Classic Album Review

Classic Album Review: “Geogaddi” by Boards of Canada (But Backwards)

In 2002, Boards of Canada became a part of the G.O.A.T conversation for electronic artists. Their work in the tail-end of the 90’s left them with loads of widespread critical acclaim. They already made one of the greatest electronic music albums there is. They didn’t have to do it again, but they chose to anyways.

You can read a hundred reviews for “Geogaddi”, but this is a track by track review for the entire album in reverse. The reversed instrumentation, as well as the numerous hidden messages littered throughout the album suggest that the album was meant to be heard in reverse, so I intend to hear it this way.


The thick waves on “Corsair” start the album by grazing the coastline of your mind, inviting you to wade into the foamy folds of dark nostalgia presented on this album. It’s an incredible opening track, walling you off from the outside world, leaving nothing but you and whatever you used to be.

What’s incredible is that the tracks on here unfold in similar ways to their straightforward counterparts. Throughout each song, sounds are added in a symmetrical pyramid rather than a slope. Many songs contain unique portions at the beginning and end with a common element connecting them, making them cohesive even when reversed.

The transition from “You Could Feel The Sky” to “Diving Station” is almost seamless, as the sudden sound of the rubber band stretching leaves behind faint industrial oscillations. A feeling of being stuck takes over, suppressed by forces mechanical or otherwise. There is a light somewhere up there, but you know you’ll never be able to reach it.

The serine bells on “Over The Horizon Radar” are another excellent highlight. It sounds exactly like closing your eyes in a garden, feeling the wind pass over your skin, and letting the last of the days sunlight touch you as the sun lowers behind the trees.

This track fades into a repeated message: “We love you all,” a message made unsettling by television static and vocal distortion before being followed up with a far more uncanny message: “If you go down in the woods today, you’d better not go alone.”

Danger looms over this album. Everyone has felt scared before, and Boards of Canada knows this.

“Alpha and Omega” opens with an incredible synth and static combination, slowly introducing flute patterns, while a bubbly beat rages on in the foreground. The static subsides, and is replaced by a sea of of synth harmonies.

The wind, flutes, and whispers of “Opening The Mouth,” suggest the presence of something otherworldly- something that wants you to know it’s watching, but means no harm. Maybe its just your imagination.

Each “mini” track woven into Geogaddi is a microcosm for the overall feeling that the album explores. Each one a new angle examining the intersection of innocence and evil, of curiosity and regret, of youth and what it leaves behind. Everything you need to know about Geogaddi is right there on the cover: the pure happiness of a child becoming kaleidoscopically refracted and tinged until it’s something cold, sterile, and geometric.

“In The Annex” is a good example of this. It doesn’t need to be played forward for this to be conveyed either. It’s all in the music. It’s terrifying.

The main weakness of “Geogaddi” as a reversed album is the percussive elements. Every drum melts into a squashy squibble, losing entrancement along the way. The drums should be grimy and grainy. This is noticeable on tracks like “Dawn Chorus”, “Alpha And Omega,” and especially “Julie And Candy,” which has one of the strongest openings of any reversed track until the drums enter the mix.

There are also vocal sections that don’t work well backwards, like the “Energy Warning” segment that becomes unintelligible garble. It doesn’t help that it’s followed up by the most vocal intensive track on the album, “1969.”

In one case though, the backwards drums and vocals did make for an interesting addition. The track “Sunshine Recorder” has a slightly off-kilter rhythm when played forward, but backwards it’s even more bizarre. When this comes together with “ecalp lufituaeb A,” you can stand on the sky and watch the cars pass by on the road above you. Walking along the clouds brings you to “Dandelion,” a beautiful piece on the synth.

You were meant to hear “Dandelion” backwards.

The penultimate track “Music Is Math” slowly unfurls and furls its bright electric coat before concluding with “Ready Let’s Go,” a track that functions far better as a starting track than an ending track. We’re left with a single snuffed out buzz.


Is it as good as “Geogaddi” forwards? No. There’s a reason they didn’t release it this way. Does it still convey the same abstract feelings as “Geogaddi” forwards? Absolutely, and how many albums can claim the same?

