Monday, May 30, 2011

Front Line Assembly with Cyanotic, Dismantled, and DJ? Acucrack

Front Line Assembly with Cyanotic, Dismantled, and DJ? Acucrack

As if you can't tell by my slideshow, last night I went and saw Front Line Assembly with Cyanotic, Dismantled, and DJ? Acucrack at Ground Zero nightclub in Minneapolis. Due to visa issues, Die Krupps was forced to pull out of the tour and in their place was Dismantled. To be honest, I was pleased with the addition of Dismantled because I totally dug what I heard from the clips that I heard on youtube.

The first band that went onstage was the Chicago band Cyanotic. Not really big on drum & bass mixed in with industrial music but I totally enjoyed their set. Their music was more industrial for sure but definitely had a drum and bass flavor to their music. Dismantled followed suit and they totally rocked the house for me. Absolutely LOVED Dismantled. Here is a clip I recorded from their set last night.

I picked up their new album The War Inside Me and it is excellent. I definitely recommmend buying the album especially for fans of aggrotech (which I am a big fan of in recent months). The band's set was highly energetic. Love their keyboardist. She kinda reminded me of Swedish pop singer Robyn.

Up next was DJ? Acucrack. I will be frank, I am not a fan of drum and bass music. His music isn't terrible or bad per say but it just isn't my cup of tea. This was my second time I had seen DJ? Acucrack. The last time I saw him was back in the early 2000s when he toured with KMFDM. They performed at once was known as The Quest (now known as Epic).

Finally was the mighty Front Line Assembly. Here is a clip of FLA that I recorded during the show.

I always have been wanting to see FLA live. One of my biggest concert-related regrets was missing out on FLA 4 years ago (I think) at Station 4. I finally was given the chance thanks to Kilted Farmer Koncerts. Their set was excellent. I was not disappointed. It was good to see the band honor its past work as well as present work.  As much as I enjoyed FLA's set that night, I have to say without regret that Dismantled ruled the night for me. I totally fed off their energy as I did when I saw Combichrist earlier this month.

The whole concert experience was very pleasant. I was smart enough to get some ear plugs because my friend Renee who went to their Milwaukee show, said that the music would be loud. I am glad I did. The moshing was pretty tame compared to the moshing done during the Combichrist's show which got out of hand at times during Combichrist's set. I wasn't bothered by it.

Next  month is Freezepop. I am so stoked. This will be my third time seeing them perform live. They really tear it as a live act. They are so much fun to watch. All the concert information on the Freezepop show can be found on the Kilted Farmer Koncerts' Facebook as well as this link.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

CD reviews of the week

Got a few cds this week. Boy! Did I need some new music since I had to euthanize 2 of my bettas, and recently 1 just passed away. New music always feeds my soul especially when one's soul has had to deal with losing 3 of her wet pets.

Lady Gaga: Born This Way

I confess...I am a Lady Gaga fan. I normally hate mainstream pop music but I have been a fan since I first heard the song "Poker Face". Earlier this week, Lady G released her 2nd full length album Born This Way. Talk about massive ear candy. I have to admit I was originally not crazy about the title track but it has really grown on me quite a bit. Yes there are a few tracks that I could have lived without especially that crapfest "Government Hooker" (hated the melodies and lyrics). The weak tracks are few and fortunately are compensated by the infectious "Hair" (which will be the 4th single off the album) and "Americano". The melodies are addictive. I have "Hair" stuck in my head 24/7. I also love how there is a smattering of glam rock through out the album. It adds a nice flavor to the music.Born This Way is just a fun dance\pop album.

David Bowie: The Best of David Bowie

Lately I have been listening to a lot of David Bowie via youtube so I figure I would just get his best of compilation (when I got my Lady Gaga cd). I am not a diehard fans like many of my friends in the electronic scene. Obviously Bowie has a huge influence on many of my musician friends. This is a good compilation to quench my Bowie cravings. Gotta love his collaboration with Queen on "Under Pressure". Other favorite tracks includes "Rebel Rebel", "Changes", and China Girl". I must say his music still holds up very well in this day and age of disposable pop acts.

