Monday, November 30, 2009

Deathalizer - It Dwells Within

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Artist Website: Deathalizer (Bandcamp)
Netlabel Website: None

Track list:

1 - The Angel's Fall
2 - Suicide Lane
3 - Crawling Back In
4 - Crumbs From The Sky
5 - More Than Gone
6 - It Dwells Within

Download links: [FLAC and MP3]

I've never really considered myself a "metal head", although I do follow quite a few metal bands. While I'm not as big into Metallica as some of my friends, I understand the impact that they had on the metal genre, and I can identify them through their sound, which is very specific to their band. That being said, I had to double check the name of Deathalizer to be sure that I wasn't mistakenly listening to a Metallica album. The lead singer of Deathalizer sounds almost exactly like James Hetfield, the lead singer of Metallica, and while that isn't necessarily a detriment to this group's sound, it is almost impossible to not draw the correlation between the two.

Similarites to Metallica aside, It Dwells Within is quite a good album, provided that you have a strong interest in, or can at least stomach thrash metal. I can't really say that I found a stand-out track on this album, because songs in this genre tend to blend together for me (like I said, I'm not a metal head). However, I did enjoy the EP, brief as it was. The band's website is a Bandcamp page, meaning you can stream the whole album straight from your browser to see if you like it enough to download it. If you do, just click the download button and enter in a dollar amount (don't worry, you can put in zero dollars).

Friday, November 27, 2009

Bomb the Music Industry! - Album Minus Band

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Artist Website: Bomb the Music Industry! on Myspace
Netlabel Website: Quote Unquote Records

Track list:

1 - Blow Your Brains Out on Live TV!!!
2 - Does Your Face Hurt? No? 'Cause It's Killin' Me!!!
3 - It Ceases To Be "Whining" If You're Still "Shitting Blood"
4 - Big Plans of Sleeping In
5 - I'm A Panic Bomb, Baby!
6 - Sweet Home Cananada
7 - Funcoland vs. The Southern Electorate
8 - Ready... Set... No!!!
9 - "I'm Too Cooooool For Music"
10 - Pike St. - Park Slope (by Harvey Danger)
12 - Future 86

Download links: [MP3]

I'm a big fan of albums that can hook me right from the first song. Granted, that doesn't mean that I rely solely on the opening track to determine whether or not I'm going to enjoy it, but if the band can grab my attention that early on, there's a good chance that I'll stick around to listen to the rest of the album. That is precisely the case with DIY legends Bomb the Music Industry! and their debut album, Album Minus Band. From the first second of the opening track Blow Your Brains Out On Live TV!!!, you know exactly what you're in for. BTMI! is fast, dirty ska-punk, and while I understand that that type of music might not appeal to you, I've always had a soft spot in my heart for ska, as well as groups that truly embrace the spirit of DIY.

Several tracks utilize sound clips from various pop-culture outlets, such as a "Shaun of the Dead" quote at the beginning of Big Plans of Sleeping In and a bit of stand-up from comedian David Cross at the start of Sweet Home Cananada. What really intrigues me is the extent that Jeff Rosenstock (founder of BTMI!) takes the idea of DIY while recording his albums. For example, the song Sweet Home Cananada was apparently recorded using a built-in microphone on his computer.

There's really not much else to say about this album without delving into the background of the band, or their impact on free digital music (perhaps a future blog post?), so I'll finish with a few standout tracks on the album. Obviously the opening track is a good one, as well as I'm a Panic Bomb, Baby! and Ready... Set... No!!!

If you are interested at all in the free distribution of digital music (and judging from the fact that you're reading this right now, I'll guess that you probably are), do yourself a favor and look into these guys, as well as Rosenstock's label Quote Unquote Records. Whether you like their sound or not, Bomb the Music Industry! is a shining example of how you don't need to "sell records" in order to develop a highly devoted fan base around the world, and perhaps by listening to this album you might find out why.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Xihilisk - Instruction Manuals for Impossible Machines

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Artist Website: Xihilisk on Myspace
Netlabel Website: CXCRSIX

Track list:

1 - IDMisdead
2 - Sleep Patterns
3 - Argonaut
4 - Bloodshot
5 - Cocodamol
6 - Venice is Burning
7 - Aurora Rework
8 - Suitable For Vegetarians

Download links: [MP3]

Less than a year ago, I was under the impression that the electronic genre was made up of nothing more than obnoxious bass beats that were repeated ad nauseum over gigantic woofers in clubs. Then I discovered an electronic artist by the name of Xihilisk and a little "best of" compilation he had put together called FUCK THE RIAA! Seeing as I have no love for the RIAA, the title immediately grabbed my attention, and thought that since Xihilisk was kind enough to release his music for free I'd give it a listen (even though I wasn't expecting much).

