Sunday, August 31, 2008

interview: eye alaska (aug. 29, 2008)



got the chance to catch eye alaska's set the other night. excellent live show. if you like the EP, they'll probably play the entire thing and you'll love every second. lead vocalist brandon wronski acts a little odd (don't ask) on stage, but i got the chance to talk with him about the band for a brief minute after the show. anyway, read the entire thing, so i could say i didn't transcribe the whole thing in vain.



Roshan Bhatt: What’s your name and position in Eye Alaska?
Brandon Wronski: My name is Brandon Wronski and I sing in Eye Alaska.

RB: Mind giving me a brief summary on how the band started?
BW: Cameron and I started when we were in middle school, and we played and toured with a band called Dead Letter Diaries, and then over time, we wanted to change the music and we wanted to change the name with that. So then we met up with the other guys and just started calling it Eye Alaska


RB: How would you describe your sound to someone who hasn’t heard of your band before?
BW: We want to create a soundtrack to life. We call it ‘soundtrack-rock’ or ‘cinematic rock.” There’s a bunch of different genres on the EP, and each song plays with different genres. There are songs like “I Knew You’d Never Fly” and [inaudible] that have that cinematic feel to it, and then you have songs like “Roll Right Over” where it’s kinda R&B and pop, then there’s “Through Willows and Streams” that’s just more rock, and “Stop Me Now” is more hip-hop. You don’t go through life listening to one style of music, and we feel that making a record for everything and not limiting yourself to one genre is great.


RB: Typically, the influences question is kinda textbook and corny, but since you have a diverse sound, I have to ask.
BW: One of my main influence Han Williams and Hans Zimmer, I listen to that stuff all day long. Then old Motown, Justin Timberlake, Jimmy Eat World and the Jackson 5. I try to take something from every single artist.


RB: What are your favorite bands of the moment?
BW: Hard question. Who am I loving right now? Definitely The Dear Hunter and Lydia. We just got off of tour with them. Two great bands and I was just stoked to be on tour with those guys. And Anarbor, their new record just came out and I’m loving that right now.


RB: What are your plans for the next album as far as themes go, and will it be on Fearless?
BW: Yeah, it’s gonna be on Fearless in 2008. We’re keeping the same thing going, and we’re keeping it genre-less. It’s pretty much written already and it’s gonna be awesome.


RB: How did you sign to Fearless?
BW: We were talking to a bunch of labels at the time and Fearless approached us at one of our shows and they expressed interest in wanting to meet with us. We met with them and it instantly clicked. They are an awesome, hard working group of people. They know what they are doing. We knew it felt right.


RB: Weird question. Is Dustin Kensrue a fan of your band?
BW: Haha, I have no clue. I don’t even know if Thrice has heard our band. I love Thrice, but we’re not really affiliated with them.


RB: Who has been the best band you’ve toured with so far.
BW: Well this is pretty much still our first tour. We did one with the Summer set and Anarbor and then we just got off of the tour with Lydia and The Dear Hunter, and I have nothing but good things to say about them.


RB: When people ask me to describe your band, I point out the fact that if they like As Tall as Lions, they’ll probably love Eye Alaska.
BW: I love ATAL. The first show we played as Eye Alaska was with As Tall as Lions at Chain Reaction.


RB: If you were the opening act on a tour, who would the dream lineup be?
BW: I would straight up say Justin Timberlake. Or Radiohead.
RB: I’d see the Justin Timberlake tour working.
BW: (Laughs) Dude I feel it’d work great. Or the Goo Goo Dolls.

RB: And lastly, what the hell’s in the backpack?
BW: Haha, everyone asks that. It’s just a bunch of stuff that’s close to me to keep reminding me where I came from.

RB: Well, that pretty much wraps it up. Thanks a lot.
BW: No problem, dude. Thank you.


eye alaska on myspace.
buy the yellow and elephant ep

-grizzly

gym class heroes - don't tell me it's over f/ lil wayne and dre (2008)



anyone doubting the quilt is crazy. i can speak for jerome when i say that both me and him feel like the only ones diggin' on the new gym class, mainly because we like our hip-hop big and shining. travis takes a lot of shit, but goes in strong on this track. wayne's an unnecessary feature, and his 2 bars really didn't need to be on the track, but gym class probably doesn't mind. also, cool and dre have really put out some incredible beats this year. more people need to work with them.

"tell em i can't rap, tell em' i dumb it down, and tell em' not to buy tickets whenever my band's in town."

and will this fucking album leak already?

gym class heroes - don't tell me it's over

-grizzly

Thursday, August 28, 2008

stadium



H-TOWN REPRESENT.

first of all, with lyrics like i'm coming clean with myself/drinking the whiskey down seems to help, you're gonna score automatic points with alcoholics like roshan and myself.

rising from the ashes of wonderful houston bands the record time, little compass, and the belle curve, stadium are a shining example of music that's going unheard in texas by the rest of the world. i'd riyl them to fans of jimmy eat world, spitalfield, hot rod circuit, and the get up kids. impeccable duel harmonies, big guitars, and bigger hooks.

you can download their debut ep change of plans, we're coming home for 6 bucks on their wonderfully designed myspace page (joon photography/valentone media WHAT UP). in the meantime, here's two songs to get you started. cave in, cave in.

stadium on myspace.

download ground zero.
download coming clean.

-panda

the all new adventures of us



does anyone remember laughter?
does anyone remember love?


the all new adventures of us (or tanaou as they're commonly known) are easily one of the most exciting bands i've come across in a long time. the british seven piece play an anthemic, extremely well written brand of indie-pop that's both enthralling and exciting. top it off with captivating male/female vocals, and you've got something quite epic.

they've got a new lp coming out in october called best loved goodnight tales, which is an addicting collection of songs. it's really amazing hearing an album that flows as well as this one does, each song like a chapter in a novel you read from cover to cover in one go. download these two tracks from their upcoming full length, and add them on myspace, so you can join me in singing "i told you so!" when the rest of the world joins the adventure.

tanaou on myspace.

download the wide eyed led us home.
download the art of the high five.


- the all new adventures of panda

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

album review: the game - l.a.x. (2008)





Artist: The Game
Album: L.A.X.
Record Label: Geffen/Interscope
Release Date: August 26, 2008

Since the release of his first mixtape in 2002, Jayceon Taylor, better known as The Game, has made it his life’s calling to resurrect west coast rap and force feed it to the masses. Even during his stint with G-Unit, the 28-year-old rapper represented and remained loyal to Compton, like the greats Dr. Dre and Eazy-E.

Now, six years later, after months of being pushed back, The Game unleashes his third and supposed final album, L.A.X. In any case, if an artist is releasing their last album, his or her A-game needs to be brought (no pun intended). With L.A.X., The Game decided to pull out all the stops, reeling in some of the biggest artists and producers in hip-hop and R&B to collaborate on what ended up being one of the most ambitious projects in quite some time.

The Game has a known ear for beats, and the production on L.A.X. is close enough to some of the best production heard this year for mainstream releases. With beats from Cool & Dre, Kanye West, Nottz and Hi-Tek, it’s hard to notice that Dr. Dre doesn’t produce for The Game anymore. Furthermore, the cameos on this album are endless. Interscope must’ve spent a large sum on his behalf, bringing in Lil’ Wayne, Common, Ice Cube, Nas, and Ludacris, just to name a few. Almost every song that features any of this all-star line-up is a prospective hit, considering the singles he’s released thus far have already done well.

Lyrically, you won’t see much progression from The Game in comparison to previous albums. He continues to rhyme about his troubled past, which includes but is not limited to sex, drugs and violence, and the name-dropping still runs most of his songs. However, The Game has always had a certain way with words to keep the songs fresh. The name drops may turn some people away, but he manages to create new metaphors and similes that are both entertaining and clever, while managing to pay homage to those who have influenced his own style.

There are very few lulls when listening to the album, which is an impressive feat considering its 76 minute runtime. Aside from the abrasive Intro and Outro, both prayers by hip-hop hostile DMX, the only skip-worthy track is “Touchdown,” which might as well be one of the Game’s most trite tracks to date. L.A.X. has a very wide-range of sounds aside from the West Coast. From soulful jams like “Let Us Live” to club-bangers such as “Money” to the bedroom influenced faux balladry of “Gentleman’s Affair,” there are songs on L.A.X. that will reach a wide array of people.

