Rick's Discoveries Volume XLIIPosted 11/27/2013 12:19PM by Rick Gebhardt as Rick's Discoveries
It's Thanksgiving tomorrow! Well, at least for those of us here in the United States. For many it'll be a time to reflect. For others it is time to shop. Some will use the time to visit family. For me, I'll be working, cooking, eating, and listening to a lot of music. If you plan on doing the same, maybe give a few of the discoveries below a try. You might find something new to be thankful for!
Strange Daze - Shine Through
Ignore the ridiculously misspelled name for a moment. I know, I know… I usually ignore all bands that do crap like that too. This time out, however, it shouldn't keep you from checking out a very competent modern rock band. Yes, I will admit that at times Shine Through feels WAY too radio friendly and somewhat 3 Doors Down-ish, but that's probably because the mixer/engineer for 3DD and Creed also had his hand in mixing this album. Still, this gives me a bit of a nostalgic feel for when I listened to rock music on the radio back in the early 00s, which isn't too terrible of a thing... right?
Hypnos - The Fall
Here's some quality sludge for you. But in case you're worried it's going to just be wave after wave of chunky riffs, I'd like to mention there's also a healthy amount of atmosphere to give you some resting breaks between riding riff waves. Hypnos obviously worship at the dual altars of Neurosis and Cult of Luna, the former in the way that they approach the genre in general and the latter in how they add atmosphere and slip in some more nuanced undertones beneath the huge wall of sound that takes front and center for most of the album.
Later Babes - Deth
Part of me assumes this album has to have been put together tongue-in-cheek, but even if it wasn't, Deth is pretty enjoyable from a "this is so goddamn stupid, but fun as hell" standpoint. It's a mashup of songs, old and new, trendy and cheesy, all with big ol' beats, dance-o-riffic choruses, and immature lyric samples... which instantly sounds awful when described that way, but I still can't deny how well they manage to make it all listenable and catchy. And it doesn't hurt that they have a lot of nods to, and samples of, classic 80s cheeseball tunes. It's so bad it's good.
Machine Gun Kelly - Black Flag
MGK, as Machine Gun Kelly is also known, already has a pretty decent following and had a quite popular song with Waka Flocka Flame in "Wild Boy", but his latest mixtap shows him toning down the bro-styled rapping a bit and working on his flow. Instead of just trying to be as rapid-fire as possible, he has found a way to weave a lyrical rhythm into his songs. In the past I've tolerated MGK, but with Black Flag I find myself actually enjoying what he's putting out.
Everlast - The Life Acoustic
Yes, I'm considering Everlast a "discovery". Everyone knows him from the late 90's hit songs "Ends" and "What It's Like", but most people probably stopped paying attention to him after that point, which is too bad because he kept putting out relatively decent albums with his singer/songwriter/hip-hop style in full force. This album, however, is a departure from all of that, and he instead plays a dozen of his songs completely acoustically, the focus being on him and his guitar. Over the years his voice has gotten more and more gruff and here in 2013 he sounds like a world-weary, wise, soulful man who has had a life that you can't even start to imagine. This is whiskey soaked acoustic rock that you'll love.
Adjentist - Reach for the Sky
At their core, Adjentist are a slightly less technical version of bands like Periphery or Erra. There's plenty of djent riffing (as you could probably guess from the band name), mostly harsh vocals with some cleans tossed in occasionally, a few atmospheric passages, and a few heavy-as-shit pseudo-breakdowns. If you're soured on this genre, move on, but if you like it, this is higher quality stuff.
jakeL - The Black Sea
Just take a listen to the track "You Are Not Alone Said the Universe". Do it. Just listen. It's 7+ minutes of what you wished Pelican or Russian Circles was creating today. Post-rock sliding into post-metal, bathed in atmosphere and lightly dipped in sludge. I can't help but think this band must be utterly amazing live, hearing all of the interplay between the various instruments and being able to actually distinguish what is going on in the cacophony of sounds.
Mooncake - Zaris
Let's just call Mooncake what they are… a slightly smoother and less crescendo-y version of Explosions in the Sky. Knowing that, you'll find yourself really enjoying the album for what it is. At least half the songs are 10+ minutes in length, so you get the epic swooning back and forth, as well as some nice soundscape creations. The entire album is very light, airy, and smooth, which makes it a nicely calming experience.
Lodz - Something in Us Died
I'm at a loss for how to accurately convey the sound of Lodz. There's obviously some post-metal vibes throughout (a la Russian Circles), but there's also significant Cult of Luna influences to be found. There's also a nice interplay between absolutely guttural, throat-ripping harsh vocals and melancholic cleans that gives the album an ebb and flow between emotionally taxing (a la Katatonia) and emotionally aggressive (a la Swallow the Sun). There's a lot to like in what Lodz has created here, and it's a very unique experience to hear.
City of Ghosts - The Calm in the Current
For a while, I couldn't quite place who City of Ghosts reminded me of and, unfortunately, I still can't do it. I get hints of Thrice, The Beautiful Mistake, Hopesfall, and even some Beloved… but the more mellow aspects of all of those bands. There are no screamed vocals or breakdowns on The Calm in the Current, but there is a lot of classic post-hardcore aesthetic permeating the album. It'll stick with you. I found myself not wanting to move on to other albums while listening to City of Ghosts, which is quite an accomplishment.