Postmadonna – POSTMADONNA

POSTMADONNA cover art

Artist Postmadonna
Album ‘Postmadonna’
Genre Math-Rock
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Label None
Release April 1 2013
Rating Excellent

Postmadonna‘s “POSTMADONNA” continues right along the same vein as last year’s EP, “Introducing Postmadonna“. This album hearkens back to classic rock territory in that there’s only 9 tracks, 2 from the aforementioned EP. The whole album clocks in at around 25 minutes. With that length, there’s no time for wasted space.

The album jumps right off in “Shredder“. The track starts off with a spastic, jazzy, meedly-meedly guitar solo that makes you scratch your head a little bit; what am I listening to? The song coalesces into a groovy, melodic, catchy track. “Shredder” features the vocals of Jamie Weber from  Dear Mister Manager, another Seattle math rock-ish band. Let’s hear it for collaborative cross-pollination!

Rather than talking about tracks individually, let me speak to the album as a whole. The album is short, with only 9 tracks, but it doesn’t feel like 9 tracks. It feels very cohesive, very planned out. There’s a real flow to it, and it’s great to put on and listen and think. It will demand your attention from time to time, regardless of what you are doing while listening. There are plenty of intricacies in the music, from weird delay-pedal-driven sound effects to quick guitar slips and slides, vocal melodies, bass melodies, harmonics here and there, and all the clicks, slaps, cracks and booms of a drummer that kills it song after song.

What you start to notice while listening to this album is that Postmadonna is playful. All the little noises here and there, the gang melodies found throughout, the guitar bends scattered about; these guys are having a blast and it just oozes from this record. Mid-way through the album, the listener is treated to an interlude of violins, cleansing the aural palette and giving a breather before launching into “Seamonster“, a barely over 2 minute track that satisfies like a 5 minute track. The album closes out with “WLRS“, which is an homage to The Beatles and a fantastically playful track. Starting with a simple piano melody and building from there, it has its tongue firmly in cheek and a wild group vocal, closing out the album with a dog singing along.

This is a solid, fun album that has the infectious hooks of your favorite pop band but chops enough to impress your musician friends and plenty to enjoy therein. The album has been one of the top albums in category “math rock” on bandcamp since it launched at the beginning of April. Go check it out!

On Wings of Wax – The Empty Bed

The Empty Bed cover art

Artist On Wings of Wax
Album ‘The Empty Bed’
Genre Post-Metal | Djent | Progressive
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Label Any and All Records
Release Feb 17 2013
Rating Excellent

On Wings of Wax, Melbourne-Victoria’s Adam Kluga’s primarily one man show is one of those bands that’s like a wish fulfillment. Though undeniably contemporary, heavy, and forward-looking, ‘The Empty Bed’ is so familiar that it feels like it has existed inside you all along.  Kluga not only outshines a whole pack of other bands with similar sounds, he does so with hidden nuances, great pacing, and warmth.

Incorporating the pummeling drum and bass assault of early to mid career Godflesh, ‘The Empty Bed’ adds much more melody and feeling, with multi-layered guitars and synths. Songs are narrative and beautiful, fully realized pastiches of emotion. The  “right on the nose” production further adds to this. It exhibits just enough polish to smooth, not blunt the harder edges, making the aural environment shine.  Drums sound large and live. Texture abounds, but is clear. Nothing overwhelms the total picture.

At some times anthemic and others melancholic, the nine songs all share an authenticity about them. The listener can feel that this is genuine. There are no superfluous touches. No musical wankery. This album has an energy that isn’t easily duplicated. Even in a period in which much music is easily accessed, consumed, and, ultimately, disposable, On Wings Of Wax comes off as vital.

Kluga is a very accomplished musician, as demonstrated time and time again on this release.  From the subtle tapping and jazzy drums on the intro to “Knots” to the stop start rhythmic figure that leads into amazing tremolo flight on “Of Bliss and Expectation.”  Compositionally everything flows like a dream. The first listen is exciting and fresh, yet the replay value is huge, allowing one to dissect the textures, and experience the ambience of less obvious portions.

More than many other bands and albums that go for this “sound,” On Wings Of Wax executes what I would call “post-Djent” not just competently, but with style and great sensibilities. ‘The Empty Bed’ felt like it was singing to my heart.