Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Album Retrospective: Stiff Little Fingers - Inflammable Material

Album Rating: A-
All early punk rock was fuelled by anger, but in the grand scheme of things, most of the bands in question really didn't have all that much to get worked up about. Political injustice, social meltdown and label disputes are far from ideal, but it's not as if The Sex Pistols The Clash et al were living in a war zone, with troops lining their streets, the sound of bombs ringing in their ears and no clear end to their life-or-death issues. Stiff Little Fingers on the other hand, did experience all of that. Hailing for Belfast, Northern Ireland, SLF was formed by a quartet of school friends at the height of the nation's Troubles. They may on the surface seem like your typical punks with their limited skills as musicians and full-throttle approach to writing, but where most of the genre's early torch bearers carried gimmicks, Stiff Little Fingers had none. They were the real deal; a bunch of ordinary kids from a working class background with something genuinely worth getting pissed about, and as such it comes as no surprise that their debut LP remains one of punk's defining statements.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

2011: My Favorite Moments In Music

2011 has been one of the more unique years in music for me as a listener. I listened to albums by hip-hop artists, dubstep artists, indie artist, punk artists, and even female artists. I enjoyed albums from bands I had never heard before, happy songs from one of the most depressing bands on earth, songs about being a "straight white male in America," songs about working in the fields, songs about plowing girls, songs about being a woman, and songs that tried to define America just based solely on its hyperbolic contradictions. 2011 expanded my music taste and produced more moments from more artists than any year in recent memory. Here are my ten favorite moments from 2011.....

Album Review: 10 Paces, Fire - Lakes Refract & Lakes Reflect

Album Rating: A
It's hard to find music that stays true to its roots, appeals to a wide audience, and contains a sort of depth that makes it truly relevant, while still remaining accessible to each and every person that takes an interest. 10 Paces, Fire has come up with some kind of black magic voodoo formula that satiates all of these requirements, and still surpasses expectations with clearly-burning brilliance and passion that makes it serious, light-hearted, and "underground" enough for snobbish hipsters. Lakes Refract & Lakes Reflect is a beautifully complex album in many ways, yet is completely down to earth at the same time. With tastes of everything from Moonlit Sailor to Manchester Orchestra to Minus The Bear, the album is emotional, exciting, deep, exhilarating, calming, creative, and most importantly, fun.

Album Review: Tycho - Dive

Album Rating: B
If there’s one thing that electronica artist Tycho does well, it’s making smooth music. Now this isn’t a velvety, sultry R&B, nor is it some form of ‘cool jazz’, no, this is a lush, gorgeous blend of electronic sights and sounds that goes down easy. Scott Hansen has been making this type of music under the Tycho moniker for nearly a decade but surprisingly Dive is only his sophomore record; a follow up to 2006’s exceptional A Past is Prologue. Hansen hasn’t really learned a whole lot of new tricks since then, but hey, when it’s this good there really isn’t a problem. Heavily borrowing from the legendary Boards of Canada, Tycho manages to create incredible compositions with a life all their own, all whilst making it seem so effortless. It’s a beautiful sound, and one which transports the listener into an absorbing world that only Tycho could create.

Monday, November 28, 2011

MuzikDizcovery Exclusive: 10 Paces, Fire - Lakes Refract & Lakes Reflect Album Stream

Today, we are happy to premier 10 Paces, Fire's brand new EP Lakes Refract & Lakes Reflect. Combining the post-rock like ambiance of Moonlit Sailor of with mathy rhythms a la This Town Needs Guns or Look Mexico and a little bit of 90's emo, 10 Paces, Fire gets the best out of their musical creativity while creating their own multigenred sound. You can stream the EP below, and purchase it on the band's Bandcamp page here.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Album Review: Diamond - Don't Lose Your Cool

EP Rating: B+
With the resurgence in popularity of Jimmy Eat World and Weezer, it was inevitable that a new wave of bands would emerge as a result of their second coming. The pair of them have taken festivals by storm over the past couple of years, and provided further fuel to their revivals with much improved new outings, so it was only a matter of time before a band like Diamond came along in their wake. Featuring members of hardcore bands Trapped Under Ice and Down To Nothing, this Baltimore group are currently making a name for themselves playing the same kind of joyous alt-pop that Weezer perfected on The Blue Album, and later Jimmy Ear World with Bleed American. Nostalgic throwbacks they may be, but the recent success of those two bands has proved the endearing appeal of their brand of music, and Diamond's latest EP Don't Lose Your Cool only drives home the point further.

