Hullo, guvs and guvnettes, this is our always late EP round up, where we trawl through the titanic troves of tinnitus-inducing music and bring you the best of what’s around. Or at least what WE think it’s the best of what’s around.
Remember: don’t adjust your opinion.
In our usual analogy form, we will be comparing each of these EPs to something cool and entertaining. For this week’s edition, I’m comparing each EP to a Titan. Yes, we’ve done this before, and I don’t care if you think we are repeating ourselves, it worked for Arcade Fire, right?
Oh, well, sigh. I’ve brought a couple of extra reviewers for this one..
Cult of Luna – Vertikal II
I’m still under the enchantment of Vertikal I (review), and in that mood Vertikal II seems not only logical, but necessary. Cult Of Luna definitely goes beyond definitions, classify them as metal is too limited. They’re innovative, risky, and very talented. If you enjoyed Vertikal, Vertikal II is a must hear. If you haven’t, what are you waiting for?
Go rent Metropolis, turn the sound off and play both Vertikal albums on the background and hypnotize yourself with these lovely distorting cacophonic sounds. – Claudia Ramírez
Top track : ‘Light Chaser’
This EP is: Hyperion, the one Titan that pays for the first round.
Alpha Male Tea Party – Real Ale and Model Rail : A lonely man’s guide to not committing suicide
What’s this? An EP for ants? I mean, I actually like this a lot, but I keep thinking Creed‘s ‘My sacrifice’ from time to time. Which is good, since Mark Tremonti is a talented guitarist. Scott Stapp can go suck a deep fried egg, though. ANYWAYS, Alpha Male Tea Party make loud math rock that requires no lyrics to embed itself into your skin and graft, like a Cyberman cyberthingy. ‘I don’t even like Hollyoaks anyway’ is the Creed-ish track, in fact, it’s the only Creed-like track AND WHY AM I MENTIONING CREED?
Sigh. Time to get another hit.
Anyways, ‘Taste like a dog’ is a brutal trip to the recesses of the mind, like that bit where they travel through an evil tunnel in Willy Wonka‘s factory: unsettling, loud and trippy. ‘Go to the ant, you sluggard’ is a dancier math rock, mayhaps you’d like to stand from where you are and sway. Rockin’ track that is upstaged by ‘Truffles’, the real highlight of these already great 5 tracks. Why haven’t you bought this EP? Why haven’t you seen them live? Unless you are a jerk like me that dared to mention Creed anywhere near this absolutely awesome band (it’s my #1 EP of the year and you can quote me on this), you should go and like ’em on FB and hug ’em because this is the type of honest, loud rock we need right now.
And Creed had only one good song, called ‘Bullets’. And now I’ll shut up. – Orestes P. Xistos
Top track : ‘Truffles’.
This EP is: Cronus, the only damn Titan that cares if you are on the correct time signature or not.
Cmn Ineed yr hlp – It came without warning…as most disasters do
This EP comes at a weird time of the year, when the countdown to Halloween is celebrated by watching old monster films. Not only the Japanese ones (Gamera‘s the best monster, btw) but also the Ray Harryhausen ones. Cmn Ineed yr hlp‘s It came without warning…as most disasters do is a conceptual EP about a sea monster in captivity. So, like Free Willy but with better music and less unsettling. There are no vocals, but a disembodied voice does update us with the details of the plot.
In true Sci Fi mode, there’s a bit of musique concrète involved here, with what I suppose are samples and found sounds that add extra atmosphere. ‘175 feet is a lot of water (especially when you are under it)’ sets the scene, slowly building up the rhythm, switching to a seemingly endless crescendo. Atmospheric and cinematic, it’s contrasted by the brutal ‘Without a sail in view’, one of the strongest moments the band has to offer. Cmn Ineed yr hlp won’t let go during the relentless ‘The Prognostication is murder’ and I assume ‘The face of disaster’ is when all hell breaks loose and the monster escapes captivity and goes Rampage on humanity, to our entertainment. ‘Cold, Airless, Forbidding’ should slow down things for the denouement, but no, it still is frantic and manic. If this was a movie, I reckon it ends in a cold, cruel cliffhanger. My kind of movie. PS: Eerie sample at the end. – Sam J. Valdés López
Top track: ‘The face of disaster’.
This EP is: Oceanus. It loathes The Little Mermaid as much as everybody does.
