A weekly breakdown of my Spotify playlists.
By Kolby Bergquist
#9. July, 17, 2019
Every week I pray that the Spotify gods be good to me as I check my Discover Weekly playlist. They’ve lead astray once or twice, but they’ve also lead me to find some truly awesome tunes. So I’ve decided to use this platform to share my findings with you.
Twice a week, I’ll share with you my playlist, rate the songs, and give my opinions on each track. Hopefully, you can use this as a way to discover new artists, find what to avoid, and grow your catalog.
Scale from best to worst
Awesome – Great – Good – Fine – Whatever – Skip it
Enjoy the read!
Side note this week, in preparation for the rest of the new content I’ve had to shorten this week’s issue as well. Plus the playlist was a mix of a bunch of terrible songs that I already knew, and some really good stuff that I wanted to go more in depth on than I normally do. Anyways, here we go!
“Take On Me” Cap’n Jazz
Genre: Post Punk, Punk, Indie
This is excellent. I always feel that if you’re going to do a cover, you have to change a lot about the piece to make it stand out. I’ll note that New Found Glory does an excellent job with their “Kiss Me” cover. Because of their distinctive pop punk style, and Jordan Pundik’s unique voice, the song stands on its own; completely separate from the original track.
Another great example of working around a cover was the act of replacing all the synths and samples of the original Deftones track “Change (In The House Of Flies)” with a beautifully orchestrated string section for Architects version of the song. The original track still has it’s own appeal, with the dark synth patches and atonality, but the Architects cover has its own appeal as well; sounding like a very dark James Bond theme or something.
This track works perfectly. It sets itself apart from the clean 80’s pop production of the original, by being the filthiest, goofiest, and most interesting version of this song I’ve ever heard. There are plenty of shot for shot remakes of this track, but how many times do you get to hear a cover of an 80’s pop hit played so sloppily? Just as the Ah Ha version has its own appeal, so does this one. It won’t resonate with the masses like the original, but it sure will make a few people like me very happy.
“Hour Of Rats” The Red Chord
Genre: Technical Death Metal, Metalcore, Deathcore
This song perfectly encapsulates everything necessary for success in this genre. Melodically, it flows between two or three scale types that dominate the track and keep the listener invested in the song. The guitar work takes you on a journey, on an ever winding path through a dark and chaotic scene. Structurally, there is so much going on. I think one of the most exciting things about this song, is the amount of times it tricks you. You imagine they might be building for a breakdown, but then it hits you with a solo. If you think it’s about to open up into a melodic scape, it will probably tighten up, and play the verse again with a slightly different drum pattern. It’s maniacal, chaotic, and ultimately beautiful.
Finally, it’s overall tone is perfect. When it needs to be heavy, it is extremely heavy, and when the song needs space to play a melody it does exactly that. This is an expertly written piece of music. The Red Chord was one of the first technical death metal, bands that achieved this level of precision with their songwriting. Unfortunately I wasn’t in to this stuff as this was coming out, but nowadays, among countless “mathy” metal bands that do it so wrong, it’s nice to be reminded of the bands who did it right.
“We Are All Going Home in an Ambulance” Reuben
Genre: Post Hardcore, Metalcore, Alternative Metal, Mathcore
This band accomplishes something that so many post hardcore, metalcore/ math bands don’t even attempt; mixing clean vocals with such wild melodic structure.
Firstly, their music is wonderful, and if I had to place it, they would fit perfectly next to other noisy outfits like Norma Jean, The Chariot, Converge, or The Dillinger Escape Plan.
Secondly, the way they incorporate clean vocals works so well, it’s almost like they’re not doing anything particularly difficult. However, it is difficult to write parts like that. Discordant or ugly sections of songs don’t usually play well with melodies capable of singing over. I’m not saying it’s impossible, and I’m not saying this band is the only one who does this. What impressed me about this band was the simple fact that they write these difficult parts so often in their catalog, and so often does it work out fantastically. Check this stuff out.