Album Review: Followed By Ghosts - Still, Here

Followed By Ghosts is a band from Iowa. This is literally all of the information you will find about them on Facebook. I suppose, though, if you pay any attention to the saying "actions speak louder than words", you won't be too bothered by them. Still, Here is the third album released by Followed By Ghosts, and they portray that the three year gap in between albums was a solid three years in expanding ideas and learning how better to express themselves. The band draws influences from godspeed you! black emperor and Explosions in the Sky when discussed, but after listening to the album, they really seem to throw all that those artists have laid down out the window and painting expression on a canvas of their own. What they've given us is radically different, wonderfully beautiful and unique

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Album Review: Kate Bush - 50 Words for Snow

Album Rating: B-
While I could probably post some candid definition or reflection on the word “snow,” I think it would be more effective to tell you that Kate Bush’s 10th proper album is in a sense, the audible recording of snow. Majestic, ethereal, algid-such things describe Bush’s 50 Words For Snow, an album that sees the British pop royalty at the top of her game, years and years into her career. What is more impressive, however, is not that Bush has managed to remain relevant in a scene that isn’t exactly conducive to late career releases, but it is that the artist has once again challenged the definition of what a pop album can and should be. 50 Words For Snow is unlike a lot of the drivel the genre pumps out, in that is a beautiful, haunting, and introspective release that shows that although artists may age, their craft can remain just as incredible.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Live Review: The Vaccines, O2 Academy Newcastle, 21/11/2011

Their impact hasn't quite reverberated overseas, but in the UK at least The Vaccines have been the new band of 2011. Fresh from an a prestigious slot opening for the Arctic Monkeys and having comprehensively smashed the summer festivals, this really has been an enormous year for the London quartet, and as such there wasn't a ticket to spare for this -the first date on their biggest headline tour to date. In fact, their popularity is such that this particular run of dates was more akin to a victory lap than a promotional jaunt, something which was reflected by the celebratory atmosphere from the moment they took to the stage. On top of that, the main support of the night came from excellent local indie-pop band Frankie & The Heartstrings, meaning that this particular gig often felt like a co-headliner what with the reception they received from the appreciative home crowd.

Album Review: Gunning Bedford - Don't Wait Around For Me

EP Rating: B
"I'm sick of everyone around here." With that declaration, Rockland County's Gunning Bedford concluded Ice Warriors, their debut 2010 three-track EP. It is exactly the sort of poignant and angsty statement that one might expect four kids who've played alongside the likes of The Wonder Years and slightly less celebrated pop-punk outfit Daylight to end a record on, with its modestly articulated "fuck you, I'm outta' this jerkwater town" conviction. Unsurprisingly enough, Don't Wait Around For Me picks up right where Gunning Bedford left off, wasting no time whatsoever before diving into five original tracks covering everything from feeling hopelessly forgotten to realizing that none of this daily bullshit matters anyway. What's important is that they do exactly what is expected of them: having a good time whilst singing about the bad times and hoping for better times.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Album Review: Newsboys: God's Not Dead

