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

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