Monday, April 26, 2010

Better luck next time (or something)

This Tuesday’s album releases made me feel terribly ignorant of the musical world, seeing as I didn’t really know a single one of the artists coming out with a new album. Oh, except for Bullet For My Valentine. I guess I owe my guy friends’ high school hardcore/screamo cover band for that. As for everyone else (Who ARE all you people? Am I missing out on something here?), I’ll do my best at what will probably end up being an ostensible album release coverage. I’ll give each band a little listen and a little research and hope for the best. So here it goes.

First up, B.o.B presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray. I heard you were good in last week’s staff meeting. Didn’t know you were a rapper until I just took a gander on your Web site. So your name’s Bob? That’s cool. That’s my grandpa’s name, too. OK. You’re a fine rapper. I can dig it. You did a song with Hayley Williams from Paramore, which is weird. But… I sort of like it. Should I be ashamed? I’m not. I’m sure this album will do great. It’s one that people who predominantly like indie music won’t be that bashful of liking. Sort of like Kanye West. It’s must be your high top, colorful Nikes and your aviator sunglasses. Gets us every time. See you at Lollapalooza.

Moving on. Bullet For My Valentine’s Fever is next. I may be a bit hostile towards them; I spent far too many years being forced to listen to them at full volume in the basements of my friends’ homes. “Come on, guuuuys. I just wanna listen to The Killers!” Anyway, your
album cover looks stupid and vampire-y. And that pale girl needs to put on some clothing. Half naked, animated women with triple D breasts were only cool for about three seconds when Anime was at its peak eight years ago. As for your music, I feel like I should be seizing angrily, for lack of a better description. I wish you wouldn’t whisper, “Is it my turn to die?” It makes me feel uncomfortable. And your double bass drumming is getting a little monotonous. I feel like I can breathe when I turn your music off. I don’t like it. Not one bit. Sorry.

Drowning Pool, I KNEW you sounded familiar. You did that song about bodies hitting the floor right? Yeah. Your self-titled new album says nothing new about you except that you’re maybe getting too old to be doing this. You might actually not even be that old, but your music is painstakingly outdated, so that’s the only conclusion that I can come to.

Gogol Bordello, you seem real silly. Your ethnicity is fascinating, and your music definitely sounds unique. But to be honest, Trans-Continental Hustle sort of annoys me. I wouldn’t be surprised if some people find it really entertaining and easy to listen to, but as for me, I’m having a hard time getting through one song. It’s fun, I guess. But it’s not for everyone. However, you do grow a fine mustache, my man. A fine mustache indeed.

My Education, an ambient sort of band (and one that I was unfamiliar with until now), is probably one of the only decent albums coming out this week. What I was expecting upon listening to them for the first time was jumpy indie rock, but what I got was quite different. Despite the album title, Sunrise, this is a pretty dark-sounding album with intense and somewhat eerie instrumentalism, maybe like Explosions in the Sky or Kaki King when she’s not singing.

So I felt bad about not being too familiar with these new bands for about 20 minutes until I realized that maybe I wasn’t missing out on much. Critical and bias though I may be, this week in music is just downright disappointing. Better luck next week.

-Hannah Cook, Staff Writer

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Put down the herbs & check out the tunes

While today is a Tuesday, I am pretty confident not too many people are concerned with new music releases, as many people that do love music also love a certain herbal holiday that is celebrated on April 20. Regardless, there are a diverse group of artists releasing new albums today.

The first is Apples In Stereo, an indie pop band with a big imagination, often space and psychedelic oriented, which makes it no coincidence that their new album is titled Travellers In Space and Time. Full of life, high energy and weirdness, this record sounds just like a live Apples In Stereo performance feels.

Circa Survive, a staple in the catalog of emo rockers that have been in high school at some point within the last decade, is releasing Blue Sky Noise. While Juturna was clearly the stand out record for the group, lead singer Anthony Green, formerly of emo-core band Saosin, is still singing his little heart out on this record.

One group that I am certain purposefully released their album today on 4/20 is Cypress Hill, with such great nineties classic hits (literally) like “Hits From The Bong.” The new record, the first for the group in six years, is Rise Up, and I’m sure longtime fans will hope it does indeed rise up to their expectations of the aging group.

Speaking of aging, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson and Ratt all have new albums coming out today too… I Am What I Am, Country Music and Infestation, respectively… making today not only a great day for weed, but for the old country crooners and hair metal fist pumpers that love it. If you are into that kind of thing, it is pretty much guaranteed you are into at least one of these artists, or definitely should be.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Springtime releases... not all good

Since this is a blog, I am going to pull no punches and give you my bitingly blunt opinions of this week’s newest releases. I will do my best to steer clear of profanity and stereotyping, but I consider myself a true music elitist, so expect an indictment of one (or more) artists that you like. Or, this guy might even really dig something that came out this week and you will just have to read on to find out.

Since the weather is nice and we should all be frolicking in the sunshine, a rundown of anything worth listening to comes first. That will save the readers some time, at least! First, Murs and 9th Wonder’s collaboration Fornever. Hip-hop heads have been eagerly awaiting this one for a long time, myself included; 9th Wonder is simply one of the greatest beat masters of the last few decades and he does not disappoint on this disc. Murs can be preachy at times, but he is flipping more quality rhymes here than on anything since The End of the Beginning. There are some weak ones to be sure, but do not miss Fornever if you want an example of what two of the best modern hip-hop artists are capable of.

No surprise, but there is only one other halfway decent album coming out this week. Dosh of Anticon reknown is releasing his album Tommy (no relation to The Who, as far as I know) today, and fans can expect more sonic experimentations, as well as another appearance from Andrew Bird and a variety of other talented musicians. What I have heard leads me to believe that Dosh has included some more dance-y tracks than previous albums.

Now on to everything else, i.e. stuff that I already hate or will hate as soon as I listen to it! The elephant in the room is the new MGMT album, Congratulations. I will not waste too much space on this boring sophomore effort, and all I can say is that sounds like a bastardized, whiny 21st century version of something a baby boomer might have tripped to in college. Yawn. If you like Of Montreal or bands that are not as good as Of Montreal but still try to sound like them, give it a shot. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Coheed and Cambria’s Year of the Black Rainbow drops this week, too. This band was only relevant when they released Second Stage Turbine Blade, and even that is a stretch. Prog, melodic, you get the idea.

I know some readers may be from Cincinnati, but I truly believe that local heroes Foxy Shazam are pretty bad. In addition to a Super Bowl commercial sell-out moment, the band’s self-titled album is their first on a major label and promises to be even more corporate washed than ever before.

I’ll end the harshest criticism there and end with a tone of indifference. Bleeding Through, admittedly one of my favorite groups at a prior point in time, released their album today, which is also self-titled. I haven’t kept up with the band for many years, but it feels like I never left! Nothing has changed here (as far as I can tell) – just metalcore that sounds like Dethklok at points and crew hardcore at others. Fans of the band may enjoy this.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Too harsh and not witty enough, but I seem to have spent too much time in the sun and I am beat, given that I passed out and regained consciousness several times while writing. Feel free to ignore my ramblings and enjoy this week’s releases, you will probably disagree with me.

Keep living and listening, lobsters!

-- Marshall Pearson, News Editor

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Well, well, well, it's already April. Isn't that just a wonderful reminder of how time flies, runs or walks it out? While distracting myself from the ever-tortuous job hunt, I wish to inform you of releases that you should either a) pick up or b) set on fire. A wiser man once said, "Davis, finish writing the goddamn blog," so without further ado let's discuss the "pick up" category.

Erykah Badu's new album, New Amerykah Part II: Return of the Ankh, begins the pick up category. She's backing up this CD filled with what I presume to be music (since I haven't listened to it) with a bad ass music video. Walking down an anonymous city sidewalk, Badu strips down from her coat all the way down to her birthday suit, which earned her international publicity and a $500 fine. Whether you think it's art or a shameless grab for attention, you must watch it (linked above) for the reactions of the unaware public around her. Personally, I think the video is brilliant, and subsequently her album should be "picked up."

The other music is from this guy in Nashville who goes by Makeup and Vanity Set. His new self-titled release came out on March 16. Granted it may be dated, but a) you haven't heard of this person b) you need to know him because c) he rocks harder than an avalanche. His take on electronic music brings a healthy dose of dissonance that people like M.I.A., Designer Drugs and Gozii have also mastered. MVS also nurtures a disco flavor in his music that captures the essence of any good, sweat-inducing dance tune. Pick it up.

I'm growing weary of dishing out compliments. Time for stuff worthy of a fiery demise (note: don't literally set things aflame; I got arrested for it once, and the police were not as fun as both Kindergarten Cop and Rush Hour made them out to be).

Slash is releasing a solo album. Set it on fire.

Asher Roth came out with a new mix tape called Seared Foie Gras with Quince and Cranberry. Every word of that previous sentence hurt my feelings. I envision a cruel future where everyone forgot how to read, blunt wrap industries have cornered the lobbies of the House and Senate, and court rooms have been phased out by the introduction of the MMA "judicial" octagon. If we do nothing, this "Rothian" future may become true. Burn this tape.

Well that's it.

End transmission.

-Davis Chambers, Video Director