Music Reviews

BLU- HER FAVORITE COLO[U]R April 14th 2011
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Blu – Her Favorite Colo[u]r
Released March 13th 2011
Genre: Hip Hop
 
  Blu, is one of my favorite recent hip hop artists this year. His voice is memorable, and his rhyme is blunt and witty. Her Favorite Colo[u]r, released is Blus’ first solo album. One of his last projects involved with Exile- Below the heavens 07′, was very different from this solo piece. He really comes out and tells this other person how much he needs to “get a lid on his life” and how frustrating it is to let the one you love go “I cut my hair instead of pulling it out of my head”. It really takes a roller coaster of emotion from track to track. “Her Favorite colo[u]r” includes clips from various movies such as Closer (2004), making appearances on two tracks of the album displaying a filthy dialogue of explicit content to blend in telling a very long story about a significant other, and how they got over. Blu’s steady flow with some mixed tracks from Billie Holiday deems a very classic, and inviting track list. The album rediscovers heartbreak, and the room it takes to grow and love one another. -Lau (The ChickenLoop)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
imgsrc- google.com RADIOHEAD – KING OF LIMBS Produced by Nigel Godrich Genre: Alternative/Experimental/Electronic Ticker Tape Ltd. Radiohead is back and they have radioheaded it out of the park. This is not the grand slam home run that won the pennant that your home town has been waiting for, but it is your favorite batter coming to the plate, fourth in the line up, to do what is expected and do it well. In an age of low talent artists making disposable pop singles, Radiohead still makes albums, and consistently good ones. Weighing in at just eight tracks, people are complaining that it is too short ,and i agree, but that is more of a compliment. The whole thing is mid-tempo and perfect for a Sunday morning on the computer or a late, cool, wine-soaked night on the porch. Each track could be a standout on any given day, and with clear 10” vinyl, two songs per side, it almost works as a choose your own adventure album. It is riddled with a very contemporary pace and attitude, teeming with the social commentary underscore that we have become accustomed to, subtle and mirror-like. The vinyl packaging is beautiful and functional. It comes complete with an entire section of newspaper designed by the artists Zachariah Wildwood and Donald Twain, and I think the whole thing can be summed up by what they have said about the packaging. They list all the materials and how they will break down over time. Expressing how fragile it is. Then this message: “However, despite the carefully chosen short-lifespan nature of the packaging for this record, it is hoped that they will be retained rather than discarded, as with care the materials will out live the owner.” (SM – Lost Sharks)
 
 
 
 
 