“Virus:// Vibrance” Vein
Genre: Post Hardcore, Noise Rock, Electronic, Alternative
This is the only time I’ve ever heard sampled breakbeats used to this effect in a post hardcore or noise track.
This was a huge breath of fresh air, as so many of these types of bands just try to fit the mold. It’s a silly concept that there even IS a mold to fit for a noisy post hardcore band, but judging by how many groups of that nature sound similar, I guess we have to assume their is. I can’t stress enough how great this track is. It feels so true to the genre, while at the same time feeling new. The production is perfect for an act like this as well. It needs to be a little bit cleaner to make the electronic sample sections really pop out, but it also needs to feel a little underground in order to properly resonate with fans. This is really quite interesting stuff, and if you’ve ever been interested in noisier, heavier, or wilder music, I really suggest giving this band a listen.
“Beautiful Ruin” Make Good Your Escape
Genre: Post Punk, Alternative Rock, Indie Rock,
This is hands down one of the best opening riffs ever. Had this band come out just a few years earlier, this track could have been one of those genre defining tracks for the emo world. Unfortunately (or fortunately), the band was just a bit too late to the game, and went in a slightly different direction with a lot of their other music.
Alas, while this track is certainly popular to an extent, with about 300,000 plays on Spotify, I wouldn’t call it particularly influential.
The whole song feels like a river. It ebbs and flows between the main riff and the rest of the track washing over you with deep reverb and perfectly performed vocal tracks. This is one of those songs that perfectly represents the era in which it was made, and if you feel like reliving a few minutes of 2006, just put this track on an get lost.
“The Anticipation” Orthodox
Genre: Noise Rock, Hardcore, Post Hardcore
This is pretty much just a hardcore/ metalcore band, and the rest of this album is okay, but it’s still pretty much the “same old same old.” This song however is a very interesting take on what you can do with the genre.
Of course I was waiting for the caveman breakdown the whole time I was listening, but it never happened. It was effectively a noise piece with hardcore sentiments, a perfect mess of hardcore tropes not clearly defined; everything that makes a hardcore song what it is, and nothing like a hardcore song all at once.
I hope this group makes more music like this, it is absolutely perfect, and if it gains any traction, it could inspire a real shift towards innovation in a genre that’s gone stale over the many years it’s been stagnant. Unfortunately, I suspect it probably wont, seeing that this is one of those christian hardcore bands like The Crucified, No Innocent Victim, xDISCIPLEx A.D., and Unashamed. There’s nothing wrong with any of these groups, their just as preachy as any other hardcore band, but in this day and age, I feel like the message will turn more people off to them then it would have even 5 years ago. If you can’t get passed that, you’re really missing out. This stuff is hardcore gold.
“Cut Self Not” Faraquet
Genre: Emo, Post Punk, Indie
They’ve gone with a very progressive song structure here, and it works for them much better than it does for a lot of songs in the same vein. It works because they have defined movements, they regularly call back to previous moments in the song, and tie everything together expertly with interesting chord shifts.
I am always absolutely supportive of an artist’s exploration in sound and structure, but it’s too often that bands go too far with it. At some point you have to remember that you’re making a song for people to connect with, not a performance for people to ogle at. The guitar tone they’ve chosen is perfectly clean and crisp, and it leaves enough sonic space for itself to really shine through. Everything on this track is clearly defined and beautifully written. A+ gang.
Thats it! Thanks for dropping by. I suppose I should let you in on some of the things we’re preparing for over here at Soundworks Media. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been getting together some amazing talent, and some more writers in order to bring you guys more content. If you haven’t seen, Soundworks Media has partnered with some great content creators from around the Phoenix area, and we’re ever expanding our capabilities. We are on schedule to bring you some great podcasts, youtube content, and more blogs as well as a few more things we have in the hopper. Thank’s for sticking with us through it all, everyone involved is doing this unpaid with a hope that someday we can make this a central focus in our careers. We love you all. All 4 of you.