The Thursday Ten: 11/15/16

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For those who visit Erik’s Album Reviews regularly, you will know that the staff has been very busy for the last two weeks.  Because of this we unfortunately missed the last two “The Thursday Ten” segments.  However, last week we announced that in order to make up for this lack of album ratings, we will give 20 album ratings for this week’s installment rather than the usual 10!  This week’s post features various releases over multiple genres covering everything from Black Metal to EDM.  Even though twice as many releases are feature in this installment, the rules to “The Thursday Ten” haven’t changed, and of course, we encourage you to check out every album listed on any of the major music streaming platforms.  Let us know what you think of the ratings, which albums you want us to rate next, and don’t forget to check out the previous installment to “The Thursday Ten”.  Here is this week’s post:

  1. Skeletonwitch – The Apothic Gloom EP: 8/10
  2. The Acacia Strain, Thy Art Is Murder, and Fit For An Autopsy – The Depression Sessions: 9/10
  3. Power Trip/Integrity Split EP: 7/10
  4. Dan Mason – Summer Love: 7/10
  5. Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool: 7/10
  6. Aborted – Termination Redux EP: 8/10
  7. Lamb of God – The Duke EP: 7/10
  8. Jason Richardson – I: 8/10
  9. bl00dwave – Distance: 8/10
  10. Defeater – Abandoned: 8/10

 

  1. Mac Miller – The Divine Feminine: 8/10
  2. Blink-182 – California: 8/10
  3. Balance and Composure – Light We Made: 8/10
  4. Moose Blood – Blush: 8/10
  5. Wakrat – Wakrat: 4/10
  6. Tesseract – Polaris: 7/10
  7. A Day To Remember – Bad Vibrations: 6/10
  8. Adventure Club – Red // Blue: 5/10
  9. PZA – AMERICAN RITUALS: 9/10
  10. Vaerbitt – Tid: 9/10

The previous “The Thursday Ten”:

https://eriksalbumreviews.wordpress.com/2016/11/25/the-thursday-ten-112416/

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Track of the Day Tuesday: PZA “BEAUT1FUL”

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PZA, the prominent vaporwave/trapwave artist, has officially become the first artist to be featured at least twice on the “Track of the Day Tuesday” segment.  This might be due in part to the fact that PZA has an immense discography, but it is mostly because PZA is one of the greatest producers in vaporwave and “American Rituals” is one of his best releases to date.  Being released on New Years Day of 2016, “American Rituals” is a project by PZA that combines the use of plunderphonics, his signature EDM/trap inspired synths and beats, and chopped and altered samples of modern pop music classics.  Taking samples from artists like Drake, Justin Bieber, and Lana Del Rey, PZA puts his own twist on these famous songs, and in return, creates one of the greatest vaporwave projects I’ve ever heard.  This style of songwriting is slightly different from PZA’s usual sound, but the experimentation results in one of his best releases that has the potential to be an Album of the Year contender.

The entire album is phenomenal in my opinion, but if there is one track you have to listen to, it is “BEAUT1FUL”. “BEAUT1FUL”, which samples Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful”, is probably the best track you will hear on “American Rituals”.  By altering the various Lana samples and adding reverb filled synths and instrumental fills, PZA is able to turn this fantastic pop song into a dreamy, captivating vaporwave song.  If you like any form of vaporwave or Lana Del Rey’s music you need to listen to this song, which is attached below.  Unfortunately, the only stream of the track I could find was the stream of “American Rituals” on PZA’s bandcamp page.  “BEAUT1FUL”, along with the rest of “American Rituals”, is attached below.  I highly suggest listening to the entire project, but if you just want to hear “BEAUT1FUL”, then skip to track 5 and enjoy the stellar PZA track.  I will also attach the link to PZA’s bandcamp page as well for those who would like to check out more releases from the vaporwave artist.  Only a few of his releases are posted there, but it is a great place to start for those who are not familiar with his work.  We often post about electronic music and vaporwave in particular on Erik’s Album Reviews, so if you are a fan of these genres make sure to visit often for more electronic music news and content!

PZA’s Bandcamp page:

https://pza420.bandcamp.com/

“American Rituals” (“BEAUT1FUL” is track 5):

500 Word Review: Flume “Skin Companion EP I”

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Following his successful release of his sophomore full length album, “Skin”, which came out earlier this year, Australian EDM artist Flume is back with his latest EP “Skin Companion EP I”.  The EP, which apparently seems to be a continuation of “Skin” made up of what appears to be b-sides from the record, is a short, 4 song project that was released only a few days ago.  “Skin”, which in my opinion is an album of the year contender, saw widespread positive approval from his fan base and became Flume’s most successful release to date.  I personally was not familiar with Flume until after the release of “Skin”, but he has since become one of my favorite electronic artists and “Skin” is easily one of my favorite EDM albums of all time.  That being said I was both surprised and shocked when I recently opened my Youtube app to see new material from Flume.  “Skin” itself is a 16 track album running over an hour in length, so the fact that there is still material left over to be released is shocking to me.  However, I was still very excited to hear this latest project from Flume!

