by James Calvet
It's Halloweek at Radio 1190! Tune in right now to hear spooky scary songs wedged between rotation songs as well as your chance to win Radio 1190 t-shirts, concert tickets and free vinyl records! We will be keeping up the spook up until Friday so don't miss out on the fun. In other news, Radio 1190 will be hosting another Locals Live show at Buchanans Coffee Pub on the Hill this Thursday Oct 27th. The act this week will be Tayler Doyle from The Kinky Fingers playing some solo material. For more details log on to our Facebook.
Detroit-based post-punk act Protomartyr has been making incredibly drunken, melodic and heart felt rock music since 2012. On their third album The Agent Intellect, the group explores darker subjects with their melodic, yet self-deprecating sound. Much like their earlier albums, the group uses simple guitar and bass interplay as the drums stay at the swift march. The vocals from Joe Casey are deep and sloppy but still carry incredible amounts of honesty and emotionality. Furthermore, the lyrical content focuses heavily on Casey's loss of his father to an unexpected heart attack. The subject matter may be dark and hard to read at times, but Casey keeps it vague enough to be relatable and cathartic. But what the band does best, is shown on this record where they mix dark themes and styles with hyper-melodic guitars and bass lines. Though this album may not be much of a change from their last, it's still incredibly catchy and memorable enough to make it hard to determine which is the superior album, if there is one.
If you're familiar with the loosely defined genre of "indie rock", you've probably heard of Deerhunter. After massively successful albums such as 2008's Microcastle and 2012's Halcyon Digest, frontman Bradford Cox and company have become the indie darlings of the mid to late 2000's. Come 2015, right before the release of their highly anticipated album Fading Frontier, a weird but unsurprising review of a horrible Los Angeles live show surfaced on major music publications. The show was sloppy, noisy and uncomfortable including drawn out interpretations of their older material and mid-song stops to complain to the sound guy. Though Deerhunter is well known for being sloppy, cathartic and strange, the new album is anything but.
The lead single "Snakeskin" is a clean and polished interpretation of their sound, with a steady stomp, but the melodic call and response in the guitars are incredibly reminiscent of Cox's solo work as Atlas Sound. Though, in the past, Deerhunter has taken simple pop structure and fused it with shoegaze or eerie softness and made it work, now more than ever, Deerhunter is sounding like a Bradford Cox solo project. Through the album's nine tracks, little to none of them truly stand out as personal, emotional or impactful works of art. Without the collaborative efforts of past guitarist Frankie Broyles, the group is frightful to think outside the box, get a little bit noisy and do something different. Though Fading Frontier works as a solid and interesting pop album, with a legacy so prolific and impactful as Deerhunter's, it's a true disappointment and a step in the wrong direction.
In the past few years, the words "Black metal" have been a point of contention in communities of metal enthusiasts. After American bands have been incorperating these European musical sensibilities, bands such as Liturgy have been dubbed "Hipster Black Metal". Come 2013, the California-based group Deafheaven released Sunbather that was musically controversial, but also sported a bright pink album cover to further enables black metal idealists. After the success of that album, 2015 brought their fourth release and follow-up entitled New Bermuda. Much like Sunbather, the new record opens with bone-crushing blast beats, tremolo picked guitars and shrill, shrieking vocals. The opener hits a groove as soon as the band switches to a more mellow vibe and then builds it back up again.
Sadly, once things start getting good, the band opts for a very awkward fade out while the vocals are still going full force to transition into a clunky piano interlude. Thankfully, the second song sports a jittery, chunky guitar intro, a la Master Of Puppets era Metallica, and then evolves into a melodic, post-hardcore influenced grind. Though the album doesn't do anything bad, the middle section sports a business as usual sound for Deafheaven, teetering and tottering between major and minor key tonalities. Sadly, the final track "Gifts of the Earth" is the weakest on the album. After their usual metal grind, the track opens up with strumming, major-key sporting acoustic guitars and a watery electric lead that sounds incredibly similar to late-career Pearl Jam. Unfortunately, the lack of experimentation, production and style choices keep New Bermuda, a good album, from being as great as their previous efforts.