Nine Years Later, System of a Down Still “Mezmerizes” Me

System of a Down managed to capture the zeitgeist of American anti-war sentiment in 2005 with their shocking hit album Mezmerize.
System of a Down managed to capture the zeitgeist of American anti-war sentiment in 2005 with their shocking hit album Mezmerize.

It may be surprising to see a retrospective of a nine-year-old nu metal album on this blog, particularly from a writer who has vented at length about the overall lack of quality of mid-2000s popular music.  Then again, everything about System of a Down’s music, from the band’s ability to mash together disparate and seemingly irreconcilable influences to their shocking success on the mainstream airwaves, is a bit surprising.  System’s landmark 2005 album Mezmerize happened to be on my mind as I put together a discussion for my psychology class, and revisiting it as I worked resulted in three dominant trains of thought, none of which dealt with my homework: 1) nostalgia for the days when my biggest concern was whose backyard trampoline the neighborhood kids would be hitting up after school, 2) amazement at how irresistibly fun the eleven songs are, and 3) wonder at System’s ability to somehow maintain this fun amidst livid, highly caustic lyrics and guitar riffs.  In conjunction, these concurrent streams of consciousness brought me to the crucial question: how the hell did a band like System of a Down hijack the popular music consciousness?

I think the answer boils down to two factors: perfect timing and the group’s ability to infuse its thrashing songs with elements that made them palatable to mainstream listeners.

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Aphex Twin, Taylor Swift Mashup Surprisingly Pretty OK

The most elaborate musical prank of this week is no doubt the Aphex Twin/Taylor Swift mashup album. The cartoonist who put Aphex Swift together put forth an astonishing amount of effort to link two totally different artists. The most shocking thing isn’t the choice of artists, however, since there are already endless examples of absurd mashups floating around the web.  No, the shocking thing is that this WTF pairing is so well done.

aphex-swiftMy initial reaction is that there’s no way Aphex Swift works at all, but on several subsequent spins I have to admit that there’s something going on here. “Starlightlicker” is the song that gets the closest to working in any traditional sense, no doubt because “Windowlicker” is the closest Aphex Twin has come to any sort of pop crossover. It’s surrounded by “T4ouble” and “We Are Never Getting Girl/Boygether”, both of which pace hectic breakbeat productions from Richard D. James Album with two of Swift’s most massive pop smashes. Initially I’m convinced that these two tracks speed up the tempo on “4” and “Girl/Boy Song” because they sound impossibly complex underneath Swift’s one-line-at-a-time delivery, but on further review the tempo is unchanged. The juxtaposition serves as a vivid reminder of just how unique and unhinged each of Aphex Twin’s pseudorandom productions is.

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Fulfilling Your Lack of Foxygen: WRVU Reviews “…And Star Power”

 

Album cover for Foxygen's latest album, "...And Star Power"
Album cover for Foxygen’s latest album, “…And Star Power”

 

California natives Foxygen recently released their third full-length album, “…And Star Power”, and I couldn’t have been more hyped for the release date.  Knowing Foxygen, I expected to get a blissful mix of neo-psychedelia and 60′s revival, and what I got was so much more.  Their third album marks the first double album from the duo, and with their first double album comes some new elements to their sound.  Even before listening to the album, I noticed a bunch of small tracks in between the longer ones, eventually turning out to be mainly segues between the songs.  Segues are new to Foxygen’s music, and they manage to pull them off incredibly well.   [Read more...]

The Human Panda Bear

pandabear

Noah Lennox, who goes by the stage name Panda Bear, has recently released an EP titled Mr. Noah. However, the good news does not stop here. The release of Mr. Noah comes shortly before the anticipated “Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper” album that is due to come out on January 13, 2015. With Panda Bear’s renewed activity in the music industry, I wanted to take time to recount the many accomplishments and upcoming developments of an admirable musician.

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The Music Industry’s Amazing 2-for-1 Deal

DJ-Sound-Board-1280x720-wide-wallpapers.net

http://wide-wallpapers.net

 New artists, new albums, and new songs are constantly being produced, and it can get quite confusing keeping track of what you have and have not listened. But often times, a band comes along and drops an album named after the band itself, making our job of keeping track of it all a bit more easy. It is surprising to see just how many bands have eponymous albums, and below I have compiled a list of just a fraction of the bands that have one. Best part is, if you like any of them you only have to remember one name! Wow!

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Aphex Twin – Syro Review

syroblimp
The Aphex Twin blimp over London, the harbinger of the return of Richard D. James.

On August 16, 2014 this mysterious blimp, sporting the iconic Aphex Twin logo and “2014″, appeared over London.  Soon after, the same logo appeared in street art graffiti-ed onto the sidewalk in front of New York’s Radio City Music Hall.  While many refused to buy into the hype, discussion exploded in the music community about the possibility of a new Aphex Twin album this year, which would be 43-year-old beatsmith Richard D. James’ first full release since 2001′s Drukqs.  Just two days later, Syro was announced via James’ twitter, and just one month after that music fans found themselves experiencing an Aphex Twin comeback.

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A River That Does A 180°

An album two years in the making finally presented itself this past August. Dry the River’s Alarms of the Heart exudes a confidence that wasn’t as obvious in listening to the band’s first album. Actually, in a lot of ways, the two albums are super different.

(The Guardian)
Dry the River (theguardian.com)

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