Category Archives: Album Reviews

Album reviews by WQAQ staffers

Pusha T – My Name Is My Name – Review (By: Chris Lee)

Virginia native rapper Pusha T is finally here with his long awaited debut studio album, My Name Is My Name.

Pusha T first emerged on to the rap scene with his brother Malice, in the rap duo Clipse, which has dropped several great albums including the underground classic, Hell Hath No Fury in 2004. After the duo went on hiatus in 2009, Pusha went on to start his solo career with multiple mixtapes before being signed to Kanye West’s label G.O.O.D. Music, and dropping two acclaimed and praised verses on the classic Kanye album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in 2010. Read More →

“Fever Hunting” – Modern Life Is War

I’ve listened to a lot of really bad music with screaming in it.  You hear them all the time at mass metal concerts; really bad bands that just scream and rip guitar riffs while maintaining none of the intrinsic value that makes hardcore great.  I had a somewhat similar expectation going into Modern Life is War, but I was pleasantly surprised.  The album Fever Hunting has a lot of political songs and deep lyrics.  One of the songs on their album, “Media Cunt”, is about how the struggle of being true to oneself versus the pressure of the media.  The graphic title isn’t offensive; it makes a point.

Another thing I like about the album was how smoothly one song flowed to the other.  It’s easy to tell that this album was meant to be listened to as an album, an old school aspect of music that’s classic and shows a lot of musical talent.  If the whole album has to flow smoothly, it’s more of an art form and takes a lot more work, rather than just putting out an album with a few singles and bad songs throughout the rest of the album.  “Old Fears, New Frontiers” flows smoothly into the beginning of the next track on the CD “Health, Wealth, and Peace.”

Finally, the instrumental work of the band is coherent and flows with the lyrics very well.  The guitar riffs are catchy and the drums compliment the fast-paced hard attitude of hardcore music.  Even when the songs are slower, the progressions of guitar notes and catchy drum bits keep the listener engaged.  Overall, the album was a very good introductory experience to hardcore punk.  I had never listened to this genre before this CD, but comparing it to what I like about similar genres like metal, I’d be more than willing to listen to more stuff like this.

 

“Diamond Rough” by Autopilot

Autopilot, the alternative rock band out of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan released their sophomore album Diamond Rough early this September.

The 90s style band says with this album that they were unafraid to experiment with sound, and this album proves that.

For the first six tracks of the ten track album, the songs are fairly upbeat and are packed with emotion. The lead singer sounds like a cross of Ozzy Osbourne (Black Sabbath) and Roger Waters (Pink Floyd) and overall, his voice matches with each track fairly well.

“A Song from a Hospital Hallway Part I” changes all that. A viewer can be immersed into the mind of a troubled soul. For the next three tracks, the vocals come out stronger than in any other songs on the album. For the majority of the songs, the lyrics were well written. However, one of my criticisms is that  the words were hard to hear at times because the instrumentals drowned them out.

The closing track, “Every Single Time” was a great track to close this album. Lyrically, I think it’s the best song on here and very well produced. It features memorable lyrics and catchy riffs. I just wish that all ten tracks had a similar vibe.

Overall, Diamond Rough is an album worth listening to. It provides the listener with an emotional journey.

Check out Diamond Rough for free on their Bandcamp, or Autopilot for more information.

You Ought To Know: Twenty-One Pilots

Vessel still has potential to grow popularity into 2014

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Album: Vessel

Released: January 8, 2013

Label: Fueled By Raman

By: Stephanie Griffin

It seems every time I have a new favorite artist, nobody knows who it is. I can say this about Twenty-One Pilots.  The musical duo from Ohio is Tyler Joseph on vocals and piano and Josh Dun on drums. They are not new to the music scene, but they can thank the Fueled by Ramen label for signing them to help get their big break. Their first album, Regional At Best (2011) introduced indie fans to the new artists, who grew popular while headlining shows and tours. But, Vessel, released January 8 of this year, is starting to give Twenty-One Pilots the exposure they deserve.
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“Self-Titled” – Vex Ruffin (by Connor Gilroy)

There are many times when you’ll hear the beginning of a song and you know it’s going to be great. You get excited when a song begins with a great riff or a killer bass line and then proceeds to knock your expectations out of the park. None of the songs on Vex Ruffin’s album model this; Vex Ruffin’s Self-Titled is an album that tries to reach great heights only succeeds by falling flat on its ass. It’s not really clear what genre this fits under and it’s not clear whether or not Vex Ruffin is a band or a singer-songwriter’s project title, but regardless of its origin, Self-Titled does not compare to other CDs we have received.

 

The album begins with a track called “Living For the Future,” which sounded less like a song and more like a crazy person droning on in his cell at the psych ward. There’s no percussion, really awkward sounding strings and synths, and simply put, the vocals are droning and awful. As harsh a beginning as the track is to the album, the pattern, thankfully, doesn’t continue. The next few tracks, most notably “Prime of My Life,” “It Will Come,” and “Won Day,” feature promising backing tracks that set the mood for rapped verses. If Vex Ruffin does anything right, it’s creating really interesting beats with pleasing bass lines to go with them.

 

However, sadly Vex Ruffin’s vocals and lyrics really ruin the promising instrumentals. The lead singer for Vex Ruffin is nothing at all special, and the quality of the vocals leaves a lot to be desired. The droning voice and the awkward vocal effects that accompanies it on almost all of the tracks really take away from the backing tracks. This is the most heartbreaking part of this album because the instrumentals really deserve merit. Had Vex Ruffin gone the way of Gorillaz and featured some rap artists on each track, this album would have been incredible. Instead, it sounds more like a tired old version of Beck. That being said one track that I think should be set apart from the rest of the album is Track 10, “Forget It.” Forget It is a slow jam that gives Vex Ruffin some promise. The vocals are actually quite pleasant with the mood of the tune and the repeating accordian-style synths add a great texture to this somber number. However, it’s the only track on the album that’s really worth mentioning. Otherwise, Vex Ruffin’s Self-Titled gets a D+ at best.

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