Monday, 30 December 2013

Intervals - Ephemeral

     Today's song of the day is going to hit two pigs with one bird, in the sense that it's both a New Music Monday kinda song and something I've been looking forward to for a while now. The title of today's post may have given things away, but just in case, allow me to spell it out for you: Canadian (formerly) instrumental badasses Intervals have just released the first song from their upcoming debut LP.

     What does he mean by "formerly", I hear you asking. Well, for two EPs now Toronto's Intervals have been cranking out proggy, djenty instrumental tunage, but today's song release also came with the announcement that their forthcoming album features bassist Mike Semesky handling vocal duties as well as locking down the low end.

     Is Intervals better off with a vocalist than they were without? Why don't you be the judge. Turn your shit up loud and then have a listen to "Ephemeral" from the upcoming A Voice Within. I was on the fence about the introduction of vocals to such a rad instrumental band at first, but it's growing on me with every play. Some pretty sweet leads aren't hurting anything either.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Ever Forthright - Infinitely Inward

     Hey everybody just a quickie song post tonight before I head to bed, as I have to be up at 4 tomorrow morning for work. Pity me, damn it!

     Tonight we're rocking out with the Canadian djentlemen in Ever Forthright. Their debut album Ever Forthright covers a lot of familiar djenty ground, but it's also got enough tasty melodies and interesting guitar work to justify the listener's digging a little deeper. I implore you to be that listener and to dig a little deeper into "Infinitely Inward" to get your Sunday evening fill of heavy groove.

Saturday Song: Headstones - Cemetery

     I'm a few hours late with today's (or rather yesterday's) song, but at least my excuse is better than my usual "I fell asleep". Regular readers might remember that I got my girlfriend Headstones tickets for her birthday, and the show was tonight. We just got home, hence your Saturday song actually coming a few hours into Sunday.

     But enough boring stuff, on with the song! Predictably, I'm going with a Headstones song for your Saturday tune, namely "Cemetery" from the bands 1993 debut Picture of Health. In addition to being a catchy little rock ditty with a punky edge to it, "Cemetery" has the distinction of being the most up-beat song about necrophilia you'll ever hear. If this isn't reason enough to give it a listen while you're awaiting my Headstones pit report, I don't know what is.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Post-Christmas Four Way

     Why hello, stranger. Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays to you and yours. I've been off for a few days, eating myself silly first with my family and then my girlfriend's, but now I'm back at it and back with you for your regularly scheduled Loud Noises programming. You know what that means: some Songs for the past couple of days.

     First up is Christmas Eve. I've decided that last year's Christmas Day song is going to be this year's Christmas Eve song, so your song for Tuesday is/was Bing Crosby's version of the classic carol "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen". This has been one of my favourite Christmas carols since I was a wee lad, and I can't think of a better version than Bing's.

     Christmas Day is going to see Christopher Lee's "Jingle Hell" as your song for the day. Metal fans and movie dorks alike will already know that Christopher Lee has recorded a metal song or two in his day, and this year he put out another couple of Christmas tunes, including this one. Christmas carol by a 90+ year old not doing it for you? What about a Christmas carol from Dracula? Or Saruman? Talk about bang for your buck, "Jingle Hell" gets you all three.

     For your boxing day song, I'm going to point you in the direction of "Music Box" from Thrice's 2005 disc Vheissu because I'm not terribly clever and I want a "box" themed song for Boxing Day (wiki it my American friends). This is, in my opinion, a very underrated album from a key transitional period in the history of this band. They were transitioning away from their earlier, heavier sound and towards some even more post than the post-hardcore they had been, and in the process they managed to craft an album of rock solid songs, not one of which can be considered filler.

