Author: Barnabas

MIDIval Punditz Light album cover

MIDIval Punditz Light album coverMIDIval Punditz
Light

Six Degrees Records
Street: 04.28
MIDIval Punditz = Karsh Kale + Tabla Beat Science

Toe-tapping and finger swing is what accompanies this album. Its mixture of the sitar, Sarangi and upbeat techno allows for a new type of sensory input. The mid-chested chanting—which accompanies some of the songs—gives the rhythm a solid base line, while allowing it to constantly fluctuate between the traditional Indian instruments and electronic music. However, the whole album is not a success. Due to the wide variety of vocals and instruments, the album can be too different at times and does not flow. This is only a minute problem, since all of the rhythms are individually made, but it can be just too much of a flux going from upbeat to mellow and collected. This album is one that would most likely be heard while purchasing incense at Dancing Crane or while culturally appropriating yoga at a local studio. –Barnabas

passion pit kindred album cover

passion pit kindred album coverPassion Pit
Kindred

Columbia
Street: 04.21
Passion Pit = Owl City + Imagine Dragons

With Kindred, Passion Pit move into the realm of cute lyrics and synthesized, radio-made computer beats. Just like Gossamer, this album is another step in corny pop culture. It does show the versatility of the band, but hints at the overwhelming influences of its conception. The songs are quite similar to one another, and at first listen, it was hard to really know if the first song had ended at all. This album does have an element of uplifted hope and should be a must for any diehard recreators of the scene from The Perks of Being A Wallflower of Charlie’s cathartic experience while standing on the bed of a truck, driving through a tunnel. –Barnabas

Snoop-Dogg-Bush album cover

Snoop-Dogg-Bush album coverSnoop Dogg
Bush

Columbia Records
Street: 05.12
Snoop Dogg = Daft Punk + old Dr. Dre

Snoop Dogg’s latest release, which is fully produced by Pharrell Williams, is another rap album that strikes a chord with white audiences. The pseudo techno beats, mixed with Williams–style funk, allows for each song to flow. However, the songs follow such a similar pattern that, after a while, they begin to blend together. Snoop Dogg’s lyrics are simple and pertain to sexual freaks and women with fat asses, though they are slightly less interesting than Snoop and William’s 2004 song “Drop It Like Its Hot.” This album was definitely made for summer, and it’s a perfect listen for any Lake Powell houseboat enthusiast draped in the American Flag. –Barnabas

Fort Knox Five
Pressurize The Cabin
Fort Knox Recordings 
Street: 04.28
Fort Knox Five = C2C + 
Daft Punk + Cypress Hill

D.C.’s Fort Knox Five have returned after scouring the earth with pep in their step. Their album Pressurize The Cabin is well-produced, and its sound has a light airiness to it. Each song has its own rhythm, ranging from ’90s-era Latin hip-hop grooves to sitar melodies to Celia Cruz–esque dance tones—all built upon a base of continual funk trumpets, trombones and other brass instruments. The collaboration blends well together, and the funky grooves pave large avenues in the mind for summer. –Barnabas  

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Ratatat Magnifique

Ratatat
Magnifique

XL
Street: 06.17
Ratatat = MGMT + Daft Punk / Crystal Castles

Magnifique, or “C’est super,” is the much anticipated follow-up album to Ratatat’s 2010 LP4. The songs follow the same Ratatat setup, with loud pipes and heavy electric guitar riffs. This album, however, sounds more like their 2006 album Classics rather than an addition to LP4. Comprising 14 songs, this new album is a mix between full-bodied, moving, fast grooves and easily danceable, slow, airy melodies. Magnifique is a perfect addition to Ratatat’s summer tour and for anyone who likes to take long drives in the dead of night. –Barnabas