Considering the state of the music industry, there is very little chance that this album will be as commercially successful as its predecessors The Documentary and Doctor’s Advocate. Despite the sales difference, L.A.X. will go down as The Game’s crowning achievement, and will hopefully stand the test of time. If this is indeed his last album, Jayceon Taylor will be content with the fact that he dropped out of the game while he was still shining.



Grade: B+

the game on myspace.

-grizzly

charles hamilton - outside looking (2008)



i hit up a few tracks from charles hamilton after reading a blog about him over at 2dopeboyz, so naturally i'm biting their steez. anyway, i'm liking what i hear. here are two tracks and the link to his mixtape if you're interested. fresh.

download:

brooklyn girls
windows media player

and grab his mixtape produced/presented by dj green lantern:



-grizzly

the game - l.a.x. b-sides (2008)



the game's album dropped today, and a bunch of solid cuts didn't make the album. here's four of them. all of them are as good as anything on LAX, especially superman. i would've dropped "touchdown" and replaced it with superman. enjoy. review will be posted soon.

download:

superman
camera phone f. ne-yo
spanglish
ain't fuckin' with you

-the grizz

Sunday, August 24, 2008

t.i. - swagger like us (feat. kanye west, jay-z, and lil wayne) (2008)



take one M.I.A. sample and add four of the hottest rappers (if not THE four hottest) in the game, and there's no way you won't get one of the rawest tracks of the year.


download swagger like us.

- swagger like panda

Thursday, August 21, 2008

the cool kids - delivery man (2008)



new track from the duo. also, this is a spiteful post for jerome, who got to the cool kids show too late and couldn't see it. be sure to slap him in the mouth when you see him for showing up late and "having a job." tool.

download:

the cool kids - delivery man

-grizzly

music video: ne-yo - miss independent (2008)



fly ass video from the gentleman of the year (ha ha see wut i did there?). first single off of his upcoming album, year of the gentleman, due out september 16.

download:

ne-yo - miss independent

-mister grizzly

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

deas vail - white lights (2008)



deas vail plays the least tough music around. it's odd that my last post was about one of west coast's toughest faces, and in comparison, these guys look, feel and sound like exotic rainforest butterflies. yes, i went there. their debut LP, all the houses look the same was one of my favorite albums last year. the lead singer has a great set of pipes. he reminds me of the singer of copeland, except deas vail doesn't bore me to death. anyway, the group has a new EP out for a full stream over at absolutepunk so be sure to listen to it. in the meantime, be sure to grab these two tracks off of white lights.

deas vail on myspace

download:

white lights

from priests to thieves

-grizzly

r.i.p. muxtape (2008)



so we had a good two month run with this new feature of ours. turns out the motherfuckin riaa got to one of our youngest children, and from the looks of it, it looks like this little dispute won't last too long, and muxtape will be visiting the farm pretty soon.

we'll pour one out for lil' homie. sorry to disappoint all 11 of you who listened to it.

-weworemasks

the game - documentary (2005)



very few people realize it now, but after the death (both figuratively and literally) of west coast rap, hip-hop got kinda soft. fast forward to 2005, and the game comes out swinging (even though it was as 50 cent's prodigy.) sure, his first two big singles had 50 cent features, but he had to get his name out there somehow. after the comparisons to 50 cent and g-unit's "revolution," i finally sat down with the game's debut and was floored. everything on this album hits hard. the majority of it is produced by dr. dre, so you know there is some incredible stuff on it. either way, the game's new album l.a.x. drops next tuesday, and in honor of it, i'm posting the documentary.

l.a.x. is HIGHLY recommended. be sure to keep a look out for the review.

download:



-grizzly

Monday, August 18, 2008

dj khaled - go hard (ft. kanye west and t-pain) (2008)



new banger from dj khaled's new album. more kanye vocoder. t-pain bringing the high notes to the hook. get on it. and sign my petition to make khaled stop yelling so much.

download go hard.

- panda wishes someone would actually start said petition.

music video: the game - my life f/ lil' wayne (2008)



one of the better videos to come out in a long time. if you haven't heard l.a.x. yet, do yourself a favor and get your hands on it. game came back strong for album number three. i think i stumbled on two songs that i didn't feel out of the nineteen. with wayne on this track, there's no doubt that this will be a huge single.

