quarta-feira, agosto 31, 2005

393. Bright Eyes - fevers and mirrors

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Too much too soon? Too ambitious? Oberst has the talent to pull off a great album on many levels - even his voice, which sounds like someone singing through a fan, can be effective - but it can also be annoying, just as his songs can be over composed and his lyrics overly poetic. This concept album doesn't always hold together, even with Connor's fake radio interview at the end of the album where he explains the title of the disc along with many other foot notes. Good but not great.

6.5 out of 10

domingo, agosto 28, 2005

392. Bright Eyes - letting off the hapiness

originally uploaded by jrd550.
This album has two things going for it: a) Connor is only 17 or 18, and he writes and plays pretty much everything, a very impressive fact, no? b) the album contains enough different styles and sounds that the listener is always somewhat interested. Its only drawbacks are his voice and lyrics which aren't as well developed as they could have been, then again he's only 18. Think about what you were doing at that age.

7 out of 10

sexta-feira, agosto 26, 2005

391. Colin Meloy - sings morrissey e.p. (bootleg)

I truly love The Smiths, not in a crazed fan obsessed way, but I recognize how important they were, and still are, and just how brilliant the morrissey/marr songwriting team was. Yet I never followed their solo careers after the band's demise. Sure I listened to some of Marr's collaborations with the Pet Shop Boys, etc. but I only got as far as 'Vauxhall and I' with Morrissey (and I even ended up trading that it at some point, sorry Jack). So to make a long story short I don't really know the original versions of the songs, but I do enjoy Colin's versions and admire the simple fact that he wanted to record these tracks and release the ep himself. If you are a Smiths and Decemberists fan it is worth the download time, just maybe not the 'out of print' ebay price.

Jack the Ripper

6.5 out of 10

390. The Decemberists - the tain

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I don't know what 'The Tain' is - I could look it up, but why? I don't think I really care, maybe it's a poem? Well, whatever it is, The Decemberists have used it as inspiration for this 1 track ep/single. The song is 15+ minutes long and is broken into several sections. The result is mixed - parts abruptly end or begin - but I do give them an 'A' for effort.

6 out of 10

quinta-feira, agosto 25, 2005

389. The Decemberists - her majesty the decemberists

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I have to give Ellen props for introducing me to these guys ages ago - she placed 'Los Angeles, I'm Yours' on a mix for me (really for the office). Then I picked this up for Dena, who had like the song but hadn't heard anything else (I actually didn't pick it up till six months ago for myself). You can no longer introduce anyone to the decemberist's and this album is the reason for that. All the songs are 'instant crowd favourites' - the disc plays like a soundtrack to a Broadway show. The problem here is that the soundtrack is enjoyable when it's your own private narrative, but less appealing when a packed club of theatre majors are having their 'moments' while the band plays 'Red right ankle'. Still, great fun.

8.5 out of 10

quarta-feira, agosto 24, 2005

388. The Decemberists - castaways and cutouts

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I like this album in a different way from the band's other releases. This to me is a truly sad record (sad within the band's fictional world). It doesn't really contain any of the theatric sing alongs that have graced their other albums (save for 'July! July!'). The brand new crisp strings on Colin's acoustic guitar, and his clear, almost monotone voice, set a melancholic haze that lasts throughout the majority of the album. A great disc, where the sounds are clear and sad.

'and i am nothing of a builder
but here i dreamt i was an architect
and i built this balustrade
to keep you home, to keep you safe
from the outside world'


9 out of 10

terça-feira, agosto 23, 2005

387. The Decemberists - 5 songs

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Six songs on this '5 songs' ep. The songs are good and to an extent essential for the completist fan, but in short the songs are a bit too tame; sweet but without the kick or traditional lyrical wit.

6 out of 10

domingo, agosto 21, 2005

386. James - i know what i'm here for

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Pleasant single from the album 'millionaires'. It's backed with two bsides, all three produced by Brian Eno. I never followed up on this band after 'Wah, Wah', and after hearing these tracks I wouldn't mind doing so. I had 'Whiplash' and can't exactly remember why, but just didn't like it. If anyone has any recommendations let me know.

6 out of 10

385. James - wah wah

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Almost more exciting than 'Laid' - contains 20 plus tracks from the Brian Eno produced sessions, great random intrumentals and echoing vocals. Meadows, if he ever returns to this blog, has a great story about this CD.

8 out of 10

384. James - laid

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Ahhh, a soundtrack to a happier, simpler time. This Brian Eno produced disc is more ambient in its nature than the popular 'Laid' single would lead you to believe. This album is great and has some exciting moments, especially for being released in 1993 - but it also has some cheese 'you're one of the three!', 'say something, anything'. Overall it's good, clean fun.

8 out of 10

383. Luna - live

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Luna live at the Knitting Factory and 9:30 Club in DC. A decent document of the band's live shows, but not entirely necessary. There are some high moments 'Anesthesia' and '4000 Days', but not enough to warrant an entire live album. I am sure hard core fans are happy to have it, but I will trading it in I think.

