“New Album” (2011) by Boris

Creatively titled “New Album” is the first of three full-length Boris records (and one shared LP with Merzbow) so far this year; and, living up to its name, New Album sticks out like a sore thumb in a sea of happy, healthy thumbs that make up Boris’ back catalogue. All traces of Boris’ position as one of the world’s leading noise bands are totally shunned to make way for a melody-heavy, shoegaze, almost Visual Kei record. Yes, it’s a “New Album”, as this is unlike anything Boris has ever done and likely will ever do again.

Every song sounds totally different. There’s ballads, the hardstyle-influenced techno, straight J-Rock; and no drone. Forgive me for preoccupying over that, but the idea of a Boris album without noise is like Brokencyde without awful – it just doesn’t happen. It hasn’t happened, and it never will happen. At least, I thought it never would. This isn’t to say it’s a bad record, just unexpected.

I can dwell upon how different New Album is, or, I can shut up and review it. Boris sound like a band that, after nearly twenty years of having crafted their own ground in the music world, slipped, fell, hit their head, had a laugh about it, and released an album in hindsight. This is the product. The fact that it is one of four released in the space of three months emphasizes just how little time must have gone into the production – instead, it seems like their tongue was firmly in their cheek while they laughed at themselves quietly.

That being said, I don’t want to give anyone the impression that this is a bad record. Because that’s not true. New Album is Boris saying to the world “Hey, yeah, we can play drone, but look what else we can do too!”. And while it’s a huge departure from their usual formula, it’s nice to hear a band break away from expectations every now and again, especially when the expectations are so firmly rooted into one broad genre (no, not as broad as “rock”, I just didn’t know a better way to put it).

Boris’ New Album is just that. New. Once again a veteran band thwarts all expectations of them, presenting themselves in a totally different light. Will it stick? Well, after listening to its two successors (“Attention Please” and “Heavy Rocks”), no. Boris are doing what they do best. But if you can’t get yourself into the noisy goodness of Boris’ traditional style, New Album would be a good place to start. It’s nothing that unique in the grand scheme of things, but for Boris, it’s the white elephant.

7.1

Albums from 2010 that I’m still listening to

Even though, recently, I’ve been a bit slack in the whole writing reviews department, I’ve still been listening to as many records as possible (while my internet is not capped, which is about a third of the month). Of alllll the records released thus far this year, these are the ones I still listen to regularly and enjoy.

If I’ve already written reviews for them, I’ll link it. If I haven’t, meh, I’ll write one eventually and link it when it’s done.

“Congratulations” by MGMT
“Kollaps Tradixionales”  by Silver Mt. Zion
“Mr. Green, Volume One” by Carney
“Go” by Jónsi

Keep these albums in the back of your mind, because they’re in very strong contention for Album of the Year 2010.

Wrockin’ Down Under

So, for a while (two years or so?) I’ve had a band called Mimbulus Mimbletonia. We are a big fish in a small pool – well known in the Australian wizard rock scene, but relatively unknown elsewhere. What is wizard rock, you ask? Well, it’s a genre of music popularised by Harry And The Potters, where you play songs about Harry Potter and the wizarding world in general. It’s a big underground scene in the US, with annual “Wrockstock” festivals held, as well as the “Wrock The Boat” cruise – a week long cruise featuring big names in wrock performing on-board, such as Draco And The Malfoys, the Cruciatus Curse and Catchlove.

Want to get into wizard rock? Good for you. Recently, a compilation was released featuring all the big Australian wizard rock bands, and it’s free to download (plus, a very very small download file). It’s called “Wrockin’ Down Under”, and you can get it here. I would advise you to get it right now. If you need more incentive, Mimbulus Mimbletonia is featured on it.

Also, try the worldwide home of wrock at http://wizrocklopedia.com, it’s a great place to get started, and features a massive list of every single recorded wrock band in history.

So yeah. In short, download that compilation, it’s brilliant. Stay tuned to my own band’s site, http://www.myspace.com/mmwizardrock/ for new songs, updates, and an announcement of my (extremely delayed) debut album.

Have fun!

Crystal Castles’ second LP

It’s called Crystal Castles. Yep. The same thing as their first record. My music library is screwed. Not Crystal Castles II, just self titled. Again. I just got it, but I haven’t listened to it yet, but I’m going to very soon, I’m a big fan of their first one. I still think that it should be Ethan’s solo project – all Alice does is sing/scream in about a third of the album’s tracks, and he seems to do all of the production, songwriting, etc. It’ll be released on May 24, but it was leaked online, so you can get it at about a thousand different websites now.

So yeah. I’m not that good at writing news articles and the like, but the short is: I’m pissed off at their second record having the same title as their first.