Friday, December 19, 2008


1. The Walkmen - You & Me

Incredible in my mind. Saw them recently at the TLA in Philly…one of those out of body rock experiences (and I had a couple drinks). Random Fact - The lead singer looks like my sisters husband. Some think the album is too mellow compared to Bows and Arrows which had songs like "The Rat" and "Little House of Savages". I beg to differ. Yeah there are some mellow almost crooning tracks (Canadian Girl) but the style is completely unique and sonically its unparalleled. There are a number of upbeat tracks such as "In The New Year" and "Postcards From Tiny Islands". Bows & Arrows was truly a great album. You & Me surpasses it. We wont talk about the last Walkmen album - "A Hundred Miles Off"...too easy to comment based on the title. DOWNLOAD THIS: "Canadian Girl", "Donde Esta La Playa" & "The New Year"

2. Tokyo Police Club -Elephant Shell

I must be honest. When I heard their first album I was a little snobbish and thought they were indie brats..then I found out they were Canadian and everything changed. Ha! I like Canada. Seriously, the first album "A lesson in Crime" is good…darn good. A little raw and poppy but you'd dig it. Elephant Shell I'd say is 30% better. A lot more keyboard, a lot more parts-melodic. All in all it’s a pretty f-ing good record. I mean..I even heard most the album played while shopping in urban outfitters…and one of the hipster clerks was singing along…AND I DIDN'T GET PISSED. I guess I'm maturing…or just giving up. I had tickets to see TPC at the First Unitarian Church in Philly. They were playing the night of the final Phillies World Series Game. I'm a music freak but I couldn't’t pass up. Never heard how the show was but…poor Canadians trying to get out of the city on that night (google"World Fucking Champions") DOWNLOAD THIS: "Graves" & "Tessellate"

3. NoAge -Nouns

Just recently picked this album up after hearing "Eraser" on Subterranean. So refreshing. I absolutely love a two-piece such as Death From Above, Quasi, Black Keys or Mates of State but these guys in NoAge are truly a punk-rock duo. The whole album is just a raw collection of gems. That punk-rock mixed with some melody that...just works. After listening to the album I flipped through the album booklet (yeah I still buy cds) in which has a photo of their cassette tape collection. For about 10 seconds I honestly through it was taken from my room circa 1996. Morrissey stacked next to early Metallica, Fugazi and Public Enemy. From then I knew they were legit and not Avril Lavingne wearing an Iron Maiden shirt. The music is proof positive. DOWNLOAD THIS: "Eraser", "Sleeper Hold" & "Teen Creeps"

4. Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend

I really don’t need to say much about this band. They were hyped from the beginning…I snobbed up. I got beat over the head by people telling me how good this self titled album is. So I picked it up…only hearing APunk prior. Man, what a great album. There is really not much to dislike. Its rock/ska/Paul Simon? Whatever it is it was an album on repeat over the summer. You could put it on for kids/teens/old-folks and you couldn’t go wrong. Every track is a gem and the last track “The Kids Don’t Stand a Chance” is my absolute fav. If you can catch it on youtube/hulu/, they did “The Kids Don’t Stand A Chance” with Chromeo live at the MTV-U Woody awards. Unreal. Hopefully they won’t fall victim to the Sophomore Slump. DOWNLOAD THIS: “The Kids Don’t Stand a Chance”

5. Wolf Parade - At Mount Zoomer

Last album (Apologies to Queen Mary) was top notch…this one is parallel. Might take a few listens but you'll get into it. I still say the lead vocalist sounds like Beck but no one has fully agreed. Such a good band they will only get betterandbetterandbetter. Please pick up anything they've ever put out. DOWNLOAD THIS: "Soldiers Grin"
6. Girl Talk - Feed the Animals

First of all, the album cover is “so sick”. Secondly, the Girl Talk (aka DJ Gregg Gillis) album itself “Feed the Animals” is more of a mix-tape from the gods that anything else. It's an unreal blending of samples from 80-90-00’s acts ranging from Ace of Base to Wu-Tang. He takes some hard core 90s rhymes and throws it over a back-beat from some whitebread/euro 80’s pop acts…even some 70s freedom rock bands. I’d tell you to download a track but there are no tracks. I think it’s around designated “Track-6” (???) that he mixes early Radiohead with Jay-Z. Genius DJ skills. The record company f-ed up big time releasing this in the Fall as if “Feed the Animals” was released in May it would be summer incarnate…still has legs for summer ’09. DOWNLOAD THIS: Entire album.

