Band: Atoms for Peace
Title: Amok
Genre: Alternative rock, Experimental rock, Electronics, Thom Yorke
Producer: Nigel Godrich
Label: XL Recordings
Release date: 25th February, 2013

The debut album by the Alternative rock band Atoms For Peace, Amok features Thom Yorke, the Radiohead Singer (vocals, guitar, keyboards), bassist Flea, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Joey Waronker of Beckand R.E.M at drums, Radiohead engineer/producer Nigel Godrich  and percussionist Mauro Refosco. An arduous intricate exercise in micro-produced digitalia, it’s a pertinent artistic album.

It has such lavishly diverse participation, which essentially results in a collection of buoyant, moderate rock songs. This 9 track album is an enthralling listen full of compelling contrasts.

Let us dig into its striking features then.

Track-1: Before Your Very Eyes

‘Before Your Very Eyes’, the inaugural track floats along gloriously. A well nigh tribal composition intact with dulcimer, drum and bass rhythm. The track opens with looped guitar and the bass guitar that clamps along. The distorted synthesizer and synth bass line makes it more compelling and forceful.

A great addition to the album!

Track-2: Default

“Default” is the album’s first single, which somewhere falls short of a song’s emotional value. Apparently, listeners will have a tendency to relate it with Thom Yorke’s The Eraser. Whole track is wrapped up with throbbing, rattling or drizzling. It’s a jittery five minute ride that may leave a cold impression on the listener. The drums are louder in this track.

Track-3: Ingenue

Thom’s shift to electronic core from indie rock has been an interesting one. A soul carol “Ingenue” is a compassionate and nostalgic turn, yet also most enigmatic. Yorke performed a wild, visionary number with contemporary dancer Fukiko Takase. It is worth getting just for this song alone. This track is characterized by its warped and shimmering layers.

Track-4: Dropped

“Dropped”, is more high-strung track displaying lively instrumentation. It showcases the true meaning of heartbreak and pain. Here, Yorke’s voice combines with clipped orchestrated sounds. “Ingenue”, “Dropped” and “Unless” form a trio of throbbing tracks.  Dropped- weakest of all, but okay.

Track-5: Unless

“Unless” blends variations of boom bap with drum and bass. It creates a sense of paranoia, markedly while listening with headphones. However one may find the track distracting from the cadence of the music.

Track-6: Stuck Together Pieces

This is a jazz-jungle-hued track that gives a feeling of an anxiety attack. And the peaceful guitar melody accompanying the obsessive vocal is really soothing. Flea’s talent on the bass comes through on “Stuck Together Pieces”.

Track-7: Judge, Jury and Executioner

Second single track of the album and is the shortest off all tracks. On “Judge, Jury, And Executioner” Thom wails, “don’t worry, baby, it goes right through me/ I’m like the wind and my anger will disperse.” It is mellower and more harmonious than “Default”.

Track-8: Reverse Running

“Reverse Running” revolves on its opening groove for really long. It passes on into a crowd of electronic bees which gives a contemporary feel. The music is tangled and knotted behind Yorke’s voice which is the focal point of the track.

 Track-9: Amok

It is the swan song of the album. On AMOK, Yorke’s lyrics incline to drift in and out of precision. This track is featured by its deep bass undercurrents and chaffs of crackling and snapping drums. It has justifiable hooks and crooks.

Broadly, it is a frail, praiseworthy record well worth investigating. This satisfies all my carvings for mind-boggling progressive rhythms. I recommend everyone go pickup ‘Amok’ today.

