Friday, December 29, 2006

Top 15 Albums of 2006

01 // Dog Problems
by The Format




02 // The Life Pursuit
by Belle & Sebastian




03 // It's Never Been Like That
by Phoenix





04 // The Avalanche
by Sufjan Stevens





05 // Rabbit Fur Coat
by Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins





06 // Nightcrawler
by Pete Yorn





07 // Everything All The Time
by Band Of Horses





08 // First Impressions of Earth
by The Strokes





09 // The Crane Wife
by The Decemberists





10 // The Greatest
by Cat Power





11 // Bring It Back
by Mates Of State





12 // Westerns EP
by Pete Yorn





13 // Into The Blue Again
by The Album Leaf





14 // At Home With Owen
by Owen





15 // Show Your Bones
by Yeah Yeah Yeahs






Thursday, December 21, 2006

Top 15 Albums Of 2006








1. Belle & Sebastian- The Life Pursuit
favorite tracks: Another Sunny Day, White Collar Boy, Funny Little Frog

2. The Strokes- First Impressions Of Earth
favorite tracks: Heart In A Cage, Ask Me Anything, Electricityscape

3. Jenny Lewis & The Watson Twins- Rabbit Fur Coat
favorite tracks: Rise Up With Fists!!!, The Charging Sky, You Are What You Love








4. Yeah Yeah Yeahs- Show Your Bones
favorite tracks: Mysteries, Warrior, Turn Into

5. Phoenix- It's Never Been Like That
favorite tracks: Consolation Prizes, Long Distance Call, One Time Too Many

6. Cat Power- The Greatest
favorite tracks: The Greatest, Could We, Willie

7. Beck- The Information
favorite tracks: Elevator Music, Think I'm In Love, Strange Apparition








8. Pete Yorn- Nightcrawler
favorite tracks: Vampyre, For Us, Bandstand In The Sky

9. Band Of Horses- Everything All The Time
favorite tracks: Wicked Gil, The Funeral, Weed Party

10. The Hold Steady- Boys And Girls In America
favorite tracks: Stuck Between Stations, Chips Ahoy, Hot Soft Light

11. Jarvis Cocker- Jarvis
favorite tracks: Black Magic, Heavy Weather, I Will Kill Again








12. My Morning Jacket- Okonokos
favorite tracks: Gideon, One Big Holiday, Run Thru

13. The Decemberists- The Crane Wife
favorite tracks: The Crane Wife 3, Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then), O Valencia

14. Pete Yorn- Westerns EP
favorite tracks: The Man, Never My Love, Don't Mean Nothing

15. The Gothic Archies- The Tragic Treasury
favorite tracks: Scream And Run Away, Crows, Walking My Gargoyle

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Photographs EP






Lakes
Photographs EP
The Militia Group, 2006

9.0




I'm a little upset that here we are in December, and I am just discovering Photographs by Lakes, which was released in September. Thats almost 4 months of musical enjoyment my ears have missed out on. But I suppose there is no such thing as too late.

These songs are uplifting. They are full of hope that love will last forever, and that full of memories and reflection. I think the word "love" is probably used 1000 times. The opening track, Indian Lover, grips you from the start. Its one of the best songs I have heard this year. The lyrics are nostalgic and the melodies are sweeping. The songs contain such subtle transitions from its quiet moments to the greatest points of build-up. The album grows with each song, until it ends with the brilliant White Flag....which fades out leaving you wanting more.

Lakes are off to a great start. I can't wait to see what they can deliver on their first full length album.
And if you're curious, check them out at myspace.com/lakes

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Saturday Night Wrist




Deftones
Saturday Night Wrist
2006, Maverick

7.2






It wasn't until one minute and five seconds into track 3 of the album Saturday Night Wrist that I realized what exactly the Deftones 2003 self-titled release was missing.

Heart.

It is at that moment of the song Beware, and then later moments when the same chorus resurfaces in full, that you come to a true understanding of what you remember the Deftones to have always been about. They have always rocked your face off. But there was always so much emotion involved in every aspect of their sound. Whether its the loud/quiet melodies, the lyrics that not only scream something but mean something, or Chino's ability to do what most "metal" artists cant do...which is SING...and hit real notes; the Deftones have always been able to keep even the people who are least likely to listen to music in their genre entertained.