Betep No. 2

Lukas Fisher
Self-Released
Street: 05.10

Formatted in a single booklet with three separate stories, a CD with five songs and three postcards depicting morbid expressionist art, Betep No. 2 explores the darker side of humans. The stories, art and music all explore the inner workings of hatred as a way to love. Suffering and death are pivotal, but they are more personal mindsets one must overcome—through hatred. Hatred is used as an armor, which allows people to get ever so close to the flame—love and acceptance. Whether it be spiritual salvation, self-worth or understanding, hatred is needed to explore the depths. The release of darkness within one’s own life cannot come from an outside light, for the darkness will remain and be prevalent once the light is gone, but rather light must come from the darkness itself. This is where hate comes into play. It is a part of the darkness and is its navigator—suggesting that hate is possibly never an end nor a singular point but an ever-expansive bridge. Betep No. 2 questions the hate in death, suffering and personal tribulations and turns them in acceptance and love of life, struggle and personal narrative. –Barnabas

Victim: Unknown

S.C. Burke
Nihilism Revised, Escapegoat Records
Street: 06.16

In a contemporary time, an ordinary man is turned into a deadly gunman. The protagonist was a man who was beaten, raped and watched his bastard son’s mother participate in group sex with the whole junior varsity football team on prom night. Though the zine is only 15 pages, the author is able to make the story come alive with the intricate details in the writing. The zine focuses on the social influences which created this gunman with hints at his humanity. In the beginning of the story, there is a quote by a survivor of the Pleasant Heights Massacre which is focused on asking the “right” questions. However, the questions posed and explored in the story only contribute to the well-worn rhetoric around this subject. They all are self-serving and lead to the answers which are easily palpable—being that these were isolated, estranged people who were sadistic and nihilistic beings. However, the questions which point the lens on the individual in the crowd are neglected. The questions which lead to looking at each person’s individual humanity and their propensity for these actions are surely missed. –Barnabas

Chariot Wars
Om Entertainment

Reviewed on: Windows (Exclusive)
Street: 05.25

At first glance, Chariot Wars seems to be a unique racing game—nestled in the small niche along with N64’s Star Wars Episode I: Racer. However, racing alongside characters—given names which resemble well-known Romans such as Quintus Octavian (Octavius Mamilius) and Marcus Augustinuis (Marcus Augustus)—loses the unique feel really fast. The graphics and transition sequences are lack luster and often times invisible walls or floating coins would appear. This loosely assembled game has the potential to be something special, but, like me, just won’t go that extra mile. –Barnabas

House of Good JuJu

Sacred Space Smudge Mist & Aura Cleansing Soy Candle
Houseofgoodjuju.com

Utah’s House of Good JuJu is a company fixed on the purpose of creating products that heal. They offer products ranging from soaps and candles to mist sprays and JuJu bags. Their Sacred Space Smudge Spray ($20)—made with dried sage, juniper and lavender and infused with Smoky Topaz and Black Tourmaline—is a powerful scent that first smells like a rubber floor mat from a new car, but after spraying it in the air, it retains a soft, copper smell. Their Aura Cleansing Soy Candle ($20), which mixes Lemongrass with Clear Quartz, Fluorite and Amethyst, emits a sweet, cotton candy–flavored Dum Dum smell, which, while lit, leads to a calming feel. The products are said to improve the spirit of the spaces they are used in—from the testing and different house placements, they both soothe and allow for purposeful and soft breathing. Find your Juju at this year’s Craft Lake City DIY Festival. –Barnabas

Dope

Dope
Kevin Grose

Page Publishing
Street: 09.30.14

The world of drug dealing and drug use are topics often portrayed in movies and TV—mainly played out through the lens of the society or law enforcement. The perspective and thoughts of people who are actually doing the acts are commonly overlooked. Dope takes the reader head first into the world of methamphetamine and the criminal justice system. Kevin Grose illuminates his own story through a personal and straightforward style of writing. This type of writing makes the reader want to keep pushing through the morbid humor and settings. Grose also deftly highlights the pain, suffering and pure power of addiction. The mindset that allows one to get a woman addicted to drugs to the point where she is “eating out of your hands” is honestly portrayed and—unsettling as it is—the mindset and pure dependency of the drug shows the dangers of meth. The purpose of the book seems to be a “here’s what to expect” sort of lesson. Grose is not trying to change any minds but just share his honest viewpoint of where certain actions will lead and how no matter how invincible you feel, you’re not. –Barnabas