Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged dark

Pune Highway (11/11/2010)

During my childhood, visits to India were largely spent travelling. A lot of this involved time on the infamous GT Road, a dry scaly snake taking us wherever we wanted to go. Aside from the beauty of fields either side, there was always the fear of danger lurking nearby. Visiting these roads was always interesting—but you knew they had the potential to harbour deadly forces. Whenever something happened, people would react wildly. The road was both a blessing and a curse, progressive in its promise, but with a lot to hide. Whenever an incident on happened we looked on in wonder, not really knowing protocol. Minor scuffles in traffic would result in typical rambunctious arguments which proved entertaining for some—but larger incidents were a different matter. A cyclist thrown off his bike, for example, would result in a series of complexities not only for the culprit but also for spectators. Typically, they’d refrain from contacting the authorities, afraid of opening a can of worms.


Canadian artist Sora lists Loreena McKennitt as one of her greatest musical influences, a fact that is apparent on her latest musical effort, Heartwood. A beautifully put together collection of songs that conjure up druid celebrations and ancient royal courts, the album is reminiscent of McKennitt's modern Celtic style.

The Last Days of Emma Blank

Emma Blank believes death is eminent. Surrounded by a sulky if compliant staff in her large home near the Dutch dunes, she shouts absurd orders in between bemoaning her fate. “Don’t worry,” she assures her impatient employees. “Before winter, I’ll be dead.” Emma’s character is frustratingly distempered. Seemingly with no idea what is good for her, she demands an eel for breakfast, then violently vomits while her staff stands around shaking their heads with annoyance. It’s clear no one in the house has any sympathy for her condition, whatever mysterious ailment it may be.

The Rest of Your Life

As an avid jazz fan, I was delighted to review Debbie Cunningham’s album of standards. I was even more delighted when I received the CD in the mail and found that Cunningham is from my native Tennessee. A blurb on the back of the jewel case read that it was a “great CD to just kick back with a glass of wine and relax,” so I prepared accordingly. The verdict? It was, indeed, quite an enjoyable experience. The professional, smooth sound of the trio first caught my attention.

Mathilda Savitch

Despite years of being told not to, I immediately judged Victor Lodato’s novel Mathilda Savitch by the cover. I opened it expecting to speed through a mature version of Harriet the Spy with a twist of Tim Burton’s eccentricity.


The first Wolf People album released in the U.S., Tidings is comprised of three years worth of psychedelic, folksy Brit rock recordings, some of which were composed before the formation of the current lineup.

Balf Quarry

Magik Markers will never have the fame to reflect their talent, which is a shame and says more about the music industry than their ability to create fine music.

Stagestruck Vampires and Other Phantasms

Recently, during a discussion on the flaws of Twilight, an acquaintance of mine made a rather insightful statement. “The vampire is supposed to die. Period.” Don’t get me wrong, I love a sexy paranormal as much as the next chick, but lately I’ve noticed that a lot of vampires have, for lack of a better pun, lost their bite.

Come with Me if You Want to Live

After listening to Goblin Cock’s new record, Come with Me if You Want to Live, I’ve decided to start my own sludge metal band. However, I’m having a few problems thinking of a name with a good female twist. Somehow the band name “Ogre Vag” just doesn’t have the right ring. At any rate, Goblin Cock’s mix of indie and metal would suffice for anyone looking for an appropriate soundtrack for a movie involving Norse mythology and lots of beast slaying.


Malian singer Rokia Traoré blends African music with European and American folk music to create a sound that is interesting, balanced, and beautiful. As someone who fits more comfortably on the metal side of the spectrum, I have not removed this disc from my stereo since I first listened to it a month ago.

Caught In The Trees

Damien Jurado is no spring chicken. He’s been making music since the mid-nineties and indie fave record label Sub Pop produced his first four solo albums. His time with Sub Pop proved to be a much more musically experimental one compared to his previous tried and true time as a folky balladeer. Jurado united with Indiana-based Secretly Canadian in 2003 for his album Where Shall You Take Me? and returned to his folk sound, a task that he excels at.


Sound aficionados who venture forth on the Fabric path will discover music that is progressive, exciting, and out of this world. If you’re not a fan of drum n bass, break beats, and electronic music, you have to make the commitment to listen, but if you love sound and the evolution of human creative expression, that commitment is not hard to make. Noisia is the Dutch trio of Nik Roos, Martijn Van Sonderen, and Thijs de Vlieger. They have been involved in the drum n bass music scene since 1998, and own two record labels: Vision and Division.

Lake Bottom LP

The strong and lovely voices of the Chapin Sisters offer a raw, deep-down quality to Lake Bottom LP. Listeners who have ever found themselves betrayed by a lover will relate; a theme of troubled love runs through all eleven tracks. The sisters sing about temptation, jealousy, promises kept and broken, loneliness, and longing. Of course, the approach is not feeble or helpless.

You May Already Be Dreaming

I stepped onto my balcony in the bright, cool morning and put in my earphones. Once I pressed play, everything seemed to slow down. As though following the tempo of this album, traffic slowed from its _Grand Theft Auto _pace and enjoyed the sunshine. Having been compared to The Mountain Goats and Iron & Wine - with lyrics like “I’ve been dying for a year and ten days” or “It's so hard to love your body from the ground” - Neva Dinova’s music has that special something you can’t quite figure out.


