Sunday, November 1, 2009

Christmastime is here! ...well, musically anyway

It’s the week after Halloween here at OU and while most of us are hung over ‘til Wednesday and irritated until that next beer’s in our hand, there is surely something to be happy about: new music!

Everybody knows that Christmas season starts today, November 1, so how appropriate that a new Andrea Bocelli Christmas album is dropping, My Christmas (he would). But seriously, if ANYONE is going to make a Christmas album who makes the angels cry, it’s this guy.

Taking a step in the other direction is up-and-coming shoegaze duo Lymbyc Systym and their newest album entitled Shutter Release. The album is promising as a metaphorical musical transition into winter— melancholic synths and dreary melodies, shoegaze, shoegaze, shoegaze, etc., etc., etc.

Everyone knows that the Halloween-to-Thanksgiving timeframe is awkward anyway, so hopefully Shutter Release will do it’s job and get you through this pointless month called “November.”

And let’s not forget Morrissey and his upcoming B-side compilation Swords. There has already been much buzz around the release, especially after the singer was rushed to the hospital last month after collapsing on stage. And although Swords was already released October 26 in the U.K., there’s still reason to look forward to a great mix of tracks from such a renowned artist.

And then there’s Carrie Underwood, who I will proudly say is one of the only country (some of you laugh) artists that I can stand to listen to. It’s doesn’t hurt that she’s a peach too… y’all…

Anyway, her third studio album, Play On, drops November 3, and I’m sure it will be nothing short than a sugary stick of sticky sweetness (candy canes, anyone?) that any horse -- or teenage girl -- would love to sink their teeth into.

Another interesting release comes from indie rock band Swimmers. Their album title, People Are Soft, is a little creepy to me for some reason, but I’ll let it slide because what I’ve heard so far sounds pretty good.

Rounding out this week’s releases includes the new Weezer drop Raditude and Vagina Panther's self titled Vagina Panther. I’ll start with Weezer because I want to finish with Vagina Panther. Just being honest.

It’s a little disappointing that Weezer would name its album Raditude, but then again maybe it’s just one of those things that I don’t understand. The album definitely deserves a listen regardless, because it’s Weezer. And because Jill Mapes told you so.

As for Vagina Panther, all I can say is venture out and enjoy yourself and do whatever YOU need to do. It looks to be a pretty fun album for another upcoming miserable winter season.

So don’t be sad—enjoy the week after Halloween and accept all the headaches that ensue. Enjoy the warmth while we have it because before you know it, it will all be GONE FOR A VERY LONG TIME.

--Matt Anderson, Editorial Assistant

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Between the Buried and... Creed?

Greetings Lobsters a la Rock, I hope you have picked out your costumes and are prepped for an awesome Halloween '09 this weekend. But if there is still a little something missing as you prepare to get dressed up and messed up, perhaps it is some new licks worth rocking out to while you rage on through week 8 stress (just so you can make it to the weekend, of course).

If so, you are in luck, there are some pretty good metal releases this week, including the latest Between The Buried And Me album, The Great Misdirect. Taking cues from 2007's Colors, this album also goes off into a few odd spirals with musical style (remember that ode to polka on Colors? Yeah, there's a similar thing going on in the new one that almost sounds Vaudevillian) and off-handed lyricism, but certainly for the better.

Another anticipated metal release is the new Pelican, What We All Come To Need, as well as a brand-spankin' new album from the hard rock band Creed. Yeah, I said it. Creed. It is called Full Circle and let's hope it comes full circle from their past music or it may not fare very well...

There are also a few classic artists releasing albums this week, including the recently deceased Michael Jackson with the soundtrack for his documentary, "This Is It," which is guaranteed to garner some decent sales as MJ fans new and old add it to their collections. You can also look for releases from Carly Simon with her album Never Been Gone as well as R.E.M.'s new live album, Live At The Olympia. Sting is another artist not leaving On A Winter's Night.

Speaking of the winter, it is getting to be that time of year when the air gets cold and music heats up... even music with a classical tone. Yes, I'm talking about the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. They too are releasing a new album this week that is sure to be as promising as those of the past, entitled Night Castle.

But if you are looking for something a little less intense, there are some good indie rock releases too, especially Devendra Banhart with What Will We Be, Wolfmother's Cosmic Egg and Tegan And Sara with Sainthood. If that album is anywhere near as good as The Con, they certainly qualify for sainthood, in my opinion. The song of the same name still gives me chills every time I listen to it.

But last (and okay, kind of least) are releases by the good old '90s motowner Brian Mcknight as he croons out The Evolution of A Man and former '80s hair metallers Winger also crooning, but in a different, slightly more white trashy kind of way with their latest disc, Karma. But Winger is not the only band that will be affected by karma...we'll be able to see by next week's stats what karma does for all of these bands and their new albums, good or bad.

Well folks, time for me to sign off. But have a good weekend as you eat, drink, and be scary.

