terça-feira, maio 31, 2005

319. Pedro the Lion - winners never quit

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Winners do quit, realizing when to quit is a difficult thing. I am thinking about quitting soon and starting something new. Thankfully David doesn't quit after this record. For the longest time this was my favourite PTL album but this past weekend 'Control' has taken over, I think. The sound at times becomes much heavier and catchy which plays off of the lethargic tracks very well - self doubt, uncertainty and making bad decisions never sounded so good.

8 out of 10

sexta-feira, maio 27, 2005

318. Pedro the Lion - progress

originally uploaded by jrd550.
This ep does demonstrate a bit of progress in David's sound, especially the re worked songs. For example, 'Of up and coming monarchs' is still intimate but larger in scope, sweeping the listener away, until they possibly get religiously freaked out. But if they don't it's a nice pause.
Of Up and Coming Monarchs
7 out of 10

quinta-feira, maio 26, 2005

317. Pedro the Lion - the only reason i feel secure

originally uploaded by jrd550.
What makes PTL so appealing is that even when a song is moving at a snails pace e.g., 'be thou my vision', you still want to hear what he has to say - he has a very commanding voice. Then you realize it has something to do with Christianity - granted I can't relate to his issues with faith, but I can relate to somebody with issues, whatever they may be. It's his candidness that makes him an accessible 'crossover' artist if you will, and the well written music helps. This reissued ep on Jade Tree has been remastered and contains bonus acoustic tracks.

7 out of 10

quarta-feira, maio 25, 2005

316. Pedro the Lion - it's hard to find a friend

originally uploaded by jrd550.
It is hard to find a friend. It's even harder to find a girlfriend. It's also hard to find a bright moment on this cd - the songs are good, but just very, very somber -'Big Trucks' gets a little poppy, but the mood is brought right back down... which again is fine. What David is able to do on later releases is convert simple acoustic songs into a more ethereal experience, and not so camp fire like. I have the Made in Mexico release, I hear the quality on the Jade Tree disc is better.

7 out of 10

terça-feira, maio 24, 2005

315. Pedro the Lion - whole

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Having heard, involuntarily mind you, a lot of Christian music Pedro the Lion is the Eddie Vedder of Jesus rock. The band could have stopped with this ep and it would easily be the best thing Zeus had ever blessed. The disc is short, simple, quiet and pensive. It isn't David's best, nor his most depressing - those are coming up.

6.5 out of 10

segunda-feira, maio 23, 2005

now serving: indie

What is indie? What does it sound like? Do you have to be on in independent label to be an 'indie' band? Luckily I am not equipped with the enthusiasm or bullshit to answer either of those questions. Indie bands, including the now dreaded term ‘emo’, will always be associated with an era to me and not a sound per se. It was 2000, I was 25, back in school for design - Chad had played me 'Emergency and I' and Connors loaned me 'Winners Never Quit'. That era ended when I got the sweet bitter 'Wood/Water' from the used bin for $4.99 a couple of years later.

sábado, maio 21, 2005

314. Clinic - operating at a theatre near you vol.1

Ellen and I were supposed to go see Dios during CMJ week but she never got tickets so we called around and the only showcase that wasn't sold out was Domino at Irving Plaza. We saw two acts then she bailed - I stayed to see the headliner, Clinic. They were amusing to look at, interesting to hear. This tour only ep has five tracks, three lives, an alternate studio track, and two radio sessions. It often sounds like Clinic could be really interesting but opt to play it safe. Then again, this sort of sound just isn't my cup of tea.

4.5 out of 10

313. The Hives - hate to say i told you so

originally uploaded by jrd550.
What the Hives do well here, is make the catchiest single they can, as if it were the only song they were ever going to put out. Yeah it sounds like something you've heard before, but that's why it works. The other two tracks are probably closer to what their sound really is like. The precise snare and high hat are replaced for a looser groove infused punk, where clarity takes a back seat to emotion.

7 out of 10

312. Division of Laura Lee -black city

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Chad had said something about them. Then Joe did. So I bought it. Not bad, but not my style really. The Hives sound, that has spread like cheesey grunge, is too straight forward for me - too tight, too short, too monotone. These guys do take it a step or two beyond the norm, but it isn't enough for me to say 'wow'.

6 out of 10

311. B.R.M.C.- whatever happened to my rocknroll

This single is my least favourite track from the album - the bsides are okay. I don't think I'll be keeping 'okay' cds anymore.

