Friday, 31 July 2015

Wednesday: Trivium - Silence in the Snow

     I haven't really gotten excited about a Trivium record in a few album cycles now, so I don't think I can be blamed for being caught off guard by the news that the band has a new record coming out this fall. Lucky for all of us who've been in the dark, Trivium have got a new single to go along with it too.

     Supposedly, the new record's title track "Silence in the Snow" was written during the sessions for 2008's Shogun. Now, to me that sounds a little bit like Matt and Company attempting to pander to their fanbase, but at least the band seems to recognize what lots of people considered their heyday to be. I think I'll just play it safe and reserve judgement as to which era of Trivium's catalogue Silence in the Snow evokes most until I've heard more of the record.

     Any road, for the time being we can all give "Silence in the Snow" a couple of spins. It's a bit more of a mid-tempo radio number, with Matt's big cleans giving things an almost power metal kind of feel. It's probably not going to be a lot of people's cup of tea, but like I said, October is a ways off yet, and this might just be the tip of the iceberg. Let's all just wait and see, shall we?

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Tuesday: Agent Fresco - Wait For Me

     Do you want to feel some feels and get your funky groove on? Lucky for you there's Iceland's Agent Fresco, because they've got the chops to get the job done in four minutes or less. Ready? Let's go!

     "Wait For Me" is the latest single from Agent Fresco's impending new record Destrier, due out next week, and once again I'm enjoying it despite its being about as far from metal as it possibly could be. But something about "Wait For Me"'s combination of sparse instrumentation and production in the verses meets big electro-funk choruses tickles me in the the weird place that Agent Fresco seems to have this knack for finding.

     Then you throw in the powerful vocal performance, the accompanying video, and the story behind said video (it's at the top of the comments, I won't get into it here) and you've got a recipe for those feels I was talking about. You'll want to play this one a couple of times, but there's just a little bit of melancholy in each play. Powerful stuff from Agent Fresco and Destrier.

Monday: Meshuggah - Obzen

     When I want a Metal Monday song, there are a few bands that I can count on as go-to touchstones for straight up heavy. Your belated Monday song for this week comes from one such band. Prepare yourself.

     I've read that the title of Meshuggah's obZen is, among other things, a sorta kinda portmanteau of "zen" and "obscene", and "obscene" is definitely a word I would use when describing my favourite Meshuggah material, as in "obscenely heavy". Longtime readers may by now have noticed my fondness for Meshuggah's sixth album, and while it's not the only one I dig, it is the one that got me into these crazy Swedes, so it's got that special "popped my Meshuggah cherry" place in my heart, y'know?

     So for Metal Monday I'm going with obZen title track "Obzen", a muscular tour de force of angular chugging and aggression. Doesn't it just make you want to mosh someone into the ground? Here's a fun game: next time you're at the office, put on "Obzen" and work your co-workers into a circle pit by the water cooler. If you need help, just show them that video of scenes from The Wolf of Wall Street cut to (you guessed it) Meshuggah so it looks like Leo's headbanging away in perfect time. Everybody will jump right on board after that.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Sunday: Psykup - Color Me Blood Red

     If only I could derive nutrition and energy from alliteration, I'd never need to sleep or eat again. Maybe some day science will catch up with my dreams, but for the time being I can glean only dorky satisfaction from chaining together words starting with the same letter or, as is the case with your Sunday song, the same letter sound. Yes, it's a wee bit of a cheat, but when you see it I think you'll let me off the hook.

     After all, the "p" is silent, so technically giving you a Psykup Sunday is a perfectly cromulent thing to do (bonus points for anyone who gets that particular bit of wordplay). But who or what is Psykup? Well, they're French...and insane. The scattershot trio of influences listed on the band's page at the Season of Mist Bandcamp -- Strapping Young Lad, Primus, and Alice in Chains -- is as minimally descriptive as it is representative of the weirdness that is Psykup.

     So let their madness do the talking and check out "Color Me Blood Red", the opening track from Psykup's 2008 album We Love You All. This one's as hard to nail down as Jello, so you should enjoy every minute of its fat, nearly ten minute running time. Go on, get messy.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Saturday: The Kindred - An Evolution of Thought

     Let's keep the ball rolling with a little bit of proggy-smelling post-hardcore courtesy of the Canadians Formerly Known as Today I Caught the Plague. (I suppose it's been long enough that we should all probably stop making reference to how they used to be called something else, but hey, I needed an intro.)

