The Return of Los Gauchos

Not to detract from the efforts of Nobel Prize winner Luis Federico Leloir, heralded footballer Diego Armando Maradona or even the tango, but Martin, Agustin and Emilio Jorge are quite possibly the best thing to ever come from the beloved country of Argentina. In an interview I did with Los Gauchos earlier this year the brothers expressed their love for heavy music citing Sepultura, Iron Maiden and King Diamond amongst their favorite bands. With the group’s latest set of covers they prove this to be quite evident once again, delivering solid renditions of tracks by Deep Purple, Iron Maiden and Pantera amongst others. Another such band the boys love is Metallica, and I don’t know that I’ve ever heard a better rendition of “Fuel” than this blistering interpretation. (It must be noted that young bassist Martin has apparently branched out his wardrobe, this time around focusing on Sponge Bob rather than his oft-dawned Pokemon attire.)

The Chemical Brothers “We Are The Night” Review

The Chemical Brothers‘ latest album attempts to build momentum and create its own unique atmosphere, like so much of the duo’s back catalogue has done, but We Are The Night ultimately suffers the same fate as its title track: delivering tons of possibility with little result. “We Are The Night” sounds similar to “Star Guitar,” from the fantastic Come With Us, though it fails to exhibit a triumphant apex; instead building into a soft underdeveloped finale.

Undeniably though at first glance the appeal of the album comes from the slew of marquee guests included in the set such as the Klaxons, Ali Love, Fatlip, Willy Mason and Midlake. Given such a lineup one would think the group impenetrable to failure, but if only that were the case. “All Rights Reserved” lacks the edginess that gives the Klaxons their sound and character, questioning the necessity for collaboration on the track at all. What’s the point of creating a piece of music as a team if one party has to strip itself bare of influence and technique? “Do It Again” finds itself victim of an unfortunate title as Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons fail to create a strong collaboration, again; this time with Ali Love. Love’s contributions come off sounding more like failed electro chic-rock than the danceable joint which it should have been.

Fatlip’s contribution in “The Salmon Dance,” while truer to his style, is still ultimately forgettable. The beat finds itself perfect setting for Fatlip’s school-boy rap, both being simple and disinteresting. Seriously, what’s up Fatlip? The upside to the album includes one of the album’s standout tracks entitled “Saturate.” It’s upbeat rhythm, intermittently burping reverb over starry flickers of sound, introduces a fantastic drum loop that adds an organic presence to the sound. However there’s still a shade of disappearing substance lurking over the song, something that became present within the group’s sound around the time its singles collection was released in 2003.

Recently discussing We Are The Night with a friend we came to the conclusion that there’s really no longer any need for the group to release albums. By this point in time their audience isn’t entirely driven by new material and there is less of a need to continually produce a fresh product by the group than there is with other like acts. That being said they are musicians and there will always be a drive to create, it just seems as though the purpose is now more suited towards their own indulgence than to fantastic material. After all, why not capitalize on your patriarchal position within the music community and invite some fantastic guests to join in on your latest album?

But as a fan there is a sense of retreat through this process as We Are The Night is most definitely not the album that it could have been. The Klaxons collaboration shouldn’t have sounded dull and meaningless and the Midlake set shouldn’t have sounded like Moby’s last two albums. Even if they had fun in the process it’s hard to imagine that the results fit the intent.

Mastodon “Sleeping Giant” Video

I have no idea what’s going on in this video. There are spaceships, strange smoke clouds, hairless men, laser shooting Mastodon busts, miniature dinosaurs…and not a single sleeping giant to be found anywhere. What gives?

Beyoncé Falls During Performance, Encourages Mankind To Hang In There

While performing in Orlando this past Tuesday, as a part of her Beyoncé Experience Tour, Beyoncé Knowles took a serious tumble, falling down a small set of stairs. As a sign of hope for all humanity however, she refused to let the mistake get in her way and she continued to belt out hit after hit, determined to show humanity not to give up. And for that, Beyoncé, we salute you.

