Reviews


Bat For Lashes – Two Suns (2009)

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010 by Eric Loose

Two SunsListeners of every variety seem to be enthused by the unstable and the demented, don’t they? David Bowie with an alter ego- Cool! Thom Yorke as an unstable recluse for Kid A- Interesting! A heartbroken Justin Vernon alone in the wilderness- Intriguing! The success of these unstable releases from equally mad artists ultimately comes not from the unfortunate condition of the artist but from the art.  Bat For Lashes mastermind Natasha Khan is a bit weird (no offense to the songstress, of course). Unfortunately, Two Suns cannot withstand its own ambience and minimalism and ends up collapsing in on itself. Her sophomore album certainly doesn’t fail at creating a lush atmosphere; the moodiness of Two Suns gets tiresome and (dare I say?) boring after the listener realizes that Bat For Lashes simply doesn’t have enough worthwhile material to make Two Suns an engaging experience. It might seem interesting at first, but after several subsequent listens, the soft, 80’s-esque music with haunting vocals fails to deliver more. The gaping hole in Khan’s work is her inability to create anything worthwhile beneath her ethereal musings and moods. (more…)



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Ke$ha – Animal

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010 by Eric Loose

It was only a few days ago that I was reading a newspaper article about how “empowered girls” are becoming more assertive and seducing boys into having sex with them. The reporter outlined studies and observations that could be summarized as girls (predominately ages 16-24) becoming more like men, in the sense that they’re much more sexually aggressive. With her raunchy debut, Animal, there’s no doubt in my mind that Ke$ha (money sign purposeful) adds fuel to this fire. It’s not difficult to imagine teenage girls in ridiculous attention-getting outfits with bright colors (maybe a nod to Lady Gaga here or there) dancing with fruity liquor galore calling dibs on the guys that present themselves in the night ahead. It’s particularly easy to imagine, actually, because it’s a scene I witness every weekend- but this review isn’t about me. No, let’s keep the focus on Ke$ha, her sex-infused lyrics, surprisingly catchy pop beats, and her expectedly atrocious debut, Animal. (more…)



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Past Lives – Tapestry of Webs

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010 by Eric Loose

I’m not even going to mention their past. Why should I? On Tapestry of Webs, Past Lives reveal a marked detraction from it, and that’s about all you need to know with that subject. Tapestry of Webs is an album to behold – an eclectic release that has you concentrating on every “oooooooohh oh oh.” Every buzz is impressed with tension and eventually builds this ominous eruption. Tapestry of Webs is a bit jarring and almost menacing at times, but they don’t forget to put a little meaning and purpose behind it, too. Past Lives seem to have mastered this quality where they take a diverse array of eclectic qualities and mash them together forcefully… and they somehow come out cohesively! Song after song, the post-punk concoction lures you deep into the abyss with groovy rhythm sections and convoluted lyrics, but it’s soon evident that there’s more to Past Lives than first meets the eye. (more…)



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Phantogram – Eyelid Movies

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010 by Ryan Nisley

Phantogram is an electronic-indie duo that hails from Saratoga Springs, New York.  Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel have been best friends since high school and have been on tour for only a few years.  However, they are getting major attention from popular labels with their self-proclaimed “street-beat psych-pop” that makes listening irresistible.  While listening to “Mouthful of Diamonds,” the first track on the album, one may think that this duo is just a simple Indie band with a hint of electronic flavor.  But there is much more to this band than meets the eye (not to mention that a phantogram is a 2-D image enhanced by 3-D glasses).  As soon as “Turn It Off” kicks in with synthetic beats and turntable effects, the listener feels compelled to finish the track.  Barthel’s delicate voice is complimented by Carter’s simple, shimmering guitar, but behind them are hip hop beats that launch the music into something special.

