Thursday, June 9, 2011


Fleet FoxesHelplessness Blues
The Portland indie giants return with their must lush and textured release to date. Fleet Foxes have always brought on lo-fi, minimal sound but Helplessness Blues awakens the soul and the fire inside the band. Recorded over two years in various locations around the globe due to the band’s nonstop tour schedule and quest for inspiration, Fleet Foxes draw from everything from blue grass to early country to soul to craft one of the finest recordings of their career and one of the finest works of the year.

Death Cab for Cutie Codes and Keys
Washington indie greats, Death Cab for Cutie return with a great follow up to their murky and mysterious 2008 release Narrow Stairs. Codes and Keys find the band venturing into more pop(ish) territory, or pop for them. Drawing major inspiration from Brian Eno’s Another Green World and clearly front man is taking a cue from his other band, The Postal Service to craft an album full of color synths and electric blips over the joyus lyrics Gibbord has written. Clearly being married to Zoe Deschanel has influenced his writing all for the more joyous and why shouldn’t it.

EMAPast Life Martyred Saints
Former Gowns singer, Erica M Anderson aka EMA releases her debut and has managed to turn every head in the process. A record that pulls and pushes you in various direction with famine force that will make you sit back and go “wow.” A cornacopia of sound and raw emotion, the North Dakota native fled to LA and brought along the empty road and loneness to the city of angles and carefully crafted a record that is full of brut rock force. Capped off with a 16- minute version of the Robert Johnson classic “The Grey Ship,” EMA is an adventurous woman and would like for you to join her trip.

BlindsideWith Shivering Hearts We Wait*
Blindside returns with just its sixth full-length EP in the band's nearly two decade career. With Shivering Hearts We Wait delves into the tropes currently dominating the rock scene, infusing them with the now well-established Blindside sound. "Our Love Saves Us Now" serves as the prime example of this seamless integration but "Monster on the Radio" earns the title of best track by taking it further. It's the current electro-rock trend fully realized, ironically set against smart lyrics about the price of musical success. But "Monster" isn't a rejection of current pop--it paradoxically embraces. While the early energy of tracks like "Monster" and "There Must Be Something in the Water" doesn't carry throughout, Shivering still deserves a place among the best in Blindside's discography.

DigitalsmI Love You, Dude
The German electronic duo return with an album of club beats and packing a good old fashion electronic punch to get your night going. I Love You, Dude is nothing too new nor too crazy for Digitalism, if you have been a fan of their music in the past you will certainly be a fan of this.

Peter Hook and the Light1102 / 2011 EP
A four song EP of Joy Division tracks performed by former JD bassist Peter Hook and his new band, The Light and featuring Happy Mondays singer, Rowetta on vocal duties. Though the songs we all know with the acceptation of “Pictures in my Mind,” which is an unfinished Joy Division track that was held on to all these years, it is a nice homage to the band Hook belonged to and interesting interpretation of four classic songs.

Spindrift Classic Soundtracks Vol 1
The Americana band with a fever for the old west takes a stab at Spaghetti Western and Serigio Leone for the their latest album. Spindrift comprised a soundtrack to a fictitious western film and add their own unique spin and psychedelic flair to the idea in the process. An interesting listen from an interesting band.

Jonah Matranga You Are All These Things
The Far / Onelinedrawing / New End Original / nicest man in the history of music, serves up a gift to his fans on his latest solo venture. Jonah asked fans to help collaborate on You Are All These Things and crafted a record of his own personal stories and the voices of the people that listen and treasure his music. Like most of Matranga’s records, the songs are written from the heart and like most of Matragna’s music it hits you right there as well.

Okkervil River I am Very Far
The Austin indie icons return with a record of full on blossoming resonance and aim for the stars with their must full sounding record to date. Writer and front man, Will Sheff takes his literary inspirations and drives them into song but while their past records have been magnificent stark folk albums, I Am Very Far hears the band taking cues from Arcade Fire and Wilco and enlisting full ensembles to accompany them.

Thurston Moore Demolished Thoughts
The Sonic Youth front man enlists Beck (who also plays on the album) to produce his solo acoustic record and one that will please fans of Moore and Sonic Youth. While the album is mainly Moore making stark and basic yet very intriguing music it is hard to not think – “damn, this would sound awesome with some fuzz guitar and noise.” In many ways it is an unplugged Sonic Youth record without Sonic Youth.

Manchester OrchestraSimple Math
The Atlanta rock outfit returns with a very minimal and quiet (in Manchester Orchestra terms) third record. The album, which is a far departure from their predecessors, falls flat in many areas and all the listener can do is pray it picks up and it does not. What is to be said about the record, though musically it is not as intriguing compared to what they have done in the past, singer and songwriter Andy Hull still is a magnificent lyricist and knows how to tell a story. Simple Math is the story of Hull emerging from locking himself in his room and finding himself out in the world, losing his virginity, getting married and growing up. Simple Math is a coming of age record for those that were crucified by religion and are looking for a way out and a way of expression. While they are known for chomping and swooning rock and roll, Simple Math in many ways is generic and dull sounding musically and simply not strong enough to hold Hull’s words.

X-Ray EyeballsNot Nothing
A cold wave inspired band that sounds like a cold wave inspired garage band. Hailing from Brooklyn, X-Ray Eyeballs have been the talk of the bourough due to their raucous and curious live shows but they do not seem to capture the creativity on disc. It sounds like the noise rock / Creation Records bands they are looking up to.

Lady Gaga Born This Way
New York’s biggest Diva and everyone’s favorite monster returns with an album of anthems but falls flat. What feels more like songs leftover from “Like a Prayer” era Madonna (or songs from Like a Prayer – Born This Way is a clear rip off Madge’s “Express Yourself”) and aims for the stars but bursts in the process. We get it, she wants to be weird, she wants to be artistic, however, to force it down her audience’s throat like the cough syrup your mother gave you as a kid is not a way to go about it. The beauty of Lady Gaga is how she has channeled all of her influences from; Michael Jackson, Madonna, Grace Jones, German Industrial, Elton John, Bruce (She has Clarence Clemons on the board for “Edge of Glory), Prince, KISS, Black Sabbath (yeah, there are elements of them in her) and crafted her own being, yet the down fall of Gaga will be how she is now not just channeling them but trying her absolute hardest to become them. Born This Way is a declaration for everyone who is listening her music, however, Born This Way should also be the notes Gaga gives to herself and become music more unique and become her own person and not her idols. Gaga needs a break or else she is going to tire herself and her image out far too quickly than it needs to go in today’s atmosphere.

*Review written by ROCK(jock) aka Kyle Andrukowitz.