Review

Cabana -
EP

People can be rather susceptible to relentlessly protecting the music of their youth, rarely more so than with that which is heralded as “classic rock”. There are those that made the journey from teenagerdom to adulthood spurred on by the deemed-legendary offerings of the likes of Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin that are content to draw the line there. “They don't make it like they used to,” they sigh, subsequently justifying to themselves that theirs and theirs alone was the golden generation. And their kids, too, parade their overthrowing of the status quo all over the Internet's numerous comment boxes: “I'm only 13, but I listen to The Beatles and The Rolling Stones!” It's a stigma I have a hard time shaking – for as objectively splendid as the output of 60s and 70s rock music epitomisers is, anyone who feels as though they've found the be all and end all of music is surely missing the point. Nostalgia just needn't be so self-serving.  

Review

Odonis Odonis -
Hard Boiled Soft Boiled

Like Shawn Michaels swaggering to the ring with a wink and a smile, Odonis Odonis’ latest full length Hard Boiled Soft Boiled is a blitzkrieg of highly-charged arrogance; a constant tug-of-war between the industrial stomping of machines and the haze of fuzzy melody that constantly dares you to give a fuck. Much of this is down to the irreverence of Dean Tzeno, a man who pitches his delivery somewhere between nonchalant chanting and remorseful singing. Nods to the usual cannon of post-punk giants Joy Division, My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive happen semi-regularly, but they’re just fleeting memories soon snuffed and overshadowed by the loud, bombastic enthusiasm of youth. This is essentially what the ‘80s/’90s would sound like if infected with the millennium bug. I’m also sure opener ‘Tension’ samples the Skype sign in sound. 

Review

OESS -
My World Spins Faster, You Fall Asleep

It's surely canon by now that if you make electropop and you hail from Sweden, such as OESS, you're pretty much halfway there. The bad news is that there's an obvious and inherent problem: you have a larger need to stand out so as to elicit listeners, to garner an emotional response and a reason for them to choose you over other background-forming compatriots. That much is made more difficult by the fact that electropop isn't particularly known for its loosening of structures or brazen reinvention. And it is admittedly a self-inflicted distraction on my part to confine music based on its country of origin, when ultimately, in this day and age it has only a small bearing. No one place is locked in to what they can and can not produce.

Interview

Noted meet DOOMSQUAD

With their wondrous and eclectic debut LP Kalaboogie, DOOMSQUAD captured both the fluttering of curious birds and the faceless fires of industry in a sound that blended the mercurial with the mysterious. It was an ambitious work of art founded on a set of principles shared by three siblings, and represented an ethos that was as much about their heritage as it was about looking forward. We took the chance to catch up with Jacklyn Blumas to discuss the bands' processes, influences and manifesto. 

Interview

Noted meet Jonathan Boulet

Designated a skate rat, albeit a “precociously inspired” one, Jonathan Boulet has achieved a fair modicum of success as an indie rock musician. However unlikely as it may seem, by 21 he was signed to the major Aussie label Modular – for context, this is the same label who house the likes of stalwarts Tame Impala, Cut Copy and The Avalanches – and found two of his songs getting featured in separate FIFA console games, where they were able to etch their way into the subconscious of millions of players worldwide. It's the career start that many dream of, and we spoke to Jonathan so that we may ascertain the spring of his course.

Review

The War on Drugs -
Lost in the Dream

When I eventually suffer the misfortune of having to host my first dinner party later this year, it won’t be old favourites Can’t Buy a Thrill or Liquid Skin that I’ll turn to for the accompanying background music, it’ll be something like Lost in the Dream . I mean that as no sleight either; when consumed with intent there’s profound complexity in these dusty arrangements and each tender verse vocalist Adam Granduciel delivers drips with the difficulties of being human – but much like The War on Drugs’ previous LP Slave Ambient , it just sounds so pleasantly unobtrusive when processed autonomously into the subconscious that there’s no way anyone could object. I suppose that’s the great paradox of Granduciel’s disposition; he’s a man with a great deal to say, but he wraps his words so tightly in the breezy pit-stop vibes of ‘80s Americana that they’re often shielded from external cross-examination by their own hypnotic prettiness. 