7. Sloan - Parallel Play

Sloan…another great band from Canada. Another 120 minutes pick-up when I saw the video for “Everything You've Done Wrong” (album - One Chord to Another). I was hooked. Got me through a lot in HS/College/NYC and still does to this day. After “Between the Bridges” the albums lacked…then something just fell back into place a few years ago when they released a 20+ track rock gem called “Never Hear the End of It”. It was like a punk-rock discography a bunch with 1-2min songs but rock-pop. “Parallel Play” came out earlier this year and I was psyched. Went to see them at the relatively smaller venue The North Star Bar in Philly with some Brooklyn friends who came down. Unreal rock show. Bought the album on site. They brought back the power-pop excellence that I loved from the 90s. Such a straight forward rock album. Please pick up their entire catalog (except Action Pact and Pretty Together). Navy Blues is my fav. Their double disc live record “Four Nights at the Palais Royale” is phenomenal as well. I don’t like many live albums (Fugazi excluded). DOWNLOAD THIS: “I’m Not a Kid Anymore”

8. Deerhunter – Microcastle/Weird Era. Cont.

Was never that into this band until now. I must admit the top rating on Pitchfork swayed me to impulse buy the album. That and the top-recommendation of my buddy Chris-B. I’ll let him give the more in-depth review on Cugerock later as he knows more about the history. The music ranges from indie pop to psychedelic to somewhat punk. A stellar eclectic mix of styles. The bonus disc “Weird Era” has a better pace in my opinion and is actually my fav of the two. DOWNLOAD THIS: “Nothing Ever Happened”

9. Trail of Dead - Festival Thyme EP


10. The Anniversary - The Devil on Our Side (B Sides and Rarities)

I know a B-sides album shouldn’t be placed on a best-of but whatareyagonnado? The Anniversary is one of many bands I loved dearly that made two albums and just ducked out of sight (see also: HUM). The early millennium album “Designing a Nervous Breakdown” ranks up there in my top 10 albums of all time/thus far. They might as well of named the album “Woodside Queens” as I listened to it non-stop the 2 years that I lived there (00-02 also brings back some more unpleasant memories of 9/11 but…like all music it helped me muscle through it). The Devil on Our Side is basically a continuation of “Nervous Breakdown”. A few unreleased tracks sounding like the latter “Your Majesty” album (too produced but not bad) but mostly the indie rock rawness with a dash of male/female vocal harmonies with some synths mixed in. I was so happy…not one of those b-sides records put out for $$$ that is basically garbage. DOWNLOAD THIS: “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter”

Friday, December 12, 2008

Album Review: Fucked-Up – The Chemistry of Common Life

This wont be a long review cause I don’t have much to say expect this band is about as ROCKIN as you can get (can’t you tell by the name?). Now the album leads in with some solo-flute notes...then all hell breaks loose…sort-a. The music on the album is something you just want to crank when you’re psyched about something in your life or incredibly pissed about something in you life. It’s straight up hard-rock with a dash of indie/fuzz elements (if that makes any sense). I honestly never heard of this band. I think they are former Canadian hard-core kids. I was “intrigued” by the title. Pitchfork made them out as metal but anyone who knows metal knows this isn’t metal (say that phrase as fast as you can). If they were hardcore they’ve sonically moved on but there are some ghosts in the album.

CAVEAT: One thing to note is the Fucked-Up vocalist is a little harsh if you can get past that you’ll love this album. You can take the hardcore out of the music but not out of the vocals.

TANGENT ALERT: It’s a recurring attribute for certain “alt” bands such Sleater Kinney (Corin Tucker), Fugazi (Guy Picciotto), Pissed Jeans, Blood Brothers (Johnny Whitney), Modest Mouse (early albums before they sucked), The Kinison etc…etc. Either you love-em or hate-em. I happen to absolutely love all of them albeit most of them are out of commission/on-hiatus. But I am honestly still warming up to this Fucked-Up vocalist. It took me an album or two for Sleater Kinney back in the day as well. The Fucked-Up music is so damn good I think I’ll get past it.