Friday, December 31, 2010

My year in music part II

I thought I would conclude 2010 with a final blog for the year with just some final thoughts, nothing too specific. Asides from the excellent concerts I have attended the music I have been bought has been spectacular. With the most recent changes in Myspace which I have learned to despise with an immense passion, I have found myself using youtube as my source for new music. Thanks to youtube, I have really found some excellent artists that I would not have found just through Myspace alone. Here are some of my favorite songs that I found off youtube that got me to buy the artists' music:

Radium Lover by Paradoxx
Maria and the Violin's String by Ashram
The Wrong Side by Abney Park
Welcome the Still by Chandeen
Plastic World by Colony 5
Indestructible by Robyn

I credit youtube to help me find some obscure groups like Ashram and Paradoxx  that I probably wouldn't have found on Myspace alone. Paradoxx was a happy accident. On the right hand side of my blog, I have links to artists' Myspace pages. They are definitely worth checking out.

This year I have found myself enjoying synthpop and aggrotech a lot. I love the aggressive sounds of Unter Null, Suicide Commando, Nachtmahr, and Amduscia. There was a time when I really didn't understand or appreciate the harsher side of EBM but I do now. I am particularly fond of Unter Null and Suicide Commando. I relate a lot to the lyrics which are often laced with rage and venom. The harsh yet infectious beats often helps motivate me at work. To counteract the harsh sounds of my favorite aggrotech bands, I like to listen to the sweet melodic sounds of Minerve, Colony 5, Blume, Paradoxx, and old Code 64. Right now I am really digging the sounds of Minerve with their soaring lyrics and uplifting dance beats. I am also loving the sounds of the Australian synthpop group Paradoxx.

Also in 2010, I re-discovered the German pop artist Nena courtesy of her duet with Peter Heppner (ex-Wolfsheim). After that video, I started searching her music on youtube and found myself falling in love with her music both past and present. It is a shame that America didn't really give Nena a chance after her smash hit "99 Red Balloons". She had other great songs that were just as catchy as that song.

As wonderful as 2010 was for music, I am looking forward to what is to come in the new year like new music by Stray (Erica Dunham's other project) and Covenant. I can only hope that 2011 will be good to me as 2010 was both live and on cd or mp3.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My year in music part I: concerts

I know every year I say it has been the best year in music, 2010 being no different well perhaps. LOL! Since there is so much for me to say about music in 2010, I have decided to split it off into 2 parts (maybe 3 if necessary). The first part will be about all the great shows I have attended. This year has truly been good to me as far as music is concerned. Earlier this year around March, I joined the street team for a local promoter (Kilted Farmer Presents) to help promote shows in the electronic genre (whether it is synthpop or industrial). It has been very interesting experience for me. I also have been learning the ins and outs of what involves on putting on a concert. I also got to see quite a few bands that I had never seen before like Faith and the Muse.

Here is a video clip of the final song from their show at Ground Zero.

Tom Shears of Assemblage 23

The A23 show at The Varsity Theater was excellent. That was my first time seeing A23 live.

One of my personal favorite concerts wasn't by Kilted Farmer but from Oni Sakti of Shinto Records. The show as called Dark Carnival. It was held at The Bedlam Theater on the west bank back in July. I primarily went to that show to see Sullen Serenade and The Spiritual Bat. You can see photos from the show on my image shack photo album.

Sullen Serenade was awesome. I guess the reason I dug iVardensphere last month at The Cabooze was because their rhythm section or the taiko drummers reminded me so much of Sullen Serenade. I have to admit the band that kicked ass that night at The Bedlam Theater was The Spiritual Bats. Here is a video clip of The Spiritual Bats performing that night. The only thing that irked me about that night was that hardly anyone in the goth/industrial scene attended that show. WTF?! Did anyone not see the promos on Dark Twin Cities's website and FB page?!

My second favorite concert was the Project Pitchfork with Ayria gig at Ground Zero in June. Now that I had a digital camera (unlike in 2008 at the Immortal tour for The Cruxshadows), I was lucky to score a photo of myself with Jennifer Parkin of Ayria.