3 out of 10

sexta-feira, maio 20, 2005

310. B.R.M.C. - black rebel motor cycle club

originally uploaded by jrd550.
This was much better than I expected. I picked this up based on the strength of bsides from the single I have. I hate to bring the word marketing into this, but they weren't positioned right by their label. I am glad they are done with Virgin and will have more artistic control wherever they go next. Hopefully on their next release they'll be a bit more unique and vocally dynamic so that image of 'Jesus and the Mary Chain' can be burnt out of my head (I love JMC but we don't need another).
Head Up High
7.5 out of 10

quinta-feira, maio 19, 2005

309. Franz Ferdinand - franz ferdinad

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Another great name for a band - great design and a great video too. Great singles: 'take me out', 'darts of pleasure', ' jacqueline'. The album? For some reason it's just really good and not great too. Not sure why.The lyrics are smart, the grooves are fun and mixing disco and rock is genius, but the disc turns sounds like it's happening in the background and not on stage. Mmm, not sure that made sense.

8 out of 10

308. Bloc Party - bloc party ep

originally uploaded by jrd550.
The next big thing hasn't turned out to be so big, and that's probably for the best. Despite sticking to Gill sans throughout all their materials, BP are fairly original - a strong combination of pop, punk, and attitude. I haven't heard the full length yet but I assume it is more of the same pleasing, foot tapping songs that are on here. The last three years have produced a ton of 'pleasing' albums and e.p.'s with only a couple of truly amazing records. Only time will tell if these bands will put out that 'great' record or if they'll just burn out. But until then the cd sections at 'urban outfitters' will have a lot to pick from.

7.5 out of 10

quarta-feira, maio 18, 2005

307. British Sea Power - the decline of british sea power

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I went to a British School so hearing about the British Navy was frequent, so I immediately liked the band's name. We had this pocket series books, one for war planes, another for guns and rifles, another for ships and submarines - anyway, this band often reminds me of my school, especially on the tracks that tend to borrow from Echo and the Bunnymen. BSP don't tread in the same spot for too long, at one moment they are perfect brit punk 'Apologies to insect life', other times melancholic pop 'something wicked', and a mixture of both 'Lately'. A strong debut - I'm going to pick up their latest.
8.5 out of 10

terça-feira, maio 17, 2005

306. Hot Hot Heat - knock knock knock

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I had heard 'Bandages' from their first full length and was amused, then I heard the entire disc and was less amused - not bad, but not great. I was at Respect's last October and the dj played a track off of this ep and I was interested again. The ep is pretty engaging because it doesn't sound like the same in and out, it feels a bit more experimental. From what I heard off of the new album experimentation is not at the top of the band's list. A shame.
Touch You, Touch You

6 out of 10

305. Interpol - singles

Up to a certain point only remixes and live tracks were available as b sides - which are interesting but not always worth the $10. But now thanks to itunes you can buy each bside for 99 cents. So I picked up 'song seven', 'specialist' from a matador compilation, 'Interlude' (which is a 30 second instrumental track of nothing) and both 'Evil' and 'Narc' from BBC sessions. Overall worth the $5 I spent, especially for 'Song Seven'.

Song Seven

6.5 out of 10

304. Interpol - antics

originally uploaded by jrd550.
This record disappointed serious Interpol fans, but I think it is stronger. Firstly, the band does not simply repeat 'turn on the bright lights', they expand upon it both vocally and musically. The entire album has a sort of early 80's pop vibe to me, not blatantly throughout but in certain pockets of sound here and there (e.g. beginning and end of Narc) - also the album has a more optimistic sound while still being intense. There's nothing wrong with being pessimistic and intense, but if you can pull off optimistic and intense then that's special.

9 out of 10

quinta-feira, maio 12, 2005

303. Interpol - turn on the bright lights

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Here's another band I resisited - I figured 'why do i need another Joy Division' - which isn't fair. Granted they do borrow from Joy Division, they also build upon it and add more approachable melodies. A strong debut, the best thing to happen to Matador since Pavement. I like the album because it is dark and brooding, but those are the same reasons as to why I like 'Antics' so much more.
The New

8.5 out of 10

quarta-feira, maio 11, 2005

302. TV on the Radio - desperate youth, blood thirsty babes

A quiet, calculated yet random masterpiece. All the tracks come together and form a classic image. Other times TVOTR sound like a barber shop quartet strung out and trapped in the future. Anyway, the songs are intimate yet movie like.
Wear You Out

9.5 out of 10

terça-feira, maio 10, 2005

301. TV on the Radio - young liars

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I wasn't impressed with this when I first got it - 'Satellite' and 'Staring at the Sun' are great tracks to be introduced to - both have enough unique and classic pop qualities to grab you off of the first listen (and that's all anybody ever wants right? A unique take on a classic sensibility.) The main problem with this ep is that it is too short (obviously). TVOR need a full album - their songs need one another to sound better - this ep almost feels like a cd single with some b sides and it shouldn't.

