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Author Topic: What are you listening to  (Read 397926 times)

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Offline Manimal

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Re: What are you listening to
« Reply #4995 on: October 11, 2020, 12:41:51 PM »
Judas Priest, Point Of Entry
This is a strange record in Priest's discography. It sits between British Steel and Screaming For Vengeance as an aim to be more commercial. The production is fantastic and the drum and guitar grooves are awesome. For those three albums the band had everything right with their sound, powerful with lots of feel. They lost this starting with Defenders. Listening to Point Of Entry you can really hear the great rhythm. This album is full of lackluster songs however, and some outright awful attempts at making "catchy" choruses. "Desert Plains" is amazing and "Heading Out To The Highway" is great fun. Point Of Entry has it's moments but as a whole it's nothing special. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5PuYIsKbe0

Van Halen, Balance
This is an album I never listen to so it was nice to sort of discover how good some of these songs are. I gotta say Balance has the best production of any VH record, it sounds incredible! Eddie's guitar tone is insane and the drum sound is so big. This album is a bit odd with a very mid 90's feel, a bit of a shadow over tracks like "Don't Tell Me (What Love Can Do)", and it doesn't work too well for me. I adore "Can't Stop Lovin' You", that is a magnificent track that makes me feel so much nostalgia and fills me with memories that aren't even memories. It gives me this abstract feeling I can't quite define. It's such a great song. "Amsterdam" and "Big Fat Money" are super fun songs. Alex Van Halen is amazing on this album, he kicks ass on "Aftershock". There are some weird moments and very poor cheesy ballads, so it's uneven but it shouldn't be written off. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Twi4sZrWhEE

Bruce Springsteen, Human Touch
This album is bland aside from a few bright moments. It's Bruce at his most artificial sounding. The instrumentation has no life behind it and on tracks like "Roll of the Dice" it's painfully fake. The 90's were awful to Bruce. "Pony Boy" is maybe the worst song Bruce ever made at this point. "I Wish I Was Blind" is good though and the title track is decent. "57 Channels (And Nothin' On)" is enjoyable. Bruce basically makes a self-parody with that track. I can't say the album outright sucks, it's just so unremarkable. There is no heart put behind it, ironic for an album called Human Touch.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNJA3jCeAR8

Metallica, Load
This is the second time I've listen to this record. I like a bit of it and the rest is forgettable. The album is just too long. You have James Hetfield still at full power here and lots of heavy songs. "King Nothing" is great and so is "Ain't My Bitch". After the Black Album Metallica become awful at self-editing and kept making songs and albums that went on for too long. Load is the first example of this, but it's really not a bad album at all. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xz9DX_VMXdI

Offline Manimal

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Re: What are you listening to
« Reply #4996 on: October 15, 2020, 08:16:42 PM »
L'Arc-en-Ciel, True 

WOW. This is a spectacular album. This album is very emotive with great moments of Rock and Jangle Pop goodness. Hyde is a J-Rock icon and he sounds great on here with his very dramatic and dynamic vocals. I completely loved the song "Caress of Venus" which had a very 90's beat with very 80's guitars. It sounds so damn good and unique. That song just hit me from the very first second. A new to me classic. "Flower" stands out and the finale "Dearest Love" is stunning. This album instantly hit me, it's such a good sound and the tunes are very strong. I haven't listened to L'Arc-en-Ciel before so True has won me over.

   
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72FKwD6qSHg 

hitomi, GO TO THE TOP

Next up it's hitomi, an artist I've heard of but don't know anything about. GO TO THE TOP is full of variety, there are a lot of different songs that have that specific 90's J-Pop style. I would say the sound is a little off to me, sort of not full enough. hitomi's voice is a bit on the high side. On "YOU DIRTY BASTARD" she breaks out a more guttural Rock voice.  I like her vocals on "fact". "Never Forget The Days" is a lovely City Pop type song. This is an enjoyable listen, something to just put on. A few highlights along the way.

 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XuUYvDRx24

Offline Manimal

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Re: What are you listening to
« Reply #4997 on: October 16, 2020, 01:55:41 PM »
Bonnie Pink, Heaven's Kitchen

This is a totally awesome album from singer/songwriter Bonnie Pink. There is a super cool style with lots of variety. It's sort of 90's Indie Pop with Blues Rock elements. Bonnie is a fantastic vocalist, shown clearly on the track "Lie Lie Lie". "Heaven's Kitchen" and "Do You Crash?" are excellent songs. "Melody" has some 60's elements with a wicked bassline. There is some jazz going on in songs like "Hohoemi no Kate" and "Pendulum". A lot of her style is somewhat reminiscent of what Shiina Ringo would later do. Bonnie is multilingual and uses lots of English in a natural sounding manner.

   
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DznPcpEblIw

TRF, Lif-E-Motions 

This is some top notch J-Pop Techno/Trance stuff. Life-E-Motions sounds primed to be listened to in a low quality MP3 with cheap earbuds. This album has great Electro sounds and some instantly catchy melodies. I loved the sound right away and songs like "you&me" had me singing along before it ended. "Signal Theta" is a super cool Sci-Fi instrumental. "Life-E-Motions" is such a good song also. I love these kinds of keyboards sooooo much that I just hear them in the beginning of a song and I'm in. There is a Bleach OP 1 Rap Guy who comes in and out during random songs. This is a very enjoyable album, but the last two songs are boring. There are few things I love more than Electro J-Pop like this, it just gets to me. 

   
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sskaOxMJ_EA 

TWO-MIX, BPM 132

Famous voice actress Minami Takayama and composer Shiina Nagana formed Electro Pop Techno group TWO-MIX. They are behind three of the greatest anime songs ever made, "JUST COMMUNICATION", "RHYTHM EMOTION" and "LAST IMPRESSION"  from Gundam Wing. The former opens the album. It's completely iconic and just a brilliant song that I love so much. So does the rest of this album live up to that song? Sort of. "Callin' You" is a wonderful gentle song with very warm vocals and "Silent Cruising" is fun. "Callin' You" really connected with me, excellent song! "Drivin' to Paradise" is also very warm, the vocals are maybe even a bit too quiet. I think only about half the album is good, it verges on mediocrity for the last few songs.

 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaWGC-HUoNI 

Every Little Thing, Time to Destination

The last one for today's 90's (+ 2006) J-Pop session. This is a fairly decent album but nothing special. The songs are alright and there are a few highlights but overall I have very little to say about it. Every Thing Little are certainly a more average group and this album is the tenth best selling record in Japan. Nothing on here makes me want to hear more from them.

   
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTjNxdnQuT0 

OKAY WOW. I just came across Chara and her song "Crazy For You". It's INSANELY good and must of been an inspiration for Seiko Oomori because WOW. The style is so much like Seiko on TOKYO BLACK HOLE but a decade or so before. I must check out the album and others by Chara, I am super impressed.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xK0RHq__ZRM
« Last Edit: October 20, 2020, 08:39:17 AM by Manimal »

Offline legomaestro

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Re: What are you listening to
« Reply #4998 on: October 17, 2020, 05:46:54 PM »
Damn looks like this year has a lot to offer music wise. I should try out listening to some new albums for sure. My playlist has become way too stale haha .

Offline NO1SY

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Re: What are you listening to
« Reply #4999 on: October 18, 2020, 10:21:48 AM »
Well, Lego, that's what you have us for! I like to imagine we are the music arm of MR radio; Manimal brings you the rock classics, j-pop/rock, and r&b/pop hits; and I bring you the obscure rock and metal tracks... now all we need is someone to pick up the electronic and radio-rock slack!

That said I think I may have something you may appreciate Lego:
After 10 years, Pendulum have returned with new music! They have released two singles: "Nothing for Free" and "Driver". The former is the "electronica-rock", almost riffy, style with vocals that I love Pendulum for - in the vein of "Propane Nightmares" and "Witchcraft" - while the latter is their full on drum-and-bass fare like "Slam". Listening to these tracks has given me decade old nostalgia, but also made me wonder what Pendulum's place in the modern music scene really is... Their brand of drum-and-bass sound seems to have all but been left behind by the electronic music industry and electronic music listeners alike, in favour of more lo-fi, chilled out tracks. I hope that their slightly alternative niche in the rock scene doesn't feel dated also by the time that they release a new album...