Everlast Records “Saving Grace” Theme Song

Everlast recently tracked the theme song to TNT’s upcoming series Saving Grace. After checking out the trailer for the show I’m fairly certain that it’s a TNT original series however (aka: not entirely worth watching) but that being said I must admit that Everlast’s track, also called “Saving Grace,” sounds pretty good. Call it a guilty pleasure, but since Whitey Ford Sings the Blues I’ve had a soft spot for the guy; yes that includes Eat at Whiteys, yes that includes White Trash Beautiful…and yes, that even includes the track “So Long” from the horrific End of Days soundtrack. The song is catchy, what can I say?

KMFDM “Tohuvabohu”

Before breaking into an uncharacteristic slap bass beat “Super Power” recites begins with what has long since been a staple in the KMFDM diet, a self-glorifying gas “What can KMFDM do for you? Now for one low price KMFDM can blow your mind, rock your face off and jump start your heart. Come see and feel what km can do for you!” Dissimilar to other albums however, the pro-KMFDM jabber that continues throughout the song comes from fans who were invited to record and submit exactly what the band means to them.

Returning with Tohuvabohu, KMFDM’s sixteenth album in its twenty three year history, the group of electro-teasing industrialists hits with a set slightly more beat orientated than its last, Hau Ruck. Like the band’s effort to include its fans in the album it clearly makes an attempt throughout to cover a wide variety of its past sounds and themes. Tracks as “Looking For Strange” sounds reminiscent to the spin-off MDFMK, “I Am What I Am” is a slower driving track that pummels like much of the band’s mid-career catalogue and “Saft Und Kraft” pummels with Al Jourgensen-like temper. The album will be released via Metropolis Records August 21st.

Tegan and Sara “Back In Your Head” Video

The Con’s first video, “Back in Your Head,” was debuted on Spinner this morning and with it comes a mixed up tale of the odd person out in a world of complacency. Either that or the video doesn’t really represent anything and is simply a means for getting a hundred people to wear ski masks…I suppose the meaning is entirely in the eye of the beholder, but given that the song is about relationship woes I’m sticking with the ski masks for sake of ski masks theory.

Chamillionaire “Mix Tape Messiah 3″

Chamillionaire returns with his latest mix tape, Mix Tape Messiah 3. In typical mix tape fashion he delivers over twenty tracks with some hits, some misses and some unnecessary skits. One of the main points of interest comes from Chamillionaire’s heavy use of Chicago-based beats in the mix combined with words distancing himself from the Houston scene. In a recent recap of the first half year in rap XXL’s Byron Crawfordpresented the “It Was Fun While It Lasted” Award (Presented to a genre of rap that was inexplicably popular for three months two years ago) to….Houston Rap. (link)

In his final commentary track “Chamillionaire Speaks” many remarks go to further separate the man from his local contemporaries, “strength in numbers but i feel stronger than a mother on my own two feet.” He continues by addressing the ongoing criticisms of the scene’s recent slump “the magazines be like Houston we have a problem or is Houston over or…who’s gonna hold it up and I’m like what? What that got to do with me? Nothing.”

In another measure of distancing himself from Houston some of Mix Tape Messiah 3’s best tracks utilize said Chicago beats, taken from Kanye West’s upcoming Graduation and Common’s Finding Forever. Common’s “The People” is sampled in “Don’t Hurt ‘em Hammer,” “Nothin’ But Lies” samples Kanye’s “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” and the aptly titled “Makes Me Stronger” samples Kanye’s “Stronger.” Take heard record industry: the multi-million selling rapper’s entire mix tape and accompanying DVD are available on Chamillionaire’s web site - legally and free of charge.