With inputs from Anup Sharma

After their 9th Studio Album- Backspacer- being acclaimed by many as their best work yet Pearl Jam after almost a 4 year long break have given us a sneak peek into their upcoming album Lightning Bolt. This preview comes in the form of the song Mind Your Manners, released over the internet 2 days back. Let us dig right into the striking features of this Lightning Bolt then:

The song starts off with a guitar progression that is quite punchy, yet the tone is rounded off well, making it a rather easy way in. And then the vocals hit you, if you are not a regular to PJ’s music (like me) then it’ll take you a moment to realize that it still is Eddie Vedder. He doesn’t look or sound like the guy in Alive or Jeremy, but is amazing nevertheless. The style of vocals complements the lyrics and in turn the title of the track. The lyrics are cloaked in religious references and so is the cover art for this track- we saw some resemblance to the cover art of Warren Zevon’s Excitable Boy here.

About halfway through the song the masterstroke comes in, the guitar solo. Sadly this is short lived, however, by now one can realize that not only is the final sound impeccable, but PJ has played around with the soundscape a bit more. It is safe to assume that the band must’ve had a lot of fun during the production.

In so many ways the song is similar to the PJ sound (case in point- Spin the Black Circle) but in many ways different and a leap forward. If this song is the centrepiece of the album, Lightning Bolt will be one album to look out for.

So Sailors, Mind your Manners!

Wikipedia describes rock and roll as a genre of music that originated in America in the 1950s and is played with a lead guitar, a rhythm guitar, a string bass and a drum kit…or is it? rock Rock and roll proved to be much more than just music. It was the sound that truly shook conservative America for good, and eventually took pretty much the whole world by storm. It wasn’t just music, it was a provocation. It was an affront to authority and the oh-so-propah world with its set rules, rules the youth was desperately trying to find a way to break away from. As rock critic Jim Miller put it, “the name itself was sexual, derived from black slang for copulation.” There was something about the music itself, which with it’s out of the world back- beat and amplified guitars broke all conventions, perhaps it was the crudeness and utter madness of it all. But can we really blame music for bringing a revolution in a quiet, conventional world? Well, the music then itself was pretty simple, with plain riffs and casual lyrics. However its origins were not. In fact, rock and roll was the result of more than a century of musical cross-pollination between white and black, master and slave; a music born of miscegenation. It was a symbol of fighting back and breaking the chains of subordination and slavery. It thus went on to become one of the first signs of democracy and a true product of the consumer society. It was also its easy availability which soon led to its rapid base growth followed by an ever increasing fan following. And this was only the beginning. Then came the (in)famous 60s when it became official- the new mantra was that of ‘sex, drugs and rock n roll’ (President John F. Kennedy being a notorious icon and consequently a victim of the age himself). This is when bands like The Beatles, The Doors and the Rolling Stones came into the mainstream with path breaking music defying conventional thoughts and gave their listeners a new zest, the freedom to question, to fight. At that point of time, any kid who could muster up the finances for a new guitar and find some like – minded people could start a band of his own, and not surprisingly this is how many of the most famous bands came into existence. Thus this is where rebellion took its initial shape and was molded further. It definitely had its pros and cons, as this was followed by the hippie culture which was more subtled down yet deeply influenced nonetheless. And Elvis Presley, Queen and AC/DC et al prove it. The 70s will always be remembered for the revolution it brought which changed the way people thought around the world. Forty years have passed since then but the impact remains deeply embedded in our beings, mostly passed on to us as legacy by our parents by having been contributors to the age themselves, the age of sheer rebellion, the age we feel we deserved to have been born in, the age that started it all…the age of rock n roll. ]]>

Q: My problem is simple. I have a ” so-called” friend of Face book who’s pretty and nice and all those things I’d want to “see” in her. But she’s kind of a B-list online friend for me and I don’t fancy a lot of things she does. Will it be rude if I click the “remove friend” tab against her name. It’s not hampering my social life or anything, so I don’t feel the need really. But it just doesn’t feel right man. What do i do?

A: Haha I should probably adopt you. Ditching my “B-list online pals” has started to become my favourite pass time. I’ve been pestering my Google with this (eh Google here is not my dog) and guess what, the New Oxford American Dictionary officially named unfriend the “it” word of 2009. Please please join my bandwagon for I’ve done the world a great deed by ID-ing the reasons which should tell you that it’s time to kick the “so-called” friends out of your social networking life. So I’m going to wear my most gorgeous sari and put on my dark glasses and shout to tell you to CHECK-THIS-OUT!