Decoded Feedback: Aftermath

Last year I tried to order a copy of Aftermath but for some mysterious reason, never got my copy. It either got lost or someone working for the US postal service stole it en route. Well I finally got around to ordering another copy and this time it did arrive. Aftermath totally had me right from "Silent Killer" all the way to "Demons". This is simply great industrial music, aggressive yet melodic. I have only heard one EVOlution a few years ago which really didn't do anything with me but Aftermath made me love the group's sound.

Official Music Created for Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs

Today I went to see the King Tutankhamun exhibit at the Science Museum of Minnesota today. I absolutely enjoyed the exhibit. I loved seeing the ancient Egyptian artwork. The music that played in the background was wonderful. According to the liner notes, the composer simply imagined what music would have sounded like back in ancient Egypt through research he had done. Very pleasant music to chill out to.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My favorite local albums

For a blog dedicated to the local music scene, for some particular reason I had yet to write about the local music scene. So tonight I decided now would be a good time to list my favorite albums by some local artists/bands.

Bella Koshka: Slow Dancing on the Ocean Floor

Slow Dancing on the Ocean Floor was the album that made me really start thinking differently about local music. For many years I never been crazy about local music. That all changed after I saw Bella Koshka perform live in 2008 for The Immortals tour featuring The Cruxshadows, Ayria, and i:Scintilla. The music is a mix bag of alternative rock, classical, and a dash of goth. I love Laura Boland's delicate vocals but it was violinist Hilary Davis whose contribution to the band really seduced me both live and on record. Their second album Deception Island is really good too. Definitely recommend buying that album which can be found at Cheapo records in Uptown for sure.

Autumn: Return to the Breath

Autumn is one of those bands that I wished I had discovered sooner before it was too late. Up until their final live performance at Ground Zero last year, I was not aware of this immensely talented band. After I had seen the band open for Faith and the Muse, I bought their album Return to the Breath online. I really enjoy this album a lot. The music is a nice mix of old school goth and '90s shoegaze. Lead singer Julie has an amazing voice and it shows on tracks like "Red" and "All My Lovers" (2 of my personal favorite tracks).

Thought Thieves: Krista

Ever since I gota copy of the new Thought Thieves EP Krista late last month, I have been enjoying the cd every opportunity I get. The band's brand of synth-rock is top notch. It is melodic yet heavy but I'll be honest, if you see them live (like this weekend at the Memory Lanes Block Party, they perform live at five o'clock), you will get a really good feel to their sound. I think their cds don't do the band justice in comparison to their live shows. Nevertheless, Krista is a fabulous cd. The songs are incredibly catchy especially the title track.

Gabriel and the Apocalypse: Into the Afterglow

Here is another band whose album really doesn't do the band justice in comparison to their live shows. Still Into the Afterglow is 40 minutes (give or take a few) of aggressive metal with hints of industrial. Their live shows is even better. I love to crank this album up loud when I am cleaning house or my fish tanks.

Lolly Pop

Fun, catchy pop music. The lyrics are totally tongue-in-cheek and the dance beats are totally off the hook.  The music is so much fun to listen to at the office, it makes my job a bit more bearable. I am so excited that Brooke and Pop Inc. will be finally  put out an album this coming fall.

Scarlet Slipping: Fire in the Mist

This is a really terrific album that mixes ambient with goth and classical music. I often will listen to the album when I am winding down for the day. It is beautiful.

Another great local album is by a new up and coming band called As/Of. I bought a copy of their self-titled album last week at the Loudness show. You can check out their music at Last FM. I have been enjoying the music immensely. The music has some elements of synthpop mixed with harder, more aggressive industrial beats.

Phantoms of the SS and Verney 1826: Anthem and Procession

I'll be honest, this album isn't completely local. This collaborative effort is between local electronica act Phantoms of the SS and the German act Verney 1826. Back in February of this year I saw Phantoms perform at the 400 Bar and really the music that I heard them perform. I picked up this cd knowing that a few of the songs they performed were on this cd. It is quite lovely in a dark, brooding manner. At times I was reminded of Attrition and various Projekt Records artists. Just fantastic experimental/darkwave/gothic music between the two groups.

