Thursday, November 10, 2011

The End

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, user: ninjas1981 and I'll keep you all posted on future blog projects I come up with.

Rock on,

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lupe Fiasco - Lasers

I would say the most anticipated albums of this year (the ones I'm aware of): Lupe Fiasco, Blink 182 (to see what they come up with), and the Ataris. I was looking forward to the new GUK, but after listening to a few I'll probably post it later. But for now: LUPE MOTHER F'N FIASCO. Far and away, the best album I've listened to in this young year, the music industry as a whole will have to come up with nothing short of extraordinary to top this one. While the aforementioned albums have really piqued my interest in 2011, Lupe's teasers on Facebook, myspace and a massive guerilla social network marketing campaign has had myself and many others salivating for this album. Every track is strong, mixing politics (or a-politics), life and love into a suave, confident and...baller...album. Beats are familiar and new at the same time, with an air of unexpected predictability that doesn't let go. His blend of his alt rock/punk background and phenomenal hip-hop career resonates in a hopeful, self-confident album that has just as much pop as anything else, yet somehow appeals across a very broad swathe of music genres. I mean, the guy sampled Modest Mouse. With a whos-who supporting cast of John Legend, MDMA and some solid producing, Lupe has managed to create a great album that I would put at the top of my list for 2011, and one of the best pop or hip-hop albums (albeit I don't listen to too much hip/pop-hop to quantify that statement) I've listened to since Blueprint 3 and The Adventures of Bobby Ray. Until I hear something better (which I hope I do), this is the album of the year. Standout tracks: "Words I Never Said," "Till I Get There" and "Never Forget You."

1. Letting Go feat. Sarah Green
2. Words I Never Said feat. Skylar Grey
3. Till I Get There
4. I Don’t Wanna Care Right Now feat. MDMA
5. Out of My Head feat. Trey Songz
6. The Show Goes On
7. Beautiful Lasers, (Two Ways) feat. MDMA
8. Coming Up feat. MDMA
9. State Run Radio feat. Matt Mahaffey
10. Break the Chain feat. Eric Turner & Sway
11. All Black Everything
12. Never Forget You feat. John Legend
13. I'm Beaming
14. Shining Down feat. Matthew Santos
15. Go to Sleep


The Boxer Rebellion - Union

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 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


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Explosions in the Sky - Take Care, Take Care, Take Care

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


Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Tallest Man on Earth - The Wild Hunt

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

*Sidenote: I've been getting into 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


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Menzingers - Chamberlain Waits

I've heard rumblings on the grapevine about this working-class four-piece from Scranton, PA for quite awhile, but never really got around to listening to them. And that was my loss. These guys exude that snotty melodic-punk attitude, somewhere between I Am the Avalanche, The Lawrence Arms and the more punk side of Against Me!...if you could take all that in. Rousing, full choruses define the tracks, which showcase a decent amount of musicianship and foot-stoping beats. The band's sound appeals to the inner blue-collar in me, with simple songs full of energy and drive, propelling from one track to the next, with only short stops for respite ("Male Call") before launching into the next vocal blitz. Like all great albums, it is over entirely too quickly, and whilst satisfying, leaves you wondering what the boys from Scranton will bring next time. I am definitely a fan, and look forward to any upcoming tours. Great tracks: all of them, but pay particular attention to how each chord and riff in "Time Tables" plays off the vocals. It's the little things in a song that can separate it from an album, and I believe "Time Tables" does just that.

1. Who’s Your Partner
2. I Was Born
3. Home Outgrown
4. Deep Sleep
5. Time Tables
6. Male Call
7. Tasker-Morris Station
8. So It Goes
9. No We Didn’t
10. Rivalries
11. Come Here Often?
12. Chamberlain Waits


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Cold War Kids - Mine is Yours

I will do you all a solid to make up for my past few months absence and let you try out Cold War Kid's new album, "Mine is Yours." I've been a long-time CWK fan, and this album in particular gives me hope for 2011's musical offerings. Nathan Willet's distinctive voice smoothly dances around the various indie-pop riffs and beats. This by no means one of their rough EPs: it is a well-produced and artfully crafted album, with layers upon layers of harmonies and instruments. CWK's oft-neglected style of blending blues, rock and indie tonalities has been honed since their first full-length, Robbers and Cowards. Lyrically, Willet does well to capture feelings and moments, and places them in carefully constructed songs, nothing out-of-this-world, but still impressive and very catchy. Hands down, favorite track is "Skip the Charades," mostly for the lyrics. "Bulldozer" and "Royal Blue" are also great in their own right. I have more 'favorite' tracks on this album than any other I've listened to in a long time, if that means anything. Check it out.

1. Mine Is Yours
2. Louder Than Ever
3. Royal Blue
4. Finally Begin
5. Out Of The Wilderness
6. Skip The Charades
7. Sensitive Kid
8. Bulldozer
9. Broken Open
10. Cold Toes On The Cold Floor
11. Flying Upside Down

Comments below.