-grizzly

music video: gym class heroes - cookie jar (2008)



if you can't find it in your bones to dance to this song, then you are not my friend.

-grizzly

Friday, August 15, 2008

knapsack



knapsack were in a line of bands like the promise ring, texas is the reason, jawbox, sunny day real estate, etc.. that were your favorite band's favorite band when they were your age. i remember when i was recording with my old band during my freshman year of college (that's right, a mexican went to college.. briefly), i discovered our producer's knapsack and jealous sound albums. at first i was just drawn to the amazing album art, but he definitely sold me on them (especially considering my band was influenced by the later waves of emo/indie bands). if you have yet to discover their awesomeness, grab these two albums. if you're already down, dust yours off and relive the good old days.

download day three of my new life:


download this conversation is ending starting right now:


- panda

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

music video: innerpartysystem - die tonight, live forever (2008)



hot video. very excited about the new album. i've been jamming the download EP nonstop, and these dudes bring something refreshing to the world of electro/rock/pop whatever.

sidebar: there's a lot of debauchery in this video, and it's probably the group's secret homage to prodigy's smack my bitch up with way less tits, so i'm going to go ahead and label this NSFW.


-grizzly

kid cudi - a kid named cudi (2008)



this shit dropped a while ago, and i'm pretty damn bad at the blogging-about-who-you-hear-about-right-away-or-else-you'll-look-like-an-idiot thing. ah well, i'm sure some of you haven't copped this mix yet. either way, cudi is a hot signing off of a-trak's fool's gold records, who is bound to blow up at any given moment.

check the trailer:



grab the mixtape at 10deep:



-kid grizzly

movie recap: pineapple express (2008)



another ridiculous stoner flick that had me laughing from beginning to end. by now, you're either a fanboy of or hate any and everything judd apatow and camp related. after superbad, it's safe to say that i've probably crossed over to the fanboy side.

this movie was ridiculously funny. a semi over-the-top plot in which dale denton (rogen), a pothead public servant witnesses a murder, ends up running back to his dealer, saul's (franco) place, fleeswhich essentially sets up for an hour long chase scene between the kingpins and the potheads.

after seeing franco in the abomination that was spiderman 3, i was reluctant to see him take on the role of the stereotypical absent-minded stoner. turns out, the dude is fucking hilarious and was probably the best member of the cast. rogen delivers as usual as well mainly due to the fact that since 40 year old virgin, i've developed an admiration for chubby jewish men. the two have a great chemistry on screen, homoerotic innuendos included. the two could be a wonderful couple. seeing daryl from the office was also awesome.

anyway, this movie comes highly recommended from me. i'll probably end up seeing it again, or buying it eventually. it's still not funnier than anchorman or superbad (my two favorites) but it is definitely worthwhile.

grade: B+

p.s. has anyone seen step brothers? any good?

-grizzly

jay-z - jockin' jay-z (2008)



why you jockin' jay-z?

blueprint 3.

download:

jay-z - jockin' jay-z (produced by kanye west)

-jockin' grizzly

john legend - green light f/andre 3000 (mstrkrft remix) (2008)



the boys have done it again. this time, with an unlikely prospect, john legend. i loved the original, but mstrkrft brought the flavor on this one. and be sure to grab the original if you haven't already.

download:

john legend - green light f. andre 3000 (mstrkrft remix)

john legend - green light f. andre 3000

-grizzly

Sunday, August 10, 2008

august spotlight: the gallery



so, amidst the hot ass texas weather of august, weworemasks aka the bears aka the laziest brown people on this side of the prime meridian aka jerome and roshan have come up with a new feature. every month, we'll put up a little sidebar for a featured band.

our first spotlight is a band out of western massachusetts, the gallery. the group is releasing their debut LP ...if you know what i mean this tuesday, so be sure to check out the sampler and exclusive video, as well as adding them to your myspaces and what have you. this band has a tight sound and will hopefully turn some heads with this new release.

add the gallery on myspace!

here is an exclusive studio video:



and don't forget to download the two song sampler here.