This spring I was introduced to a new up and coming band called Static Image. The group consists of two members Tracey Setterlund and Jesse Roberts (known to locals as a member of Souless Affection). I acquired a copy of their 4 track promo cd which is a great mix of synthpop and industrial music. The music is very melodic but yet the beats and Tracey's vocals are aggressive and often harsh (especially Tracey's vocals). I am hoping to see the new group perform live sometime this summer, if not this fall. For now, I have posted a link to their reverbnation page where people can go check out their music. I think it is great to see some new blood in the local electronic scene here in Minneapolis. Given the popularity of Jesse's previous band Souless Affection, I am hoping that Static Image will achieve the same name recognition among fellow rivetheads (males and females alike).

Sunday, May 22, 2011

3 CDs for $20

Looks like my friends at Shinto Records has a really great deal going on. You can get 3 CDs for $20.  To top that off you also pick your choice of one of Shinto Records' excellent compilations. If you really want to think about it, you are getting $4 cds for $20. All brand new! What a bloody steal! I know I am biased because I am friends with Oni Sakti and company but I also own all the compilations and a few other cds from that label. I can definitely vouch for the quality of the music that Shinto Records puts out.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

My rapture mix

In honor of the impending rapture (or so one Harold Camping claims), I created a mix in honor of today. LOL!

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Loudness with As/Of and Mommy Sez

Another Kilted Farmer Koncerts production has come and gone. Last night the Japanese heavy metal band Loudness performed in the Twin Cities (i.e Ground Zero nightclub) for the first time in 25 years. I don't know what happened to Warmachine or Dirty Passion that was listed on the flyer but I suppose shit happens. I spent all the night in the back selling merchandise for the band. It was a quick and easy way to make money so pardon the subpar photos that I took at the show last night.

The first band that went on stage that night was the local industrial band AS/OF. I really dug their music. I bought their cd while at the show (which is very good). Judging by the audience, I thought they enjoyed the band but there was one person who left me the impression that he hated industrial bands and felt that they had no place in a metal show (judging by the tone of his voice). I was tempted to say something snide but I thought better of it. The band finished off with a cover of Pet Shop Boys' "Opportunities" which I really liked a lot. I hope to catch the band live again in the near future. I hope Trace will put them on the bill for future shows.

The second band was a band called Mommy Sez. The only good thing I will say about the band is that all money from sales at their merchandise table went to the tsunami relief fund. That is the only positive thing I can say about that band and I will leave it at that too.
Finally Loudness went on. I have heard of Loudness eons ago when I was a teenager reading crappy magazines like Metal Edge and Circus. LOL! At the time I liked another Japanese metal band called EZO. Thankfully I discovered punk music and ditched the cheesy heavy metal. LOL! While the band's brand of metal isn't my cup of tea, I can honestly say it wasn't bad at all. I was impressed by the musicianship. I almost could hear some prog-rock influence in the music. The audience certainly enjoyed themselves. Earlier on the night, I was offered a free pair of earplugs. Thank heavens for them. The music was quite loud. Overall it was an enjoyable night. It was interesting mingling with people who I usually don't see at concerts. Now on to Front Line Assembly! Yay!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Shinto Records Promotional Sampler

My friends at Shinto Records (a locally based independent record label) is has started a kickstarter campaign. Here is the actual Kickstarter campaign. Oni and Zoe Sakti at Shinto Records wants to create a free sampler to include in cd orders from Shinto Records's online store. With a limited budget, they have created a Kickstarter campaign. Donations ranges from $1 to $1,000. Even if you donate a dollar, you get a free downloadable track. You can't beat that deal ;-). I have donated $5 and will be getting a sticker and five postcards. Not a bad deal. The link I posted earlier also mentions what comes with the other donation options. Even if you only donate a $1, it is a win-win deal. Please help my friends at Shinto Records. It is a great little local label that really cares about their artists and not interested in screwing them over just to make some money. It is so well worth the money. I also recommend (AGAIN) to check out Shinto Records' website.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

CD reviews of the week

Otep: Atavist (2011)

Today I made a trip to the Electric Fetus. One of the cds at the listening stations was the new OTEP album Atavist. I decided to check it out. After hearing 2 tracks, I bought the album. It was fucking killer! While I somewhat enjoyed the previous album, Atavist definitely was vastly superior. The music was easier for me to digest. I think it helped that the album was about 50 minutes long. Atavist is certainly a lot more aggressive than its predecessor. Production is a lot better. I can see this album will be on my best of 2011 towards the end of the year. Just a overall fucking great metal record.

