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ALBUMS FOR THIS GOOD WEEK
Pick of the week:
Young the Giant- Young the Giant- Every track on this album makes me feel good. Not only are the vocals genuine and heartfelt, but the music behind it is wonderfully melodic. I get a small bit of a Vampire Weekend vibe but these guys definitely hold their own. I guess I’d call it easy-listening indie rock with heart. Check out “Cough Syrup”, “My Body,”
Other good stuff:
Various Artists- 50 Years of Dr. Martens- Who would’ve thought that a shoe company could produce a good album with lots of variety? This album consists of decently popular artists doing covers of what they refer to as “cult classics” (I didn’t even realize you could have a cult song. I’m so uncool). Artists such as The Raveonettes, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and Noisettes bring their own spin to these tracks and in turn produce a wonderfully eclectic compilation. Fans of funk will enjoy DaM FunK’s “Things That Dreams Are Made Of”, people who love female rockers will dig “Ever Fallen in Love” by Noisettes and “I Wanna Be Adored” by the Raveonettes, and those who dig slower tracks will like “Lilac Wine” by The Cinematic Orchestra and “Dirty Old Town” by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. PS- Janelle Monae is on the cover but has no song on the album, which makes me a little sad. (Also, if you look inside the cover, one of the songs looks like it says “hangina” which made me giggle)
Conan O’Brien (yep, that guy)- And They Call Me Mad?- Conan O’Brien teams up with Jack White to produce this collection of 4 tracks. “And They Call Me Mad?” is a spoken-word play on the story of Frankenstein’s monster, which is completely clean and fun. The second track is an interview with Conan himself in which he performs impressions, gives some anecdotes, and speaks nonsense. (No mention of the NBC stuff, which I respect) Contains some indecencies, so only safe harbor. “Polk Salad Annie” is Conan speak-singing to a bluesy rock nonsense track. It’s fairly entertaining but again, only safe harbor. I think my favorite track is Conan and Jack White’s cover of Eddie Cochran’s “Twenty Flight Rock” It’s completely clean and has a sweet rockabilly sound.
Gospel Claws- C-L-A-W-S - If you liked their first album, you’ll really dig Gospel Claw’s second release that epitomizes the indie genre. Tracks like “Walk Me Down” and “Baby I’ll Take You Home” will please the indie pop lovers while “Avenues” and “Somebody Stole My Money” are more folk-like and will fulfill the dreams of people like myself who enjoyed “Don’t Let it Die” from their first album. Tracks like “Householder” and “Greeley Estates” combine multiple genres and provide a stoic sound. Definitely give it a try.
Tim Chad and Sherry- Baby We Can Work It Out- They liken themselves to MGMT and the Flaming Lips, but they definitely separate themselves from the pack. A good mix of electro and funk tracks as well as a sampling of island reggae, it’s something I can’t say I’ve heard before. “The Love I Make” has an awesome sound as well as ”Rocket Tonight”
The Atomic Square- After It’s All Said and Done- Alternative Rock with a hint of indie pop, it’s nothing you haven’t heard before but it’s a decent sound. The best tracks are the ones not recommended on the label. I like “Fall in the Square,” a purely instrumental track and “Headlights.”
Holy Sons- Survivalist Tales- I’m currently angry at this album. Way to not warn me about FCC indecencies, assholes. But really, the album is filled with that man singing in a deep falsetto with some decent background and the album art is pretty awesome.
Have a good second half of your week guys.
Action Jackson’s Reviews:
Jupe Jupe - Invaders
RIYD is listed as Hot Chip, Cut Copy and LCD soundsystem. This album draws heavily from 80’s synthpop and new wave, almost to the point that they are a Flock Of Seagulls cover. If you like the 80’s style, these guys are a great modern analog. Try #2.
The Hundred In The Hands - The Hundred In The Hands
Reminds me of other indie bands with a synth back such as the Rural Alberta Advantage or Faded Paper Figures. The Sleeve sticker cites French House, but in several of the tracks the influence is practically negligible. Track #1 is worth a listen for indie pop shows.
MORE NEW MUSIC
“A Little Messed Up” - The Dollyrots
I tend to appreciate lyrics (funnier/dirtier=better) and vocals and this album doesn’t disappoint. There is definitely a strong sense of humor, especially in the last track “Om Nom Nom,” which is very pleasantly dirty. The whole album is pretty 80s-ish punk/alternative rock and the female vocalist takes advantage of what I would call the pseudo-singing style (i.e. partially talking/partially singing). If you like music with lots of personality I strongly suggest giving this CD a listen and a play. There are lots of bad words though, so be careful.
The vocals can only be described as country sung by a boy band (of two or three men) with a hint of soft christian rock (though I didn’t hear any Christian lyrics). The instrumentation is mostly simple guitar/drums. It’s strange to me because there is minimal twang but it’s definitely more country than any other genre. It’s like if John Mayer did country music. As a matter of fact, in “Stop” the lead singer sounds a lot like John Mayer. So I guess if you wish John Mayer sounded more country listen to this album. I’m done talking about John Mayer for like a month…
“A Bird Called Angola”-The Delta Saints
This album is very roots/blues/has lots of harmonica. In every aspect it’s like Shinedown+Stevie Ray Vaughan+harmonica.
And now a word from Mogli
Mogli here to do some brief reviews of some metal that has come to the station.