     The Kindred's sophomore disc Life in Lucidity (their first under the new The Kindred moniker) is more than a year old already, but it's got an energy and a style that still feels fresh to me. It's hard to describe, so here's the deal: I could name a dozen bands that The Kindred and Life in Lucidity remind me of (for example, I get some Coheed and Cambria, some reined-in Mars Volta, some Protest the Hero...), or you could just listen to "An Evolution of Thought" and check 'em out for your own self.

     Of course, the flipside to me still enjoying your record that's been out more than a year is that no matter how fresh it remains, new material can never come soon enough. So, The Kindred, new record, yes?

Monday, 27 July 2015

Friday: Sevendust - Thank You

     Goddamn life, always getting in the way of work. If you'll remember, before the weekend I was withing spitting distance of being caught up after the last... I don't know, month or so, spent in varying states of behindness. But a full weekend, including Saturday spent at a local writer's expo (I don't just write stupid blog posts, you know) ate up all the time I would have used to finish the job.

     But no matter, the inevitable has only been further delayed, not averted altogether, and once again the New Music Gods apparently feel I need a hand because they've sent me some metal manna from heaven. What's more, this one comes at me out the blue, since I didn't even know your Friday band was at work on a new record.

     I've made no secret of my love for Sevendust, so I'm actually kind of excited to hear that the band's 11th album Kill the Flaw is done and will be out in the fall. Even better, today we got our first taste in the form of first single "Thank You", a decently heavy, decently catchy number that sounds pretty Sevendusty. It's not at the same level as their best, but it's also better than their worst, you dig? Check it out and see what you think.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Thursday: Thursday - Signals Over the Air

     Time for another Throwback Thursday song, and this week I've got the perfect pick in the form of a track from celebrated emo/screamo/post-hardcore act Thursday. A Throwback Thursday song by Thursday. Get it? Get it?! Yeah, you get it.

     2001's sophomore disc Full Collapse remains my favourite Thursday record, probably due in no small part to it belonging to a rose-coloured part of my youth, but they've got a catalogue with lots of other good stuff in it. Full Collapse follow-up War All the Time is one such solid record, and a piece of work that fans of the genre should check out.

     And to make sure that you check it out you do, I'm going to hook you the same way Thursday hooked me on War All the Time back in 2003, with the album's first single "Signals Over the Air". Catchy, singable, and with just enough groove to get your head going, "Signals Over the Air" is a great example of just how much better than your preconceptions "emo" can be.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Wednesday: Uneven Structure - Funambule

     Let's join hands and once again give thanks to the muses for keeping our ears fed with fresh meat. If your musical taste is similar to mine, then you've been looking forward to this one for quite some time now. Thankfully, the wait has definitely been worth it.

     It seems like the follow-up to 2011's monstrous Februus has been simmering away forever, but the guys in Uneven Structure have finally finished everything up and unleashed the first single on us in anticipation of a release sometime this fall. If you haven't check it out yet (do it, do it now!) I'm happy to report that "Funambule" is everything you'd expect from Uneven Structure: it's heavy, it's got groove for days, and most of all it's fucking BIG. Sure, this is just a taste, but if the rest of La Partition hits this hard, it's going to crush. Preorders, please, Basick?

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Tuesday: Nok Novum - Ghost Farmer

     I can almost taste the finish line, can't you? Time for a Tuesday song, and once again the patron providence of New Music has got my back in spades. Instrumental prog fiends, I give you the latest single from Calgary's up-and-coming Nok Novum.

     "Ghost Farmer" is a musical journey of absolutely epic proportions -- no surprise if you're familiar with any of Nok Novum's other material. Big, chunky detuned riffs give way to a moody middle section that's equal parts sax and groove before the whole thing heavies back up in a big way. Seven and a half minutes after pressing play, it's all I can do to hit repeat before offering libations to those same small gods in the hopes that someday soon we'll see a full LP from Nok Novum.

     Bonus: not only can you listen to this big ol' slab of sexy, you can also watch the guys shred it out in the form of a full-band playthrough video. Just click the song title above, and let the internet's series of tubes do the rest.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Monday: CHON - Perfect Pillow

     Not a huge Stryper fan but could still use a Funday? Well then let's keep it going with a Monday Funday heaping helping of chill from your friends in CHON.

