Reviews


Headlights – Wildlife

Friday, May 7th, 2010 by Eric Loose

Contrast and contradiction plague Wildlife, in a good way. Recorded in their home, located in Champaign, Illinois, the angst and confusion shows through on their latest record. Created in a short period of time and marked by band break-ups during the process, Wildlife combines beautiful, lush indie-pop with a welcome sense of variety that is so often lacking in similar sounding music. Indie-pop often falls victim to monotony and flatness, but Headlights keep things fresh. (more…)



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Joel Plaskett – Three

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010 by Eric Loose

Joel Plaskett, at 33.3 years old, entitled 3 songs on his new release with 3 repeating words, “Rolling, Rolling, Rolling,” “Rewind, Rewind, Rewind,” and “Gone, Gone, Gone.” At this point, he couldn’t stop the trend. He decided to record a triple CD release, entitled Three, with 9 songs apiece, all with their own independent styles and concepts. He may have gone a bit too far, far, far, as the last mentioned song suggests, but it’s an interesting concept, at least, even if it is borderline gimmicky. Relaxing folk ballads blended with some soft rock are at the crux of Three, but ultimately it’s Plaskett’s ability to hide “3’s” all over this record that overshadow the actual music. (more…)



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Massive Attack – Splitting the Atom EP

Monday, May 3rd, 2010 by Eric Loose

Trip-hop pioneers Massive Attack are back with a not so massive attack, a 4 song EP titled Splitting the Atom. Short and pithy, Splitting the Atom is a nice snack, just enough to remind the music community that Massive Attack are still in the kitchen and brewing something, delicious or possibly disastrous. It’s definitely not a full meal, but Splitting the Atom will have trip-hop fans and non-fans alike tongues dripping with anticipation due to the illustrious line-up of Martina Topley-Bird, Guy Garvey (Elbow), and Tunde Adebimpe (TV on the Radio). Unfortunately, Splitting the Atom doesn’t turn out to be nearly as appetizing as it appears. (more…)



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Maths – Descent

Saturday, May 1st, 2010 by Eric Loose

You haven’t heard this before. You may have heard sprawling soundscapes carefully executed. You may have even had the pleasure of hearing a wave, no, a tsunami of furious guitar envelope songs until all that’s left is furious riffs of gargantuan noise. Calculated and technical screamo has been done before. Maths isn’t the first band to provide listeners with caustic riffs and shrill screams that will make your hair stand on end until the next breath of fresh air, in relaxing instrumental form, grants you relaxation.  Nor is this probably the first time you’ve heard hardcore that you find yourself hopelessly lost in, with enough dips and dives to leave you disoriented and dizzy. But let’s get one thing straight here: none of those other bands were Maths. Following a split with fellow English screamo outfit, Throats, Maths gathered enough praise to garner a “who’s who” of bands on the rise by a feature in NME. The natural stage of progression would be for Maths to start touring more regularly, reap more publicity, and basically move up in the business, right? Wrong. Maths drop their label in favor of honing their sound and recording a DIY record it themselves. The result is an enticing, and quite stunning output, Descent. (more…)



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My Heart to Joy – Seasons in Verse

Thursday, April 29th, 2010 by Eric Loose

Savor it. Soak it in, because like the crisp, golden rays of sun on a harsh wintry day, this is golden and warming. Seasons In Verse is a splendid mixture- one part emotional vocals, one part post-hardcore instrumentation. Sound interesting? Well, add that to the fact that Seasons In Verse was La Dispute’s (Michigan post-hardcore extraordinaires) favorite releases of the year. Unencumbered by long-running anthems and instead concentrating on a more refined and niche-focused grand design, My Heart To Joy’s full-length debut is a successful and uplifting testament to the up-and-coming band from Connecticut. And for what it lacks for in variation and originality it certainly makes up for with more aesthetic qualities like beauty and cohesiveness. (more…)



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Morningwood – Diamonds and Studs

