July 25, 2012

Some new releases from fave artists, some of them legends. Check it out.

Music review: Midyear must-hear albums, Part 1

BY KARL R. DE MESA July 8, 2012 9:27am
With the monsoon season in full swing and the city streets scoured by rain, here are some major releases from international artists to keep you company indoors or during traffic jams. Watch out for Part 2 next week.
Dirty Bass
Cherrytree Records / Interscope
You can say what you will about Kev Nish, Prohgress and J-Splif, they’ve certainly come a long way from their 2005 Folk Music debut. And on Dirty Bass they prove why their tunes are the stuff of hip-hop dreams with a nonstop extravaganza of club ready anthems that will get dance floors and booties shaking for as long as the bubbly lasts.
While there’s no track as easily gigantic as “Like A G6,” Justin Bieber (I can’t believe am saying this) provides ample A-lister oomph to “Live My Life,” an affirmative that leads to Ibiza-style ecstasy, curtailing the nigh unreachable Motown aspirations of these Asian boys.
Elsewhere on the title track, Tyga kicks up crucial grit on what would be a too shiny with glitter and lip gloss jam, and Pitbull, well, he performs amply again on the girl-tailored romper “Candy.” This one is nothing but a guilty pleasure providing a cohesive, if not entirely sensible, album with songs that allude to the first track’s loop–for those of us who still actually like to listen to albums in sequence, in their entirety.
Opening for Lady Gaga on her Monsters Ball Tour must have rubbed off some, because while these MCs have gained in accelerated pop sinew, they’ve lost in old school sense. You can almost hear them trying to make up for it in nearly every track (examine the confusing sparkle of “Flossy”). Still, if the party `til you drop desiderata wins out over the funkadelic, there are worse things an LP could be other than a showcase of phatness and driving, fuzzy bass.
The disc also includes remixes of their past hits like “Rocketeer” and “Like a G6.”

Read the rest of part one HERE.

Music review: Midyear must hear albums, Part 2

BY KARL R. DE MESA July 23, 2012 4:16pm

Here are capsule reviews of new releases for the wet season that can’t be missed. Check out Part 1here.

Clockwork Angels 
Roadrunner Records
There’s a sketch on “Funny or Die”  where comedians Paul Rudd and Jason Segel (reprising their characters from “I Love You, Man”) crash the dressing room of Rush and have this exchange while mucking up the buffet tray. “Man, how does Geddy Lee still hit those notes after all these years?” To which the other dude replies: “Voice of an angel, brah.”
From what’s on their new album, I’m inclined to agree. The Canadian power trio have been rocking it since the late 1960s and haven’t stopped since. Their discography is an effort to express a distinct and yet all encompassing musical language now known as prog rock.
Coming off their last proper LP, 2007’s “Snakes and Arrows,” this new album is a fully fledged concept that comes with a tasty steampunk storyline. There’s even a forthcoming novelization by sci-fi author Kevin J. Anderson. “Clockwork Angels” is loosely about a young man literally following his dreams, journeying through his mental landscape. Here there be pirates, carnival freaks and performers, anarchists, and the occasional lost city. Against the youth and dreams of the young man is set The Watchmaker. He is the enemy, ruthless, authoritarian, attempting to dominate the steampunk world under his fascist rule.

This thing is pure Rush from the psychedelia opener “Carvan,” continuing unrelenting to “BU2B” and the titular track. Pizzicatos, driving rock grooves, drop in fills, Lee’s twisting bass lines, and funk riffs, you name it, it’s all here. You can track the story if you listen to Lee’s clear vocals but for pure bliss nothing beats the nine minute virtuoso performance that is “Headlong Flight.”
As polarizing as Rush can be, if you are at all interested in complex rock, you must check this out.
Read the rest of part two HERE.

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