Tuesday, November 27, 2007

John Ralston - Needle Bed

John Ralston's debut album on Vagrant Records took me awhile to get used to. I don't know if that's a good quality for an artist, but after a few months of listening to it on and off, I actually think it's a decent album. Like his label-mate Chris Carrabba/Dashboard Confessional, Ralston utilizes the acoustic guitar and the emo lyrics. His voice is more on the heavier side a la Elliott Smith. It's a decent album, not one of my favorites, but worthy of a download and a listen. Standout tracks: "Gone, Gone, Gone" and "When We were Cats." Rating: 7.5/10

Gone, Gone, Gone:


Saturday, November 17, 2007


Sorry there aren't any updates as of late. But I'm heading home tomorrow, so I'll add albums from there.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Straylight Run - The Needles, The Space

So I have the option of getting a head start on my Irregular Warfare paper, thus preventing a last minute flurry of bullshit writing like my capstone, or post new blogs. I choose the latter. Straylight Run's second full-length (Prepare to be Wrong was an EP) is very impressive; John Nolan (formerly of Taking Back Sunday) leads a talented group, including his sister who provides the perfect balance, not only as a higher voice within songs, but also on the tracks that she provides the lead vocals. Production quality is somewhat raw, but I think it brings the listener closer to the artist when they're not hiding behind a shit load of post-production (most pop). Michelle Nolan's voice is not biting or whiny, but rather soft and intriguing. The songs are a mix of traditional Straylight ("The Words We Say"), but tempered with some new, experimental ideas ("How Do I Fix My Head"). Standout tracks: "The Miracle that Never Came," and "Still Alone." Rating: 8.5/10


Monday, November 5, 2007

Against Me! - New Wave

It wasn't till the summer that I really started listening to this band, which is unfortunate because I've deprived myself of years of quality music-listening time. Against Me! are pioneers in their own category (hardcore-altcountry), so it's really hard to compare them to other bands. My dear friend JJK says this about Against Me!: "It's a really positive and upbeat. Makes you wanna throw your fist in the air and go crazy." I agree. Tom Gabel's throaty, shredded vocals are reminiscent of Mike Ness with a bad sore throat, but creates the perfect backdrop for shout-out-loud choruses. The first single off the album, "Thrash Unreal," has an incredibly simple, addicting beat. Try it. It's more on the hardcore side, but you may enjoy it. Standout tracks: "Thrash Unreal," and "Borne on the FM Waves of the Heart." Rating: 8.5/10

Thrash Unreal:


Friday, November 2, 2007

This Is Your Captain Speaking - Storyboard

Oh post-rock. This genre never ceases to amaze me, because all the musicianship of normal bands is cut in half by funneling the vocals into instruments. Seriously. Post-rock bands sing with their instruments, a sort of rhythmic serenade with crashing guitars and splitting drums. To provide an artistic touch to this review, the songs are what I would call "breathtaking." For those that do not know what I speak of, think Explosions in the Sky. C'mon, EVERYBODY knows them. Friday Night Lights...ring a bell? Fall asleep to this stuff. Or sit back and just take it all in. Every song basically tells a story...BUT WITHOUT VOCALS. Either they suck at singing, or they're wise beyond their years and realize that an individually plucked Emaj through tons 'o reverb can relate to the listener (you) better than some whiny emo kid singing about shit he's never experienced because he's in a band and gets more ass than you or me. Post-rock. Amazing stuff. Standout tracks: "A wave to Bridget Fondly," and "Angels." Rating 9/10



Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Color Fred - Bend to Break

I like this album. A lot. Fred Mascherino, of both Breaking Pangaea and Taking Back Sunday fame, recently split from TBS to pursue his solo career, which was probably a good thing. Well, Elliott Smith breaking away from Heatmiser was also a God-send. In any event to gain a frame of reference for this album, think about the back-up vocals for TBS, except all the time. To be honest, it's Taking Back Sunday, minus Adam Lazzara. That's the only way I can describe it. There are even parallels to TBS ("I'll Never Know" sounds just like "New American Classic"). So, I suppose I'll have to knock this album for creativity, although supporting instrumentation on this album is much better than TBS or Breaking Pangaea. The latter of the two was just rough, rough music. Bend to Break is a nice showing of the talent that Mascherino has, both as a songwriter and as a musician. I'm giving it a good rating because it sounds like TBS, and I like TBS. Conversely, if you don't like Taking Back Sunday, don't bother downloading it. Standout tracks: "If I Surrender," and "Complaintor." Rating: 9/10

If I Surrender: