Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dead Prez - Let's Get Free

Artist: Dead Prez
Album: Let's Get Free
Genre: Revolutionary Hip-Hop
Year: 2000
Origin: USA

Dead Prez is a revolutionary hip-hop duo, with an extra emphasis on the 'revolutionary'. These guys are very angry about things as they are in the US, and they mean to do something about it. This is probably the most 'serious' rap music I have ever heard. They aren't against having a good time, as can be seen in the slightly more upbeat songs "Mind Sex" and "Happiness", but the lyrics are thoughtful and the focus on revolutionary social change is always clear.

I'm not sure how I feel about the "Revolutionary But Gangsta" stuff they have made more recently. I understand about solidarity with the oppressed and all that, but on this album they made a big point about mainstream rap culture being counterrevolutionary, and I'm worried that they might be moving toward that. It seems that they release an album every election year, so the new one should be out soon.

Anyway, this here is one of my favorite hip-hop albums; I highly recommend it.

artist site

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sin Dios - Ruido Anticapitalista & Alerta Antifascista

Artist: Sin Dios
Album: Ruido Anticapitalista & Alerta Antifascista
Genre: Anarcho-punk
Year: 1991 & 1993
Origin: Spain

This is a reissue album comprised of two eps from Madrid squatter punks Sin Dios. I don't understand much Spanish, but from their name ("Without God") and the album titles, I can guess the lyrical content pretty easily. The songs are everything you could hope for from a good anarcho-punk band: fast, short, angry and inspiring.

band site

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Aarni - Bathos

Artist: Aarni
Album: Bathos
Genre: Doom Metal / Psychedelic Rock
Year: 2004
Origin: Finland

Aarni is a funeral doom metal band that has mostly abandoned the genre in favor of experimental, psychedelic melodies and strange sound combinations. As you listen to this album the first time, you will never be sure what's going to come next, but you know it will be interesting. All instruments are played by Master Warjomaa, including the prominent flute; the other band members listed on the website and album notes do not have a physical existence. As well as being musically unexpected, Aarni makes lyrics in a ridiculous variety of languages and topics. And the cd case for Bathos is really neat if you decide to purchase it. I also recommend Aarni's split with Umbra Nihil, which is a bit more in the funeral doom tradition.

band site

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Nae'blis - Beyond the Light

Artist: Nae'blis
Album: Beyond the Light
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal
Year: 2004
Origin: Sweden

Beyond the Light is the first full length release from the Swedish one-man black metal project Nae'blis. It doesn't really compare to the masterpiece of depressive black metal that is Sketches of Reality (which is also posted on this blog) or the split with Dominion, but I had to have anything I could find by this artist. And you should still download this, because it's a high quality atmospheric black metal album, and a prelude to the greatness to come.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

power metal mix

It's not an album this time, just a collection of a few great power metal songs I uploaded for someone. And sharing is caring, so here it is. Note: if you haven't heard these, you should, power metal fan or not.

Rhapsody - Holy Thunderforce
Black Abyss - Time
Blind Guardian - Into the Storm
Stratovarius - Black Diamond
Wizard - Witch of the Enchanted Forest

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ska-P - Lágrimas y Gozos

Artist: Ska-P
Album: Lágrimas y Gozos
Genre: I'm gonna let you guess on this one
Year: 2008
Origin: Spain

This is the newest release from the slightly pop-y Spanish ska punk band Ska-p. I've only listened to it once so far, but I think it's a quality album. The first track, Ni Fu Ni Fa is especially fun to listen to. The band's typical leftist political stance seems to be present, though I don't know enough Spanish to be sure. I wish I knew why that cat has a boomerang.

band site (be warned: it plays music automatically. I hate that shit.)