     I'm sure you're all super CHON experts by this point, but let me lay it out for those of you who've just gotten here: the guys in CHON are experts at crafting bright, melodic, and very technically proficient instrumental prog (well, mostly instrumental...) with loads of jazzy overtones. Their latest effort, the mixed LP of new-and-reworked-old material Grow, was released back in the spring, but songs like your Monday Funday tune still creep into my playlist on the regular.

     "Perfect Pillow" is your perfect example of CHON's game, and a perfect example of why, while the tracks on Grow that do have vocals aren't hurt by them, there's absolutely no need to mess with success.

Sunday: Stryper - Yahweh

     So "Yesterday" may have been "Sadder Day". So what? Don't get too down, because now it's time for Funday with something a little... lighter? Sillier might be nearer the mark, depending on where you stand, but here goes nothing anyways!

     The in-a-nutshell-backstory is this: in addition to penning much of Sevendust's best material, guitarist and songwriter Clint Lowery has apparently had a hand in writing the latest single from everybody's favourite 80's band, Stryper. "Yahweh", from Stryper's upcoming Fallen, is thematically predictable (coming from Stryper) but if you can look past that, it's crunchy enough in an old school kinda way.

     Stryper's not going to be replacing Sevendust in my rotation any time soon, but it's still interesting to see what a talented guy like Clint gets up to in his "off" time. Just don't scroll down and start reading comments. There be dragons there...

Monday, 20 July 2015

Saturday: The Safety Fire - Glass Crush

     Next up is a Saturday post, except that this week I'm going with a bit of a "Sadder Day" theme. Why so glum, chum? Because we're mourning the loss/celebrating the career of Australia's The Safety Fire, who, in an April Fool's joke that wasn't, actually broke up a few months ago...apparently.

     The guys took to Facebook last week to confirm what many probably thought was a fully legit joke. As usual, who knows exactly what factors into the demise of a band? All I can say is I'll actually miss this particular outfit, as their melodic, often-groovy prog-djent tickles my fancy. But rather than be too down, let's do this thing Irish wake-style and remember the good times.

     To that end, your Sadder Day song is "Glass Crush" from The Safety Fire's 2013 sophomore disc Mouth of Swords. Pour yourself a drink (sensing a theme around here lately?), fire this bad boy up, and then try to not crush your glass... See what I did there? Yeah you do.

Friday: Black Fast - I Conspire

     So close, and yet so far... I can almost taste the on-timedness of these last couple of Songs of the Day, so let's charge down the home stretch, shall we? And let's start with something badass to have kicked your weekend off with (I know that sounds wrong, but trust me, it's grammatically sound...)

     Step 1: Open beer.
     Step 2: Turn up stereo/ipod/laptop/cellphone volume.
     Step 3: Volume's not right; give it a little more.
     Step 4: Now jam "I Conspire" from the upcoming Terms of Surrender by Black Fast out of St. Louis, a riffy, ever-so-slightly proggy-and-deathy neothrash outfit that certainly lives up to its name -- they're definitely fast, and at least a little blackened. If you need an endorsement other than mine, consider this: Black Fast are touring with Revocation in the fall. Convinced now? Just play the track already!

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Thursday: Led Zeppelin - Trampled Under Foot

     Most of my Throwback Thursday posts lately have been little baby jumps back in time, a decade or two, at most -- trifles, really. For this Thursday's post, I'm genuinely throwing it back a ways -- forty years or so, if you're counting. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Led Zeppelin.

     Led Zeppelin usually get lumped in with classic rock, or sometimes mentioned in the same breath as bands like Black Sabbath when discussing the origins of heavy metal. And while both of those classifications are valid, there's so much going on across the breadth of Zep's catalogue that one can find whatever genre they want given only minimal searching, or none at all. Groovalicious funk, anyone?

     Your Throwback Thursday song for this week is "Trampled Under Foot" from Zep's 1975 album Physical Graffiti, a raunchy slice of relentlessly driving funk that you can't help but bob your head to. Take a break from getting out of whatever comfort zone you usually inhabit, pile into your car, roll the windows down, and crank some Zep, starting with this one.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Wednesday: I the Mighty - Lady of Death

     As I've now established (and as you'll hope agree, to at least some degree), it's good to get out of your comfort zone once in a while. I made this point yesterday in reference to my own journey to the darker, crustier fringes of metal via bands like Abyssal. But what if that kind of extreme metal is your comfort zone? What do you do then?

