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Dead Week Music
Daft Punk- Tron: Legacy Original Soundtrack - Whether you like Daft Punk or not, I highly encourage you check out this soundtrack to the new Tron movie. This is not another Daft Punk album, this is a soundtrack produced by two men who know music. It provides a background for a sci-fi setting without overdoing the synthesizers. Remember Brian Eno’s Small Craft on a Milk Sea that came out a little over a month ago? Well, while Eno’s soundtrack-like work set the scene for an epic terrestrial film, Daft Punk expands the boundaries and provides the music for a space-age universal setting. Check out Jeff Bridges’ sweet voice-over on “The Grid” and look out for “Recognizer” and “Adagio for Tron”
Space Capone- Volume 1: Transformation - I was afraid at first of what would be in this album due to the open-shirt bald man wearing sunglasses and suspenders on the cover. But instead of the experimental “you wouldn’t understand” music I was expecting, I got a modern example of pretty damn good funk. Think Electric Six meets the badass funk stars of the 1970s. I was quite fond of “I Just Wanna Dance” and “My Dudes (All Approve)” wasn’t bad either.
Audio-ology- Loud and Clear- Mixing pop with hip-hop, Audio-ology manages to dish out an album that is less in-your-face than the current Top 40 charts, but way more poppy than your Kid Cudi or Chiddy Bang music (both of which they liken themselves to). I tried out “Pretty Girls” and didn’t mind the tune, though the message behind it would bring resentment from your average feminist. The whole album manages to hold its own. If you’re into the genre, give it a spin.
Too Late for Roses- Debut - This group made the mistake of putting their best tracks at the end of the album. Upon first putting in the cd, you are greeted with tracks reminiscent of bro-hood and the most mediocre bands at Pointfest. However, listen to “Soundtrack from Masks” and you’ll see the ultimate potential. It’s haunting, original, and is the music from a short animated film by Patrick Smith (the director of Daria and the animator behind many commercials, including the Zoloft ones with the little furry depressed thing). Skip the first seven tracks, stop by “The Satisfaction” for a sec, then finish the end of the album, where the real music is.
Modern Paranoia- I’m a Bird- Each of these tracks was produced by a different permutation of band members, and I have to say my favorite is “I’m a Bird,” characterized by heartfelt vocals that sound like a less-cocky version of the Kings of Leon guy. The tracks vary in their sound, but all of them produce a sound taking elements from rock artists of the past 20 years.
Doctors & Dealers - Trouble- When I listened to this album, I felt like I was in a French cafe. The vocals are soft and jazzy, but the music behind them has a bourgeois avant-garde element I can’t put my finger on. If you like some trumpet, drums, and piano and drinking espresso, check it out.
Some new stuff for ya'
Mnemonic Sounds- Muscle Memories- Electronic pop slightly reminiscent of Owl City, but don’t let that throw you off. The vocals are not heavily auto-tuned and I doubt a million tweenage girls would be throwing themselves at these two. Mnemonic Sounds is made up of Peter Suk and Megan Ouchida and while the synthesizer is heavy in a few tracks, Ouchida’s vocals are sweet and not laden with autotune like so many of the bubbly electronica artists out there. Listen to “Function Under This” and “Keeping it Quiet” to really get a good feel of the vocals and check out “Stacking Up Bricks” and “Lonely Heart” for the more synthesized pop.
Oh Land- Oh Land EP- Cute electronic-backed pop coming from a cute Danish girl. Imagine Bjork + Nelly Furtado with a classical-inspired electronic beat. It’s obvious that the creators behind the album know a thing or two about music, because the balance of pop, classical, and experimental works well. I really liked “Rainbows” and “Sun of a Gun” is pretty good also.
Maserati- Pyramid of the Sun-This one’s been out a while, but I highly suggest you give it a listen. The ambient psychedelic sounds really give you an idea of what modern rock is capable of producing. It contains the final recordings of Jerry Fuchs (who died last year after falling down an elevator shaft) and his efforts were not in vain. The title track, “Pyramid of the Sun” exhibits more of the psychedelic side while “They’ll No More Suffer From Thirst” exhibits more of a progressive post-rock. Check it out fo’ sho’.
Afrocubism- Afrocubism- Afrocubism takes the sounds of Mali and Cuba (get it? Africa and Cuba…AFRO-CUBISM!) and combines them for a worldly-sound you may hear in a coffee shop or the Enchanted Tiki Room in Disney World. (The first track also kind of reminds me of the music from Amazon Trail. Anyone else ever play that game? Just me? Oh.) If you’re into world music and other cultures, give it a try.
