Category Archives: Album Reviews

Album reviews by WQAQ staffers

“Analog Man” Album Review

Crass, blunt, and politically-incorrect are three terms I would use to describe Max Random’s album Analog Man. And guess what? I think it’s fantastic. Random tells it like it is, and does so effectively. In his songs, he’s sort of the observational comedian, making fun of current events and taking a lighter side to social issues. He tackles subject such as death (“Mister D”), the government, corporate America, and pop culture (“Godzilla”), greed (“Come On Baby”), and of course, weed and the government (“Ballad of Johnny Boon”). He’s an excellent parody artist as well, including his song “I’ve Smoked Weed Everywhere” (“I’ve Been Everywhere”) and “Monster Hash” (“The Monster Mash”). Random also has a softer side, as demonstrated through his songs “You Were Cool”, which has lyrics that are a little reminiscent of Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind”, “It’s Not Goodbye Forever”, which deals with the death of someone close to him, and “Analog Man”, which is a funny song, but reminds us that we must enjoy life, and make it worth living.

Not only is Random an excellent comedian, he is also an excellent musician. He is a superb guitarist, and a pretty good singer. Overall, I liked this CD a lot. It is the perfect mix of comedy, and deep thought and insight. Every track was enjoyable to listen to, for me at least. I wouldn’t recommend this to people who are sensitive to these subject matters. But for those who aren’t, I say, give the album a listen. It’s worth it.

Novo Amor answers WQAQ’s questions

What is it about Woodgate that made you want to name your EP after the location?

It’s a place that is paramount in terms of the songs as a collection. In brief the EP is about the inconsistencies of loving someone, digging into the faults and remembering moments. The EP is a raw expression of a stage of life, and for me that stage started in Woodgate, NY.

Faux is honestly magical, what was it like to collab with Ed Tullet?

Firstly, thank you I’m pleased you like it… Secondly, Ed gets his name spelt wrong on a lot of music blogs… it’s Tullett, not Tullet (He gets fussy about that! Understandably).

Writing with Ed is great, he is one of those people you sort of hate because he is younger and better than you! I’m sure you know the type. We have lots of songs written together, writing with him seems to come easy because we share the same vision… more to come in the future.

I recently stumbled upon Holland while on 8tracks and so I watched the YouTube video and I watch it almost three times a day now. Did you have any say in the video, what was it like filming that video, where was the video located, and was the water freezing? What was the inspiration behind that song/video?

Josh, the director the video is a close friend of mine who co-owns a production company called Storm+Shelter ( I generally trust these guys to make me decent videos so I don’t need to put too much of my own say into it, I will usually spend time brainstorming with Josh and trying out ideas… for example the night before we shot Holland he was filming me singing in a blacked out bath of water, when that failed we headed to the beach for 6am to film what would become the final video. The video was shot in February 2014 at Llantwit Major Beach here in Wales… And yes, the water was unexpectedly freezing!! I spent the rest of the shoot dying in the car.

I consider you to be my new Bon Iver. How do you like being compared to other bands such as Bon Iver?

I’ll take it as a compliment I guess. I’d rather be compared to Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon than Universal Music Groups Justin Bieber. Bon Iver is held pretty high in my list of greats, so any comparison to that is ok with me. I think it’s mainly the falsetto vocals that cause the comparisons, and I only sing in falsetto because my normal voice just low and bland.

Will you be performing anytime soon in the U.S.?

Not anytime soon, I’d love to be able to go over there and tour with a full band setup… that’s the dream. Hopefully it will happen within the next year, Someone needs to invest in me!

Who is your music inspiration?

I tend to take little bits of inspiration from various artists and pieces I hear. Generally though I would say James Vincent Mcmorrow, Justin Vernon and Asgeir.

How long have you been making music?
Since I was about 13 when I got my first guitar and little cassette tape recorder… I’m 23 now and music has been my only passion for the past 10 years. I’ve only been making music under Novo Amor for the past 2 years, there has been a lot prior to this. Lots of heavy rock music, house music, cinematic & classical music.

Who are you currently listening to on your iPod?

I usually get obsessed with an artist for a few weeks and then move onto another one. Recently I have been listening to a lot of James Blake, Asgeir, Highasakite, James V Mcmorrow and Alt-J.

Most Anticipated Records of the Fall

Fall is upon us and there are some pretty exciting albums that are coming out, or are rumored to be coming out before year’s end. Last autumn, we saw the release of some pretty incredible records like Balance and Composure’s “The Things We Think We’re Missing” and Touché Amoré’s “Is Survived By.”

This Fall is already shaping out to be a great one for music of all genres. Here are a few records I’m looking forward to:

Minus the Bear “Lost Loves” – 10.07 – Dangerbird Records
Minus the Bear have also satisfied fans with their releases despite their always-changing array of sounds. With the release of “Lost Loves”, Minus the Bear has put together a compilation of b-sides from from their last three releases – “Planet of Ice”, “Omni” and “Infinity Overhead.” They released the first single from the album “The Lucky Ones” in August.