     You come to Loud Noises and listen to something worlds apart from that, like your Wednesday song from San Francisco's I the Mighty. "Lady of Death" is the first full track from the band's latest, Connector, and it's a microcosm of what I like best about I the Mighty: highly energetic, highly melodic, vaguely proggy post-hardcore with a sheen of poppy hookiness over everything. Comparisons to Dance Gavin Dance come to mind quickest, but I also get shades of Hail the Sun, Stolas, and even Coheed and Cambria sprinkled throughout Connector's running time.

     The rocking energy does seem to drop off a bit towards the second half of Connector, alloyed with some electronic elements and some slightly more varied song moods and tones, but overall there's still enough here to possibly grab even the most blackened of metalheads. Give I the Mighty a shot today.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Tuesday: Abyssal - I Am the Alpha and the Omega

     Any self-help book or life coach will tell you that it's good to step out of your comfort zone sometimes, and the older I get the more I believe it. Sure, it's great being right where we know what's what, but sometimes we need to stretch ourselves a bit if we're going to grow. Being a metal fan isn't any different than anything else.

     Take me, as an example. I've got particular metal preferences. Proggy, techy stuff is up my alley. So is thrashy stuff, and lots of different -core variations. Crusty, super blackened stuff, typically not so much. But when we step outside our usual ruts, we can sometime be pleasantly surprised by what we find.

     If we were to be so adventurous, we might find something like Britain's Abyssal and their latest release Antikatastaseis (dig out your LSJ's, Classical scholars). I say "release" because while Antikatastaseis only boasts seven tracks, they're all monsters that clock in at six minutes or better. That says a lot about the kind of epic blackened metal you're getting here, and I could say more, but I think instead it's time to let Abyssal do the talking. So start things off with opening track "I Am the Alpha and the Omega", and see what you think.

Monday: Revocation - Scorched Earth Policy

     You know how I like a Metal Monday post, which is one of the many reasons why I give thanks to Zeus for bands that can be depended upon to put out consistently kick-ass material that I can readily go to when I want something straight up heavy to share with all of you.

     Revocation is most definitely one of those bands, mixing melodic deathcore with modern thrash and throwing in all kinds of other elements for good measure. When I'm looking to metal up a Monday (or any other day, really) I know Revocation will deliver no matter what I put on. But such an embarrassment of riches sometimes leaves me a little too spoiled for choice, leading me to let the universe show me the correct path.

     And once again, the universe provides, in the form of a new lyric video from straight out of Camp Revocation. "Scorched Earth Policy" is one of my favourite tracks from last year's Deathless, and it's easy to see why: razor-sharp riffing and machine-precise drumming that both turn on a dime are two things that are always up my alley. If they're up yours too, happy belated Metal Monday.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Sunday: Scale the Summit - Stolas

     So you like the idea of instrumental post-whatever like "yesterday's" In Each Hand a Cutlass post, but you're not sold yet on their particular brand of prog. Why not try something else, courtesy of one of the biggest names in the sub-genre.

     We've been getting teases -- artwork and the like, mostly -- of the new Scale the Summit album for a while now, but earlier this week we got our first solid taste in the form of single and accompanying video "Stolas". It's nothing earthshattering, music-wise, but it is yet another example of Scale's ability to craft intricate, technically proficient instrumental prog that's still laid-back, replete with groove, and never overly showy. Plus, "Stolas" has a fun, 80's hair metal-style parody video, and it's always good to see someone do something with their videos that isn't just lyrics, band-in-a-room, or some combination of the two.

     We'll have to wait until September for the full V experience, but if "Stolas" and the cover art can be believe, the force remains strong with Scale the Summit. Check it out.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Saturday: In Each Hand a Cutlass - Overture

     So you've been getting into instrumental post-rock and post-metal, and you're really digging it, but there's one problem: you're not necessarily the biggest fan of all that "slow build, ebb-and-flow, heavy-on-the-atmosphere" post-instrumental. The solution? Unleash The Kraken!!