Some of my best photos that I have shot this year came from the Project Pitchfork show. The lighting in the club really gave my photos a lot of atmosphere.
Ayria performing "My Revenge on the World"
Project Pitchfork performing "Timekiller"

One of my favorite highlights of the summer was getting to see and meet my favorite artist Erica Dunham of Unter Null. That was just way too fucking cool! Best damn $60 I ever spent. I can honestly say I can die a happy camper. I just adore Unter Null who has become my favorite industrial band in recent years.

You can see more photos at this link.

I successfully shot and recorded four video clips from the Unter Null. Of the four, this video of Unter Null performing "Sick Fuck" is my favorite clip. I thought it was fucking cool how Erica interacted with the audience during the song.

One of the most underrated concerts of 2010 has to be Anything Box. I will be perfectly blunt here, if it wasn't for Trace, I would not have heard of Anything Box. After he gave me a couple of cds by them, prior to the concert, I was immediately hooked. How on earth did I get by not knowing these guys for all these years?! Go figure.

In November, I had the immense pleasure of going to two concerts...Genitorturers and Combichrist. Both concerts fucking rocked! Here is my Genitorturers photo album and Combichrist photo album. I really loved seeing the Genitorturers perform live. They totally blew me away. Here they are performing Devil in a Bottle, my favorite Genitorturers song. As for Combichrist, getting my picture taken with Andy was beyond my wildest dreams. His former project Icon of Coil was one of the first three EBM acts I started listening to when I got into industrial music big time. Of course Aesthetic Perfection did not disappoint me. That was the second time I had seen AE live. Aesthetic Perfection performing at The Cabooze.

All in all 2010 had been very kind to me with live music. Here's hoping for an awesome 2011. Oh and that is me with Andy of Combichrist.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

What I am currently listening to

Paradoxx: Decades

I first discovered Paradoxx through youtube by accident when I was looking up for some other synthpop music. The song I came across was "Radium Lover". I was automatically hooked. I found a copy of the band's best of cd via A Different Drum Records. I finally received my cd today. The music is as good as I hoped that it would be. The melodies are very catchy.

Apraxia: Trite Permission

Apraxia is a local electronica act from Minneapolis founded by Alex V. I first came across Apraxia via Myspace a few years ago. I always liked what I heard from Apraxia especially a cover of Depeche Mode's "Strangelove" which can be heard on this album. I don't know why on earth it took me this long but I finally got around to buying one of Apraxia's album. Apraxia's music is a mix bag of synthpop and industrial. Trite Permission is very good.There were moments through out the album that I felt like I was re-living the '80s (i.e my youth). Then there would be moments that would bring me back to the present time with some modern dance beats.

Tron Legacy

I saw the new Tron film this past weekend. I really loved Daft Punk's venture into the world of film score so I bought a copy of the soundtrack. I was disappointed that this is not the complete soundtrack. There are several tracks not included on the American version. Nevertheless the soundtrack is very enjoyable. I do plan on acquiring the 2 CD version of Tron Legacy at some point, probably sometime in the new year.

8mm: Songs to Love and Die By

On my most recent venture to Cheapo records, I struck gold and found a copy of Songs to Love and Die By by 8mm for $1.95 in the used bins. Best part was that the cd was still sealed. I have always been meaning to check out 8mm but never got around to and this was a great opportunity for me. I love trip hop music but very picky about trip hop music. Songs to Love and Die By did not disappoint me. I loved the breathy, seductive vocals of Juliette Beavana combined with laid back downtempo beats provided by her husband Sean.

The Green Children: Encounter

Encounter was another cd that I found on Saturday for under $2 in the used cd bins. I found the band on Myspace earlier this year and always liked their dance/pop sound. I was reminded a bit of Delerium, Conjure One, and Balligomingo with lyrics that delves into the world of Lords of the Rings-type fantasy. I'll admit the lyrics are a bit hokey but overall the music is very good.