AND NOW, INTERMISSION:
AAAAAH, Intermission. So, EPs, right?
LVLS – 2 for joy
In some alternate universe, there’s a portal to 1983, the one you can access for just a few tweets and go back to a time of arcade games, bar none chocolate bars and Count Chocula all year ’round. Sadly, this is not a reality, but LVLS‘ 2 for joy manages to send you back to those days. Now, they aren’t a retro band, as there’s a definite sense of “here and now”, but the eighties sounds are well captured, with that slightly spacey guitar that made New Wave such a gorgeous, wistful genre.
‘Akrasia’ is the best calling card they could’ve chosen; swelling synth notes and a peppy beat. ‘Blessed’ is a little bit shoegazey, a little bit dream pop, with a Gothic approach to vocals that makes me think Lost Boys, which is always good. Wish the female vocals were a little more present, but that’s a minor nitpick, one that ‘Flowers’ corrects, with the siren-wailing building up some anticipation to that big chord finale. A good beginning deserves a good finale and ‘Photographs’ has that “closing track” feeling, slightly droney rhythm and a cracking solo at the finale. Pick it up if you want some new wavey music with a shoegaze and goth chaser. – Sam J. Valdés López
Top track : ‘Photographs’.
This EP is: Mnemosyne, inspiring the dreamier side of life.
Hot Beat Repeat – Soul EP
I associate Manchester with people dancing. I also associate them with Tony Wilson. With that said, Hot Beat Repeat‘s Soul EP mixes my two misconceptions in a sweaty EP of dance rock. Their well-crafted pop starts with ‘Soul’, a song with an industrial beat and a sunny disposition. The instrumental bridge makes me want to lose weight and get into my leisure suit. Alas, I gave it away.
‘Furore’ is more of a solemn one, with artificial sounds cycling at the beginning. Is it harking to Manchester‘s now dead Industrial past? Perhaps, as it feels like old school electronica for most of the time, but then embraces a very modern styling while still having that gorgeous synth tremolo. ‘Running’ is the closing track and although it doesn’t carry the same weight as the previous two, it’s the most optimistic track this EP has for us. Love the bass here and if anything, three tracks is too little. More, please. – Orestes P. Xistos.
Top track : ‘Furore’.
This EP is: Coeus, twirling in the skies over an imaginary axis
Antoine Reverb – Man As Face of the Earth Campaign / Fences
Guadalajara. The last time I was there, I got robbed and the bastards took my torta ahogada and my wallet. I miss the former. Anyways, Antoine Reverb are a lovely dream pop band from that city in the state of Jalisco, Mexico and although we’ve been
stalking* following them for a while, we haven’t managed to get ’round to review them.
But not for long!
You see, they have released this mini-ep and I love it. ‘Man as a face of the Earth Campaign’ mixes a very psychedelic atmosphere with a lonely accordion wailing in the distance, like a tango dancer lost in the Dreamlands that H.P. Lovecraft warned us about. Slightly Britpop in structure, extremely enjoyable in its presentation. ‘Fences’ is a lovelier ditty, with a warm synth and the requisite “oohs” that make you see golden hues of light when you close your eyes. Hey, it’s raining here, I need to imagine what the Sun looks/feels like. It’s never too sickly sweet and there is an ethereal sense of mysticism here. Just don’t call it “magical realism”. I’m allergic to that term. The flipside of this review has two remixes. ‘Man’s machinery’ deconstructs the original track and makes it a nightmarish trip through a carnival in hell (that’s Villahermosa**, by the way). ‘Don’t fence me in’ is like the BBC Radiophonic in the late 80s just when Tom Baker got kicked out of Dr. Who (a life defining trauma). I’d venture to say it’s an Arp Odyssey being tortured by Cybermen what drives this song’s sound, but I’m too enthralled to bother. Love this best. – Orestes P. Xistos
Top track : ‘Fences’.
This EP is: Crius, spending time in Tartarus with a bunch of synths and remixing the shit out of your fave tracks.
*I realise this joke went out of fashion in 2007. Suck it.
** I don’t hate Villahermosa, but GODDAMN IT’S FUCKING HOT. Like the devil’s ass but with less dingleberries.
Hope y’all enjoyed it. And if not, then, shit, here’s a song by Blind Melon:
Words: Orestes P. Xistos, Claudia Ramírez & Sam J. Valdés López.