Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Coming Soon...

-Say Anything "In Defense of the Genre"
-The Color Fred "Bend to Break"
-This is Your Captain Speaking "Storyboard"

and whatever else I feel like posting. Say Anything is loading as I type, so expect it up tonight or tomorrow. 6 pages left on the capstone...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Moneen - Are We Really Happy with Who We are Right Now?

I had this album, but never really paid very much attention to it, as I have 132.58GB of music, and one playlist ("iLikey") which I really listen to. Except for trying to discover and analyze new music (or at least new to me) for this little blog here, I just stick to my "iLikey" playlist. But this album was requested, and I felt like writing up a little review (I've actually been on a roll for the last hour), so here it is. Moneen's second album is pretty much angry. It's even in the name of a track ("Start Angry...End Mad"). The easiest way to describe the sound is by comparing them to other bands, which typically is the case with music reviews, so I'd say the production quality of The Movielife/I Am the Avalanche, though a bit more harmonized than Thrice or the old Thursday. Off-key tonalities and a more aggressive, almost screamo, barrage from Kenny Bridges vocal cords really come through on the title track. They are tempered, however, by a softer melodic side on "I Have Never Done Anything for Anyone that was Not for Me as Well." The album provides a good contrast of what I like to call the sub-screamo-pop-a-thon. I just made it up on the fly, but I think it aptly describes this great album. The only downside to AWRHWWWA? are the excessively long, descriptive song titles (and title). So, for the Standout tracks, I'm just picking the shortest ones (you'll probably download it anyways, so choose your own): "Start Angry...End Mad," and "With this Song, I will Destroy Myself." Rating: 9.5/10

Start Angry...End Mad:


Saves the Day - Under the Boards

Should I be writing my capstone? Yes. But Courier New just added 8 pages to it, so I think I'm money. Therefore, I shall provide you with the link to Saves the Day's new album Under the Boards. I think it's alright, but to be honest, everything since Through Being Cool and Stay What You Are has been a relative disappointment from the band. While I'm all for bands "growing up," I tend to like them because they have a particular sound. Case-in-point: The Ataris. What the fuck is that monstrosity called Welcome the Night? On another note, I spelled monstrosity right on the first try. So, I'd say this album is somewhere between the brilliance of Stay What You Are and the crap that was In Reverie. Don't get me wrong, I love Saves the Day, but at the same time, I love music and am not one to stick by whatever a band produces because they hit a mid-life crisis and need to "expand" musically. I like you for what you were, and while I realize changing your music to meet the capitalistic needs of the mainstream may be what "the man" wants you to do, you're losing fans, and the quality of music is probably sub-par. Okay, my soapbox is about to break, so here's my "expert" analysis of this album: More poppy and upbeat than the two previous albums, but still not up to the quality of SWYA (both lyrically and in production). I will adjust the rating accordingly. Thanks for reading the rant (if you haven't already skipped to the link). Feel free to comment on any thoughts. Standout Tracks: "Can't Stay the Same," "Bye Bye Baby," and "Because You are No Other." Rating: 7/10.

Because You are No Other:


Monday, October 29, 2007

Angels & Airwaves - I-Empire

Tom Delonge and company are back with "I-Empire," the follow-up to their somewhat summer smash of yesteryear. It has much the same sound as "We Don't Need to Whisper," perhaps a little more on the anthem side. The oftentimes over-production adds to larger-than-thou sound that emulates from my speakers. The band tries to beef up their musical abilities (at least to me) since the last album, which is always a good thing. They also move away from religion for the most part... now, I'm a church-going individual, but I tend to stray from Jesus music. I like to keep the separation of church and rock. In summary, this album is exactly like the first one. Standout tracks: "Everything's Magic," and "Secret Crowds." Rating: 9/10


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Cassino - Sounds of Salvation

Acoustic folk-rock at it's finest. Every now and then I'll surprise myself by finding a new band on a random purchase or download, but that's not very often. I randomly happened to stumble across a demo track by this band, and was instantly a fan. The dynamic duo of Nick Torres and Tyler Odom seamlessly blend poetry with a the intricate harmonies of a southern sound. Great for studying, relaxing, and sleeping. I think the album cover personifies the record: broken-down, quiet, dirty and barefoot, simplistic, and peaceful. Standout tracks: "Governor," "New Jerusalem," and "Platano." Rating: 10/10