Various Artists- Friends and Friends of Friends Vol. III- A collection of A LOT of indie artists with various sounds. There are 42 artists/songs on the album to be exact. I enjoyed “Strawberry Man” but I’ll leave the rest of the album for you to explore.
Gary Wagner- Age of an Aquarian- It’s a simple concept: songs with an acoustic guitar. But Wagner produces a lullaby-like feel on all of the tracks that will make you want to grab a cup of hot chocolate and cuddle up next to the fireplace (yeah, people still do that, including myself). “Butterfly Song” and “Beatific Morpheme” are my favorites.
Young Man- Boy- Society has come to a scary point where when I see Native American headresses, my first thought is not of the various tribes still sparsely scattered about the United States, but of indie music and LATFH (which really needs to start up again). Young Man embraces my stereotype with their cover art on Boy. The music will live up to any indie-loving individual’s expectations with sounds reminiscent of Arcade Fire, Neutral Milk Hotel, and The Decemberists (minus Colin Meloy’s vocals)
MORE MUSIC FOR YOUR LISTENING PLEASURE
This weeks adds:
Cee-Lo Green - The Lady Killer- I apologize in advance for my babbling, but this album is fantastic. Cee-Lo certainly lives up to the Soul genre by putting his entire heart and soul into every song. While “Fuck You,” his viral video from the summer, has been tamed to “Forget You,” the song’s beat and the rest of the songs on the album make up for the split-second disappointment. If you enjoy funk, soul, or having a good time, listen to this album. My favorite track, “Wildflowers,” is a slower, soul-filled melody while tracks like “Bright Lights Bigger City” and “It’s OK” pick up the beat. Also make sure to check out his cover of Band of Horses’ “No One’s Gonna Love You.”
Norah Jones- …Featuring- A collection of collaborations, Norah Jones manages to keep her jazzy appeal while singing with artists from a wide variety of genres. Some tracks, like “Love Me” and “Bull Rider” show off the more folk/country side while “Virginia Moon” (featuring the Foo Fighters) and “Ruler of My Heart” keep up the jazz. I was surprised by “Take Off Your Cool,” her track with Outkast, but definitely in a good way. The short sweet track showcases the versatility of Outkast just as much as “Life Is Better” (with Q-tip) shows Jones’. The whole album spans the spectrum of easy listening. Perfect coffee-drinking music.
The Decemberists - Down by the Water (Single)- Just one track, but if you’re indie folk play it fo’ sho’. It’s the same sound The Decemberists have always put out, but the acoustics behind it, including an impressive harmonica, make it worth giving a spin.
Eux Autres - Broken Bow - Reminiscent of Best Coast, Eux Autres produces a surfer-indie rock that is upbeat and, for lack of a better word, cute. Check out “Jamais” and “Rosehill” to get a feel of what these guys are about.
The Greenhornes- ****- Made up of members of The Raconteurs/The Dead Weather, the Greenhornes release their fourth album, the first in eight years. I would call it matured garage rock with a hint of soul. RIYL the Foo Fighters, The Raconteurs, The White Stripes. Track recommendation: “Saying Goodbye”, “Need Your Love”
Rogue Valley- The Bookseller’s House- One of Tinderbox’s rare gems, Rogue Valley is a decent bit of indie folk with the type of singer who actually sings with his heart instead of his inner child. “Racecar Driver” picks up the beat while “Rose Festival” and “Jar Flies” slow things down. I personally like the ethereal “The Summer Moon.”
Picture an Accident- Picture an Accident- This album is different from your current stream of trendy artists. The only sound I could think to compare it to was Russell Brand’s character in “Get Him to the Greek” and “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” aka psychedelic rock. “Gotta Be Mad” is pretty good if you’re open to it as well as “Closed Eyes”
Josephine Foster and the Victor Herrero Band- Anda Jaleo- Not our usual cup of tea, Anda Jaleo brings in the sound of Spain in 11 tracks. An arrangement of Federico Garcia Lorca’s Las Canciones Pupilares Espanolas (The Popular Songs of Spain), you’ll get a good vibe of Spanish culture.