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Panopticon - Panopticon

Artist: Panopticon
Album: Panopticon
Genre: Black Metal
Year: 2008
Origin: USA

Panopticon is a one-man black metal project from Kentucky. He is part of the new and growing (I hope!) RABM scene (red & anarchist black metal). He makes his anarchist philosophy clear in Flag Burner, Torch Bearer, ...Speaking..., and I, Hedonist, not to mention the quote in the intro track, which I'm pretty sure is from Emma Goldman. I've heard some people say that it's ridiculous for a black metal band to have leftist politics, but I really don't see a good reason for that. Black metal was not political in the beginning, the nationalists weren't present until more recently. I think the only reason fascism has been so common in black metal is for the shock value; I guess Satanism just wasn't evil enough anymore. And in fact anarchism is much more in line with black metal's rebellion against modern society. Anyway, the music on this album is quite good atmospheric metal, regardless of the politics. The last track is a cover of I.C.B.M. by the crust punk legends Amebix.

"Tonight all flags must burn, in place of steeples.
Autonomy must return into the hands of the people. "
- Flag Burner, Torch Bearer

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NOTE: this one's not on mediafire, so when the link expires, leave me a comment so I can re-upload.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Carbon Based Lifeforms - World of Sleepers

Artist: Carbon Based Lifeforms
Album: World of Sleepers
Genre: Psychedelic Ambient
Year: 2006
Origin: Sweden

This is music for times when you just want to chill. It's rich with the interesting note-progressions common to psychedelic electronic music, but it's also music that doesn't rush itself. None of the tracks on World of Sleepers are 'goal-oriented' the way so much music in the western tradition is. Carbon Based Lifeforms just asks you to go with the flow, and it'll end wherever the music happens to end up. Also, they get bonus points for references to abstract mathematics.

artist site

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Woods of Ypres - Against the Seasons: Cold Winter Songs From the Dead Summer Heat

Artist: Woods of Ypres
Album: Against the Seasons: Cold Winter Songs From the Dead Summer Heat
Genre: Melodic Black Metal
Year: 2002
Origin: Canada

Woods of Ypres aim to play "summer metal", music that captures the harshness of the season so often ignored by nature themed metal bands. This is the band's first demo release, and it is based more in black metal, whereas the later albums are essentially heavy metal. On all of their releases the melodies are beautifully written by guitarist/vocalist David Gold, who I think is the frontman, but for some reason the keyboardist is front and center in every photograph.

band site

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Hammerfall - Crimson Thunder

Artist: Hammerfall
Album: Crimson Thunder
Genre: Power Metal
Year: 2002
Origin: Sweden

I've gotta admit, I appreciate a power metal band that isn't afraid to come across as a little gay. I'd say this album is somewhere between Gamma Ray and Manowar on the power metal spectrum, with the catchiness and solos of the former and the cheesy posturing of the latter. Hearts on Fire is a just plain uplifting song, and I think you'll find yourself singing it in the shower.

band site

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Sigh - Imaginary Sonicscape

Artist: Sigh
Album: Imaginary Sonicscape
Genre: Psychedelic Black Metal
Year: 2001
Origin: Japan

This is my favorite (and the weirdest) release from Japanese avant-garde black metallers Sigh. I've seen someone describe this as "King Crimson decided to take on black metal", and I think that's a good way to think of it, with a hint of Mr. Bungle as well. Crazy keyboards are abundant on this album, but the guitars take the melody more often than not and pull off a couple excellent solos along the way. Several different and interesting vocal styles are also thrown in for good measure. If you are looking for straight-up black metal from this band, go for Scorn Defeat or Hail Horror Hail instead.

It feels like I've been posting a lot of Japanese music recently. Hey Rest of the World: you've got some catching up to do!

band site

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Sunday, October 5, 2008

Boris - Akuma No Uta

Artist: Boris
Album: Akuma No Uta
Genre: Drone/Stoner Rock/Psychedelic Rock/Doom (says metal-archives)
Year: 2003
Origin: Japan

Boris goes from crushingly heavy, full-on droning walls of distortion to upbeat garage-punk (still crushingly heavy) to beautifully psychedelic guitar melodies, all in the same album. I saw Boris live about a year ago, and it was definitely the loudest show I've heard and also one of the most mentally-encompassing. This music can bring me into a trance and then start me banging my head and sometimes even singing along. This might be music for headphones, just don't turn it up too loud or the bass might stop your heart.

band site (it's got a very interesting layout. check it out!)

