Author Archives: Matt

About Matt

I write words.

Matt Vs. “Airbrushed” by Anamanaguchi

“Airbrushed” was the song I lost 80 pounds to.

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Best Debut Album of 2010

2010 seems to be the year for new artists coming out and rocking all of our faces. We had Baths come out with “Cerulean,” and while not rocking our faces off, it showed us that Trip-hop is still a thing that’s awesome. Sleigh Bells released “Treats” and has been acquainted to a love it or hate it reaction, but nonetheless still known. So who was it that we thought had the strongest debut album of 2010?

Best Coast! Nah, just kidding. Continue reading

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NOT Best Album of 2010

For every best there’s always a worst to accompany it. Let’s be honest here, it’s been a pretty good year for music. We here at the FOWR offices have been saying that for a while. But that still doesn’t change the fact that there’s a lot of shit floating around out there. In turn, we decided to give an award to the the worst album of the year.

Can you guess what it is?

It’s totally not what you’re thinking.

I think. Continue reading

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Matt Vs. “My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky” by Swans

Music’s never been an emotional escape for me. In most cases, creating music has taken over that role instead, while listening to it is more recreational. What I seek in music, usually, ends up being simple, catchy pop songs. That’s how I’ve always been, really. People will tell me about the inner rolercoasters that “Album A” put them on and I more often than not find myself unable to reciprocate those feelings. So what am I supposed to say when an album finally does that to me — makes me have a real emotional response? Continue reading

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Matt Vs. “Man On the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager” by Kid Cudi

When you’re working with samples, loops and hooks you run a fine line. On one hand, a repeating hook serves a lot of purpose. It’s something simple, but catchy enough to keep you entertained. But working with a looping hook is a double-edged sword – if you let it run on for too long, eventually you begin to cross the threshold from being catchy into being monotonous. “Man On the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager” is a prime example of what happens when you let your hooks take up too much of the heavy lifting: You inevitably end up with a droning, soulless, boring product. Continue reading

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Matt Vs. “Cerulean” by Baths

Baths’ “Cerulean” is probably my favourite album of 2010. Actually, it’s up for the running as one of my favourite albums ever – it being a strong contender with Phoenix’s 2009 “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.” But, the odd thing about this is, if you’ve listened to the Podcast? Episode #4 where we talked about Baths, you’ll know that the release of “Cerulean,” or at least what’s out there on the interwebs of it, is extremely disjointed and mixed up. The short of it is, I’m not 100% sure how to review this since some of my favourite songs from my version of the album aren’t actually on the album. So in my hardest effort to give our readers — Ben, Ryan — the true, informed assessment of this thing here, I’ll have to ignore stuff like “Palatial Disappointment.”

Tragedy.

Now, “Cerulean.” Possibly the best set of dreamy, electronic music I’ve ever had the pleasure to listen to. I say dreamy. Yes, this is one of those albums that can actually help you sleep – or rather, it’s one of those albums that will lull you to sleep; not out of boredom. This is an album that feels like it’s a collection of songs by a man stuck in a forever dream-like state (I’m a hippie). “Cerulean” is actually what sparked the idea of our new feature, the Fermixtapes, Baths being on a playlist of “songs to sleep to.”

The cloudy, trance sound isn’t the only thing that Baths is capable of pulling off; this is a brilliantly done pop album too. Songs like “Lovely Bloodflow” feature a bizarre set of falsetto vocals and catchy, crunchy drum lines that damn well beat any mainstream hip-hop song you’ve heard. Then you have stuff like “Animals,” that manages to combine both euphoric, fantasy and poppy hip-hop elements.

If you had trouble listening to bands like Passion Pit because of their unique vocal style, then “Cerulean” will most likely run you up a wall. Baths guy sounds, well, exactly like Passion Pit’s Michael Angelakos. There are some tracks that have layers upon layers of vocals, which, if you already hate that kind of stuff, wont enhance your experience.

