Music

Shines: Shines EP

Shines' music is far too relaxed and blasé to really make an impact.


Shines

Shines EP

Label: Color Station
US Release Date: 2014-08-05
UK Release Date: 2014-08-05
Label website
Amazon
iTunes

Los Angeles' Jafar Jahanshahi makes electronic music under the alias Shines. Based on his recent self-titled EP, it is of the blissed-out and fragile quality. There are some nice touches sprinkled throughout the disc, whether it be the old-timey jazz sample that ends "Illusion's Truth" or the plucked harps that permeates "Hushed". Ultimately, though, this comes off as pretty boring stuff – watching paint dry might be more exciting – until you get halfway through the album and "Woke Up" takes hold. It's a no-holds barred, thumping anthem with a glorious melody. And it's the very best thing to be found on the Shines EP. It really doesn't get much better than that, which makes you wish that there were more songs in this vein. But, alas, this EP is pretty much on the quiet side, with songs that don't have much of a destination in mind. This is surprising given that Jahanshahi's uncle was a member of the Vandals, a punk band. You would surmise that some of that raw energy and power would permeate these songs, but no. They're just pretty, pretty and don't do an awful lot to engage the listener.

A classic case in point is opener "Into the Further/Heartstrung". It begins with chimes and bird song (the latter of which is buried fairly low in the mix) and a singular sustained keyboard chord. This goes on for a good minute and thirty-eight seconds, before giving way to a subtle thump of a song. At which point, you might want to start gouging your eyes out just from the sheer laidback quality of the song. "Finding Eden" doesn't fare much better, as it starts out with keyboard washes and a low tempo beat. And, aside from "Woke Up", the rest of this EP is all the same. What the Shines EP really needs is some sonic variation. It's one thing to do something once, but to repeat yourself over and over again is something of a cardinal sin in music making, and Jahnashahi's music is far too relaxed and blasé to really make an impact. So, essentially, this EP is really for those who like to listen to something while unwinding from a tough day. Me? I think I'm now going to stare at the wall for a while now and see if I can count the paint specks.

4

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less
3

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less
9

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image