Monday, December 20, 2010

What I liked about 2010

Not long ago I went on on 89.3 The Current's website to contribute to their top 89 of 2010 list the station always compiles around this time of year. It was the inspiration behind tonight's blog. My previous best of 2010 consisted of just album releases, this is list is a little more general. It has the questions to that can be found on The Current's website.

What was your favorite album of 2010?
There were so many damn good albums released this year. I guess I would have to go with Minerve's latest album Please.

It is really infectious. The songs gets so easily stuck in my head. This is my kind of synthpop. You really just can't go wrong with the soaring vocals and uplifting lyrics on the album.

Who and where was your favorite concert of 2010?
I have attended so many awesome concerts this year but I have to say the Unter Null show at Ground Zero in August is the highlight of 2010 for me.

Unter Null's music has become the soundtrack to my life in recent months, not to mention Erica Dunham is my favorite singer. Getting to meet Erica at the show was way too awesome for me.

This was just way too cool.

Who is your favorite new artist of 2010?
Psyborg Corp. I am going to let this clip speak volumes of the band's awesomeness :-).

Who was your favorite local act of 2010?
Bella Koshka. Bella Koshka put an excellent 2nd cd called Deception Island this year. I really wish this damn city I live in paid more attention to them. I think they are so damn underrated and clearly overlooked in this city polluted with rancid, pretentious indie rock. Here is a clip of them performing Caldera at Sauce this past summer.

What was your favorite video of 2010?
Haunted by Angels on Acid.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My top 10 albums of 2010

Compiling this list of my 10 favorite albums of 2010 was a labor of love. I have heard a lot of great albums of 2010 but I wanted to make a list of the 10 albums that really stood out for me this year.

10. The Human Animal

I finally got around to downloading the latest album by Android Lust. The Human Animal is Shikhee's most accessible album to date. Her previous album Devour, Rise, and Take Flight was a bit caustic on my ears at time nevertheless a good album but I definitely prefer her newest effort.

09. Rise From Grey

This is one of my favorite synthpop albums of 2010. I can listen to this album without skipping a single track. All of the songs have memorable pop hooks. As much as I enjoyed the latest De/Vision album Popgefahr, Blume put a stronger synthpop album without a shadow of a doubt.

08. Dying & Falling

I have yet to hear an album by i:scintilla that I did not like. The Chicago-based band has filled the void that Curve has left with the brand of techno-infused rock with a dash of industrial music.

07. Moving On

I adore The Failure Epiphany. It is one of my all time favorite industrial albums. I think it was a smart move for Erica Dunham to make an album that did not sound like a clone of her first album. I enjoyed the diverse sounds of Moving On. I certainly heard elements of her other project Stray (especially on the second disc). I found the music complex and unpredictable in a positive way.

06. The Mechanical Renaissance

2010 has been the year for aggrotech in my book. I have really come to appreciate the harsher side of EBM. Psyborg Corp is this terrific band from Bogota, Columbia. I accidentally came across their cover of Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" on youtube and I was immediately hooked by the band's sound. I was reminded quite a bit of my other favorite aggrotech band Suicide Commando. Their debut album The Mechanical Renaissance is highly energetic and just a lot of fun to crank up my ipod or boombox.

05. Body Talk

Last year Lady Gaga was my favorite pop singer, 2010 is Robyn. I have to admit her 2007 self-titled album did nothing for me but after hearing her single "Indestructible", I was automatically hooked. Asides from her duet with Snoop Dogg, Body Talk is fun, catchy electro-pop album. I am so looking forward to seeing Robyn in 2011 at First Avenue in February.

04. Cut & Coil

Cylab is the only industrial band that can fuse trip hop and industrial without sounding like a broken record (unlike the band Collide...sorry Collide fans). Cut & Coil is easily the band's best work to date. Percy really knows how to create some interesting, complex beats. Best example: "Skins".