     Last up we have your song for today, aka Friday, and speaking of underrated, we're going with a song by British metalcore/mathcore/whatevercore band Architects. I've been a fan since 2006's Nightmares, and while this band too has evolved well beyond where they started, they're still putting out quality metalcore (for lack of a better word) that should appeal even to those for whom "metalcore" is a four-letter word. Check out "Follow the Water" from 2009's Hollow Crown to see what I mean.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Pantera - 5 Minutes Alone

     The shit weather over the weekend seemed to inspire a lot of questionable driving around here today, and sometimes when that happens once too often you just wish you could have five minutes along with the asshat driving that van that just did whatever.

     Your song today is Pantera's "5 Minutes Alone" from 1994's Far Beyond Driven because everybody occasionally needs to blow off a little steam, even if it is just cranking some metal and cursing the asshat out instead of beating the everloving fuck out of them.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Thrice - Cold Cash and Colder Hearts

     Winter's icy onslaught continued today, so tonight you're getting another appropriately themed (or titled, at least) song for the weather.

     Your song this evening is Thrice's "Cold Cash and Colder Hearts" from 2003's The Artist in The Ambulance. I know, I know, it's a socio-political song that doesn't actually have anything to do with ice or snow, but it's a great song from Thrice's heavier heyday, and it's got a vaguely wintry-sounding title. What more do you want?

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Metallica - Trapped Under Ice

     The last couple of days here in southeastern Ontario have been jam packed with shitty weather, namely freezing rain that's covered virtually everything in a good half-inch to an inch of ice. In addition to leaving me more or less housebound all day today, due to the icy roads that I literally watched neighbourhood kids skating on earlier, it brings back memories of the mammoth ice storm of 1998 that hammered southern Ontario and Quebec and the northeastern United States, when you could just walk outside and hear trees cracking and snapping all around you. It's not nearly that bad this time, but still the same vibe.

     In honour, or perhaps defiance, of the weather, your song tonight is Metallica's "Trapped Under Ice" from 1984's Ride the Lightning because that's how I feel right about now. If you're in the same boat, stay safe, and maybe take some pictures. Ice does crazy things sometimes.

Twenty Questions - Salt of the Chief Cornerstone

Hey everybody, as you may or may not have noticed, it's been a long time since I've posted a Twenty Questions interview, and I think it's high time I fixed that. What's that? You agree that I should rectify this situation? You want to read another e-mail interview as soon as possible? Well then today's your lucky day!

     Today's Twenty Questions were answered by the boys from Salt of the Chief Cornerstone, an instrumental guitar-and-drums duo I saw open for Protest the Hero back at the start of November. I dug their sound so much that I picked up a copy of their demo EP and subsequently singled them out as my next victims for interrogation. Read on for the results of my questioning.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Salt of the Chief Cornerstone - Baptism of Fire

     You might be reading today's posts in some order other than what I posted them in, so SPOILER ALERT: today marks the first Twenty Question interview I've posted in a while, conducted with Windsor's Salt of the Chief Cornerstone.

     As a refresher for all of you late-comers, Salt of the Chief Cornerstone are a guitar and drums duo cranking out some rocking instrumental prog jams that are flush with head-bobbingly good grooves. I discovered them when they opened for none other than Protest the Hero here in Kingston back at the start of November, and now it's your turn to hear what they're all about.

     Your song today is a driving number called "Baptism of Fire" with a chunky, palm-muted "verse" riff that reminds me of classic video game soundtracks, like Tetris or something - not in the sense of sounding like Russian folk music (although their stuff does have some ethnic-sounding flavour in places) but rather in the sense of syncopated, harmonized melodies. It is, however, up to you whether you listen to the song first, read the interview first, or - best of both worlds here - put the song on and then read the interview. Spoiled for choice much? Yeah, I'm too good to you.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Scale the Summit - Atlas Novus

     Yesterday's Plini song has put me in the mood for some more majestic instrumental music that's both heavy and mellow. Sound like a tall order? No, it just sounds like a job for Scale the Summit.

     Elements of heaviness and beauty happily coexist side by side throughout Scale the Summit's catalogue. Thunderous double bass drumming rumbles underneath intricately tapped guitar lines, adding up to music that's got groove and riffs for days but isn't just straight up bludgeoning. And perhaps more importantly, at least in terms of instrumental music, there's enough going on to hold the listener's interest.