     More specifically, the solution is unleashing the latest album The Kraken from Singapore's awesomely-named In Each Hand a Cutlass, who demonstrate perfectly that a band doesn't need a vocalist to straight-up rock. In addition to having some phenomenal artwork, The Kraken boasts oodles of dynamics, groove, and subtly sophisticated musicianship across its twelve proggy, lyric-less tracks.

     You're getting seven-minute monster "Overture" simply because I can't settle on one song from The Kraken and its as good an example of In Each Hand a Cutlass as any. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: there's great heavy music to be had all over the world, if you bother to look for it.

Friday: Queens of the Stone Age - Little Sister

     Grab your woodblocks and cowbells because I'm switching gears a bit for your Friday song. As I often do, I'm going to mellow things out a little going into last weekend -- a little, but not too much. Things are still going to be rocking enough, courtesy of Queens of the Stone Age.

     Regular readers will by now have picked up on the fact that I tend to favour (not always, but often) the earlier material in the catalogue of any given band. While this is equally true of Queens of the Stone Age, I'm more than willing to admit that Queens has written some great tunes since 2002's Songs for the Deaf.

     Tunes like your Friday song "Little Sister" from 2005's Lullabies to Paralyze, a suitably sleazy, radio-friendly rocker that's just quirky and weird enough to be right at home in the Queens Corpus. Bonus points for the warbly, squirrely tone on this track's guitar solo -- I think it's something simple like a pitch shifter or whammy pedal, but that doesn't make it any less fun.

Thursday: The Contortionist - Oscillator

     See? This is the kind of pace that needs to happen to get this ship back on track (mixed metaphor = on purpose, lit wonks). Let's keep it going with a little Throwback Thursday action, albeit a shortish kind of throw.

     The Contortionist has undergone quite a transition over the course of three albums, but many fans still stand by 2010's debut Exoplanet as the band's high point. I don't know that I'm one of those (sophomore disc Intrinsic is probably still my favourite from the band's catalogue) but I definitely can appreciate The Contortionist's heavier roots.

     To that end, let's throw it back five years for "Oscillator" from Exoplanet, a meaty mid-album number that perfectly sums up what The Contortionist were up to way back when. It's only a half-decade throwback, but it still counts, right?

Monday, 13 July 2015

Wednesday Last: Exgenesis - Concrematio

     Catching up continues with a song for last Wednesday. How does the idea of some melodic and sweeping doomy death metal sound to you? Then come on in for some Exgenesis, won't you?

     The ocean-spanning collaboration that is Exgenesis (with members hailing from Columbia and Sweden) has been gaining some international attention on the back of their latest EP Aphotic Veil, a grand slab of the aforementioned doomy death metal. For your Wednesday taste of Exgenesis you're getting "Concrematio", a plodding, crushing, downtempo number that's heavy on the doom. This one's got just the right amount of sinister, so doom fans can start lining up now.

Tuesday Last: Son of Aurelius - Pandora's Burden

     Another week spent on the slippery, sloped ground in the shadow of the eight ball. Let's do this, FOR REAL THIS TIME, shall we?

     To kick things off: a Tech Tuesday tune for last week from one of my favourite under-appreciated tech-death bands and albums. California's Son of Aurelius aren't quite a household name in the world of technical death metal yet, but based on the strength of their first two LPs, they've certainly got the chops to be. The musicianship of all involved has improved from debut The Farthest Reaches to sophomore effort Under a Western Sun, but I still have a hipster-style soft spot for the record that got me into these guys when nobody else seemed to have heard of them.

     Your super late Tech Tuesday track for last week is "Pandora's Burden" from Son of Aurelius' mythological debut The Farthest Reaches, a somewhat slower, grindier number than a lot of the stuff on Farthest Reaches but just as intricate and pummeling. Kick off some catching up in aggressive style with this one.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Monday: Beyond Creation - Fundamental Process

     Enough synthy silliness. Metal Monday? Metal Monday.

     I've said it (or something similar) before, and I'll say it (or something similar) again: Montreal's Beyond Creation are monsters of technical, progressive metal. Even the departure of bassist Dominic Lapointe earlier in the year does little to diminish their awesomeness. We haven't gotten the chance to hear new bassist Hugo Doyon-Karout on Beyond Creation material yet, but if new stuff is anything like "Fundamental Process" from last year's phenomenal Earthborn Evolution (for which the band has recently released a video) Hugo would be doing something. Put this one on and prepare for your jaw to hit new lows for nearly eight minutes of technical, progressive death metal.