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Mr. Gnome – Heave Yer Skeleton

Monday, February 22nd, 2010 by Ryan Nisley

When I started listening to Mr. Gnome, I was vaguely reminded of the Pixies. Mr. Gnome has the sound of an indie band from the late 80’s to early 90’s that resonates through the wailing vocals and distorted guitar. The band is composed of Nicole Barille (guitar and vocals) and Sam Meister (drums). They create a ghostly sound in Heave Yer Skeleton that derives from the echoes of Barille’s lonely voice. The songs are not necessarily catchy but become memorable because they haunt the listener. The first track, “Spain,” slowly drifts with a dreamlike quality, while “Searider Falcon” hits hard with distorted guitar riffs that demonstrates their ability to really rock. (more…)



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Woodhands – Remorsecapade

Thursday, February 18th, 2010 by Eric Loose

Look at that futuristic spider-monster blasting away at the western wild horses with a glimmering, flawless rainbow in the background. You heard me… look at it! So epic… and I can’t tell if the album cover has nothing to do with Woodhands’ album, or if it has everything to do with Remorsecapade. I honestly did a triple-take when I saw the names of the duo that created this synth and drums mish-mash. Ever heard of The Rural Alberta Advantage, the folky indie-rock band from Canada? Their drummer, Paul Banwatt, joined synth specialist Dan Werb to create an unlikely duo of electro-pop funkiness- Woodhands. This interesting combination led me to believe that Remorsecapade would be… well, interesting, to say the least. (more…)



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Maps – Turning the Mind

Thursday, February 18th, 2010 by Ryan Nisley

Maps, the singular identity of James Chapman, release a mysterious flow of electronica into your head like a dark fairytale.  Chapman’s voice slides through your ears and into your head like a melodic whisper.  His voice is nowhere and everywhere at once.  Most of the songs start with him singing with a calm electronic melody behind him, until it opens up with echoing vocal harmonies and shimmering sounds that generate “Turning the Mind.”  This CD is interesting because each song seems to open up near the end of the track, which leaves you wanting more. (more…)



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Letting Up Despite Great Faults – Self-Titled

Thursday, February 18th, 2010 by Ryan Nisley

Despite the complicated name of the band, this quartet delivers a simply sweet sound.  Their self-titled CD resembles a fusion of Silversun Pickups and Postal Service with a lighter and dancier edge.  When I put on the first track, “In Steps,” it took me exactly where I wanted to go: into a state of relaxation.  The guitar is lathered across the electronic static and steady beat, which instantly melted away any stress I felt before listening.  The voices and words seem to fade away, emphasizing the melody of the guitar.  What I found interesting was that some tracks focused more on guitar than electronic sounds, and others seemed to be an equal blend of both.  “Pause” carries on that relaxing feeling with humming voices and atmospheric guitar.  The electronic sounds are so soothing that I forgot they were there.  The track is quite mellow until it suddenly picks up with a strong synthetic dance beat that really caught my attention. (more…)



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The Insomniacs – At Least I’m Not With You

Thursday, February 18th, 2010 by Ryan Nisley

Insomniacs ALINWY If you feel lonesome on a late night, don’t worry, because The Insomniacs will be up with you all night long, singin’ the blues.  From the first song on the album, “Lonesome,” the listener knows exactly what this band is about.   The Insomniacs introduce themselves with a stylish organ along with jamming guitar riffs and harmonica solos all under the silky-smooth voice of Vyasa Dodson.  This guy is a triple threat: piano player, singer and songwriter.  If Michael Buble ever sang the blues and meant it, he’d fit right in. (more…)



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Andrew Bird – Armchair Aphocrypha

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010 by Eric Loose

Andrew Bird - Armchair ApochryphaImagine, if you will, the climax of gruesome plane crash. The plane dives lifelessly through the sky and back towards the earth as gravity begins to assert its strength. Now, picture this scene with a lovely beat to accompany it, complete with a violin, a piano, perhaps an optimistic tune with whistling, a choir, and maybe some horns and lively vocals to compliment. Armchair Apocrypha elicits a powerful feeling of contrast and contradiction as Andrew Bird has a knack for making the terrifying into beautiful, or the mundane into captivating. (more…)



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