Pianos Become the Teeth “Keep You” – 10.28 – Epitaph Records
Pianos have built up a pretty dedicated following with their throwback screamo style combined with pounding, emotional instrumentation. They put aside the screams and traded them in for fluttering vocals, that still manage to hit as hard as it did before. If the first single “Repine” is any indication, we’re in for a hell of a record from the boys from Maryland.

Gates “Bloom and Breathe” – 10.21 – Pure Noise Records
After signing to Pure Noise Records, Gates went out on countless tours and also re-released their EP “You Are All You Have Left to Fear” with two new tracks. Gates have come a long way from the first release of “Fear” and “Bloom and Breathe” is shaping up to be a monumental release for the quintet from New Jersey. Check out their music video for “Not My Blood” was released last week.

Logic “Under Pressure” – 10.21 – Def Jam Records
If you’ve had an ear in the underground hip-hop scene for the past few years, chances are you’ve heard of Logic. After being signed to Def Jam Records in April 2013, Logic’s debut album has been in the works for a little over a year, and has been teasing fans through social media on what to expect from the record. He released his first single “Under Pressure” last week to get even more buzz going around the debut.

Radiohead “TBA”
Thom Yorke has been messing with Radiohead fans in recent days by posting his usual cryptic pictures and messages through his Twitter account. While not much has been said about this album, other than Johnny Greenwood saying that Radiohead camp would be getting together in September, it can be speculated that new music is coming, hopefully by early next year.

Kendrick Lamar “TBA”
“King” Kendrick dropped “i” on Tuesday and sent shockwaves throughout the Internet. The track features a sample from the Isley Brothers, a group Kendrick has cited as a big influence in his music. The tone of the track is uplifting and contrasts the tone of “good kid, m.A.A.d city,” but the lyricism is still tops anyone else’s in the game. Kendrick has also mentioned he hopes to drop his new album before the end of the year.

Brand New “TBA”
Brand New released “Daisy” five years ago and has been taunting their fans ever since with the idea of a new record. A few weeks ago, it was said that they might have played a new song live, although no one could really confirm the news. However, Brand New has put up a picture on Instagram of Jesse Lacey in a large studio with a man who we could only hope to be their long time producer Mike Sapone. While nothing has been said by Brand New, they built a studio this summer and that has to mean something. Hopefully they release something before the new year.




Karen O- Crush Songs

You probably know Karen O as the lead singer of indie rock band The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Since the band’s first album, she ventured from the group to pursue various solo projects including a recent appearance on the Her movie soundtrack which got her an Academy Award nomination. She released her first full-length solo album, Crush Songs, September 8 via Cult Records.

Crush Songs has the feeling of a collection of demos more than a fully finished album, but that seems to be what O was going for. “When I was 27, I crushed a lot,” O said in a statement on her website, “These songs were written and recorded in private around this time. They are the soundtrack to what was an ever continuing love crusade.”

The single, “Rapt”, starts off with a count down, as do many of the other songs on the album. The somewhat messy nature of the recording goes well with her lyrics that sound like a diary entry, “Do I really need another habit like you?” she asks herself.

The rest of the album goes on in a similar manner. A woman writing about lost loves and loves that never had the chance to develop. She sings them quietly, but well, backing up the songs with three instruments at most. O keeps it simple, if not too simple.

These songs seem rather unfinished, but isn’t that what a crush is? There are great ideas, powerful lyrics, obvious talent, and nice melodies, but something seems missing. You cant help but wonder how the album would sound with a full band backing up O’s voice instead of just a simple acoustic guitar. Crushes are just that though; they are unfinished loves that could never be. Anything more complicated wouldn’t get the sentiment across as well as these songs do.

The album is comprised of 15 songs and only runs about 26 minutes long, continuing the theme of crushes, which are often short-lived. You can feel the emotions that Karen O rushed into these songs despite the lo-fi quality of the recordings. Crush Songs is not musically or lyrically amazing, but its rawness makes it something worth listening to. I give Crush Songs a 6/10, but I might be slightly biased as chronic-crusher as well.

Reincarnate – Motionless In White album review




Let me start off this review by saying that I love Marilyn Manson, but hate nu-metal. Confused? Read on – you’ll figure it out soon enough.

Motionless In White is a band that has gone through several sound evolutions throughout their time as a band, starting with a very scene sound during their early EPs and releases, then pushing their metalcore aspects on Creatures, to a hardcore/Marilyn Manson combination on Infamous. Does their new album, Reincarnate, size up/surpass their old works?

I’ll start by saying that I loved Infamous – from the opening track, the band’s second album was not only darker, but it was extremely aggressive compared to their previous release. Infamous, in my opinion, was also a step in the right direction for the band’s image: they showed their fans that they were headed in a darker, heavier, industrialized/hardcore direction.

