quarta-feira, setembro 28, 2005

416. Death Cab For Cutie - transatlanticism

originally uploaded by jrd550.
In the world catalogue of love pop songs I wonder what percentage of tracks are about break ups versus 'I'm so happy in love' ones. The band cleverly creates a word with its title to help set up the theme of album; a failed long distance relationship (actually probably more complicated than that, but that's up to you). Relationships are of course hard work, and one can assume even harder if a couple is spread thousands of miles apart. I too long for a time when "...the world was flat like the old days, Then i could travel just by folding a map, No more airplanes, or speedtrains, or freeways, There'd be no distance that can hold us back" - but not only a simpler geographical time but emotional one too.

8.5 out of 10

segunda-feira, setembro 26, 2005

415. Death Cab For Cutie - the stability ep

originally uploaded by jrd550.
A three track ep? Granted the third song is 12 minutes long, but its second half is the same riff over and over again. Contains a Bjork cover of 'All is full of love'. All in all not a bad disc, but more of a bonus disc than a $10 ep.

7 out of 10

414. Death Cab For Cutie - photo album

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Ah, fall of 2001. My first driving ticket, 9/11, moving up to NYC and DCFC's third disc. I clearly remember feeling like this album was weaker than 'We have the facts...' - I think I felt that way until I caught them playing a CMJ show just before the release of 'Transatlanticism'. After that show I started to hear the songs differently, maybe on their own merits and not in the shadow of their previous release. Like a regular photo album I think the contents of this disc begin to become more special as time goes by.

8.5 out of 10

sábado, setembro 24, 2005

413. Death Cab For Cutie - forbidden love

originally uploaded by jrd550.
This is the first disc that finds Ben's vocals in the forefront of the band's sound (a set up that has continued up to today). On prior releases the vocal's were echoey, sang from afar. Contains a better than the original alternate version of '405'. A must for any DCFC fan.

8 out of 10

sexta-feira, setembro 23, 2005

412. Death Cab For Cutie - we have the facts and we're voting yes

This is my favourite DCFC album, probably because it was my first, and because I got it at a great time in my life, though I didn't know it then - but listening to it again now I realize the times were good. Though the disc is probably just an 8 or 8.5, I am giving this album a 9 for the following reasons. Musically it's complex, or at least as complicated as pop songs can be . It's both quiet and loud, cheesey and unique. The record came out when indie still was indie and being mass produced or ripped off yet. And because for me at least the album carries great memories of hope and optimism (then the job market tanked).

"and I could taste your lipstick on the filter... "

9 out of 10

quinta-feira, setembro 22, 2005

411. Death Cab For Cutie - something about airplanes

originally uploaded by jrd550.
The first track I heard from DCFC was 'President of what?', but the first album I picked up was 'We have the facts..." - both that album and this one have a more homemade, intimate feel than the band's other releases - their songs here are anthemc but not epic, which is something I like. Anyway, SAA is a worthy debut disc by any band's standards: a great mix of instruments, sounds and themes make this disc feel like an old school project you are still proud of after all these years.
Line of Best Fit
7.5 out of 10

quarta-feira, setembro 21, 2005

410. The Shins - fighting in a sack

originally uploaded by jrd550.
This sucks. Contains the single off of 'Chutes...' plus a T.Rex cover and 'New Slang' live with Iron and Wine. The cover 'Baby Boomerang' is awful, and te real disappointment lies in 'New Slang' - I love the song, and love Iron and Wine, but the quality sucks and James sings at the same time as Sam, drwning each other out - they should have taken turns.

2.5 out of 10

409. The Shins - chutes too narrow

originally uploaded by jrd550.
They're back with a die cut insert designed by Jesse LeDoux, tracks produced by Phil Ek and legions of new fans thanks to the OC, all of which is okay really and doesn't distract from the fact that once again, The Shins have recorded a great pop album. What is different this time is the ambience around the record. The mystery that the band possessed is somewhat gone: we know what they look like now, James vocals are crystal clear now, the lyrics are more straight forward and the songs are a tighter fit and don't meander as much. Or maybe I am just picky.

