Archive for November, 2010

Something for the Rest of Us
November 17, 2010

Goo Goo Dolls

Something for the Rest of Us

Warner Bros. Records

The Goo Goo Dolls have been a staple of popular alternative rock since their debut back in 1984.  Their music has reached countless audiences around the globe and has influenced almost as many musicians.  Something for the Rest of Us will be their ninth studio release, and with it they prove that the Goo Goo Dolls will not be slowing down soon.  It’s full of those catchy mid-tempo rock ‘n’ roll songs and power ballads the band is famous for.  While the record is noticeably less angry than the previous Goo Goo Dolls releases tended to be, it’s certainly just as dark and full of an air of sensible angst as their familiar tracks.  I’m not going to pretend like we haven’t all noticed the sad pattern most popular bands follow as they get up in years.  They lose their creative edge and begin to crank out bland, formulaic releases.  Thank God that’s not the case with Something for the Rest of Us.

 

Released:  8/31/2010

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Prism Eyes
November 17, 2010

Reading Rainbow

Prism Eyes

HoZac Records

Surreal and nostalgic, from the moment the album starts Reading Rainbow’s unique name seems highly appropriate.  While it’s hard to pinpoint why; maybe it has to do with the air of child-like wonder present throughout the album or the warm welcoming feel that’s imparted within each track.  Either way Prism Eyes is happy and familiar, full of appealing auditory minimalism with a dash of lo-fi finishing.  Comprised of Philadelphia married couple Rob Garcia and Sarah Everton, Reading Rainbow’s newest release is a lyrical exploration into the tension that exists within our dreams and reality, allowing they cover broad themes and ask big questions that are most often ignored by mainstream musicians.  Prism Eyes is a simplistic, meaningful and deep release that covers more ground than Reading Rainbow’s more established peers touch on.

 

Released:  11/23/2010

Disconnect: Leo Zero
November 10, 2010

Leo Zero

Disconnect: Leo Zero

Strut

Strut, after being acquired by European indie electronic giant Studio !K7, finally found themselves in the position to explore new territories and delve into the music of their greatest.  Leo Zero is one of those greatest; headlining shows all throughout London and the rest of UK.  Those new territories include their Disconnect project, where they plan to allow a number of their top artists to compose new and unique mixes full of rarities and secrets, songs I have never heard before.   Leo Zero’s newest release is the first in the Disconnect series, highlighting some of the best funk I’ve ever heard.  Known for not restricting himself to a singular form of techno, Leo Zero has used his background in house to create a unique, active mix full of catchy, unknown samples of the classiest jams around.  And with a length of nearly an hour and a half, you know it’s worth every penny.

 

Released:  11/22/2010

You Make Me Real
November 10, 2010

Brandt Brauer Frick

You Make Me Real

Studio !K7

For nearly fifteen years Studio !K7 has actively sought out the most forward-thinking experimental electronic to mainstream audiences (the avant-garde Stateless and Erlend Øye come to mind).  Brandt Brauer Frick certainly meets the Studio !K7 mold as a three piece electronic act from Berlin with a knack for classical instrumentation.  What results from this harmonious meld of techno and orchestration  is You Make Me Real.  While the nine tracks are relatively simplistic when compared to most cutting-edge electronica what real brings it all together is the very full sound of almost exclusively live instrumentation.  With a quality set of headphones the album reaches for new levels displaying an intricacy in tone that’s unheard of not only in techno but in modern music as a whole.  The members of Brandt Brauer Frick have the right idea and the right execution.

 

Released:  11/23/2010

Hexadecagon
November 4, 2010

The Octopus Project

Hexadecagon

Peek-A-Boo Records

For three years I’ve been stressing the power and potential that is The Octopus Project.  Known for their full-band instrumentals where they employ strong live drums, complicated piano and guitar riffs and full library of samples.  Frontwoman Yvonne Lambert has even been known to play the theremin on certain tracks (a neat electronic instrument controlled by waving and moving ones fingers several feet above it in the air, never touching the player).  Hexadecagon is the fourth full-length release for the band, and marks a new territory for the group.  Containing longer (but less) tracks, it feels more complete as a whole than earlier releases and is more specifically tailoring to live settings.  While it may not have that roaring standout their previous albums have had, the progression from song to song creates a feel that they hadn’t quite mastered in earlier releases.  Writing for Hexadecagon began in late 2009 during a major tour for the band.  During songwriting, the members began to realize that in order to achieve the full extent of their creative vision the existing and available electronics and software were not enough.  They wanted an eight-channel surround sound for the album rather than the existing two-channel stereo system used in most modern recordings.  So they built the tools they needed.  Pushing their software and tech to the limit The Octopus Project have produced an album built for their live show, allowing for eight massive speakers to be set up around the audience to make for a particularly spectacular performance.  Hexadecagon is as good as they come.  Period.

