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March 22, 2011

Album Review:
Lykke Li-Wounded Rhymes

Lykke Li's newest album Wounded Rhymes is a trip through many of her global and stylistic influences, likely due to her nomadic , bohemian upbringing.    This 25 year old Swede has crafted something terrifically unusual as she and the band move from pop to blues to outer space and then nearly to gospel before being swallowed by anthemic pop throughout the journey.    Delicious stuff.





Album Review:
Wye Oak - Civilian

This boy-girl duo Wye Oak aligns the musical spirits of Sonic Youth, Curve, Medicine, and Unrest for a centerpiece of production and pop mastery for their newest album Civilian.    Throughout the LP, the songs often begin with a simple structure that regularly reveal fresh elements that pleasantly surprise you and then disappear moments later.    Great music for baking cinnamon buns or even playing Scrabble or possibly even celebrating an evolution.

Wye Oak - Alter


Wye Oak - Plains


FREE Download of Wye Oak - Holy Holy
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FREE Download of Wye Oak - Civilian
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FREE Download of Wye Oak - That I Do (Mickey Free Remix)
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Wye Oak - Civilian tracklist

01 “Two Small Deaths”
02 “The Alter”
03 “Holy Holy”
04 “Dogs Eyes”
05 “Civilian”
06 “Fish”
07 “Plains”
08 “Hot as Day”
09 “We Were Wealth”
10 “Doubt”

March 20, 2011

Album Review:
Radiohead-King of Limbs

I have followed many bands from their debut albums onward, though few have had such a successful evolution as Radiohead.    They began their career like any other pop band from the UK and then slowly became devoted to mastering the art and business of their industry.    If you haven't liked Radiohead previously, I doubt that their King of Limbs album will change your mind like OK Computer might, but if you've liked them now and again as I have, this is a clear reminder that these gentleman are aware of the important stuff.    The great albums of 2011 are, so far, short because humans are busy people.



March 18, 2011

Album Review:
Elbow-Build a Rocket Boys

It's astonishing that Elbow's band members have been playing together for 20 years.    The songs on their latest album Build a Rocket Boys lack any real flash, though that's entirely the appeal of this UK bar band's unhurried structures.    The sound is a little Coldplay heaped with the showmanship and grownupedness found in those fellas from The Duckworth Lewis Method or even Iron & Wine.    The track With Love is a confidently delivered jawdropper.    Build a Rocket Boys is a beautiful and mature antidote to a world that's still a bit bonkers.



March 16, 2011

Album Review:
Beady Eye-Different Gear, Still Speeding

The music of 2011 started in such a promising fashion with fantastically fresh albums from The Get Up Kids, Jenn Grant, Toro Y Moi, The Dodos and Braids.    I suppose that I can't be surprised that another rocker headed toward retirement needs an effective retirement plan, but this album will be a failing strategy for Liam Gallagher and his old band-mates who are without, it seems, the real creative force of Oasis: Neil.    You'll immediately recognize Liam's distinctive groan, but the clever hooks?    The occasionally brilliant songcrafting?    You won't find either here.    You can't sing about The Beatles or The Rolling Stones in order to fit yourself onto the same shelf, but on Beady Eye's new LP Different Gear, Still Speeding, you'll hear many songs that the producer or record company should have considered a re-do or get another producer that will help Mr. Gallagher take some chances.    Suppose that you can't blame the ex-Oasisians for trying.    Everyone needs to consider their future, but in order for music to properly evolve and for the love of music, ignore this record.   



March 15, 2011

Album Review:
The Dodos-No Color

The Dodo's newest album No Color is another certifiably fresh piece of work that helps our modern music continue its evolution.    The album opener Black Night is a captivating way to start the LP it keeps your attention for its nine track duration with some unexpected turns.    The songs are built like Built to Spill moving mostly acoustic with a Beta Band/The Aliens vocalist, sprinkled with some asymmetrical percussion and then moulded into a shape resembling Love and Rocket's Yin and Yang and the Flowerpot Man from many years ago.    No Color is a double-rainbow of goodness.



March 10, 2011

Album Review:
Lupe Fiasco-Lasers

I had been expecting to write that Lupe Fiasco's Lasers album was without any redeeming qualities, but after several listens I realized that this was not the case.    However, it does have several moments of hope in what seems, at first, a collection of redundant hip hop.    The feel-good theme of driving toward your dreams that Mr. Fiasco has done in his own life by nabbing some great producers throughout this album such as The Future and Alex Da Kid.    There are a few tiresome tracks, but the big beats and positive messages available within such tracks as Beautiful Lasers produced with the care and attention that Dabrye brings to his collaborations, all of which keep this album relevant.

March 9, 2011

Album Review:
Jenn Grant-Honeymoon Punch

Rock n' roll narcissism school tells folks that if they ain't slick or gorgeous, there's a high potentiality that you'll get overlooked.    I hope this isn't true of Nova Scotia's Jenn Grant, as January's release of her Honeymoon Punch album is filled with crisp Trish Keenan's vocals from Broadcast with Liz Phair's quirky arrangements and a big ol' handful of lollipops and sunshine.    Yum.



March 8, 2011

Album Review:
Tapes n' Tapes-Outside

What wiseguy told Tapes 'n Tapes to open their newly released album Outside with Badaboom?    Even though these guys know clever Minnesota pop like Pavement know incomplete songs, they should have let Badaboom close the album, as it seriously overshadows the remainder of the tracks.   Like the self-titled Prinzhorn Dance School or Christopher Arruda's God Hates a Coward album, a powerhouse final track helps retain the album's freshness and encourages repeated listenening.    I may relabel the tracks, but the only must-have moments for TnT on the album are Freak Out and Badaboom.