OBITS – “MOODY,STANDARD, and POOR”
Produced by Sanoff-Janney & Obits
Sub Pop Records
Another show poorly attended here in Gainseville, for no good reason, but a lot like watching the
most spectacular mid-life crisis ever and you were a part of it.  This is like your coolest uncle
and his friends having a band that is actually good, in fact awesome.  This is like those guys you
played Dungeons and Dragons with in the eighth grade finally nerding out in the best way.  As if
they spent that summer before entering high school smoking grass and listening to Thin Lizzy
and Dick Dale and forgetting about hit points. And I mean this in the best way.  This is the next
 logical step for Rick Froberg in his continuing travel log of indie rock highways and byways.
 Front man extraordinaire, Mr. Froberg started his jaunt in a band called PITCHFORK, known
only to dedicated fans.  Then moved on to the groundbreaking DRIVE LIKE JEHU, and
transitioned successfully from there to the HOT SNAKES.  The other fellows have championed
 lesser known indie rock bands such as EDSEL, but as with all Froberg projects, his stamp is all
over this one.  In the tradition of  heir first record, OBITS bring us more low-slung surf guitar
driven catchy as all get out rock songs, and not in an embarrassing  or uninformed way, as so
many aged indie rock stars turning into country singers.  This is four dudes wanting to rock still
and fucking doing it in a refreshing but non-threatening rock format.  “Self medication don’t seem
to improve my station, so tired of my dreams”.  This record ,like most records coming out these
days, speaks to a general human exhaustion of following the perpetual carrot, and I couldn’t
agree more.  Another consistent product from OBITS.  (SM-Lost Sharks)
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The Valley March 1, 2011
Produced by: Gary Leach, Austin Deptula, and Eisley
Genre: Indie Rock/ Pop Rock  
This family band from Tyler Texas put out their third album under a different label; Equal Vision. There is a difference in scaling and creativity as they wail their music out at you. This is one of the best albums i’ve heard in 2011. This 11 track album, The Valley, is a wonder taking swirls of childish shrieks to siren yodeling. There is a very sharp tone in the air of the DuPree Family’s compositions on a new record label (Equal Vision). This is the Eisley I’ve always known and loved, with some more step in their amps, and a little more anger, and a lot more strength and experience in their voices. The Valley doesn’t ask for  pity or empathy, it shows you what happened, and then moves on.- Lau (The ChickenLoop)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Theesatisfaction
Transitions Cover Art
img src- bandcamp.com/THEESatisfaction Transitions:
By THEESatisfaction November, 2010 Produced & released by Cat & Stas of THEESatisfaction
Genre: Space/Hip hop/experimental    
THEESatisfaction is a beloved duo contrived of two female parts:, Thee Stasia (Irons), and Catherine (White-Harris) Satisfaction who popped out of the Seattle hip hop scene. This compilation, being their 5th mix tape, is very reminiscent of Jay Dilla, former beat producer of many of the great names in hip hop today.  With their jazzy reason beats, and harmonizing messages, it’s very hard not to find Foliage (the intro song) relaxing. Cat & Stas are very poetic, and spacy with their lyrics and sounds. Their master teachers involve Shakespeare, David Bowie, and most importantly Stevie Wonder, who they dedicated a whole mix tape to (THEESatisfaction loves Stevie Wonder: A tribute to Colonialism) You can find out more information by navigating to their bandcamp page >http://theesatisfaction.bandcamp.com/, and purchase/preview any of their digital albums/compilations. -Lau (The Chickenloop)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
http://www.google.com/url?source=imgres&ct=img&q=http://evolkweenthemusical.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/
 
MY DISCO – LITTLE JOY
produced by Temporary Residence Limited
recorded by Steve Albini
If I had ever imagined Australia being like this I would be there now. I don’t know where this comes from.  These bright jangling guitars are the obvious product ofMr. Albini, but he did not solicit the noise to them, unless you count the sun drenched hours they may have spent mulling over SHELLAC riffs.  There is something deeper going on here,
something cold and unrelenting that has nothing to do with dingo.  There is a very fine balance going on here between a horizon blurred with heat and the crisp cool of the mountains, the monotony of an eight hour road through nothing, and the beauty of having those eight hours to think of nothing.  There is tension and release going on here that could rival the finest Mowtown records. Something is to be said about
absolute repetition, with slight variance, that leads to eventual explosion.  It is like good honest sex.  Sprinkle a few well thought out words of sentiment throughout, and put a bow on it.  If you took the rhythm section of the LIARS and the glare of Albinis guitar
in SHELLAC and added Spud from TRAINSPOTTING, sort of whispering sentences from his diary over top, you would have it.  Sort of like a soundtrack to a desert in space.  If it does have something to do with dingo, these dingo could eat my baby.  Yet another poorly attended show in Gainesville.
(SM -Lost Sharks)
 
 
 
 
Shabazz Palaces Black Up 2011
Record Label: SubPop Records
Released:
 
The former Digable Planets, have returned with a new side of experimentation in their debut album Black up.  With Lady Bug Mecca, Butterfly, and Doodlebug layin the tracks down, there comes a very different groovebeat.  The whole album, Black Up, is to be listened to as a whole. The tracks build up very slowly, however if you have the time, and open-mindedness, it is worth its’ length. The beats are low synth throughout the album, and a lot of the tracks display fragments of J Dilla, and Madlib. Space hip-hop is becoming prevalent in the North West Coast using Seattle as a huge example of the new wave of hip hop. 
 