Band/Artist Profile Classic Album Review

“Black Shark” by Hammer No More The Fingers

I was first introduced to Hammer No More The Fingers during my discussion with Jeremy Leonard, NC State architecture professor and former WKNC DJ.

Emerging in the mid 2000’s, this band is pure indie rock power.

As I learned within my discussion with Jeremy, there was limited means or finding new and underground artists just a decade ago. WKNC was a leading platform for finding under exposed artists and local bands such as this one.

One of the initial break-throughs for this band was at WKNC’s very own Double Barrel Benefit.

Not only is this band musically extraordinary, but it local to the triangle area– emerging from Durham, NC.

Members, Duncan Webster, Joe Hall and Jeff Stickley formed the band after their graduation from UNC Chapel Hill and East Carolina University in 2007.

They thrived in the local Durham scene. Later touring across North Carolina and the US.

Upon listening to their discography, I was surprised we are not talking about them more at WKNC and beyond.

To highlight some of their success, I will be doing a dive into their 2011 album, “Black Shark”.

Ambitious, robust and high energy, this album will not disappoint.

“Black Shark” Review

“Black Shark” by Hammer No More The Fingers cover art

This band is a great example of the power and versatility of a guitar, some drums and a voice.

This three piece band is able to create such rich and fulfilling tracks through timeless elements and skill.

Right out of the gate, “Atlas of an Eye” displays their indisputable harmony and skill together. There is a clear distinction between bands that have been performing together for years and those that collided recently.

This trio has been performing together since 1994– giving this album confidence and harmony that can only be achieve through consistent collaboration and time.

One aspect I adore about this band is the vocal harmonies they achieve. Especially in opening track, “Atlas of an Eye” they achieve some beautiful vocal layering and echos. This layering is reflected in overlapping waves of strings and percussion.

Simply a great opening track. It builds so much momentum for the album to come.

Track number 3, “Shark” was the true hook for me in this album. The chorus is so strong. This track alone captures the energy and style of Hammer No More The Fingers– simple elements, unhinged skill.

I love that this band does not over complicate their lyrics. This is true for every song, but I particularly love the lyrics in “Shark”.

Further into the album, “It’s About Caring” has some of my favorite guitar lines. This track has very melancholy vocal work, giving the album an angsty, emo rock undertone. This weighty angst is contrasted beautifully with heavy guitar.

The strings are the star in this track.

Continuing the outstanding guitar work, prior track “Steam” is high energy and well balanced. All three band members shine here. This track feels like the true climax of the album– although every track competes for this title.

“Steam” has some the best moments of collaboration in the album.

This collaboration results in the highest energy in the album. The ending section combines all the strengths of the band– vocal harmonies, strong guitar and solid drums.

Simple elements executed with excellence.

Final track, “Fingernails”, is perhaps the most perfect ending for such a well crafted album. It provides low and high energy moments to lift the listener out of the album while reflecting on the best moments.

There are many tracks on this album that I did not mention, but they are truly all fantastic.

Concluding Thoughts

Many leading indie rock artists tend to over complicate music. In our modern world, there are so many resources and endless elements that can both enhance and diminish music.

Bands like Hammer No More The Fingers give a refreshing reminder that great music can be achieved without any excessive elements or fancy tools.

The true excellence in music comes from the passion to create and collaboration.

If you would like to listen to more of Hammer No More the Fingers, they have two other fantastic albums, “Looking for Bruce” and self titled, “Hammer No More the Fingers”.

There are simply and unbelievable about of talent within the triangle area, look forward to more local band reviews in the near future.

Classic Album Review

The World of “My Elegant Breaking Point” by Perry Maysun

Perry Maysun is a 20-year-old alternative rapper and producer that has made a name for themselves in the underground scene through raw and vulnerable music. Earlier this year Perry Maysun released their album “My Elegant Breaking Point”.

When I asked Perry Maysun to describe their music to someone that might not have heard it, they said “My music is my mental health and my day-to-day struggles put into art … the purest form of expression”.  

My Elegant Breaking Point

“My Elegant Breaking Point” is an album that brings a dark, cinematic and moody experience. The title captures the mood of the album perfectly. Perry Maysun pours his heart out rapping elegantly about pain, addiction and the struggles that independent artists face when trying to be taken seriously. 

