May 2011

Artist: As We Draw
Album: Lines Breaking Circles
Year: 2010
Label: Throatruiner Records
Genre: Post-Metal
RIYL: Cult of Lua, Isis
Essential Tracks: Sin of Addiction, Drowned in Flames, Draft

First of all, if you like the more chaotic side of metal and hardcore, go straight to Throatruiner’s Bandcamp page. All of their releases on there are free to download, and each one seems to be quality. As We Draw is less chaotic than most of the artists on the label. Instead they relish in the loudly bombastic even while the guitars keep a lush, Deftones-esque quality. The vocals are fairly standard for the genre–throaty hollers, which neither distract nor excite. But even as a lesser part of the music, the whole is a risk-free download.

More from Throatruiner Records will be posted later, but feel free to get a jump-start on me by checking out the above-linked page.

(Click icon for As We Draw bandcamp page)

(Also, while Throatruiner offers their CDs for free, they do accept donations to keep things running. If you find an album you enjoy, toss them a few bucks.)

Artist: Katy Hudson
Album: Katy Hudson
Year: 2001
Label: Red Hill Records
Genre: Christian pop
RIYL: Katy Perry
Essential Tracks: Growing Pains, Spit

This is the post where, less than 20 albums into this blogs career, Reminded Music sells out. However, this is a brief deviation into the world of big money pop before we go back to the avant-garde, the metal, the rough folk, and anything else that seriously amuses Mr. Reminded Music. Katy Hudson, of course, is Katy Perry before Katy Perry kissed a girl and any of her other shenanigans. Most Perry fans have read that before Katy Perry was singing some of the catchiest pop songs on the planet, she released one Christian album to largely positive reviews. As that album is long out of print, acquiring it can be kind of problematic, so I am here with the link that will “save” you upwards of $50+ on ebay. Except when I eventually flip my own copy of this album, in which case I expect everyone to bid it up appropriately.

Anyway, Katy Hudson is fairly tame compared to her later Perry material. Much more balladry going on here, less solid guitar or electronic sounds and more tempered acoustics. There’s the occasional song that is more reminiscent of what was to come (“Spit”, for example), but on the whole this is more of a vocal showcase than a pop powerhouse.

(Click icon for download)

Artist: Roger Millers/others
Album: Robin Hood Soundtrack
Year: 1973
Label: Disneyland Records
Genre: Soundtrack
RIYL: the movie
Essential Tracks: Whistle Stop, Not In Nottingham

The Robin Hood soundtrack is one of the most maligned official soundtrack releases I can think of. For a movie that is chock full of interesting music at every twist and turn, I would want–nay, expect–a soundtrack full to the brim of epic music. Instead consumers were given this awkward collection that cherry-picked some of the more obvious songs and then heavily filled it out with dialog from the movie. Twelve segments, only six of which are music. It feels even bleaker when you realize that only about 10 minutes of the nearly 45-minute record is music. Apparently Disney wasn’t into making full-length songs of the little ditties that made it into the film.

Some Robin Hood fans have tried to supplement this official soundtrack by ripping music straight from their DVD copy of the film. This almost works until dialog kicks in mid-track. Sure, they tried to mute the dialog to make the music stand out–but it still feels like you’re listening to a movie rather than a piece of music. (And there is something superbly ridiculous about hearing muted dialog, though it is tough to explain without showing an example.)

At least, as a resource of key tracks from the film, the official soundtrack does provide the bare necessities. And those bare necessities include the epic Not In Nottingham, Whistle Stop, Oo-De-Lally, and The Phony King of England, among a couple of others. I have presented the whole soundtrack–or, what I downloaded–here, although I would recommended deleting all of the dialog sections to eliminate the filler.

(Click icon for download)

Artist: La Monte Young
Album: The Well-Tuned Piano
Year: 1987
Label: Gramavision
Genre: Classical, minimalism, avant-garde
RIYL: Classical music your grandparents would STILL screech at you to turn off

Here’s an uber-rarity for you. (Seriously, check the Amazon used prices on this beast.) La Monte Young is a well-respected, well-known performer/composer of the avant-garde. This is, perhaps, his masterpiece so (naturally) it is way out of print. The Well-Tuned Piano is 5 hour-long discs of fairly slow, rather discordant piano playing. It’s both hypnotic and, at 5 hours, impossible to listen to in one sitting. (Not that people haven’t done it–they have. But I would think for most of us that would fail to do anything except make us angry at life.)

By the way, considering the size of this album, I had to split the download into 2 parts. Thus, rather than clicking the icon like normal, I get to do the “Click Here for Discs 1-2” and “Click Here for Discs 3-5” thing! I hope you enjoy because it took forever to upload these bad boys.

Artist: Guigou Chenevier & Sophie Jausserand
Album: A L’Abri Des Micro-Climats
Year: 1984
Label: RecRec Music
Genre: Avant-Garde, Jazz, Rock
RIYL: A darker, jazzier, frenchier The Residents or a crazier Tom Waits
Essential Tracks: Ecartelage, Femmes D’Interieur-Femmes D’Exterieur, Le Chauve Sourit

This is one of my greatest downloads, thanks to the almighty Mutant Sounds blog. This album is really difficult to try and describe–vocals waver between the delicate alto of Sophie Jausserand and the rough gasp of Guigou Chenevier. Chenevier’s voice is individual in the way Tom Waits’ voice is, only without sounding much like Waits. His voice is one that sounds natural within the music, but is very individual. The Guigou-composed instruments behind the vocal efforts chug along like a horn-heavy jazz band (although I’m not convinced that a lot of the cacophony isn’t keyboard created). Songs labor along not because they’re hard, but because there is beauty in the laboring. There is a distinct heaviness present throughout this album, but it doesn’t come across as dark.

A must-listen for anyone interested in left-of-the-dial music.

(Click icon for download)

Artist: Burning Church Forest
Album: Book 1
Year: 2009
Label: Noise Machine
Genre: Black Metal
RIYL: fuzzed out black metal

I’m actually not sure how much I like this one. I think I like it more in concept than execution. Burning Church Forest has a kick-ass black metal name. They have glorious album artwork. It is a free download off of The band members hail from the darkest parts of Australia, Africa, and Asia. Perhaps my issue is with the recording quality. Now, black metal is known (and even revered) for bad recording quality (heck, a lot of it even gets distributed on cassette tape ONLY), and this is even better than a lot of the truly underground black metal. But I think perhaps the super-fuzzed-out guitar tone is not as effective as they think it is. Still, these are solid songs in the realm of repetitive, hypnotic black metal songcraft. Definitely worth the free download to check out.

(Click icon for download page)

Artist: Wonderful
Album: God Bless Our Pad
Year: 2003
Label: Mannheim Worldwide
Genre: Summery Indie Pop
RIYL: Indie mish-mash music drawing from a wide variety of sources
Essential Tracks: Ana Paradisimo, Pagoda

Indie pop/rock wrapped in the warm sensation of summer ain’t exactly re-inventing the wheel. But when done well the results make for a very satisfying listen. Such is the case with Wonderful, who on one song will bring to mind Modest Mouse (except, well, warmer and, uh, sunnier) and on another Sufjan Stevens. Everything is tied together with soft edges, a lazy and unhurried pace, and the appealing vocals which are balanced just right to be cozy-awesome.

(Click icon for Wonderful’s bandcamp page, where the album can be downloaded)

Next Page »