The songwriting on “Skin Companion EP I” is slightly different from “Skin”, but as the EP’s title suggests, it is still fairly similar to the sound heard on the 2016 full length.  Overall, “Skin Companion EP I” is a collection of upbeat, almost trance like songs.  The song structure for each track is eclectic with a heavy use of unique, peculiar beats and synths that is fairly similar to “Skin”, but is rather a perfect match to Flume’s signature style and the subgenre, wonky, that Flume often writes in.  Some percussion is mixed in in an odd manner, like for example what is heard throughout the track “v”, but this ultimately further compliments Flume’s signature style of electronic music.  The jittery randomness that flows well with the rhythmic beats can be, at some points, reminiscent of Blank Banshee’s material.  Honestly, despite the fact that pop influenced, high pitched female vocals are heard in nearly every track on “Skin Companion EP I”, this EP in my opinion, is actually closer to sounding like a vaportrap release than a radio friendly edm release, which is not a bad thing at all!  This collection of songs seems a little more experimental than what is heard on “Skin” and even though these tracks sound similar to the material on the 2016 full length, I can see why they are grouped together in a separate release altogether.  However, these variations heard from “Skin” are very slight and these four songs could easily have been mixed into “Skin”, and in fact, they could’ve served as trance like, calm sounding interludes or tracks that provide breathing room between the more intense songs heard on “Skin”.  This would give “Skin” even more range, from a song structure perspective, and would ultimately improve “Skin”.  Regardless, “Skin Companion EP I” is a great release on its own and is another phenomenal project from Flume.

In summation, I give “Skin Companion EP I” an 8.3/10 and I can without a doubt say that this release will be a fierce contender for the EPs of the year list!  This latest project from Flume is interesting, compelling, and extremely relaxing and enjoyable to listen to.  If you are a fan of electronic music you need to give this EP a listen.  Also, if “Skin Companion EP I” is the first installment to a list of projects associated with “Skin” to be released, which I am assuming it is, then I cannot wait to see what Flume releases next during this “Skin” era. Each of the four tracks from the album are posted below for those who want to check out the project and be sure to visit the site this week for more album reviews and music content!

“Trust”:

“v”:

“Heater”:

“Quirk”:

Breaking News: Business Casual Releases BIZBOX #3

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Today, one of the most prominent vaporwave/electronic labels, Business Casual, has released the third installment to their bi-monthly release promotion project called BIZBOX.  BIZBOX, which has become extremely popular since it first started last summer, is a series of releases where the founder of Business Casual, who goes by the stage name “christtt” and also has some of his own tracks included on this BIZBOX release, creates cassette tapes for certain releases and bundles these tapes with stickers, assorted merchandise, and a surprise cassette tape, usually of a record that had yet to be pressed on a physical format.  For example, BIZBOX 1, which featured Don Mason’s “Summer Love” also came with the surprise cassette tape for SYLLABUS’ “July”, which was never been pressed on cassette before.  These release projects are usually out of 200 and sell out extremely fast.

For BIZBOX 3, Business Casual has decided to bundle together “Digital Office” 1, 2, and 3 and has labeled the box set as ‘Office’.  Each “Digital Office” release is a compilation of artists who have released material through the label in the last few years.  The individual cassette tapes made for these releases when they initially came out have since sold out, so this is probably the last opportunity for fans to buy these records on cassette tape before they sell out for good.  Business Casual, who only release vaporwave and various electronic albums through free digital download and extremely limited cassette tape pressings, seem to have continued success with their BIZBOX projects and I won’t be surprised if this becomes a staple for the physical copy release aspect of their label.

Despite being really into vaporwave for the last few months, I still have a lot to learn about the young and up and coming genre.  However, I know for a fact that if you are a new fan to this style of music, like myself, Business Casual’s impressive catalog of releases is the best place for you to start.  Almost all of my favorite vaporwave artists have come from this label and the ability to download any release I want for free allows me, and other listeners, to have access to hours upon hours of the genre’s leading artists.  If you like what you hear definitely support the label and pick up your own copy of the BIZBOX 3 box set ‘Office’ before they are sold out for good.  The link to purchase the tapes are posted below along with free streaming of each “Digital Office”.  Who knows, maybe you’ll receive one of your favorite vaporwave releases on cassette tape as well with your purchase!

BIZBOX 3:

http://music.businesscasual.biz/merch/bizbox-3-office-limited-edition

 

Track of the Day Tuesday: PZA “OH SHIT WADDUP”

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After a busy week with a severe lack of posts we’re back with a new Track of the Day Tuesday!  This week I decided to discuss a vaporwave artist I have recently found on bandcamp who goes by the moniker of “PZA”.  Despite having an immensely extensive discography, I was able to find this amazing self-titled release by PZA and was instantly blown away after hearing the first track.  The opening song, which features a meme-referencing title called, “OH SHIT WADDUP”, is one of the greatest trap vaporwave/vaporwave songs I have heard since I recently began to learn more about the fairly new genre.  PZA, based on what I’ve heard so far, usually writes in a hip hop influenced style of edm and vaporwave.  However, “OH SHIT WADDUP”, actually sounds more like an EDM festival banger that you would likely hear at Ultra Music Festival.  There is not a single dull moment to this song and the rest of the release is equally as electric and memorable.

All of PZA’s releases are free on bandcamp, so make sure to check out any release of his!  The track, “OH SHIT WADDUP”, is posted below and if the amazing artwork and artist name don’t make you want to check out the project, then I don’t know what will.  And of course, don’t forget to check back in this week as there will be a lot of content to make up for last week’s break.

PZA “PZA” free download:

http://music.businesscasual.biz/album/pza-2

PZA bandcamp page:

https://pza420.bandcamp.com/

“OH SHIT WADDUP”: