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How To Destroy Angels

Trent Reznor has formed a new band called How to Destroy Angels that also features his wife Mariqueen Maandig and frequent Nine Inch Nails collaborator Atticus Ross.  The band's self-titled debut EP is due to be released in July, but you can get a sneak preview of the album via a series of short video clips (as well as a full-length video for "The Space in Between" - if you do decide to check the video out, just be aware that it is rather gory and not at all for the faint of heart) on their website.  At this point I don't know whether or not the EP will be available for free: Reznor has been very generous with his recent releases, so it wouldn't surprise me to see a free release; on the other hand, the first single, "A Drowning", is currently only available for purchase, so the EP may very well follow suit.  [Update 2010-05-27: Looks like I spoke too soon - the band themselves have confirmed that the EP will be available for free download on June 1; you can pre-order the free download - i.e. sign up to receive an email when it is ready to download - from their store and also download "The Believers" right away.  Nice!]

However, multi-tracks for both "The Space in Between" and "A Drowning" have been made available on the Nine Inch Nails remix site, so with a small amount of effort you can actually make your own versions of the two songs.  The multi-tracks can only be downloaded using BitTorrent; if you are unfamiliar with torrents, a wealth of information about them can be found right here.  In order to do anything truly useful with the multi-tracks, you will also need an application like Audacity to edit them.

What you do with the files is really up to you - I like to play around with multi-tracks and create my own remixes when I have time for it (shameless plug: if you search for "durga2112" on the remix site, you can listen to a few Nine Inch Nails remixes that I made a couple of years ago), but so far I've only just listened to both of these songs as they are.  "A Drowning" has, for the most part, a very mellow, almost chilled out, sound; musically, there's a bit of The Fragile and Ghosts in there, but Mariqueen's dreamy vocals take the song into another plane altogether.  "The Space in Between" is much darker, but it still has the general feel of a slow Nine Inch Nails song with female vocals.  Overall, I think both songs are excellent, and I'm quite excited about hearing the full EP when it comes out - whether or not it's free, I'll be picking it up for sure.

I hope you enjoy these multi-tracks, and if you decide to do something creative with them, please leave a comment here to let me know where I can check it out.  Happy listening!



Bad Religion - 30 Years Live

This will probably be one of my shortest posts ever, as I am simply too unfamiliar with the music to properly comment on it, but at the same time, I realize that it's a big enough deal to be worthy of a post.  Bad Religion have released a free live album in celebration of thirty years together.  The album is called 30 Years Live, and you can download it by signing up for their mailing list.  Once you get your email, it will have a code that you can use on the Bandcamp website to download the album in the format of your choice - the default is MP3 320k, but you can choose lots of others, even FLAC if you want to be able to burn your own copy in CD quality.

My brother Mike (who wrote a post on this blog about Metallica a couple of years ago) is a pretty big fan of Bad Religion, so he's much more qualified to talk about them than I am.  He says that the album has "one heck of a setlist," and that the first and last songs, which are from their debut album, "sound light years better here!"  Also, if you visit the band's page on the Epitaph site, "you can click on the album covers on the bottom of the screen and download 1 or 2 songs from almost every single one of their releases. and that includes a few of their best songs, i.e. 'sorrow' from The Process of Belief. altogether you can download enough for a really nice little unofficial greatest hits record."

Okay, so this wasn't as short as I'd thought it would be, but that's mainly thanks to Mike.  I hope you enjoy the album, and also the free MP3s from the record label's site if you decide to check then out.  Happy listening!



Brian Ray - Mondo Magneto

Brian Ray, who is perhaps best known as Paul McCartney's guitarist, has made his debut solo album, Mondo Magneto, available for free this week.  To get it, all you need to do is go to his Facebook page and follow the instructions (namely, click the "Like" button near the top of the page, which should cause the download link to appear) - just make sure that you do it before Sunday, May 16.

Having never heard of Brian Ray before I read about this offer on Twitter, I didn't really know what to expect from this album.  I ended up listening to the whole thing three times in a row last night before I decided I needed to get some sleep, and it was the first thing I listened to today; needless to say, I think it's a pretty cool album.  The first song, "Good for Nothing", has a cool guitar riff that bends and twists all over the place; I actually get a bit of Tom Petty vibe from the verses, before the hard rocking chorus kicks in.  The lyrics to "Vinyl" make some very creative use of album and artist names to weave a story about LPs that were stolen from the trunk of the narrator's car.  "Soft Machine" is a slow rocker with a bit of a Led Zeppelin feel and some great guest vocals by Etta James.   "All I Know" is a beautiful little ballad with some nice backup vocals.  "If You're Leaving Me" is another ballad, mainly acoustic with a nice string arrangement.

The guitar playing on the entire album is excellent; Ray has a great sense of when to lay low and let the vocals and other instruments do the talking, and when to cut loose with a big, meaty riff or some tasteful slide playing.  Remember, Mondo Magneto is only available for free until Sunday, May 16, so if it sounds like something that would interest you at all, go and download it immediately.  Happy listening!



Brad Smith - MOON8

I've featured some chiptune music on this blog before (and also on my Christmas music blog), but I don't think I've ever come across any that is as ambitious and utterly epic as Brad Smith's MOON8.  Simply put, this is a cover version of Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon, done using the sounds of the original Nintendo Entertainment System.  From "Speak to Me" all the way through "Eclipse", the entire album is rendered as if it were the soundtrack to some long-forgotten game from the 1980s.  In fact, if I still had my old NES, I would totally be using this as a "Dark Side of the Rainbow"-like accompaniment to some epic game like The Legend of Zelda or Dragon Warrior.

I can't help but think that an album like this has a very limited target audience; anyone who's not really fond of chiptunes/video game music or Pink Floyd would likely find very little to enjoy here.  However, it could be that there's a bigger overlap between Pink Floyd fans and old school gamers than I think.  Anyone who decides to check it out is in for a real treat, as the songs are all very well done, and they lend themselves surprisingly well to the chiptune sound.  Every little nuance of the album is here in 8-bit form; one of my favourite moments is the sound of the coins at the beginning of "Money", which sounds like it could have been in an old Mario game (hmm... Mario covering Pink Floyd - there's something I don't think has been done yet.  "Money, it's-a gas!").

MOON8 comes in the form of two 192 kbps MP3s, representing sides one and two of the original album, and weighing in at about 57.5 MB.  Check it out, and please leave a comment letting me know what you think of it.  Happy listening!



Innersight - Light of the Force

It's Star Wars Day again, and I managed to find some really cool music to share with you today.  Actually, I came across it last year, but there was a problem downloading the files from the site, so I've been waiting for almost a year to write about it.

I don't know much about Innersight, but what I do know (and what matters most today) is that a few years ago, they released an excellent album of guitar-based Star Wars music called Light of the Force.  There are seven tracks on the album, with each movie being represented by at least one track (Episode IV - A New Hope is the only movie with two tracks).  Most of the songs have a heavy metal feeling to them, which works amazingly well for songs like "Duel of the Fates" and "The Imperial March", which have always been quite heavy and intense on their own.  "Across the Stars" is mostly mellow and jazzy, and "Palpatine's Teachings" is darker and more atmospheric than the rest.  "Emperor's Throne Room" is a real highlight - if Black Sabbath had scored Return of the Jedi, it might have ended up sounding a bit like this.

The entire album clocks in at less than half an hour, but it is definitely worth a listen for Star Wars fans - especially those who also happen to like instrumental guitar music.  Happy listening, and may the Fourth be with you!