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Evil Friends – Portugal. The Man | Album Review

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Alaskan group Portugal. The Man has been a slave to the studio since 2006, producing a record per year up until 2011. All have been solid records but nothing like their newest. Evil Friends. The two-year hiatus produced automatic toe tapping and the group’s best sound yet. 

Danger Mouse produced the album, which explains the heightened gloomy undertones. The album is noticeably darker than Portugal’s American Ghetto (2010) and In the Mountain in the Cloud (2011), but is still able to work with their upbeat vibe.  

Their normal alt-pop sound is matched with electric guitar riffs and piano that give the sound more edge. 

The sound is born again angst. The mid 20s, forced to face the world kind of angst. Portugal gets it. “Modern Jesus,” probably the best track on the album, makes the theme apparent with lyrics like “Don’t pray for us. We don’t need no modern Jesus to roll with us” and “you don’t need sympathy, they have a pill for everything.”

“Atomic Man” and “Plastic Soldiers” are the two best examples of how varied the sound is on each song on the album. 

“Plastic Soldiers” starts slow with mixed sounds of guitar and studio sound effects but moves into a folkie meets funk beat. “Atomic Man” keeps an enthusiastic tempo as it intertwines alt-rock into a singer-songwriter, quiet ending. 

The keyed up lyrics and fluctuating sounds make for an album only Portugal. The Man and Danger Mouse could make. 

Taking the nearly two-year break from recording was probably just what Portugal. The Man needed to take their music to the next level. With a more versatile sound, Evil Friends is definitely the best yet.

 

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Star Wars™ Pinball: Star Wars Rebels™

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Zen Studios has concocted a ruse of amusement, it’s a trap—of fun. Star Wars™ Pinball: Star Wars Rebels™, established by the critically acclaimed animated TV show on Disney XD, Star Wars Rebels™, releases endorphins chock full of nostalgia and bliss. With all of the Star Wars talk going on as of late, it’s nice to get in your daily need of pew pew! Stormtroopers assemble and try to take down the hero of Lothal, the whole mission thing is a bit nuts. This pinball table goes to a galaxy far far away by delving into an age that has yet to be traversed by the films. Zen studios gets the balance of the force just right, do not try to get this table, do it.

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Pinball FX-2 Avengers: Age of Ultron

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Zen Studios does it again with Pinball FX2 – Marvel Avenger’s: Age of Ultron. This table is available on PC, Xbox One, and Playstation 4. Avengers Assemble! Age of Ultron quenches a thirst for adventure you didn’t know you had. Players assist Iron Man in finishing his most aspiring venture to date. The profound and climactic soundtrack will rip you out of the comfort of your chair and into the Age of Ultron. Enjoy this audacious addition to the Avenger’s universe, Thor’s might is on your side. The Incredible Hulk, Hawkeye, and Black Widow make a gargantuan attempt at arresting the nefarious Ultron. Pull yourself together and check out this game, you can’t afford more mistakes. The god of thunder favors you.

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Shaking the Habitual, The Knife | Album Review

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By The Knife

Shaking the Habitual is something every person needs more of in life. Stepping outside of boundaries and entering a new experience can have a confounding effect on the senses. Rhythm and movement resonate from the deepest depths of the soul and project outward in an array of vibrancy. 

What starts off like a indigenous ceremony quickly changes to a post apocalyptic nuclear wasteland by the third track, “A Cherry on Top.” Then, finding semblance in a 19 minute interlude, “Old Dreams Waiting to Be Realized,” the brother-and-sister duo reemerge in ritualistic fashion with the deep bass line of “Raging Lung”. Ending with an unsettling aptitude, Fracking Fluid Injection precedes the final track, Ready to Lose; providing insight to a larger contextual effect this album has in a world seeming “Full of Fire.” 

Although difficult to fully embody the composition of electronic and aboriginal noise heard in The Knife’s new album, Shaking the Habitual, any movement to the music is sure to conjure emotion. At times, the May release represents a more archetypal sound in the art of music. 

Tying together components of old and new, the Swedish duo creates a spellbinding effect with the first track, A Tooth For an Eye. Amalgamating dominant instrumentations, subtle synth lines and underlying vocals, A Tooth For and Eye entices the listener with something seldom projected over the airwaves. 

Coming off a seven year hiatus, the duo can predominate with an electronic influence, but, ultimately the seamless transition across a spectrum of sound grasps the ear. Delivered in its entirety, the lasting impression might leave one feeling like a participant of a seance.

— Rob Donovan

 

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