     Sometimes instrumental bands suffer for their lack of vocals, especially if they stick to verse-chorus-verse type songs, because the central core of singer and lyrics that we're used to just isn't there. Not so with Scale the Summit, where every instrument is telling a story that interlocks with that of every other instrument.

     But you probably already know all of this, since Scale the Summit aren't exactly indie. So let's just bask in the radiance of their skillz and have a listen to "Atlas Novus" from this year's solid The Migration, shall we?

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Plini - Orm

     My boy Plini has been busy this year. Not only has he released a pair of stellar EPs in March's Other Things and October's Sweet Nothings, he's also teamed up with British guitarist extraordinaire Sithu Aye to put out a split EP I at the end of November.

     The styles of these two very talented guitarists are perfectly matched: virtuosic technicality, jazz, rock, and metal influences, and instantly catchy melodies. If the back of the disc's sleeve didn't let me know who did what (including some guest spots from fellow axemen David Maxim Micic and Jakub Zytecki) I'd be hard pressed to tell who wrote which song, a testament to the blend of melody, groove, and skill exhibited by both guys.

     That said, I think I'm still giving the Plini the edge as my personal favourite, and not just because he deigned to answer some questions from little old me. Your song this evening, therefore, is the EP's opening track, "Orm", a Plini contribution with guest solo by Sithu. I sincerely hope that Plini can keep up this pace of musical output, because if he can, 2014 should be a very good year for Australian instrumental guitar music.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Exist - Writhe

     I featured fusion metal band Exist a couple of weeks ago, but their debut LP Sunlight is so solid that I feel compelled to sing their praises again for the benefit of anyone who isn't familiar with them yet.

     To that end, your song this evening is Sunlight's opener "Writhe", a nearly ten-minute epic that's a story of two halves. The first four or five minutes feature some sinister fusion riffing, and the latter half consists of a seriously jazzy instrumental section. Take both parts together and you get a track that demonstrates pretty thoroughly what Exist is all about, which in my opinion is just the job you need your album opener to do. If you don't hear "Writhe" and then want to hear the rest of Sunlight, then this kind of fusiony stuff just ain't your cup of tea. My condolences.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Alexisonfire - Charlie Sheen vs. Henry Rollins

     Longtime readers (and the Canadian among you) should be familiar with a couple of bands I'm into and have posted about in the past, namely Moneen and Alexisonfire, a Canadian indie band and post-hardcore band, respectively. What you might not be familiar with is the somewhat unique split EP these two bands did way back in 2005.

     What's so unique about this particular split? Try this on for size: each band does three songs out of the total six, two of which are covers of songs by the other band while the third is an original, unreleased track. As an example, Moneen's "The Passing of America" became Alexisonfire's "Passing Out in America". I always thought it was a really cool concept and, since it was supposed to be an EP in the Switcheroo Series from Dine Alone Records, I always wondered whatever became of it.

     Anyways, today we're actually going to ignore the covers and go with the original Alexisonfire song, "Charlie Sheen vs. Henry Rollins", an aggressive, high-energy number whose exclusion from any of Alexisonfire's studio albums still baffles me. Have a listen a lament the demise of a great Canadian band.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

The Beatles - Blackbird

     After all that bother with the lateness of posts over the last couple of days, time to get back on track with a quickie song for Sunday.

     We're going with something mellow and lullaby-ish to get us off to dreamland tonight. The Beatles' "Blackbird" has both of these qualities as well as boasting a really cool little acoustic guitar part. If you have friends that play guitar, and aren't just into 8-stringed monsters or something, chances are you've heard "Blackbird" pulled out on one occasion or another. Now I'm pulling it out on this occasion to say goodnight, sweet dreams, and here's to a good Monday.

