As mentioned previously, here are reviews of all the CDs I’ve purchased over the last four months or so, appearing in reverse chronological order. The full two-year list is forthcoming. You’ll seriously wet yourself when it finally comes out.
My ribs really ache today, and I think while kiteboarding last night I got yarded far more than I thought I did. The reason I couldn’t breathe was probably not due to emotional ecstasy, as I thought, but probably the result of crushed ribs and collapsed lungs.
Geez I love that sport. More than you will ever know.
Anyways, let’s talk smack ’bout music:
Beck – Guero
Like everyone else has said, Guero is every Beck album rolled into one. It’s got the sorrowful folk ballads of Sea Change, the hot funk charts of Midnite Vultures, the shit kickin’ liquor drinkin’ cowboy sounds of Mutations, and the addictive rock anthems of Odelay. It feels a bit watered down as a result, but I still think it kicks ass.
The Juliana Theory – Love
The Juliana Theory are changelings, adopting a new sound for every disc they release. Love is a good album, but I don’t think it holds a candle to Emotion is Dead. Then again, I haven’t had a chance to listen to it very much yet. While Emotion is Dead is totally emo, Love feels more mainstream hard-rockish.
Stroke 9 – Nasty Little Thoughts
Somewhere I aquired Stroke 9’s single “Kick Some Ass”, so when I saw Nasty Little Thoughts for a couple bucks at Mobius Records I had to pick it up. It wasn’t what I expected, much more poppy and not nearly as angry, but this disc has really grown on me in its own right. Catchy, really catchy, without being cornball.
Bright Eyes – I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning
Cool. I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning is Bright Eyes’ new folk album, and it’s pretty freakin’ good. Some songs are total downers, though, so the disc can be a tough emotional slog if you try to listen to it all the way through. I really like his voice. Then I hate his voice. Then I stop listening to his voice, and I really like his voice again.
James Sasser – Southside of Sorrow
Holy crap damn, if you’re anywhere near Oregon, these guys are a total party to hear live! Southside of Sorrow is a studio album, though, and thus feels pretty sterile in comparison. Even though it doesn’t do justice to their rowdy stage show, it makes a great fix in a pinch. If you take the cowboy attitude of “That Kinda Day” and multiply it by a hundred, you might have an idea what it’s like.
No Doubt – Tragic Kingdom
Geez, I picked up this album because I was jonesin’ for its radio charts, but the whole thing is really freakin’ good. The band is super tight, with a sharp horn section and everything, and there’s one chart where they pop in and out of 4/4, 3/4 and 5/4 like it’s butter. Gwen Stefani’s voice does something to me, too. She’s girly with attitude, but it’s total girly attitude, and that’s so hot.
Jim’s Big Ego – They’re Everywhere!
Uhh. Not what I was expecting. Jim’s Big Ego kicks ass, and I love the lyrics to their song “Boston Band”, but They’re Everywhere! is a strange anti-pop disc with songs about math prof rockstars and the everglades and stuff. M’eh.
My Morning Jacket – It Still Moves
My Morning Jacket has such an incredibly original sound, and It Still Moves is so huge and echoey you can’t help but love every square inch of it.
Rainer Maria – Long Knives Drawn
I’ve been meaning to pick up Long Knives Drawn for years, having first heard Rainer Maria on a Polyvinyl Records Sampler. It’s some pretty original alt-rock emo stuff, with a female singer and a healthy dosage of distortion. I totally dig chicks that don’t mind yelling.
matt pond PA – Winter Songs
Geez, matt pond PA still ranks in my top five favorite bands. Beyond myself and my friends, though, I’ve never met anyone who’s even heard of them. It’s a pity, as their mix of emo, strings and chamber pop results in some of the most beautiful melodies I’ve ever heard. Winter Songs is an EP of songs following a winter theme, and I swear that the air crackles with cold when I play this disc. Most of the songs are covers, which I’ve never heard from mpPA, and their Neutral Milk Hotel cover is so gorgeous it’s stunning.
Green Day – American Idiot
American Idiot is far better than you might think, and if you listen closely there’s some really cool stuff going on. The styles of all the songs interrelate and the lyrics are cross-referential, and on a couple tracks they do some awesome medley stuff. Two of the songs are more than nine minutes long, which is significant considering that most of Green Day’s songs weigh in at two minutes. This album is totally meant to be performed as a rock opera. I think it’d be awesome if there were some high schoolers with enough balls and talent to write and perform it.
Duncan Sheik – Daylight
I saw this guy when he opened for a Ben Folds concert at First Avenue in Minneapolis. Daylight is some really great solo guitarist stuff, and I recently picked up this disc as a replacement for the one I ruined years ago.
Ultimate Fakebook – This Will Be Laughing Week
I’ve been listening to Ultimate Fakebook for a couple years, and I had to pick this one up while digging through the $3.00 CDs at Ranch Records in Bend. It’s emo, but it’s angry pathetic geek emo, which works great to balance out all that sissy pathetic geek emo.
James Holden – Balance 005
Holy crap, I came across this album while listening to XTC Radio streams at work, and it’s a total rush. I think Holden is considered electronica (the term “techno” typically reserved for heavier things), and I must say that Balance 005 is electronica at its finest. His talent at mixing totally blows my mind. Spans two discs. If you’re not coding to this, you’re not really coding.