Album Review: Wo Fat “The Conjuring”

Wo-Fat-The-Conjuring-ArtworkWo Fat The Conjuring

Rating: 3.7/5

Wo Fat.

Say it three times as if you are exhaling exhaust fumes.

There ya go.

Wo Fat has been solidly under the radar for most due to the insular nature of anything metal and the even more solitary cross over genre assemblages of desert rock, stoner, sludge, doom, grunge, and thrash. If you aren’t familiar with the above nuances it sort of speaks to the problem. Of all the conflicting genre allegiances, Wo Fat’s The Conjuring more closely resembles the desert founders Kyuss in terms of production and composition and the likes of Orange Goblin and Truckfighters in execution. If you are among those who throw their hands up at most things desert rock, know that this is the album that best illustrates why metal heads are so damned relaxed. Imagine the Swamp Thing drags itself across the Texas desert, tossing cigarettes in the faces of everyone not willing to light up and roll out. Then, as if by some hard-earned benevolence, Swamp Thing lulls you to sleep with the siren song of what pulled him across the vast empty of the American south west in the first place.

This is The Conjuring.

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Album Review: Indie/Alternative – Yellow Ostrich “Cosmos” Out Today via Barsuk

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Yellow Ostrich Cosmos

Rating: 4.0/5

Yellow Ostrich’s Cosmos is a work driven by dense guitars, piercing vocals (think Dodos and Ben Bridwell at times), and tastefully placed electronic instrumentation which leans more towards a theme than a concept. Exploration of things greater than ourselves will always lead to the stars, and that’s a slippery slope. If the sheer vastness of the heavens wasn’t overwhelming enough, add every fleeting moment and the meaning of it all. As Cosmos illustrates, when one ponders his tiny existence after being inspired by astronomers Carl Sagan and Frank Drake that person will progress through many stages fostered by uncertainty. Cue… “Terrors” an imaginative piece driven by the view of a small and distant humanity from outer space. The wispy verse arrangement seems to be the solace that one would find in such a view but quickly the chorus interrupts the narrative with rhythmic distorted guitar as the line “I am the terrors in your eyes,” encompasses all senses and thoughts. This mixture of texture and menacing rhythm exemplifies uneasiness and leads perfectly into “Neon Fists” where Alex Schaaf (Y.O singer/guitarist) pleads to know that someone has everything in control because he surely does not. “Shades” is the stand out track on Cosmos with a riff that functions as an electronic warning signal carrying the messages “I can build any universe for you” and “Just try to close your eyes… Pull the shades down and never let go” which seems to come directly from the ominous building blocks of life.

As all intention points to an album dedicated to recognizing the uncontrollable unknown there are moments in which the album focuses inward. With each passing moon in, “My Moons,” Schaaf welcomes the chance to reflect and yearn for, what I translate as, a smile that he once carried during a more peaceful time. “Can you build me a bigger house? Can you work from the inside out?” is indicative of an individual seeking the strength needed to overcome his battle with a potentially meaningless existence.

Any Wonder” functions as a gripping second standout in the form an alternative rock track with krautrock tendencies heard in the pocketed collaboration of the rhythm section.

How Do You Do It?” is a nod to a Band of Horses B-side. And would that ever be a bad thing?

When listening to “Things are Fallin’” one is ushered into impending chaos – and half way through the drums kick in signifying the arrival of forecasted danger.

Driving guitars and eclectic concepts as a band finds their way through space, time, and music. Cosmos finds a sonic balance between live and electronic instrumentation. If you’re looking for an indie rock album that is more progressive than a nod to yesterday, than you should pick up Cosmos here.

-RL, Can I May I

Can I May I’s Writer Picks and Honorable Mentions

Hey All,

2013 was a particularly fruitful year in music, so it was hard picking the absolute best music based solely on solid song writing. We decided to take originality and divergence of current trends into account. With only 50 spots to fill we felt a lot of other albums deserved to be recognized.

Many albums were omitted on other lists by other outlets simply because they did not meet current trends or didn’t adhere to the pop in art movement. Whereas, other albums found homes on lists by way of what can only be described as album reviewers living in the twilight zone. Music should not be defined by trends, catchiness, high energy, and/or sensationalism.

I’ll leave you with a quote that spoke volumes to myself and hopefully you. 🙂
“…if I instantly liked a record, I knew I wouldn’t like a record for long, whereas if I didn’t like a record when I first heard it I would probably end up loving it.” – St. Vincent (Annie Clark)

PS. For all you Yeezus lovers out there, I have an article explaining why the album did not impact me as musically as I would of liked. Just for the record: I do think it was an important and exceptional album. 

-RL, Can I May I