The production of this album alone will capture your attention for the whole 36-minute run time, with swelling intros and intricate outros that seamlessly transition to each song. This coupled with the well-worded raps delivered by Perry gives the album a captivating narrative.

Stand Out Tracks

For my favorite tracks on this album, I have to start with “Melissa’s”. Standing alone this song is catchy, addictive and full of energy. But this is all made amplified when in the context of this full album, where the two previous songs build the tension that is finally broken by this song’s drop. 

Note: This song contains explicit language

Other standouts include “Bugs”, “Lo Mein” and “Duality” which is a self-destructive masterpiece that really drives home the themes of the album. 

The Perry Maysun Universe

One thing that Perry Maysun does well is creating worlds in his albums. Alongside “My Elegant Breaking Point” Perry Maysun also released This website includes many extras such as a collection of poems that correspond to each song, a visual gallery and more. 

When I spoke to Perry Maysun about this he said:

“My whole concept was what if you could look up and see where Kanye’s mind was when he made that and everything he was doing, and the looks, and the ideas, and concepts, and stories behind the songs. Let me make a virtual exhibit of my music and where my mind was when I made this project so its always there.” 

Perry Maysun

Closing Thoughts

Perry Maysun manages to create intimate and rich stories through his album “My Elegant Breaking Point” which leaves me excited to hear more of his music. His uncompromising and driven mindset toward creating music has made me eager to see him get the recognition he deserves.

Note: Some songs on this album contain explicit language

E. Pratt aka. DJ Off Belay

Classic Album Review

Ramsey Lewis’ “Rocky Raccoon” Song Review

The prolific jazz musician Ramsey Lewis passed away earlier this September at the age of 87. Lewis was a Grammy award winning artist and is best known for albums like “Sun Goddess” and “The In Crowd.” 

Lewis is also responsible for a wonderful cover album of The Beatles’ music, called “Mother Nature’s Son.” “Rocky Raccoon,” off of The Beatles’ self-titled album (better known as “The White Album”) is my favorite song by the band. Lewis’ cover of “Rocky Raccoon” breathes a wonderful and vibrant life into the song, making it one of my favorite songs of all time.

The country song makes a wonderful canvas for a jazz cover. The cover starts off rather percussive and before you know it, a whole band of instruments have bled their way into the scene. The cover builds until it’s a pleasant storm of noise, with the melody on the keys serving as the rain and everything else draped behind it as the clouds.

Only 2 minutes and 38 seconds long, the cover is around a minute shorter than the original, and packs the same spirit into the same amount of time.

If you haven’t heard of Ramsey Lewis until now, I suggest you check out his rather extensive discography, there is something for everyone there. Or, at the very least, listen to his cover of “Rocky Raccoon.”

Classic Album Review

Discovering “Where the Heart Is” with Sweet Pill

Philadelphia-based pop-emo band Sweet Pill released their debut album with Topshelf Records in May of this year. Sadly, I had not gotten the chance to listen to it until recently. Since I first gave the LP a listen, it has been on repeat.

Coming in at 30 minutes, this album kept me entranced throughout the entire listen. Tracks flow from one to the next with great fluidity. The utilization of pop elements and structure over the emo instrumental and vocals make this record so replayable for me.

Lead singer Zanya Yousseff, guitarists Jayce Williams and Sean McCall, bassist Ryan Cullest and drummer Chris Kerneymakes make this album special. You can tell from the first listen that this passion project has been in the works for over two years.

Favorite Tracks

“Blood” is my favorite off of this album. Coming in off the title track, this song is about the anger that comes with a falling out and it does not mess around. This song utilizes breaks and a gritty, distorted rhythm guitar to really make each drop feel like a gut punch.

The song “Sometimes” also really stands out to me. I can’t help but bob my head when this song comes on. This song masterfully blends pop and emo to create something that’s fun to listen to but with a certain heaviness that’s unexplored in pop.


This album consistently uses violence to express anger and unfulfillment with life. I really appreciate Sweet Pill’s ability to use violence and make it effective consistently. They utilize this explosivity to such a degree that it’s impossible to skip one of their tracks when it comes on.