Another band that is giving me nostalgia vibes is Smashing Pumpkins, but more in the "I'm gonna go listen to their old hits" kinda way. They've pre-released just over a quarter of the tracks from their upcoming 20-track album "Cyr" and I just don't know...  Well, one of my mates, who used to be just about the biggest Smashing Pumpkins fan in the world, had this to say: "As with a lot of their new music, it's good, but it's just not the same...". I'm inclined to agree really. The title track "Cyr" is hooky and reminds me a bit of Eurythmics. "Anno Satana" has a kinda R.E.M sound to it. Every song is solid, but I think it just doesn't sound very Smashing Pumpkins to me anymore, not in the same defining way that "Bullet with Butterfly Wings", "Zero", or "Cherub Rock" does...

In a more positive bout of nostalgia, I have been re-listening to James Iha's other music project with A Perfect Circle, thanks to a recent Rick Beato video that went through the music theory of "Weak and Powerless". This song is phenominal, definitely one of the best to come out of the band's earlier work, following "Judith" for example. I must admit, their latest, more accessible, work in 2018 captivated me a lot more often than their previous albums did... there is a lot of weird stuff back there to dig through, but once you do, there are several really awesome tracks to find.

On to some more new stuff: Daniel Tompkins, vocalist of TesseracT and one of my all time favourites, has another solo album coming up this year. His previous solo album last year had been a slightly progressive, mostly electronic endeavour that was fairly soft but very interesting. This new track however, "The Gift" featuring Matt Heafy of Trivium, is anything but soft! It still sees Tompkins showing off his signature vocal control, and brings out the best of Matt's vocals also, but I couldn't help but grin when I found myself headbanging to the breakdowns and layered growls. It's not as groovy as TesseracT, nor thrashy as Trivium, but a super enjoyable half-way point between the two.

More and more I am delving into the melodic side of black metal, and more and more I am finding albums to enjoy. New and noteworthy is a new track "I, Pallbearer" off the upcoming album by Harakiri for the Sky. I'm not exactly sure if this is technically black metal... but it's noisy, distorted, has growls, and has blast beats aplenty so...!? The thing is, through all of the noise and distortion and blasts in this song, a really soaring, uplifting, even beautiful melody has been layered in and cuts through, just elevating the song to new heights. In a lot of ways it's reminiscent of "Sapphire" by Alcest.

Lastly, and unsurprisingly given the state of the world this year, new music has been flowing from Zeal & Ardor. First is "Vigil" - a sombre, moving track. Next is the blistering and furious "Tuskegee". "Trust No One" is doomy and bluesy and maybe the most refined Z&A has ever sounded. And "Wake of a nation" is industrial and hypnotic and dark. Manuel Gagneux displays just how versatile he can be with this project. My only wish is that he would more often find ways to fully fuse all of his influences - Blues, African American Chants, Gospel, and Black Metal - into one coherent sound. Not that I dislike the variety each song brings on his albums, but I think that there is real magic to be found if everything were to be seemlessly melded together in each song as opposed from one song to the next.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2020, 10:24:58 AM by NO1SY »

Offline legomaestro

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Re: What are you listening to
« Reply #5000 on: October 19, 2020, 05:56:20 AM »
I'll check these out. I think singles are my go to for now because albums feel a heck of a lot long.

BUT YES PENDULUUUUUM. OH GAWD YES THE NOSTALGIA.

Funny enough I found Twilight to Starlight by Smashing Pumpkins and I finally got why people love them. I know I'm lazy but listening to albums as they were intended to be listened to from start to finish is such an awesome experience. I need to do that more... After I go through some singles.

And damn Wake of a nation. Putting that on now haha.