All of those points were way off target in their 2003's Deftones, the follow-up to the peak album of their career, White Pony. Deftones managed to rock hard, but there was never a point on the album where you actually felt it. Just a lot of noise...good noise in my opinion...but still just noise. I guess this would make Saturday Night Wrist a return to form. It probably would have been more suitable as a follow-up to White Pony.

The album at first seems top heavy, which makes it difficult to focus on the second half. The first few songs are so strong, they command your constant attention. Hole In The Earth, the first single, seemed empty to me at first, but it turns out to be a perfect opener. Each song gets better and stands out more and more with every listen. I feel like this album has to grow on you track by track, but by the time you get to the end, you realize that you got a taste of everything you wanted, and at some point heard echoes of this bands past...along with samples of what may lie ahead.




Sunday, December 03, 2006

Peel Dave and See



So for some reason I decided to bid on the Velvet Underground vinyl that is currently on ebay. Its a good thing I got outbid, but for about a half hour of my life I had $39,100 on the line. It made me a little bit ill. In the end, I am cemented for all time as bidder number 123, at a cool $39,100. So someday when Im out at a record store and I overhear a few music snobs talking about that rare Velvet Underground Acetate I can interject and say.... "yeah, I bid on that".

Just about 12 hours from when I bid $39,100, the auction now has 142 bids and is up to $50,856. WOW!



Thursday, November 23, 2006

Songs for Christmas





Sufjan Stevens
presents Songs For Christmas
2006, Asthmatic Kitty

10.0




Sufjan Stevens is without a doubt over the top in everything he does. While some artists tend to destroy their sound and ultimately their career by attempting to over do it, Sufjan seems to have settled into his comfort zone. At this point in time, everything he touches turns to gold. The man can do no wrong.

Songs for Christmas takes us on a journey that was never intended for us. Over the past 6 years Sufjan has been giving the ultimate cheapskate Christmas gifts to his family and friends. Of all the ways to save a buck. An EP every year of holiday classics, and fresh new holiday songs written by Sufjan himself. Quite honestly, the recipients of these albums must have been sprinting to their mailboxes every day from Thanksgiving to Christmas, desperately awaiting the arrival of their much privileged package.

For them, it was a CD-R decorated in stickers...for us it's a spectacular box set. The packaging of this collection is perfect, and no detail has been overlooked. Each of the 5 albums is in their own separate sleeve, all of which are covered in appropriate holiday symbolicness. The face of each disc resembles a classic vinyl album, each with a different color in the center, and each containing the track listing. There is a page of stickers, a poster size family portrait, comic strip, and massive Songbook. The Songbook contains more pictures and illustrations, detailed song credits, lyrics and chord charts for each song. All of this is packaged in a sturdy gatefold cardboard box. You couldn't ask for more than this for you $20 could you!

And then there is the music. I was quite hesitant to think that i was going to enjoy such a large collection of Christmas music. Music like this usually has such a temporary run in our CD players. As soon as those presents are all unwrapped, and you've finished making your rounds to all of your grandparents houses on Christmas morning, the music stops...and then collects dust until Thanksgiving. However, with this collection, I really feel like there is enough substance to make me want to listen throughout the entire year.

For the most part, all of the more traditional Christmas Carols are done as very short instrumental pieces. It is without a doubt something that i find refreshing. It gives you a brief hint of a classic melody. Something that you recognize and enjoy, but certainly not something that you want to hear over and over again. Nearly half of the songs were actually written by Sufjan (17 of 42), and all range from silly to serious lyrically, but have a very Illinoisesque quality to them in their sounds. Some of them you would swear were recorded for the album Illinois, but then at the last minute Sufjan substituted the words....."we drove to New York, with my friend, in a van"...scratch that out...."we flew to The North Pole, with Santa Claus, in his Sleigh"...eureka!, it's a Christmas song!

