Tag Archives: CD Review

The Disco Biscuits – Planet Anthem – CD Review

Philadelphia electronic jam band The Disco Biscuits (TDB) have always stood out to me as an original act since the day I was introduced to them.  I have to admit I was not really into jam bands at the time they were brought to my attention, but thanks to a couple of jam band loving friends I was just intrigued with what I heard.  They were indeed a jam band but their addition of electronics into the songs they played (also known as “trance-fusion” captured my attention fully and I was not the only one.

Over the years the band attracted a huge fan base and not only played all over he world from clubs to festivals but has also hosted their own festival known as Camp Bisco.

After my initial taste of TDB I remember immediately going out to pick up a couple of of their albums and even caught them live, twice at the Odeon (RIP) and once at Bonnaroo in 2006.  For reasons unknown though I stopped listening to future releases by the band, that is, until now.  Recently TDB released Planet Anthem an album that once again will be turning heads of many.  This time around the band collaborated for the first time with other producers, songwriters, and musicians to push out a jam album full of indie rock, hip-hop, and electronical awesomeness.  I can honestly say this as well – The Disco Biscuits have never sounded better.

Opening up the CD is “Loose Change” a song that was not speaking of extra quarters in your pockets.  This song prepared me for the rest of the album with electronic heavy guitar playing and almost old school Daft Punk beats.  “On Time” without a doubt will be making it’s way to the dance floors in 2010.  This futuristic disco-ish song had me nodding my head in approval throughout.  Comparable to something Dirty Vegas might have done this song had all of the elements to make the dance floor move and is best listened to at high volumes.

I felt as if I was listening to Radiohead when “Widgets” started playing especially when the shifting samples started.  All I could think of was how similar it was to something that might be found on Kid A or Amnesiac yet the song held it’s own.  I really enjoying the repetitious gentle singing that was implanted in my head throughout.

“You and I” was one of my favorite cuts on the album over the rest.  Comparable to something The Faint might push out but with TDB flair, the song just overpowered the rest.  Hearing this track confirmed that TDB tried something completely different and I must say, I approved.

The experimental jam of sorts “Konkrete” had a Middle Eastern feel techno feel to it.  I just could not help but think of the Butthole Surfers during this track.  Perhaps it was the monotone singing layered over the thumping bass and electronic noise. “Fish Out Of Water” shifted back to the older TDB I recalled with barely any electronics.  WIth a catchy chorus and slick guitar playing the song was a fun jam to sit back and listen to.

The unsuspecting “Sweatbox” was like a Gorillaz meets Gnarls Barkley song on speed.  This track was insanity at it’s finest with a mix of hip hop and rock and even some soul added in.  I could not get enough of this track nor could I hardly believe TDB had something to do with it as it was completely out of their norm.

Following was “The City”, a more classic TDB singing style song mixed with indie rock.  Think Kings Of Leon mixed with Phish…yes it is entirely possible.  “Big Wrecking Ball” continued the indie rock feel sans the jam and made for a enjoyable song.

Being one of the first albums I have heard in 2010 I must say I was beyond impressed with what The Disco Biscuits dropped.  They made a change in their sound on this album that took almost three years to complete and I personally think it is for the better.  By doing so they have created a CD that will be attracting a lot of attention from new fans and old thanks to the array of genres mixed up in Planet Anthem.


Got Local? – Cleveland’s Unsparing Sea

So indie rock is cool right?  Well I think so…  What about folk music?  That seems to be hitting the ears of many as of late.  Now imagine an indie folk rock band or a folk indie band that rocks or how about a rock folk indie band.  Yes this has been covered before but there is something about Cleveland’s Unsparing Sea that really hits me when I think of indie rock mixed with folk music.  Recently the band released their sophomore album entitled In The Diamond Caverns, an album full of a mix of both genres of music that was ever so tasteful to my ears.

Opening track “Sandpaper/Sadpaper” started off the CD as if one was entering the world of dreamland with inviting harps and hypnotizing cello playing temping you for a taste of what was going to come.  Originally I thought of this song as an intro but after the slightest pause the song jumped into this orgy of music with plucking and blowing (banjos and horns you perverts).

Maybe it’s the way lead singer J.R. sang along with the cello and saw (yes, saw) in “Wolves At A Wedding” but my attention perked up a tad.  The song is beautiful yet gloomy and is the kind of song someone can either profess their love to someone or devise a planned Dexter-like attack to the unsuspecting villain.  The song actually premiered on the band’s previous EP In The Crystal Canyon.

