Crywank – Narcissist on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

Crywank is the depressing folk/anti-folk/folk punk project of James Clayton from Manchester, UK. His description of this album is as follows

“My new album ‘Narcissist On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown’ is a collection of paranoid songs mostly about me trying to understand my own sadness along with the concept of sadness as a whole. It was fueled by self help books and pot.

I recorded this album in my parents dining room. Most of the songs on this album are the first take of me trying to record them (some needed a few more takes as I messed up my first attempts) and so it’s riddled with mistakes, but hopefully you can forgive that. Where my first album was tied to the topic of dealing with a breakup, this album has less of a definite focus. Most of the songs are about coping with and deconstructing my sadness, some are about odd things that happened in my past, and others are just about people and scenes. They where mostly fueled by stupid dark thoughts, and through songwriting I’ve tried to get past them.”

I listened to this awhile ago when it first came out because James posted it on /mu/. I didn’t think much of it at first because I’m not usually into this kind of music, but re-listening to it again now I realize that this album is actually really great. It gives off such a personal and honest feeling that I personally wish I could pull off with my own music. This is probably one of the most emotional and hard-hitting albums I’ve heard so far this year and if you are going to listen you better be prepared for some damn emotional music. Despite the sloppy guitar playing (sorry James), this album doesn’t lose any atmosphere or impact from it. In fact I believe the mistakes and bad technique add a lot to the massive personality of this record, something which a lot of bands/artists try to achieve and fail at.

In conclusion, have some tissues handy if you’re gonna listen to this album because you’ll probably need them.

Rating: 8/10

Favorite Track(s): “Now I’m Sad (Boo Hoo)”, “It’s OK, I Wouldn’t Remember Me Either”, “You Couldn’t Teach Me Integrity”

Snailhead – The Image

The Image

Best New Music

Snailhead’s Sophomore release takes the title and the tracklist from a S&M movie from the seventies and it’s chapter titles and generates an mind-boggling 12 minute 39 second uptempo rock album in only the style that Snailhead would produce.  Each tracks vocals build off of one another and focus in around the lyrics suggesting the title.  This album has a focus on a nice light and popish melodies but with dark progressive rock undertones that I’ve only heard on a few British bands before, who generally use synth heavy backings for the vocals, and the drums leading every other part.  Snailhead also does a great job at working with other unnamed artist, such as a local underground rapper and a handful of other great backing vocalists and friends.  The band that stands out being the most similar to what I have heard in this album and just the style would be like Franz Ferdinand but with a harder rock sound with and a much better vocalist.

False Starts – A driving rock track with Snailhead leading the vox and the instrumentals.  With the vocals shouting at the softer vocals blending perfectly together.  A 52 second track that I can keep playing back to back and still hear new parts to it, this is one track that Snailhead should really work on making a full length track, as I feel that it should loop like 10 times at least.  The guitar melody is really catchy rift, and the drums leave me wanting more of it in there but it’s just enough that it’s not drowning out any other part.

In the Bathroom – This track stood out as a great example of Snailhead with doubling and tripling the harsh vocals, with several friend also helping out. A great track on the slower portion of the album, it truly sounds like a Holywood ending scene track which is fitting for the second to last track on the album.  It’s main melody would work for any “congrats you win” video game scene.  This track is overloaded with detuned instrumentals in a good way.

To be honest this was a challenging album to review, as there was not a lot of content to it, and each track left me hanging as though I was wondering what is going to come next, in the same sense of having a track with no bridge or no breakout section, as each track was the breakout as an entirety which gave this album a great new concept, but it also feels incomplete resulting in the lowered score.

Don’t forget to check it out or download it through this link

Snailhead’s self-Rating: 6
Rekapper Overall Rating: Strong 6/light 7

Less Deceived

Less Deceived, yet again. I have just realized one of the facts of reviewing soundcloud accounts is, at least for the most interesting stuff, periodically I’ll have to update the reviews. And you know what, Less Deceived, this Theo Jackson guy, might just be my favorite music in the entirety of soundcloud and bandcamp. Some other guys I reviewed here rival it, of course, such as Àlfheimr and Victor Florence, but there’s something about this music that I love – and it pains me in butt that this guy doesn’t allow me to download it. But putting that aside.

He doesn’t have that many plays and, though I have favorited absolutely everything on sight, not many people have done the same, and I understand that. Most of the people making independent music today focus on creating either pretty or interesting sounds or respond to the absolute freedom of independent music by coming up with bordering insane concepts for concept albums (which I’m guilty of, having one concept album out and polishing two at the moment), and since that’s what everyone is doing, that’s what everyone is interested on as well – and that’s leaving aside all the electronic dance stuff, which is a world of itself.

So I see how this can pass unnoticed, and that’s a shame, because what this guy is doing is perfecting the good old songwriting craft, and I find that’s more relevant to his music than its jazz style itself. I’ll put it this way: if I had to choose between being able to deliver all of the prettiness that Àlfheimr is capable of coming up with, or being able to write these perfect little love songs that Theo Jackson writes, I’d choose the latter. Isn’t that the essence of being a fan, at least from the fellow artist’s viewpoint, the envy of their talent and the desire to do something as powerful?