Album Review:
The Decemberists-The King is Dead

I have listened to The Decemberists' The King is Dead endeavouring to get a sense of why this band should be treated seriously.    If this were an R.E.M or Tom Petty cover band, I'm sure they'd be pretty good in a hotel bar in Eugene, Oregon, but as a band that wants to sell fresh albums and gig dates, they need to revisit their tedious sound.    Maybe some peyote and a month long vision quest might help.    Not only is the king dead, so is this album.

Album Review:
Devotchka-100 Lovers

I have absolutely nothing positive to share about the new album by Devotchka.    A few moments occur during a few songs on the 100 Lovers LP where you think it might get interesting, but the singer quickly douses your hopes like an autocratic David Byrne at his most tyrannical taking all the fun out of a band that wants to experiment with eastern European melodies and flamenco.    If you're looking for a similar sound that is effective, loose, and gorgeous, I still highly recommend anything by Beirut, which, I believe, is the sound that this band wishes it could emulate.    In summary, stay away from this album.

March 6, 2011

Album Review:
Crookers-Tons of Friends

The Crookers' Tons of Friends might be a testament to the many vocalists that they found to accompany their arrangements, but the single track that makes sifting through the tonnage is French singer Yelle on Cooler Couleur.    It's too bad about inclusion of curse words in the song, but an absolutely otherworldly experience not heard since a band called Braids showed up.

March 4, 2011

Album Review:
White Lies-Is Love

These young men from the UK known as White Lies have created a consistent record that also recognizes its forefathers from the early 90s Manchester experience Inspiral Carpets and, Lord help me, the Soup Dragons, but in a good way.    The album received some great production work from the legendary Alan Moulder and he is clearly endeavouring to grow them for huge stadiums with vocals belted out like Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan in his more positive states of mind and solid hooky arrangements somewhere between Catherine Wheel and Charlatans UK.

Album Review:
Duran Duran-All You Need is Now

I appreciate that Nick Rhodes was brought in by The Dandy Warhols to help them broaden their sound one decade ago, but Duran Duran should seriously consider opening a chain of all-you-can-eat Tapas restaurants called, of course, Hungry Like the Wolf if their latest record is a suggestion of their current songwriting ability.    If someone in the group had truly considered their production choices seriously, then Goldfrapp, Ladytron or even Shawn Lee would have been much better options in helping breathe life into the stagnant DD franchise.    Mark Ronson is an excellent producer, but too inexperienced to bring anything fresh to the double D.    Do yourself a favour and dig out your old vinyl of Rio and reminisce.

Album Review:
Destroyer-Kaputt

Every time I hear Vancouver's Destroyer, enough time has passed that I completely forget that it's not going to sound like The Black Halos or Alexisonfire.    Dan Behar exhumes New Order, but removes its occasional grooves.    For example, a borrowed guitar solo from a generic A Flock of Seagulls at 2:41 on this track from his Mr. Behar's new album, Kaputt.    Quite a feat, but a too tame and forgettable release for my liking.

Album Review:
Fujiya & Miyagi-Ventriloquizzing

I miss art-rock bands like Art of Noise, Stereolab and Add N to X.    Fujiya & Miyagi ruined what could have been a perfectly good atmospheric instrumental album with some of the most ridiculously appalling lyrics ever recorded.    Apart from maybe 2 songs, there are some serious infractions of including horrid cliches throughout the album and as choruses no less.    If anyone knows these guys, suggest to them that they release an instrumental Ventriloquizzing and then enrol the singer into a creative writing program.    Do not be tempted by their slick and creepy video Black and Blue.    The cliches stop all too rarely on this long player.

Album Review:
The Get Up Kids-There Are Rules

The Get Up Kids have got their poop together finally on There Are Rules.    It took them 10 years, but their 2011 album is a majestic piece of art rock manifested through the same amount of years shaking off the crispy coating left from being labelled emo.    I've somehow been able to ignore every TGUK album until now.    Delicious stuff.

March 3, 2011

Album Review:
Adele-21

Adele releases another album that exhibits her incredible vocal talents, which are delivered with honesty and authenticity, unlike the redundancies that exist with other popular female vocalists prevalent in radio.    However, while listening to Adele's newest, the only thing I notice is her great voice, which doesn't really translate into an album of great songs, regrettably.    One exception is Rumor Has It, which Sam Cooke would have loved to have heard after her cover of That's It, I Quit, I'm Movin' On, but should have been placed at track 4 or, preferably, track 7.








Adele - 21 tracklist
1. Rolling In The Deep
2. Rumour Has It
3. Turning Tables
4. Don’t You Remember
5. Set Fire To The Rain
6. He Won’t Go
7. Take It All
8. I’ll Be Waiting
9. One And Only
10. Lovesong
11. Someone Like You

March 1, 2011

Album Review:
Braids-Native Speaker

Calgary's expats Braids landed in Montreal, then released a magically addictive album earlier this year of 2011.    A hybrid of Siouxsie without her banshees singing alongside her choral equivalent and the band is able to jam with the intensity of Canada's Holy Fuck.    Without the remixes, there's only 7 songs, but these are sonically incomparable songs.    Captured live, these young folks seem to be capable of duplicating the pop gospel of Lemonade on stage.    Their mysterious first video for Plath Heart exemplifies their unexpectedly brilliant diversions.    Get this album now.

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Braids-Native Speaker Tracklist

1. Lemonade
2. Plath Heart
3. Glass Deers
4. Native Speaker
5. Lammicken
6. Same Mum
7. Little Hand