Sweet Pill’s work is filled with so much energy and enthusiasm and I can imagine them evolving their sound into something truly unique to them. I can’t wait to see what they come up with in the coming years.

Classic Album Review

Biting into “Orange” by Fishmans

A fresh citrus fruit has an addicting taste, not unlike the sound of Fishmans’ lead singer in their album “Orange.” Fishmans uses the keyboard among Shinji Sato’s vocals, bass and guitar to create a beautiful dreamy reggae sound that brings in the clouds to block the oppressive sunlight of reality.

Their fourth studio album, “Orange”, is my favorite to return to. It has all of the reggae sounds like steel drums and beats that I love, which is combined with Shinji Sato’s iconic vocals. “Orange” was released in 1994 under Media Remoras.

For Fishmans, they had much trouble with the comings and goings of band members, producers and record companies. On the album, Shinji Sato does the vocals and plays acoustic guitar with Yuzuru Kashiwabara (bass, chorus), Kin-Ichi Motegi (drums, percussion, chorus) and Hakase-Sun (keyboards, chorus). A guest electric guitarist, Sugar Yoshinaga, also appears in various tracks throughout the album. 

Peeling Open “Orange”

“Kibun” basically starts off the album, and it does so with a pop, reggae and electric fervor. The vocal repetitions bring constant joy to my ears. Shinji’s voice and lyrics are elegant as they bounce up and down smooth as butter. 

In “My Life”, simple lyricism brings simple and pure joy. Fishmans creates a pop tune that exudes exuberance. The keyboard steps us into life and beauty with the beginning of the track and sweeps us into a journey filled with the sound of people living.

“My Life” music video by Fishmans. YouTube video posted by ponycanyon.

As one of my favorite songs of all time, “Melody” stands out on this album. It jumps right into the action of music and all the joy it brings. Epic percussion backs up an electric guitar that shreds perfect little rhythms. 

The track flows and pierces me quickly. I’d be surprised to hear from anyone that this song didn’t even make them tap their toes to the beat. 

A slower track on a fast paced album tends to stand out or drift into the background. I think “Kaerimichi” found its place by blending in the rushed and jumpy first half of “Orange” with the other dreamier half of the album. 

One Last Bite

After diving back into this album to write about it, I already cannot stop myself from listening to it again and again. Fishmans’ sound is intoxicating to my ears. If the last song I ever got to listen to in my life was a Fishmans track, my ears and soul could be at rest with that. 

“Orange” is so fresh even at 28 years of age. If you’ve never taken the time to listen to Fishmans at all, or if you’ve only listened to their later albums, I cannot encourage you enough to peel open “Orange” and taste its addictive sweetness.

Classic Album Review

A Lil’ Love for Broadcast’s “Work and Non Work”

If you’re looking for a compilation of tunes to mix with the rain, then Broadcast’s “Work and Non Work” is the perfect selection for you. Released on June 9, 1997 under Warp Records, this is the first LP Broadcast released in their career.

Broadcast is made up of Trish Keenan, the vocalist, Roj Stevens, the keyboardist, James Cargill, the bassist, Tim Felton, the guitarist and Steve Perkins, the drummer. Keenan passed away in 2011, but Broadcast’s numerous recordings are still being released posthumously. 

To Work or Not to Work

To start out, “The Book Lovers” teleports you into a dusty and musty infinite row of books. Covers and spines all cracked and dry from years without love and attention. Keenan’s wispy vocals fade in and out above the perfect synthesis of strings and keys that escalate into a comforting presence.

As a book lover myself, this track is one of my all time favorites. I love the ethereal and calm presence it exudes into my ears. When the song feels just about over, the beat returns to take us away into the night and ends the song perfectly. 

In “Living Room”, Stevens’ keys mix again with the guitar of Cargill, which creates electric trills of beauty. Before we even approach Keenan’s beautiful vocals in this track, the instrumentals all take over the beginning section.

I find this track to be almost danceable and relaxing enough to be perfect for a rainy evening. 

The last song I want to explore is “We’ve Got Time”. This spacey and timeless track is infused with the essence of a UFO. It flies around and around bringing mystery and sleek beauty to the indietronica genre.

