the country to find out what the fuck that’s about? Haha. I don’t know. I’m just making an excuse for liking so many Canadian bands (The Plan is one of my favorites). Not alot of people know, but Canada has had an amazing music scene for quite some time. I know, its hard to believe. Most people think Rush or Bryan Adams when thinking of Canadian music. Maybe, if you're lucky you'll get someone that thinks of Godspeed You Black Emperor! But there is so much more to it then that and i hope with this new "series" I'll open some people's eyes to some of the amazing music that has been going on in the Canadian underground over the years.

I always felt that in America, Fugazi was sort of the standard of influence in starting a post hardcore band. It was either them, or a later band whose influence was undoubtedly them. I always sort of thought that in Canada, the same could be said for Shotmaker. Now I’m not saying that Fugazi hasn’t influenced bands in Canada but I feel like on an album like “Only These Movements Remain” you can hear Shotmaker all over the place. Now that is not to say that Fugazi can’t be heard as an influence on this album as well. I think there might even be a tinge of that “San Diego Sound” that people used to refer to when talking about Drive Like Jehu. Simply put, this album is energy. Yelling vocals with screams coming from behind. Duel guitars coming at you with angular and aggressive movements. The bass work on this album is really great. I would even go as far to say that some of it is noteworthy for the genre. The drums are powerful and tight. As they should be for this kind of music. There are elements of mathiness every now and then. There is even some slight experimentation in the way of cello, vibraphone and trumpet being added to a few songs. But nothing that would turn off the post hardcore purest to this record.

I am very bad at recommending albums to people. I usually don’t know what to say in a “for fans of…” statement. But I will say for this album that if you have listened to any of the above mentioned bands, and you liked them, you should really listen to this album.

-matthew st.

if you like the album , please try to buy it from your local independent record store
or you can get it from the record label's online store

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Suis La Lune - Heir

Up until this point, the majority of what I have posted have just been favorite albums and bands of mine. And personally, I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. But I'm changing it up today. Instead of posting back to back all time favorite albums, I decided to post today about a band I just heard for the first time earlier this month. This 4 song EP has been on repeat pretty much since first hearing it.

Suis La Lune is a Swedish screamo band. And when I use that term, it is completely related to what that genre used to be and not what the hot topic going masses would try to have you believe it is today. Think of bands from Virginia and Canada in the mid 90’s. The best example for comparison might be the band Indian Summer from California. Suis La Lune plays a style of music consistent with all those bands, but adds elements of later acts that might be tagged “emo.” The guitarists often play together in a way on this EP that brings to mind both Indian Summer and American Football. The loud, screamy and aggressive sound is surprisingly complimented by breaks of clean, beautiful, intricate guitar work. Only to build up and explode again.

If you are at all familiar with the genres and bands I've discussed above, “Heir” will just make sense to you. Its not difficult to see what the band is trying to go for stylistically. Suis La Lune plays a style of music that I thought was dead. I’m glad, in this case, its not.

-matthew st.

If you like the album, buy it from your local independent record store
or you can get it from Suis La Lune's webstore

More songs and American tour dates can be found at Suis La Lune's Myspace page.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Television - Marquee Moon

What you need to understand is that to me, this is real original punk. Not The Sex Pistols. Not The Clash. For some reason I always thought the first punk music was this: NYC 77. I don’t know why. I think it was probably because my first taste of what old punk was, wasn’t all that British stuff. It was all the New York bands. Television being one of my favorites.

I’ve seen interviews in a few movies on the genre of punk, where members of both The Sex Pistols and The Clash admit that they were all at the first Ramones show in England, and then started their bands after seeing that band. At least those “punks” had a blueprint to build off of. God, or the flying spaghetti monster, only knows what influenced Television to play the way they did. Or be able to play what they did. They did things on their debut full length “Marquee Moon” that I cant honestly think of influence for reference. Lets just take the albums title track for instance. It starts with every member coming in and playing on some off beat of one another. Math rock ancestry fodder maybe? The leads and solos in the song are not your typical blues based guitar lines used in popular rock at the time. You can hear it in the song's however many minute long guitar solo. Which leads into a build up and peak that I have to think influenced Sonic Youth on some level. And that’s only one song. Overall, this is a punk rock record, with an emphasis on the rock. Though there are a lot of ideas from other genres of music. Elements of classic pop songs can be heard in “Guiding Light.” While a song like “Elevation” has an almost reggae vibe in the beginning, but completely changes by the chorus. Singer/guitarist Tom Verlaine has such a distinct voice. It works so well with his lyrical style. And both his voice and lyrics work so well with the music the band produced on this album. Like they were all made for one another.

I feel like, over time, people who have wanted something different in the music they listen to have gravitated towards this record. A lot of the ideas contained on this album might not seem like a big deal today. But viewed in context, its kind of outrageous this band did what they did, when they did it. I think the album still holds up as one of the greatest “punk” albums, and maybe one of the best albums of the 70’s.

-matthew st.

support your local independent record store buy purchasing the album if you like it

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Tenebre - In Everything Give Thanks

I’m digging into my secret stash for this one. This band was a myspace find for me. They were in the top friends of Animal, my friend’s band, and I randomly checked them out. Boy am I glad I did. Historically, I’ve probably listened to this album more at work than any other album. And working in a daycare, you have lots of opportunity to listen to music.

Tenebre does something very cool musically on this album. I always considered math rock and post rock to be on different sides of the same coin. But Tenebre’s music is kind of a blend of both genres. Which I didn’t think was possible. The band has the mellow vibes of post rock. With some songs having an undeniable jazz influence. But guitarist Max Foreman is often playing his guitar like he’s right out of Chicago. It’s easy to see why these guys refer to Don Caballero and Owls as influences. But don’t pigeonhole this band as just another tappy, pull off happy instrumental math band. They create crazy amounts of atmosphere on this album. With help of the dynamic drumming, courtesy of Daniel Pearce, and the upright bass skills of Patrick Taylor. Yes, that’s right, their bassist plays an upright bass! How can you not check this out now?

It’s very rare that an album exists that you can see people of opposite interests enjoying. This album is, at times, mellow without ever getting boring and other times interesting without ever getting overbearing. Overall, “In Everything Give Thanks” is a really good record start to finish, which tends to be rare nowadays. If you like to just chill out and relax, or love bands with interesting guitar work, this is a band you need to know. How often do you get to make such an oddly grouped statement? Haha.

-matthew st.

Personal album highlights:
-The Story of a boy on a Ladder
-Painting Walls
-A Call From Jane

if you enjoy this album, please buy it from your local independent record store

You can hear more music from them at their myspace page

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Knife Crazy Retrospective

Knife Crazy was a three piece rock band from Buffalo, NY. I can proudly say I was, and am friends with the members of this band. Fen Ikner played drums while Vic Lazar and Phil Freedenberg played guitar. Phil was usually playing his guitar with his fingers in a tapping manner. They played loud, technical, dancy, mathy rock. All three members sang. Often with a simultaneous duel vocal attack courtesy of Vic and Fen. Their voices always sounded amazing together. I had never heard a band that sounded like them. And even after hearing them and being well versed in their songs, I still can not think of any band that they sound like.

Theres used to be a long story here but I took it out because it made this post super long. Maybe ill repost it in a future blog. haha ...Well, for some reason Knife Crazy actually liked my band, and we would go on to play more shows together before they broke up/went on hiatus/whatever it actually is. Fen moved away to Arizona, which pretty much put an end to the band playing. Which is too bad because I felt that band had so much potential.

Phil and, his then future wife, Lisa had already started a side project called Red Tag Rummage Sale, A guitar/cello duo. So that became his main project. Vic started the spacey Victory Light Black Honey, and later, Patrons Of Sweet, which he still plays in now. Fen is doing a project in Arizona called Hero Alligator. Which is equal parts weird and awesome. But considering he was in Knife Crazy, that combination is not really surprising. He’s also in a band called The Otterssey, which pretty much needs to be heard to be believed. Dude is a fucking genius I tell you.

Recently I went to see Patrons Of Sweet play in Rochester with
Mistletoe. While there, Vic gave me a copy of the unreleased Knife Crazy album. Listening to that CD has brought back all these memories and has made me want to tell and show all of you this band you either never heard of, or didn’t give enough of a listen to.

I’ve uploaded their albums “Delicious, Delicious Science” & their unreleased full length “Sweet Ferrari Pics Dude.” Which I got word probably is not going to be released. Bummer. This band is for fans of mathy rock type stuff? There is nothing I can really do to describe this band accurately and do them justice, so please just check them out and get your groove on.

There was talk at the Sinaloa show Sunday that Knife Crazy might be playing some shows in the future. Lets keep our fingers crossed that that happens. They are greatly missed.

-matthew st.
Personal album highlights:
-Hittin' It Big on the 801's
-Your Shampoo Smells Like the Directors Cut of Cocoon
-An Homage to Ants and All the Hard Work That They Do
-Mao Say What?

Personal album highlights:
-Intrigue At MinelliCon 97'
-Hmm, That's Fishy - A Computerman And His Soldering Gun!
-Moonwalking Over Isotopes with George Washington's Runaway Coda

(note: The song “Saving the Running of the Bulls from Heart Failure” was supposed to be the opening track on "Sweet Ferrari Pics Dude", but Vic didn’t have the finished version. So I included the demo version so you can get the idea. They never figured out a tracklist except for knowing that “Bulls” was going to open the album. How the tracks are numbered is how Vic put them on the CD for me.)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sinaloa - Oceans Of Islands

I had the pleasure of seeing this band perform this past Sunday. And i was really excited for the show. Not only because a couple of my friend's bands were playing, but because in the weeks leading up to the show, Sinaloa had become my new favorite band and this album was probably the album I listened to most.

Sinaloa formed in 2001. The Massachusetts natives have released three full length albums, Oceans Of Islands having been released just last year. They have appeared on some various comps and have also put out a boatload of splits with bands like Ampere, Catena Collapse, Wolves and Daniel Striped Tiger. And that is just naming the few that I know of off hand.

The band, which consists of two guitarists and a drummer, never sounds flat or dull on this release. They somehow make the space work for them and sound as full as any band. After listening to the album, I actually went through and checked the liner notes to see if there was a bass on this album. Not even because I thought I heard a bass on the recordings, but because it sounds so full, it was hard for me to believe they were able to achieve this sound otherwise. There isn't any bass on the recording. Every member of this bands sings and their vocals all work really well together and with the music they make. The music sounds energetic and urgent. Technical drumming, without ever overplaying. The guitarists work beautifully together crafting guitar lines that compliment one another and make the songs really powerful and moving. The vocals are sung and yelled like the members of the band are trying to say, “Please understand what these words mean to me." And that is exactly the type of band Sinaloa is. In their album, they have the lyrics for all of the songs, but they also have explanations for what each of the songs are about and what lead to them being written. But what I love is, that is where they keep it. So many bands just love to go on these long winded speeches about this and that live, and honestly, it turns me right the fuck off and takes me right out of the music most times. Even though they are very conscious about many different issues, Sinaloa aren't preachy live and their lyrics certainly aren't straightforward or blatant. And yet, once you read what the songs are about, it makes the music they play and how they sing to the songs make just that much more sense. Sinaloa will spell it out for you, but all of it is already there in the songs they are playing.

I recommend this album to everyone. Though, having an appreciation of mid 90's indie music wouldn't hurt.

-matthew st.

p.s. the band was amazing live. :-D

Personal album highlights:
-Tread, Not Trudge
-We Could Not Move
-Rows Of Tops

If you like this album, please buy it from your local independant record store!
OR, you can order it online from Level Plane Records Online Distro! LP / CD

Monday, January 19, 2009

Lisabö - Ezarian

Anyone who has talked to me in depth about music lately has probably heard me mention this band. This is the first album I ever heard by them, and I still think it is outrageous. Its by the band Lisabö. They formed in 1998 in Spain. In their 11 years of existence they have released four albums and an EP. “Ezarian” was released in 2000 and is their second album.

“Matt, describe them with one word.” Okay. Powerful. Since forming, they have forged a unique sound for themselves. I can honestly say that they are the first band I have heard with two drummers that I don’t think ,“What the fuck is the point of this? They are playing the exact same thing the whole time!” Lisabö’s drummers have a way of playing off each other, playing in between each others lines, that mingle and intertwine in such a way that at times tricks you into thinking there is only one drummer. The music they produce will sound new and yet, familiar to anyone who knows enough of the genre. At times you can hear elements of everything from Shellac to Fugazi to Unwound to Sonic Youth.

This album starts off quiet with whispers and moody guitar/cello interplay and then wacks you upside the head when the second song kicks in with its driving rock. The contrast of quiet and moody & powerful and passionate runs all through out this album. What they are going for is so easy to grasp that is doesnt even matter to me that they aren't singing in English. Which is honestly, the only thing I can see turning people off to this album and band. But its definitely worth checking out.

-matthew st.

Personal Album Highlights:

-Hemen Naiz Ez Gelditzeko Baina
-Ur Gainean

I don’t honestly know if you can get their albums in America, but I would highly suggest checking your local record store.
More of their music can be found at their myspace page.
Here is a live video of them playing the song "Hemen Naiz Ez Gelditzeko Baina" & some of the song "Ez Nago Maitatzeko Prest" from the "Ezarian" album.

Unwound - Leaves Turn Inside You

Unwound were a band that changed with every album they put out. "Leaves Turn Inside You" is their last album and though its sad that it is their last release, what a way to go out! The term "swan song" gets tossed around alot, but it fits perfect for this album. All of the elements of the bands past albums are here, but along with new experimentations. Piano, Keyboards, Cello, etc. It feels very open. I dont like to use the word spacey, but it can totally fit with this album. Almost like you are floating from song to song. And yet, there is an aggression that is usually reserved for more straight forward/non-adventurous post hardcore bands. This band was often overlooked in the face of bands like Fugazi. But I suggest anyone into post hardcore, or even early math rock or post rock, giving this album at least a listen.

Personal Album Highlights:
-Off This Century
-Below The Salt

if you like the album, please buy it from a local record store.

-matthew st.