Sep 252020


(In this post Andy Synn reviews three albums being released today or in the near future — by Deftones, Enslaved, and The Ocean.)

As anyone who’s been following this site for, ooh, more than five minutes, will know, we tend to aim our collective focus at the more underground and/or underappreciated albums and artists out there.

Not because we have to. Not because we think it makes us “cool” (trust me, we’re not cool). Not even because we’re trying to make some sort of point or big statement. It’s just because we want to, and because it’s generally more fun to write about these sorts of bands than it is to regurgitate the same generic platitudes you can see/read everywhere else about bands who already have more than enough exposure.

That being said, sometimes we like to turn our attention to some bigger game, and bigger names, because… well… because we feel like it, basically. Which is why you’re about to read my short, but sharp, take on three artists/albums who’ve already received a fair bit of praise elsewhere but whom I think deserve a slightly more critical (dare I even say, objective?) assessment.

Think of it as my attempt to restore some balance to the force, as it were. Continue reading »

Nov 142012

(Andy Synn reviews the new album by Deftones, which was released yesterday on the Reprise label.)

Let’s face it, some bands exist in a genre of one. Despite what imitators they may attract, Deftones are certainly one such band, capably incorporating a countless multitude of influences (there’s a hip-hop, jazzy freedom to much of the material, while the always dramatic vocals have a gothy, new-wave romanticism to their breathless, aching delivery) into a singular ocean of metallic sound.

The Sacramento five-piece find themselves in the enviable, and rare, position of possessing a singular sound – hugely influential, but rarely (successfully) imitated. From the halcyon days of whiny post-hardcore, through to today’s crop of weak-kneed djentiles, the influence of Deftones has been palpable, but rarely well-incorporated. And that’s because these other bands have almost all attempted to use the Deftones influence to soften their sound, to give it a forced romantic edge which blunts their overall impact. And in doing so, they’ve missed the point entirely.

For Deftones those quiet moments, those ethereal melodies, and sparse, shimmering structures, contain just as much power as their down-tuned riffage and tumultuous drumming. There’s heartbreak, there’s angst, there’s even love… but it’s always powerful. Continue reading »

Aug 172012

SPOILER ALERT: If you’re new to Dexter and haven’t yet made your way to the end of Season 6, skip this post.

I don’t watch a lot of TV, but one show I do watch like an addict watches for his dealer is Dexter — the ongoing story of a police blood spatter analyst who moonlights as a serial killer (or vice versa). For six seasons I’ve been glued to it, caught up in every twist, turn, and cliffhanger. And speaking of cliffhangers, Season 6 ended with a real doozie, as Dexter’s police-detective sister Deb enters the church that Dexter has outfitted as a kill room just in time to see him plunge a knife into the demented Travis Marshall.

This is obviously going to mark a dramatic turn in everything about the show and its central characters. Dexter’s success, against all odds, in passing as “normal” is over. He can’t possibly think his way out of this mind-blowing revelation. Or can he? That’s what Dexter addicts like me will find out when Season 7 begins on September 30.

Yesterday, Showtime started streaming a trailer for Season 7 that got my blood racing — a montage of eye-popping scenes that hint at awesome things to come (and of course raise far more questions than answers). And in one last bit of coolness, the music of “Change (In the House of Flies)” by Deftones can be heard at the end. Watch it after the jump. Any other Dexter addicts in the audience? Continue reading »

Apr 252012

I just found this press release waiting patiently in my in-box, and although I usually don’t just quote press releases, this certainly seemed newsworthy. So, here it is:

“Apr. 25, 2012 — Meet Palms, a newly formed Los Angeles based quartet featuring three former members of ISIS (Aaron Harris, Clifford Meyer and Jeff Caxide) with Deftones’ vocalist Chino Moreno.

‘Clifford, Jeff and I started Palms a little over a year ago out of a desire to continue making music together after ISIS ended,” explained Harris.  “Chino joined shortly after and our sound took shape from there.  We’ve worked really hard on this first release and are excited for people to hear it.  It’s nice to be back behind the drum kit, and with this line up.”

“Being a huge ISIS fan I’ve always dug the moods these dudes convey with their sound,” added Moreno.   “I am excited to combine my sense of creativity with theirs, and to have fun doing so.”

Palms’ debut album will be issued by ISIS’ former label, Ipecac Recordings, and is slated for a 2012 release with a release date to be announced soon.   The album was recorded and mixed by Harris, and produced by Palms.

Palms is Jeff Caxide (bass/keyboards), Aaron Harris (drums), Clifford Meyer (guitar/keyboards) and Chino Moreno (vocals).”

I haven’t heard any music yet, nor seen any info about the musical direction of this new band, but given the names associated with the project, it’s bound to be interesting. We’ll keep you posted when we find out more.

Nov 122010

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Today’s guest post comes to us from Dan, who apparently is now called The Artist Formerly Known As Dan. Dan is an American temporarily transplanted to Adelaide, Australia. He has a list for you.]

So, I realize it’s cliche to make one of these lists (and maybe a bit premature?), but they’re usually useful for several reasons.  Firstly, it allows me to shamelessly plug the bands I like and push my agenda on you.  Secondly, it allows you to post lists of the records I forgot and tell me why my first list was wrong.  I can then subsequently go back to the records I may have forgotten or never owned in the first place.  Everyone should theoretically win here, since there is always music overlooked or forgotten about throughout the year.  So, let’s begin.

10. The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza – Danza III: The Series of Unfortunate Events

Technical, but so brutal.  A perfect recommendation for someone who listens to too much vanilla-breakdown deathcore (and, for some of you, “too much” implies listening to any deathcore at all).  I highly recommend seeing them in concert; they bring tons of energy.  Yippie-Kay-Yay-Motherfucker.

(more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »