Album Review :: New Design — Far From Home

I don’t think that I mentioned it in the last two reviews, but I was given some stupid FaceBook task where I was just supposed to put an album cover up (no additional information) and tag someone in it. It was lazy, pointless, and I decided to give myself the task of writing a full review for whatever I felt like deserved to be part of the decathlon of recommendations. The reason? Combination of arrogance, and bands like this.

New Design is a group from Brampton which is near the GTA. If you know nothing about Canada, they are from a city close to the city that you assume is our capitol that isn’t. If you are from Canada, you know how hilarious that sentence is.

*pause for laughter*

ANYWAY. New Design is beautiful. They take all the best parts of the emo movement of the early 2000’s and do away with the annoying bits.

They are beautiful. The music, I mean. Well, the members of the group are beautiful, as well.

…now I’m just being awkward….

I need to stop being so sidetracked. New Design are emo without being whiny. They got hold of me while I was writing for Mind The Music TO a couple of years ago. I really do love the independent music scene: you get some of the most creative and beautiful things to come out of it.

I have waffled on long enough about various things, and I have stated that I love this band. Though this album is a great introduction, I highly recommend anything by this band.

All the music can be streamed from their Bandcamp.

Classic Album Review :: Jill Barber — Chances

How’s this review for whiplash? Jill Barber is the opposite of Mudvayne, but also just as good.

Think 40’s jazz but modern. She has the cutest voice, and the most simple symphony behind her. I love the way the record sounds. I already mentioned the fact that it is a 40’s inspired voyage, but there is something comforting about the lyrics.

Yes: they can come off as petty and juvenile. They can also be endearing and alluring. Her narratives are cliché, but that is what makes them so great.

The track “Oh, My My” will always be one of my favourite tracks. It really reminds me of a Blossom Dearie song, but up-to-date and grittier.

The ONLY complaint that I have about this record is Jill Barber wears her country origins on her sleeve at times. Not so much in the orchestration, but in her voice. She does runs that you only hear in country music. The saving grace, in this instance, is that she is doing them in a different medium. It keeps things bearable.

Wow. I put a bow on my love for this album with that last line didn’t I?

I digress: this album will probably remain in my top ten for all time just because it is both beautiful and safe. I know that if I put it on, I will listen to the whole thing and thoroughly enjoy every second of it.

Classic Album Review :: Mudvayne — L.D. 50

This was not my choice, but a choice made on my personal FaceBook page. I wanted to do either Skeletons by Nothingface of The End of All Things To Come by Mudvayne, because I felt that these two made similarities that go unmentioned. Then, people pointed out how amazing LD50 is, and now I am going to go down that rabbit hole because I have been screamed at to.

Oh, and I really want to.

L.D. 50 has possibly my favourite bass in all of Nu-Metal that’s not Primus. I feel like that is an important point to state. Not many bands can be mentioned in the same breath as Primus, so that’s a thing.

ANYWAY

L.D. 50 is one of those albums that influenced much of what I listened to for 20 years. Also, that album is 20 years old this year and that is all kinds of weird to think of. I saw the music video for Dig forever ago and was floored by anything so heavy. Keep in mind, I wasn’t 12 yet. I was stupid.

It doesn’t change the fact that Dig was interesting because it could be in the same vein as Korn and as Cannibal Corpse. It’s heavy, the lyrics are important, and it is strangely catchy. Assisted by the make-up worn by the band in the video, I remember every single hit from this song. I made it my mission when I was 14 to learn every part of this song on drums, and it took me another few years to get it to a point where I was happy with my abilities.

I purchased the album after Death Blooms became a single. The song revolutionized what I thought of metal lyrics because of it’s poetic prose and almost elegant handling of the english language. Yes, they deal a lot with violence and gore. They also explore mental illness (Internal Primates Forever) and grief (Death Blooms) in an almost elegance that most bands do not pull off with such finesse. The music embodies the overall message they try to convey. To this date, I cannot figure out what came first between lyrics and music. I want to say music, but there is just such as elegance that is portrayed.

My personal favourite songs from the album are not singles. It’s actually interesting to divide the album between singles and non-singles. If you had never heard of this band before, you could still figure out which songs were used to sell. Yet, the singles do not feel cheap. They feel like they belong, and were used as almost a pallet cleanser.

In writing this retrospective, I found out that there is a music video for Nothing to Gein. This is my second favourite song on this album next to Prod. Enjoy.

a lukewarm warning about May

As I have done in the past, May is going to be depressing update month. Every Sunday, I will be posting some depressing fact.

I am just warning you because I have been informed that it might be a bit much for some. I see them as important things to think on.

I am posting this a bit early because of two reasons:
1) I don’t have anything else to post, and I feel that it has been too long
2) Just giving you ample time to remember.

I will be doing a more formal post (essay style) the day before I start posting them. That way, you remember not to click them by accident.

While I have you attention, I will be posting something that I am super excited about in the next 48 hours. I don’t have the exact time, yet. When I get the link, I will be sharing it with you!

some sort of discrimination

I keep silent about certain topics because I am afraid the wrong people will read them. Or because of the social stigma. Or because I do not want to come off as an over-privileged-CIS-white-male who is just complaining because “people don’t get me” or whatever. This is that topic.

As I have bitched about on my social media accounts, and on this very blog, I am epileptic. I am so because of brain damage I received during the attempts to keep me alive. It is more of a nuisance than anything else. I am on meds, which without life becomes a series of snapshots as I pass out unexpectedly and lose about an hour at a time.

So, why do I bring this up?

My father is convinced that my seizures are brought on by poor diet. Yes, poor diet can cause seizures, but they are acute. By that, I mean they limit (if not go away entirely) once your diet corrects itself or you correct your diet. If that is all it takes to fix my brain, I would fix everything I could.

No, my seizures are due to scarring on my brain stem. This was pointed out to me during an EEG test where they examined what happened when I locked up in a controlled environment. Kind of scary in hind sight, but what’s done is done.

So, again: why bring this up?

I am basically bullied and mocked by my father who claims that my reasoning for my seizures is my doing. He claims that I should be able to recover, and there is no medical line of inquiry to back this claim of mine up. Except for that EEG, but that doesn’t count because he wasn’t in the room when it was administered.

My point is that if someone says that a thing is happening to them which you KNOW is happening to them, maybe give them the benefit of the doubt. Yes, there are exceptions that can be found, but when the person is giving valid, MEDICAL reasons for their condition, maybe don’t call them a liar.

It will just make them doubt their own sense of self.

Why “Let’s Plays” are great

This is kind of a different topic for me, so if my information is off-base, please forgive me and give me proper sources below.

Let’s Plays: I cannot think of a more decisive topic in my house. I think they are fantastic, my dad thinks they are a waste of time. He wonders why I am willing to watch someone play a game for a day worth of video as opposed to play the game myself. I get it, I really do.

My reason for watching someone play a game comes to only three reasons. The first of which is I am always broke. It would be fantastic if I had all of the money for every console and game that my heart desires, but I do not even break cost of living most months. Seeing how most games that hold my interest are either 70+, or on a console that I don’t own (see the Switch), I have no ways of actually playing said game. The only way I can experience it is by watching others play it. Most Let’s Play(ers?) already play in a similar way that I do: they search all of the dark corners for hidden bits of lore. That is a (mostly) free way I can get the entertainment that I crave.

The second reason is time. Most games that I want to play (Persona 5, for instance) take hours, if not days, to finish. With the cavalcade of games that come out every quarter, I do not have even a quarter of the time required to play everything. Throw in old games, open-ended games (Minecraft, Terraria, Grand Theft Auto) and games that piggy-back off of older titles (Life is Strange) and I would not have time to sleep or eat, let alone write. Watching someone play for an hour while describing the lore surrounding the areas that peak my interest satiates that part of me that craves all the games.

The third reason is just simply skill. For instance, I love the concept of the Dark Souls franchise. I own all of them, and I have put dozens of hours into each. I am not good at Dark Souls. I have put the dozens of hours into them and die incredibly quickly, sometimes not even being able to get out of the first place. They are made to be very hard. Part of why I love them is that they do not hold the players hand and refuse to guide anyone to anything. I still love the atmosphere, art, and worlds of these games. I can ONLY experience these games through a third party.

For these reasons, and I’m sure that I’m forgetting more, I love Let’s Plays. I get my shots of lore, as well as get to experience the parts of games that I would love. I still play games like Tetris or Hearthstone myself, because watching someone else play would just frustrate me (Everyone has their own way of being “good”).

I have not done the research, but I am curious how Let’s Plays effect game sales in the long term. I have a pretty good feeling that the explosion of popularity for Minecraft was partially fuelled by groups like The Yogscast, but I remain ignorant to if Atlas’ refusal to allow anyone to publish gameplay of Persona 5 has effected longterm sales.

Let’s face it, anyone who wanted to know anything about Persona 5 has bought Persona 5.

Classic Album Review :: Nine Inch Nails — The Fragile

This album sits comfortably in my top five. It is two discs of oppressive perfection. It somehow retains the depressive anecdotes of all things in the darker side of the world without sounding like it was written by a 14-year-old who got dumped.

I think my favourite part is how it jumps from mood to mood. It starts with the hellish “Somewhat Damaged” where Trent Reznor reminds us how it is possible to be destroyed and still have teeth to bite, then transfers to “The Day The World Went Away” where he cries about how everything is broken and horrible. I know that, on paper, it doesn’t sound like the dichotomy I praised the album for is apparent, but it goes from machine-based rhythm to having no precussion in the traditional sense. Track two relies on the hits of the bass string to relay the points drums would in most other songs. It keeps the song incredibly heavy, but makes it more so on an emotional level as opposed to instrumental.

The album keeps going back and forth on these two kinds of songs. They are either peaceful/almost classical; with precussion taking a back seat. Or they are very mechanical and abbrasive.

Two songs stick out from the fray. “Just Like You Imagined” builds and builds using the most intense drums in a loop. It remains organic feeling, but creates a tension that can only be found elsewhere accompanied by some sort of visual. Somehow, this song is as intense as a movie.

The other outlier is my personal favourite in the compelation: “La Mer” is one of the most beautifully composed pieces ever. Or, at least, I think it is. It is just a simple piano line that slowly gets more complicated as time moves on. The drums kick in shortly after two lines are recited in French. I have refused to translate it in all my years being in love with this song for fear of it ruining my illusion.

The best part: that’s all disk one. Disk two is much more angry. The closest it gets to being uplifting (or, as uplifting as Nine Inch Nails can be) is the song “Into the Void” where the lyrical content is just as happy as the name of the song. At least it has a danceable beat?

This album is very hard to find a track to best encapsulate the entire collection. I would direct attention to La Mer or Just Like You Imagined, but those songs stand out BECAUSE they are so different from everything else. So, I think I will put the song “I’m Looking Forward To Joining You, Finally” because OF COURSE I WOULD.

Seriously, this has been the hardest album to write about. Two reasons; I love every second of it, and it contains so many brilliant examples of what someone can do with the art of music. I beg that you look into this album yourself. Even if you don’t care for the song I singled out, there is something you will love somewhere on this album.

Let’s do more!

I have been contemplating what else to do outside of writing and producing. I have considered bolstering my YouTube channel, but that would feel forced. I am currently working on a new book, so writing a screenplay on the side seems a bit cumbersome. I cannot draw, and really do not have an urge to learn.

This is the conundrum that I find myself in: I feel like I should be doing more in the arts, but I have no idea where to put my effort into. Even worse, I hate everything I do even when I am told it’s okay. Hating everything you do is kind of the “artist-dilemma” though. I have yet to meet anyone doing anything involving some sort of art who thinks that their work is greater-than-par. I have met a few who think that they are hitting a new niche, which is cool.

I just keep holding out that Hannah will give me new Chance Procedure things to work on. I made that video for Patient Zero a while ago, and I have an itch to make that a full song. I have been in studio enough to know that you have to be prepared, so I’m not pushing as hard as I could.

Oh! Interesting fact; my old singer (Rahib) just had his birthday! I don’t know why I had an urge to share that on this blog, but there it is! He’s 30, so he is 15 days older than my little brother.

Side note: have you picked up the latest version of my book? It’s almost 3X larger, more grammatically correct, and (I might be biased, but) WAY better. I mean, it’s 1230298341X more depressing, but WAY better. Amazon finally updated some shit, though it’s still awkward to navigate. I have done everything I can on my end to make it easier. Review comes out soon, I hope!

Finally

It was explained to me today just how Amazon dot com was going to play!

You have to physically select them from a list of sellers to get a copy of You’re Not Dead. From the list that I can see at the time of writing this, they are the cheapest seller of both Hard and Soft covers. It should be the right one, but comment below if this isn’t the case and I (personally) will go through steps to have that rectified!

Anyway, I will put the links to both versions below. Please, let me know if there are any additional issues.

softcover || hardcover

Feed me

Just a reminder that I do have a Patreon if you can afford to help. I do have a few pets that like to eat, so any small bit of funding helps in a big way.

Just $1 gets you early releases on ansP releases. It usually comes at you one month ahead of time!

I already have the next story written. It is very short, but I think that it’s one of my best. I laugh every time I read it over.

The last story didn’t perform well, but give it a read anyway! Share with your friends!

Also, don’t forget that I have issued the first 100 pages of You’re Not Dead for free. I know its not much, but it’s all I can afford to offer in this time of isolation. If you enjoy what is there, the full version is available on my “Books” page.