Keenan’s vocals are especially lovely, and make the dreamy tunes spring to life through hope, futurism and wonder. 

Fading out of the Job

This entire compilation is wonderful. The tracks I didn’t mention above deserve the same amount of love. There really isn’t anything on the LP that I won’t be able to enjoy.

For me, Broadcast is a band that constantly blows me away with their techniques and synchronicity with each other. 

I can tell the whole band loved music and exploring the depths of their emotions together, and it is really unfortunate that Keenan has already passed away. I am just happy that we get to explore Broadcast’s music at all.

Classic Album Review

MF Doom’s King Geedorah Takes over the Musical Universe

MF DOOM is the epitome of lyrical legend, genius and bard extraordinaire. His side projects differ little from his wacky bars that fall under his most well known moniker, and “Take Me To Your Leader” is the best album of DOOM’s if you need to fill a science fiction fix. 

This album takes many of its samples from kaiju (large monsters like Godzilla and King Ghidorah) films. Many of the samples originate from the American remakes and English dialogue kaiju films. 

The voice lines are corny and fit his beats perfectly. Loud screams from a woman in distress match up perfectly with our supervillain’s most powerful bars to date. 

Contact with the Kaiju

Not only does this album have hard hitting lines, but the sweet melodies of softer R&B styled beats emanate from tracks like “I Wonder”. 

In this track DOOM (King Geedorah) is backed up by Hassan Chop and it explores all the missed moments and mistakes both rappers have made. It’s a bit melancholy for a DOOM track, especially on a wacky album such as this. 

In “Krazy World” it’s another slow burning song without DOOM as the main featured artist. The artist on vocals is credited as Gigan, which is a cyborg kaiju from space.

The verses in this track zoom through space at light speed. Before you know it the song is over and you’ve experienced 5 minutes of music in what feels like 30 seconds. 

Lockjaw” is the shortest track on the album with a run time of 1 minute and 3 seconds. I like this track for its lyrical content. I love how DOOM (and Trunks in this track) are able to master these insane rhyme schemes to create blistering verses and gorgeous melodies. 

Here’s a few lines from “Lockjaw” as an example:

“Then I form blazing sword and cut your mic cords

And kill them garbage rhymes only your friends get hyped for

Blitz your whole team, them n—– need to come clean

So I give ’em an acid wash like old school Levi jeans”

Quoted from MF DOOM and Trunks’ lyricism on “Lockjaw”.

The rapper, Trunks, is credited with the lyrics and vocals on this song and 16 lines in a flash. The couplet slant rhyme scheme makes up the entire track and provides a sense of instability and rush to the track. 

I cannot talk about this album without mentioning one of my favorite featured MF DOOM artists of all time, Mr. Fantastik. In “Anti-Matter” DOOM and Fantastik rhyme off one another in a call and response type song. 

The calls of Ghidorah are sampled in the background, and Fantastik’s warm, deep voice steeps my ears in a nice bath of fresh bars. DOOM and Fantastik have a wonderful synchronization in this track, and their ability to vibe with each other is heartwarming because of their rhythmic connections. 

Sending You Back into Space

MF DOOM’s deep knowledge of kaiju films and musical understanding in this entire album is so interesting to me. Taking and reusing art to create more art is gorgeous, and I love the way DOOM is able to take and give back so much love to the world through his art. 

People could write literary theses about DOOM’s lyricism in context with the 80’s and 90’s cultures. Also, the impact MF DOOM has had on the world’s music culture is next level.

For a guy that made beautiful beats in an under the radar way, he influenced millions of artists to become better musicians and cultural connoisseurs.

Classic Album Review

All Dogs Disappear after “Kicking Every Day”

Kicking Every Day” was one of the first vinyl purchases I made, and it was met with some weird looks and comments by my friends. Six years later, I don’t regret my decision to buy this album. No, it’s not the perfect indie rock album, but the charm it imprinted on me is more important than its musical significance. 

All Dogs is an Ohio band formed in 2012 who have not lasted long in the laborious music industry. After releasing “Kicking Every Day”, the band has not released a single track since then.

Their Twitter page hasn’t had any activity for 5 years, so I am assuming they’ve faded and dispersed on their own paths unfortunately. 