Review

SoftSpot -
MASS

MASS is a compendium of lullabies for lucid dreamers. Much like the gangly contortionist Amazing Amy Harlib who adorns the cover, it boasts a remarkable malleability. There's something almost ritualistic about the way these eight tracks are constructed, each a reassembly of the same pieces into different, transformed wholes. In the wrong hands, that process could come across as overly indulgent recycling, watered down a little more each time. SoftSpot are largely able to keep their form through unabashed saturation, shedding light on the contours of an ethereal roadmap for those who see the most when their eyes are closed.

Feature

One and Done: Parades - Foreign Tapes

One of the most gratifying things as a music fan is to be able to follow a band throughout their career – to witness them progress as musicians and individuals, and to hear such reflected in their songs. Some bands chalk up an impressive number of albums, their fans tirelessly discussing and debating their ranking. Others release records with gaps of three or four years, or out of the blue after a decade-long hiatus. The vast majority, however, are doomed to fade into obscurity, be it due to creative difference, lack of funding or lack of interest. One and Done aims to celebrate those bands who were only ever able to release one album, but did so with such finesse that sequels are craved whilst also, perhaps, being entirely unnecessary.

Review

The Hotelier -
Home, Like Noplace Is There

‘I found the notes you left behind; little hints and helpless cries, desperate wishing to be over’ croons Christian Holden on ‘Your Deep Rest’, delivered with the kind of strained melody that only occurs when you’re using every drop of your mental strength to paper over the cracks of the never-ending chasm that lies beneath. Like life in drag, or something. For The Holtelier, this sense of burden is very much their default emotional state and serves as the lead neck brace that keeps Home, Like Noplace Is There so grounded in this crushing reality. These songs might be wrapped in a crisp sugar shell of sing-along pop-punk and the breezier sides of emo, but dig a little deeper into the chemistry and you’ll find vivid stories of loss and regret that wouldn’t be palatable otherwise. 

Review

Doomsquad -
Kalaboogie

With song titles like 'Waka Waka' and 'Born from the Marriage of the Moon & a Crocodile', you'd be forgiven for thinking Toronto-based electronic trio Doomsquad (siblings Allie, Jaclyn and Trevor Blumas) were one of those quirky groups ­­— you know, more concerned with hazy photo filters and the number of nobs on their keyboards than creating genuinely affecting music. As it turns out, Doomsquad are anything but, firmly rejecting such self-limiting ideologies in favour of unbridled sonic discovery, an arduous yet free-spirited journey that sees the group dart and prance through their mazy jungle of rich, vivacious sounds. Kalaboogie simply breathes . 

Review

Black Knights -
Medieval Chamber

“ Things must change, ” croons John Frusciante on the second LP by Wu-Tang affiliates Black Knights, “ we must rearrange them ”. Apt for an artist who played guitar in one of Americas biggest bands before spending the majority of his solo career rewriting and redefining his sound in obtuse directions -- plucking and toying with his melodic sensibilities to create new sonic landscapes. This philosophy was never more apparent than with the experimental electronic direction his music has taken in recent years; with 2012’s intoxicating EP Letr Lefur, featuring samples ranging from Led Zeppelin beats to William Shatner dialogue and vocals from the RZA and Black Knights’ the Rugged Monk. Following from that was the full length PBX Funticular Intaglio Zone, boasting a bold mix of synths and beats that was as creatively risky as it was a challenging listen, chronicling an artist making incredibly interesting music at the expense of accessibility.

Review

The Mary Onettes -
Portico

All it takes to affirm your insignificance in the grand scheme of things is a glimpse of an uncovered night sky. To see all those stars as blinking pinpricks and mull over the incomprehensible distance between you and them, and to then consider the fact that what you're seeing is a minuscule fraction of the known universe. As far as concepts go, you can't get any grander than space. But for some, what's even more remarkable is that as humans we are equipped with the sentience to even ponder that great beyond. We think, we feel, we love, we mourn. We exist though we might not ought to. And it's this beautiful, vast dichotomy that imbues Portico, linking those qualities that are unique to humans with the esoteric emptiness of the cosmos.

Review

Thug Entrancer -
Death After Life

With hyponotic inevitability, Thug Entrancer's debut Death After Life unfolds a step at a time into a twisting maze of serpentine rhythm. Each individual cut pulls you deeper, turning back and forth through its angular labyrinth, rendering any previous point of reference becomes useless and seeps away. Death After Life doesn't just invite you to get lost; it challenges the very concept of location within the bounds of electronic music.

Interview

Noted meet Foxing

As nuanced and intimate as The Albatross is on first impression, no small amount of mystery remains in repeat listens. Another run through affords the listener time to foc us on the soft noodling of each guitar, the quietly busy rhythmic undercurrent, or to try and piece apart some of the more interpretable lyrics. We took a little time with the band’s vocalist, Conor Murphy , and learned that while Foxing has only just begun to test the waters with their wonderful debut LP ,  t heir writing process and direction are anything but timid.

Review

Against Me! -
Transgender Dysphoria Blues

That Transgender Dysphoria Blues would succeed was no foregone conclusion; in fact, that Against Me! would fail seemed incredibly likely. After a couple mediocre albums and frequent lineup changes, AM! seemed primed to fade even more. But the band has succeeded, thrillingly and swiftly. And more so, frontwoman Laura Jane Grace has completely reversed the image she held in the punk community as a sell-out and a has-been.

Review

Icarus the Owl -
Icarus the Owl

The music community’s recent fetish for the genre suffixes 'prog-' and 'post-' has degraded them into a kind of catch-all for music that doesn’t fit squarely into any one style. To that end, when we read Icarus the Owl described as ‘progressive pop-rock’ or ‘prog-pop’, we assume the tag serves as a kind of lazy shorthand description as opposed to actually indicating experimental elements. If for only one album, don’t let the labels fool you; Icarus the Owl’s self-titled release brims with tasteful tinkering and racing enthusiasm that’s utterly unique amongst the mishmash of prog-somethings flooding the airwaves. 

Review

Cleft -
BOSH!

Hoarding more intricacies than a warship replica made out of toothpicks and about as subtle as a stag do t-shirt, BOSH! cuts out the ambiguity of modern music so as to plug away at something a bit more primordial. Not in the 'back to basics' sense (though at a glance their two-piece set-up would have you believe otherwise), but in the way that the unity of the pair feels so intrinsic. The drums and guitar work hammer and tongs, mirroring one another with an astute exactness to maximise the cut of their jib.  

Review

Have a Nice Life -
The Unnatural World

Have a Nice Life don't do things by halves. In fact, their critically acclaimed 2008 debut Deathconciousness was a staggeringly ambitious double album with a repress that came equipped with a meaty 70 page book of lore, a move which further delighted the conceptual revellers who had already elevated the record into something of a cult classic. At heart, it was a nihilistic, mercurial pick 'n mix of shoegaze, drone and dark ambience, muddied up to the knees with peripheral black metal and industrial influences. In truth, it was a difficult album for me to break down for a long time. I found its dense, somber disposition to be almost too uncomfortable to fully enjoy, and I felt smothered by its heavy atmosphere. Looking back, I suppose that was always the point.

Feature

Album of the Year, 2013.

When we approached the Ministry of Music Journalism with the interest of starting our own little website, they pulled aside before the final agreement and with a hushed voice said “...you do realise that you'll have to write an Album of the Year list?” We nodded with staunch resolve, not fully understanding the scope of the task at hand. “Let's do 50,” we said, thinking it was a large enough number that we'd be able to include every single album that rocked us in the year 2013. And yet, the task was like picking a favourite child, or a favourite flavour of Pringles. We know that we've omitted several top-class records, but that doesn't diminish the fact that we are wholly confident and pleased with our top 50. The list isn't just about our personal favourite music of the year, but a glistening plaque to commemorate our anniversary. So here's to Noted, and here's to quality music. Thanks to everyone for their dogged support, and here's to hoping that 2014 is just as giddy.

Feature

The Greek Files #071: Ruined Families

Over the past 12 months, we've given more digital column inches to Greece than any other individual nation. This was a conscious decision, born from ignorant intrigue and the pursuit to gain some authentic insight into a widely-known but under-reported downfall. The one silver lining, and I use that term apologetically, is the wealth of deeply effecting music which has left Greek shores -- sound that attempts to really say something, be it as personal escapism or unhinged vitriol. Our all-too-brief conversations with KU , LogOut , Keep Shelly in Athens and Mockbirth have shown us glimpses of an imperfect convergence between high-wire social disaster and musical expression, but it's in our dialogue with Takis Zontiros of Ruined Families that perhaps we find the most disturbing reality. 

Feature

EP of the Year 2013

We've listened to our fair share of releases over the past twelve months, and the humble EP has featured heavily in our coverage. As the distant step-brother of the full length, EPs are oft disregarded as mere platforms for rough experimentation or as precursors to something more 'legit', but we'd rather celebrate them as works of art in their own right. Join us as we raise our glass to our favourite 15 of 2013. 

Feature

Track of the Year 2013

2013 was a very important year for Noted, largely because it was our very first. Its very existence meant that we as music fans were able to open up our horizons wider than ever - the throngs of music that came flooding our way were, at times, overwhelming. But instead of drowning, we nobly donned our scuba diving gear, stood at the water's edge under the looming tidal wave and said "bring it". To that end, here are the 50 tracks we wish to hold aloft as our personal favourites of the year.

Feature

Noted's Winter Playlist

As winter sets in, music plays a big role in altering the perception of our surroundings. Some enjoy the whimsical, choosing to hibernate with more joyous sounds, blocking out the blustery winds with their noise-cancelling cans whilst waiting for brighter skies. Others choose to delve into the darker aspects on this most brutal of seasons, marching head on into the driving rain with just an Enslaved tee-shirt on. Most of us probably mix the two depending on mood, whih is why the Noted staff have come together to bash out a playlist, humbly comprised of tracks and full-lengths which we enjoy in these short days. Enjoy.

Interview

Oozing Wound

Oozing Wound are a band that aren't difficult to like. They play music for the same reason we listen to it --  it's fun, engaging, and hopefully unpredictable . It's fair to say that they aren't the most serious guys in the world, but at the same time, they definitely care about their output. In a world where thrash metal has become that dodgy uncle at a party, it's refreshing to see that the carnage from the old metal days -- massive riffs, stupid-BPM blast beats and Swanton Bomb's off stages -- still has a place. Oozing Wound are here to remind you that you're not that fucking important after all. We had a quick chat with them, and this is what we learnt. 

Feature

Fest 12: Freshman Class

By this point, if you're going to Fest this year, you've already pointlessly labored over a schedule of bands you want to see that will be rendered useless the moment you get your badge and that first free PBR. Here are 10 Fest freshman that are a testament to the fact that the future of this weekend is bright, and that not all bands in Gainesville this week sound the way that guitar player guy from Mixtapes looks. Fest is in Gainesville, FL from Oct 31st - Nov 3rd 2013.

Feature

Yesteryear - Lux Interna

Lux Interna's latest release, There is Light in the Body, There is Blood in the Sun , was certainly ambitious in scope, presenting the idea that humans and stars are bound by mutual qualities, all products of the same universe. Combined with the religious studies of member Joshua Ian Levy, and the musical journey of Kathryn Mary , questions of inspiration are elicited. Graciously, the two have gone to great lengths to talk about five songs that have so heavily impacted their lives and careers.

Interview

Lux Interna

We recently reviewed, and fell in love with, the new album from Lux Interna, ' there is light in the body, there is blood in the sun '. Filled with deep intrigue after surveying lyrics and accompanying artwork, we wanted to know more about the group's sources of inspiration and their decade-plus journey together. Thus, we spoke to the founding duo Joshua Levi Ian and Kathryn Mary and picked their brains, provoking some very insightful responses.