 

Deer Tick-Divine Providence

Author: Natalie Teer

Deer Tick, American indie-folk band from Providence, Rhode Island is releasing their fourth Album on October 25.  If you are expecting the new jams to sound similar to their sweet folk music fromWar elephant in 2007 or even in The Black Dirt Sessionsfrom 2010, throw those assumptions away.

The new album, Divine Providence, is rough, edgy, and personifies drunken debauchery.   But this is the sound similar to what one would hear if they were to see the band live.

The group, after changing their cast around a bit, has landed on 5 members.  Lead vocalist John McCauley, bassist Chris Ryan, keys and saxophone player Rob Cowell, guitarist Ian O’Neil and drummer Dennis Ryan.

McCauley recently did an interview where he made it clear that the boys don’t plan on making an album that resembles their previous ones for a while.

Divine Providence
, sounds like an anthem for Fraternity brothers.  With songs like  “Funny Word” that opens with the line, “You fucking douchebag.”

“Lets all go to the bar” ends with belching and has lines, “I don’t care if you puke in my ride, lets all go to the bar”, woven throughout.   It has every essential piece for an all American pub song; the chorus is chanted and the lyrics arouse memories of our worst nights out.

Most of the tracks on the album follow this trend.  The single on the album, Miss K., is a typical college love song.   McCauley says, “Wrap your drunken arms around me, talk dirty, turn me on, let’s get going.”

“Clownin’ Around” favors the bands previous sound the most, but it still has rock n roll elements.

This rambunctious style is showcased during a live set with Deer Tick.  Onstage anarchy permeates from every member.  This summer the band even did sets they called “Deervana,” where they covered only Nirvana songs.

McCauley’s voice is raspy, it’s grunge, it’s modern day rock.  Divine Providenceoccasionally mirrors classic rock.  Then it transitions to a 90’s garage band feel.

The quintets switch from indie folk to rowdy rock n’ roll is new for studio Deer Tick.

This new album is fun, it is the music you play during a cook out, or for “pre-gaming” before heading to get a drink.  But, it sounds a little amateur.  If this is what the group plans to switch its genre to, get anxious to hear the second rock album from Deer Tick.

Still Corners-Creatures of an Hour

Author: Natalie Teer
This London based, organ-loving group released their first EP Remember Pepper?in 2008, but it wasn’t widely known.  Their debut full-length album, Creatures of an Hour, put out through Sub Pup records, has proved to be something to write home about.The band is compromised of four members: Greg Hughes, Leon Dufficy, Luke Jarvis and siren-like female vocalist Tessa Murray.Greg Hughes’ songwriting and haunting organ chords pair with Murray’s eerie, beautiful voice, putting listeners into a trance like state.  The instruments almost ghostly sound is reminiscent of a 1960’s foreign horror film.The songs are simple, and have a tendency to resonate in your mind like vague details of dreams from the previous nights sleep.  “Cuckoo,” the first single offCreatures of an Hour, is refreshingly simple, as are most of the songs.

“I Wrote in Blood” at first conforms to the album’s style, but gets abstract a little over a minute in when the song breaks into high-pitched keys and looming organ sounds.  The lyrics are uncomplicated, yet thought provoking.  “Wrote a little book … your name.  Turn the page and wrote the same.  I wrote in blood.”  The genius of this track is the simplicity.  It’s mysterious, making one want to listen over and over again grasping to hold on to the emotion.

The song “Endless Summer” released as a single this summer and then re-mastered for their new album seems to be the closest thing to a pop song on this release.  Yet, it is still swirling with Still Corners Goth sounding tendencies.

The bands music creates a visual image similar to that of a cerebral, mind-bending thriller.  A film whose plot is set on a ship lost at sea, the crew is being called to an island by the enchanting voice of a mermaid (Murray).  Once she has you under her spell, you’ll never be able to escape.

