Monday, August 29, 2011

Girls, Zee Avi, I Break Horses, Loney Dear, Red Hot Chili Peppers

Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost

At times, they recall their sunny-pop influences from the 60s.  At others, they bring to mind early 90s alternative rock.  Sometimes this happens on the same song. It can be a schizophrenic album, but it all works well together.  Nowhere is this more evident than on “Vomit”, which starts in the mold of 90s rock, then transitions into breezy pop, and ends with a repeating refrain of “Come into my heart,” while a Procol Harum-esque organ plays in the background, and a chorus backs up the refrain.
It’s a good album for these fading days of summer.

Favorite track: “Vomit”
Rating: 4/5

Zee Avi – Ghostbird

Light, airy folk, with a hint of bossa nova at times (and more than a hint at other times).  It’s a good album for a lazy day…somewhere in the vicinity of Bebel Gilberto or Carla Bruni, with some Feist thrown in for good measure.

Favorite track: “Concrete Wall”
Rating: 3/5

I Break Horses – Hearts

A nice little summery shoegaze album.  I like it, but there’s not much to it.  By about the middle of the album, all of the songs bleed together into one big reverb-soaked mass.  There’s nothing wrong with that (like I said, I like it), but I was at the end of the album before I knew it, and I couldn’t really think of any songs that sounded much different from the rest of the album.  This seems to be a good one to put on and just let the sounds wash over you.  They basically sound like Beach House, with more than a nod to the drones of My Bloody Valentine.

Rating: 3.5/5

Loney, Dear – Hall Music

Loney, Dear haven’t changed much since they started.  Three albums in, and they’re still making the same sort of big, well-orchestrated pop music that they did on their first album.  However, they do it so well that the sameness of their albums doesn’t really bother me.  This is a good, solid album.  There are a handful of songs that I like a lot, and the rest of them fall into the category of “pretty good,” even if I can’t remember exactly what separates them.  Still, they know what they’re doing, and it shows.

Favorite track: “What Have I Become?”
Rating: 3/5

Red Hot Chili Peppers – I’m With You

I didn’t care for Stadium Arcadium, but, for some reason, I was hoping that I would like this album.  I do not like this album.  It starts off well enough with “Monarchy of Roses”.  It’s not a great song, but it’s decent, and it’s a good, high-energy song to start things off on the right foot.  The album quickly falls off, though, culminating in the awfulness of “Look Around” and “Happiness Loves Company”. 
To quickly summarize: it’s an album filled with a couple decent songs, a lot of bad ones, and a couple terrible ones.

Favorite track: “Brendan’s Death Song:
Rating: 1/5

Monday, August 08, 2011

Tiny Ruins, Asteroids Galaxy Tour, Mister Heavenly

Tiny Ruins – Some Were Meant for Sea

Beautiful, delicate folk songs.  I love her voice.  It’s perfect for this style.  She reminds me a lot of Marissa Nadler, which is never a bad thing.  And, like Nadler, this feels like a really good album to listen to on a cold day.  Hopefully those days will be here soon.

Rating: 4/5
Favorite track: "Death of a Russian"

I heard this band on a new Heineken commercial, and I really liked their sound.  Kind of old-timey, but modernized.  So I tracked down their album and gave it a listen.  I like it.  There are times when the songs kind of bleed together, as they don’t really deviate from their style, but still…it works.  I don’t like all the songs, but I like enough of the songs to enjoy the album.  It’s kind of a ragtime-meets-70s-lounge-meets-Gorillaz sound…if that makes any sense.

Rating: 3/5
Favorite track: "The Golden Age"

Mister Heavenly – Out of Love

They describe their sound as “doom-wop”, and it makes perfect sense.  Mister Heavenly is comprised of Honus Honus (of Man Man), Joe Plummer (of Modest Mouse) and Nicholas Thorburn (of Islands and The Unicorns), which makes them a super-group of sorts (their touring bassist is Michael Cera, but he doesn’t play on the album).  Their sound is rooted in the vocal/musical style of doo-wop, but infinitely darker.  It’s an interesting sound.  There are enough good (and catchy) songs to make this a good listen.  It was a great listen on a dreary, rainy day like today.

Rating: 3/5
Favorite track: "Pineapple Girl"

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

My Followers, The Lassie Foundation

I looked the other day and saw that I had quite a few followers on this little music blog (47, to be exact, but I assume a lot of them are of the spam variety).
Considering I don't really do much with this, that's pretty amazing to me.  I think I know two of you.  So that means that I don't know how the vast majority of you found me (or why you read me).
If any of you - my followers - read this, please leave a comment (or send me a message) as to how you found my blog...hidden deep within this corner of the internet.

And now, a short review:

The Lassie Foundation - Pacifico

This album came out 11 years ago (has it really been that long?), but I listen to this album - without fail - multiple times every summer.  It's a terrifically fuzz-poppy can find their sound somewhere between the shoegaze of Ride and the feel of the Beach Boys.  It's a gorgeously shimmery album  If you're looking for a perfect summer album, it's right here.  If you've never listened to this album, check it out now, before summer ends.  You can download the entire album at Amazon for $6.99 right now.  That's a great deal.

Rating: 5/5
Favorite track: "El Rey"

Monday, August 01, 2011

Joss Stone, Babette Hayward, Brilliant Colors

Joss Stone – LP1

There was a time when I loved Joss Stone.  That time was when her first album – The Soul Sessions – was released.  I loved the sound of it.  I loved her voice.  And I keep thinking that I love Joss Stone…but I think I still just love that first album, because I have yet to hear anything released since then that has captured my attention.  I don’t hate this album.  It’s a decent album.  But there’s not much that draws me back to it.  She still has a terrific voice, and there are a couple of pretty good songs on this album…but there isn’t enough to make me want to keep listening to it.  As far as a modern soul/pop album goes, you could do a lot worse…but you could also do quite a bit better.

Rating: 2.5/5
Favorite track: "Newborn"

Babette Hayward – You Might Be Somebody

I have listened to this album at least 3 times by now, and nothing really stands out.  It’s not bad.  It’s an extremely listenable album.  But it’s fairly innocuous chick-pop, with nothing to separate her from the thousands of others who inhabit that genre.

Rating: 2/5
Favorite track: "That's Gold"

Brilliant Colors – Again and Again

A good summer-pop album.  They have the sound of a girl group, but drowned in fuzz and reverb.  It’s a short album, which is good…they don’t have enough variance in their sound to keep you interested for a long time.  But still, it’s a nice little album.

Rating: 3/5
Favorite track: "How Much Younger"

A non-music related note: while I have been writing short, not-very-well-thought-out reviews of albums that I've been listening to at work, one of my younger brothers has started an amazing blog where he looks at different baseball statistics.  It can be fairly in depth, but they're extremely interesting.  If you have a free minute - and if you care at all about baseball - head over there and check it out.  His blog is called Statistical Meanderings, and it's incredible.