Highly Suspect- The Gang Lion EP- Three tracks. The first is more of a general rock n’ roll sound while the second and third play off of reggae-inspired rock. RIYL The Red Hot Chili Peppers
Tyler Jakes- Burning Down the Underground- Self-described as “western-gothic cowpunk garage rock exotica,” there’s not much I can say about Tyler Jakes. He wears a bowler hat and I liked “Former Czechoslovakian Back Parlour Blues”
Other Albums That Weren’t My Tops, But You Could Maybe Enjoy:
EZ Riders- Long Way From Home- Country blues rock with a few twists
Underoath- disambiguation- Christian metalcore RIYL Your Christian faith, screaming
Key to the Midway- Key to the Midway- If you have ever gone to Warped Tour, you’ll probably like this band. (No hate, just facts) RIYL The Maine, Metro Station
Tabi Bonney- Fre$h- I’m no expert in hip-hop, but I thought in the world of rap, this guy comes up pretty mediocre. Spin if you’d rather not take my word for it, which is understandable.
Cloudkicker - Beacons
Cloudkicker is the name of the one man project by Ben Sharp. In the past, Sharp always released his music for for free via download, which is impressive considering the professional quality of the recordings (these definitely aren’t your “garage band demo tapes”), but Beacons, his second full length album, is his first album that is available in CD/vinyl format. Though, you can still download it for free.
Now, to the music.
Cloudkicker can be described as meshuggah-esque, instrumental metal because of the heavy use of odd time-signatures and poly-rhythmic drumming. Though I believe Cloudkicker departs from Meshuggah by being more melodic and interesting with the guitar parts. Each song is very layered, creating a “wall of sound” effect that I particularly enjoy and forces the listener to go over the same song and find something new each time.
Or you can just put it in, turn up the volume, and bang your head.
In short, I really do love this album and highly recommend it and all his previous work.
Recommended tracks # 3, 4, 7, 9
Matt and Kim- Sidewalks- If you enjoyed their last album, you’ll appreciate Matt and Kim’s newest work, filled with the same upbeat pop sound complete with their signature keyboard riffs. It opens up with “Block After Block,” a cute track typical of their repertoire and continues with memorable tracks such as “Cameras” and “Wires.”
Brian Eno- Small Craft on a Milk Sea- Entirely instrumental, this album was said to be inspired by movie soundtracks, which is very evident as soon as you turn on the first track. The sound is atmospheric and ethereal and definitely worth playing. Every track turns an everyday situation into a dramatic scene. If you don’t want to play this on your show, at least play it at home. “Small Craft on a Milk Sea” and “Flint March” represent the spectrum this album goes through and are both well-done.
Swedish House Mafia- Until One-This album starts out strong and ends strong, but you’ll have to pick and choose from the middle tracks. Mixing original beats with samples from other artists, these three guys know how to make club music. I’m no expert in house music, but the first track, “Miami 2 Ibiza” was one I could appreciate as well as “One” and “Valodja.” Look out for some well-known artists such as Benny Benassi, David Guetta, Justice, and Daft Punk
Chiddy Bang- The Preview- Grabbing fans from different crowds, Chiddy Bang is a rap duo using well-known indie (is that an oxymoron? oh well) tracks as their background music while incorporating well-placed rap lyrics. Their most popular track “Opposite of Adults” takes MGMT’s “Kids” and transforms it into a track about growing up rather than a family of trees. Look for beats by Sufjan Stevens, Passion Pit, and Darwin Deez.
Elvis Costello- National Ransom- This guy has been around a long time, and as a result, he knows how to write a song. The melodies are for those who enjoy more of a folk sound, but it’s the lyrics that stand out to me in this album. Every song has a story to tell (this guy’s been around a while, so he’s probably got plenty of stories). Check out “Stations of the Cross” and “Dr. Watson, I Presume”
The Billy Nayer Show- BNS Presents: The Billy Nayer Show- If you’ve ever listened to this band before, you’ll understand the difficulty that comes with describing their sound. Imagine a children’s television show, a creepy carnival, and a cowboy mixed together in some sort of musical blender. And somehow, this bizarre sound works, and works well. I’ve had “Henry Joe” stuck in my head for the past two days because it’s haunting melody is hard to get out. It’s not for everyone, but I really enjoyed it. Check out “Wrong Highway” and “Who Do You Sue?”
Mariage Blanc- Mariage Blanc- Decently-produced indie, this album starts out well with “Whatever You Say I Am” and keeps the listener’s attention with catchy pop melodies such as “Poor Portraits.” RIYL The New Pornographers, The Shins
Wolf and Cub- Science and Sorcery- The synths and electronic section of this album are somewhat over-the-top (laser guns on the first track?), but it’s obvious that these guys are having a good time, and it’s hard not to enjoy what they’re doing. If you like experimental rock, indie, or late 80s-early 90s alternative punk, I’d give this album a spin. Try “Seven Sevens”, “What Are They Running,”or “Restless Sons”
The Philistines Jr.- If a Band Plays in the Woods…?- We get a lot of indie around here, but this album stands out from your typical independent artist. The instrumental portion of each track is well-produced and thought out. “B” is a good indicator of their musical ability while “My Brother Tom, The Green Beret” and “Tarquin’s Half-Assed Mission Statement” prove that they have the complete package. Try it, you just might like it.
