Reviews


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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Rinoa – An Age Among Them

Monday, April 19th, 2010 by Eric Loose

A cinematic quality is ever-present on Rinoa’s 2010 release, An Age Among Them. While it’s hard to pin the band under a specific genre, Rinoa elicits feelings altogether epic and uplifting, expansive and heavy. Please excuse the disparate descriptions, but An Age Among Them induces the desire to spew a flurry of adjectives from my mouth, as the album commands interest and enthusiasm. An Age Among Them is certainly not a release to take lightly; it becomes evident mere minutes into “Past Maidens” that Rinoa, for better or for worse, are extremely impassioned. An exuberant listen from beginning to end, An Age Among Them provides the soundtrack to something more than a simple set of emotions. The feelings that Rinoa bring forth are neither simple nor straightforward. Instead, the album provides a rich, complex, borderline cinematic context that provides the album with an interesting quality that sets apart this excellent release from its neighbors. (more…)



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Noah & The Whale – The First Days of Spring

Friday, April 16th, 2010 by Eric Loose

“This is a song for anyone with a broken heart.”

You hear a slow, pounding drum beat off in the distance, and The First Days of Spring begins. With this simple, deliberate beat and the entrancing line, “It’s the first day of spring/And my life is starting over again,” Noah and the Whale set the tone for this monstrous indie epic. Like most great records, The First Days of Spring is an intricate journey, laden with the sounds of towering mountains, deep, convoluted valleys, and the winding streams in between. A maturation of sorts, The First Days of Spring is a graceful expression of the sadness and growth that accompanies heartbreak. (more…)



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The Antlers – Hospice

Thursday, April 15th, 2010 by Eric Loose

Most of my favorite records are what I would call “growers.” While it’s easy to write off records on the first listen, it can be much more gratifying to offer second chances. Sometimes, it doesn’t catch on for a while. Even my favorite record of all time, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea *ahem*, sat gathering dust for years before I gave it a few more tries and began to realize its utter brilliance. I’ll admit, while the Bon Iver comparison surely helped, it was really the graceful, interesting album art that made me want to hear The Antlers’ Hospice. When I sat down and finally gave it a listen, I was sorely disappointed. Hospice was boring. Sad?- sure. But engaging?- not even close. “Wake” dragged on. “Kettering” was a bore. Half the songs felt skippable. As time went on I realized just how wrong I was. It took an embarrassing five or so more listens before I began to feel like an idiot for not realizing the genius and finesse that is embodied with Hopsice. (more…)



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Sleepingdog – Polar Life

Thursday, April 15th, 2010 by Eric Loose

My favorite time to ponder life is right before I go to sleep. I wouldn’t describe it as full-on meditating, but I love tracking down some suitable music, grabbing my brand new headphones (Sennheisers for Christmas, what else?), and just concentrating on what comes to mind. Albums- usually post-rock – have come and gone as my staple listening material for this crucial point of my day. Lift Your Skinny FistsEnjoy Eternal Bliss, Spiderland, and The Glow Pt. 2 have all graced the top ranks of these “near-sleeping albums” with their presence. I wish I could tell you that Polar Life is just as amazing no matter when it penetrates your cranium; but for me, it’s not. Because of its intrinsically pleasing nature and the eeriness about Sleepingdog’s Polar Life, I’ve found it to be extremely suitable for this particular facet of my life. Sleepingdog achieves a rare quality throughout Polar Life– making a very slow-paced and calming record while maintaining the same level of absorption. Instead of extravagance and production being the vessel that allows Chantel Acda a pathway to utter serenity, Polar Life subscribes to a sense of purity and simplicity. The album in its entirety feels untainted and it allows Acda to sing (with her slight Belgian accent) songs that create a wide, clear soundscape- as pure as snow. While acceding to this particular order, the absolute chillness on Polar Life is achieved predominately through two different methods. (more…)



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Heatmiser – Mic City Sons

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010 by Eric Loose

Anybody who listens to music frequently is destined to be asked the question, “Hey, where do I go next?” by the less experienced listener. Now, by no means am I pretentiously promoting my own listening habits. Though, I think we all have at least one album that we can swear produces instant satisfaction. Do I go to Radiohead, Brand New, Opeth, Thrice, or another cliché universal Sputnik favorite? No, well how about Elliott Smith? Close, I go with his earlier band, Heatmiser, and their final album, Mic City Sons. Immediately gratifying, beautiful lyrics and pleasant melodies are always major advantages when recommending music. (more…)



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The Twilight Sad – Forget the Night Ahead

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010 by Eric Loose

Do you ever wish you could just sit down with a band and talk with them about their record? You know, get a little more insight into their inspiration, their connections, their sentiments. I know I have many times…

…just imagine…

Me: Hi, nice of you coming all the way to Glasgow just to talk to me about your new record, Forget the Night Ahead. The Twilight Sad: Of course, anything for you, Eric. You’re only like the best reviewer in the world.

Me: Why thank you, but let’s get down to business, shall we? I’m going to be blunt, I didn’t really enjoy your record. (more…)



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