5.5 out of 10

sábado, agosto 20, 2005

382. Luna - the days of our nights

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I heard 'Dear Diary' on a sampler from CMJ, which now seems like ages ago... this was released in 1999, so I guess 6 years is 'ages ago'. I hadn't really noticed until it was pointed out to me, how Lou Reed like the vocals are - I was never crazy about Lou, but the vocals here work, in a hushed sort of 'I am just falling asleep' sort of way. The album is successful in being melodic, catchy and yet still. Includes an entertaining cover of Gn'R's 'Sweet Child O' Mine'. The painting on the cover looks like a whiter Michael Jackson, no?

8.5 out of 10

quarta-feira, agosto 17, 2005

381. Belle and Sebastian - vancouver 2001/stockholm 2002 (bootleg)

These are really two seperate cds that I am reviewing as one here. The Vancouver show sounds great and is taken directly from the soundboard, the second disc is a recording from a Swedish radio broadcast. Both concerts show how talented this band is, their studio sound is perfectly reproduced, beautifully breathing along with the audience. The other great thing about these two sets is that they both collect the band's more redeeming moments, both netting out at 14 tracks a piece. Since this band releases everything they've ever recorded, I am sure this will find its way to your local shop.

Don't Leave The Light On Baby

8 out of 10

quinta-feira, agosto 11, 2005

380. Belle and Sebastian - fold your hands child, you walk like a peasant

Ahhh, my last B&S album - wait that isn't true. 'Fold your hands...' has just a glimpse at how great these guys could have been. It has its moments, but instead of holding your hand through out the album, you're kicked off to the side and called 'queer'. Great album title though.

6.5 out of 10

terça-feira, agosto 09, 2005

379. Belle and Sebastian - i'm waking up to us

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Pleasant enough - like the beagle on the cover. It was after these two ep's that I sort of gave up on B&S, and truly gave up once they sort of re invented themselves (though I haven't really heard any of the new stuff so I shouldn't assume it isn't great). The three tracks are exclusive to this disc and are pleasing as casual pop tunes and don't do much else.

5.5 out of 10

378. Belle and Sebastian - legal Man

originally uploaded by jrd550.
The cover is very telling of this ep. The songs do sound a lot like themes to 'Our Man Flint', 'Casino Royale', etc - the opening credits like 'Legal Man', the half assed run down the streets action sequence 'Judy is a dick slap', and the Bacharach inspired love track 'Winter Wooskie'. Fun but not entirely necessary.

5 out of 10

375/376/377 - Belle And Sebastian - lazy painter jane

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Better than what I remembered, very full band like - horn's, strings, loose and less orchestrated. Three seperate discs with four tracks each, containing tracks recorded between 'Tigermilk' and 'If You're Feeling Sinister'. A must for a serious fan.

Le Pastie De La Bourgeoisie

7.5 out of 10

segunda-feira, agosto 08, 2005

374. Belle and Sebastian - the boy with the arab strap

originally uploaded by jrd550.
This was my first B&S disc, and to a very large extent I think that's why it's my favourite. If I am not mistaken it is also the first album in which you can clearly hear Isobel, adding a much needed secondary voice to the band's tales. It is slightly campier than its previous efforts, but never cheesey. 'Rollercoaster Ride' was made for sunny days outside (or inside, slightly buzzed, looking outside while it is sunny).

Rollercoaster Ride

8.5 out of 10

373. Belle and Sebastian - if you're feeling sinister

originally uploaded by jrd550.
B&S keep strumming along to their story book lyrics and local theatre like arrangements. Some feel this is the best B&S album but I am somewhat let down by the second half which seems to run out of steam and engaging narrative. At times it sounds like the chorus is a sentence imposed on the band, forced to play through again and again to reach a never soon enough end.

7 out of 10

372. Belle and Sebastian - tigermilk

originally uploaded by jrd550.
This band takes me back to a time I didn't realize was so far away. This was actually their third album I purchased and it has held up remarkably well. B&S' problem, which only became apparent much later in their catlogue, was that many of their tracks were um, average or homely. I know that is a rather ignorant thing to say about many bands, but it was as if they were true geniuses on one song, and then uninspired and flat on the next. Thankfully this album has stronger moments rather than weak. A good start.

7 out of 10

domingo, agosto 07, 2005

371. The Most Serene Republic -underwater cinematographer

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Yet another Canadian band on Arts and Crafts - when will this insanity end I ask ? Hopefully not too sonn, as long as the music continues to reach great new heights. I just got this Friday and am rather pleased. This 6 piece band makes enough 'noise' to come across as a 12 piece, putting as much effort into the quiet ones as they do the louder tracks. The disc is somewhat all over the place - hand claps, keyboards, fuzz, male vocals, female vocals, group chants, instrumentals... it's too soon to tell whether they will be as successful as their comrades, maybe not with this album, but possibly with the next. You can stream the entire album on Arts & Crafts' website.