But you’ll like “Cerulean.” Trust me. It’s playful, energetic, and even emotional at times – everything you need to hit the right nerves in your brain. While the lyrics can slightly be on the immature side, the actual components of the music make up for whatever childish inklings you may notice.

Winner: “Cerulean” by Baths

Why: The catchy, out-of-this-world sound of “Cerulean” is calm and peaceful, but still manages to sound enthusiastic.

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Matt Vs. “Memories” by Weezer

“Memories” can, in some way, be seen as a nostalgic cry for help. I mean, nowhere in the song does Rivers explicitly say anything about Weezer‘s serious case of the “not what they used to be’s” but with a track like “Memories,” it’s at least heavily implied. There’s no way that wasn’t going through his head when he wrote this song; his band has fallen victim to the same criticism too many times in the past. But the thing is, I don’t actually believe Rivers wants to be respected like he used to be – rather, I believe he doesn’t give a shit. And this song, this deceivingly written song, in my eyes, is simply a slap in the face of every person who said “Weezer was better in the 90s” or “I wish they were like they used to be.” I being one of those people.

You might wonder if I’m being over presumptuous in thinking there’s a deeper meaning behind this song, when, ostensibly, this is a song about remembering the days “When Audioslave was still Rage.” But try to understand my rationale: Weezer, a band once widely praised by fans and critics alike, now under the focus of the critical eye, to the point where anytime they do anything at all, you get the same collective of “I miss the Blue/Pinkerton days” from Youtube Commenter #35. Are these fans a victim of the herd mentality? Possibly — probably. But you have to admit, things have changed a lot, Weezer has grown up, and maybe not even for the better. And then, imagine that from the artist’s point of view, comments like that are probably going to hit you hard, whether you believe or not; you will always have some deep scars in your psyche, no matter how little you think you care about others’ criticisms. So I want to go back and say: I truly believe that, at one point, during the writing process of this song, exactly those criticisms Rivers/Weezer have been a victim of, were flowing through everyone’s minds, albeit subconsciously.

A part of me was hoping “Memories” would bring Weezer‘s naysayers into question more bluntly, maybe just a little bit. I wouldn’t ever expect them to go too deep into that idea, that would be far too much of a risk for any band, really, and I don’t demand anything like that from Weezer. (But maybe they’re rich enough that it wouldn’t realistically matter to them?) Instead, it somewhat meanders around, talking about how cool being a teenager in the 90s was (I being a teenager in the 2000s might not get it as well as others), and in the back it leaves their history in question, without any real mention. But then again, maybe that was the “slap in the face” to the fans. Maybe Rivers doesn’t want to give the satisfaction of acknowledging his critics because he doesn’t care. This entire song could simply be a tease for all I know. That would be a ballsy move for any band, I would think.

My pretentious pontificating aside, “Memories,” structurally and instrumentally, holds well, and is pretty solid all around. There a few questionable points in the song: The intro, for a prime example, is an orchestra of string instruments tuning up, and it then cuts abruptly into the starting guitar riff and moves on from there. The only issue I had, really, was that it didn’t flow with the song in anyway and it felt copied and pasted. Besides that, though, you have a very well produced — but not overproduced — poppy, energetic song here. The youthful exuberance of the song is very apparent, from the thrashing, distorted power-chords, to Rivers’ line delivery. The chorus ramps up the song in a big way, as well, with its full back up vocals and synth following the melody. It’s all very catchy and fun, but in return becomes repetitive. The song is about two hooks, with little to no variation besides lyrics, thrown together. I grew tired of it after multiple listens, but that’s normally the case for any pop song.

“Memories” holds a lot of promise for the upcoming Hurley album, its repetitive nature aside. Weezer had their weird, out of left field phase with Raditude, but Hurley sounds like it may, probably unintentionally, bring back a bit of history. As a person who misses the days of Blue and Pinkerton, I’m happy with that direction – if they succeed or not is still up for question.

WINNER: “Memories” by Weezer

WHY: “Memories” is a good sign for things to come: it’s loud, vibrant, fresh, and — possibly — bold. Also, it doesn’t have Lil’ Wayne in it.

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