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Kennedys - Special K EP

Holy shit, this EP is amazing for spontaneous dance parties. It wasn't my ears that first discovered this band as much as my eyes, because they were on some small-ass Warped Tour side-stage in the back corner, but were wearing the most ridiculous outfits ever (super tight short-shorts, 70's clothes, and crazy wigs). I was hooked...mostly from the short shorts. Once he started into his set, I was even more blown away from the absurdity of the group, but in a good way. As far as MC's go, he's original. Originality counts for quite a bit in my book (which is ironic since I've been posting a ton of pop-punk lately), and his energy and crowd appeal don't hinder that either. I'd say in the past 6 years, I've bought less than 10 cd's. This is one of them. If you're kinda iffy right now, download it anyway, it's an EP, which means it's a really small file (less than 30mb). Do it and dance your little heart out. Standout tracks: "Your Mama," and "Karate." Rating: 8.5/10.


Margot and the Nuclear So and So's - The Dust of Retreat

Continuing on my indie kick, I bring you an 8-piece band that also has as many words in their name. They bring a slightly depressing album, delivered in rhythmic sound that somehow leaves me feeling a little better than when I started listening, which I suppose should be the goal of all bands. The Shins come to mind, except a little slower, more folk, and sometimes bordering on insane ("Paper Kitten Nightmare")...perhaps with a little Decemberists thrown in. Being an 8-piece band, Margot does really well musically by not flooding the speakers with extraneous noise. That's where the production comes into play, and is where the band really shines. Again, think The Shins. I think I'm done with indie for awhile, hopefully this should hold you over. Standout tracks: "Jen is Bringin' the Drugs," and "Talking in Code." Rating: 8/10.

Immoor - The Thievery of Your Own Things

It took me forever to find this album online, which is why I'm giving it to you now. Hailing from the great state of California, Immoor provides a healthy dose of indie-electro-pop, a la The Postal Service, but with more post-production on the vocals. Upbeat and catchy, I'd say it's a good addition to any collection. Hit it up for homework, sleeping, or staring at your capstone paper for hours on end. Standout tracks: "Bows and Arrows," and "Unit 371." Rating: 8.5/10


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Elliott Smith - Either/Or

So, I really don't know what to say about this album, or artist, other than he's one of the greatest songwriters of my generation. The amount of emotion and pain in his voice completely blows me away. Simplistic and beautiful, it resonates of acoustic indie, blues, and folk, with an edgier lyrical base that's juxtaposed nicely against his quiet tone and soft spoken delivery. He "committed suicide" by stabbing himself twice in the heart, but that's up for debate (I think his girlfriend killed him). I mean, honestly, who stabs himself in the heart...twice. Through all the sadness, "Say Yes" has to be one of the most truthful, lyrically profound songs that has ever reached my of those songs where you think that it was written especially for you. If you download one album from here, click this one. Standout tracks: "Ballad of Big Nothing," "Between the Bars," "Angeles," and "Say Yes." Rating: 10/10


Mayday Parade - A Lesson in Romantics

It's 2:04am. I started a gourd of yerba mate about 30 minutes ago. I have 0/30 pages written for my capstone. And I'm posting this album. It's emo-pop-punk. Yeah, I know, shit right? Maybe it's the time, or the caffine running through my system, but I think this is pretty good. Well, maybe just good. New Found Glory, Fall Out Boy, and a little Panic! at the Disco comes to mind. When I think in terms of that, I'm automatically dropping the rating to a seven. Sorry, but two of the three aforementioned bands I cannot stand, and NFG is decent at best (their latest release is pretty good). That's neither here nor there. If you can stand any of those bands, try Mayday Parade. If not, get it anyways and judge it for yourself. It's okay to admit to liking those bands, I have a thing for Avril Lavigne. I'm not even shitting you. This post is all over the place, but it's early, and I don't care. Standout tracks: "Take This to Heart," and "Jamie All Over." Rating: 7/10


