This Town Needs Guns Ė 18.104.22.168.0
When most people think of math rock, they probably think of really sporadic rock music with shredding guitars and ADD drumming, kind of like Hella, but thatís not the kind of math rock present on This Town Needs Gunís new record. TTNG are a trio, consisting of a guitarist, bass guitarist/vocalist, and drummer from Oxford, UK, that take the technical musicianship of math rock and combines it with the song-writing of emo and indie rock. I say bass guitarist because the instrument the bassist/vocalist is playing is called a ďBass VIĒ, meaning itís an instrument thatís strung like a guitar, but is tuned down on octave, so it sounds like a bass. Itís a really interesting instrument and they get some cool sounds from it. Most of the sounds and tones on the record are clean. The songs are all mid-pace, calm and pretty soothing actually. The vocalist has a really nice clean singing voice, in kind of a middle range. The hooks on these songs are usually pretty catchy, and the bright sounds on the record do put on smile on my face even though the songs arenít necessarily happy themselves. Overall, This Town Needs Guns presents a really interesting take on math rock with this record, keeping the atmosphere calm, cool, and collected while still showcasing impressive musician ship.
Vhol Ė Vhol
Every now and again youíll hear that a few great musicians are working on a collaborative project and you canít help but be fucking stoked. Thatís what I felt when I heard that members of Yob, Hammers Of Misfortune, and Ludicra were getting together for a record. Vhol is a black metal/crust project featuring Mike Scheidt on vocals, John Cobbett on guitar, Aesop Dekker on drums, and Sigrid Sheie on bass. Vholís music is absolutely face-melting. Along with the aggressive sounds coming from the black metal and crust punk influences, you also get sounds inspired by traditional metal and power metal. John Cobbettís song-writing ability completely shines all over the record, and he proves yet again that heís one of the best the Bay Area has to offer. All the songs on here are complete rockers and highly melodic. Youíll find yourself whistling or humming snippets of the album all day after giving it a listen. Aesopís drumming is on point as ever and Sigridís bass playing shines through on plenty moments on the record. Not to forget, Mikeís vocals, which go from his powerful belt to more aggressive shouting. This album is just a really fun ride that truly kicks ass. If you want some awesome black metal/crust with traditional metal influences, check this record out.
Whirr Ė Around
Whirr are probably my favorite band that Iíve discovered this year. Theyíre a Bay Area shoegaze group, featuring 3 guitarists, a bassist, a drummer, and a different female vocalist on each release. They play a wide array of shoegaze/90ís rock stylings, from down-tempo rock thatís full of fuzz and reverb, or more up-tempo songs that are loud. All of their material has elements of shoegaze effects, and 90ís emo melody, and really softly sung vocals. On their latest EP, Around, Whirr focus their efforts and crafting really dark, heavy music that sounds really melancholic and sorrowful. The material is just as loud and melodic as their past material, but there isnít a big emphasis on 90ís sound. In fact, with how heavy some of these riffs are, I wouldnít be surprised if they were listening to some sludge and doom around the time they were recording this. A lot of the melodies are full of sorrow and stay in your mind for hours. Even with the new dark sound, thereís still a lot of shoegaze sounds on the record, with glistening clean tones and completely fuzzed out chords. The music is still really emotive, and could very well fit as the soundtrack to laying in your bed wide awake at 2 in the morning pondering all of lifeís nuances. So if really dark, heavy shoegaze/emotive rock sounds cool to you, listen to this EP.
Listen to the full EP here
The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die - Whenever, If Ever
Every so often, you see an album cover that really intrigues you and you have to know the kind of music that is accompanied by such an album cover. I felt that with the cover for Whenever, If Ever. The image of the young man jumping into a lake, to me, symbolizes an attempt to preserve the youth that a lot of us try to preserve as we age. That itself can be a metaphor for the recent 90ís emo-revival that The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die is currently leading. The World Is A Beautiful Place is a 8-piece rock band out of Connecticut. The band incorporates usual rock band instruments, but also incorporate plenty of synthesizers, trumpet and cello, which I absolutely love hearing in rock music. The band fuses elements of 90ís emo, current indie rock, and post-rock crescendos and climaxes. The product is stunningly beautiful and full of raw emotion. Tracks often buildup and transition into each other as if they were one seamless piece of music. All the vocalists sound complete sincere and the multiple vocal lines going on at once really add another layer to the music. A lot of the songs are slow brewing post-rock tunes that explode into really cheery sounding tunes that are really youthful and a ton of fun to listen to. The album captures every emotion thatís connected to being young and discovering your place in the world and trying to leave the biggest impact you can. If youíre into 90ís emo and post-rock, definitely check this album out.
So concludes my albums I thought were great. I'll do top 10 live performances, then get to Top 10 albums of the year. Hopefully you guys have found some enjoyable stuff in both the albums I thought were really good and albums I thought were great.