The brilliance of this album is the selection of songs that are not as traditional in the aspect of what is expected to be found by a popular artist on a Christmas album. There are many songs that I had never heard before, or could recall, but had never obtained. Several songs are traditional Christmas Hymns, including the song "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing", which is by far my favorite on the album. Not only for the warm quality of the recording, but also for the childhood memories in church on Christmas Eve that song sparks.

Sufjan Stevens presents Songs for Chrismas is for EVERYBODY. I think it deserves a perfect rating, because in all honesty, I can't find anything I don't like about it. Nothing. Period.

So don't even think about downloading it from eMusic. Don't consider sporting a burned copy from your buddy. Drive yourself the store, and go give Santa Sufjan and Jesus your hard earned $20.

And don't forget to sing along!

The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me

Brand New
The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me
2006, Interscope

8.5

Pacing, it’s kind of a dirty word used to describe the music of post rock bands and indie cinema. It’s rarely used in the same context of that other dirty word…emo. Usually, with this type of music, one expects spider-webbed guitars and sung-scream vocals, emoting about girls and graduation.

Surprise, Brand New is emo…or they use to be. Their new album is something completely different. They pretty much ditched the blitzkrieg punk of Your Favorite Weapon when they stunned us with the absurdly fine Deja Entendu. But that had “The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows” a firecracker of an anthem. You won’t find anything like that on The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me. The closest thing to a hook doesn’t show up until near the end. It matters not.

The disc is full of forest fires. They just take a little while to get there. That and a lot of fuel, which the band pours onto the flames with gusto. Take the tense starter “Sowing Season (Yeah)” which is clean and cold at first, a bout of frostbite, until a swath of guitar severs the song at the one-minute mark. The song continues, reminiscent of The Arcade Fire in the build up and more like Cursive in the crackling moments. “Millstone” maintains the atmosphere and is likewise a nail-biter. The disc is full of these instances. Pent up energy then piss and vinegar. It’s not soothing in the least, but man is it satisfying.

It’s just too expansive to talk about each highlight because the disc is brimming with them. However, “Jesus Christ” is a nearly pitch-perfect ballad. The only slack is at the end when it seems to begin again. Why not leave us with the brilliant lyric “We all got wood and nails and we sleep inside of this machine” and the fade out? “Degausser” is shattered and slick, the best track bar friggin’ none. When the mini-choir enters, it’s like a Sufjans Stevens song hopped up and laying in the wreckage of a car. “Limousine” also a stunner, pulses and stutters until it bursts and blooms. “Welcome to Bangkok” feels like filler but is actually quite fulfilling when digested with the rest of the album. “Archers” and “Handcuffs” round out the disc nicely, “Archers” crisp and urgent, even poppy, and the string-flecked “Handcuffs” playing the quiet card again, albeit with aplomb.

Is it even necessary to mention the lyrics. Is the band really talking spiritual warfare? Probably not. Who cares? Lacey strings together some astounding lines. And in the end, the words sync with the music and, well, it’s just gripping stuff. Another vocabulary word that Brand New has learned and practices, gripping. Absolutely gripping.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Boys And Girls In America

The Hold Steady
Boys And Girls In America
2006, Vagrant

6.3

I really had a lot reservations about reviewing this album. I listened to the album 4 times in row before writing the review. I have to say that I don't like anything else that they've made. Craig Finn's voice really is an aquired taste and at times seems to lack emotion. There is also something really fun about it at the same time and I can't quite pinpoint what it is. His lyrics are nostalgic, witty, and sometimes just downright goofy. There times when you feel like drinking on a hot summers night among friends and other times when you feel driving along America's heartland. That feeling is both in the lyrics and the music, which I must say is the albums saving grace. Boys And Girls In America sounds like the lovechild of Bachman Turner Overdrive and Bruce Springsteen. It's both poetic and senseless, meaningless and relevant.