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Good Will Hunting

While everyone loves music, I figured I'd switch it up and post one of my favorite movies. It's about a wunderkind (Matt Damon) from Boston, a self-taught genius who works as a janitor at MIT. He solves an impossible theorem, is discovered by a professor (Stellan Skarsgard), has to see a psychyitrist (played by Robin Williams), falls in love but doesn't know it with a Harvard girl (Minnie Driver), and has the most loyal friends ever (Affleck brothers). It was produced by Kevin Smith, who's basically the man (created Mallrats, Jay and Silent Bob, Chasing Amy, etc) and written by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, the former being in most of Kevin Smith's movies. On Matt and Ben as writers: "You know whenever I was making a movie with Ben Affleck he'd always come up to me and ask why I hadn't written the scene this way, or that way...and I'd always tell him, you don't like it, then write your own fucking script. So he did, and he won an Oscar." The writing is brilliant, the acting is superb, and the plot is down-to-earth. I could watch this movie everyday, and I have for the past couple days. It's also on my iPod for mobile watching. That's how much I like it. Rating: 10/10

Download all the links to the same place, open up "Good Will" and then unzip. I had to split the movie/zip into multiple parts in order to post it.


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Monday, October 8, 2007

Rocky Votolato - The Bragg & Cuss

Ever since I heard Rocky Votolato, I've been on an alt-country trip. I'll admit it. This genre, with twangy guitars and simple percussions, impressive songwriting, and often tortured voices highlight many songs. Rocky is no different, with lyrics ranging from love and death, to whiskey. With a harmonica in hand (or on a neck-holder), he's a one-man band, and watching him live is even more impressive. I wouldn't say this is a career-defining record, but it's solid. I'll post Makers later, because I think that is the quintessential Rocky album. Standout tracks: "Lilly White," and "Red Dragon Wishes." Rating: 7.5/10


Saturday, October 6, 2007

Hot Rod Circuit - Sorry About Tomorrow

Hot Rod Circuit's 2002 album Sorry About Tomorrow is a catchy, indie rock album full of wonderful hooks and great choruses. Definitely a sing along album, the band presents a finely crafted record that straddles the line between obscure and mainstream. It's been 4 years since I found these guys, and oddly enough, this is the album that won me over. To be honest, it was the insanely addicting riffs and lyrics of "At Nature's Mercy" the honesty of "Knees." If anything, you can download the album for those two songs and add them to a sweet mixtape to give to your sweetheart...which makes me realize that it takes me longer to make a mixtape for a girl, than the duration of the actual relationship. Either I suck at relationships, or my mixtapes are fucking amazing. Mayhaps I'll post one that you can give to that significant other, and claim it as your own. Standout tracks (other than the aforementioned two): "Cool for One Night," and "Consumed by Laziness." Rating: 9/10


Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Owen - At Home With

While I love expanding people's musical horizons, sometimes I feel selfish and want to keep some of the more indie music to myself, to lay a sort of claim to it, like Death Cab before they were on The OC. In any event, I don't think Owen (comprised of guitarist Mike Kinsella) will ever become that popular, so might as well share his musical prowess. His lyrical and acoustic guitar skills are pretty amazing, and to see him play live is even better. Plus he likes great beer. Need to fall asleep? Queue up this album, and hit the pillow. Standout tracks: "The Sad Waltzes of Pietro Crespi" Rating: 8/10


Monday, October 1, 2007

Death Cab for Cutie - Transatlanticism

I'm going to assume (much like Sublime) that most everyone already has this album. Ben Gibbard, in my esteemed musical opinion, is one of the best songwriters of my generation. Guitar, bass, synthesizer, and drums...he is a master of lyrics and music. Plus, he created the biggest asshole song ever in "Tiny Vessels." Surprisingly, I'd say it's the most truthful lyrics I've ever heard. Standout tracks: "Title and Registration," and "A Lack of Color." Rating: 10/10


Taking Back Sunday - Tell All Your Friends

I wrote a review for this album way back when it came out, and I forget what I said about it, other than it was rad. One of my favorite songs ever is on this album, and while it is punk-emo (perhaps punkemo?), it's great to rock out to. It has an edgier sound than their newer, more popular stuff, but to me, the rougher the tracks, the better it is. If anything (and my friend Benji would agree), download it for "You're So Last Summer." (Other) Standout Tracks: "You Know How I Do," Cute Without the 'E'," and "Great Romances of the 20th Century." Rating: 10/10