Saturday's Song: Slipknot - Snuff

     Yes, I know I'm a few hours late with Saturday's song. I'll blame the weather, because the wintery blast we're currently in the midst of receiving has a great deal to do with my getting posts posted on time. Or not.

     Anyways, by now the well-informed among you may already have heard that Slipknot has parted ways with drummer Joey Jordison (or maybe it's the other way around), so today (or yesterday, now) we're going with a Slipknot song to commemorate the final nail in the coffin of Slipknot as we knew it. First Paul Gray's death in 2010 and now the loss of Joey add up to what will be a very different band on their next record.

     So as a kind of ceremonial chalice-raising to the end of the beast that was, your song for Saturday is "Snuff" from 2008's All Hope is Gone. It might be a little too Stone Sour for some Slipknot fans, but it's a cool song, and a good one too.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Friday's Song: Numbers - Legal Lee Speaking

     Want to know what happens when you spend a week getting up for a 4:15 am start time at work instead of your usual leisurely 5 o'clock? You fall asleep around 7 in the evening, after you've chosen the song of the day but before you've even written the post!

     The worst part is, yesterday's song stoked me right up when it was released the other day. Why, you ask? Well, I've been looking forward to the finally-complete-work-in-progress debut LP from my boys in Numbers for some time now, and on Thursday the band did all of its fans the solid of releasing the video for the album's first single "Legal Lee Speaking".

     There's no word yet on the expected release date for Three, but at least "Legal Lee Speaking" is chock full of the tasty goodness that made me like Numbers in the first place: gnarly keyboards, badass riffing, blippy electronic bits, and Kyle's powerful vocal work, a little more refined and matured on this release if "Legal Lee Speaking" is any indication. Plus there's both guitar and keyboard solos! You couldn't really ask for anything else. Well, you could. But you shouldn't. Check it.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

letlive. - The Priest and Used Cars

     I've written about letlive. before, but that was before I'd heard all of their latest album The Blackest Beautiful. Upon closer inspection I've decided that the catchy aggressive edge of "Banshee (Ghost Fame)" is not a one-off fluke. If you dig that sort of thing, The Blackest Beautiful has a bunch more where it came from.

     When "Banshee" was the song of the day, I believe my comparison was of letlive. to a bastard child of Refused and Glassjaw. While I stand by that simile, I would throw a bunch of other bands into the mix if I were trying to define letlive's sound. They're a post-hardcore band in the truest sense of the word, building on the hardcore genre in a myriad of ways.

      Case in point: today's song, "The Priest and Used Cars", which has a punky energy that brings to mind Protest the Hero and another helping of vocalist Jason Aalon Butler's virtuosity, which is often reminiscent of Claudio from Coheed and Cambria (if Claudio had a more frantic, manic energy). It's a tasty combination.

      But I could go on all night about who letlive. sounds like at one moment or the next. Why not listen to "The Priest and Used Cars" and see how awesome they are for yourself?

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Cynic - The Lion's Roar

     Prog nerds among you will have seen by now that the next Cynic album is due out in February, and that it's called Kindly Bent to Free Us, but today we got another tasty tidbit to salivate over for the next couple of months in the form of a new song.

     "The Lion's Roar" is the first song to be released from the new record, and if it's any indication of what we can expect from the rest of the album, then what we can expect is proggy post-metal with *gasp* poppy threads running through it. It's different from Carbon-Based Anatomy, but at the same time not radically so. Have a listen and see what YOU think.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Tool - Right in Two

     Seeing as how we did a song by A Perfect Circle yesterday, today we'll keep the MJK mojo going with a quickie installment of Tool Tuesday.

     For your Tool Tuesday song I'm going with "Right in Two", one of my favourite tracks from 2006's 10,000 Days, the band's most recent album. There were nothing but rumours and talk of preliminary writing from the Tool camp in 2013, so here's to hoping that 2014 will hold more in the way of new music from everybody's favourite unproductive prog metal band.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Monday Threeway Super Fun Time

     Why hello there. Fancy meeting you here. I took a couple of days off over the weekend for my girlfriend's birthday yesterday, but I'm back at it today with a trio of tunes for your earholes to get us back on track. Have at 'er!