Bad Books- Bad Books- A collaborative effort between Kevin Devine and Andy Hull of Manchester Orchestra, this album starts off slowly with hipster nonsense but gradually advances into decent indie rock/pop. If you like Elliot Smith, sipping tea, and men who are in touch with their feelings, go ahead and listen from the beginning of the album, but if you’re not into the sensitive whiny man thing, go ahead and skip to “Holding Down the Laughter.”
NEW THIS WEEK
Artichoke - Bees - Cute indie pop/rock with a childish side. The whole album revolves around the theme of bees but takes many different perspectives. The vocalist reminds me of Without a Face or possibly Colin Meloy of the Decemberists. Definitely worth giving a try if you’re into indie. Try “The Commune” or “Melissa”
Gold Panda- Lucky Shiner- An artist from the UK, Gold Panda creates an electro atmosphere with a hip hop background. The synths are well-placed and not too heavy. The songs seem to have more of a structure than just continuous beats, making the whole album danceable, but also capable of being played while relaxing. “You” and “Snow & Taxis” are great examples of music to kick it to, but I’m more partial to “Same Dream China”
Erland and the Carnival- Trouble in Mind- Softer contemporary rock with a heavy Franz Ferdinand vibe. The keyboard and guitar riffs make for catchy music that’s easy to listen to. The single, “Trouble in Mind” is a softer track that plays it safe, while “My Name is Carnival” takes a bit of folk and successfully blends it with rock to create an elegant track.
Guster- Easy Wonderful- The first track is “Architects and Engineers,” how much more appropriate can you get? This album mixes 60s pop and modern indie into an upbeat collection of tracks. No gimmicks, just music, which makes it seem very pure. If you’re already a fan of Guster, you’ll appreciate their newest effort. If you’re not familiar, try it out, you may just like it. “Do You Love Me” is my favorite.
Tango in the Attic- Bank Place Locomotive Society- The first track emanates Vampire Weekend, but as the album progresses you start to break into a more Brit Rock-inspired indie sound. The Scottish accent gives the songs a slight hint of character that you don’t get from other records. Check out “Off to…”, “A Healthy Distraction,” and “Jackanory”
The Orb feat. David Gilmour- Metallic Spheres- If you’re a fan of the Orb already or happen to enjoy Pink Floyd (see David Gilmour), you’ll like this album. Two thirty-minute tracks divided into subsections scream stoner rock but are very melodic and can be appreciated by the substance-free listener. Basically, if you like Pink Floyd, you’ll like this album.
IMA Robot- Another Man’s Treasure- Heavily electro-sized, IMA Robot seems to be the digital man’s U2. The beats are thrown at you in a jumbled mass, so if you’re not ready for the eccentricity, wait a little bit and come back. I could appreciate “Ruthless” and “Sail With Me” but the rest was a little too awkward for me personally to handle. Oh, I also might add that if you’re one of those folks who loves Edward Sharpe, he happens to be IMA Robot’s leading fella.
Bleu- Four- Rock with a slight hint of country (not enough to scoff at though) that emphasizes the message in the lyrics. It seems so simple, yet I can’t help but enjoy listening to it. Try “B.O.S.T.O.N” on for size.
The Superions- Destination…Christmas!- Fronted by Fred Schneider of the B-52s, The Superions definitely reflect the same oddity the B-52s inhabit so well. This album brings a whole new perspective on Christmas by taking the simple things and pizzazzing them into Superion-worthy tracks. Check out “Fruitcake” if you’re ready.
Zach Hill- Face Tat- Famed as a drummer, Zach Hill proves he can make it on his own with this album that utilizes his drumming talents but does not put all of the weight on them. The songs go through a range of hard rock and simple melodies and everything seems to reflect an organized chaos. I think you’ll appreciate “Memo to the Man”
We got a collection of Loud Rock/Metal in, but I don’t feel equipped to properly review it. So, if you feel like giving any of these albums a listen, feel free to do so and send me a review at firstname.lastname@example.org . Your thoughts will be shared with errybody out here.
National Overdrive- Welcome to the Nation
Oceansize- Self Preserved While the Bodies Float
Baptized in Blood- Baptized in Blood