#1. She’s a firm believer that you can learn a lot about your health from your poop — and has the status updates to prove it.

#2.  You’ve only met her once but he “likes” everything you do on Facebook. Uh, stalk much?

#3. You’re pretty sure she doesn’t wear a dress and veil everyday, but the girl can’t stop posting pics of her.

#4. For those of you who’re “committed”, your girlfriend changing her status to single without breaking up in person. UNFRIEND NOW!

#5. One word: Farmville. (Even though I’m a big fan but UNFRIEND because I’m allowed, I’m sex amma).

#6. She might not be on The Biggest Loser but for some reason she wants the entire world to know what she had for lunch, how many miles she just ran, and when she is sweating it out at the gym!

#7. She has a passion for tagging you in all those random “best pals on face book” photos. She’s obviously hinting a bit too much. Maybe she should try getting the hint.


#9.  She added you hoping to “re-connect” but it’s been 10 years since you accepted the request and STILL haven’t “re-connected”!

#10. You call her “mom”!

I can never mean to favour the male sex. I’m fond of them but I love my sisters a lot more. So for all my girlies, just replace the she with a he. I would’ve ripped them boys had a girl sent in this question. Happy Face Book-ing to my bachchas. 🙂


For your ears and not your digestive systems

Hot Rats is Frank Zappa’s second solo album post The Mothers and was released in 1969. It consists of six tracks with a collective length of almost an hour and in the Grand Wazoo’s own words, “it is a movie for your ears”. One of the key features of this album is the remarkable editing and post-recording work done by Zappa himself. As for the ominous album cover, it gives the expression, ‘rose-tinted’ a completely new meaning.

Hot Rats is primarily an instrumental album with Willie the Pimp being the only exception; consequently, the album title was taken from this song. The peculiar and raspy vocals seem just right for the bawdy lyrics, which also reflect Zappa’s tendency of writing songs in the first person, placing himself as the eponymous character as always. Technically sound music and at the same time far more vibrant and human than any of its rivals in this department. Another realization that might strike you through the course of the album is that Zappa sure had a knack of picking the right talent as is evident by the more than able and flawless rhythm section. Ian Underwood of course has his virtuosity stamped all over the album with numerous instruments ranging from the flute to the organ, particularly in The Gumbo Variations, which is basically a legendary sixteen minute jam, and in which Underwood manages to hold his own with the saxophone. The way he makes the instrument shriek, bark and bray, is just insane! Regarding Zappa himself, his characteristic complex chronological structures are evident in all the compositions, a clear influence of his penchant for classical music. There are the typical rock n’ roll and blues licks, and then the psychedelic aspects of Zappa’s music. Unlike Floyd, it is a fast-paced brand of psychedelia but not of the dismal variety that is called modern psych or trance. Of course, Zappa’s influences derived from the avant-garde movement find ample space throughout the album, particularly in the form of his eccentric and brilliant guitar solos. The album starts with Peaches en Regalia, which at just about three and a half minutes is one of the shorter songs, and yet it stands out for its complex structure and sheer musical genius. You know you are in for a ride as soon as the drum intro begins.

Son of Mr. Green Genes puts the ripple and flutter effects to excellent use without sounding repetitive. Little Umbrellas, the shortest song of the album has to its credit a simply superb bass line and rhythm, which gradually oscillates between eeriness and cheerfulness. As for the final song, It must be a Camel, Zappa achieves an ineffable effect with the help of somewhat muffled drumbeats and guitar notes. The almost robotic and hypnotic interlude is captivating to say the least. A special mention to the judicious use of violins throughout the album, although the flutes have been woefully underplayed. Oh, and don’t eat the yellow snow!