I should point out that what initially got me interested in checking this album out was a free track that eMusic.com had available aptly named "Boys And Girls In America" which happens to not be on the album. It is a very good song and a definite attention grabber and it has some of Finn's best singing on it. Most of the songs relate to past times that involve partying, drinking, one night stands, and rejection. The album starts with "Stuck Between The Stations" which instrumentally is a fantastic song but Finn's voice doesn't really seem fit this song but somehow his storytelling style makes it tolerable. A lot of this album follows the same pattern but one of the things about this album is that THS always seem to throw in that one thing into each song that makes you remember it and want to listen to it again. Even the hapless ballad "First Night" which seems to have multiple meanings (which isn't always a bad things), doesn't fit Finn's voice at all, and seems to lack emotion finds a way to pull in about halfway through the song when it breaks down into this amazing orchestral bridge and goes into a rockin chorus that leads quite into the second part of the album. Every song seems to have at least a few good hooks and some stellar piano parts but they sometimes try to do too much like in "Chill Out" where the additional vocalists in the song actually make it worse. Songs where THS don't try to do to much and just rock out and sing about drinking is when they are at their best. Craig Finn definitely isn't for everyone but if you want a fun album that doesn't require too much concentration or emotion than this is it for you. The hype surrounding this album is undeserving, it's a good album but not life-changing. I must also point out that there are 2 additional tracks, "Girls Like Status" and "Arms And Hearts", which are available on iTunes which definitely worth the $1.98 to download.

Key Tracks: Party Pit, Southtown Girls, Citrus, Hot Soft Light, You Can Make Like You

Monday, November 06, 2006

eMusic Plan Changes

So, last week I was greeted with spectacular news in my yahoo inbox. Starting November 21st the eMusic rates will be changing. The catch is that the cost of the rates won't change...the amount of downloads per plan will change. The new plans are as follows...

eMusic Basic
30 downloads per month (formerly 40)
$9.99 per month

eMusic Plus
50 downloads per month (formerly 65)
$14.99 per month

eMusic Premium
75 downloads per month (formerly 90)
$19.99 per month

Its a sad day in my opinion. It just shows me that in less than a year of major popularity, eMusic seems to be caving to record labels who are probably insisting that they charge more for their downloads. I always considered eMusic to be the most amazing thing in the world, because it allows you to try out so many new indie bands at such a low cost, that buying the physical cd becomes an afterthought. Its so cheap that you dont even care that you dont actually get a physical copy of the album. I have said to many of my friends that I hate only having downloads of albums, but eMusic is just so beyond worth the cost that i just dont care anymore. Those days may soon be gone. Because if the cost of downloading an album creeps up from $3 to $5 roughly, then i think its almost becoming worth the extra $7 to have the real thing on my shelf.

The catch is that if you are an existing eMusic customer, you are able to keep your existing plan...but only if you sign up for the old rate before November 21st. I locked myself into the Annual plan again, which is $191 for the year with 90 downloads per month. Seems like a lot of money...but come on people, thats less than 6 CENTS per song! Beat that iTunes!!

So dont forget to lock yourself in to the old rates before November 21st!


Oh, and I have to say that i downloaded the album Sincerely, Black Lipstick by the band Black Lipstick today off of eMusic, and I am beyond impressed. Its a really nice listen, and having only 9 tracks makes it easy to get into. So go for it! Sometimes as i listen i am reminded of the Stones.

Sam's Town

The Killers
Sam's Town
2006, Island/Def Jam

5.4

Ah, The Killers, we were all obsessed at one point with Hot Fuss with it's uncanny catchiness. It had hip, headbobbing melodies and glamorous lyrics. It was very different from anything else we had pretty much heard in a long time and needless to say, made us very interested in what they were gonna do next. Well, here it is and damn if we're not disappointed. Sometimes instant success can hurt a band and rather going with how they feel and putting their own emotion into it they end up trying too hard.

It's not that this album sucks because it doesn't. It's undeniably catchy albeit overdone at times and it's enjoyable to listen to. The real problem with this album is that it doesn't feel like the band put their hearts into it. It feels like a lot of ego and too much testosterone was put into it. Glam-rock doesn't need ego and testosterone, it needs sex, drugs, alcohol, and past regrets. The lyrics on this album feel more like an artist attempting to sound intelligent and experienced than really just writing from the heart. It's very retrospective and these guys are still kids. They are singing about the past when they basically have no past. They should be singing about learning experiences and the future. 2 pictures in the album artwork very much show a band that's trying too hard and thinks it's bigger than what it really is: the back cover looks like a band that thinks they are U2 and then one of the pictures on the inside shows all the band members floating a few feet above the ground, which is cool if you're Pink Floyd.