 

Released:  10/6/2010

On Approach
November 4, 2010

Everest

On Approach

Warner Bros. Records

I miss pure rock and roll.  And that’s what Everest is to me.  Song structure is extremely focused, cutting all the extra fluff alternative bands include in recordings moving back to the barebones classic foundation of the genre.  Strong rhythm guitar accompanied by power drumming, distorted lead and intelligent lyrics all come together for the band, making On Approach is one of the most open-minded and non-convoluted releases of the last decade.  Everest was formed just recently in 2007 after several minor Los Angeles bands broke up to form a new act.  On Approach is the band’s second release, dramatically different from their country-infused first full-length Ghost Notes.  Three years of touring and musical maturity brought together a collaborative effort on On Approach, with all members contributing creatively with one unique, authentic and unified vision.  Don’t be afraid to pick it up, Everest deserves what’s due.

 

Released:  5/11/2010

Farad – The Electric Voice
November 4, 2010

Bruce Haack

Farad – The Electric Voice

Stones Throw Records

Bruce Haack is one of the pioneers of electronic music.  If you haven’t heard of him, don’t worry.  His major albums were all released in the ‘50s and the legend passed during the late 80’s due to heart failure.  So Farad – The Electronic Voice is a compilation of tracks released over his career.  You may recognize certain samples from the album that have been transported to the modern era by major electronic acts including Daft Punk, Kraftwerk and Cut Chemist, or, as older generations may attest to, from television ditties popular in the ‘60s (including Kraft cheese commercials, themes from the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and Mister Rogers Neighborhood).  Farad – The Electronic Voice shows just how progressive Haack’s material was at its time.  Many modern electronic acts clearly use stylings influenced by Haack’s songwriting.  And Farad – The Electronic Voice sounds modern enough that it could be the production of a mainstream indie electronic act.  It’s for anyone with a healthy love of electronica.

Released:  10/15/2010

Good Times & Bad Advice
November 3, 2010

Big B

Good Times & Bad Advice

Suburban Noize Records

Looking at the jacket of Good Times & Bad Advice I expected some trash country trucker rock but with this Big B has proven that the old adage is true, that you really should never judge a book by its cover (or album art).  And while Big B may be a fairly new face in the industry, his presence is as big as his name. In the six years following Big B’s discovery by Kottonmouth Kings and his subsequent signing to Suburban Noize Records the MC has released three albums as one of two vocalists for rock rap group OPM on top of five of his own records.  Good Times & Bad Advice will be Big B’s six solo release and in it are some of the most refined vocals and classiest beats out of the genre.  He possesses an excellent voice for hip-hop and vocal chords meant for melody, allowing him to transfer seamlessly from song to rhyme many times within each track.  And while he sounds gravelly at points it only compliments his lyrical content, which appears to revolve around the man’s struggles in both life and love and how those experiences have influenced his self-image today.  Complimenting Big B’s presence are some artfully mastered beats, both upbeat and full of pop-sensibility along with just enough of that hip-hop bounce (I dare you not to move) and slowing down at the opportune moments to allow for the always strong vocals to shine through.  Don’t miss this release.

 

Released:  9/14/2010

World Gone Crazy
November 3, 2010

Doobie Brothers

World Gone Crazy

HQR Records

For forty years now the Doobie Brothers have been recording and performing to most of the world becoming favorites in the hearts of many.  Turn on any classic rock station and you are bound to hear a Doobie Brother single sooner or later.  Their style is still strong and with World Gone Crazy Tom Johnston, Patrick Simmons, Ed Toth and the rest of the Doobie Brothers crew do their bests to play to the strengths that brought the fame decades ago.  Its vintage Doobie Brothers, filled with essential rock and roll instruments from the fast paced acoustic guitar rhythms to catchy banjo riffs, strong drumming to sweet violin and jazzy piano, all complete with professionally executed electrifying solos.  The record also includes a new recording of the band’s first single “Nobody,” and while different it’s certainly as good as the original.  Classic rock lovers would do good to seek this.

 

Released:  9/28/2010

Pigeons
November 3, 2010

Here We Go Magic

Pigeons

Secretly Canadian

It’s catchy, swirling and full of lo-fi.  Psychedelic electronic folk at its finest, in Pigeons Here We Go Magic has secured a sound that’s been pursued by many.  Led by the charismatic Luke Temple of Brooklyn and the bands second release in their two years of activity, Pigeons has been widely speculated as the group’s breakout record.  And maybe this will mark Temple’s emergence into the spotlight, but it’s missing that element of mass appeal.  Avid fans of the genres will certainly find what their looking for and the stream-of-conscious lyrics will speak to the poetically inclined, an uninformed listener may be lost in the low infidelity and rambling verses.  The highlight of the release definitely comes in quick on the second track and single “Collector,” whose insatiable rhythms, pop-sensitive melody and catchy chorus are all instantly appealing.

 

Released:  6/8/2010