High Voltage Magazine

OUT TODAY: The Hard Lessons - Arms Forest

posted by jade.amey | Tuesday, May 26, 2009 | 11:28 AM

There are many, many things that I love about my home state (Michigan). For instance, I like sitting on the beloved Swinging Bridge in my hometown or swinging on the swings at the Lexington Harbor with my homies during the wee hours of the morning. I also love that my mom will make me Gołąbki even when it’s the middle of July and 90+ degrees. Though I enjoy these things a lot when I come back to visit, my FAVORITE thing about Michigan is the music that comes out of Detroit, Ann Arbor, and other Southern Michigan cities...

Enter: the Hard Lessons.

Their latest album, Arms Forest, was released today and I honestly couldn’t wait for this day to come. Not because I didn’t have the album – but because I think this album deserves to be heard by as many people as possible. Yes, folks, it’s that good. Most of the songs from the album are already on my “Top 25 Most Played” playlist on iTunes. Obsessed? Oh yes. There’s no shame in admitting it, either.

To celebrate the release of Arms Forest, the Hard Lessons (consisting of Augie and Korin Visocchi on guitar/vox and keyboard/vox, respectively, and Ryan Vee on drums) played three homecoming shows: two in Hamtramck, MI and one in Detroit (Photos soon!). I attended all of them and I dragged my friends with me and these shows converted my friends into Hard Lessons fans. They decided that after much deliberation (in this article, “deliberation” means listening to Arms Forest after the Detroit show for hours, for hours, for hours...), Arms Forest is the best album they have heard this year thus far. I hadn’t thought about that yet, but I have to agree.

Every song on this album has something different about it. “Roma Termini” has a little bit of a techno thing going on, “Wedding Ring” is such a beautifully composed song, “Manoogian Zoo” has the verse “So welcome to the Detroit Zoo...“ in the song, which gives me a warm, fuzzy, nostalgic feeling for some reason. Of course, you will have some typical, Augie–and–Korin–will–kick–your–face–in songs, such as “Sound the Silent Alarm” and the title track, “Arms Forest”. After hearing the latter mentioned songs (or seeing them live), you’ll understand why “kick-your-face-in” songs are a very good thing.

This article is probably getting a little bit too long, but I can go on for days about the album and how incredible it is. Not just the songs, either, but the concept of Arms Forest and what that means, and the album artwork and how pretty the vinyl is... However, I think it’s best if you just go and buy the album right now. However, if you want me to talk your ear off about Arms Forest, you know where to find me. Maybe. ~ Jade Amey

MySpace | Official Site

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Agent Ribbons - Your Love Is the Smallest Doll

posted by jade.amey | Monday, May 25, 2009 | 9:52 AM
Agent Ribbons
Your Love Is the Smallest Doll
Acuarela Records
Reviewed By: Jade Amey

I don’t remember exactly how I came across this band. I usually keep tabs on stuff like that, but I can’t think of how the Sacramento based band Agent Ribbons entered my realm for the life of me. I saw them in Chicago back in February at Quencher’s, but I liked them way before that. I guess it’s somewhat of a mystery.

Your Love is the Smallest Doll is the second 7” vinyl release for Agent Ribbons. The band consists of Natalie Gordon on guitar and lead vocals, Lauren Hess on drums/accordion and Naomi Cherie on violin and cello. The band’s first full length release, On Time Travel and Romance, is minimal with mostly only guitar and drums that is much in the style of the White Stripes. Your Love Is the Smallest Doll kind of steps away from the minimalist style into a more instrumentally focused release.

The 7” starts with 'the Artist', that has a haunting and eerie, psychedelic instrumentation and will leave you wondering what material the artist uses as the instrumentation intensifies at the end. This leads right into 'Bird in the Mirror', which is a track much different from the foremost. It’s a lot lighter and wispier, and it almost has a Sgt. Pepper’s-esque vibe that stems from the violins and the beautiful singing of all the ladies of the band. 'Your Love Is the Smallest Doll' is the quirky, circus-esque title track. The song holds a steady beat of military style drumming while being accompanied with an accordion that will give you the sense of 1920s or 1930s tune that really picks up at the end with all the girls in the band, once again, singing all together and declaring that “Your love is the smallest doll/and that will never do/because my doll eats them all”. It’s like a mature Disney song; when Disney was good, that is. You know, Snow White and Alice in Wonderland - that Disney. Overall, I find myself listening to this release quite a bit. Natalie’s voice through out this whole set of songs is so perfect and powerful at times that her voice will make you drop whatever you’re doing and listen to what she has to say.

I definitely recommend you purchase this 7” vinyl when it is released in July.
Your Love Is the Smallest Doll blew me away when I first listened to it. Though it only consists of three songs, you’ll want to keep this one on your record player for a while before you switch it.



Meet Marilyn Manson LA!

posted by High Voltage Staff | Thursday, May 21, 2009 | 9:51 AM

OUT TODAY: New York Dolls - Cause I Sez So

posted by CHELSEA | Tuesday, May 5, 2009 | 5:17 PM

I couldn't have been more excited for this release with the New York Dolls being part of my trio of all-time favorite artists, so as the doors opened at Amoeba this morning I was there waiting anxiously to pick up this disc. Cause I Sez So is once again produced by Todd Rundgren who produced the Dolls first album in 1973. The album starts off strong, clocks in just under 42 minutes and includes a re-recorded/rearranged version of "Trash". Why they felt the need to redo this track is far beyond me and I definitely could've done without hearing this version, ever. I mean seriously, a Caribbean-inspired Buster Poindexter-esque redo of their classic proto-punk hit? Oy!

However, with "Trash" aside, the album actually rocks and the production is reminiscent of their 70s recordings. Pick it up today or catch them up on the road near you soon!

MySpace | Official Site

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