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