Combichrist: What The F**k is Wrong With You People?! (2007)

This past week I attended my third Combichrist concert. It was one of the best live performances I have seen by the band. While at the show, I decided to buy this album because I missed owning it. I am so glad I did. I almost forgot how much I enjoy this album. It is aggressive, melodic, and energetic. After four years, I still love the songs "Get Your Body Beat" and "What the F**k is Wrong With You?" tracks. This is by far my personal favorite Combichrist album.

Tristesse de la Lune: A Heart Whose Love is Innocent (2007)

I recently acquired a copy of A Heart Whose Love is Innocent last week. I had heard a copy of their songs via youtube from this album and went bananas over them. I ended up ordering a copy online. It is a terrific album by the  Gini Martin and Kati Rolof. Their music is a blend of goth, classical, and electro similiar to the infectious sounds of Blutengel minus Chris Pohl's gorgeous voice. And the reasons for the Blutengel comparisons is because they used to sing in the band like on "Weg Zu Mir" and "Fairyland". The pulsating rhythms of "Die Andere in Dir" (one of  the reasons I bought this album) makes me want to dance. It would be very difficult IMO to not like this electropop duo (well, now it is down to one).

Gabriel and the Apocalypse : "Let Go" (2011)
"Let Go" is the new single by GATA. I was given a copy (for free) at the Combichrist show this past week. It is very good. While the single does not do the industrial/metal band from Minnesota justice, it is still a kick ass song. It is both melodic and aggressive. The band has a very aggressive sound not too different from Otep except Lindy's vocals is more polished (which isn't a bad thing I think) compared to Otep Shamaya. "Let Go" is a brief yet tasty morsel of what to come from this excellent industrial/metal band. This summer the band will be putting out a new album which I will post the information here on my blog when the time comes.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Upcoming releases

Tonight I was just thinking that it has been awhile since I posted a listing of some upcoming releases. I see that Metropolis Records and Alfa Matrix Records has some new music coming out in the coming weeks. I put the actual dates in parentheses.

May Releases
Bella Morte - Undertow [digital only] (17)
Manifestations of Baba Bazooba - Vienna Woods (24)
Mesh - An Alternative Solution (24)
Clan of Xymox - Darkest Hour (24)
Army of the Universe - Mother Ignorance (24)

June Releases
Imperative Reaction - Surface (12)
Junor Reactor - Inside the Reactor (12)
Dismantled - The War Inside Me (14)
Bella Morte - Before the Flood (14)
Bunnydrums - Holy Moly (28)
Siva Six - The Twin Moons (17)
Krystal System - Nuclear (17)
V/A - Alfa Matrix re:covered Vol. 2 - A Tribute to Depeche Mode

August Releases
God Module - Rituals (09)
Acessory - Underbeat (09)
Dance or Die - Nostradamnation (09)
Left Spine Down - Caution (23)
Bunnydrums - PKD (23)

I'll be brutally honest...the only album on this list that really, really, really excites me is the DM tribute album from Alfa Matrix. I definitely plan on pre-ordering it very soon since June is right around the corner. I don't have the official date yet but Erica Dunham will be putting out a new Stray album in September. Whoo-hoo! In the same month of my birthday. Excellent. Once the date is confirmed, I will make note of it here as well as on my FB page. I almost forgot that my favorite local band Pop Inc. will finally be putting out their album this fall as well. I have been waiting for them to put out an album for what seems like forever XD.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Combichrist w/iVardensphere, Star Killer and GATA at Ground Zero

Well another concert has come and gone. Last night was Combichrist's second visit to the Twin Cities in the last 12 months. This time the show was at Ground Zero put on by Kilted Farmer Koncerts. Just like last fall, Combichrist had iVardensphere tour with them (as well as Star Killer). Local metal band Gabriel and the Apocalypse also performed last night, their first show in the new year. You can see some of my photos here on this slide show I made via Photobucket.