When I first heard the title track single Motionless In White released for their album Reincarnate, I was blown away – there was an increased electronic presence on the song, and the band seemed to have not only settled comfortably into their Infamous sound, but actually expanded on it by developing the song’s choruses into a multi-layered hook that had me listening on repeat. The production quality was also significantly better than previous works. When the second single was released, “Puppets 3 (The Grand Finale) feat. Dani Filth”, an aggressive powerhouse of black/thrash metal influenced metal, I knew I’d be heading into the band’s heaviest, most aggressive album yet. With high hopes, I pre-ordered the special edition of the album (Bible box and all) and awaited for September 16, 2014.

And yet, 14 seconds into “Death March”, the opening track of the new album, I felt as though I was listening to a nu-metal band. A once guitar-driven band seems to have changed – rhythms are focused on low-end only, whereas keyboards and vocals create a layering effect that adds melody to each song; while this works for certain sections, the aggressive, dark riffs seem to be missing from this album, and it’s upsetting to me; I was disappointed to find that the guitars on the album follow a trend of nu-metal styled riffage.

Certain songs avoid the pure-rhythmic style riffage, but they fall short in other ways – “Unstoppable” has a simple song construction that sounds like my high school band’s first effort at writing music, and the chorus seems like a knock off of the band’s song “Cobwebs” off of Creatures. “Break The Cycle” (which, by the way, has almost the exact same opening melody as “Dark Passenger” on the album), follows suite and almost seems like a regression for the band – the riffs that are melodic are typical metalcore riffs, and it’s the kind of material I would’ve expected to hear during the Creatures era. The final track, “Carry The Torch”, redeems the band’s guitar-driven style, but unfortunately, the verse riffs are reminiscent of a 2006 metalcore band – it’s something you’ve heard before, because it sounds exactly like it’s off of Creatures.

When the vocals kick in on “Death March”, their style immediately reminded me of Manson’s The Golden Age of Grotesque, and I thought there was more hope for the album – unfortunately, I feel that a lot of the album has it’s Manson moments that end up turning into nu-metal songs. “Generation Lost”, which is one of the album’s heaviest songs, is straight from the 90s with lyrics like “Throw your hands in the air and let’s start this shit” – the song quickly turns into a knock off of “Vodevil” by Manson, down to literal melodies being the same, but then returns to a nu-metal song. The song eventually explodes into a hard-rock styled bridge, which is redeeming and almost makes me forget that the song is nu-metal…until the lyrics, “Coast to coast, I hear the masses calling/Turn up now this is your final warning” are rapped. “Dark Passenger”, on the other hand, mimics the album’s title track and seems helpful from a musical/vocal standpoint, but is too generic of a metalcore song to stand out on the album in comparison to the band’s other material.

Despite all of my negativity towards this album, I find myself listening to it over and over again. Why? Because Motionless In White has also expanded their industrial side, and my god, it’s GREAT. The songs that excel on this album are the ones that either use guitar as a melody-driving device, or electronics to further each part. “Contempress feat. Maria Brink” is more ballad-like, but has a heavy edge, and the hook is damn catchy – not quite a “City Lights” or “Sinematic”, as it’s not dark enough to match either song, but it follows those songs’ style in its own way. “Wasp”, coming in at 7 minutes and 2 seconds, actually stood out to me as one of the best on the album – the layering is fantastic, the piano on the track is absolutely chilling, and at times it even reminds me of “Death of Music”, the 12 minute epic, by Devin Townsend.

The darkest, heaviest song on the album, is “Final Dictvm feat. Tim Skold” – and let me tell you, Skold’s influence is clear. Though the song starts off with an EDM style, which was initially a turn off to me, it builds into a chilling electronic industrial song, which would be perfect for anyone’s next Halloween Soundtrack; in fact, the sound of the song reminds me so much of SPF1000 that any underground goth fan is sure to love it, regardless of Motionless In White’s overall sound. The song is a black sheep on the album, but it shows what the band could eventually become; though I hope they don’t continue in this direction, as it would mean that their music would lose it’s hard aggressive edge, I wouldn’t mind hearing more songs like this on the next album they put out.

My favorite track, however, is “Everyone Sells Cocaine” – though the guitar is very nu-metal during verses/post-choruses, pre-choruses use dynamics well, and when the chorus hits, it’s huge: the sound balances out the 90s influence by bringing forth the band’s other influences.

I would be very, very surprised if fans of Motionless In White who have not expanded their listening tastes to the band’s influences like this album – it combines various styles from the past 30 or so years into 13 songs, but they aren’t always executed well. Fans of Infamous will find a few songs they enjoy listening to, whereas fans of Creatures may like the album better. Fans like me, however, who knew about Manson, Skold, and nu-metal far before they ever heard about Motionless In White, may have mixed feelings – if you’re looking for a hard hitting metal album, look elsewhere. However, if you want to hear heavy, enjoyable dark music, look no further; there’s plenty for you here.

I give Reincarnate a 4/5 – and I realize most fans probably won’t feel this way. Though it has a few songs that are generic or I probably won’t ever listen to again, there are enough songs that should/probably will become live set staples, and I’ll be looking forward to hearing how they translate from recording to the stage.