“The Diamond Caverns” is a less gloomy track and carry lyrics speaking of a savior left to be determined.  I absolutely loved the combination of the drumming and strings midway through the song.  “Sleight Of Hand” carried a more lullaby sound that continued the attractive cello with what sounded like an upright bass being gently plucked.

My choice cut on the album without a doubt is “Sing Devil Sing” as it really brought out the twang with banjo playing but kept an indie sound vocally but then out of nowhere came this Spanish trumpet playing that just brought the song together perfectly. Ryan Kelly’s drumming really makes “Fires, Attics, Etc.” a lively track to listen to.  The song is perhaps the most upbeat on the album and clearly shows this band has many sides of emotion.

Granted I had only been treated to a sample of tracks off of The Crystal Canyon I can tell you I am hooked and want more.  I was lucky enough to catch Unsparing Sea play the Music Saves 5 Year Store-A-Versary a few months back and was floored by their live performance.  It was my very first taste of a talented local act truly unique to neighboring bands.  If things go my way there might be a copy of the CD in my stocking on Jesus Day morning.

Better yet the band is scheduled to play a show on Dec. 23rd at the Beachland Ballroom‘s Yulesville Pre-Holiday Bash!  The show starts at 9pm and there is going to be a slew of bands there including Unsparing Sea.  Looks to be a fun time. Having seen Unsparing Sea live before I can tell you they are an act not to be missed.

If you are interested in purchasing this awesome Cleveland band’s material you should head over to their website.

DOWNLOAD THIS! – Unsparing Sea – “Sing Devil Sing”
DOWNLOAD THIS! – Unsparing Sea – ‘Diamond Caverns”

What?  You want more?  No problem:

Snacktruck – Spacial Findings 1 – 7 – CD Review

When I see the words “snack” and “truck” the fat kid inside me usually gets excited and is ready to mow down some mobile junk food.  This time around though the words have different meaning and refer to a band’s name and not the no-so-good-for-you cuisine.   Snacktruck is a truly unique threesome from Richmond, VA consisting of a guitarist/keyboardist and two drummers.  Yes, two drummers.  (I do believe there is a guest bassist too but can not confirm that)

The band recently released Spacial Findings 1 – 7, an album that is more of a masterpiece of specifically layered sounds resulting in quite an impressive instrumental release.  With no pinned down genre the album glides through styles such as progressive, jam, thrash, and even pure rock with no hesitation what so ever in between.  The album was dropped on Rorschach Records.

If you asked me what Spacial Findings 1 – 7 sounded like I would first just say “awesome”.  Why?  Because the moment I put the CD in for a listen I was just fixed on what was hitting my ears and listened to it from start to finish with no interruptions.  The moment the CD ended I put it on for a second listen.  No joke.

When listening to “Presence Charm” I actually looked at the CD booklet to make sure that only three people formulated this song.  Heavily progressive but inclusive throughout there was no wonder why this caught my attention…it was good.

“Blooms (Horrible)” continued on with an experimental interesting piece that hooked around momentarily and ended far too soon.  I was digging the almost sci-fi soundtrack and was a little bummed when it smothered out.  “Blooms (Sweet)” stifled out just like the previous track right during a sweet guitar manipulation and that is when it hit me…  The band very well may take their songs completely into new territory when playing live so why ruin it on a studio release?  Now I want to see this band live more than ever.  I can only imagine the intensity of a live experience.

“Life Prism” was perhaps the highlight of the album for me until the following song “Blake Jones In Space” intensified the feeling.  Imagine insanity compiled into a two and a half minute song with sick drumming and technical goodness.  All I could think of is a mutant Mike Patton taking hits of 90’s grunge music heavy acid and painting a picture of the future through music.  Yes, I just said that.

“Gravi-Thorn”, the longest song on the disc, starts out ever so soft and gentle and suddenly transforms into a crazy collection of guitar and feedback with faultless drumming.  Did I mention the band has two drummers? 

Snacktruck surpassed my musical range in every way possible (that is a good thing) but I could not help but reach out and grab their insanity note for note and beat to beat because it was so alluring.  It’s without a doubt something that needs to be heard without being too much to take.  Technical music lovers and experimental intellectuals are going to love this trio of musicians.  Hell, music lovers need to give this band a chance, it’s that good.

Sound interesting?  Head over to Rorschach Record’s website to grab a copy for yourself!