Album Rating: B-
In the late 1990's dc Talk and the Newsboys were two of the biggest Christian bands ever. dc Talk's Supernatural and the Newsboys Love Liberty Disco were poppy enough to make the radio, rocked hard enough to be respected by the metal heads, were "honest" enough to earn both bands some indie cred, and were religious enough to not ostracize the normal religious right wing market. After years of being irrelevant and being scoffed at Love Liberty Disco and Supernatural made Christian music relevant not only to their evangelical audience but relevant to the left wing hipsters who scoff at the mention of any "higher power." dc Talk versus the Newsboys was the Christian music version of Russell versus Wilt, the Christian music version of Brady versus Manning, the Christian music version of Alba versus Simpson, it was NWO red versus NWO black, and most importantly it was one of the hottest music debates of the late 1990's. Christian music had finally gone mainstream, had finally gone indie, had finally gone metal, and most importantly had finally in a weird way gone bipartisan.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Forest Wall At The University Of Maryland

Unofficially the first MuzikDizcovery sponsored event, The Forest Wall recently came to the University Of Maryland to play a small, intimate show in the Nyumburu Cultural Center. One of the audience members, Andi Hubbell, wrote up a little review of the show, which you can read here. A little quote from the article can be read after the jump. You can also watch a few videos from the performance right below. Check out The Forest Wall and Silent Old Mountains.

Album Review: Cloudkicker - Let Yourself Be Huge

Album Rating: B+
The ways an artist can mature and develop usually could result in a drastic change in the fanbase's view of the artist, depending on the scale of the change. Many times an artist will step completely out of the realm of what they are even remotely adequate at creating, which could result in varied reception, either praising the artist for their versatility outside their genre or bashing them, rejecting their new sound and claiming that they should have stuck with what they were best at. On Cloudkicker's latest release, Let Yourself Be Huge, the mathy mastermind Ben Sharp comes completely out of left field, but at the same time sounding just like he did on his previous album Beacons. And although Let Yourself Be Huge shows Sharp dropping almost all of the heaviness he previously displayed in his music, it is still very apparent that this definitely is, in fact, a Cloudkicker album.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Album Retrospective: R.E.M. - Automatic For The People

Album Rating: A+
I'm not usually one to shed a tear over a bands demise, but even I was deeply saddened by the news that R.E.M. were to call it a day back in September. This might seem strange given that the band had been on a steep downward slope for the best part of 20 years, but the utter brilliance of their earlier work - as well as the odd latter day highlight - meant that it was still felt great to have them among us. If measured by overall influence, it's probably their eighties albums while on I.R.S. which stand the tallest, but in terms of sheer scale, magnificence and ambition, no other album in their 31-year career can touch their 1992 masterpiece Automatic For The People.

A Year in Post-Rock: 2011

To be quite honest, 2011 has been a fairly mild year for top tier post-rock releases. No Mono, no Godspeed You! Black Emperor (called it), and no Pg. Lost. Sadly missing, sure, but that isn’t to say that 2011 has been a complete bust for the genre. In fact, this year, more so than ever in recent memory, bands have been breaking the mold, and setting off on paths that progress the genre even further. There have been a lot of breaths of fresh air imbued into the tired formula, creating a wonderful bevy of albums that have made 2011 one hell of an excellent year for post-rock. Here is just a sample:

Mogwai - Earth Division:
Alright, alright, this may not be the Mogwai release that you were expecting. However, their latest album, Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will, left a lot to be desired. This little gem of an EP sounds somewhat different than anything else the band has done before. It’s lush and beautiful; a record that relies less on gimmicks, and more on the sheer excellence of Mogwai. A true stand out.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Album Review: Childish Gambino - Camp

Album Rating: B+
Donald Glover, AKA Troy Barnes, AKA Childish Gambino. This man is the proverbial triple threat in entertainment today. Acting, comedy, and rapping, Glover dominates in everything he attempts to do. While acting first put him in the limelight, his rapping career as Childish Gambino has taken off in 2011. A free EP ignited the buzz that got him signed by Glassnote Records, leading to his first commercially released record. Camp is Glover at his most creative; his punchlines are more aggressive than ever, the production is top notch, and his brutal self reflective honesty is emotionally tiring. All of this establishes Childish Gambino as budding superstar in the rap/hip-hop scene.

Album Review: Sean Milo - Elgin

EP Rating: B+
You complete me. I love you. I'm lost without you. To even mention how incredibly trite and void of consequence these common little snippets have become is practically banal in itself. Wars were not waged over such petty utterances, and kingdoms certainly did not crumble over a sentiment that could be put up into three meager words. Rather, it has been the inability to articulate the simultaneous angst and buoyancy afforded from love and heartbreak that's been able to drive us away from sanity. It is the knowledge that I love you will never cut it that can send a person into a spiraling demise of self hate and pity. Fortunately for himself and for we listeners, however, Sean Milo has studied up on his metaphors. Elgin is profusely littered with them, offering the listener a slew of untried ways to put such amorous sensations into words. And boy is it refreshing.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Album Retrospective: Say Anything - In Defense of The Genre

Album Rating: A+
Autobiographical music is usually relatable but never really unique. When an artist says they are releasing an "autobiographical album" we usually assume this means a "themed album" filled with songs about ten themes we are supposed to believe are unique. Instead of making an album that is actually autobiographical, artists often contaminate or brains with mainstreamed views on rather serious topics. We know that "Love Hurts," we all are trying not to be an "American Idiot," and we are probably all doing it for the "Single Ladies." While these albums and songs might be relatable and enjoyable, they are the furthest thing from actually be autobiographical. The relatable autobiography is nothing more than something we are supposed to believe is the artist story so we will buy their record. The unique autobiography actually has to have "No Soul."

Artist Spotlight: Bandoliers

The demise of a band may be hugely frustrating for those involved, but it's something which can stand you in good stead for future ventures. Indeed the failures of previous outfits appear to have being a blessing in disguise for Newcastle-based trio Bandoliers, whose unmistakably British brand of indie rock sounds remarkably accomplished for a band that's only just released it's debut EP. Had they emerged six or seven years ago during the initial wave of post-Strokes guitar bands, they'd have been custom-built to become huge, but as things stand they've still got a pretty large audience to play to. The appeal of their particular style may not reach far beyond the British Isles, but they can rest assured that the NME crowd in particular will latch onto them like a malnourished leach, and with the inevitable ensuing hyperbole who knows where they could end up. What is certain is that with a healthy dose of melodic guitar hooks, urgent rhythms and no little heart, the three members of Bandoliers have all the tools with which they can make up for past setbacks, and then some.

You can stream and download Bandoliers' EP, Time & May on their Bandcamp page.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Album Review: Seahaven - Winter Forever

Album Rating: C
Well, upon first listen, Seahaven had me hooked. The promos I had initially heard pointed to greatness; a familiar, yet comforting sound that was equal parts post-hardcore and pop-punk, sort of in the vein of Title Fight. I had high hopes to say the least, as Seahaven’s endearing sound really struck a chord. And while their debut, Winter Forever has all the makings of a great album, it simply doesn’t get off the ground. Fun and energetic for sure, but the lack of diversity keeps the album from soaring to the heights that it is so capable of.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Album Retrospective: Lou Reed - Transformer

Album Rating: A
I'm probably in the minority in believing that Lulu is not in fact one of the worst albums ever recorded, but the wreckage it's left is pretty catastrophic. That equilibrium of two (formerly) great artists never looked like one which would end well, but even so the amount of bile directed at Lou Reed has come as somewhat of a surprise to me. Metallica's unforgiving fanbase ensured that it was they who bore the brunt of the ensuing hilarity, yet the main question from many detractors seemed to be just why they wanted to hook up with an archaic fool who bears frightening resemblance to grandpa Simpson. What shocked me even more were the numbers of listeners apparently ignorant to Reed's past glories, while there were even some who had evidently never encountered the man behind numerous game-changing musical landmarks. His achievements with The Velvet Underground in the late sixties are all but beyond dispute, and rightly so. This has, however, had the effect of overshadowing his solo work, despite the fact that some of it reaches equally stellar standards. Sure, he also made Metal Machine Music (you think Lulu's bad? you've heard nothing!), but when he hit a spot he did so with his full weight behind it.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Album Review: King Krule - King Krule

Album Rating: C-
It's not often nowadays you see seventeen year-old musicians getting critical attention. I feel like the younger generation is usually ignored in the music business, so when I saw the young True Panther signee Archy Marshall, who records under Zoo Kid and King Krule, on the front page of Pitchfork, I got pretty excited. However, after reading an interview with him, I was rather discouraged. He seemed awfully pretentious for somebody his age, almost to the point of sounding immature. Hoping that Archy's wry personality would not be reflected in his music, I gave his debut self titled EP a try.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Artist Spotlight: Junius / Rosetta Split (vinyl)

A long time in coming, a split release on vinyl between Junius and Rosetta is something post-metal fans have been awaiting, and now it's here. Both of the tracks are wonderfully complementary to one another, with Michael Armine's screams in Rosetta being counterbalanced by Joseph E. Martinez's smooth crooning, and the melodies of "A Day Dark With Night" flowing easily into "TMA-3". The release is a great way for both bands to gain a bit of publicity too - Junius, of course, had just released a new album, and their single off of the split complements the new album beautifully, being in the same strain; Rosetta, on the other hand, allows fans to re-focus on their music, their release of A Determinism of Morality having been released halfway through last year. Rosetta has been planning for some new music in 2012 and had performed a couple of days ago in New York's Metal Suckfest, so we should be seeing more of them in the near future. One thing is for sure, though: this split rocks, and shows off the sound that both bands have been working for, and judging by this release, have clearly perfected.

The split comes out on vinyl on November 22nd, and you can pre-order it here!

If you haven't heard either of the tracks yet, you can find the Junius one here and the Rosetta one here.

Album Review: Laura Veirs - Tumble Bee

Album Rating: B
Becoming a parent has a habit of changing one's outlook on life, and on the surface that would certainly seem to be the case with Laura Veirs. The 38 year-old songstress has always shown herself capable of excelling in the art of pastoral folk loveliness, but becoming a mother for the first time has led her to a style that fits her talents perfectly. If you've not already gathered, Tumble Bee is, as it's sleeve states, an album of folk covers for children, and although it sees Veirs embarking on new musical ground the impression you get while listening is that few artists currently in action would make a better fist of such a niche.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Album Review: Johnny Foreigner - Johnny Foreigner Vs Everything

Album Rating: C
As far as confrontational album titles go, Johnny Foreigner Vs. Everything ranks pretty highly, and as anyone who has heard the band before would expect, the music within very much follows suite. For the past four of five years, the Birmingham three-piece have steadily built a strong underground following with their sporadic and excitable brand of indie pop. Comparisons to fellow Brits Los Campesionos! have followed them throughout that period, but JF have always delivered a far more spontaneous racket, and have developed a handy habit of encasing brilliantly catchy melodies in amongst their waves of (mostly) controlled chaos.

Album Review: The Wild - A Collection

Album Rating: B+
Oh joy, rapture—The Wild have entered my life just in the nick of time. Whilst 2011 has been winding down, I’ve been getting glum, knowing that this fantastic year is now coming to a close. Alas and alack, however, as A Collection has arrived. A Collection is exactly what its name implies—a collection of lovingly composed tracks from a sadly ignored act, The Wild. Who are The Wild you ask? Well, albeit a bit derivative, they’re simply the epitome of what every indie/folk should be doing, and doing it damn well.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Artist Spotlight: Worry Party

I don't bother with many bands from the current emo scene. To me, at least, too many of them take the whole melodramatic aspect of the genre too far, while the less that's said about most of it's mainstream representation the better. Worry Party, however, offer a welcome and refreshing change. It's not that they're dragging the genre into exciting new pastures, rather that they're resurrecting it's indie-based origins, and providing their own fresh interpretation of it. It's clear that that sound is still going through the stages of development, but it's potential is clear and it shouldn't come as much of a surprise if the band makes waves once firmly established a few years down the line.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Album Retrospective: The Antlers - Hospice

Album Rating: A
There has always been a difference between albums that are about heartbreak and albums that are actually heartbreaking. The albums about heartbreak are filled with songs that are about lost loves, lost causes, lost people, lost wars, lost moments, and even the artist losing themselves. The songs often leave us indifferent because we know even the most original album about heartbreak has been done before. We know that everyone has problems, we know that everyone gets heartbroken, we know that everyone gets depressed, we know everyone has a unique political stance, and we know that everyone longs for a past that they used to think was so terrible. When an artist makes an album that is simply about heartbreak, our reaction is usually just to shrug and move on to the next album about some sort of unique heartbreak. The only thing that is heartbreaking about albums about heartbreak is that they are so unoriginal that they will never even come close to breaking our hearts.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Musical Madness- Round Two

Two weeks ago we had the first week of Musical Madness here on Muzik Dizcovery. Musical Madness is a combination of my love of music with my love of college basketball. For far too long it seems like the people who love music and the people who really love sports have been separated by an invisible iron curtain. I want to end this Cold War of cultural elitism by analyzing music in a way that would appease even the most die hard sports fan. With this dream in mind I created a 64 album March Madness type bracket on this very site two weeks ago. The 64 teams were divided into four distinct and unique regions- mainstream, metal, hip-hop, and indie.

Album Review: Girl In A Coma - Exits And All the Rest

Album Rating: B
If you know anything about 70's rock and roll, or if you happened to catch 2010's biopic The Runaways, you probably understand that Joan Jett is sort of a badass. Feverish, fierce, and oftentimes fucked up, Jett was able to claw and climb her way through the rock ranks of the 70's and 80's, not only with her original band The Runaways, but also as a solo artist and alongside her more renowned troupe, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Jett's focus was not limited to her own music though, and the early 1980's saw the start of her and Kenny Laguna's independent label, Blackheart Records. Not only has Blackheart released many of Jett's own chart-topping singles, they have also helped to propel a handful of more recent bands into the spotlight, one of the most relevant of which is San Antonio's Girl In A Coma. Adding the post-punk sensibilities that one would expect from a band named after a Smiths song to a slightly less filtered pop-punk approach (and one that certainly appeases even Jett herself), Girl In A Coma have made quite a name for themselves in the Southwestern United States. With the release of their fourth LP, Exits And All the Rest, GIAC showcase just how loud and indelible three girls with amps and microphones can be.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Album Review: Beneath Oblivion - From Man To Dust

Album Rating: A+
When I said that the Mylene Sheath would have a successful year, I wasn't too far off, and the new Beneath Oblivion record really enforces the point. From Man To Dust is an extremely power record in post-metal, combining Agalloch's black-metal exploration with Grief's eternal hate, topped off with a strong dosage of Zoroaster-esque heaviness. For one who doesn't have a reference of any of those bands, if I were to make a comparison between Beneath Oblivion and Russian Circles, the former makes up in sheer intensity what it lacks in Russian Circles' technicality. This record is an immovable object, an emotional exploration of a post-apocalyptic world that will stand the test of time.

Album Retrospective: Natural Snow Buildings - The Dance of the Moon and the Sun

Album Rating: A+
Ocarina of Time is considered to be one of the greatest video games of all time. All of its aspects from the gameplay to the atmosphere make it unlike any game that has ever been made. For me, Ocarina of Time feels almost mind-expanding, where it makes me think of things completely outside of the game. Almost to the point where it doesn't feel like a game, it feels so otherworldly. It makes Hyrule almost seem like it's a real place on this planet that I could catch a plane to if I wanted to. It might be disturbing to know that I feel this way about a video game, of all things, but it is a feeling unique to any other feeling that I get when playing a video game. The only other thing that has made me think in such a way is Natural Snow Building's self released, understated masterpiece The Dance of the Moon and the Sun.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Artist Spotlight: Edelweiss

