Sound: New Reviews//Porcelain Raft

Now that I think about it, Porcelain Raft’s Strange Weekend really should have been on my best of 2012 list. Earlier this year I heard a couple tracks from this album that I really liked, but I did not hear the whole album until a couple weeks ago when I bought it. I have to say, Mauro Remiddi, or Porcelain Raft has crafted one of the most genius albums of his time. It is hard to describe how this album sounds because there is not much like it out there. Described by Remiddi as “Sleepwalking Pop”, it has a very dreamy and spiritual feeling, yet it’s definitely accessible; it’s not some academic exercise designed to impress by how clever it is. Strange Weekend is full of throbbing beats, rich sounds, and meaningful lyrics. At first glance, you might think that you get it, but I feel like every time I listen to Strange Weekend, it sounds better. The lyrics on this album are also great; they aren’t obvious or self-centered like so much music we listen to today.  And Remiddi’s voice fits the words perfectly:

Advising people not to travel far
Is that for real? Oh baby listen now
You might have hurt me all this time and yet I’m here tonight

And if I feel something for you now, it’s all in my brain, 
You will go away somehow
I wish nothing more than what I have
I hope you could say the same

From The Way In

Most songs on this album do not have a big chorus that is repeated, rather there are a lot of verses coupled with a repeated phrase. This leaves many more lyrics to be heard and explored.  I love how it has a wide range of songs, going from catchy, radio-ready sounds to slower, introspective songs. I’m going to close this review with an interview with Remiddi from Consequence of Sound

“I like the fact that this isn’t an album full of hits or doesn’t have any bold statement, it has brilliant moments and other moment less shiny, but never on your face. Just like real life in a way. To create an album that reflects that without fearing mediocrity, without feeling the pressure to be perfect all the time, that is my real achievement. To create something close to real life, and my life isn’t always brilliant. Why not showcase it?! Our life has moments of failure and moments of grandiosity, if I want to tell a story, I better tell it all.”-Mauro Remiddi

My favorite tracks on this album are:

Drifting In And Out

Shapeless and Gone

Backwords

Unless You Speak From Your Heart

The Way In

Sound: 10 Seriously Good Albums of 2012

With 2012 coming to an end soon, I decided to make a list of some of my favorite albums from the past year to kickstart the blog. I recommend listening to all these albums in their entirety as they are all fantastic works of music.

1. The Soft Moon-Zeros

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This album is really cool in that it sounds like nothing else. Luis Vasquez, leader of The Soft Moon is able to perfectly create a totally unique sound that combines heavy bass and percussion contrasted with sharp synth, guitar and haunting vocals. He also puts on a great live performance, even busting out the bongo drums. Hell yeah!

2. Beach House-Bloom

Bloom

Beach House knocked it out of the park with Bloom. Bloom is so terrific because each cut on the album is unique, but follows the same theme as the rest. The sound is also really lush and dreamy. Just listen to it.

3. Chromatics-Kill for Love

Kill for Love

Kill for Love is great to listen to on a rainy day. It has a good balance between light and dark, mixed with a healthy dosage of pure space. It’s really easy to listen to this album and get lost in your thoughts, only to awaken from your trance when it ends. It also has a great cover of Neil Young’s “Hey Hey My My”.

4. Grimes-Visions

Grimes-Visions-2012

Visions is so radical because it combines heavy machine music with high pitched almost childlike lyrics. It’s better to listen to on full volume and will get you up and moving. The tracks on this album vary from highly catchy clubby techno grooves to weird machine noises that sound great too.

5. Diiv-Oshin

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Along with Kill for Love and Bloom, Oshin has an amazing dreamy and spacey sound to it. It’s got lots of great guitar riffs, echoey lyrics, and a nice mellow mood. It’s enjoyable all the way through and is full of lots of fantastic moments.

6. Holograms-Holograms

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Ripping Swedish post punk with great sound and a killer synth lead, what else could you want? This debut album is lots of fun to listen to and awesome when really loud. They also put on an excellent show and are really nice people.

7. Purity Ring-Shrines

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Shrines is another album with a cool, unique sound. It’s got lots of sounds you won’t hear anywhere else and a lot of complexity within each song. It’s cool to be able to listen to a song and try to catch every little instrument that goes off. It’s also got some sweet hip hop influenced beats.

8. Crystal Castles-(III)

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Crystal Castles is back again with another great album. (III) is full of lots of amazing songs to rave to and goes in a different direction than (II), focusing on lyrics. I recommend it if you like machine music with a good amount of screaming.

9. Diamond Rings-Free Dimensional

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Free Dimensional is among my favorite pop music ever. Its got a big full sound, catchy tunes, and meaningful lyrics. He can also put on a really fun show. Don’t miss it.

10. Andy Stott-Luxury Problems

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While Luxury Problems isn’t exactly “easy listening”, it can be really awesome to listen to one of his songs discretely build to greatness. It’s also cool how the really deep and spacial bass is mixed with the light angelic voice.

Honorable Mention: Poolside-Seasons Change

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Although Seasons Change isn’t an album, it is one of my favorite things I have listened to this year. It represents the change of seasons from fall to winter and has a bunch of great remixes strung together with an excellent flow. Also it’s free!