Songs like "Read My Mind" and "Bones" are undeniably catchy and have fantastic melodies but have repetitive lyrics and lack substance. "Uncle Jonny" feels like a personal experience the singer never had and "Bling (Confession Of A King)" is a ridiculous enough of a song title that I practically don't want to like it even though it is one of the strongest tracks on the album. "My List" shows a band not very good at writing a slow power ballad. Another I should point out is the order of the songs on this album. "Sam's Town" is a big bold song that's probably one of the best on the album but it should be places somewhere towards the end of the albums if not at the end. The "enterlude" and "exitlude" are both unnecessary and uncreative. The placing of "enterlude" is akin to a movie with an action sequence to start the film and then the credits. This is music and that is just not needed.

Sometimes a band feels they need to make that one album that will make them legendary versus creating an overall body of work that spans an entire career. Sometime sticking to a formula is a good thing and doesn't need to be meddled with and sometimes progression is a good thing but only in small doses. Radiohead did that but was lucky enough to make a few classic albums before getting too big for themselves and going off the deep end. Here's hoping The Killers have a humbling experience and realize that being yourself is a good thing before they record a new album.

Key Tracks: This River Is Wild, When You Were Young, Bling (Confessions Of A King)

Born In The U.K.

Badly Drawn Boy
Born In The U.K.
2006, Astralwerks/EMI

9.1

I start by pointing out that my only encounter with BDB before this was a copy of Have You Fed The Fish? one of my buddies gave me and randomly seeing a really rad video on MTV2 a few years ago of BDB, whose real name is Damon Gough, carrying people piggyback around NYC. Needless to say, I can't really touch on album progression with this review because I don't have much basis for comparison. I do have to say that upon repeated listens of this album in a short timespan that I will be digging into his back catalogue.

This album not only is good musically but also has some of the better artwork I've seen on an album this year. I feel artwork is important because it enhances the overall creativity of the artist and shows that the artist cares about the overall (my apologies for the redundant use of this word) product he puts out there. The artwork on this album, much like the music, has an optimistic feel to it.

The overall theme of the album is about looking for the good in the bad and not regretting the things of the past. Granted a lot of times I can enjoy an album that is good musically and not lyrically more than I can enjoy an album that is good lyrically and not musically. Does anyone actually know even a handful of lyrics to any Led Zeppelin song? Haven't we listened to them a million times though? BDB is one of the few artists that is really able to grab me both musically and lyrically which is actually sometimes harder to get into because it requires more focus and time listening to it. On Born In The U.K. Damon Gough draws from a number of different influences and uses a spectrum of different instruments that are mostly played by him. His songs are very orchestral and balladous yet not overdone. Artists that are multi-talented have a tendency to get too big for themselves and completely overdo it (i.e. - Sufjan Stevens & Muse) but BDB has a great formula and does everything just right.

The songs themselves on this album flow together quite well. There is definitely an element of early disco and funk mixed in but it is just there to enhance the songs. Everything is built around Damon's voice, which is amazingly lush and mature sounding, and a piano. Damon is by no means a piano rocker though as the songs are much more full than you're average piano rock.

Damon begins the album which spoken word interlude that challenges the listener to dig deeper and look for the positive in life and be thankful for what you have and be happy for the life you've been given. He's very open, introspective, and personal and really lets you know where he's coming and why he feels the way he does. His metaphors aren't overly obvious but not incomprehensible. He's charming and sincere but not whiny and sappy. Every facet of this album had just the right amount of time put into, it's not lacking in anything or overdone. It feels like a soundtrack to a 70's musical but also fits quite well into the changing times of today where there is so much cynicism and pessimism. So sit back, relax, and be thankful for the good things in life like the new album by Badly Drawn Boy.

