Follow me on Twitter to toss me album reviews and stay in the loop on future posts. I'll be looking to review a mix of established and unsigned artists in the hopes of finding great music and helping bands get their music out there.
As my first blog back, it's only fitting that I start with one of my favorite bands of all time: Alkaline Trio. My Shame is True is a great album to get me back in to the swing of things. Musically the album picks up where This Addiction left off. The perfectly choreographed layers of Matt Skiba and Dan Andriano vocals never miss a beat while the frantic bridges play off a steady verse...classic Alkaline Trio. If the instrumentation brings it up to par for the rest of their discography, it's the lyrics that propel it towards the the top. The difference is the pain of a break-up that Skiba sings about; and this isn't your 20-something pain, this is your "I got a divorce, found something beautiful in life out of it, and was crushed when it ended." This is big-league, adult break-up, and I guess as I get older, I can relate to it a bit more. There are songs that may sound indifferent, like "Midnight Blue," but if you've been there in that position, you know that it speaks honestly to that situation. I highly recommend this album for any Alkaline Trio fans, and anyone that needs a pick-me-up coming out of a crappy relationship. Misery is a dish best shared. Unfortunately, it took this type of situation to see Skiba and Co. at their best, but as a fan, I'm glad he made it and sounds like he pulled through okay.
1. She Lied to the FBI
2. I Wanna be a Warhol
3. I'm Only Here to Disappoint
4. Kiss You to Death
5. The Temptation of St. Anthony
6. I, Pessimist
7. Only Love
8. The Torture Doctor
9. Midnight Blue
10. One Last Dance
11. Young Lovers
12. Until Death do Us Part
Yo, I'm restarting the blog. Why now? Because I miss writing, and there's a ton of music that the world should know about. Spread the word, and let me know what's good in the 'hood. I'd like to keep to indie/punk, but I'll review pretty much anything, new or old. It's been a long time friends, and although I probably won't be updating daily, I want to re-discover my love for music, and help some folks along the way. I won't be posting full albums or anything like that (RIAA has a bounty on my head), but Youtube and links to the band's sites should do the trick, if only to hear them. If this turns you off, sorry, but hey, check out my reviews, and I'm sure you'll find the album somewhere; hopefully it's at their table at their show.
Let's kick this pig. I'm going to need your support on generating interest if this little experiment in independent music reviews will work...
All, I'm taking the blog offline due to money and time. Take what you can, it'll be coming off-line Sunday night, U.S. EST. It's served up over a quarter million downloads and had almost half a million visits (that's a ton for what I wanted this to be). Keep hitting me up on last.fm, user: ninjas1981 and I'll keep you all posted on future blog projects I come up with.
So at the behest of my friend Gav, I finally watched Going the Distance. Having been in a long-distance relationship awhile back, I can say that the movie is probably...75% accurate. I thought the good-bye airport scenes could have been better done, among other small things that are pretty big when separated by distance.
In any case, this is a music blog, not a movie blog so I will save that rant for another day. One thing the producers did do well was picking out a soundtrack, and prominently featuring Brit indie rockers The Boxer Rebellion. I had heard OF them, but never really took time to listen to any of their stuff...my bad. I've been on an indie rock kick lately and I don't know what it is about this band that sets them apart, which I suppose could be good or bad depending on how you look at it. The thing that stands out to me the most (in stark contrast to the previous post of EITS) are the lyrics. The expansive sonic landscape also intelligently provides room for singer Nathan Nicholson to practice his trade with wide-ranging and far-reaching tonalities; check out the tracks "Misplaced" and "Evacuate" to see (what I believe) are the best at showcasing the talents of the band. Additionally, "Spitting Fire," which was also on the soundtrack, is superbly put together.
On a side note, I threw in another track from the soundtrack, "If You Run" because I just thought it was a beautiful song.
1. Flashing Red Light Means Go 2. Move On 3. Evacuate 4. Soviets 5. Spitting Fire 6. Misplaced 7. The Gospel of Goro Adachi 8. These Walls are Thin 9. Forces 10. Semi-Automatic 11. Silent Movie Bonus: If You Run
To be honest, I've been looking forward to this album for quite some time (and their tour, which I don't think I'll be able to hit up). As a quick summary of the album, it's awesome. There's more layers than previous albums in the form of background filler, but with post-rock, more layers makes up for the lack of lyrics. EITS' traditional story-telling epics are beautifully crafted with an almost symphony-like approach; each instrument providing an integral sound (and often multiple sounds) that are slammed into bouts of crescendos and diminuendos. I'll be honest, this is not my favorite album by them (that belongs to The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place), but Take Care definitely highlights the progress the band has made over the past decade or so to expand their sound, while staying true to their elaborately constructed, yet "simplistic" instrumentals. It's a great album, and if you're able to, go to one of their shows for me.
1. Last Known Surroundings 2. Human Qualities 3. Trembling Hands 4. Be Comfortable, Creature 5. Postcard from 1952 6. Let Me Back In
Sweden's Kristian Matsson is a indie-folk prodigy of the highest degree. He epitomizes that old adage that "no matter what you do, how little you have, if you do it with heart, it'll sound awesome." Corny, I know, but his albums are a sort of victory for minimalists, almost what I feel like Conor Oberst strives for with Bright Eyes. This album in particular, I found on someone's "Best Of" list on Last.fm.
*Sidenote: I've been getting into Last.fm a lot more, and a lot of you are sending me your demos through that site; I promise I'll get to all of them.
Anyways, Matsson has created an album that could be the soundtrack to my life; both in the honest lyrics and simple guitars. It sounds like it was recorded on tape, which if so, only supports the overall motif of simplicity. It can be loud at points ("You're Going Back") without being too loud; it can be soft, but still be heard. He has incredible range to hit it all, keep it interesting, which is a quality that is hard for a one-man band to nail down. Matsson definitely does, much in the same fashion of Bob Dylan, without the extra instruments. Much like Dylan, there are few layers: it's purely Matsson and his guitar/banjo/piano. No gimmicks, no recording tricks, nothing unnatural. And for a indie-folk album, unnatural sounds will destroy it. It's a grey and rainy Sunday outside, and this album is the perfect companion for me in my living room.
1. The Wild Hunt 2. Burden of Tomorrow 3. Troubles Will Be Gone 4. You’re Going Back 5. The Drying of the Lawns 6. King of Spain 7. Love is All 8. Thousand Ways 9. A Lion’s Heart 10. Kids on the Run