Archive for February, 2010

The Latest News

Posted in News on February 27, 2010 by Ryan

Hello everyone, this is an update of what’s going down with local bands and music of late.

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Community Records is pretty active right now, just recently releasing the first issue of their Street Team Zine. It includes poetry, interviews, vegan recipes, and much more. The whole zine can also be viewed on the Community Records website. If you’re interested in submitting to the next issue of the zine, information can be found on their as well.

CR also just recently put up a special promotional offer for the 2010 year. To help pay for all the releases that will be occurring this year, the record label is offering the Caddywhompus vinyl w/ CD, Maddie Ruthless vinyl w/ CD, The Flaming Tsunamis vinyl w/ CD, Safety vinyl w/ CD, A Billion Ernies / Informant split vinyl w/ CD, The Rooks 7 inch vinyl, See You In Mexico CD, all other records that are released this year, and a CR t-shirt of your size all for $100. More information is in this video:

A Billion Ernies also recently released a song on their Myspace which will be featured on the split. The song and the band’s tour dates for the spring can be found here.

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Open Hand Records is also in the works of putting out some new music. It was just announced that the technical skacore band A War Against Sound (from the United Kingdom) will be releasing their next CD through OHR. It is set to release March 25th.

Aaron Hibbert, founder of OHR, also just released his own EP Cages, which is available for download here.

Disasterfest II is also in the works and is currently underway. It is set to be on July 24th at the Wakefield Unitarian Church from noon to 9pm. Bands will be announced soon. Up to the minute updates can be found on the event’s Twitter page.

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Bill Ross and Greg Nahabedian have recently revived Southern New Hampshire Music. The group aims to help local musicians and the big plan is to open a venue that is more accessible to musicians and those who wish see them perform. If SNHM is able to, they will make the cover charge this venue only $1.

Southern New Hampshire Music can be found on Myspace and Facebook and their blog can also be found here.

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And if anyone is interested, Streetlight Manifesto put up the track listing of the first CD in the series of 99 Songs of Revolution.

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That’s all for now. Expect more in this coming week when New Hampshire gets its power back.

-Ryan

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Review: La Dispute

Posted in Reviews on February 20, 2010 by Ryan

Artist: La Dispute
Album: Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River Between Vega and Altair

Listen to it here

La Dispute is a progressive hardcore, ambient band based out of Grand Rapids Michigan. They released Somewhere At the Bottom of the River in November, 2008 but recently released a benefit EP during December, 2009. The band is currently planning to tour the United States from March through May, record in the later part of March, and is also working on a European tour.

Sound / Musicianship

Most music that falls anywhere near the genre hardcore is not my cup of tea. The growling and breeing and constant chug patterns annoy and bore me and I have nothing else to say about them. However, while La Dispute appears to draw a heavy amount of influence from the hardcore genre, they excel past it by incorporating many other feels and styles while avoiding the repetitive cliches that are usually found with many hardcore bands.

The overall sound of this album blows me away. The very start of the album with “Such Small Hands” doesn’t start with cutthroat beats or heavy hitting guitars; it starts slowly, building up from a clean guitar and then cutting out to a fade right at the end. Both this fade and the shortness of the song (second shortest on the album) leave the listener wanting more right away. And more is definitely given.

From there on, La Dispute tackles the listener with a barrage of sound and does not give up until the end. However, while the album puts a lot of focus on developing heavy, intricate feels, nearly every song contains a break to less chaotic style with ambient, clean guitars and a slower pace. While many musicians are able to do such a thing, La Dispute does it in respect to the lyrics and how the song is progressing as a story. Each transition appears to be very well thought out and sets the listener up for a very emotional listen.

The thought that goes into simply the structure of the songs begins to show the musicianship that the band has. The songs are complex, switching from one style to another, emphasizing certain sections and feelings, all while maintaining a solid musical background. The guitarists work very well together with maintaining a balance with one another. There are times when both are playing the same part, others when a lead part is very clearly featured, and even other times when there is only one guitarist is playing. “Andria” and “Said the King to the River” both come to mind as great examples of the guitar balance. How the guitar lines come together is overall very well thought out and I am very impressed with how the guitars come together to create the melodies and backgrounds of the songs. The drums and bass are also very consistent with holding the base of the songs, and no part of the album seems to go off time or lose the beat. If listening carefully, some parts of the album explore different time signatures with “New Storms For Old Lovers” starting off in 3/4 and almost taking a waltz feel at times, and parts of “The Last Lost Continent” going into even different feels.

I usually do not have much to say about vocals or lyrics, but both of those things strike me as unique in this band. As mentioned, the songs all flow like stories and have certain feelings and emotions attached to each section. What really emphasizes these emotions is the vocals and the lyrics. The vocalist goes from roaring highs, to soft spoken word passages and the amount of dynamics that are portrayed throughout the album really set the album up to be so unique. The lyrics themselves fit the highs and lows of the vocals and songs. While many of the lyrics can come off as personal experiences or even story-telling of something else, the listener is able to relate overall to what is being said.

With all these compliments, there are some noticeable things about the album that I do not personally enjoy. While this band exceeds most hardcore bands I listen to, there are still some generic riffs and melodies that come up throughout the songs that don’t come off as strong as others. “Damaged Goods” and “Then Again, Maybe You Were Right” come off as the most strong examples of this. However, these lacking parts can mostly be looked over as the rest of the album seems to compensate.

Quality / Originality

The quality of this level is high. The band took its time in the studio and with mixing and mastering, and the final product is something for the band to be proud of. All the instruments come out great, and in particular, the guitar tracks were put together very well and extremely well balanced simply on a production level. Everything comes through as it should.

There are not many other bands that sound anything close like La Dispute. The music, vocals, and overall feel would be recognizable to me anywhere and the band is obviously on the track to something great. While parts of the songs could be split up and found through many other bands, what makes La Dispute great is that they have taken the best aspects of so many styles and put them together with amazing dynamics to create a very well developed and original album.

Overall Impression

This record is very solid and one my new favorites. I’ve been listening to La Dispute for only two months now, but I keep finding myself coming back them. The songs are catchy and intricate, the lyrics deep and powerful and just so many aspects of this CD are worth listening to. I would highly recommend listening to this album if you are interested in listening to anything that is able to have raging highs and emotional lows. Even if you don’t particularly like La Dispute, any person should be able to respect the music they are making.

-Ryan