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Friday, October 3, 2008

Choking Victim - No Gods No Managers

Artist: Choking Victim
Album: No Gods No Managers
Genre: Crack Rock Steady (punk)
Year: 1999
Origin: New York

This is one of the best punk albums you will ever find. Self-proclaimed as "Crack Rock Steady", they play angry punk with ska and extreme metal influences, with Stza delivering one of my favorite black metal shrieks. The music is solidly based in punk, but it is surprisingly complex and filled with catchy melodies and crust-like intensity. These (former?) squatters fill their songs with lyrics about international politics and economic reform, revolution, killing cops, anti-Christianity, the general shitty-ness of life, and killing more cops. The band has since reformed as Leftover Crack (one of the original members of Choking Victim died, but I'm not sure if that's the reason they broke up), which I have been lucky enough to see in concert 3 times, and I highly recommend catching a show if they come to your neighborhood. Leftover Crack plays pretty much the same music (sometimes exactly the same - write some new songs damnit!), which is also great and I will upload some if I get a request.

Also! as an added bonus, I threw in a nice version of 500 Channels by Guerilla Poubelle. It's in French!

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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Michael Franti & Spearhead - Yell Fire!

[Barack Obama being given the cd by a fan. Not even photoshopped!]

Artist: Michael Franti & Spearhead
Album: Yell Fire!
Genre: Reggae, Hip Hop
Year: 2006
Origin: USA

I was first introduced to Michael Franti at the Power to the Peaceful festival that he puts on every year, which was originally a rally to free Mumia Abu-Jamal I believe, but it has become a huge concert and anti-war/hippie gathering in San Francisco. He's a hip hop artist who draws heavily from funk, reggae and rock. This album was written and recorded largely in Kingston, Jamaica and it really became a down-tempo reggae recording where he utilizes his full vocal range rather than rapping. The songs are very catchy, and the lyrics are inspired by his visit to Iraq, Israel and the occupied territories of Palestine. "The thing that I found when I was in war zones was that nobody wants to hear songs about war. They want to hear songs about connection to people, and songs about love and life, songs that make them dance." (quote from his website) Time to Go Home is especially one of my favorite songs in the world.

band site

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Infected Mushroom - The Gathering

Artist: Infected Mushroom
Album: The Gathering
Genre: Psychedelic Trance
Year: 1999
Origin: Israel

This is an album from the early days of Infected Mushroom and the Israeli psytrance/goa scene. The Israeli government does some crazy things, but you've gotta love jewish people, they're just so damn creative! This album might not be quite as deep as Classical Mushroom, but it's still some of the best electronic music I've had the fortune to hear. With some trance artists I start to feel that they aren't offering enough melody to go along with the pounding beats, but Infected Mushroom keeps me interested with every song. I haven't heard much of this duo's more recent work, but it seems like it is going in the direction of mainstream trance/rock, which would be fine if it didn't mean leaving behind this great style of unique electronica. Psycho is the "hit" single from this release, but the album is equally exciting from start to finish.

artist site

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NOTE: this is a little weird because the whole album was too large for Mediafire. SO, the final track from the album is uploaded separately.

Gallhammer - Ill Innocence

Artist: Gallhammer
Album: Ill Innocence
Genre: Black Metal
Year: 2007
Origin: Japan

Gallhammer is an all-female black metal band from Tokyo with influences from doom metal and crust punk (if anyone knows any other good all-female bands, please leave me a comment). A lot of the songs on this album have a definite crust backbone (Killed By the Queen in particular is very Amebix-esque). There are also some more down-tempo, melodic black metal pieces that can only be described as twisted. This isn't especially technical music (it's black metal/crust after all), but the songs are well put together and the growls are terrific. Gallhammer also has another full-length from 2003 and a slew of demos, none of which I have heard.

EDIT: Ok, I've come across Gallhammer's other full-length, Gloomy Lights, and it has more of a crust punk feel to it. It's good, and I would definitely recommend it to crust fans, but I think I prefer Ill Innocence as an overall album.

band site

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