Key Tracks: Nothing's Gonna Change Your Mind, Promises, Welcome To The Overground, Walk You Home Tonight

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Nightcrawler

Pete Yorn
Nightcrawler
2006, Red Ink/Columbia


8.5


From the moment Pete Yorn opened his recent Stone Pony show in Asbury Park, NJ on the You & Me Acoustic Tour, I knew that Nightcrawler was going to be a smash, a return to everything I loved about "musicforthemorningafter". Just like that show at the Stone Pony, the album opens with the darkness of "Vampyre", a slow then heavy "intro" style song. Its one of the darker songs you will ever hear from PY, maybe the darkest, but there is something just so gripping about this song, and just something so dirty about the recording quality. Its a fantastic, almost incomplete song, that takes you right into the outstanding first single "For Us".

For Us holds a very simple progression, but the song takes you for a vocal journey unlike most of the previous vocal range offerings Pete has dished out. There is almost a point where I feel like he has become more of a crooner...."I watch you for a bit...". Its a perfect rock song, and a great hook makes it single ready.

There are a few slips on the album. In 2002 PY released a song for the Spiderman Soundtrack called "Undercover" which appears on this album as the same exact recording as it was previously released. Its a great song, but really stands out as a song that was not part of the same recording session. "Splendid Isolation" is a Warren Zevon cover which was also recorded and released in 2002. Its a great song, and I have to say that it fits perfectly on the album. Though even with out reading the liner notes, any true PY fan should at least be able to tell that those arent typical lyrics for Pete to write...cause obiviously he didnt. "Bandstand In The Sky" was written by Pete in 1997 and released as an entirely different version....a much better version....on the album Live From New Jersey. Still a great song. I have learned to enjoy the studio recording, though I will admit that it took about 1000 listens.

There are too many stand out songs to mention. Some songs that didnt strike me as much at first, and have now become my favorites. One of the best, and most unusual PY songs ever has to be "Georgie Boy". It appears that Pete was in fact paying attention to music in the 80's when he was growing up. Both "Georgie Boy" and "How Do You Go On?" have almost a Pete Yorn meets 80's dance remix. "Georgie Boy" is a great track.

One claim that I can make on the album is that it holds the song which will end up being my Favorite Song of 2006. Ladies and gentleman..."The Man". Its a classic. The lyrics are a perfect slowdance under the moonlight, laced with the sweet voice of Natalie Maines (who knew!). The song is such a sweet acoustic rock song. The perfect example of when a song just works.

In addition to the 14 track album, there are numerous b-sides, and there is the Westerns EP, which was released and deleted before the album dropped. The b-sides are all good, but clearly b-sides. Some of the songs on Westerns are pretty amazing and probably could have been made into much larger songs and placed on Nightcrawler instead of the 3 previously recorded songs.

Either way, there is pleanty of Pete to go around as usual.

Music for the morning after the day i forgot nightcrawler. What does the future hold?

Alive With The Glory of Love

Say Anything - Alive With The Glory of Love (acoustic MTV)

So, I was just clicking around on YouTube, as I often do late at night when I happened across these three Say Anything videos. All are acoustic from an apparent MTV acoustic session. The only reason I knew to look for them was because I caught a clip of one of the videos after a random MTV sitcom.

My friends and I have been listening to Say Anything since 2004. Which is now long before the time the band took off. We had the chance to see them play at the North Star Bar in February of 2005, and meet Max after the show. The album "...was a real boy" would become one of my favorite albums of all time. It never goes away, and never gets old. Max's songwriting is unlike anything anybody has ever heard. Amazing for something he recorded on his own when he was only 18!

Fast forward a few years....this is the video for "Alive With The Glory Of Love". You can go to YouTube and see the other 2 videos "Woe" and "I Want To Know Your Plans". I put up "Alive..." because it is an amazing example of his talent.

Max, we salute you. Enjoy kids.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Welcome To The Drama Club

Everclear
Welcome To The Drama Club
2006, Eleven Seven Music

7.0

I must say, I didnt really like the title of the new Everclear album when I first heard it. But thinking about those words, and getting my first close up look at the album art today, it finally hit me. I could see the cover art online, but since everything I had seen before today was low resolution, I didnt notice the the reflection in the mirror that sits behind the bed. Upon further review, you will notice the reflection of a woman, putting her pants back on.