Star Killer was an odd choice as an opening band. Their music wasn't bad but I felt the band's sound was out of place with the aggrotech sounds of Combichrist, iVardensphere's brand of industrial/IDM music, and the ferocious metal sound of GATA. I would describe Star Killer's music as sleazy, high octane rock and roll kind of like Scandinavian Cock (Andy's side project). As a live band, Star Killer sounded pretty damn good. They sounded better live than what I had heard online.

Up next was Gabriel and the Apocalypse, a local metal band. This was my 2nd time I had seen the band perform. They were excellent. Their aggressive brand of metal made me think of the band Otep. The band premiered their new song "Let Go" which is really rockin'. They will be releasing a new album sometime this summer. I will definitely be looking out for that album although I really am not much of a metal fan.

iVardensphere followed up with a killer, highly energetic set. Unfortunately they didn't have the taiko drummers with them but I hardly missed them. Everyone in the audience fed off the duo's energy. Unlike last fall, I did manage to get video footage from their set.

Finally was the almighty Combichrist. Of the three times I have seen the band live, last night's show was my favorite. The band is truly electrifying. Their albums do not do the band justice. The band has so much energy and aggression in their live performances, just listening to their albums isn't enough to experience Combichrist's music. I did get some footage but it looked pretty shitty when I was recording it so I am not sure if I will upload it on to my youtube channel.

Like last fall, I did the VFIM (very fucking important monsters). It was a lot of fun. I loved that drummer Joe Letz remembered me from the last session. The guys are great and hilarious. The camadarie among the guys was that of brothers. This time around, I made an effort to get photos with each of the other band members including their new guitarist Abbey (from Psyclon 9 and the Genitorturers). I also got my copy of  What the Fuck is Wrong With You People? signed by all the band members.

I had a ton of fun last night. Not only did I got to hang out with Combichrist again but I also mingled with my friends in the scene throughout the night. Good music, good friends, and of course good drinks.

The only aspect of last night's show I didn't care for is the moshers. Considering that my camera cost me over $200, I did not appreciate having people put my camera at risk of being knocked to the ground and broken into pieces. That would not have been cool. I'm sorry but I really don't enjoy the meatheads that moshes. After of nearly being knocked to the ground last year at the Faith and the Muse show by two super drunk meatheads, I have really come to loathe moshers.  I saw one chick start brawling with a guy after the moshing got out of hand and let me tell you this is what happens when douchebags decides to take out their aggression at concerts. Shit can get out of hand and possibly injure innocent bystanders. Thankfully no one got hurt but WTF was security when this fight broke out? I eventually had my fill of being in the audience and went to the side where I felt safe and still got a good view of Combichrist's amazing set.

So looking for to seeing Front Line Assembly over Memorial Day weekend. Looks like a kick ass line up.

Monday, May 9, 2011

FLA tour update

Due to issues with obtaining a work visa, Die Krupps is off the upcoming FLA tour in the US. The band Dismantled is filling in for them. More information will be posted on Dismantled's FB page.

Friday, May 6, 2011

CD reviews of the week

I recently decided to re-tool my weekly column "What I am Currently Listening to" to something more professional sounding. The title pretty much explains it all.

Thought Thieves: Krista

Krista is the new EP by local stalwarts Thought Thieves. I had the immense pleasure of seeing them perform their new songs last weekend at the nightclub Ground Zero. Krista contains six tracks (5 originals, 1 remix):
01. Krista
02. Remorse
03. Paralyzed
04. Say Goodbye
05. 13
6. Krista - encouraging remix (Heliosphere)

I have been listening to Krista practically non-stop since I got a copy last Friday night. While the cd does not does the band justice in terms of production quality (i.e they sound amazing live in concert), the music definitely makes up for what the production lacks. As good as the band's previous EP All I Pretend is, I found Krista to have better substance. The melodies are infectious to say the very least, especially "Krista" and "Paralyzed". I have had those songs stuck in my head all this week. The lyrics are excellent. I really dug the lyrics for "Krista". There is a sense of melancholy and heartache that comes through in both the lyrics and Michael Johnson's vocals. "Paralyzed" is just a lot of fun to listen to with its catchy hooks and sing-a-long lyrics. While I took to most of the tracks right away, I have to admit the song "13". I initially wasn't crazy about the song because the melodies were not as strong as the other five tracks, but the more I have listened to it I have come to appreciate the song and enjoy it. I certainly recommend checking out Krista either on emusic, bandcamp, or at Cheapo and The Electric Fetus in a heartbeat.

