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Album Review | “Thank You Happy Birthday” by Cage the Elephant 1

Posted: January 31st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Blog, Freeform, Reviews | Tags: , , ,

Cage The Elephant (ITC2007)
by coxy, on Flickr

Cage the Elephant apparently got some albums from Cake and the Pixies for their birthday. This gaggle of Kentucky boys are back with their sophomore album, titled “Thank You Happy Birthday”, and seem to have ditched the simple rootsyness that permeated their first album in favor of a modern punk sound, keeping to the garage but turning up the volume to make fans pogo instead of sway. It’s a change that makes an attempt to evolve their music and give it a new bite, but as much as it succeeds in providing their audience with something new to chew on, it also fails to deliver the same consistency and brain-trappingly catchy numbers that their eponymous album delivered in spades. (more…)

Album Review | “The King is Dead” by The Decemberists 0

Posted: January 30th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Blog, Reviews

The Decemberists’ newest album, “The King is Dead,” opens with the words, “Here we come to a changing of the season” aptly introducing a new sound for the Portland based folk-rock band. Having toyed with orchestral and operatic rock, produced albums with grand over arching themes, and gained notoriety for songs lasting upwards of 10 minutes, the Decemberists have turned their attention to the simplicity of American folk.  With shorter, simpler songs, new instrumentation, and clear influences of blue grass and country, the album is a large departure from the Decemberists’ earlier work especially their last project, Hazards of Love, a dark, operatic and extremely complex concept album. (more…)

CD Review | “All Day” by Girl Talk 0

Posted: November 17th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Blog, Freeform, Reviews | Tags: , ,

Girl Talk came out with All Day on Monday, November 15, and the Internet shut down. All of Girl Talks albums are offered online for a free download, but his website is still struggling to keep up with the high demand; as of this morning, there were still difficulties in downloading the newest album, but procuring a copy is worth the wait and the online frustration.

From http://www.illegal-art.net/allday/

(Courtesy of Illegal Art)


Concert Review | Matt & Kim at the House of Blues 0

Posted: November 14th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Blog, Reviews | Tags: , , ,

House of Blues. Thursday, November 4, 2010. It had rained for forty days and forty nights’ Or at least it seemed that way until Matt & Kim came to town. Each of the three concerts I’ve been to in the past month has been prefaced by a day-long onslaught of rain. Seriously. While it’s been terrible trekking out to Boston in the cold, Matt & Kim made every inconvenience worth it.


Concert Review | Ra Ra Riot at Royale on 10/1/10 0

Posted: November 8th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Blog, Reviews | Tags: ,

Any new band in the music scene can testify that sophomore albums can be tricky. Add a death of a band member and you’ve got yourself a bit of a conundrum. The Syracuse-based indie rock band, Ra Ra Riot, can attest to these difficulties. After their successful first year in the business, the band’s drummer, John Pike, was found dead in Buzzards Bay, off the southeast coast of Massachusetts. While the rest of the band went on to release their debut album, “The Rhumb Line,” to considerable acclaim, it’s understood that the group went through some big changes before they released their second album, “The Orchard,” in late August.


Concert Review | Pretty Lights at House of Blues on 11/5/2010 0

Posted: November 8th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Blog, Freeform, Reviews | Tags: , , , ,

I always find it a little nerve-racking to go to a concert and see nothing but two laptops and a drum set onstage. For some reason, I find it hard to believe that those are the only tools necessary to entertain an audience, least of all a sold-out crowd at Boston’s House of Blues. Pretty Lights, however, are masters of this art form and more than kept their fans happy at their show on November 5.


(Photo: Carolyne.b via Wikimedia Commons)


Album Review | “Light Chasers” by Cloud Cult 0

Posted: November 7th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Blog, Reviews | Tags: , , ,

Image from http://bopmyspace.com

The central metaphor of Cloud Cult’s concept album “Light Chasers” is space exploration equals self exploration. For a band that’s never been light on symbolism, it breaks with previous albums with its optimism. This move is largely inspired by the birth of band members Craig and Connie Minowa’s son, and a some of the tracks can be thought of as addressing baby Nova. They manage to balance emotional variety, so you don’t get bored, and emotional cohesion, so you don’t get lost; it is, after all, a concept album.


John Legend and The Roots Fail to Wake Up! Listeners 0

Posted: October 25th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Blog, Freeform, Reviews | Tags: , , ,

John Legend at the Greek

The Sixties: big hair, free love, and protests – those were the good old days. Even if you didnt live through them, there have been enough movies, music, and your parents stories; you get the idea by now.

Wake Up!, a collaborative album from John Legend and The Roots, attempts to channel the “Sixties” spirit of social activism through 10 soul covers. Legend reports that the presidential campaign of 2008 inspired him to create something reflecting the climate of the time. Black Thought is featured on several tracks, but it is possible to miss him. Hip hop-soul synergy sounds awesome in theory, as both genres draw from similar lyrical themes and African American blues tradition. However the collaboration is not completely realized. The MCs lyrics and delivery don’t have enough spit to resonate over the melodies that pull you from song to song.

Thus, the instrumentals of The Roots carry you onward through your dream journey. But after several songs in this vein, you get to Wholy Moly,” making you actually want to fall asleep. Legends vocals simply arent passionate enough to give the song any crescendo, so it just patters out, prompting you to just press the skip button. The same goes for Shine, the only original track recorded for Wake Up!.

Legends vocals remain problematic throughout the album, especially on Ghetto Boy, when Legend sings that hes seen such misery and pain. Yet, the emotion is not believable. Though he has the technical ability to hit some very difficult notes, Legends voice lacks the rough edge necessary to give the lyrics any dimension. Original Recording of “Ghetto Boy.”

Ultimately, the lead singer doesnt give enough to produce actual affect in the listener, so Wake Up! will fail to induce in listeners the change to which it aspires. That being said, greats like Marvin Gaye and Baby Huey are difficult acts to follow, so much so that perhaps this project was doomed to fail. The album leaves one question: why must we be so insistent on using the standards of the past to motivate change in the present?

Concert Review | of Montreal 0

Posted: October 22nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Blog, Reviews

Over the years, of Montreal has become notorious for its live performances. Kevin Barnes infamously stripped down to nothing but a red sash at a show in Las Vegas in 2007 and rode around on a white horse at the Roseland Ballroom in New York a year later. Given this raunchy reputation, I would say my excitement to see Barnes and his team in action was entirely justified. Add in the fact that theyve been touring with Janelle Mona, who is prominently featured on their newly released album “False Priest,” and it should come as no surprise that I purchased tickets for their September 16 show at Bostons House of Blues in the middle of July. Going to a concert with expectations that high can backfire quickly, and although there was no full-frontal nudity and a noticeable dearth of live animals onstage, the nearly two-hour long show did not disappoint, from the music itself to the on-stage theatricality and constant barrage of colorful, stimulating visuals.

(Photo courtesy of your_favorite_martian) (more…)

An Over-the-Summer-Release Review: “The Suburbs” by Arcade Fire 0

Posted: October 18th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Blog, Reviews | Tags: , ,

(From the Band’s Website, Arcadefire.com)

Sandwiched somewhere between flurries of haunting orchestral strings, jaunty guitar, piano strolls along picket fenceswith manicured lawns, and singer Win Butlers theatrical falsettos, Arcade Fires “The Suburbs” finds new artistic territory for their signature intricately-sculpted-yet-melodically-quirky sound in a setting familiar to many; our own suburban back yards. Sure the album was released on August 3rd (which was over two months ago), but with the kind of splash it made on the world indie-rock stage, it is definitely worth a further mention.


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