Still Corners doesn’t fit the typical indie sound of today, which is normally 80’s dance beats or surf pop rock.  I think the group is on to something here with their spooky spin on dream pop.

Sigur Ros- INNI

Author: Natalie Teer
Sigur Rós’s ambient rock sound has been coveted for years.  Music fans who entered the game late, couldn’t afford to see the group, or had some other circumstance holding them back from attending a live show are now possibly kicking themselves.  With the group on an indefinite hiatus, music connoisseurs need to look no further to get their live Sigur Rós fix.The group from Iceland will be releasing a new album,INNI, on November 15.  It is a live album, a first for them.  The set is from a show at Alexandra Palace in London.  Accompanying the album is a film also titled INNI.  It is the band’s second film and gives the viewer an intimate look at the band during a live performance.

Sigur Rós’s sound is marvelously shown on this new album.  Their songs begin with a faint, ominous, whisper like tempo with lead singer Jónsi Birgisson’ adrongynous vocals making you scared and delighted at the same time.  The transition into the climax goes from the murmur to a boisterous boom.

The songs on this live album are frequently pulled from the groups 2005’s Takk.

Performances from the quartet are said to be tear jerking, awe inspiring orchestral masterpieces, but something about this live recording makes a few of their epic singles lack grandeur.  The tour in which Inni was recorded on, was missing a few trimmings the group normally had in studio: A string quartet and a horn section.  Although an avid listener may decide something is missing.  It doesn’t take away from the beauty of the majestic music created.

Jonsi’s icy alto croon harmonizes with the group’s famous extraterrestrial ambience.  Exemplified in “Seaglopur” and “Popplagið”.

“Inní mér syngur vitleysingur” makes you want to throw your arms up to the heavens and twirl.   It could be the soundtrack to your life as you laugh with friends on the beach, it will push you to climb to the top of that mountain, to chase your lover through an airport, or to dance for no reason.

While some may complain that this album is missing accessories that the studio versions usually have.  That’s what live music is all about, seeing it in its most raw form.  The band is bound to sound different.

The songs chosen for this record seem carefully selected and done hauntingly well.

INNI
 (the album and the film) may not subdue one’s yearning to see the group live, on the contrary it may only make it grow.   Skeptics are afraid this is the group’s attempt to showcase their legacy.  For all of our sakes, let’s hope it is to remind us of the greatness of this band and the enchanted sounds they have yet to create.

The Decemberists- Long Live The King

Author: Natalie Teer
Portland based indie band, The Decemberists provoke a cornucopia of emotions with their newest release, Long Live the King.This EP is a follow up to The King is Dead, which they released in January.  The EP is compromised of songs that didn’t make the cut for The King is Dead, which went No.1 on the Billboard charts.

The six songs on Long Live the King, are rightfully placed on their own album.  It was no mistake they did not mess with the cohesiveness of their January release.

Somber meets rock n’ roll meets hillbilly meets indie on the EP that was released on November 1.

“E. Watson” and “Burying Davy” two songs/narratives beautifully told in true Colin Meloy fashion, who serenades us with fairy tales that are half nightmares.

When keyboardist Jenny Conlee harmonizes with Meloy you don’t want it to stop.  She enters and exits in the perfect moment of the song.

The EP picks up with the folky love song “I4U &U4ME”, it incites toe tapping, memories of summer romances and creates a visual image of a group friends around a campfire with a single acoustic guitar covering the track.

Although the Grateful Dead song “Row Jimmy” as been covered by over a dozen times, The Decemberist’s take on the track maintains The Dead’s soul, and country jam band feel.  The keys are on point as is Meloy’s voice.

Before the release of The King is Dead, rumors were floating around that the band might be calling it quits. Yes the members of the band each have their own side projects to maintain: Meloy’s children’s book.  Conlee, guitarist Chris Funk and bassist Nate Query have a blue grass project  “Black Prairie.”

Other good news is that Conlee’s breast cancer is currently in remission.

I think this EP does not show the beginning of the end, quite the contrary rather.  Although the group may put their instruments away for a while, it doesn’t seem they’ll be collecting dust for long.

