Thursday, March 26, 2009


Let’s face it. We live in a fast paced society. The kids want quick, short bursts of communication. If you’re not tweeting their language then you’re out…ya blew it. It’s called the “fragmentation of media” people. There’s an engagement factor that must…(mid-sentence pause)’s the deal. I’ve been incredibly busy (which is good given the hell-hole that our economy is in…freaking consumers out will bolster confidence right?). I’ve listened to numerous albums in the past few weeks but I don’t have time to review them to you in the long (winded) format so here is the “short-short” version of a few…

Trail of Dead – Century of Self
The full length album definitely did NOT live up to the excitement generated around the Festival Thyme EP (see my review on 11/11/08). Bells of Creation and Inland Sea remain the top songs on the full length. Century of Self is not bad by any means. Its a lot more rockin that the previous concept-esque albums. The faster guitars mixed with some mellow piano tracks and vocal pair-offs between Conrad and Jason (seen on Far Pavilions) is reminiscent of their masterpiece Source Tags & Codes. However, this album is so “polished” it’s a little concerning. Some songs I couldn’t tell if I was listening to TOD or Fall Out Boy (ok…maybe that’s a little extreme…but you’ll get my point). Century of Self is good but falls a little short…oh but the album art is UNREAL…serious. Take a look. Download this: Bells of Creation, Inland Sea, Far Pavilions, Ascending

Neko Case – Middle Cyclone
I’m gonna be honest. The “feeling” behind the cover of Neko Case’s latest album Middle Cyclone didn’t really match the sound in my mind. All I hear is “Barracuda” when I see that cover. Anyway, I listened to Neko’s solo work for the first time with this album. She is truly an amazing vocalist. I only knew her previous work with the New Pornographers with songs like Bones of an Idol on Twin Cinema and the title track off Challengers just to name a few. As for Middle Cyclone goes, it is a pleasant listen but lacks anything unique in my opinion. It’s a true Singer/Songwriter recording. The lyrics and harmonies in songs such as the opener This Tornado Loves You, Vengeance is Sleeping and The Pharaohs are sublime. I could have done without Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth (I hope that track was meant as a joke) and the 30minutes of “nature sounds” at the end. All in all I feel like this album is parallel to Jenny Lewis’s solo work. It’s nice and pretty and folksy and could be more easily played on your local adult contemporary (light hits) radio station than on some indie stream/satellite channel. I know many will disagree but I’m just being honest here. Download This: This Tornado Loves You, I’m an Animal, The Pharaohs

Von Bondies – Love, Hate & Then There’s You
I was wondering what these cats were up to. Everyone loved ‘04s Pawn Shoppe Heart (including the FX network as C’mon C’mon remains the theme from Rescue Me) but since then all I really can remember is that a few members left the band and Jason Stollsteimer got punched in the grill by Jack White. So I heard the new single off of LHTTY called Pale Bride and was like…”alright, I’m picking this one up”. I was pleasantly surprised. The album is pretty rockin. Some of the tracks are a little too poppy (aka title track) and forced but the bulk of the album is good. I miss the rawness of the prior album (see also Been Swank) but the new album has some meat to it. Tracks like The Chancer and 21st Birthday deserve heavier rotation. That said. Download this: Pale Bride, 21st Birthday, The Chancer, Modern Saints

Thursday – Common Existence
This might turn into a long winded one. Thursday’s album Full Collapse is in my top 10 records of all time/thus far. When it came out during the early millennium it sounded nothing like anything I had ever heard before. It blended hardcore with emo like those old Reeses commercials. To this day when a track from this album pops up on my iPod in shuffle-mode I think to myself "oh hell-yeah”. The genre “Scremo-core” began with this record. Now a billion bands mimic their sound. Once Geoff Rickly was featured on a Spin Magazine cover back in 2000(?) with Karen-O of the YYYs, Justin Hawkins of the now defunct Darkness (see also: drugs) and some other “it” music personality…I guess it freaked him out a bit. I feel like the band stepped out of the dim alt-rock spotlight after that right when War All the Time was released (Full Collapse follow-up). For me War All The Time was a let-down at first cause it wasn’t as powerful and didn’t have enough…umm…screaming…to be honest. However the more and more I got over that initial feeling and actually listened to the music and vocal arrangements, I grew to like the album…a lot. Most of the time I’m a brat when it comes to bands “maturing” their sound. The album after that was A City by the Light Divided which was even better than WATT. A great deal of the tracks were arranged differently than any of the other albums and most were pretty strong and pounding. That said when I picked up Common Existence I had high hopes. Looks like I set the bar too high. The album has no differentiating factor. It’s just bland, over produced hard rock songs. Its not awful, just strange as I’ve heard their sound evolve from Waiting (1st LP) till now and thought either (A) the sound would take a new turn or (B) they would return to form given their earlier work. I should have known there was trouble when I saw they were playing on the “Taste of Chaos Tour: Sponsored by Rockstar Energy Drink”. They seemed to go through the motions on this one. Major disappointment. Download this: Subway Funeral, Resuscitation of a Dead Man

Phoenix on SNL?

Wtf. Sometimes bands go on SNL that are virtually unheard of in the mainstream...but not very often. Music snobs like me would like to keep it that way. This reminds me of when Teenage Fanclub was on SNL when I was a kid (which exposed me to the "Bandwagonesque" album which changed my life). Crap...I guess I should let go of my snobbery/sell-out-itis from my 20's and be psyched...I am. More psyched for the new album to come out. The last Phoenix album ("It's Never Been Like That") is in my tops of all time/thus far. At least America Ferrara, Steve Martin or Michael Phelps isn't hosting. When is Robert Loggia gonna host? Robert Loggia.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Ladies & Gentlemen...the Greatest Album Cover of All Time

I probably should have an album review to go with this but I haven't picked it up yet. I was floored by the "awesomeness" of this cover. Review will come shortly.'s been a busy week and I had a stomach flu last week (TMI bitches). Waaaaaaaaaa. No crying on the blogosphere.