Friday, April 30, 2010

Dan Dectis - Deeply Superficial

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Artist Website: Dan Dectis at Bandcamp
Netlabel Website: Copyleft Records

Track list:

01 - Helios
02 - Nothing Serious
03 - Deeply Superficial
04 - Gloom
05 - Unreliable Narrator
06 - Morning
07 - No Words
08 - Go Slowly
09 - Cool Off
10 - Grandparents
11 - Stray
12 - On A Roll
13 - Away Again
14 - Solid State
15 - Because
16 - Mystical Forest

Download links: [MP3] [FLAC]
Stream/donation link: [Bandcamp]

I don't mind being honest with you all and saying that sometimes when I post a new album in this blog, it just feels like I'm going through the motions. Sure, I'm always happy to find new music, and I feel that every album I've covered here so far has its own merits that make it a unique listening experience, but often the albums just don't carry the "WOW" factor for me that make me listen to it ten times in a row like some of my favorite major-label artists. However, I can assure you that this is not the case with Dan Dectis and his debut album, Deeply Superficial. I met Dan through a private music community, where I found out that this album had become a hit on the popular website Despite the fact that Dan agreed to become a part of my netlabel and graciously offer his music for free, I still purchased a copy from him because it's that good.

There's really no single tag that can describe this album. Part jazz, part ambient, part rock, and part singer-songwriter, Dan performs every instrument featured on the album, including guitar, organ, and saxaphone. One of the reasons why it's hard for me to classify his music is because each song is a unique piece of music from the previous track. While this can sometimes mean that the album is lacking in focus, nothing could be further from the truth in this case.

The album opens with the upbeat Helios, setting the tone with a very singer-songwriter feeling. However, the album then proceeds to go in an entirely different, darker direction with the ironically named Nothing Serious. Third in line is the title track, Deeply Superficial, with jazz so smooth it'll make your head spin. Gloom is the next song, and again it goes in a different direction than the previous three tracks, taking on a somber, ambient feeling with echoing saxophone tones laying a subdued backing for the electric piano.

If Deeply Superficial was an EP that was comprised of nothing but the first four tracks, I'd still consider Dan's asking price of $8 a bargain. However, you get a total of 16 amazing tracks on this album, and the quality of the recording is such that you'll think you're listening to a professionally recorded album.

Like I mentioned above, Dan's work is available for free through Copyleft Records, but if you really like what you hear (or you'd like to sample it before you download), head on over to Dan's Bandcamp page (link at the top of the article) where you can stream all the songs, and purchase the album in any bitrate for a minimum of $8.

Friday, April 16, 2010

It's A King Thing - Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo

Artist Website: It's A King Thing

Track list:

1 - Old Hobbies
2 - Mush Mouth
3 - Baby Tantrum
4 - Everything Backwards
5 - Kira
6 - Bill Haverchuck
7 - Number One Option
8 - Vegetarian
9 - Hanging Out
10 - Wine and Ponies
11 - Tammy Faye
12 - Triple Jump

Download links: [MP3]

Hooray, another free indie album! Seriously though, I'm always happy to stumble upon new free music that isn't electronica (not that I don't like it, but it seems free rock/indie music is much more rare).

This week's album entitled Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo comes from the group It's A King Thing. On their website, they list their "sounds like" counterparts as "The first 2 Weezer albums, The Lemonheads, Nada Surf, Ben Kweller, Superdrag, The Shins, Guided By Voices." Unfortunately, the only one of those artists that I have listened to for an extensive period of time is Weezer so I can't agree or disagree with their other choices. I will admit that there were several points during the album that were reminiscent of The Blue Album and Pinkerton, if not in the songwriting, then certainly in the sound they managed to achieve. The distortion used on the guitars in Baby Tantrum could have come from Rivers Cuomo, and the 3-beat feel of Vegetarian reminded me of the classic Weezer tune My Name is Jonas. Other than those songs, however, I think it'd be a real stretch to draw any more similarities between the two groups.

The only thing I can think of that I didn't really care for in this album are the lead vocals. For the most part they seemed rather wispy and breathy, although I suppose that type of singing complements this kind of music better than someone with a really heavy tone.

I suspect that those of you who are certain that they don't like music that can be put in the "indie" genre are not going to get much from listening to this. You can tell the guys in It's A King Thing are fans of the genre and made this album specifically for people who also enjoyed their type of music. However, the tunes are easy enough to listen to and if you don't feel like actively analyzing the album, it makes a great background soundtrack for whatever it is you happen to be doing at the time, whether you're surfing the Internet or driving in your car.

Overall, not one of my favorite release, but I did enjoy listening to it several times through for this entry. If you aren't totally opposed to this kind of indie rock, give 'em a listen.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Free music news: Bad Religion planning to release new live album as a free download

This post isn't really a review, but more an interesting bit of news that I thought I'd pass on to the few of you who follow my blog. As any of my close friends could tell you, I'm a huge fan of the punk-rock band Bad Religion. I've been a fan for years now and I own all of their albums. So when I found out through that not only was Bad Religion planning on releasing a live album to commemorate their 30th anniversary, but that they were also planning on releasing it as a FREE digital download, needless to say I was a tad excited.

My first exposure to Bad Religion came in the form of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 (their song "You" was featured on the soundtrack) as well as the game Crazy Taxi. If you are even slightly interested in punk music you are already probably a big fan of this band, but if you've never listened to them before, I strongly urge you to put aside any preconceptions you might have and give them a shot. Their lyrics are a lot deeper and more meaningful than you might initially give a punk band credit for, and front-man Greg Graffin can certainly hold his own in the intellectual arena, having earned a bachelor's degree in anthropology and geology, a master's degree in geology, and a PhD in zoology. When not touring with the band, Graffin teaches several sciences courses at UCLA.

Tomorrow will be a normally-scheduled review!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Bad Blogger, bad!

Hey everyone, sorry for the delay in the new review. For some reason Blogger wasn't letting me update the other day, but everything appears to be working now. I have the day off from work tomorrow, so expect the next review sometime tomorrow during the day. I'll make a facebook/twitter post when the review has been added.