-the bears

thrice - myspace transmissions (2008)



every time this band releases something, i cry. the new shit they did with myspace is no exception. these tracks really bring some more life to the tracks on the alchemy index. enjoy.

thrice on myspace

download:



-grizzly transmissions

northstar - broken parachute EP (2008)



personally, one of the most traumatic break-ups in music was northstar. i loved this band. saw them like 11 times, and they were always amazing, down-to-earth and genuine dudes who played great shows and great music. post break-up, there had been talks with speakmusicmedia to release an unreleased/b-sides compilation and it took nearly four years to actually release. the release was limited to 1,000 copies, so it's very unlikely that you'll find it now. there quite a few gems (everything) on here.

download:



(sorry about the MU link, but it's bigger than 100mb)

-grizzly

rx bandits widget (2008)


Quantcast

this is something dope that the dude's in rx bandits posted up. i feel the need to share this. this little widget has a lot of cool shit on it. songs from various albums, live videos (seriously, these dudes go off), etc etc. pisses me off even more that i missed their latest houston date.

-grizzly

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

peter toh - wildlife (2008)



okay, there's a few things i'm going to need you to do before listening to this freshly released peter toh song:

1. build a fire (if you don't have a fireplace, you'll need to build a fireplace).
2. skin a bear (roshan will let you use him). lay said bear skin down in front of the new fireplace.
3. find the sexiest girl you know. that one shorty that's been makin your head spin all day.
4. turn on this song.
5. lay said girl down on bear skin rug in front of newly made fireplace.
6. make love till the sun comes up.

get the idea? dig that.

listen to wildlife at peter toh's myspace.

- pandalife.

p.s. this album is seriously going to be next level. do yourself a favor and get on board now so you can say you were ahead of the hype train once the rest of the listening world catches on.

music video: n.e.r.d. - everybody nose (remix) f/ CRS and pusha T (2008)




i just shit my pants. easily the video of the year.

-grizzly

album review: lloyd - lessons in love (2008)






Artist: Lloyd
Album: Lessons in Love
Record Label: Universal Records
Release Date: August 5, 2008

Although it hasn’t been very long since we had our last offering from Lloyd, one of the South’s more well-known crooners hopped back into the studio after his platinum selling sophomore album, Street Love, to release his latest collection of clich√©d anthem of sex and love balladry, Lessons in Love.

Following the album’s title as a loose concept, Lloyd jumps into “Sex Education,” a light-hearted and upbeat number with live instrumentation. Very literally, he turns this song into the step-by-step program about sex, making it known that he “wants to make an A,” and will show you his if you show him yours.

The biggest problem with this album is the monotony in subject matter. The realization of this being Lloyd’s style and the genre he’s pinned himself to comes to mind, but it wouldn’t hurt to switch it up. It also wouldn’t hurt if he attempted to write better lyrics than “Please have my baby/Yeah, I’m talking to you/If you wanna have my baby/Here’s what you do/Take your clothes off,” found on “Please Have My Baby.”

There are a couple of enjoyable songs on Lessons in Love. “Girls Around The World,” the album’s first single, samples Eric B and Rakim and features a Lil’ Wayne cameo, and “Love Making 101” features a guitar solo, easily one of the album’s highlights. However, taking these songs at face value is recommended, as the subject matter remains clich√© and continues to fall flat.

The production on Lessons in Love is another one of the few things keeping this album afloat. With the aid from Big Reese, Jasper Cameron and Polow da Don, Lloyd manages to have an album full of probable hits. The live instrumentation in “Sex Education” and “Love Making 101” switches up the vibe, while Polow’s synth-heavy production on “Party All Over Your Body” is just well-produced.

With Lessons in Love, Lloyd makes a valiant effort at attempting to join the ranks of the Ushers and Babyfaces of contemporary R&B, but pales in comparison. Considering all of the underrated talent that lies within hip-hop’s borders, the fact that Lloyd has a record deal and the amenities to be able to hire top shelf producers to make him sound good is a mind-bender. But the fact of the matter remains; the man sells records, and is obviously doing something right. I’m just not signing off on it.



Grade: F

lloyd on myspace.

note: this review was for allhiphop.com, but they haven't gotten around to posting it, so i'm posting it here.

