Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Muzak For Cybernetics Mixtape #13

Hey all, this latest mixtape has been long overdue, and my apologies go out to all those who have been waiting patiently for our next installment. It's still fun putting these together, it's just that time has been hard to come by as of late. Also, Zak has been away at school since September so you're stuck with another solo effort from yours truly. If this month's picks are not obscure enough for you, blame it all on Zak! Enjoy.

The Octopus Project - Truck
The Hives - Hey Little World
Rapider Than Horsepower - Testify
Enon - Pigeneration
Deerhoof - Twin Killers (Live)
Super Furry Animals - Never More
Travis Morrison Hellfighters - As We Proceed
The Flaming Lips - I was Zapped by the Lucky Super Rainbow (Good Luck Chuck)
Kenny Young and the Eggplants - Earl The Squirrel
Flight of the Conchords - Business Time
The Phoenix Foundation - All in an Afternoon
Luna - Straight Up
Bis - Love Will Tear Us Apart
Freezepop - Ninja of Love
Calvin Harris - This Is The Industry
Sajama Cut - Nemesis (YMCK Remix)
Joy Division - Transmission (Control Cast Version)
The Most Serene Republic - Solipsism Millionaires

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Office - The Big Bang Jump!

I'm not sure if they're fans of the BBC series or the NBC series, but Chicago's Office have certainly chosen a clever band name that may or may not have been inspired by the popular TV show. Contrary to what you might think, however, their songs have little to do with selling paper products or workplace politics. Instead they deliver catchy pop songs that simultaneously remind me of Spoon, Belle & Sebastian and Koufax (although "The Big Bang Jump!" has a chorus that sounds like it was lifted from a New Pornographers album). Their debut album A Night at the Ritz, which came out last month on New Line Records, has been building a lot of positive word of mouth (and deservedly so). Within minutes you'll be won over... I know I was. I see big things for these guys in the future, so definitely check this album out before all the cool kids find out about it too!

» Bonus Track: Company Calls
» Buy it on Amazon

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Octopus Project - Mmaj

I know a lot of people have trouble getting into music that is primarily instrumental, but when you've got as many interesting textures and melodies in your songs as The Octopus Project, it's almost a shame to draw attention away from the music by throwing vocals in there too. Then again, on "Queen", the final track of their new album Hello, Avalanche, they punt that theory completely out the window by introducing some gentle singing to bring the album to a satisfying (and somewhat unexpected) conclusion. For me this band falls somewhere between Caribou and Trans Am, fusing a traditional guitar/bass/drums rock setup with varying levels of electronic noodling. They seem to switch gears so often that you never know what's around the corner, but fear not because they aren't just some aimless experimental jam band. Almost every song is built around a great hook, and once the album's finished, you can't wait to go back to track 1 and start all over again.

» Bonus Track: Queen
» Buy it on Amazon

Dethklok - Duncan Hills Coffee Jingle

Every year, a new album threatens to destroy my hearing with its raw, heavy rock riffs. This year, that album is by none other than Dethklok - the stars of the [adult swim] cartoon Metalocalypse. They're a metal band so famous they're the world's twelfth largest economy.

The two-disc edition of The Dethalbum features over an hour of the most brutal selections from Dethklok's library. Tracks that originally appeared on Metalocalypse have been re-written as full-length metal anthems and re-recorded with legendary metal drummer Gene Hoglan replacing the original programmed drum beats. Series creator and all-around overachiever Brendon Small is credited with playing all the guitar, bass (though in keeping with Dethklok canon, it's mixed all the way down), and writing most of the lyrics (some songs were co-written by Tommy Blacha).

Since The Dethalbum is based on a cartoon band, it may be easy for mainstream music media to dismiss it outright. But as an actual metal album it blows many of its contemporaries out of the water. Like all great death metal albums, The Dethalbum embraces themes of death, anger, hatred (particularly of the band's fans), and Norse mythology.

After listening to the fully realized versions of Dethklok's songs, it's a little weird going back and hearing them in the show. As a nice bonus, the two-disc edition includes a Dethklok cover of a Snakes 'N' Barrels song, "Kill You" as well as a video for the song "Bloodtrocuted."

» Buy it on Amazon

Guest review by Shaun Hatton