8.5 out of 10

segunda-feira, setembro 19, 2005

408. The Shins - oh, inverted world

Before this band was OC'd to death and buried in the Garden State, James and co. quietly released a magical pop album in 2001. I was fortunate enough to not have heard it until a couple of years later thanks to Ellen. I think having waited that long has still kept this album fresh. The songs are short, sweet and jaggedy. Mercer's vocals are less defined on this album, and the production more hall like, adding to the band's sad, beautiful inverted world.

9.5 out of 10

sexta-feira, setembro 16, 2005

407. Nada Surf - let go

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I love this album. It plays like a relationship: the excitement of meeting someone, with the fear of getting hurt hanging over you - the moment when you acknowledge that there is something like love, as the rest of the world has actually been saying all along (and you enjoy it), to the heartbreak that you knew was coming or that you even engineered to an extent because it's safe. But just in case you can't relate to the above, 'Let Go' is above all a perfectly crafted weepy eyed pop album.
Killian's Red
9.5 out of 10

406. Nada Surf - the proximity effect

originally uploaded by jrd550.
We all remember 'Popular' from 95' or so right? An MTV buzz bin favourite. At the time Nada Surf were on Elektra - the one hit led to the making of this album that was recorded by Elektra then sold back to band after sales weren't so hot - the disc was then released years later on an indie called Mardev, to now being widely available on Barsuk. So there are three versions of this disc you could own, all with a varying tracklist of a song or two. The band clearly has a lot to say on this album, both lyrically and musically (Joe believes the album is about rape) - there are some great moments, but overall you get the feeling that the band, and production, was rushed - the songs just weren't developed enough both in the studio and out. Still if you are a big fan of 'Let Go' pick this up.

7 out of 10

terça-feira, setembro 13, 2005

now serving: sweet tea

Pop is at its best when it's slightly sad.

segunda-feira, setembro 12, 2005

405. The Lemonheads - come on feel the lemonheads

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Even though Juliana is back, Evan isn't at his peak here like he was in 'Ray'. The disc does have great moments, but it doesn't possess the innocence and sincerity of 'Ray', which I assume isn't something that isn't easy to replicate, especially since those two things are so subjective. Still, a good example of Dando's songwriting skills, and how the band can be heavy and sugary at the sametime.

7 out of 10

404. The Lemonheads - it's a shame about ray

originally uploaded by jrd550.
This album aged really well. I first got this when I lived in Brazil, had read a lot about it, and ordered it along with the Beastie's 'Check your head' and Rollins Band 'End of silence', and maybe Mudhoney's 'EGBDF'. Naturally when it arrived I wasn't into it that much, my tastes were heavier back then, so I eventually traded it in (my first version did not contain the 'Mrs.Robinson' track). I'm glad I eventually got it again - Dando creates great nostalgic pop, and when Juliana drops a line you want to marry her right away. The album is jut a couple of tracks of being stellar.

8 out of 10

domingo, setembro 11, 2005

403. Helium - pirate prude

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Sorry this is out of order - this came out in 94, where the other two were 96/97. A seven track ep that is less impressive than the other two releases I have, which sort of makes sense since it was released earlier. All the 'tricks' from the other two releases that made them slightly unique are gone here, all we are left with is a trio that plays well, but just nothing quite that special.

5 out of 10

402. Helium - magic city

originally uploaded by jrd550.
The band's promising sound continues here, but doesn't really develop, mainly because the vocalist just really has sing along capabilities - either she simply follows the music or the music follows her - the music will stray, but she never goes with it. A shame because there is a lot great unexpected moments on this record. Truly could have been magical.