-grizzly

kanye west - lollapalooza (2008)



so it's safe to say i've spent a good hour and a half on youtube looking at videos of the louis vuitton don's performance from lolla this weekend. it's also safe to say that 99% of music can't touch this dude's live show.

do yourself a favor:

-get on youtube.
-watch the videos.
-proceed to hate life.

i've made it easier for all of you, so just click here.

-grizzly

album review: norma jean - the anti mother (2008)






Artist: Norma Jean
Album: The Anti Mother
Record Label: Solid State Records
Release Date: August 5, 2008

Norma Jean have been a front runner of the metalcore movement, creating urgent, passionate and heavy music for over eight years. The latest offering from the Georgia quintet, titled The Anti Mother, is a fresh sound for the group, who have spent the last two years touring in support of their 2006 release, Redeemer.

The Anti Mother is a concept of a character drawn up by the band to represent something that is outwardly beautiful, but possesses deceptive traits. Lead vocalist Cory Brandan has stated that this is both Norma Jean’s most melodic, as well as heavy record to date. Ironically, the concept bodes well with the album itself, as the music is very deceptive of what fans have come to know and embrace as Norma Jean.

What you won’t find on The Anti Mother are the double bass breakdowns and drop-D tuned riffs of their blistering debut Bless the Martyr, Kiss the Child or the sporadic time signatures and Botch-like song structures of O’ God the Aftermath. But what you will find is the more straight-forward hard-rock approach similar to much of Redeemer.

One thing immediately noticeable about The Anti Mother is the drastic change in Brandan’s vocals. The guttural screams and growls found on previous albums have now transitioned into more melodic screams. Songs like “Self Employed Chemist” and “Robots 3, Humans 0” seem to be showcases of Norma Jean’s take on radio nu-metal, as Brandan puts in his best effort to use his singing voice, but gives a lackluster performance.

Norma Jean has soaked up influences from many bands, and in many cases, do their best to mimic their peers, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In the past year, Norma Jean has constantly toured with southern-rock enthusiasts Every Time I Die, and the influence is apparent on songs like “Birth of the Anti Mother.” The group also does their best Deftones impression on “Surrender Your Sons,” and managed to recruit the Deftones’ lead singer Chino Moreno, who aided in the songwriting, creating the standout track on the album. Another guest spot comes from Page Hamilton, lead singer of Helmet, whose obnoxious vocal melodies on “Opposite of Left and Wrong” sear through your eardrums, forcing you to find the ‘next’ button immediately.

Despite its shortcomings, The Anti Mother has its share of impressive tracks. Along with “Birth of the Anti Mother” and “Death of the Anti Mother,” Norma Jean scrounges up all of their collective talent, resulting in “And There Will Be a Swarm of Hornets,” easily one of the band’s best works to date. The song is as beautiful as it is relentless, and proves to be a grand closer on an underwhelming album.

Throughout the years, Norma Jean has managed to create great albums that push the boundaries of metal and rock. However, The Anti Mother is uninspiring, and will be filed away onto the large shelf of mediocrity that exists within this genre.




Grade: D+

norma jean on myspace.

-grizzly

music video: the game - dope boys (f/ travis barker) (2008)




this song just goes off and makes me feel like it's my fuckin' birthday. anyone else excited for l.a.x.? it'll easily be one of the best hip-hop albums to come out this year. even though this is one of the most unlikely pairings, i think the two work well with each other. remember when travis was in blink 182? dude's come a long way, haha.

the dope boys in the building.

download:

the game - dope boys (featuring travis barker)

-grizzly

walter meego - keyhole (le castle vania remix) - (2008)



this is one of the most consistent djs out there right now. the dude makes nothing but heaters. i've never heard the original of this one before, but god damn, this song will rip straight through your speakers.

as long as he's remixing, we're posting.

download:

walter meego - keyhole (le castle vania remix)

-grizzly

n.e.r.d./lupe fiasco - complex magazine spreads (2008)



so our homeboys (we wish) are on the cover of complex this month, and the inside of the magazine has the freshest spreads of lupe and the star trak crew. i could dig on some posters of these. mainly because i get lonely at night. and...i like street art? yes, that's exactly it.

pictures from the spread:

n.e.r.d.:





lupe fiasco:







-grizzly