The Get Up Kids - Something To Write Home About

It's emo, which is short for emotional. If you wanted to listen to emo, I'd highly recommend this album. Thank goodness for broken hearts and Matt Pryor (of New Amsterdams fame). The lyrics are pretty good, and no matter what emotional shit you're feeling, Pryor makes you feel a little better about yourself because he's probably experienced worse. Just a warning, he sings in a whiny voice, which some people may shy away from. But it's emo, so you can't expect much more than that. Standout tracks: "Action and Action," and "I'm a Loner Dottie, a Rebel..." Rating: 10/10


Ramones - Ramones

The "kings/supreme allied commanders/czars/presidents/commander-in-chiefs" of punk. Any style of punk. Any topic, any tempo, anything. Everything you hear today, including every single one of my previous posts (minus perhaps Kanye) can go back to the Ramones. Those CBGB shirts that you see? The Ramones made that hole in the wall famous. U2, Nirvana, Sublime, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica, KISS, Green Day, The Offspring, and countless others all claim this band as a heavy influence on their music and their lives. And this album started it all, and is by far their best work. Standout tracks: "Blitzkrieg Bop," "53rd and 3rd," and "Today Your Love, Tomorrow the World." Rating: 10/10


NOFX - Punk in Drublic

Ahhh...NOFX. They're the grandfather's of punk (assuming the Ramones and the Clash are the kings). Plus, they're the oldest bastards still on the Warped Tour, which has become quite the over-commercialized high school hangout. In any case, this album is what opened me up to punk, not pop-punk "I think you're pretty," but punk "what the fuck is wrong society today?" rock. I'd say 8 out of 10 people won't like it. And that's one of the reasons why they're so badass. Standout tracks: "Linoleum," "Leave it Alone," and "The Brews." Rating: 10/10


Alkaline Trio - From Here to Infirmary

Originally from Chicago, and moving to San Francisco, Alkaline Trio are the original My Chemical Romance, minus the cocaine addiction. Punk rock at it's darkest, they move from Satan, to girls, to...well, back to Satan. Matt Skiba says he does it for the attention (he's really an atheist), but it does make for some great rock and some graphic lyrics. I recommend it if you like energetic, raw punk, My Chemical Romance, or a combination of both. Standout tracks: "Mr. Chainsaw," "Stupid Kid," and "Armageddon." Rating: 10/10


Sublime - Sublime

Sublime's self-titled album. This was my second CD I had ever bought. Ever. I'm assuming everyone has it already, and if you lost your copy, get it here and enjoy. Standout tracks: all of them. Rating: 11/10


Blink-182 - Dude Ranch

Alternative Press just said this was one of the most influential albums of the 1990's. Together with Green Day's Dookie, Blink-182 forever cemented skate-punk into the mainstream. Rudimentary chords, and lyrics that sound like they were written by a sophomore in high school, Tom Delonge, Mark Hoppus, and Scott Raynor (this is pre-Travis Barker) took the basics of punk and applied to to girls, parents, and how much school sucked. This seriously sounds like a well-produced demo tape. But for some reason, it's amazing. Standout tracks: "Dammit," and "Josie." Rating: 10/10


Brand New - Deja Entendu

Brand New's second full album is nothing short of genius. The band provides a harder edge to their pop-punk sound, and on some tracks border screamo. Tempering the faster-paced songs are more instrumental, lyrical based sounds that are placed ever-so-carefully among the track listing. Even with the disparity between song temps, the album flows effortlessly from start to end. This one is on my all-time list. Standout tracks: "The Quiet Things that No One Ever Knows," and "Play Crack the Sky." Rating: 10/10


Rancid - ...And Out Come the Wolves

I've decided to post the albums I have personally thought of as perfect-10's. You probably disagree with me, but this is my little shindig, so I can like what I want. First, to counter all the pop as of late, here's Rancid's ...And Out Come the Wolves.

Classic punk/ska from the famed East Bay. Political, snotty, rough lyrics about heroin, girls, and government are conveyed by an even rougher voice in Tim Armstrong and Lars Frederiksen. The crazy thing is, for a punk band, the amount of musical talent is pretty extraordinary. Complex bass lines, screaming guitars, and a blitzkrieg of drums highlight and punctuate this album. Standout tracks: "Roots Radical," "Time Bomb," and "Ruby Soho." Rating: 10/10