The band’s vocalist, Maryn Jones, initially formed the band with bassist, Amanda Bartley. The duo self-released a split with another local Ohio band, slouch.

A few more years passed and the band added two more members, Jesse Withers, a drummer, and Nick Harris, another guitarist, to the lineup. All this background info is provided by this small biography on Allmusic.

With their fourth member added, the band began to record “Kicking Every Day” on Salinas Records out of Detroit, MI, and they released the album August 28, 2015. 

Tracks and Thoughts

Thankfully, All Dogs gets right to business with “Black Hole” being the first track of the album. I am sure if I didn’t enjoy this song, I wouldn’t enjoy this album as much as I do.

“Black Hole” grinds and winds us into oblivion and the perspective of this band. It roots our thoughts for the rest of the album to Jones’ vocals and Withers’ quiet explosions on the drums. 

Another stand out track on this release is “That Kind of Girl”. It has the most classically rooted guitar riffs and pop-punk sound on the album.

By being short and sweet, this song gets to the core of the band’s talent, which are their vocals and guitar. No extra time is spent on unnecessary rhythms and intros. 

Beautiful blooming buds take time and warmth to capture the eyes of artists. In “The Garden” Jones’ lower-quality vocals combine with scratchy acoustic guitar to create somber beauty in a dew-y paradise. This song has a slow burning beauty that I find to be encapsulating. 

Concluding Musings

I can’t chop up the rest of this album to filler because some songs reach out differently to people that have unique perspectives compared to my own. 

I find much of the rest of this album repetitive in terms of sound and content. “Skin” and “How Long” aren’t the most stand out tracks, yet they still have the band’s core sound flowing through them. 

Overall, All Dogs don’t stand out compared to Pavement, Modest Mouse or any other seminal indie classic, but their strong roots and sounds make them enjoyable even if they don’t sit in the center of attention.

Classic Album Review

Lana Del Rabies’ “Shadow World” in the Light

With Lana Del Rabies’ “Shadow World”, dark, spooky vibrations are available to listen to in the sunlight. The true horror of this album is actually quite fun to listen to. Heavy bass, ghostly vocals and eardrum piercing beats take over your mind when listening to “Shadow World.”

Lana Del Rabies is a multimedia artist, also known as Sam An. She has opened for many bands and artists like JPEGMAFIA, Lingua Ignota and AJJ (all information from her website). Her talent is already known, and apparently her shows are a wondrous horror-pit of fun.  

The Dark Recesses of “Shadow World”

Out of all these heavy and diverse tracks, “Devour” has stuck with me the most. The horrendous shrill noise at the introduction of the song is unforgettable. It is worth the time and pain of listening to the full track (even if at low volume) to really enjoy all of it. I thought of “Devour” as a neat piece of art trying to free itself in a jump-scare film. 

Another sick track on this album is “Disgrace”. The initial beats left me with an itchy feeling crawling underneath my skin. Any song or artist that can do that through music has talent and a sickening sense of style. 

Also, on this track is rage and horror to the extreme. “Shadow World”’s other tracks have a droning sound, but “Disgrace” taps into some death metal vocals, which are fun to hear. 

Ghost” is another song like “Devour” that became lodged in my mind. Its eerie and peculiar introduction leads up into a quieter vocal section like that of Anna von Hausswolff.

One more track I want to highlight, “Vicious End”, has a graphic and fear-inducing music video that I found to be a neat addition to the track:

Video from YouTube posted by Deathbomb Arc. Directed and edited by Lana Del Rabies.

Goodbye Ghosts and Ghouls

As this is the first and only album of Lana Del Rabies I have listened to, I will be sure to check out her other full length album, “Tell Me Again This Is Love”. 

Initially, I loved the sight of a Lana Del Ray spinoff artist when I saw Lana Del Rabies pop up on some music site I was exploring, and now I am happy at how different her music is compared to the light pop music Lana Del Ray makes. 

I know this creepy atmosphere isn’t for everyone, but the way Lana Del Rabies is able to combine all the eerie sounds into horrifying and wonderful music dumbfounded me. I love seeing different ways artists look at the world and make the reality feel, and “Shadow World” is an exemplary model of this.