With Kandinsky on the cover and a name like Vertigo Butterfly, I desperately wanted to like 1932. But I couldn’t. Maybe the music is too moody. Maybe I had secretly hoped for some type of Jen Wood impersonation. Maybe I just couldn’t get past the operatic dramatic voice of Luray Hodder Kuca. Whatever it was, 1932 was a Black Tuesday for me – it just crashed. The arrangements are good – fantastic even. John Kuca, Jr does an excellent job putting together the instrumentation and backing vocals.

Arachnina, The Spider Girl Perfume Oil

Only three days ago I started wearing Arachnina. And since then, my life has changed completely. As I leave my house in my everyday attire of corsets, hobble skirts with crinolines and feather hats, I notice strange looks and dangling tongues from my intrigued neighbors. While this type of attention never came my way before, this lady must confess that she finds it quite pleasing. In fact, the other day I went for my daily walk along the beach with my English Spaniel and my lacey umbrella and was approached by a very nice lad with a wooden leg and a sweet breath of rum.

PJ Harvey's Rid of Me: A Story

Rid of Me is the latest addition to Continuum International’s 33 1/3 series, which takes seminal albums of the last 40 years and allows writers of various bents to write about, around, through and over the music that informs the books.

I Hate You, Rob Crow

Pinback frontman Rob Crow has released his first single, I Hate You, Rob Crow, from his solo debut, Living Well. The single includes the title track, “Slick,” “Sea Sawn,” and the video for “I Hate You, Rob Crow.” “I Hate You, Rob Crow” is an especially catchy tune, while the other two tracks are of the dark and moody variety, but still make for excellent listening. Rob Crow obviously has no problem poking fun at himself.

Cornucopia EP/DVD

I must admit, on the first couple of listens to the Cornucopia EP, the music brought me back to high school when I had bands like Veruca Salt and Throwing Muses on heavy rotation in my Sony Discman. The question is: was it solely the nostalgia for my high school listening habits that lead me to appreciate this largely estrogen-laced pop metal?


According to their Myspace page, Ladycop is known for their live show; the trouble is I haven’t seen it. Based in Brooklyn, their self-released and self-titled EP, showcases a band that isn’t easily captured second-hand. With layers upon layers of sound, rattling guitars, and mystic vocals, I’m aching to hear more from this indie rock four-some, preferably at a small, dark club in their hometown. I just want more! Similar to The Arcade Fire, Ladycop are serious musicians.

Moments in Movement

Formerly Romy Hoffman, Australian rapper Macromantics has released a debut hip-hop album that will keep her listeners guessing from track to track. After discovering hip-hop on a 1995 American tour with her pop punk band Noise Addict, Miss Macro spent the next few years fine-tuning her solid rhymes and traditional beats. It’s when she veers from the traditional path, however, that the album is at its best.


In a music genre that tends to sound much the same, Mahogany has come back after a five year absence with a new album that manages to stand out from the rest. Connectivity has eleven songs that mesmerize. This listener is reminded of ancient chants. The soft male and female vocals lull one into a scene not unlike Mahogany’s album cover. My favorite song, “Renovo” is one wave of strings and horns with almost a classical feel after another.

Shades of Dorian Gray

Danny Cohen’s third record for the label ANTI demonstrates his uniqueness as an artist, as did 2005’s We’re All Gunna Die. The 16-track CD takes one on a musical journey of mystical, gothic proportions. Often compared to Tom Waits, Vic Chestnut, Jad Fair, and Daniel Johnston, Cohen has crafted an offbeat musical career spanning some five decades.

Thirteen Tales of Love and Revenge

When I started to listen to Thirteen Tales of Love and Revenge, I thought “Oh, folk rock, how… er… nice.” Not that I have anything against folk rock, but… Then the beat kicked in. Forty minutes later, I was still dancing in my seat. This music rocks! The lyrics are good poetry about love, sex and strong women. There are some out of the ordinary instruments used on this album, such as a glockenspiel. I like different; it makes my senses perk up.

Love Your Abuser

Ever since watching a painfully tedious music set by a man and his computer opening for the Melvins a couple of years ago in Seattle, my appreciation for music constructed with little more than a laptop has been ambivalent, to say the least. The only thing saving his computerized set was the lead singer of Melt Banana, Yasuko Onuki, who danced gleefully in an oversized rabbit suit behind his skinny bouncing corduroy-encased rump. Lymbyc System, however, does not focus on fruity loops in the construction of their compositions.

Shades of a Vast Moment

The album is a melodic tale of sorrow, a search for meaning within the circle of life. It is mixture of ambient, lounge-y, jazzy tunes, which flow like a stream of water from beginning to end. The first song, “Inner Out,” could be the music score for an off-Broadway play. It lends itself to abstract visual interpretations, casting shadows moving through sound. The dark and eerie voices are akin to Sinead O’Connor’s lamenting voice. With lines such as “life sleeps with agony, and ashes came right through the dead part of you” the songs are solemn contemplations.