7 out of 10

370. Arcade Fire - funeral

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Here I go again: I first heard the Arcade Fire when they opened for the Wrens at a Kintting Factory show - they weren't anybody at the time, 'Funeral' had not been released, and the Wren's were so impressed with them from a gig they played together in Canada that they were asked to open a handful of dates for the band. That show was great (both bands), but I still didn't pick up their ep. I also waited ages to get this one, mainly because they were everywhere all the time. I am part of a mix club (long story) and out of 9 cd's 7 had some sort of AF track - so I had pretty much heard the album already. By the time I picked this up I wasn't in awe of it like many, mainly due to the over exposure. Clearly very Talking Heads like, but that's okay if it is done well and isn't simply a rip off.

9 out of 10

369. Yo La Tengo -and then nothing turned itself inside-out

Another whisper like album from Hoboken's darlings. The great thing about YLT is that just when you think you have the album figured out they drop a 17 minute instrumental track, 'Night falls on Hoboken', on you - and it's at that point when you realize not everything is meant to hit you over the head. Also, great photography from Gregory Crewdson.

7.5 out of 10

sábado, agosto 06, 2005

368. Yo La Tengo - autumn sweater

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Wow, the crap I buy. Who knows why. Pointless and upsetting.

1.5 out of 10

367. Yo La Tengo - i can hear the heart beating as one

originally uploaded by jrd550.
So this is the first proper full length by YLT that I own and what a difference from the previous releases. The album holds pretty well together - normally the vocals with this band can take its toll with my attention span, but not on this release. The songs are still somewhat sparse, but it seems now they have a purpose too. I think Jack just doesn't like trios. Plus you have to love a song called 'Little Honda'. And 'Spec Bebop' is slightly brilliant.

We're An American Band

7 out of 10

366. Yo La Tengo - genius + love (bootleg)

originally uploaded by jrd550.
My mentor and part time physical therapist, Jack Kodiak, hates Yo La Tengo. I don't hate them, but they don't provoke an intense reaction from me in either extreme of the spectrum. This double disc isn't a bootleg really, but it isn't an original, my copy came from Meadows who picked this up in Circuit City back in 98' or 99'. One cd contains vocals and the other just instrumentals - all tracks I believe are culled from album outtakes, bsides and soundtracks. The instrumental disc is fairly impressive - there aren't too many bands that can keep your attention while playing instrumentals only. Only part genius, but all love.

6 out of 10

quinta-feira, agosto 04, 2005

365.Yo La Tengo - fakebook

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Not sure what the story is/was behind this release. The entire album is Beatlesque, early rock, lullaby like - I hope that makes sense. It isn't bad, but just not for me - too standard. UPDATE: I just looked at the liner notes, a lot of the tracks are covers from Cat Stevens to NRBQ - opinion still stands.

4.5 out of 10

terça-feira, agosto 02, 2005

364. Destroyer - your blues

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I hate musicals - most of them, and I am not crazy about theatre, therefore everything about this album should annoy the hell out of me, but it doesn't, unless of course I am forced to watch an interpretive dance of it. Destroyer's 'Your Blues' plays like a one man show, in full costume, with its fair share of spoken word and dramatic strings and cymbals. I think that what saves the album from being complete camp is that it reigns you back in with a solid pop foundation that like a good bass line isn't always noticed unless it isn't there. The fact that he is a New Pornographer helps too.

6.5 out of 10

segunda-feira, agosto 01, 2005

363. Broken Social Scene - bee hives

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Random outtakes from the 'you forgot in...' album which are very interesting and rewarding to big fans (in height, not admiration) but probably slightly boring to everyone else. It is neat to hear sketches for other songs that made it onto the previous album and others that will just live here. As with any song by a great band, the real treat lies in hearing alternate versions of your favourite song, as in the Fesit drenched 'Lover's spit'.

Lover's Spit

7.5 out of 10

362. Broken Social Scene - you forgot it in people

originally uploaded by jrd550.
There are certain things people take credit for as if they had some gifted hand in. You'll hear people say 'look at the perfect feet I have' or 'my first, middle and last name are great, aren't they?'. While it's fun to take credit/joy in something you had absolutely nothing to do with, there is something almost religious, fanatical about having to state 'oh I had that record way before they got big' - or anything along those lines (read my post for the next band too). Like if that band's success had anything to do with you picking them up. Well I did have this album ages before they broke, an advanced copy from a little store here in the city. I picked it up because I had heard 'anthems...' off of a sampler - the sampler also had a little EPK and I was fascinated by the number of band members (although a little gun shy after the hearing the color wheel mess known as Polyphonic Spree). That's the extent of my BSS story, from there it's pretty much the same as everyone else's. The disc is diverse, exciting, nostalgic and new. Brilliant.

9.5 out 10

361. Guided By Voices - earthquake glue

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Wow. I have heard this album many times and it always sounds slightly different from one listen to another. A true, creative effort from a band that I thought could never hit one on the head, and they have - or my ears aren't hearing properly. It isn't a tight little package, but an odd shaped rewarding one, where the gift lies in the smallest details from the tape used to the paper's clever folds.

9 out of 10