03. Parity

Parity is an EP full of remixes and 3 new original songs by one of my new favorite bands in the past 2-3 years. Remixes are a hit and miss with me but the remixes for "Intentions", "Mirrored", "Kali", and "Whispers" (from their album Fragments) are really good. I really enjoy The Light Asylum remix of "Intentions". In general I like that the artists who remixed the tracks did kept the integrity of the songs intact. That is often the case with remixes but Sensuous Enemy picked the right remixers to reinterpret their music.

02. Take Cair Paramour

This is one of my most played albums on my ipod of 2010. I listen to this album incessantly. The songs are so freaking infectious and addictive. It is a damn shame that: a) record sales for this album stunk, and b) the transgressions between Out of Line and Anders led to a not so amicable split and AH is no more. Drama aside, Take Cair Paramour needs to be heard. The melodies just get stuck in your head.

01. Please

Please is my favorite 2010 release. I have been listening to this album non-stop whether on my boombox or ipod. When I listen to Minerve, I am quickly reminded of Colony 5, Blume, De/Vision, and Depeche Mode all wrapped up in one band.  The songs have a lot of energy like "Phoenix" and "Don't Ask Me Why".

Honorable Mentions:
Breedless by Ego Likeness
The Kill House EP - Syrenn
Implements of Hell by Suicide Commando
Popgefahr by De/Vision
Exhilarch by Conjure One
Living in Transition - Access Zero
Torture Garden - Various Artists (compilation from Shinto Records)

Monday, December 13, 2010

My current favorite songs

My current favorite songs at the moment:

Paradoxx - Vampyr
I found this band a few weeks ago on youtube by accident. I am so in love with the Australian synthpop band. "Vampyr" is my current favorite Paradoxx song at the moment.

The Echoing Green - Winter
I came across this gem of a song this weekend. It was quite appropriate considering the shit load of snow that fell from the sky.

Seize - Don't Let Me (Diskonnected Mix)
I came across this song a couple of weeks ago when I was listening to some stuff from Alfa Matrix records on youtube. Nice, catchy dance song. One day I will download some of Seize's stuff. From what I have heard, I really dig their sound.

Lights of Euphoria - True Life (VNV Nation remix
I will just let the music speak for itself. Whatever song VNV Nation remixes, the results are always awesome.

I have been loving the new Robyn cd Body Talk a lot. I really love the song "Indestructible". It is one of my favorite songs on Robyn's cd.

Syrian - Wasted Years
I really need to get some Syrian. I really dig their synthpop/futurepop sound. "Wasted Years" is my current favorite Syrian song at the moment.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Free music

I thought this was a cool deal from Alfa-Matrix, the label is offering five free downloads on SoundCloud. Here is the SoundCloud link. I really dig the Psy'Aviah track with Ayria "Into the Game".  The Komo Kommando track "Rhythm Machine" is pretty damn good too. The offer isn't going to be around for very long so get it while you can.

Friday, December 10, 2010

My least favorite albums of 2010

As good as 2010 was for music, it wasn't completely flawless for me. There were a few stinkers that I could not enjoy.

The Birthday Massacre: Pins & Needles

I really wanted to like the new TBM album but the material for me was extremely weak. I felt like I was listening to the last two studio albums that was regurgitated a hundred times over. What a disappointment Pins & Needles was for me. Not one song on the album had a strong pop hook like Walking with Strangers had which I found to be absolutely addictive.

Code 64: Trialogue

I first fell in love with Code 64 earlier this year with their second album Departure. Their third album Trialogue features a new singer. I was able to listen to the album online for free. I absolutely hated it. The new singer was whiny. The songs were totally devoid of any melodic pop hooks.

Goldfrapp: Head First

Goldfrapp has been getting on my nerves lately. Their body of work is so uneven. I loved Felt Mountain, liked Black Cherry but it failed to impress me, hated Supernature except for 2-3 songs, loved Seventh Tree, now I am back to hating Goldfrapp with Head First. "Rocket" is the only decent track on their latest effort. I will say this at least the group's music is anything but predictable and they do try to make an effort to avoid sticking to one particular sound. Too bad their latest album Head First just lacked the bounce of Black Cherry and the lushness of Felt Mountain and Seventh Tree.

