Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Elton John & Leon Russel – The Union
It is not often that Elton and Leon get mentioned here and that is about to change. 30 years after their original collaboration, one of Britain’s greatest voice’s rejoins one of America’s in a collaboration that was worththe three decade wait. Iwas caught by surprise on how good this record was given that Leon’s voice and look have aged him to become a portly Gandolf from Lord of the Rings and Elton has not released a studio album in almost five years, it is a bit weary. However, what I and everyotherlistener learned from this album is that you cannot doubt legends. Talent is talent and there is a reason why they are timeless. The Union is an amazing record filled with bluegrass, ballads and straight up old school rock and roll. Guys like this can teach the kids what good music really is, The Union is already a timeless masterpiece and it was just released.
FINAL GRADE: A+
The Klaxons – Surfing the Void
The British cosmo rockers return with a punch! After having to scrap an entire record because their label would not release it, the Mercury prize winning Klaxons went back into the lab to craft a fine piece of psychodelic rock. Though in some areas not as strong as their beloved debut, Myths of the Near Future, Surfing the Void finds the band progressing very nicely. Now the only thing we can wait on and have our fingerscrossed is that scrapped record to be released sometime soon as a B-Sides record. After all, they owe it to us for making us wait so long.
FINAL GRADE: A
Bryan Ferry – Olympia
Former Roxy Music front man bring a slew of guest and friends for a fine album. Collaborating with David Gilmour, Flea, Mani of Primal Scream, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood and hears him teaming up with most of Roxy Music for the first time in nearly 25 years. This is a dance rock record for the ages and one that is a compilation of new material from Ferry in over a decade. He does push the boundries a bit and it is debatable when it is good, for example his Tim Buckley cover of “Song to the Siren” may get lost in translation with its 22 musicians backing him up, however, it is all in good fun and that is what Olympia is – pure good fun. It also does not hurt to see Kate Moss on the cover either.
FINAL GRADE: A-
Swedish House Mafia – Until One
The Euro DJ trio provide the world with one hell of a mixtape! Until One is compilation of remixes, originals and favorites from Swedish House Mafia. Featuring tracks from Daft Punk, Justice, Simian Mobile Disco, Dave Guetta and other global heavy hitters. It is a record to toss on a party and not have to worry if anyone does not enjoy the music, because they will.
FINAL GRADE: B+
There has not been a singer to come fromLA with this much buzz since…..hmm….maybe never. LA is usually a spot for bands to break through, but solo artists – unless they play some sort of teenage pop are usually pushed to the side. That was the past and Glasser is the present, what a voice, what a writer, what a record. An impressive debut that matches the buzz and maybe one of America’s best exports because once the rest of the world catches onto her, she will be an inspiration for singers around the planet.
FINAL GRADE: B+
Fake Problems – Real Ghost Caught on Tape
Hailing from the retirement community of Naples, Florida – Fake Problems are a band that are having a ton of fun and are about to explode. Much like fellow Florida rockers, Surfer Blood, Fake Problems play an infectious style of surf rock that is so catchy you will be begging for more. A super fun and enjoyable debut from a band that clearly is doing just that – having fun and enjoying what is happening to them.
FINAL GRADE: B
I’m Not a Gun – Solace
The debut from the LA via Berlin ambient rockers John Tejada and Takeshi Nishimoto. A nice end of the day mix of songs that will awake the senses and bring forth something very calming and relaxing. This is not a high engery record by any means but a nice instrumental escape after a long hard day.
FINAL GRADE: B
The debut side project of Keane’s Tim Rice-Oxley and Jesse Quinn hears them playing at their best in years. Jamming along side with members of Mumford and Sons, The Killers, Noah and the Whale, MT Desolation is a project very similar to that of Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody and REM’s Peter Buck, Tired Pony. A trip through Americana in under an hour, MT Desolation bares its folk, country and alt-country skin and strips down everything we have come to know from the duo behind the record. A solid debut and has me hoping there will be more.
FINAL GRADE: B
Shy Child – Liquid Love
Hyper electronic New York duo Shy Child give us a release on their latest release. An enjoyable record to party to and something that I am sure gets even better in concert. Much like that other New York electronic duo, Javelin - Shy Child bring beats, quirky vocals and energy on Liquid Love.
FINAL GRADE: B-
Vanity Theft – Anatomy EP
Finally a girl rock band that actually rocks! Vanity Theft hail from Ohio and look like they just got off a Parisian runway. These are ladies that can get heavy and loud when they need to and show that they can play just as hard as any other male rock band. This is the type of band that Courtney Love wishes she was in now and not whatever that incarnation Hole seems to be now. The only unfortunate thing about Vanity Theft is that this is only an EP and I can imagine what their full length debut will be like. As long as they stay as dirty and loud as they are on Anatomy, then it will be just fine.
FINAL GRADE: B-
Philip Selway – Familial
Radiohead’s drummer goes from behind the kit and into center stage with a stripped down record that sounds nothing like his bread winning band – and that’s a good thing. Being the drummer in band that is constantly praised for your singer and guitarist must be a bit isolating and unthankful, yet Selway bares it all on Familial. It is a lo-fi quiet record that echos the sounds of Fleet Foxes and Bon Ivor. Though we wish Selway got a bit more bombastic on Familial, it is still worth a listen.
FINAL GRADE: B-
Kings of Leon – Come Around Sundown
The biggest American rock band in the world just released the biggest disappointment of the year and the worst record of their career. For the Followill fraternity they could have gone one of two ways: 1) taken the route Incubus did after the massive success of Make Yourself, which was at create a record (Morning View) that could be not only a commercial success but keep you in the critics pocket and keep your fans happy, something that is not too far off from your sound yet still be daring. The other option, option 2) is go about it the way these Nashville natives did, which was just make a commercial album that is just so awful, it only gets worse with every listen. This is such a generic pop-rock record that it does not even sound like Kings of Leon, instead sounds like Nickelback. I know these guys could do better, instead they chose to fill their pockets and be safe. Note to the band: Rock and roll is not safe nor is it ever supposed to be safe. Every artist is allowed one pass at a crap record, let’s just hope this is the using their pass.
FINAL GRADE: D
Die Antwoord - $O$
Well, Kings of Leon may have only made the worst record of their career, but they did not make the worst record of the year – South Africa’s Die Antwoord did. Die Antwoord which translated from Dutch-Afrikaans as “The Answer” is far from it, in fact just raises more questions as to why they are globally talked about. The much hyped and unusually praised hip-hop duo gets a letter I have never given out…until now..
FINAL GRADE: F