Thursday, April 29th, 2010 by Eric Loose

Familiar with those cheesy VH1 help-me-find-‘love’-on-a-reality-TV-show-because-there’s-no-other-possible-way-for-me-to-find-it shows? These reality shows incorporate the washed-up stars whose 15 minutes of fame lasted 15 minutes too long, but it wasn’t enough to satisfy their unfulfilled need for constant attention: Flavor Flav, Bret Michaels, New York, Hulk Hogan, Scott Baio, the list goes on. While these mind-numbing forms of entertainment are absolutely tasteless and offensive, they do please a certain demographic – most likely 13 year old boys who tune in for a chance to see breasts or a catfight, guys sitting on the couch too blazed to change the channel, or people who love television yet have reception that only allows them to view VH1. You may be familiar with one of the latest shows, Daisy of Love, one of the many tasteless offshoots. Coincidentally, Morningwood provides the theme song, “Best of Me.” Sadly, the connections between these two uppermost forms of art do not end there. The previously mentioned demographics are presumably three of the top results that came up on the corporate board meeting drawing board where Morningwood’s latest, Diamonds and Studs, was conceived. Where else would a band with a hot singer, thinly laced sexual references, a witless mildly humorous band name, and talentless music find each other? (more…)



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No Age – Losing Feeling EP

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010 by Eric Loose

Losing Feeling – how appropriate. Listening to No Age’s latest EP, I can’t help but think that this title is very telling. Have the “lost feeling?” that attitude that made Teen Creeps such a hit? I certainly hoped not going into their new EP. The No Age I’ve come to know through to full-length albums is one with the layered guitars and stripped down punk influences, most often compared to Sonic Youth, except with the vocals shouted nonchalantly as to say “I don’t give a f*** what you think.”  To tell the truth, despite their lofty predecessors, No Age have done a fine job at filling these gargantuan shoes.  Growing out of the LA art scene, No Age recently toured with Dan Deacon and Deerhunter on the No Deachunter tour. It’s a bit sad in some ways, but Losing Feeling is No Age growing up and maturing. (more…)



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Park – Building a Better ______

Sunday, April 25th, 2010 by Eric Loose

Listening to music rather extensively, it’s natural to develop some bad habits. Personally, I have a habit of holding certain bands to higher standards, especially based on past releases or albums I’ve heard. This became pretty obvious to me with some recent releases. Daisy, by Brand New, was always lingering in the shadow of The Devil And God…, Ursa Major was hard for me to separate from Third Eye Blind’s self-titled. Is this healthy? I’m not sure, but it’s struck me once again with Park, pop-punk extraordinaires.

Let me clarify, Park was a rare, lucky find for me. I can’t take credit for it; it was a recommendation, but I immediately fell in love with the sharp vocals, dark lyrics, and impeccable riffs on It Won’t Snow Where You’re Going. Eventually, I felt content enough with Park to move onto the rest of their discography. Building A Better ______ , their curiously titled 2006 release, was next on my list. Would it have the same effect on me as It Won’t Snow? Well, let’s find out… (more…)



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Rain Machine – Rain Machine

Friday, April 23rd, 2010 by Eric Loose

“…a nearly full spectrum of frequencies audible to the human ear, a reflection of a

variety of emotions and situations real and imagined – some rhythm some rhyme.”

These words are neither mine nor the overly pretentious garble of a Pitchfork review. This is how Kyp Malone describes first solo release, Rain Machine. Now, this probably sounds just as ambitious and extravagant to you as it did to me, but it’s interesting nonetheless. Kyp is better known as the singer and guitarist of New York’s TV On the Radio. Personally, I didn’t look nearly as favorably on Kyp’s latest release with TV On the Radio, Dear Science,, as their previous Return To Cookie Mountain. However, Dear Science, was backed my a wave of critical acclaim, and it was hard not to see the skill and power behind the album. Kyp Malone uses Rain Machine as a creative outlet to experiment a little further than before, and it shows all the way through to the album cover. Garnered with a drawing that looks like an fanciful fourth-grader was assigned an art project on Africa and got his hands on some crayons, Rain Machine looks like it sounds, complete with rainbows and waterfalls. (more…)



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Pianos Become the Teeth – Old Pride

Friday, April 23rd, 2010 by Eric Loose

The comparisons are inevitable. A post-rock influenced screamo band with floor-rattling screams… they must be channeling some City of Caterpillar or Envy in there, right? Well, yes and no. Pianos Become the Teeth, a local band out of Baltimore, have created a defining record in Old Pride, but it’s hard to say whether or not they exert enough effort to truly separate and define themselves from their influences. The quintet have found a nice, cozy spot among the complex instrumentation, frenzied screams, and overall feverish nature on Old Pride. While it would be splendid to ramble on about all the things that make Old Pride spectacular, it’s very difficult due to the glaring faults (as small as they may be when compared to the bigger, brighter, not to mention more intense, picture). This is most definitely because Pianos Become the Teeth are capable of a better quality record, and while Old Pride is an undeniably excellent showing, it’s flaws become all the more obvious because of the great potential hiding here. (more…)



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