Reviews

Ada Jane | Never Been Better (P.A.W.)

Written by Jason Green Monday, 26 March 2007 13:45

cd_adajane"On Your Level," the second track on Never Been Better, has the underdog anthem qualities of classic Replacements, Matt Marka singing in a rough-throated howl over guitars that have the wild fury of Bob Stinson but the lo-fi buzz of Hüsker Dü-era Bob Mould.

 

 

 

 

 

Air | Pocket Symphony (Astralwerks)

Written by Kevin Renick Monday, 26 March 2007 08:43

cd_airPocket Symphony is eminently listenable, as long as you're not expecting to rock out or looking for retreads of "Moon Safari."

 

 

 

 

   

Albert Hammond Jr. | Yours to Keep (New Line)

Written by Dave Jasmon Monday, 26 March 2007 08:25

cd_albertHammond proves plenty capable, suggesting that it may be time for Casablancas to loosen the band's collaborative strings.

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew Bird | Armchair Apocrypha (Fat Possum)

Written by Dave Jasmon Friday, 23 March 2007 03:48

armchairbirdWhile Bird's live performances serve as a landscape for rewriting his songs, as well as artistic experimentation, the 33-year-old Illinoisan has found stability in the studio, a place where his beauteous forms and melodies come to harbor.

 

   

Modest Mouse | We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank (Epic)

Written by Dave Jasmon Friday, 23 March 2007 03:37

weweredeadmouseOn "Parting of the Sensory," a sleepy acoustic is held up by rhythmic claps before jumping into a hoot-and-holler romp, and "We've Got Everything" employs Mercer's yelp to bring the album's most danceable song a little light-hearted charm.

 

 

Trans Am | Sex Change (Thrill Jockey)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

Wednesday, 21 March 2007 14:04

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

 

 

 

 

   

Arcade Fire | Neon Bible (Merge)

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)

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)

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)

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.

 

 

 

 

   

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

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)

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.

 

 

 

 

 

   

Keller Williams | Dream (Sci Fidelity)

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bang Gang | Something Wrong (From Nowhere)

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)

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)

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.

 

   

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

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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)

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Golden Ball | The Antique Barking Swirls of Dawn (Honeymoon Music)

Written by Kevin Renick Wednesday, 21 February 2007 02:52

cd_goldenball8. Golden Ball won the Philadelphia City Paper 2005 Choice award for "Best Weird Band." I'm inclined to give them that same commendation right now.

 

 

 

 

 

   

Good Shoes | The Photos on My Wall (Brille)

Written by Laura Hamlett Wednesday, 21 February 2007 02:44

cd_goodshoeswe play danceable, shed rehearsed guitar music. we like to dance, drink, draw, pretend to be on a mobile phone whilst we are not, write songs, dance.

 

 

[Labo Labs] Cristian Huepe | Blue Line (Loud Dust Recordings)

Written by Kevin Renick Wednesday, 21 February 2007 02:37

Are "pounding drums" and "squiggly synth sounds" what come from long hours contemplating the hidden mysteries of space and particulate matter?

 

   

My Brightest Diamond | Tear It Down (Asthmatic Kitty)

Written by Aaron Brummet Wednesday, 21 February 2007 02:34

cd_mbdShara Worden's voice could be put on top of Gilbert Gottfried and a pack of dying howler monkeys and still sound five steps past amazing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jacob Miller | Who We Are (Dogleg)

Written by Laura Hamlett Sunday, 18 February 2007 06:51

cd_jacobmillerMiller's just a kid, really, and he's working with former Atlantic Records president Ron Shapiro, among others. And I like him anyway.

 

 

 

 

 

   

Bright Eyes | Four Winds EP (Saddle Creek)

Written by Laura Hamlett Sunday, 18 February 2007 06:03

cd_brighteyesWith Four Winds EP, Bright Eyes' first new release since the double infusion, the multifaceted Conor Oberst has chosen sides in a resolute way.

 

 

 

 

 

Owen | At Home With (Polyvinyl)

Written by Laura Hamlett Sunday, 18 February 2007 05:17

cd_owenOwen's latest CD is everything you've come to expect from Kinsella, and more. It's even more understated, if that's possible, with richly woven strings and chords backing Kinsella's frail yet competent vocals and revealing tales.

 

   

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