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Trophy Scars – Holy Vacants

April 14th, 2014
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Ambition Coming Up Roses

Five piece rock group Trophy Scars are a band of the people. After their former label went belly up, these Jersey boys took a more independent approach and have enjoyed a decent reception, critical and otherwise. Holy Vacants is their fourth LP and has the sound of heart-on-sleeve rock n’ rollers yowling out their dreams. And though they are at their core a blues-based act, they are not beyond kicking into heavier terrain– or softer, for that matter. However, there is an interesting tension at play throughout the album that seems to be organic to the compositions which compels more than it really has any right to. Read more…

By Patrick W. DeLaney Posted in Reviews ,

Mica Levi- Under the Skin (Official Soundtrack)

April 6th, 2014
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Shape and Tension

As architect of the fabulous Micachu and the Shapes, Mica Levi has made a quite a name for herself in the musical sphere, especially after 2012’s fantastic LP, Never. Levi’s style is unconventional, but addicting, and she is never shy about being challenging. So, it should make sense that she should pose a challenge for herself. Hence this project, the film score for the provocative Scarlett Johannsen vehicle, Under the Skin. Read more…

By Patrick W. DeLaney Posted in Reviews

Liars – Mess

March 26th, 2014
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Mess à la Mode

With several kinetic and kooky efforts under their belt, it seems as though Liars have become the most Liars they have ever been. And though that might seem like a standard and generic statement in most cases, it is prudent here when taken in context of their previous album, WIXIW, of which the newest record, Mess seems to be an elaborated extension. Though the compositions here are fairly tight and structured, the electronic buzz and fuzz feels a little messy, but in a Pollock-type way. In this way, Liars are clearly just being who they have always been at heart. “Facts are Facts, Fictions Fiction” goes one particularly catchy refrain from the bouncy, “Mess on Mission,” and that’s the essence of the music here. Things are often frantic as the vocals slur like melting caramel and scuzzy keyboards bleep and bloop in all interesting manners. Read more…

By Patrick W. DeLaney Posted in Reviews ,

Picastro – You

March 20th, 2014
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New Strains of Sorrow

Though it is not even the middle of the year, one could guess that you would be hard pressed to find a more bleak sounding album that Toronto-based Picastro’s fifth long player, You. That is not a criticism of any sort, but a seemingly ever present symptom of the music here. True, though one has come to associate the band’s name with this kind of mood, one must be perpetually befuddled when a new strain of it appears. Read more…

By Patrick W. DeLaney Posted in Reviews ,

The Unsemble – The Unsemble

March 7th, 2014
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Better Sums than Sketches

Often times, things are really just a sum of their parts. You look at the label on this record and see the name Ipecac Recordings. Ipecac– alright, it’s Mike Patton owned– interesting. Then you discover that the trio of musicians here, Alexander Hacke (Einstürzende Neubauten), Duane Denison (The Jesus Lizard) and Brian Kotzur (The Silver Jews) all come from musical universes unto themselves, with a diverse pedigree for sound, mood and chaos. You probably would be unable to “guess” what the album sounds like right off the bat, but to put it simply, The Unsemble is an intriguing proposition. Read more…

By Patrick W. DeLaney Posted in Reviews , , ,

Qui – Life, Water, Living

February 26th, 2014
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A Sustaining Adventure

Qui has been a unique animal from the start, having at one point counted David Yow amongst its ranks. However, it seems to be just in their essence that they propose quite the jarring listening experience. Their newest, Life, Water, Living proves to be no exception. Over the course of eleven songs, they touch on several moods and modes, some better and more listenable than others, with a certain flair that is undeniably charming. Read more…

By Patrick W. DeLaney Posted in Reviews

Tinariwen – Emmaar

February 16th, 2014
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Tinariwen-Emmaar

Determined Blues and Groove

Emanating from a continent with such a history of strife, Mali’s Tinariwen do have a sound that feels a little world weary, and yet their groove on Emmaar is so determined throughout that one almost feels a divine influence at play. At its core, Tinariwen feels to be a bluesy guitar based band with its slippery lead riffs and soulful vocals, and yet with the persistent  counter-rhythms and percussive underbelly that no doubt derives from the musics of its native land, Tinariwen’s hybrid is irresistibly draws you in. Read more…

By Patrick W. DeLaney Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews ,

Bohren & Der Club of Gore – Piano Nights

February 5th, 2014
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Dirge and Gore

Some things are right there on the page. Bohren & Der Club of Gore has made a habit of living on that page in their own peculiar and particular way. You will see a lot of print about how diverging from form is not something they are known for, and here on Piano Nights, it is no different. Read more…

By Patrick W. DeLaney Posted in Reviews ,

Mogwai – Rave Tapes

January 21st, 2014
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Calculated Rave

Mogwai is a name that has attained a certain respect and reverence, having released a good dozen full length recordings in their eighteen years as a band. Rave Tapes is an album that showcases many of the tools of the Glasgow-based band has wielded in the past. They don’t seem to be re-inventing the wheel here, but are more so refining the ecclectic sense of songcraft. Read more…

By Patrick W. DeLaney Posted in Reviews ,

JG Thirlwell – The Blue Eyes / Foetus – Soak

December 15th, 2013
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Thirlwell’s Fraternal Twins

Around the holidays, you hear a lot about being thankful for a bountiful Christmas. Well, for fans of JG Thirlwell and his different incarnations, consider this Christmas season bountiful. The prolific Thirlwell unleashes both Soak, an album under the Foetus name, as well as The Blue Eyes (his original score for the motion picture of the same name, which was written, directed and produced by Eva Aridjis) under his own name. He has provided two uniquely sprawling listening experiences here. Look no further than the opening tracks on each: “Blue Eyes Opening” lurches ominously with percussive soundscapes and delicately plucked classical guitar while Soak is introduced by the bombastic and world beat extravaganza that is “Red and Black and Gray and White.” Read more…

By Patrick W. DeLaney Posted in Reviews ,