8 out of 10

401. Helium - no guitars ep

originally uploaded by jrd550.
'No Guitars' is filled with moments of great promise, I guess that's why I picked up more stuff by these guys. The songs do have guitar, and a lot of other instruments too, producing a great mix of sounds for indie rock back in 1997. It's worth picking up, or at least knowing about.

Riddle Of The Chamberlin
7.5 out of 10

sábado, setembro 10, 2005

400. Devin Davis - lonely people of the world unite!

originally uploaded by jrd550.
My cousin Devin is a one man band, playing all the instruments on his debut and handling all the songwriting too. This album could have been a masterpiece, instead it just sounds like one, or a clone of one. The main problem with this disc is that it sounds all too familiar, played perfectly, written as if there were a guide book to indie pop, with bridges and breaks that borrow from regular rock n' roll and sing alongs that are classic R&B. It's okay to sound like something else, but you have to build on it too. Nonetheless, a very worthy debut.

7.5 out of 10

399. The Belles - omerta

originally uploaded by jrd550.
A 70's like pop duo of sorts crafting tight candy pop numbers - most of the time. At other times some of the tracks are just flat, failed acoustic numbers that have nothing to say or go anywhere - and it's such a shame to have a record be only half good. I hope they keep playing but take a bit more time with what they play.

Never Said Anything
6 out of 10

398. Black Box Recorder - the worst of black box recorder

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I was always curious about BBR and Burning Airlines - great names (not so much after 9/11), bith sort of hinting that their sound is somewhat dark, maybe even heavy. Years ago I was in Other Music one day and came across this in the used bin for $8. I picked it up figuring it was a safe bet, a 'best of' by a band with an intersting name. Unfortunately with CD buying there aren't that many safe bets, and BBR were far from being one. The souund like a diluted, limp, stale Cardigans. Period.

4.5 out of 10

397. Sparklehorse - it's a wonderful life

originally uploaded by jrd550.
So much, much better than what I remembered. Features PJ, Nina Persson, Tom Waits, Grandaddy and a couple of other guest spots. The songs are both melodic yet intricate, but in the end Mark Linkous ends up suffering from the 'one man band' syndrome, where is seems like ego/creative ambition prevails over a fuller more solid sound (see Eeels). Still, I think it's as good as a Sparklehorse album can get.

Sea Of Teeth
8 out of 10

quarta-feira, setembro 07, 2005

396. Desaparecidos - read music speak spanish

originally uploaded by jrd550.
This Desaparecidos cd is going to disappear. Connor is fully electric here with a group of friends from other Saddle Creek bands I presume. The songs sound as if they aren't happy being what they are. They are part pop, part fuzz, part rock, part 80's and generally just annoying. If you see it used pass.

4 out of 10

terça-feira, setembro 06, 2005

395. Bright Eyes - lifted or...

originally uploaded by jrd550.
There are two kinds of music listeners: the kind that focus mainly on lyrics and storytelling, and the kind that focus mainly on the music itself, and then listen to the lyrics and/or meaning behind a song. Now of course both the lyrics and music are equally important, but at the end of the day if I had to pick, I'd rather have a song that is great musically, with mediocre/obscure lyrics, than a song with amazing lyrics and a boring/predictable melody. When Oberst focuses on the storytelling I am lost in his pointless narrative, but when the emphasis is placed on sound I am happily along for the ride. Sadly, though a strong release, I am more often lost than not.

7 out of 10

quinta-feira, setembro 01, 2005

394. Brigth Eyes - oh holy fools the music of son, ambulance and bright eyes

A split cd between Bright Eyes and Son, Ambulance that works remarkably well, mainly because Bright Eyes is watered down, sharing an equal number of tracks with Son, Ambulance. It would be wrong to say that Son, Ambulance are an American Belle & Sebastian, but they sort of are, at least on this split, which makes me enjoy their tracks but also quickly dismiss them. Oberst is his traditional self but with a stronger story telling sense:

"I met you through a common friend in the attic of my parents house"

7 out of 10