I recently received the pleasure of reviewing the new album ‘Saturn’s In Retrograde‘ by Texas Microphone Massacre. For those who may be unfamiliar, TMM recently signed to Serial Killin’ Records. The band, hailing from the Austin, TX area, came together in 2010 to begin working on their first album, ‘Fantasy Rolodex.’ After achieving much local media and radio success, the group followed ‘Fantasy Rolodex’ with the ‘Lovers’ EP. Their second full-length, ‘Saturn’s In Retrograde’ (which we’re about to discuss) was released a few months ago on September 22nd. TMM is comprised of Chris Veden on vocals, Heath Tull and Gilbert Sanchez on instrumentals and Grammy-nominated Tim Gerron on engineering. All members also contribute to songwriting and production.
Now onto the album itself. Overall, ‘Saturn’s In Retrograde’ is a very solid and enjoyable record. It’s a very fine blend of rock, electronic, punk, pop and almost any other genre you can think of. I’ve been trying to come up with a good way to describe the band’s sound, and it’s nearly impossible without telling someone to just listen to it. I’ll admit this review was somewhat difficult for that reason alone, but I shall attempt to do my best to break this down track by track for you:
1. Moving Through Walls – Great electronic build up and beat with a subtle rock instrumental woven throughout. The lyrics flow nicely and the vocals are reminiscent of a 90s indie/alternative song.
2. Other Worlds Than These – This track is a little heavier than the first, with an energetic almost-gritty sort of feel. The blend of rock and electronic helps to carry the mellow vocals all the way through.
3. Fashionista – This song has more of an uplifting feel, and definitely has a punk influence to it. After the second crrous is a nice bridge with a slight electronic sound that carries you over nicely to the final choruses.
4. Crickets – This one here is definitely one of my favorites, I’ve featured it more than once on The Buffalo Juggalo Radio Show. It has a very mellow yet energetic feel, with a chorus that almost pulls you under. This is a great track to vibe to. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NlyUzfaJsM[/youtube]
5. Saturn’s Rings – This could kinda be considered the “title track.” The song is a very elegant laid-back blend of piano and guitar with soothing vocals. This is another track you could get lost in.
6. Mask of the Red Death – This is probably the heaviest track on the album thus far. The vocals in this personally remind me a lot of Ozzy Osbourne, mainly while he’s singing the verses. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P81GT8Xv494[/youtube]
7. Her Tongue – This is another heavier track. The verses are more mellow with an almost-lounge type feel, while the chorus picks up with an almost dirty rock sound.
8. Rasputin’s Tomb – This is an upbeat song with more of an electronic influence. It gets a little heavy for a moment later on in the track, then comes back
9. Sight Beyond Sight – This is a quicker paced track, and another example of Chris’ wide variety of vocal stylings. The verses have a slight punk/grunge feel and the chorus is another one that could potentially pull you in. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=162EyvlEEoU[/youtube]
10. Nomine – This song starts out laid back then slowly builds. The chorus is a definite upper, especially after the bridge following the second refrain, the added guitar gives it an almost “epic” feel. This is another favorite of mine from the album.
11. Exxor – This is a soothingly mellow instrumental track. It’s only about a minute and a half long, but makes for a nice little intermission break before dropping in with the next track….
12. Cry Little Sister – This is a cover of the song by G Tom Mac and Michael Mainieri from the ‘Lost Boys’ soundtrack. Those of you who are Juggalos may recall Zug Izland covering this song as well on their ‘Cracked Tiles’ album. In fact, I mentioned before Chris’ vocals often sound like Syn from Zug Izland, and this track is the perfect example to uphold that argument. This really is a wonderful song, sung in a beautifully haunting voice that will surely captivate you.
13. Giants on Stilts (Retroskeptic Mix) – This is an upbeat energetic electronic-heavy mix. The vocals are quite low, but blend well with the sound. This would be a good one to bounce to in a club or on a nice system.
Overall, I give this album at least a 4 out of 5. It was quite pleasant to listen to all the way through and had great production value. This sound truly is one of a kind, and it’s nice to hear something new. It’s also refreshing to see this kind of product coming out of such a predominately hardcore hip hop label, and the response it’s received thus far has been great.
Don’t forget we just recently conducted an interview with them, and also pee the links out below and snag this album for yourself!
- Cry Little Sister