PS: Yeaup you guys are the resident musicians on the block. OGHM and Paipis have some hot takes too hehe

Offline Manimal

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Re: What are you listening to
« Reply #5001 on: October 19, 2020, 01:39:00 PM »
L'Arc-en-Ciel, Heavenly

Another cool album! "Still I'm With You" began and I instantly loved it right away. Jangle Pop has disappointed me so much, with most of the bands I've heard being lame and boring. But on this album and True the band was able to bring those kind of guitars into these utterly fantastic J-Rock compositions. Lots of variety and their own style is present. Wow, I love this sound. The production is so clear and fresh, I would not of guessed this album was from 1995. "Vivid Colours" is such A GOOD SONG! Oh my God, it hits so hard! "C'est la Vie" sounds like a Christmas song with it's corny synth bells. "Garasu Dama" is the power ballad which has, just like all the other songs, some wicked basslines going. The guitar solos on this album feel raw and loose. "Shizuka no Umi de" builds up to a powerful Rock song. I really enjoyed this!

   
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yLpT3OFJ98 

Chara, Union 

I was utterly floored when I heard the first seconds of "Crazy For You". I thought I was hearing Seiko Oomori but this album came out in 2007! Chara is a very unique vocalist with a wild creative spirit like Shiina Ringo, Mariko Goto and Seiko. Her voice is super strained and dynamic. I can't get over how much Seiko sounds like her, all those inflections like ending a line on a whisper. "Crazy For You" and "Tears" are extremely good songs. This album is full of atmospheric and chill songs. It started stronger than it ended but it was very interesting.

 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5S99S61gD4&list=PL4NXUZspQ7Bx_rKK9YMzpY9nymDmdVao7&index=4

Offline Manimal

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Re: What are you listening to
« Reply #5002 on: October 20, 2020, 04:55:47 PM »
TWO-MIX, BPM 143

First things first, "RHYTHM EMOTION" is the defining song for my 2020, so far. The OP switch late in Gundam Wing will go down as one of my most memorable anime moments. This song is just magnificent, I absolutely love it. That opening sequence is Top 10 all time, both the animation and track come together to create something unforgettable. So that's what I'm going into this album with.

BPM 143 explodes in the first half. This is a heavy duty Techno J-Pop album, it's so dated which makes it greatly enjoyable. Every song feels like you're floating through a vision of a future that never happened. The instrumentals often over power Minami Takayama's soft vocals. "Innocent Dance" has some pretty awful swooshing sound effects during the instrumental breaks but the vocal parts are so damn good you can forgive it. "Eternal Motion" and "I'll Be There" are just amazingly fun. Things slow down in the second half. "Dear My Regret" shows the warm and gentle side of Minami's voice. I prefer this album to BPM 132.

 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Df4Anfgv81g 

Megumi Hayashibara, Half & Half 

The first album from famous voice actress Megumi Hayashibara is a early 90's J-Pop delight. Megumi singing voice is pleasant and the tracks can be pretty cute like "A Late Comer". There is very solid variety so you won't get bored. "Koi No Scramble Race" is a real jamming track with classic J-Pop slap bass and saxophone action. I really enjoyed the whole thing a lot more than I imagined. Since it's her first album I thought it might not be anything special but every song was solid!

 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPGl2JLfAQw 

Ayumi Hamasaki, LOVEppears

If you're into J-Pop you know Ayu but I've never gotten into her aside from a few songs. I did enjoy her most recent release Made In Japan though. LOVEppears is her big album and man...it's pretty good. This is a 1999 dance party with fantastic production. These songs are full of life and very enjoyable. It's paced very well for a 70+ minute listen. It comes off feeling pretty fresh actually. "Boys & Girls" is excellent along with "Fly High" and "Trauma". Ayu's vocals are decent and she handles the jams and ballads very well. I especially like her performance on "too late" with it's very anime song chorus. This is a longer album but well worth it.

 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sw_cTMqHQ1w 

L'Arc-en-Ciel, Tierra 

The band's second album, this one Rocks a lot harder and has more of an Alt-Rock feel than the following two records. Lots of songs where the guitars coming ripping in for the chorus and in general a moody feeling. "Nemuri Ni Yosete" is a standout with it's change ups in feel from Bossa Nova to solid Rocking. Tierra gets better the longer it goes on. The final song "White Feathers" is long and epic. This is a pretty cool album!

 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7V5yGjO7_Ek