Sunday, January 23, 2011

Wide world of boring music

Musical lightweights duke it out

With the wealth of different, interesting, new material out there, readymade for quick consumption, it's surprising how many people don't want to explore new music. People really are made to live in their own small worlds, and new discoveries usually seem to prove more rigorous than they're worth.

It's a shame to only listen to a limited musical selection in one's lifetime. The world we live in is chock full of people making music, and that's no exaggeration. How many bands do you think are out there? Sure you've got to wade through a bunch of shit to find gems, but it's worth looking. You can't give up. The new thing you didn't know existed, that you will love, is out there.

One way to discover new music easily is to go to MySpace. Usually you can just search for a band you like, and in their top friends will be similar acts. It works like clockwork.

There is a problem with MySpace music, though: it resembles the Rolling Stone head-giving to popular acts like Taylor Swift, Key$ha, Beyonce, Kanye West, and The Strokes, among other popular, currently-selling-big-time (but-not-for-long) artists, mixed with even more immediate, hot for now, flash in the pan artists that I've never heard of, but look silly.

So there's nothing for me, basically. MySpace Music for people who like pop music, autotuned and soulless. It's what sells, isn't it. Shameful.

Another route you can go is This site has some pretty cool organizational tabs on the home page that make finding music that doesn't suck easier than MySpace does.

Okay, let's compare the bands these two sites are featuring right now:
In the MySpace corner, weighing in at 50lbs, Young the Giant
In the Purevolume corner, we have: Panic at the Disco!

Okay, YTG's first song on their player is called, "Apartment." It's boring and I don't care. There's no distortion on those guitars. But--it doesn't completely suck. It's just that it's boring, melancholy, and made by young people who need to grow up to make music that will last through the ages. It sounds like a million other pop/soft rock songs I've heard before. Definitely lame rock radio material.


PATD's first song is a clip of a tune called, "Mona Lisa." Slightly heavy. Next song is a live one: "Nine in the Afternoon." Can we say The Beatles? Pretty cool. A light ditty. I like it better than YTG, but not much. It's less melancholy, and the singer sounds like he's really going for it with some energy.

Panic wins. Young loses. By TKO.

In summary, I'd say that Purevolume is less full of stupid shit than MySpace. But both sites offer adequate search options, and the metal is out there. Too bad most modern metal sucks and is full of stupid screaming by people who think they're special enough to front a band with shitty I'M-ANGRY-NOW vocals.

MySpace also runs slow as shit.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Re-vamping my recording process/ ADVICE PLZ

I want to re-vamp my recording process, and my birthday is coming up, so this dream may soon manifest. I want advice on how best to record at home. Here, let me tell you what I'm using, what my problems have been, and then, if you've got a good home recording situation going on yourself, you can let me know what works and what doesn't, too.

I've been using my laptop, a Dell Inspiron 1521, Blood Red and Grey, a pretty cool machine, with a fairly large sweet widescreen, to record digitally, via Sonar 5 Studio Edition, and my Line 6 TonePort UX2. Just guitar and bass tracks, so far. I've got a sweet SM58 mic, and a Fender Fat Strat that's like a big brother to me. I have yet to unlock its true power.

Problems: the laptop can't power it all, and the recordings lag in many annoying ways. Using both Sonar and the TonePort seems to tax it really bad. The laptop gets really hot underneath after only about 15min, which is usually spent tuning my guitar and shaping the sound with TonePort.

Then when I open Sonar, things begin to slow down. You may find this hard to believe, but my biggest problem with recording thus far has been--the metronome. Point is, I simply cannot run a metronome through my computer and expect a solid rate per minute, without lags. This computer is pissing. me. off.

One problem might be--my hard drive is full from the zillions of Lucy pictures and videos I put on there. I'm getting an external hard drive soon, which should clear up some space, which may solve some of the lag problems. We'll see.

If not, I'm totally open to suggestion as to how to rightly get good recordings with a machine that performs well and gives me good sounds.

Megan has a high-performance HP laptop that might do the trick. Still runs Vista, like mine, but has a nearly empty hard drive, and better hardware all around. Cost something like three times what my laptop cost me. If that's the case, my troubles would be over and it wouldn't cost me a thing, which would be the optimal cost for a solid recording solution.

If not, I'm thinking, maybe--go for a mixing board or something? Do I have to buy a Mac?

Monday, January 10, 2011

This guy raises a few good points. I don't agree with a small portion of what he says, but most of this video I like. The overall sentiment is true: death metal should not be overproduced. Nor should any metal.

Where I disagree:
A band needs technical talent to succeed.
There is no death metal that has ever been made solely by overproduction.

Where I'm confused:
-the difference between death metal and deathcore. I'm just not educated in this realm.

Here is a video of popular, modern sucky metal. I present to you:
TRIVIUM (duck)

It's all the things that make modern metal suck:
   - soulless, monotonous, monotone vocals
   - techincal-without-feeling guitar lines that you could easily forget
   - vocals mixed above all else
   - bass is inaudible
   - music is overproduced
   - video is overproduced
   - you can tell they're not really into it

I don't mind the eyeliner, though.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Shut Up and Play Yr Guitar

Last night was a very tired night for me, and I was falling asleep on the couch around 6pm. I could totally have gone to bed then. Megan said to me, "Get up. Move around. Go play some guitar or something."

Her advice couldn't have been more on the mark. I played for like an hour or more. It was great. I'm gonna go play more right now, so help me. It's important to stay up to par on guitar skillz, for me anyway. How can I be a good metal critic if I can't make metal myself?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Belinda Carlisle - Heaven Is A Place On Earth

My jaw sort of dropped when this started playing. I had the song in my head, but I didn't realize the video was her watching little kids with glowing earth beach balls and opera masks and grey clothing on spin in a giant centrifuge while she dances against several walls and turns around too many times.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Boris: Smile, Kalot Enbolot: MCCCXLVIII

Last night, around 11 or so, I played music at work for the whole place to hear. It was the end of the night, my fellow employees and I were closing the place down, and the bluegrass band had just finished. I needed something attitudinal. I went for Boris' latest full-length Smile.

It sounds like maybe there's some traditional Japanese music influence in the way this band plays. It's almost as if they learned about music... IN JAPAN!!

It becomes most apparent to me when Wata solos over Takeshi and Atsuo's grooves. It's not exactly along with the beat, but it is really distorted, and emotional as all hell. It has this sound that's just kinda... I don't want to say crazy, but it sounds crazy.

In addition to that, her solos follow a way less rigid idea of meter and time than most American guitarists build their solos upon. Maybe it's more rigidly tuned to the structure of Japanese solo flute pieces, or that one instrument that's just a string on a board that makes that awesome fucking sound I can't name.... ever see Kung Fu Hustle? The blind guy who plays the instrument that shoots invisible swords--one of those things.

And this is particularly on the album Smile's first five or six tracks, and only at certain points. All of her solos, and all of Boris' musics for that matter, don't always sound the same--and that's what's great about Boris. I just brought it up cause, when I put the music in, I didn't expect what came out at me. It goes to show that you can never really truly know an album until you play it for a large group of people. You hear what they hear, what you hear, you see and sense their reactions, you notice things about the album you didn't before, etc. It's great.

Moving on.

Kalot Enbolot has an album out called MCCCXLVIII. It is pretty much standard awesome black death metal. They cover an Immortal song at the end of the album, and they pretty much sound like Immortal with twists of other bands in there.

They definitely have their own sound, but it also is really palatable to the standard black metal fan. Then the fourth track is totally clean tone and corny. Don't care.