Nov 18, 2009

Things not reviewed part II

More records released in 2009 that you should definitely check out.

Jarvis Cocker - Further Complications
Raw Britpop from the frontman of Pulp, suprisingly awesome

Madness - The liberty of Norton Folgate
More british than ever, returning from playing nostalgic summer festivals etc. Now releasing an hours worth of new material. Praised as the return of the kings of ska, and perhaps their finest album yet.

Telefon Tel-Aviv - Immolate Yourself
Indie-electronica, ambient, very DEEP and at the same time not very unaccessible

John Zorn - Alhambra Love Songs
Borrowing heavily from jewish folk-music and hard-bop, another solid record from one of the best contemporary jazz composers

Dinosaur Jr. - Farm
Another album from the band who reunited and released one of the best rock album of the decade in 2007, though not as good as the previous this is still a decent album.

Sonic Youth - The Eternal
Masters of 80s post-punk still rock as hard as ever, even if you can't stand Kim's vocals the album is still pretty good.

PS: Top lists as per decade/year of albums are always a big heap of shit, unless you agree with the list of course.

Nov 17, 2009

Things not reviewed

There's a lot of records being released all the time, and I hardly bother or don't "have the time" to review them all. So here are some highlights which I haven't reviewed, in other words summarizing 2009. More will be added.
Most of the links are to Spotify

Dan Deacon - Bromst
Some great electronica/glitchy stuff

Japandroids - Post-Nothing
'Simple' garage rock-influenced indie-rock, incredibly textured sound

Kings of Convenience - Declaration of Dependence
Great chamber pop, simple and powerful

Mew - No More Stories...
Dream pop, shoegaze-inspired, 'indie-rock'

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz
Some more 'garage rock'

MewithoutYou - It's all crazy!...
Christian group with a knack for great poetry and songwriting, now moving towards the whole 'indie' sound with trumpets and all that

M. Ward - Hold Time
Still one of the best singer/songwriters out there

Mastodon - Crack The Skye
Awesome prog. metal as technical as can be

Death - ...For The Whole World To See (Grooveshark)
Incredible compilation of the band's singles which were never released, garage rock

Beatles - Everyday Chemistry (official website)
Not an official release, but an incredibly well-put-together mashup of the Beatles' solo material

Nov 5, 2009

2009: Julian Casablancas - Phrazes For The Young

Known as the lead singer from The Strokes, Julian Casablancas crafted the much recognized album Is This It mostly by himself. But in recent years his songwriting wasn't as 'dominating' as it used to be, and some might credit the inferiority of the last two albums to this. And After the other bandmembers showing that they could release competent solo albums it was time for Casablancas to release his. The album was much discussed on the interwebs, mostly questions of if it had leaked or not. It was finally released last week and isn't as similar to The Strokes' sound as one might expect, Casablancas going solo was probably trying to achieve just that. The biggest difference between this and The Strokes catalogue is perhaps Casablancas use of electronics and his soft voice to create a 'different' pop album.

The album starts with 'Out of The Blue', a brilliant opener which instantly starts with electric beats and guitars, and Casablancas' cool voice easily making it the most accessible song on the album. The chorus has some cool syntesizers, making the sound even more textured, and even more 'playful' than the Strokes' usual melodies. Clearly, Casablancas is giving a nod towards the new-wave revival seen in recent years with this album. The second song starts with some relatively cheesy synths but the verse has some brilliant guitar riffs. Casablancas' use of electric sound effects and synths is heard throughout the entire album, and drums are replaced with drum machines. Which isn't bad taken in consideration with the 'sound' Casablancas is trying to achieve here. And even though the album only has eight songs, all of them are 4-5 minutes in length making the album 40 minutes in length.
The use of synths and electronics becomes even more apparent with the cheery single '4th Dimension' which is drowned with it. It's a good song though, and the chorus sounds alot like Muse when it comes to Casablancas' epic sounding vocals and synths. There are also slow ballads like '4 Chords of The Apocalypse' which is okay, but also hampers the record by it's inclusion.
'Ludlow Street' is a reminiscing, country-inspired song featuring banjos. But on the last part of the album is where Casablancas' shows his skill in songwriting, constructing a bit 'darker' set of songs, sounding a bit more despairing than the more lighthearted than the songs starting the album. 'River of Brakelights' shows Casablancas' more gritty melodies, sounding a bit like Radiohead pre-chorus with it's hypnotic lines, but the chorus shows Casablancas' at his most gripping.
'Glass' is also pretty intense, and has Casablancas singing at the top of his lungs about bulletproof glass, but the melody does sound a bit familiar, the solo is also seems to be very inspired by Mozart, one of many to have influenced this record. Casablancas also displays some interesting lyrical imagery with his closing song 'Tourist' with lines such as 'But I am only a drop from the storm' and 'Feel like a teardrop streaming off your chin' showing themes such as helplessness. This album is definitely going to please fans of The Strokes who were disappointed by First Impressions of Earth, this is no doubt as good as Room On Fire, but keep in mind that this is a bit different, though not a paradigm shift.

Score: 7.5/10

Listen at Grooveshark or Spotify