Sunday: Enter Shikari - Enter Shikari

     How's that electronic-y aftertaste from Numbers treating your earballs? Let's keep that kind of flavour lingering on your tongue a little bit longer, shall we, with a cut from my favourite record by British techno-metalcore band Enter Shikari.

     The guys in Enter Shikari have come a long ways and several albums since 2007's Take to the Skies, but Enter Shikari's debut LP is still the one I revisit the most. It's at that perfect nostalgic intersection between the right collection of music and the right time in one's life to discover said collection of music. My interest in these guys has dropped off significantly since, but like I said, Take to the Skies gets more frequent replays than anything else in their catalogue.

     Which is why this synthy Sunday song is the eponymous first full track from Take to the Skies, the super-catchy, super high energy "Enter Shikari". Glow sticks aren't necessary, just get in your car, rolls the windows down, and crank this one (and then the rest of the album) for instant party.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Saturday: Numbers - The Winds at Bay

     The deities that govern the releasing of new music (I really should start naming some of these small gods at this point...) continue to smile upon me and provide material for your Saturday song. The only hitch? The material in question isn't quite new, per se.

     Let me lay it out for you: Seattle-based "electrometal jazzcore" band (their words) Numbers have just released a new single in the form of the rocking "The Winds at Bay", except said single was apparently actually recorded during the sessions for Numbers' debut LP Three. So, it's more of a case of "new to you" than "brand new", but the end result is more Numbers, so who cares?

     Given that "The Winds at Bay" came out of the writing of Three, it's no surprise that things sound suitably Three-ish -- a healthy dose of metalcore grooves, a soupcon of synths and electronica, and, of course, Kyle's cutting vocals. It's a cocktail that remains as tasty now as it was when Three came out. I'd like to order another though, so album number two please guys? Thanks.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Friday: Coheed and Cambria - You've Got Spirit, Kid

     Like a diminuitvely-sized steam-thing that could do... something... I think I can, I think I can, I think I can hit you with another late post on the path to calendrical responsibility. And, praise the Allfather, the deities responsible for new music have deigned to smile upon me and aid in my efforts. Decent.

     Let's start with your Friday song, and a bit of a twist: Coheed and Cambria have a new single out ahead of a new album, and for the first time Claudio and Company are eschewing their usual concept record route in favour of something much more grounded in meatspace (my words). Will longtime fans like myself explode with disappointment?

     If first single "You've Got Spirit, Kid" is any indication, probably not. It might be lyrically less obtuse and more direct than past Coheed stuff... or it might not. Since Claudio always built personal meaning into the Amory Wars story anyways, things don't sound worlds apart with that concept stripped away. And musically, well, Coheed pretty much just sounds like Coheed; this one's not as instantly in my brain as some of their stuff, but it's got plenty of potential. Bring on The Color Before the Sun in October.

Thursday: Econoline Crush - You Don't Know What It's Like

     Time to kill as many pigs as I can with as few pigs as possible (2015 people, you'll get that one in a few years, when tradition idioms are finally updated for the modern age). To wit: this one's a Throwback Thursday number, an additional piece of Canadiana, and a prelude to an upcoming local show I'm going to try and catch. How's that for multitasking?

     If you're a Canadian music fan of around my age, chances are pretty good that you're familiar with Vancouver alt-rockers Econoline Crush. Chances are also fair to pretty good that you're also familiar with some of the fan favourites from their catalogue, songs like "All That You Are", "Sparkle & Shine", and your belated Throwback Thursday song for last week.

     If I had to pick one and only one Econoline Crush song to put on some kind of giant mixtape, it'd definitely have to "You Don't Know What It's Like". It's not really an especially heavy track by metal standards, but it's got plenty of rocking energy to its choruses, and plenty of singability to boot. Grab some Canadian circa-thirtysomethings, get some drinks in them, put this one on and watch the bunch of them rediscover the fact that they know all the words.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Wednesday: Rush - Closer to the Heart

     OK, fair warning: even though it's actually Tuesday the 7th out here in meatspace, this post is supposed to make up for last Wednesday the 1st, which was Canada Day, and by now you should know what that means. If you answered anything other than "something Canadian for Canada Day, Alex", you need to head back to the dojo, Daniel-san, because you're not ready to face Cobra-Kai yet.

     The aforementioned warning, however, pertains more to my choice of Canada Day tune than its country of origin. Yes, that's right fellow 'nucks, I'm once again showing my nation pride and wishing this greatest of countries a happy birthday in style with a classic cut from Canadian legends Rush. Sorry Geddy haters.

     And what's more, I'm going full sentimental Rush-head and going with the 1977 classic "Closer to the Heart" from A Farewell to Kings for my Canada Day selection. Grab a loved one, grab a bevvy, and sing along with this one like it's last call at some Canadian-themed bar somewhere. Happy belated Canada Day everybody.

Tuesday: Fallujah - Levitation

     My next catch-up song might not be quite tech enough to qualify for Tech Tuesday, but it is dense and heavy as fuck, and that can go a long way towards trumping sheer technicality. Oh, and did I mention that just because they're not shredding around 24/7 doesn't mean Fallujah can't play the absolute shit out of their instruments? So there's that too.

     I've previously made no secret of just how much I dig Fallujah's 2014 masterpiece The Flesh Prevails, but there's more than enough rock solid material on said album to justify some more time for Fallujah in the Loud Noises spotlight. Take as your latest example "Levitation", a dense, ferocious, and majestic snapshot of where Fallujah is at right now (or was at in 2014 anyways). I know The Flesh Prevails isn't even a year old yet, but bring on the follow-up, guys!

Monday, 6 July 2015

Monday: Radiohead - All I Need

     So, a week behind and looking to catch up once and for all as soon as possible? Better get to it, shall we, starting with a way-late Monday song from Loud Noises Mellow Monday favourites Radiohead.

     Checking my records, I see I've yet to feature one of my favourite moody pieces from 2007's personal-sleeper-hit In Rainbows, so my choice of Mellow Monday song today is pretty easy peasy. "All I Need" starts out somewhat sparsely, with a little bit of ambient background, a laid-back beat, and a bass line. But by the end, things are lush and densely beautiful, with piano, horns, strings, xylophone, and Thom's croon over top of everything. If your head wasn't nodding along at some point during the four minutes or so of "All I Need", make a chiropractic appointment because there could be something wrong with your neck.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Sunday: Refused - Dawkins Christ

     OK class, show of hands: who's been jamming the new Refused record Freedom over the past week or so? And what does everybody think? Are you one of those people who's a bit butt-hurt because Freedom isn't exactly what they expected and/or hoped for? Or are you, like me, pleasantly surprised with this grower-not-a-shower of an album?

     Fans expecting The Shape of Punk to Come 2.0 might be disappointed that the rest of Freedom doesn't hit as hard as "Elektra", but as usual, the open-minded listener is rewarded here with something interesting and different. Refused have come a ways in the last fifteen or twenty years, but if you don't go into Freedom with a particular set of expectations all built up and ready to be disappointed, I think you'll find that there's a lot of good stuff to be had.

     Case in point: "Dawkins Christ", which oscillates between simmering menace and bursting punk energy. Like many of the tracks on Freedom, it's not especially heavy, or fast, or technical, but it is just enough of all of those things to hook a listener like me. Maybe it'll hook a listener like you, maybe not, but if you're at all into Refused, it deserves at least a look. The shape of punk that's come might not be what you thought it would be, but that doesn't mean it isn't cool.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Saturday: Skyharbor - Celestial

     By now all you Skyharbor fans out there will likely have heard the news, but for those who haven't: singer Dan Tompkins is, alas, parting ways with Skyharbor and dedicating himself completely to his work with Tesseract (real blow for Tesseract fans, right?) and presumably his other solo/session stuff.

     Skyharbor fans take heart, however, because the band has already introduced the world to Dan's replacement, American vocalist/producer Eric Emery, and even provided a little taste of what's in store for us as far as Eric's Skyharbor vocals will be concerned. Click right about here to sample Eric's take on Guiding Lights lead single "Evolution".

     Facebook tells me tracking for a new Skyharbor single is about to begin, so maybe we'll hear Eric on some new material sooner than we think. In the meantime, however, we're going to go back to square one for your way-late Saturday Skyharbor song. Go back in time a bit and check out the epic "Celestial" from Skyharbor's superb debut Blinding White Noise: Illusion & Chaos and then join me in counting down the days until we get some Eric-led Skyharbor.