Thursday, April 28, 2011

GUEST REVIEW: Fleet Foxes- Helpless Blues

The Fleet Foxes’ sound is undeniably and immediately recognizable, haunting listeners’ ears ever since their self-titled debut album came out back in 2008, garnering positive reviews from just about every major outlet in the country- as well as overseas. Helplessness Blues is exactly the follow-up you were hoping for, unless you were more thrilled at lead vocalist Robin Pecknold’s comments about how he wanted the band to move in a more jam-band-y direction. While Fleet Foxes certainly have the folk-musical pizzazz to cut a record like that, the real beauty of their sound springs from the group’s harmonic skill and Pecknold’s minstrel-esque vocals, which always sound like they’re coming at you from just beyond the edge of the trees.

Helplessness Blues is a triumphant twelve-track album, pulsing with the sound of mandolins, containing passionate lyrics about apples, and possessing the quiet thrill of a panoramic view from the top of a mountain.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Fjords is a drone guitar-keyboard duo. Within 20 days of being a band they had their first show and album release “The slow death of Allison Archer”. This first set of tracks intended to be dark and almost evil. On the other hand, their second EP “April Fjords” was more inclined towards a minimal feel.
The duo practices in the Piano Row suites. A neighbor ritually complains that it sounds like a leaf blower is going off. The band jokes that when they play shows no one comes, but it’s a great excuse to play fucking loud.
Despite their jokes, this past Tuesday they played an amazing show at the Church with Spectrum (Sonic Boom from Spacemen 3). The Booker was actually inspired by Fjords to book the show.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Omar Rodriguez Lopez – Telesterion

The compilation Telesterion has an overwhelming number of tracks that outline Omar Rodriguez Lopez’s entire solo career. The collection alters between songs with sweet female vocals vs. aggressive psychedelic rock tunes. Most songs are characteristic of Omar’s main project The Mars Volta. Yet, surprisingly songs like “Lunes” and “Poicare” are melancholic and minimalist, with simple guitar progressions and poetic lyrics. The female vocals in these songs resemble young Latin singers like Javiera Mena. The other group of songs which are more true to Omar’s classic progressive rock, are electric and edgy. The vocals resemble the bad-ass tone of The Strokes yet balance off with a groovy Latin swing. “Agua dulce de pulpo” is raw and aggressive with bare animal vocals and free drums. Another song that characterizes Omar’s psychedelic side is “The Palpitations form a limit”. It seems like an homage to Led Zeppelin, with expressive vocals and crazy guitar solos. Honestly some songs aren’t my cup of tea, but the entire compilation seems like a massive musical effort worth recognizing.


It starts off quick, like your driving through a dark tunnel. At twenty seconds you shoot out into a bright, colorful landscape. White Denim orchestrates the rest of the trip in their newly released single, Drug.
The blunt title and consistent use of the word- Drug initially felt heavy handed. Sharp guitar rifts, and a truly well developed classic rock sound kept me intrigued.
After a few listens I was able to find some thoughtful, and honest meditations on the overall attraction of Drugs.
A seeming desire for honest expression in this song is paralleled on the White Denim website, where free downloads, and a letter from the band shows an admirable approach to creation.
We can tell that these guys have a pure desire to share their tunes. This is fueled by a belief that listeners will show support through donations, and the simple act of listening. While we can appreciate this, it all comes back to the music.
Drug is a good song that brings a feeling of retro-trip with a fresh modern sound. It’s available for free download on the White Denim website, along with a few other tracks.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Mike's Weekly Recs: WAR

Today (or, I guess, yesterday) is the 150th anniversary of the start of the American Civil War. This week's mix features nine tracks that will wring every drop of hate out of your blood-lusting least for 3-7 minutes at a time.

And I know this isn't the Civil War, but here's the closing clip of the best war series of all time:

Monday, April 11, 2011

Tron Legacy: Reconfigured

This reconfiguration of the Tron Legacy soundtrack, by Daft Punk, is a dynamic collection of remixes. Artists build off the futuristic, cyberspace atmosphere, created in the original version, with their distinct styles. Each of the fifteen tracks complements its own original, with progressive twists that are offered throughout by an impressive collection of Dj’s.

The album kicks off with a filthy remix of Derezzed by The Glitch Mob. The dichotomy created by their stop-and-go, up-and-down, style over the beaming sound waves of Daft Punk is such a perfect example of what makes this album a valuable listen.

Other big names such as The Crystal Method, Boyze Noize, and Pretty Lights have remixes on the album, all of which are quality infusions of their various sounds with the Tron tone. Moby even has a remix, which is pretty good, and for some reason seemed like it could be an anthem for a Lion King soundtrack reconfiguration.

Teddybears, a Dj that I hadn’t previously heard of, contributed an awesome remix to Adagio For Tron. There’s a killer drop at about one minute, and thirty-one seconds in. Sander Kleinenberg also had a sweet remix of the End Titles.

Overall this is a collection with an uncommon abundance of well-established artists, and good original work.

Despite the soundtrack, and jaw dropping visual effects, Tron did get old with its corny Disney dialogue. If I were to sit through the movie again, I would definitely want to watch a version with the Reconfigured soundtrack as the score. Not to say it would be better, just pretty cool.

Check out the album; enjoy the remixes, and multiple Jeff Bridges voice samples.

Be easy.

PRIMACY EFFECT @Middle East tonight!!

Our very own music staffer, Lorena, plays in a shoe-gaze daze band called Primacy Effect. They've been rockin' around local spaces including Weirdo Records and Emerson dorms. Tonight they will be performing at the Middle East in a battle of the bands benefit show. Check check check 'em out!

18+ $10 Middle East, Cambridge MA

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Bewitched hands – Birds & Drums

A cool blend of new wave, pop, punk, psychedelic folk, and obviously Indie. But early Indie, when it was actually good. Clearly influenced by pillars like Nada Surf and the Strokes, they still maintain an old school classic feel like the Beach Boys. ‘Hard to cry’ has original layered vocals with delayed feedback harmonies. The short vocal melodies cascade throughout the song and finally come together in the chorus. “Out of myself” sounds faintly like vampire weekend ethic rock mesh. Yet on the other hand, some songs like “Cold” are much more hardcore, reckless sixties punk.

Recommended songs: Happy with you, Birds and drum, Underwater, Cold.

Lake – Giving & Receiving

Soft effortless female vocals over catchy melodies. The vocals resemble the dark soothing tone of Cat Power, Memoryhouse and Beach House. Yet the whole feel of the music is much more upbeat. The instrumentation is composed of happy little jams and groovy trumpets that blast in the background.

Recommended songs: Effort, Stumble around

Wolf Ram Hearts – Betrayal of Hearts

A mix of light rock and dark, atmospheric pop. Each song is really spacious and softly reverberated yet counteracted with traditional drum beats and simple vocals. The entire album is really well balanced. There is a mesh up of songs with eccentric instrumentations and spacey strings and others with more soft and traditional themes. The beginning of “Girl on Tricycle” is really psychedelic with edgy synths and strings. On the other hand, "His & Hers" is a perfect slow dance song.

Recommended songs: His & Hers, Girl on Tricycle, Mansions

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

GUEST REVEW: The Kills – Blood Pressures (by Devin Goodwin)

It’s been three years since The Kills last cut a record. With Allison Mosshart moonlighting as the she-wolf front woman of Jack White’s blues-rock outfit The Dead Weather, and Jamie Hince only making headlines for dating supermodeltrainwreck Kate Moss, it was anybodies’ guess as to what The Kills’ fourth studio album would sound like. Since their bare-bones garage style debuted in 2003 with Keep On Your Mean Side, The Kills have steadily cultivated their sound, making true believers of fans with 2005’s No Wow, and riding that success to a new high-water mark with Midnight Boom (2008).

Now devotees can breathe a sigh of relief, because ‘VV’ (Mosshart) and ‘Hotel’ (Hince) have lost none of their black magic chemistry during the off-time. Blood Pressures picks up all the familiar pieces of The Kills’ style- pre-programmed beats, and stuttering guitar rhythms entwined in Mosshart’s raspy chameleon vocals- and blasts off, coming across as bigger, sharper, and more complex.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Mike's Weekly Recs: COVERED WAGONS

I'm exhausted, so cut me some slack on the name. This week's two-sided playlist features covers of songs that are, in some cases, far better than the originals, and in others, valiant homages to untoppable Dylan compositions (Hey, Warren Zevon was literally knocking on Heaven's door when he recorded the cover for his final studio album). Enjoy, be inspired, then go to bed.