Aaah yes...drama....Welcome To The Drama Club is the first album from Everclear since the departure of Craig Montoya and Greg Eklund. Art Alexakis, God bless the man, has continued on. And I couldnt be any more grateful. The new band is made up of 4 new members, most of which have been with Everclear to some extent over their entire stint at Capitol Records. I was fortunate enough to see Everclear when it was just Art, Craig and Greg, and they were spectacular. I also got to see Everclear twice 2 years ago, when the current members had come in to back Art on their tour. The thrill of a lifetime came for me, when i got to meet Art twice on their last tour...once in Philly and then a few day later in D.C. For those of you who don't know, Art Alexakis is my personal hero. Musically and otherwise. The man has done it all. Been to hell and back. I think he is perhaps the most genuine musical artist of his time. If he sings about it, he has been through it...and not many musicians are as honest, or wear their heart on their sleeve the way he always has.

Back to the album. I was worried about what this one was gonna sound like. I mean, you just never know. Its been 3 long years since the last album Slow Motion Daydream, and now the formula of the band has changed. But not to worry. Everclear is at it again. If i had to compare it to another Everclear album, i would have to go with Songs From An American Movie Volume One: Learning How To Smile. The "pop" that Everclear has churned out over the years doesnt seem to exist here...though I will say that a few of the tracks sound like they were meant to be played in the background of an iPod Nano commercial.

The lyrics are just as Art as they have always been. He hasnt missed a beat. The songs are the perfect mixture of feel-good, and serious. Art has perfected his formula. Nearly 2 years ago in D.C. the band performed a just written song which was then titled "Glorious", and is still titled Glorious, which appears on this record. I enjoy it as much now as I did then. Another stand out for me so far is "The Drama King" and the album opener "Under The Western Stars".

Not any hard rock going on here. This album brings out a lot of new sounds that you are not really used to hearing from Everclear, including a lot of keyboard and synth sounds. Its very "grown man adult rock". Not this soft and dreamy sap that most artists are putting out today...which don't get me wrong...I do love.

The album is great. If you are an Everclear fan its a must have, and if you have never really been an Everclear fan, this is a perfect album for you to come in on. Its just right.

So check it out.
And don't forget to look for the booty on the cover....welcoming you to the drama.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Agaetis Byrjun (A New Beginning)

And so it goes.
Im going to be using this page to write reviews of everything from concerts to new albums, to any random need to discuss any topic involving music.

My first thought, being that today while listening to Sigur Ros, I decided that its official....they are one of my favorite bands of all time. I dont know where they fall on that list....but if its a top 10 list....theyve certainly cracked it.

My first experience with Sigur Ros was back in 2001. I first heard of them while following the changes in the music that radiohead was making. I had heard somewhere that the albums radiohead was putting out...Kid A and Amnesiac....had been inspired (at least musically) by an Icelandic band called Sigur Ros, which I also came to find out in that moment Sigur Ros translates to Victory Rose.

When I went into Philly for school the next day I went to Tower Records to track down the Sigur Ros album titled Agaetis Byrjun...which they did have a copy of.
So to say that my life was changed musically that day would be an understatement. I never looked back. I was also luck enough to see them September 22, 2001 at the TLA on South Street in Philadelphia...one of the most amazing concerts I have ever attended. It was roughly 3 hours of standing in awe.

The latest album ...Takk is amazing. I saw them at the Tower Theatre this year on tour in support of the album. It was a much bigger venue, but the show was wonderful. I think ...Takk is Sigur Ros playing to the greatest of their ability. Is everything you loved about Agaetis Byrjun, and the brilliant gems from ( ) that just make it an amazing and explosive album.

What could possibly be next? How much more of this genius is possible from these guys? I certainly hope it keeps coming, but even if it doesnt, I will always have these albums, and the memories and thought that come from listening to them.

Because thats what the music of Sigur Ros is all about. Its all about an individual translation.
Its about a personal feeling. Your own personal feeling and mood. Not like other music where someone else is telling you through their lyrics what they feel.

Sigur Ros is YOU.