     First up is Dutch instrumental fusion band Exivious. I've written about them before, but now that I've spent some serious time with their album Liminal I feel better qualified to recommend another tasty track. By now you should know I like proggy, jazzy stuff and instrumental stuff, so if you like this kind of stuff too, check out Liminal's closing track "Immanent". It's epic, but not overbearingly so, and it's a great showcase of Exivious's melding of heavy and melodically proggy.

     So that's Saturday out of the way, now for Sunday. My girlfriend is a big Headstones fan, so my big birthday present to my girlfriend this year was tickets to see Headstones right here in Kingston at the end of the month (stayed tuned for a pit report, probably in the new year). Headstones were a solid rock band back in the day, and their new record Love + Fury proves they've still got it. So if their "it" is something you're into, check out "Far Away From Here".

     And that's Sunday. What about today, Monday? Well, we're going to commemorate the new A Perfect Circle best-of disc Three Sixty and go with "Weak and Powerless" as today's song. Originally from 2003's Thirteenth Step, "Weak and Powerless" is a perfect example of what A Perfect Circle can do when they're not at "Judith" levels of aggression. Mer de Noms is still my favourite, but "Weak and Powerless" is just one of several great tracks to be had on Thirteenth Step.

     And that's me caught up. Your turn.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Carcass - The Master Butcher's Apron

     I might be a little late to the party when it comes to today's band, but as the saying goes, better late than never. Since their latest album is appearing on a number of end of the year lists, I felt I had to pick up a copy, and after a couple of listens, I can say that Carcass's Surgical Steel is a bit of a monster.

     I've never been a Carcass fan, but all the positive reviews for Surgical Steel twisted my arm, so to speak. So far I'm glad they did. Surgical Steel is a melodic death metal album that to me feels pretty thrashy, both modern sounding as well as a little retro. And, perhaps more importantly, there's a plethora of truly evil-sounding riffs, always a bonus in any metal record worth its salt.

     Methinks I need to go back through Carcass's catalogue to see what other filthy goodness I can uncover, but for now, let's listen to "The Master Butcher's Apron" from Surgical Steel to get us started. Sometimes I have one specific reason or other for choosing a particular song, but "The Master Butcher's Apron" gets the nod tonight simply because I dig it. Surgical Steel has a number of nicely vicious cuts that could just as easily warrant some time in the spotlight, but I've been gravitating towards this one in my listens through the record, so "The Master Butcher's Apron" it is. Enjoy.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Jolly - Firewell

     Maybe it's the academic in me, the guy who spent years writing papers rife with proper source citation (MLA style for the win!), but I always try to give credit where credit is due. So tonight I will send some love out to Metalsucks contributor Shanbomb, whose top fifteen albums of 2013 have provided me, and in turn you, with some quality listening material.

     Yesterday's RSJ track was drawn from Shanbomb's picks, and so is tonight's tune from New York's Jolly. "Firewell" is the song, from The Audio Guide to Happiness Part Two, and the sound is rocking and proggy. I'm tired, so I can't quite put my finger on the kind of comparison to make right now, but my sleepy brain keeps coming back to Between the Buried and Me if BTBAM were a rock/alternative type band instead of metal.

     Maybe that's way off the mark, but hey, it should at least make you want to check out "Firewell" to see just how full of shit I might be. Whatever gets you listening. A foot in the door is a foot in the door, so to speak, so just check out Jolly already.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

RSJ - Collectively We Are Tall

     Just in case you needed reminding, allow me to do the honours: it's that time of year again. No, not Christmas. Well, yes Christmas, but more pertinently (for our current purposes) it's also Best of 2013 time, when music websites join just about everybody else in looking back on the year that was by trotting out their lists of best albums of the year.