She & Him- A Very She & Him Christmas

Author: Natalie Teer
It’s almost that time of the year, seasons are changing, holiday travel plans are on the brain, and your local stations are starting to play the same old Christmas tunes.This year, your holiday party can be as hip as you are.  Actress/singer Zooey Deschanel and Portland native, folk artist M. Ward team up again for their third album, A Very She & Him Christmas.   For this commemorative release, the duo have put aside their songwriting skills and covered 12 holiday songs.

Deschanel has a very interesting voice, it’s solemn, cool and smooth and fits well with the chosen songs.

Their take on the traditional Yuletide carols are suave yet simple.  Deschanel and Ward have successfully delivered the millennials with new renditions of their classic favorites.

The remake of The Beach Boys hit, Christmas Day, suits Deschanel’s voice.  Paired with M. Ward’s guitar strums give it the perfect folky, surf-pop rock sound. In typical Beach Boys fashion the chorus sounding harmonies are added behind the main vocals.  The cover is so respectable some may even think the duet wrote it themselves.

The passionate vocal delivery and music She & Him is known for is still prevalent on this album.  M. Ward has a particularly memorable guitar picking style and Deschanel occasionally strums a ukulele.  These sound elements have made the couple a huge hit over the past few years.

M. Ward doesn’t harmonize with Deschanel until the fifth song in.  His vocals matched with her in “Christmas Wish” and “Sleigh Ride” are effortless.  Sleigh Ride has a particular 1950’s rockabilly sound.

Nothing compares to their rendition of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” the two switch roles singing the male and female vocals in reverse.  The beat is kept up with swift guitar strokes and whistling.

The new spin on the model holiday cheer doesn’t stray too far away from the norm.  It is music for all generations.  It is sophisticated and classy.   It’s going to be a very Indie season with A Very She & Him Christmas.

 

 

Bombay Bicycle Club – A Different Kind of Fix

Author: Natalie Teer
Bombay Bicycle Club has already evolved so much and they have barely established their identity.  The physical release of this English indie/folk band’s third album,A Different Kind of Fix, will be out in America on January 17.

Indie/folk? Yes, this group’s second album, Flaws, had an indisputable acoustic folk sound and the newest release, A Different Kind of Fix, is just as certainly indie.

Leave it to major producer Ben H. Allen (who has worked with Animal Collective, MIA, Gnarls Barkley and Deerhunter) to facilitate the removal of a traditional indie sound from their repertoire.  Well, most of the traditional aspects have been eliminated, one looming trait of the genre are the repetitive hooks, which Bombay Bicycle Club definitely uses.

Those repetitive choruses are sung by Jack Steadman, his vocal inflections are tranquil and provide the album with a lavish charm, an attribute that Allen couldn’t supply solely with his production skills.


Photo Courtesy-Angus MacRae (Flickr)

The group uses a piano that harmonizes with Steadman and then Allen layers vocals over the melodic sound.  “Still” is a great example of this, the keys came unexpectedly but are a compliment.

“How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep” seems inviting, simple and warm.  Steadman asking you “Can I wake you up, Is it late enough?” over and over again will either annoy you or captivate you.  Until the drum disrupts the hypnotize and the song takes off.  This track landed a spot on the “Twilight: Eclipse” soundtrack.  Although the sound is carefree, perfectly fitting for teen mix tapes, A Different Kind of Fix has some mature moments.

Almost as a male siren Steadman’s voice and the group’s sound have a tendency to resonate in your cognizance, “Your Eyes” and “Lights Out, Words Gone” most notably linger with you.

Although, Bombay Bicycle Club has is the ability to pass you by.  The whole album could be listened to leaving you with nothing but a relaxed feeling.  This album isn’t filled with memorable breakdowns.

We never said indie rock had to be slamming drums or loud guitar.  It is almost annoying how sweet this group seems, but in a good way.


Photo Courtesy- p_a_h “Paul” (Flickr)

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