The Sword – Warp Riders
The Sword have earned the label “retro-metal,” but not in a derogatory way. Their Black Sabbath/DeepPurple/Cream worship combine with a few modern metal sensibilities to create metal that sounds very classic, yet has never really existed before. The band have filled this void very nicely in all their releases,and this album sees them moderately experiment with their sound. Warp Riders is a bit more dynamic and progressive than their previous discs. Spacey grooves, more adventurous singing, and some very aggressive soloing show the band pushing themselves, along with prog-rock keyboards and a slight concept to the record. Riff salads and headbanging are still to be had, and when the band get thrashy or sludgy is when they really shine through. Warp Riders is a solid album overall and great to listen to as a whole. Recommended tracks include “Astraea’s Dream,” a great instrumental track that begins the second half of the disc, “Tres Brujas,” both parts of “The Chronomancer,” and the title track, “Warp Riders.”
Dragonforce – Twilight Dementia
In the liner notes of this double live album, the band proudly details the amount of alcohol imbibed while on tour, among other things. Perhaps some of that budget could have been put to use for other things, like hiring a third guitarist to make their live performance sound anything close to the studio recordings. Alternatively, they could have better spent their imbibing time by practicing more, tightening up guitar and vocal harmonies and making sure that what they recorded can actually be pulled off convincingly live. The rumours are true: this is band is dreadful live, even coming from an appreciator of their power metal on speed. There’s too much jumping around on trampolines and crude, obscene interpretations of lyrics and not enough discipline.
Track recommendations: none, avoid all at any cost.
I’ll be back with more metal soon!
Straight from the real word, our friend Knuckles has kindly graced us with his thoughts on some new music this week:
JOHN LEGEND AND THE ROOTS - Wake Up!
After years of dancing around in the same ballroom, John Legend and The Roots have FINALLY partnered up to put out an album of covers, Wake Up. Here at Albums on the Hill, this was easily one of the most anticipated albums of the month, and has done quite well since it’s release. Other review sites have given it high praise for the slickness of John Legend’s singing on these older jazz and funk tunes, and The Roots perennial class and skill.
So how much does the praise represent the album versus the anticipation? I personally am underwhelmed. The song choice is outstanding, as they have picked just the right songs for the project and the desired tone. The Roots play in fine form, bring the most of their experience to the older tunes and creating new sounds in them.
John Legend is the weak link, surprisingly, because he is such a smooth and capable singer. He glides through the tunes with an ease and grace that the songs really don’t deserve or need - if I’m listening to “Hard Times” or “Little Ghetto Boy”, I want the singer to have a little gravel and gut in his voice. Legend does a magnificent job singing the songs, but I don’t think he captured the emotion I expect from some of these songs.
The album is good, well thought out and immaculately produced. It’s just a little TOO good for the material. If you like The Roots or John Legend, this is a great album. If you like the original material you’ll find something new here, but you’ll have to decide on your own if that something is desirable.
Thissss weeeek in music:
Ben Folds/Nick Hornby- Lonely Avenue- Nick Hornby, a British author, put down some words and Ben Folds made them into music. True to Ben Folds’ style, it’s satirical, quirky, and very clever. Lots of indecencies but definitely worth giving a listen. I like “Levi Johnston’s Blues” and “Saskia Hamilton”
Klaxons- Surfing the Void - A nice example of indie/alt pop, the tracks have that echoing melodic background that makes the album memorable. My favorite is “Valley of the Calm Trees”
Agent Ribbons- Chateau Crone- Highly reminiscent of 60’s low-key pop ballads, the female vocals project a retro feel that’s soft and sweet.I like “I Was Born to Sing Sad Songs”
Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs- God Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise-A fun blues album from the soft, sweet-as-sugar vocals of Ray LaMontagne. Definitely worth giving a listen. I thoroughly dig “Repo Man” … and the rest of the album
Diamond Rings- Special Affections- I’m fairly positive this guy is a time traveler from 1986… or just a sad, sad, misunderstood hipster. That isn’t to say the album isn’t good. The vocals have that metrosexual british male sound and the beats are reflective of ’80s pop. I like the beats on “You & Me” and “You Oughta Know”
Mark Ronson and the Business Intl- Record Collection- Mark Ronson teams up with various hip-hop artists and ’80s music icons to make this awesomely eclectic album which features a good mix of electro and hip-hop beats. Check out “Bang Bang Bang” and “Bicycle Song”
Serj Tankian- Imperfect Harmonies- I’m no System of a Down expert, so I can’t really compare this to their stuff, but from what little I know, I’m pretty sure this is a whole different category of music for Mr. Serj here, and I’ve just been informed that he changes stuff a lot. His vocals are as always recognizable but the songs are more alternative rock/pop/weirdshit and filled with political statements. The man is crazy, let’s be honest. Still, try it out. I played “Borders Are…” on my show and I didn’t regret it.
Skylarkin- Kaleide- Catchy indie-rock with a good section of instrumental music. “Still Windmills” and “Smarts” are play-worthy.
That’s all I got fo’ now!
Short, Sweet Reviews by Ethan
The Upsidedown – The Town with Bad Wiring
Alternative Rock – With the exception of a few tracks, most of this album can be described as spacey and ambient. There really is no define, outstanding instrumental parts and most of the lyrics are indiscernible (or just plain silly), which really is the character of the album. Really good to listen to if you just want to mellow out and bob your head.
Tracks #1, 3, 5 are recommended and are the most straight forward rock songs on the album. Personally I recommend #2 “Your Sister’s Cool”, a 7 minute long ambient, space rock epic.
Cancer Killing Gemini- It only Hurts to Breathe
Industrial rock – For those looking to listen to some new industrial rock should check this out. Track one, “Christcontrol”, is definitely NIN inspired, while track two (and most of the album), “Should I Tell You That You’re Pretty”, is more pop.
Recommended tracks #1, 3, 6.
Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan – Hawk
Mellow Rock – This album is mostly mellow, acoustic rock (tracks 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 11, and 12). With more upbeat, classic rock tracks thrown in (tracks 6 and 8). A very eccentric album but worth looking into.
Personally recommended tracks # 3,4 and 7.