Sóley – We Sink
Label: Morr Music (2011)
Genres: Singer/Songwriter, Indie Folk
Sounds Like: Joanna Newsom, Gregory and the Hawk, Björk
Review by TG Keas, KXUA Music Director
Quirkiness in the indie world is ubiquitous to the point of being quaint and tired. Likewise, many prominent Icelandic groups have a well-established offbeat public persona. With that being said, I completely buy Sóley as a genuinely unsettling person. Much like Björk, she has this unearthly aura about her. But rather than pummeling the listener, Sóley is only quietly psychotic – singing about bird murder with a calm glee. Juxtaposition of introspective music and unsettling lyrics or topics is old hat, but it’s pulled off very, very well. So well, in fact, that it’s relaxing until you catch bits of the lyrics again.
Yamantaka//Sonic Titan – YT//ST
Label: Psychic Handshake Recordings (2011)
Genres: Experimental Opera, Psychedelic, Noh-Wave
Review by Zeek Martin
YT//ST, a divergent art collective whose members range from “Asian, Indigenous & Diasporic identity,” introduces a sound that has they have dubbed “Noh-Wave” in the form the mini opera YT//ST. Trying to pin down the sound is an exercise in futility – drawing from Asian opera and pop, metal, prog-rock and just about everything else, the founders Yamantaka and Sonic Titan have created a psychedelic aural sounds cape whose exposition is impossible to convey to anyone without popping the CD in. Using an array of homemade instruments and electronics, they have created something beautiful and incredibly cohesive. The only complaint would be the length of the album – it’s over before you realize it – which probably speaks volumes regarding the listenabilty of this wonderful work.
Dead By Wednesday – The Last Parade
Label: Mindsnap Music (2011)
Genre: Metalcore, Thrash, Crossover Metal
Review by Duncan McKinnon
New Haven, Connecticut based Dead By Wednesday offer their third album, The Last Parade, continuing with their Metalcore crossover sound with an added influence of heavier modern Metalcore acts like Lamb of God and Hatebreed. The album is filled with standard Dead By Wednesday’s ripping guitars and well-placed melodicism but still offers plenty of opportunities to lace up those boots and get in the pit. That is if moshing even exists anymore.
Ghettosocks – Treat of the Day
Label: Self-released (2011)
Sounds Like: Abstract Artform, KRS-1, Gruf
Review by Harrison Grimwood
Those who have yet to hear Ghettosocks should; he’s bound to blow up. Influenced by Golden Age hip-hop, Ghettosocks keeps his flow simple but tight, making it all the easier to understand his layered metaphors and witty wordplay. His subject matter is playful braggadocio emphasizing his skills at rapping, shoplifting and picking up girls, along with the occasional “back-in-the-day” track and songs about true-to-self integrity. His beats ? supplied by Backburner producers Fresh Kils and Dexter Doolittle, Alpha Flight partner Bix and Halifax legend Jorun Bombay, amongst others ? are primarily smooth, laidback grooves that work with Ghettosocks’s flow and laidback swagger.