And that’s why I go for Less Deceived when I want a a bit of a class on contemporary pop songwriting, even though I don’t really write much of that. I find the chord progressions, the bass lines, the interesting piano playing, the subtle drumming, the way the main melodies are so careless in themselves, but so precise in relation to the music, all the while being so emotional and pretty, and such good singing, all of these stuff, I find them flawless and deeply satisfactory. I couldn’t point out anything wrong in these songs, I wish there were three times as many, or decades’ worth of a discography, and I wish I had free time to listen to it until exhaustion like I could do with Dylan as a young man.

But anyhow. The immediate reason for this review is that, in addition to the four songs in their account at the time of the first review, they have recently uploaded what appears to be the full recording of a show at The Troubadour. I know it’s a traditional place and all, but I’m not sure this means a successful career or anything, which is a shame, I wish these guys can achieve well-earned success in the short term. I can’t think of a good reason why some of these tracks can’t be hits of some sort.

So I strongly recommend you go there now and listen to both his home recordings and his live recordings. Maybe you have, such as I, grown a bit weary of concept albums involving Charlemagne’s brother and other pedantic shit and, again such as I, feel like listening to perfectly well-crafted little love songs in a jazz setting. If you feel a little bit like that, click the applets above and have a ball, this is some great stuff.

Also, apparently the drummer manages the soundcloud account. Turn on the downloads dude, fucking ask for some money at least. Pic related.

(a mediafire link will work too)


Zoo Kid

Starting off with the most famous one, Pitchfork best new music and all. There’s a nice video for it here. This is a pretty cool song, interesting guitar work and enough reverb to drown an orchestra. The guitar is unpretentious and straightforward but pretty and carries a punch during the chorus. The singing is certainly what stands out the most. Again, unpretentious confessional singing, the voice carries a bit of anger and disdain, the classic “I don’t give a fuck” feel, but also a spoonful of emotion. This is pretty much ready to listen, I’ll move on to the other tracks.

More emotional than out getting ribs. Less catchy but a pretty song as well, again the careful but scratchy, careless-cool guitar work. The singing tries to go straight to the heart, I’m not sure if it really ever gets there, the most memorable thing is the overall “darkwave” feeling which emanates from everything, as well as the shady guitar tone, the deep teenager voice and the broken forced-out melodies that, if you stop to pay attention, show to be really intricate and well constructed. It naturally changes while keeping a loose unity to the track and never gets boring. Very well crafted.

The other tracks he has up are Baby Blue, A Lizard State, Has This Hit, The Wake and Greyscale. You’ll find them in his bandcamp. They don’t deliver as much goodness as the previous two and are very “formative”, his influences are really transparent and there’s plenty of exploration, as it’s only natural. He messes with, at least, rap, strange sounds, melodramatic emotions, electronic beats and a harsher punk/noise sound. They are all very different and what they all have in common is that dark reverb angsty feel that defines the two tracks above. It’s nice to see how fast this guy improved and how effective he was in learning what he was good at and focusing on that.

Nice work from an up and coming guy, good luck with your new recordings dude.


Her Empty Sockets – It’s Not Started Until The Fat Girl Dances

I don’t have much to say about this. The two first songs sound a lot like the Arctic Monkeys’ first album. The third, a little bit less. The fourth is already something different. The following track is an instrumental which is actually the most interesting track until then. The final track is the best and the one that sounds less like the Arctic Monkeys – the similarity between the singers’ voices never quite goes away, but the music does make a dramatic turn. Trying to be less specific, the whole thing sounds like Post-Punk, but starting from Arctic Monkeys and going all the way back to the early 80’s.

So this album could be called something like “rapidly emerging from overwhelming influences”. The way it stands now, it’s just upside down: the album get’s better as it approaches the end. All I have to say about the first tracks is that they are bass-driven in a cool way, but uninteresting – doesn’t make me want to revisit the tracks. After 5 or so listens though, I have become a little bit fonded to them, like I could listen to bonus tracks from “Whatever people say I am, that I’m not” that I had never heard of.

So yeah, I actually feel like the real album is the two last tracks. The instrumental is an ambient messy noisy track, which later gains a bit of a beat, seemingly electronic, but which is mostly (laid-back) guitar driven. I like it specially because it comes as a surprise in the progression of the album, but also because it’s just plain cool to see that in this track this guy just lets it go and does whatever he wants, with nice sort of relaxing results. At some point it becomes more straightforward and pretty and even though it comes out of the blue, it also feels logic and natural. It feels detached fromthe album, but fitting nicely there at the same time.

The last track itself has a nice mysterious, dramatic vibe in the main riff. The guitar interplay has taken the place of the bass, even though at some points the guitar are off and you get that bass feel back. It’s the best of both worlds I guess. I can’t say this is golden, an unrecognized classic or anything, but for once it’s nice to see a dude – apparently this one guy played everything – grow by the leaps in an album, it’s the kind of thing you don’t get in a normal mainstream release because everything is tightly planned to focus on what works, maybe it get’s less human. I like this album, it’s a human being’s best effort at making music and that is interesting.