Mike Posner & The Brain Trust – A Matter of Time

Mike Posner & The Brain Trust A Matter of Time:

This really should be worse than it is. Most of these songs are like reading some lame dude’s blog about love. But there is great production and also the songs are catchy. So it’s not super bad, but you may feel embarrassed if you friends catch you listening to this even if you are a girl.

Rating: 9/15 Justin Timberlake clones

Interview with Odawas

Where and when did you form?

Odawas was formed in Bloomington, IN. Michael and myself both worked for the student newspaper. I wrote film and music reviews and Michael was my editor. While working on a short film, I learned that Michael occasionally played music, so I decided to see if he would be interested in doing some music for the short film. He played some demos for me and asked if I’d be interested in recording some parts from a keyboard he had. Neither of us had been in a band before that point, and I don’t think either of us thought for a moment that a band was being forged in those moments. The short film was never finished, but those demos became the Vitamin City EP, and I suppose the rest is history…

Who plays what during you live performance?

Typically, Michael plays acoustic guitar/harmonica and covers the vocals, while I play a couple of different keyboards.

How have you changed stylistically since forming?

I think the stylistic core of Odawas has remained the same, in that it is music based around the folk singer/singer-songwriter and the stories they tell. However, the worlds in which we choose to situate those stories has developed and gone through changes over the course of our albums. Following the EP, our first album for Jagjaguwar (The Aether Eater) was a psychedelic blitz of ambition coming from musicians finding themselves in a studio for the first time with free reign. The elements of psychedelia were honed down and filtered through a spaghetti western aurora for our following effort (Raven and the White Night). With our most recent album (The Blue Depths), the musical exploration of other and strange worlds found in psychedelia were continued, but now found themselves awash in synthetic reimaginings. But always at the heart is the singer-songwriter.

How do your songs come together?

This is another process that has evolved with time. Our current method of working usually involves Michael recording a series of demos for possible songs and ideas for the direction of sound. These are handed over to me and I begin working on arrangements and trying to assemble both the world Michael envisions with his songs and the sounds these worlds will consist of. After new and fuller demos are cut, the real work begins of figuring our what is and isn’t working, new directions suggested, old ideas abandoned, and stitching the pieces together again.

How do you write lyrics, and what themes do you prefer to cover?

Michael writes the lyrics for Odawas and these most often come after a song has been written. In a lot of ways, it really follows stream-of-consciousness as we work out the structure of the song and Michael plays with various phrases or ideas until he finds something that sticks and then a story begins to form around that. Stories are fairly central to all of our work. With The Aether Eater, we followed the hell-bent maddening of an astronaut, a la Dante’s Inferno via the furthest reaches of space. Raven and the White Night was loosely based around the events and experiences of the Jonestown massacre, the ideas of religious ecstacy and hypocrisy, and ultimately abandonment. With The Blue Depths, conceptually we focused more around the world we situated the songs within and less on a series of interconnected stories, though themes of love lost and won, secrets and death permeate its entirety.

Who have you most been most excited to play live with?

We’re always excited to play with the different musicians we’ve formed relationships with over the years. Shows with the likes of Zelionople, Elephant Micah, and the Black Swans always brought great times, great music, and great memories. We also have a show coming up at the Great American Music Hall with Autolux, which is an incredible band from LA that we are really excited to be playing with. Both the band and the venue seem pretty overwhelming, and that’s just how we like it.

What inspires you other than music?

Most directly, other than music, would be film. Film in all of its auspices has been greatly influential to both of us, its means of weaving stories with music and sound, and, in a way, is a great mirror to the means of production and work that goes into making an album of ours.

Where do you see yourselves as a band in five years?

This is completely dependant on the outcome of 2012, however, in five years, I believe Odawas will either be castled away in some decadently remote and ghost ridden studio, tapping the ether and releasing our creations in a Wizard-ly fashion or perhaps performing elaborate productions that are equal parts Scott Walker and Cirque du Soleil. Hopefully both. We definately have aspirations to be working in film/televison.

What has been the best moment you’ve experienced being in Odawas?

While we often consider ourselves a more studio oriented band at the time, playing live is always interesting and some of the best moments of being a part of Odawas come from those shows. We are always greatly appreciative and equally afftected when people come to us following a performance to tell us what they thought of the show. Regardless of where their opinions fall, its nice to know you’re connecting with people and that they care and/or are moved enough to come talk to you about it.

Why do you think your music is important?

I think if there is any one reason why our music is important, outside of to ourselves, it’s because it is definately the result of two guys who have had a dream and have been persistent in chasing that dream. Neither of us our virtuoso musicians, with all the time and money in the world. We’re average guys, with boring jobs that we have to work to make ends meet, whose cell phones get turned off from time to time. But we have this dream of music, and we follow it, we do the best we can, and we keep going. We may not be the best at what we do yet, but we’re fighting to get there, learning along the way, and not looking back. Dreams are an immovable compromise and our music is a reflection of that journey. That’s what is important.

AMM-Ambient 4: Isolationism

AMM Ambient 4:Isolationism:

A unique mix of free jazz, modern classical, and electronic music. This disk is completely improvised, and is extremely pleasant to listen to considering its atonal nature. Piano drums and cello, are augmented by Keith Rowe’s prepared guitar. Rowe plays the guitar by lay it out in front of him and manipulating it with a series of found objects and effects pedals. Though the other musicians play well, and manipulate their instruments in an interesting fashion, Rowe’s sonic palette is immense and overall simply more interesting than his compatriots. A fascinating listen.

Rating: 14/15 electric guitars are still cooler than acoustic instruments points

Pig Destroyer – Phantom Limb

Pig Destroyer Phantom Limb:

Vicious is the best way to describe this album. JR Hayes’ vocals have never sounded angrier, snarling through the tracks like enraged animal. Scott Hull shows off his skills in full. He easily switches from shredding riffs to something equally heavy, but catchy. This is all bolster by the new drummer who’s ability to not only keep up with Hull, but also add some grove is impressive. An artistic high point for this band.

Rating: 14/15 songs that should be the plots of movies

Baroness – Red Album

Baroness Red Album:

Hi, I’m boring! I try to be stoner rock but end up being generic and plodding!

Rating: 7/15 the EPs were better. I’m serious on this!

Neurosis – Given To The Rising

Neurosis Given To The Rising:

After a bit of a nap, Neurosis come back re-energized. Thanks to some help from Steve Albini this disk is one of the most focused Neurosis albums in a while. While it’s not super heavy on experimentation, it makes up for that by being interesting and solid. Defiantly worth a listen and hopefully the next album continues in the same vein.

Rating: 13/15 pseudo-religious songs about Armageddon

Kylesa – Static Tensions

Kylesa Static Tensions:

Oooh it might be early, but this album should be in consideration for best of 2009. Imagine if the current incarnation of the Melvins added a female singer/guitarist and then played metal. Yeah that’s how awesome Kylesa are. This disc is full of great riffs, awesome tribal drums, and a killer three way vocal attack. Get your hands on this immediately.

Rating: 14/15 not enough drummers