New Max & Igor Cavalera Project: Inflikted

Former Sepultura drummer Igor Cavalera and his brother Max (Soulfly, ex-Sepultura) recently rectified their differences, speaking for the first time in roughly a decade. The brothers last recorded an album together on Sepultura’s 1996 album Roots, by most accounts one of the best metal albums of the decade. While Max was touring Europe recently he received a call from his brother, entirely out of the blue, and had since maintained the relationship, “we kept in touch and later on I told him I’d written some songs with him in mind and did he want to come over and play. They don’t fit anywhere else, not Soulfly, not Sepultura. It wasn’t like I was asking him to join Soulfly, it was something new and fresh. Like a new beginning of our lives.” (Metal Hammer)

Max continued in his Metal Hammer interview, noting the new project that he and his brother are working on and its influences. “It’s called Inflikted. It’s a real metal/punk thing. Anyone who knows Sepultura will know we were pioneering in terms of introducing metal fans to bands like Dead Kennedys, working with Jello Biafra before he did anything with anyone else in metal. I love metal but me and Igor also love hardcore and punk, so it’s coming from that mentality.”

The duo recently began a MySpace page which also named some additional members of Inflikted, Marc Rizzo (Soulfly/Ill Nino) on guitar and Joe Duplantier (Gojira) on bass.

Simian Mobile Disco “Attack Decay Sustain Release” Review

“What makes Simian Mobile Disco a better pop band than Justice or the Klaxons is their commitment to clean danceable beats,” suggests Jess Harvell in his review for Pitchfork. And throughout Attack Decay Sustain Release that thought remains a constant, with James Shaw and James Ford combining efforts to create something with its roots seeded far deeper mid 1980s pop and late-stage techno than many of today’s electronic musicians. With far less layering and an open disregard for modern trend the duo scan through numerous sub genres on their way to defining a sound outside of the ever shifting electronic landscape.

Unlike that of Air’s recent Pocket Symphony, which created a mood shifting disparity between its songs that included structured vocals and those that did not, tracks such as “I Believe” find themselves as focal points which the rest of the album is seemingly aimed at. It and “Hotdog,” which includes vocal traces of The Go! Team’s Ninja, defy the typical role of a vocalist in modern electronic music by heavily weighting the songs with that the singer’s role. And it is throughout Attack Decay Sustain Release that the music finds itself revolving around the talents of a singer rather than the opposite, something much akin to the late-stage techno hinted at earlier.

While the group’s efforts have managed to define it as something other than an English Daft Punk there comes a risk in doing so as differentiating simply isn’t enough within itself to become substantial. With tracks on recent albums † and Sound of Silver successfully loading various songs with heavy track lengths Simian Mobile Disco make a conscious effort to do the exact opposite. Granted, the majority of the album’s tracks were released long before Attack Decay Sustain Release, but the theory behind putting an album together is that is should be, well, to make a thorough album. And as an album it collectively weighs in at a little over a half hour, often missing out on the driving progressive sounds that so frequently sustain sounds of the group’s contemporaries. The group’s point is just that however. Again as Harvell mentioned, Simian Mobile Disco is the pop band equivalent to what is flourishing in today’s electronic music scene, and asking anything more simply wouldn’t be innocuous.

Ben Harper "Glory & Consequence"

Context: Though his last few releases have been hit or miss Ben Harper’s 1997 album The Will To Live carries itself as a strong set, one which introduced Harper to a wider audience as it was his first ever charting release. One of the most touching and inspiring songs on the album is “Glory & Consequence;” in it Harper battles his own insecurities and confronts his fears – something that I’ve found great solace in over the years. One of the most difficult things that a person has to confront is losing love and without any reservation, I associate this song with those feelings. Mere months after graduating high school, I found myself in a new country, deep in a stranglehold of love. I look back, having recently found myself feeling those emotions again and again found reprieve in Harper’s words, “I would rather me be lonely and you have someone to hold / I’m not as scared of dying as I am of growing old.“

Result: Something deep beneath the surface of Harper’s lyrics is a sound that comforts me and that sentiment is no more truthful than with this song. “Glory and Consequence” is a song that I first heard driving around one night knowing that things were souring with my girlfriend and it consoled me, helping me understand that the feelings I had were normal and it was alright to let go. Now I find myself letting go again and the soundtrack, it seems, hasn’t changed.

[This article was first published by Music is Art.]