7 out of 10

300. On! Air! Library! - on! air! library!

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I bought this based on all the minimal hype that was surrounding it when released, and the single I got off their website, 'Faultered Ego'. OAL! are a dark dense goth band, mixing electronic soundscapes, with Siouxsie vocals and Joy Division rhythms. The album requires patience (below is a good example of what I am talking about) and it ends up, to an extent, delivering. Hopefully their next release will focus on the stronger tracks from this disc and not go towards the more obscure ones.

6.5 out of 10

quarta-feira, maio 04, 2005

299. The Rapture - echoes

originally uploaded by jrd550.
'Echoes' brought the 'new' sound of digi funk to the mainstream, or to the Universal Music Group at least. The sound is very exciting - perfectly produced by DFA but not 'polished', noisy and dirty but not sloppy - a sound you can jump and dance to, both at the same time. All the brilliance that this album could have been gets somewhat fucked and I am not sure where exactly. Okay maybe that's a bit harsh, but the album is about 4 tracks short of being a classic and I hate it when an album comes oh so close.

8.5 out of 10

298. !!! - bonus remixes

My copy of 'Louden Up Now' came with a bonus cd of remixes and a new track (Touch and Go packaged a lot of their new releases with bonus discs, though I managed to somehow get the TVOTR one that didn't). The songs don't improve nor seriously offend the originals - they are sort perfect for a giveaway, if anything the first track 'sunday 5:17 am' makes it worthwhile to keep.

4.5 out of 10

297. !!! - louden up now

originally uploaded by jrd550.
This could have been great, instead it is just good. (that has to be the poorest way to start a review). Chk, chk, chk lay down some great groove laced moments, enough to make want to start dancing on my red carpet in my living room - but there are just too few of them. If you are going to put out a full album of mostly instrumental funk you can't have any slow moments.
Pardon My Freedom

7.5 out of 10

terça-feira, maio 03, 2005

296. !!!/Out Hud - lab remix series vol.2

originally uploaded by jrd550.
!!! and Out Hud share members so releasing a split e.p./single makes sense, it's a shame they didn't make it good. I had picked up 'louden up now' and rally enjoyed, so investing in a little back catalogue made sense, no? Out Hud sound like !!! but not as funky - but they are cut from the same groove based, instrumental drenced cloth. Out Hud offers three 'remixes' of the same track - the problem here is that the initial track itself wasn't that great. !!! contribute one 12 minute track in which the minutes go by as years. "Instinct" lacks the very thing every musician needs.

3 out of 10

295. The Occasion - seven songs

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I placed this image up because I couldn't find the album cover online (I was later able to). Chad saw these guys open up for Interpol in Florida and was in awe with their live set so I picked this up at Other Music one of the few stores to carry the cd. New York has been producing a ton of bands lately (it always has I suppose) but most tend to fit in some sort of genre - the Occasion and TVOR are the exception. Their sound couldn't be farther from dance punk or the Strokes garage rock. The styles vary on this ep with the only true grounding force being that they do vary. A lot of time is placed in creating an atmospheric landscape to only bring it to complete collapse 'Annika', an electro goth induced Radiohead moment 'Deserters' and much like the cover of the album, a long lush door's esque sound, 'Dulcimer's Fancy'. A good start.
A Dulcimers Fancy

7 out of 10

segunda-feira, maio 02, 2005

294. Spoon - kill the moonlight

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I got this because I asked DER when I met her what she was listening to. That combined with many praises from just about everyone made it an easy purchase. I want to love this album and at times I do, but not through and through. While some songs are complete pop gems and others are innovative, some just come in third place. I have a feeling that on their next release, 'gimmie fiction' all the tracks will come in first and second place. But maybe I just don't know what I'm talking about.
Don't Let It Get You Down.mp3

8.5 out of 10

domingo, maio 01, 2005

293. The John Spencer Blues Explosion - experimental remixes

originally uploaded by jrd550.
'Orange' is a great album that I still don't own because all my friends had a copy so there was never the need really, but I should make it a point to pick up a copy. These remixes come fom that album I believe. Beck, Mike D, u.n.k.l.e., Killah Priest and others 'remix, reorganize, repeat, destroy and simonize' six tracks. The results are often good - remix albums can always be a crap shoot, but here JSBE funk gets even funkier. Get Orange first, then this, then stop.

7 out of 10

292. The Walkmen - bows and arrows

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I don't really know too much about this band - a year ago they were on every 'best of year' list. I knew the 'rat' single and that was it. Musically they are part rock and part folk - almost like a more modern Springsteen. Unfortunately the album tends to fizz out after 'the rat' - the band is somewhat lively, but the vocalist just ends up becoming whiny and the album too long.

6.5 out of 10