Ubermanoeuvre – Burn This

(c) 2010 Spartan Records UK

Ubermanoeuvre are a five-piece band, from South East London, UK. They have been compared to Rage Against The Machine and Enter Shikari, to name a few, and dub their own style as high energy rock.

There’s so much going on, and so many differences between each track, that it’s only fair to mention (nearly) every one.

Kicking off this, their debut album, is the title track, with an electro intro, leading into a hip-hop (with underlying synths) verse and shouty chorus, I guarantee you will never have heard anything like this before. And it will be a total mind fuck. There’s so many different elements to the one song, but don’t dismiss it yet.

Track two, ‘If I Were You (I Wouldn’t Be Me)’ opens with a very brief piece of acoustic guitar, then it’s straight into the (quite heavy) thrashing guitars. There’s also a creepy keyboard riff, adding an eerie element to the track. Even though there’s not as much going on, it’s still hard to place under a specific genre.

‘Call To Arms’ marks another change in sound, this one’s more emo, but still electro. Think HelloGoodbye meets Taking Back Sunday- cheesy cheerful, but screamo. Adding to this is the piano breakdown and the screamy choruses.

Track four, ‘Apathy Loves Company’ is one of the catchiest on the record. It’s still really odd, but by now you’ll have got used to the sheer weirdness of it all. Track five is more guitar driven, which suits them more, but then it’s back into the crazy mix with ‘Never Bring Your Girlfriend Flowers’- jazz piano under a hip-hop beat. But, somehow, it works. ‘9am: Monday’ is more hip-hop-y, with a emo/screamo chorus.

Then there’s track eight and 10, (‘Now! That’s What I Call Karma, ‘2378’) that are more downbeat and simple hip-hop rock.

As it’s so unusual compared to anything you’ll have ever heard, it’s impossible to really sum it up- so just check it out and decide for yourselves.

But, to recap, Ubermanoeuvre play screamo- electro- hip-hop, with synths- a- plenty.

There’s way too many dashes in that last sentence.

–Frankii

 

Flobots – Survival Story

(c) 2010 Universal Republic
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Here’s something that I don’t review everyday, but I am intrigued by Flobots. I have to confess that I won’t be terribly adept at reviewing “Survival Story” as it is reasonably outside of my comfort zone. But hey, what’s music without a little challenge every now and again?

For those outside the know (at lot like myself) Flobots are a hip hop, rock hybird from Denver Colorado. (Like a whirlwind of Rage, 311 and Q-tip or something) While I can’t speak to the genre specifically, I feel the vibe. The music is tight yet fluid and not the standard fare of running lyrics over dropped beats and samples. I guess the crux of my enjoyment for this is real musicians.

People can say what they want about hip hop. Hate it. Love it. That is really not my concern. I do believe this though, if your making music, or planning on making music, use an instrument or two. Flobots doens’t dissapoint in that regard. Guitar, bass, drums, viola are all in full effect.

The 12 tracks on “Survival Story” do tend to run a bit long and their repetitve nature do fell draining after a while. Then again I’m the first to admit that I think a three minute track might as well be an epic ballad.

So we’ve got musicians playing musical instuments. There is a genuine “feel” to the tunes and a lot of punk rock ethos rolling. I say what’s not to like? (aside from the epic song lenth and repetition) buy hey, maybe live a little and and expand some horizons even if they aren’t your own.

-Jerry Actually

Mike Ivey of Basehead

Interview with Mike Ivey of Basehead
Conducted via email 11/08

Jerry ActuallyWhen “Play With Toys” came out it was greeted with a decent amount of attention, but by the time “Not In Kansas Anymore” was released, Basehead seemed to have faded back into obscurity.  Was I just not paying attention to the right channels, or did your audience pick up the ball and then drop it?

Mike Ivey – Actually, the fade back to obscurity was after “Not In Kansas Anymore,” and after we recorded the follow-up “faith” which didn’t get a major label release after parent label Imago’s BMG distribution deal ended.  Prior to that Kansas sold about as much as Toys, we did got some press, and we toured opening for Stone Temple Pilots, Butthole Surfers & fIREHOSE, as well as on our own and in Europe.  Therefore the fade to obscurity was a bit more gradual than described above.

Jerry ActuallyIn regard to the question above question, basehead came about a few years before the massive proliferation of the internet and the whole peer to peer file share phenomenon.  Do you think if basehead would have been more in line with this that things would have unfolded differently?

Mike Ivey – Actually, things unfolded the way they needed to.  “Play With Toys” came out right just as Soundscan was in the process of rolling out, and that multi-year run ended right before the internet really got going, so I feel fortunate to have experienced the record business prior to the traditional industry model falling apart.  I’ve always been skeptical of the panacea of promises of the internet age, particularly in regards to how artists are supposed to be paid for work when everything is available for free.  But in general, it’s a cost-effective means for marketing and communications in the 360 degree-DIY business model that the future seems to be calling for.


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