BT: These Hopeful Machines

This is the most boring album I had heard all year. 2 discs which was 1 too many discs. The music was uninspiring and flat out more boring than white bread.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

5 artists/bands that are worth checking out

For tonight's playlist, I decided to limit it my list to just 5. The topic for tonight is 5 bands that I think people should check out.

05. Protea - Normally darkwave/ambient music is a hit or miss with me, plus I am more of an industrial fan. I first head of Protea on a compilation from machineKUNT records with her cover of "Little Drummer Boy". You can find her first album The Osiris Tree on CDBaby. To get an idea of Protea's sound, I posted a link to her Myspace page. You can also listen to her music on Reverb Nation. It's interesting music to say the very least. She reminds me of Diamanda Galas and Siouxsie Sioux, mixed in with Egyptology and cats.

04. Pysborg Corp
I first discovered Psyborg Corp through youtube over the summer. It was their cover of Lady Gaga's Bad Romance that introduced me to the Columbian aggrotech band. I automatically fell in love with Psyborg Corp. Their debut album The Mechanical Renaissance is excellent. It is one of my favorite albums of 2010 regardless of genres.

03. Cylab is one of my personal favorite bands of all time. SeVerina Sol sang on the first Diva Destruction album. I first heard of Cylab in an issue of Outburn magazine (I think) before they turned into a shitty metal/punk magazine. The magazine had a brief review of their first album Unparallel Universe. I was immediately intrigued and bought a copy online. I have been hooked since then and that was like in 2004/2005. Their music is a nice mix of trip hop and industrial music. Unlike Collide (whose music is utterly dull and monotonous IMO), Cylab's music is quite diverse thanks to Percy's ingenuity and creativeness with the synthesizer. This live performance of the song Skins is from their latest cd Cut &Coil (available on CD Baby as both digital and CD, only as digital on

02. Syrenn - I first discovered Syrenn's music via Myspace about 2 years ago. I was quickly reminded of Ayria but with a punk edge. Earlier this year the Philadelphia band made its debut with the digital EP The Kill House EP via machineKUNT records. Syrenn is definitely one of my favorite finds on Myspace.

01. Sensuous Enemy - rarely am I impressed bands from the midwest. Sensuous Enemy is that rare midwestern band who has a huge sound that transcends location. I first heard of Sensuous Enemy through Myspace after receiving a friend request from the band last year. I really liked what I heard on their profile page but it wasn't until a live performance at Club Underground that really sealed the deal with me. The band recently released their latest effort Parity which you can listen for free in its entirety on Sound Cloud.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Playlist: my favorite songs of 2010

Last week I received my copy of the new issue of Rolling Stone Magazine. In the issue there was an article with artists listing their favorite songs. You can read it all here. I was immediately inspired to create my own playlist for my blog. In fact, I think I will create a playlist for each entry this week. Tonight's entry will be my favorite songs released in 2010.

Robyn: Indestructible

I absolutely love this song off Robyn's Body Talk cd. I wasn't too fond of Robyn's 2007 self-titled album but Body Talk struck a chord with me with its catchy electro-pop tracks.

Minerve: Phoenix

I love this song. The melodies and the lyrics are just epic in my book. I have yet to get sick of this song.

Nena & Heppner: Haus Der Drei Sonnen

I have to give much credit to Side-Line for posting this clip on their website. I would not have known about the duet between Nena and ex-Wolfsheim singer Peter Heppner. Thanks to this clip, I have re-discovered Nena and have come to love her music.

Ashbury Heights: Kingdom Confession

Oh let me count the ways I love this song by Ashbury Heights. It is so freaking catchy. I can't imagine anyone not liking this song. Damn shame Ashhbury Heights is done for (or until Out of Line decided to let Anders out of his contract).

Sensous Enemy: Intentions

Intentions is by far my favorite song off the Wisconsin act's EP Parity. I love how powerful Jai's vocals are. I love the overall sound.

Angels on Acid: Haunt Me

I have been a fan of Angels on Acid for a few years now. Their music isn't totally aggrotech but certainly has elements to it as well as hints of trance. "Haunt Me" such a great song.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

My favorite non-2010 cds

Last night I posted a blog on my favorite 2010 releases (a preliminary list mind you). I thought for the next blog entry I would list all my favorite cds that I bought and paid for  in 2010 but were release a year or more ago.

Teenage Poetry - Chandeen
Silver Shining Skies - Ashram
20 Jahre (revised) - Nena
A Violent Emotion - Aesthetic Perfection
Bloodletting - Concrete Blonde
Departures - Code 64
Sunday 8pm - Faithless
Colonisation/Fixed - Colony 5
Floodland - The Sisters of Mercy
Lunar Sea - Various Artists (compilation from Shinto Records)
Sin City - Genitorturers
Meridian - Dust of Basement
The Hit List - Joan Jett
Debris - Ayria
Elektrospektive - Anything Box
Return to the Breathe - Autumn
Strain - Flesh Field
Kingdom of Welcome Addiction - IAMX
Stripped & Stitched - Android Lust
Into the Afterglow - Gabriel & the Apocalypse
Fire in the Mist - Scarlet Slipping

Friday, December 3, 2010

Best of 2010 releases

Now that it is December, it is officially time for me to start putting my best of 2010 list together. The following is just a preliminary list of my favorite albums that were released this year. I decided not to put them in order yet.

Dying & Falling - i:Scintilla
Cut & Coil - Cylab
Please - Minerve
Parity - Sensuous Enemy
Move On - Unter Null
Rise From Grey - Blume
Popgefahr - De/Vision
Exilarch - Conjure One
Torture Garden - Various Artists (compilation from Shinto Records)
Bloodwater - iVardensphere
Hold My Hand - Shiv-r
Beauty 2: Music That Touches the Soul - Various Artists
Implements of Hell - Suicide Commando
Breedless - Ego Likeness
The Mechanical Renaissance - Psyborg Corp.
Living in Transition - Access Zero
Take Care Paramour - Ashbury Heights
Cinderellicious - Cinderella Effect
Nothing is Infinite - Angelzoom
The Kill House EP - Syrenn
Tear the World Down - We Are the Fallen
Strangers - System Syn
Alle Lust Will Ewigkeit - Nachtmahr
Anything That Gets You Through the Night - Edge of Dawn
Deception Island - Bella Koshka
Crucifix Powerbomb - Santa Hates You
Dogmatic Infidel Comedown OK - IAMX
Body Talk - Robyn
The Human Animal - Android Lust

I should also note that I still need to get the latest cds by Android Lust, Decoded Feedback (which I never got), and Angels on Acid. One day I will. LOL!  Not sure on the new Combichrist cd. Their new stuff (which I have listened to online) isn't up to par like their previous albums. They are a phenomenal live act for sure. Just not crazy about their new stuff. As of this moment, my top 5 best 2010 releases includes Sensuous Enemy, Cylab, Ashbury Heights, Minerve, and Unter Null. I definitely recommend buying the latest Minerve cd. I have been listening to it non-stop. Easily the best synthpop album of 2010. The music is so damn fucking catchy. My favorite aggrotech album is a toss up between The Mechanical Renaissance and Implements of Hell. The new Angelzoom album has really grown on me lately. I don't think it is good enough to be in my top 10 but at least top 20. All in all it has been a good year for music in my opinion.

EDIT: I finally broke down and downloaded the new Android Lust album The Human Animal. I am enjoying it immensely. I hope I don't have to wait as long for a new AL album as long as I have for The Human Animal.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Kilted Farmer

For the Twin Cities/Minnesota goth/industrial fanatics, I have a couple of links to share. It is for Kilted Farmer. My friend Renee just joined the street team and created a couple of KF pages. You can find out the news for upcoming shows there as well as here.