     I'm waiting until the year's actually done to post my Ten Best of 2013 (gives me more time to deliberate, y'dig?) but that doesn't mean I won't take advantage of the opportunity provided to me by the rest of the Internet's gun-jumpers to discover some new, quality stuff. Thus it is that venerable site Metalsucks has led me to today's song from grimy metalcore Brits RSJ.

     Leaving aside how metal an album title I find Higgs Boson to be, RSJ are packing the aggressive energy and riffage of a grindy Refused or Every Time I Die. And if the video for "Collectively We Are Tall" is any indication, these guys also have both a healthy sense of humour and a commendable lack of shame -- always a winning combination. So slip into something more comfortable and get ready for some pelvic thrusts and deep lunges. You can thank me after you've felt the burn.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Devil Sold His Soul - Time

     Regular readers (I'm going to keep making reference to you despite the dubiousness of your existence) should have clued in by now to the fact that I'm a big fan of British label Basick Records. With a few exceptions, I dig pretty much their entire catalogue to varying degrees, so when I hear they've got a new signing my ears prick up like a ravenous dog hearing kibble hit the food dish.

     As such, I just had to check out Devil Sold His Soul, the latest addition to the Basick roster, and while I'm not immediately as head-over-heels as I was for, say, Skyharbor (I lurvs me some Skyharbor) Devil Sold His Soul has a lot of tasty goodness going on. Think epic metalcore with big melodies and bigger vocals and you're probably in the right ballpark.

     To see if this is a ballpark you want to be playing ball in, check out Devil Sold His Soul's latest single "Time", the first track to feature the band's new singer Paul Green, who you might already know from his other gig in The Arusha Accord, another Basick band. Between "Time" and the band's back catalogue, there should be enough there to hold us all over until the next Devil Sold His Soul LP drops.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Thank You Scientist - Blood on the radio

     I talked recently about how my mandate for Loud Noises has changed from writing about metal music to writing about interesting music, and today's band perfectly exemplifies the fact that something need not be traditionally "heavy" to be interesting.

     I've posted about New Jersey's Thank You Scientist before, with mention of how their energetic pop-prog is built around more instruments than just the traditional guitar, bass and drums of rock and roll, but just in case you doubted me, today's song should be plenty of proof positive.  Strings and horns abound in "Blood on the radio" off of 2012's Maps of Non-Existent Places, forming the song's backbone and contributing some of its best riffs. But don't worry, there's a badass guitar solo in there too, just in case all that other stuff isn't you thing.

     Whatever way you like your jazzy, seven-piece post-rock, Thank You Scientist has got you covered. Got like ten minutes? Why not take a walk down to the lab?

Sunday, 1 December 2013

The Fall of Troy - The Last March of the Ents

     I'd be willing to bet that any music fan worth their salt could, if pressed, come up with an artist or band they feel called it quits before their time. I could probably name at least a couple, but tonight I'm going to go with a band that, in my humble opinion, never got the kind of love they deserved. They're not necessarily everyone's cup of tea, but tonight we're going to mourn the demise of The Fall of Troy.

     I've written about this post-hardcore outfit before, and I've been singing their praises to my friends for like a decade, but all for naught: my best efforts at word-of-mouth promotion have been no more successful at resurrecting The Fall of Troy than they were at keeping the band alive in the first place. Nevertheless I'll keep on trying to sell people on this band, because even to this day I don't think they have the legacy they should. Maybe The Fall of Troy were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, so to speak - noodly guitars, falsetto vocals, and lengthy song titles could well have given people the impression that these guys were just another emo band, when really they're so much more.

     But don't take my word for it. Instead, have at your song for this evening, "The Last March of the Ents" from TFOT's self-titled 2003 debut LP. Why this particular track? Come on now. It's a song about the Ents marching on Isengard, for fuck's sake. The nerd points alone should be enough of a foot in the door, and The Fall of Troy's intensity and energy should take care of the rest. Prepare to become a convert.