Lolly Pop

Lolly Pop is the self-titled debut album from the Minneapolis band of the same name. It is a nearly 40 minute opus of ridiculously catchy synthpop, disco, and punk music thrown into a blender to create some of the most fun music I have heard in a long time. I bought a copy last weekend at Ground Zero because I am a huge fan of singer Brooke Aldridge. Lolly Pop has been receiving lots of air time at home as well as at work with me. The lyrics through out the album are cheeky and a ton of fun to listen to. The melodies are unbelievably catchy. There is nothing on the album that I did not like. Time just flies by when I put the cd into my boombox.

Solitary Experiments: The Great Illusion

The Great Illusion is a 2 cd box set of SE's first two (now out of print) albums Advance into Unknown and Mind Over Matter. I had discovered Solitary Experiments as of last year when I found their music via youtube. I downloaded their album In the Eye of the Beholder off itunes and was immediately hooked. I recently ordered The Great Illusion with the initial thinking that it was new music but I was wrong. When I saw it was their first 2 cds which included my favorite song "Odyssey of Mind", I was immediately happy.  Advance Into Unknown (2003) is my least favorite of the two I must say. The music lacks the catchy hooks that Mind Over Matter has but nevertheless it is a solid industrial album. I would say that Advance Into Unknown is more industrial while Mind Over Matter is more synthpop. I definitely recommend getting The Great Illusion if you are looking for the group's first two albums.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Breaking up with your favorite bands

Today I came across this article on NPR called Breaking Up with Your Favorite Bands. It quickly made me think of all the bands that I have broken up with over the years so I decided that this would make for perfect blog fodder.

01. Tori Amos

In my 20s and early 30s I adored Tori Amos. Not any more. The signs of a break up with Tori was in the making. Her albums after From the Choirgirl Hotel has been nothing to write home about. In fact, her music had become rather long-winded and boring as hell to me. It wasn't until I saw Tori in 2009 did I make an official break from her. It was one of the worst concert experiences ever. Tori Amos has the most annoying (diehard and often looney) fans. 2 hours and $65 was wasted on that concert.

02. Apoptygma Berzerk

I first discovered Apop back in 1999/2000 at Cheapo Reocrds. I had confused Apop for Apocalyptica (whose music I was looking for at the time). I discovered a copy of Welcome to Earth in the used cd bins and took it home. I automatically fell in love with the music, and that album would become pivotal in my music collection. It was my first taste of EBM, let alone Metropolis Records. For awhile, Apop was my favorite band...until they released Me Against the World and later that POS Rocket Science. If anyone deserves the label "sell out", it is Apop. I have to admit I did like a few songs on Me Against the World but ultimately it ruined my love for Apop. Rocket Science was just rancid from top to bottom.


KMFDM was the very first industrial band that I seriously got into just 10-12 years ago. I first heard of KMFDM back in college when I still lived in Milwaukee, WI but I didn't get seriously into them until I moved back to Minnesota. I quickly bought up Nihil, Angst, the symbol album, and Money. Those albums really represented industrial music to me (at the time).  Unfortunately their music slowly went downhill in the 2000's.  I admit I do/did like a few of their stuff in the 2000's but they were not classics in my eyes. It wasn't until  the release of Blitz when I just threw up my hands and gave up on them. I am soooooo over KMFDM.

04. Goldfrapp

I recently broke up with Goldfrapp after their 2010 release Head First. I think the duo has exhausted all their creativity and needs to move on to bigger and better projects.

05. Delerium

I have recently decided to leave my relationship with Delerium. Delerium has nothing more to offer to me especially after releasing that crapfest "Dust of Gravity" which was the shittiest song I have ever heard. When I saw Conjure One in concert last month, I decided that C1 was much better and have said au revoir to Delerium.

06. Nightwish

All I have to say is that Nightwish has become just another generic goth/metal band that is about as interesting as watching grass grow and paint dry. I am so over them and Tarja too (her solo material blows). The only gothic metal band I dig is the Canadian band Anemonia.