I'm only 18, but Edelweiss makes me feel old. The band's members are no older than 17, with an average age of sixteen. They also make feel inadequate, since they've accomplished more musically by this age than I could ever hope and dream of. What's kills my ego even more is how damn talented they are. The opening song "Icarus" off their Pre-Columbians EP is extremely reminiscent of Two Door Cinema Club with the guitar tone and overall feel of the song, and may even show more variety in the riffs than them. "A Sound From Pennsylvania" shows the band constructing songs far beyond their years, as not many 16 year olds would ever think of making an instrumental shoegaze track. The scariest thing about Edelweiss is that they have plenty of room for improvement. Edelweiss is a young LeBron James; they're extremely talented and are beginning to turn that talent into production, but they haven't even cracked the surface of their massive potential.  Remember Edelweiss' name, because they may be the next budding superstar of the musical world. You can listen to the EP on Bandcamp here, and check them out on Facebook here.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Album Retrospective: Brand New - Deja Entendu

Album Rating: A-
Less of a retrospective on a personal beloved classic, and more of a first time exploration on one of the last decade's most cherished alternative records, I attempt to pen my experience with Brand New's Deja Entendu. Oh yes, I enjoyed my time with their masterpiece, The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me, and even heard a bit of the quite wonderful Daisy, but I had never once feasted my ears on their highly regarded sophomore effort.

Why yes, it occurs to me that this venture should have happened years ago. Maybe I had it built up so high in my head after The Devil and God..., or perhaps just laziness, but regardless, I couldn't pass up this album any longer. It wasn't the hopes of an instant classic that drew me, but rather, how it brought so many people together. With the rise of the internet, blogging, and mass music journalism, the over and under-interpretation has shadowed the actual 'magic' of music. Music has the power to over come barriers and bring people together for a common purpose, but that fact has become lost by our culture of quick downloading and quick juding. In an attmept to curb such nonsense, I got my hands on Deja Entendu.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Album Retrospective: Relient K - Forget And Not Slow Down

Album Rating: A
Pop-punk and its closest relatives hit the mainstream hard between the years of 2003 and 2005. In this small timespan, Yellowcard's Ocean Avenue, Simple Plan's Still Not Getting Any..., and Good Charlotte's The Chronicles Of Life and Death all went platinum in the US, while Hawthorne Heights, New Found Glory, and Sum 41 all had albums go gold. Relient K fits into this group as well, going gold with Two Lefts Don't Make A Right, But Three Do and Mmhmm, while also gaining two Billboard Hot 100 hits in "Be My Escape" and "Who I Am Hates Who I've Been". It's hard to imagine any of the above bands sell even a quarter of those figures anymore, as the bands as well as their modern counterparts have been shut out of the charts in "honor" of more club jams and pop-stars. But Relient K in particular has raised their game considerably since their heyday, releasing an extremely underrated cool weather masterpiece titled Forget And Not Slow Down. The band embraces a more indie based pop-punk sound, accenting the keys and pushing the punk influences to the absolute minimum. Not only is Forget And Not Slow Down easily their most mature record, it is also easily their best.

Album Review: The Tower & The Fool - XIII EP

EP Rating: A-
You often hear talk of genres which have run their course and are beginning to stagnate, but we can rest assured that folk based Americana is not among them. It's a style that has been in a particularly rude state of health in recent times, with established artists like The Decemberists, Wilco and Ryan Adams all releasing excellent albums in this calender year, while new blood from bands like The War On Drugs promises much for the future. With the arrival of The Tower & The Fool, though, that trajectory has begun to shine even brighter.

Album Review: Treefight For Sunlight- A Collection of Vibrations for Your Skull

Album Rating: B-
Sometimes music is more seasonal than it is conditional. Sometimes music is more about the temperature outside than the metaphorical temperature of our hearts. In winter we listen to whatever albums give us the most warmth, in spring we listen to whatever albums give us the most hope, in summer we listen to whatever albums define our "youthful pleasures," and in the fall we tend to listen to want to listen to something that is as colorful and comforting as the leaves that are constantly falling at our feet. This is why you might listen to Merriweather Post Pavilion the most in the winter months, it is why you might listen to Forget and Not Slow Down in the most in the fall months, it is why you might listen to Helplessness Blues the most in the fall, and it is why Pet Sounds might be the perfect soundtrack to your youthful summer.