Music

Trans Am | Sex Change (Thrill Jockey)

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Wednesday, 21 March 2007 15:24

sexchangeAdmittedly they have dropped some rather forgetful releases in their history, but picking out which records are their worst (my vote goes for 2002's TA) is liable to stir up arguments voicing the exact opposite opinion. Also, simply describing the band without disagreements is a true rarity. Welcome to the world of the Trans Am fan.

 

 

 

Shaw/Blades | Influence (VH1 Classic)

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Wednesday, 21 March 2007 15:12

influencesThe pair have sold millions of records between them, Shaw as the singer/guitarist of Styx and the writer of all that band's best songs ("Renegade," for example) and Blades as the singer/bassist of hair band giants Night Ranger, but neither has had a hit since 1 B.C. (Before Cobain), making a grasp at recapturing their glory with a covers album pretty much an inevitability.

 

 

   

+ 44 | When Your Heart Stops Beating (Interscope)

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Wednesday, 21 March 2007 14:58

44If his new band's debut album is any indication, Blink bassist Mark Hoppus didn't take the breakup all that well. "Please understand/ This isn't just goodbye/ This is I can't stand you" he wails on the dark "No, It Isn't."

 

 

 

The Greencards | Viridian (Dualtone)

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Wednesday, 21 March 2007 14:43

viridianRefreshingly, the Greencards are neither hidebound by bluegrass traditions nor divorced from them. Combining Anglo and American, folk and popular, the separate influences upon their sound are apparent but never dominant.

 

 

 

   

The Noisettes | What's the Time Mr Wolf? (Universal)

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Wednesday, 21 March 2007 14:36

mrwolfReleased much later than originally anticipated, the Noisette's first LP is a truly a priceless pearl embedded into a normal-looking oyster.

 

 

 

 

Mezzanine Owls | Slingshot Echoes (s/r)

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Wednesday, 21 March 2007 14:31

mezzanineowlsTheir undeniable talent gives them accessibility to a plethora of musical opportunities.

 

 

 

   

Lovedrug | Everything Starts Where It Ends (The Militia Group)

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Wednesday, 21 March 2007 14:25

lovedrugLead singer Michael Shepard confusingly ooohs and aaahs for about a minute, then returns to the chorus.

 

 

 

 

The Little Heroes | Cinematic Americana (Wednesday Records)

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Wednesday, 21 March 2007 14:19

cinematicI like it in the way I like Green Day: it's OK to listen to once or twice, but after that, I get a little overwhelmed by the brutality of what might have otherwise been a perfectly soothing song.

 

 

   

LCD Soundsystem | Sound of Silver (DFA)

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Wednesday, 21 March 2007 14:14

silverMany Sound of Silver songs have strong lyrical content, which is pretty impressive for a dance-punk album, and an improvement from the debut - though don't expect poetry.

 

 

 

 

 

The Feed (s/r)

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Wednesday, 21 March 2007 14:09

The album starts off with its best song, "Glueman," a fantastic Fender Rhodes-driven number that bops along, getting progressively better as it goes. In this writer's opinion, this was one of the best singles of last year.

 

 

   

Grand Champeen | Dial "T" for This (In Music We Trust)

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Wednesday, 21 March 2007 14:04

grandchampIt's tasteful but not terribly innovative; sweet but never cloying; endearing and enjoyable.

 

 

 

 

 

Have Mercy on the Mooney Suzuki

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Written by Angie Glover Monday, 12 March 2007 03:23

mooney

We're ex-art students. We're not selling enough records to make a living. We're not on the radio, so OK, give us money and exposure.

 

   

Arcade Fire | Neon Bible (Merge)

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Written by Paul John Little Monday, 12 March 2007 03:02

cd_arcade

Neon Bible is to the '00s what Radiohead's OK Computer was to the '90s. Quite simply, it captures the zeitgeist as only a few pieces of popular music have ever managed to do.

 

 

 

 

 

Maria Taylor | Lynn Teeter Flower (Saddle Creek)

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Written by Kevin Renick Sunday, 11 March 2007 11:17

cd_taylorThe nice balance between the clean guitars and Zac Young's cool drumming on "No Stars" serves as a perfect setting for Taylor's soft, organically pure voice.

 

 

 

 

   

The View | Hats Off to the Buskers (1965)

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Written by Dave Jasmon Friday, 02 March 2007 09:08

Imagine if Oasis and the Libertines had a baby, and that baby didn't think he was the greatest thing in the world. That baby would probably like Hats Off to the Buskers.

 

 

The Fratellis | Costello Music (Universal Island)

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Written by Dave Jasmon Friday, 02 March 2007 09:02

costelloThe Fratellis embrace what most young bands try so hard to ignore: their hooky instincts.

 

 

 

 

   

Wut Metaphysical | Last of the Metaphysical Poets (s/r)

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Written by Jon Rayfield Friday, 02 March 2007 08:56

wutmetaphysicalThe production is dark and raw, reminiscent of Company Flow.

 

 

 

 

 

Big Business | Here Come the Waterworks (Hydrahead)

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Written by David Lichius Friday, 02 March 2007 08:51

bigbusinessWhile Waterworks contains multiple tracks of heavy, low-pitch bass rumblings that fans will surely recognize, this disc also finds Big Business exploring more melodic territories.

 

 

 

 

   

Eleni Mandell | Miracle of Five (zedtone)

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Thursday, 01 March 2007 08:51

mandellMandell writes nice uncomplicated songs that are sticky - they stay with you.

 

 

 

 

 

The Western States Motel | S/T (Firebird Field Recordings)

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Thursday, 01 March 2007 08:37

westernThe music appears to float above the fray and combines with searching lyrics (not searching too hard, mind you) that assures us this band will never make eye contact.

 

 

 

   

P.O.S. Will Knock You On Your Ass

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Written by Jon Rayfield Tuesday, 27 February 2007 11:22

pos

...when you deliver a song you want that song to have a clean, cohesive package, and these days, for me anyway, I like the idea of having a clean, cohesive album. Too much combination could take away from the album, make the album feel more like a compilation, you know? It's just a matter of figuring out the right way to do it.

 

Roddy Woomble | My Secret Is My Silence (Pure UK/import only)

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Written by Laura Hamlett Monday, 26 February 2007 14:17

cd_woomble"It makes me feel free to do anything," Woomble sings on "Every Line of a Long Moment," and I can't help but think, yes, that's what a good song will do.

 

 

 

 

 

   

Son Volt | The Search (Transmit Sound/Legacy)

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Written by C. Saathoff Monday, 26 February 2007 14:13

cd_sonvolt...a guitar-rocker laced with social and political commentary that continues right where 2005's Okemah and the Melody of Riot left off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brent Amaker and the Rodeo (J-Shirt)

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Written by Kevin Renick Monday, 26 February 2007 14:09

cd_amaker"Sissy New Age Cowboy" lets you know what Amaker thinks of designer-wearin' C&W posers ("the Rodeo is here to kick your ass").

 

 

 

 

   

Martha Berner | Ten Tiny Little Pieces EP (Machine)

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Written by Jeffrey Smith Monday, 26 February 2007 14:06

It is truly a daunting task to rise above the glut of singers with guitars draped off their shoulder.

 

 

Keller Williams | Dream (Sci Fidelity)

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Written by Amy Burger Monday, 26 February 2007 14:02

cd_kellerThe opening song, "Play This," is a real departure from Williams' generally laid-back, "jammy" sound, with a punk-inspired, hard guitar opening and funky, Flea-like bass riffs throughout.

 

 

 

 

 

   

Green Pitch | Ace of Hearts (Funzalo)

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Written by Jeffrey Smith Monday, 26 February 2007 13:51

Garfield glides fragilely from end to end throughout Ace of Hearts, sometime alone, sometimes alongside guitarist/vocalist Ste Rasch.

 

 

Broken Land | Audio Postcard (s/r)

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Written by Jeffrey Smith Monday, 26 February 2007 13:47

Broken Land say they have their sights set on a new territory called hindie rock: Hindustani rhythms and alternate tunings uniting under a rock and punk flag.

 

   

Bang Gang | Something Wrong (From Nowhere)

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Written by Dave Jasmon Monday, 26 February 2007 13:41

The clearest candidate for a universal favorite lies in the Johannsson-sung "It's Alright," an acoustic-driven piece built around smooth, echoing vocals, harmonic expansion, and beautifully sincere lyrics.

 

 

Mighty Fairly | Perfectly Good Airplanes (s/r)

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Written by Amanda Pelle Monday, 26 February 2007 13:36

mighty"Faithful and blind/ You finish me off like a sentence."

 

 

 

 

   

The Dirty Novels | Pack Your Pistols (s/r)

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Written by Kaylen Hoffman Monday, 26 February 2007 13:32

pack "Audience Reaction" has the quaint thoughts of, "If you go down on me/ I'll go down on you." So not the cute lyrics I was expecting. At all.

 

 

The Sterns | Sinners Stick Together (Omnirox)

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Written by Jeffrey Smith Monday, 26 February 2007 13:22

"Supreme Girl" is a love song based on our lovely President George Bush and one-time Supreme Court nominee Harriet Myers.

 

   

Dr. Dog | We All Belong (Park the Van)

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Written by Dave Jasmon Saturday, 24 February 2007 09:34

cd_drdogThese five Pennsylvanian dudes are musically old souls, Cro-magnons in the midst of their psychedelic peers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Shins' Baggage

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Written by Dave Jasmon Saturday, 24 February 2007 09:29

shins 

The Shins, St. Louis, 2007. PHOTO: Todd Owyoung (more photos in the Photo Gallery)

Fighting in a Blown-Up Paper Sack with Dave Hernandez of the Shins
"There's a contrast between the negative lyrics and, like, chirpy birds and rainbows and sparkles. I think that's more of a menacing outlook than watching something really, really horribly depressing or listening to some really, really negative stuff that sounds like the devil. It's something more vicious."

 

   

Hella | There's No 666 in Outer Space (Ipecac Records)

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Written by David Lichius Wednesday, 21 February 2007 03:32

cd_hellaWhile Hella's previous output of no-wave guitar/drum weirdness had enough elbow room for some well-placed chirping, having Aaron Ross on the microphone full time has resulted in a major shift in the band's song structure.

 

 

 

 

Finger Eleven | Them vs. You vs. Me (Wind-Up)

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Written by Aaron Brummet Wednesday, 21 February 2007 03:01

cd_finger11While there are no extreme departures from their bouncy modern rock norm, nearly every track shows hints of evolution.

 

 

 

 

 

   

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