The first track on the album was titled Argonaut, and to this day remains one of my all-time favorite electronic tracks. I did some scrounging around on the Internet but couldn't seem to find a public copy of FUCK THE RIAA!, so I decided to review another album which features Argonaut, Instruction Manuals for Impossible Machines.

This album really does run the gamut of emotions, starting with a jazzy feel in IDMisdead, and moving to an ethereal realm of electric guitars in Sleep Patterns. I realize that Argonaut is not going to be everyone's favorite track, but for me it holds that special moment of realization for me that just because some music is created digitally doesn't mean it can't be really good and stir powerful emotions in its listeners. For me, that track brings out a powerful feeling of wandering and loneliness, although I assume it'll be different for every listener. The rest of the album continues to delight as well, although starts to delve off into experimental with tracks like Venice is Burning and Suitable For Vegetarians. This is no problem for me personally, since it reminds me of the work of Buckethead, one of my favorite artists.

Overall, Instruction Manuals for Impossible Machines is a solid electronic album, and if you haven't given electronic or IDM a chance, check it out, you might actually be surprised like I was. All of Xihilisk's records are available on his myspace page via a blog entry, and you can also check out his netlabel which features other great artists by the link at the top of this post.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Isaac Graham - Empty Vessels

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Artist Website: Isaac Graham at Myspace
Netlabel Website: Copyleft Records

Track list:

1 - Photographs and Histories
2 - Gold And Steel
3 - Karl Marx And The Reds
4 - This Old Town
5 - Empty Vessels
6 - Superglue
7 - Columbus
8 - Heat Exhaustion
9 - Hurricane
10- When I Find Gold

Download links: [MP3] [FLAC]

Australian singer-songwriter Isaac Graham is the perfect example of exactly why you don't need a major record deal or fancy recording studio to make wonderful music. Using only a Tascam 8-Track recorder and a "cheap microphone", Isaac has created one of the best folk-rock albums I've heard in a long time. The closest comparison I can draw for his music is Frank Turner, and considering that Frank has a real record deal and a professional recording space, I think it's amazing that I'm able to make that comparison at all.

Right from the first track Photographs and Histories, Mr. Graham draws the listener in with a gentle acoustic guitar riff and his lovely vocals. Gradually throughout the song, the momentum builds as more instruments are added and doesn't drop at all (I had no idea there were that many words that end with "ees"). While there are definitely some rockers on the album (Karl Marx and the Reds, ironically enough, brought to mind Paul McCartney's Снова в СССР album), the majority of the album is perfect for fans of traditional folk music.

My favorite track of the album is definitely This Old Town, the perfect blend of hard and soft. The song keeps up at a great pace and refuses to lose energy, the lyrics are superb, and when the chorus comes in, the song actually seems to grow stronger every time.

At the time of this writing, Isaac has agreed to sign on to netlabel Copyleft Records, and although his artist page is not currently active, the download links for his album work just fine, and can be found at the start of this review. I eagerly look forward to hearing more from Isaac, and highly recommend anyone who even remotely enjoys acoustic/folk/rock music or Australian accents to give this album a listen.

An introduction

Hello friends and music lovers. Welcome to Music Industry Earthquake, my little blog devoted to spotlighting independent musicians and bands who are signed to netlabels and/or give their music away for free.

I decided to start this blog because free digital music is something that I am fiercely passionate about, and there are too many misinformed people out there who think that music cannot exist if there isn't a price tag attached to it. Through starting my own netlabel, I discovered a treasure trove of music that was previously unknown to me, being given away freely by artists creating simply for the joy and pleasure of it. I was amazed that some albums (recorded from somewhere no fancier than a living room) sounded on par, if not better, than professionally recorded albums by major label artists.

What I'm hoping to accomplish from this blog (at least at first) is a new album description/review two or three times a week (at least when time permits), and occasionally I might throw in a personal blog entry on current events involving the music industry.

Music has become a commodity rather than an art, and nothing would make me happier than to see the music industry leveled, with the major labels being brought down to the ground (hence the name of the blog).

Anyways, here's to hoping that you find some new, interesting music through this blog, and if you happen to really enjoy what you hear, find a way to donate to the artists! They are good enough to give their art away for free, and deserve every penny they can get.

Joe Pow