-Kelly Kettering, Features and Concerts Editor

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

News sounds with Atlas Sound and more

To those of you nonplussed by the new album releases of the past two weeks: records released this week may be for you. To all the “weirdos” that passed on the new Backstreet Boys or KISS albums, you may enjoy the new release from post-rockers Do Make Say Think or the relaxed grooves of Atlas Sound. To every enthusiast of heavy music that couldn’t care less about the new Everclear or Flaming Lips releases, check out the new Rammstein or Russian Circles. How about the hip-hop heads that wouldn’t spend two seconds listening to Aqua? Try the new albums from The Roots or Themselves on for size. Even if your tastes fall outside these assorted musical persuasions, there is likely a record for you being released tomorrow.

The Pitchfork lurkers among us are probably familiar with Atlas Sound, the side project of Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox, and have been eagerly awaiting the release of his new album Logos. The ambient and experimental sounds created by Cox for the album will be highlighted by appearances from Animal Collective member Panda Bear and Stereolab frontwoman Laetitia Sadier. Look for it on 4AD/Kranky Records on Tuesday. We personally guarantee that it will be released on vinyl, so no worries!

A similar crowd might appreciate the newest album from Do Make Say Think, entitled Other Truths. However, all listeners must be willing to accept an album with four tracks, three of which are more than 10 minutes long, along with plenty of the spacey, orchestral instrumentation for which the group is known.

One of the more unusual releases of the week comes from revered indie pop icon and legitimate composer Sufjan Stevens. The BQE was originally begun as an exploration of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in New York City, and manifested itself as both a live concert that spanned three nights and as a film that Stevens wrote and directed himself (complete with a live soundtrack). On Tuesday, a multimedia package consisting of an audio CD of the soundtrack, a DVD of footage to accompany the soundtrack, a 40-page booklet of liner notes and photos and a 3D Viewmaster Reel will be released on Stevens’ own Asthmatic Kitty Records.

Australia’s most prestigious comic duo, Flight of the Conchords, will also release their sophomore album on Sub Pop Records. I Told You I Was Freaky spans 13 songs, 10 of which were already released on iTunes after their appearance on the HBO comedy show, also entitled “Flight of the Conchords.” With songs like “Too Many Dicks (On the Dance Floor)” and “You Don’t Have to Be a Prostitute,” fans w
ill likely not be disappointed.

Wait, did I say Australia? I mean New Zealand. My bad, it’s so easy to get the two countries confused.

Also, look out for new releases from Norwegian folk-pop duo Kings of Convenience (Declaration of Dependence) and alt-rap legends Themselves (CrownsDown) on Virgin Records and anticon., respectively.
Hip-hop enthusiasts of all tastes rejoice with each new album from The Roots, and although information on the release is hard to come by, expect How I Got Over to expand upon the group’s reputation for releasing quality hip-hop with a message. Expect political overtones and plenty of jazz-infused live beats from ?uestlove and the rest of The Roots crew. The album is being released by Def Jam Records.

For fans of metal and music from the heavier side of the spectrum, Rammstein’s sixth studio album entitled Liebe Ist Fur Alle Da (loosely translated as “Love Is There for Everyone”) is likely to be a solid, albeit ridiculous, addition to the band’s catalog. Sensationalized tracks such as the controversial “Pussy” or “Weiner Blut” are sure to please the band’s target audience but disgust everyone else. Post-metal instrumentalists Russian Circles will also be releasing its third full-length album Geneva on Seattle-based Suicide Squeeze Records. There are sure to be many softer passages that utilize extensive string sections, but be warned: do not fall asleep to this album as you will likely be awakened by the harshly abrupt riffs for which the band is famous.

Oh, and there is a new Tim McGraw album entitled Southern Voice that is coming out. But who cares, right?

Rock on, rock lobsters. Check back next week for more editorialized album debut news!

-- Marshall Pearson, News Editor

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Backstreet's Back! ...and so are the rest of the 90s.

The new albums dropping this week (10/4 – 10/10) are keeping us on our musical toes here at ACRN. We’re loving the mixture of 1990s clusterfuck and indie rock frontrunners, sprinkled with a pinch of high school nostalgia.

Brace yourself: this week’s releases include albums by Aqua, Backstreet Boys, Everclear and KISS.

Aqua’s Greatest Hits album drops Tuesday. A few of us Rock Lobsters decided that this album couldn’t possibly have more than ten songs on it, all being different variations of “Barbie Girl.” However, we were surprised to find that it contains 19 excruciatingly awesome tracks.

The highly anticipated new album from the Backstreet Boys is finally here as well. Thankfully, the Boys are staying true to their previously cheesy nature in titling the album This Is Us. While not all the critics are loving it, fans apparently are. Every snippet on the Web related to this album contains some sort of reader comment that professes “NICK I LOVE YOU MARRY ME!” This vague, cryptic proclamation can be found in several different languages. The Boys are now trucking on sans Kevin, so trashy goatee fans, grab your tissues.

This week’s third band to fall victim to false hopes of revitalizing their 1990s popularity is Everclear with their release of In a Different Light. While this band has been active in recent years, let’s face it: nothing they’ve made recently can even compare to So Much for the Afterglow. Sorry boys, but having a track on a Now That’s What I Call Music compilation no longer merits praise for high musical quality.

Something is definitely in the water in the Land of the Washed-Out 1990s Superstars. That something must the lust for one last chance at the spotlight. We don’t know what’s going on, but we’re not mad about it.

KISS is digging up the old Crayola paints and suiting up (in typical fashion, of course, with outrageous boots and black, shiny futuresuits) for another run at this whole rock-n-roll-with-your-tongue-out thing. Their new album, Sonic Boom, is sure to cause commotion – keep your eyes and ears out.

As for a solid high school throwback, Christian rock band Relient K is dropping its sixth album, Forget and Not Slow Down. Be sure to check out ACRN's official review.

Ultra buzzed-about Gossip’s new album, Music for Men, is another interesting release as this particular album has had the hands of well-known producer Rick Rubin. Not to mention, fierce frontwoman Beth Ditto has lately been the topic of much, well, gossip, no pun intended. (Okay, fine, pun intended.) Judge for yourself on Spinner.

String quartet Osso is releasing Run Rabbit Run this week. Interestingly enough, this album is a revamp of the songs on Enjoy Your Rabbit, a Sufjan Stevens album. The connection? Osso performed on tracks from Stevens’ Illinois. Check it out on Spinner.

Nelsonville Music Festival 2009 performer Alela Diane’s new EP, Alela and Alina, features vocals by fresh folk face Alina Hardin. The songs on this stunning folksy teaser (which you should check out on Spinner) leave us hoping she’ll be back this year for our listening pleasure with a fresh set of beautiful ballads under her belt.

Other notable albums this week include releases from two sets of European duos, including Danish band The Raveonettes with In and Out of Control (which can be heard on Spinner) and French band AIR with Love 2 (which also can be heard on Spinner). HORSE the Band is releasing Desperate Living, and to all HORSE fans, trust us – this album, produced by Xiu Xiu's Jamie Stewart, doesn’t disappoint. If you’re still wary, check out our review. Poppy, lovable Noah and the Whale is proving that the band should be deemed a notable newcomer with the release of The First Days of Spring, which can be heard on NPR.

Well, that’s it for this week’s earful. Come back again next week for another rundown of what’s to come. Until then, check out the other lobster-licious content on our brand spankin’ new site.
--Courtney Baldasare, ACRN Reviews Editor

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Karen O, Avetts...and Kidz Bop?

Greetings, avid tune lovers, and welcome to the ACRN new music blog, titled Drop It Like It's Hot. This particular blog is born of a collaborative effort from every rock lobster – from writer to DJ to executive – to bring you tidings of what’s droppin’ and poppin’ across the country each week. Let us troll the Internet for you, anticipate your needs and lay out your weekly fix of new beats. Be sure to check in and see what we’ve come up with, and, as always, tune in to ACRN right on your browser every single minute of every single day!

This particular week (9/27 – 10/3) happens to boast a slew of releases sure to please an expansive range of listeners:

To the delight of all our inner teenagers, AFI drops their eighth album, Crash Love, to a decent amount of acclaim. Folk heroes The Avett Brothers release their much anticipated I and Love and You – to read a full lobster review, click here. Popular Tennessee rockers Paramore release their third full length album, Brand New Eyes, an album aided by American Idiot producer Rob Cavallo.

Hip-hop favorite Ghostface Killah drops Ghostdini: Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City. Ghostface has been in the limelight for over fifteen years, since the epic Wu-Tang debut of Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) in 1993.

I’m personally thrilled for the release of Karen O and the Kids’ Where the Wild Things Are (Soundtrack). The insanely anticipated film adaptation, directed by Spike Jonze, premieres on Oct 16, and the fact that indie darling/Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman Karen O is responsible for the soundtrack is making the wait that much more difficult. To stream the full album, check it out on Stereogum.

Equally uplifting (ha) is the release of a second album by fictional animated band Dethklok, stars of Adult Swim’s Metalocalypse. Dethalbum II is sure to be, well, metal as fuck, and diehard fans have the opportunity to be dismembered or melted by an enormous pot of coffee at their Oct 20 show in Columbus.

In addition to the aforementioned, be on the lookout for new records from Langhorne Slim, Alice in Chains (full lobster review here), Strung Out, Madonna, and Zero 7.

If you’re ready to delve into the Christmas spirit a few months early, you could also pick up the hot-out-the-oven Kidz Bop Christmas by Kidz Bop Kids. Yes!

That’s what we’ve got for the week, folks. Be sure to check in soon to find out what goodies this upcoming Tuesday deposit at our doorstep. -- Jen Kessler, ACRN Managing Editor