Your next classic funk-rock throwback is here. On their new album "Scandalous," Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears display an earnest attempt at recreating the sound of 60s and 70s horn-powered, funk and blues based rock music. On cuts like, "Livin' In the Jungle," you can clearly hear the influence of funk greats Tower of Power and the King of Soul himself, Mr. James Brown, both at work. With fuzzy AM-Radio guitar, stabbing horns and fat, walking bass lines, these guys have certainly done their homework on how their influences achieved their bombastic and simply badass sound.

Like all great funk music, Black Joe is no subtle craftsman with his lyrical wit. On "Black Snake," all the ladies in the audience are warned of the "black snake comin up in your grass, girl, tryin' to get up under your skirt." But isn't that lack of subtlety the key to great funk music? Sexual innuendos and euphemisms for smoking pot? Yes, it is. Again, with "Booty City," we are taken on a journey, in fact, "the best trip I've ever had in my life;" an ode to a mythical town where bodacious behinds reign supreme. Complete with group chants and a sax solo begging you to come along for a wild visit, the track is by far the standout of the album.


Four years, four solo albums, one side project, and a hell of a lot of waiting later, the Strokes have returned with Angles: ten songs worthy of the "1970s rock meets music from the future" stamp that lead singer Julian Casablancas gave Rolling Stone back in January. While the hype surrounding this release set quite a lofty standard for the album, Angles exceeds expectations with a sound that proves Rock N' Roll's young darlings are ready for mainstream success, headlining spots at major festivals worldwide, and stadium-filling tours.
It's been ten years since the Strokes single-handedly (okay, the White Stripes too) sparked the rebirth of Garage Rock with their critically-acclaimed debut "Is This It." An album full of sloppy (in the greatest way possible), lo-fi rock-pop anthems, "Is This It" still remains high atop many "Best Albums of the 00's lists," and is considered a new-era classic. The group's better-than-solid sophomore effort, "Room on Fire," treaded similar waters and is still regarded as one of the better follow-ups in recent memory. With 2006's "First Impressions of Earth" the group cemented the fact that they were determined to add a new element to their sound and outrun the carefree party rock of their first two albums. The songs lived up to the album's title however, offering the self-concious sound of a band who was unsure of where to go, but would not return to where they have already been. Though the album was generally panned by critics, it displayed spastic creativity and the group's desire to create a unique new style for themselves, while holding onto what they know best: GREAT GUITARS.

CORRECTION: Royal Blood at The Middle East Upstairs APRIL 6TH

Soooooo.... I made a pretty big boo boo in my SHOW PREVIEW for Royal Blood.
Their show is not on the 6th of March, but instead of April. I know this, and using deductive reasoning, i bet some of you figured this out too. However, because I fucked up baaaasically 1/3 of the important information in the posting I wanted to make sure that all of you who read the post also got the correct date.

Sorry for the delay on the correction. WISH SOMEONE HAD SAID SOMETHINGGG


original post (now, with correct date)
"These guys are pretty damn awesome, as one of the only Emerson based bands our staff seems to be down with and we're (well, at least I'm) pumped for their headlining show at the Middle East. Their overall sound is a little hard to pinpoint, a bit of pop punk, homefried country, and a light dusting of metal jams... living somewhere between Pavement and The Descendants and just a stones throw away from Karp. With their arms length library of quick high energy zingers, you can always rely on Royal Blood to put on a good show. They'll be heading into the studio soon and we're looking forward to it's release.

However, while you're drooling all over your keyboard waiting for a full album check out their bandcamp AND be sure to head out to Cambridge for their show on April 6th at the Middle East upstairs."

good god i hate myself sometimes

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Beach Fossils - What a Pleasure

Beach Fossils is a mixture of European indie with West Coast surf rock. Their newest album What a Pleasure is filled with feel good melodies that flow perfectly with simple guitar riffs and cool lo-fi vocals. It’s not annoyingly pop, yet simple and catchy in a good way. The entire album feels like being on vacation.

The vocals are softly reverberated throughout each song, which at points even brings out a shoegaze feel.

I couldn’t help but bob my head to the swinging guitar strummings of “Calyer”. The guitar pickings sound a lot like The Whitest Boy Alive. Even the vocals in the song “Adversity” reminded me of Kings of Convenience (which has the same guy from Whitest Boy Alive). They have a undeniable European feel; I can picture them doing a take away show anytime soon in the streets of Paris.

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