Fade – Yo La Tengo

Posted in Yo La Tengo with tags , , , , , , , , on January 21, 2013 by Ryan

Fade

Yo La Tengo

2013

Matador Records

And so, New Jersey natives Yo La Tengo welcome us in to the new year with their thirteenth studio album, Fade.  Earnest and inviting, the album also has an air of mystery about it; even only a few weeks into 2013, I can tell this will certainly be one of my favorites of the year.  With a running time of only forty-five minutes, the album is short and to the point, but Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley, and James McNew have stuffed Fade full of great music.

While in the past, Yo La Tengo albums have had an eclectic mix of genre-hopping songs on the, Fade doesn’t skip around as much.  Instead, it focuses more on an almost shoegaze quality — fuzzy distortion, droning soundscapes, and hushed mumblings all envelop the record in a cloudy feeling.  Album opener “Ohm” is a perfect example with the constant over-driven layers forming on top of each other, until the song has a paradoxical ordered chaos to it.  Other songs, such as “Little Things,” have a cleaner sound, yet still sound out-of-focus.  The acoustic dronings combined with soft string sections definitely convey a hushed variation on the first track’s thesis.  The softer tracks (“Well You Better,” “I’ll Be Around,” “Two Trains,” etc) — as well as some of the heavier, gain-soaked tunes — also feature almost-mumbled vocals by Ira and/or Georgia, as if the two were sharing an intimate secret with us. Continue reading

Signed and Sealed in Blood – Dropkick Murphys

Posted in Dropkick Murphys with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 11, 2013 by Kristen

Signed and Sealed in Blood

Dropkick Murphys

Born & Bred Records

2013

Surely you’ve never heard a punk rock band with as much gusto as this seven-piece from Massachusetts. Originally formed in ’96, the band made a name for themselves on Hellcat Records, marrying the sounds of punk rock with a classic Irish sound that makes you want to grab a pint and have some fun. I had been wondering what happened to singer Al Barr and the boys for a while, until I discovered — alas! — a new album! Signed and Sealed in Blood, released January 8th, is the band’s eighth studio album and is fucking brilliant.

The album opens with “The Boys Are Back” — not a bad opener, I must say. However, the lyrical content is a little lacking — repetitive is an understatement — nonetheless though, this isn’t arena rock; it’s punk rock. So I give it a free pass for that one. The one thing that fills my heart with joy while listening to “The Boys Are Back” is the unique blend of distortion and fast tempos with bagpipes and heavy unison chorus vocals. Nothing makes you feel like having a good time more than that.

Banjos, accordions, and bagpipes — punk at its punkest.

Continue reading

Blueberry Boat – The Fiery Furnaces

Posted in The Fiery Furnaces with tags , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2013 by Ryan

Blueberry Boat

The Fiery Furnaces

2004

Rough Trade

Time to hoist up your freak flags and take a journey with this weird, little album.  Blueberry Boat is the second record from the brother and sister team of Matt and Eleanor Friedberger, The Fiery Furnaces.  Let me tell you, it’s one challenging record to listen to.  At the time of its release, Blueberry Boat was definitely polarizing; internet hipster central Pitchfork ranked it as a 9.6 out of ten (hint: it’s not that great), meanwhile Dusted Magazine said “most of these tracks are pop songs without hooks or personality” (hint: it’s not that bad).  It’s certainly weird, and it’s certainly self-indulgent, but it’s an interesting, difficult album with some really cool nuggets of songs on it.   Continue reading

Steve’s Tops of 2012

Posted in LISTS with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2013 by Steve

So, even though (or especially because?) it will piss Ryan off, I’m doing my list a little differently. This is the list of my top things in, or tangentially related to, music from the year 2012. Let’s begin, shall we?

Top Album of 2012
This is a no-brainer, it’s Synthetica by Metric. definitely check out Ryan’s review of it if you haven’t listened yet. It’s spectacular.

Most Predictable Album of 2012
Babel from Mumford & Sons gets the nod here. It sounds pretty much exactly the same as Sigh No More, which is both good and bad.

Most Annoying Song of 2012
Carly Rae Jepsen – “Call Me MaybeContinue reading

Michael’s Top Ten Minus One of 2012

Posted in Between the Buried and Me, Devin Townsend, fun., Godspeed You! Black Emperor, LISTS, metric, Mumford & Sons, Royal Thunder, The Faceless, The Killers with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 3, 2013 by Michael

Alright children, sit and gather ’round, ’cause the Man of Year is giving his personal faves for 2012. Of course, like Kristen, I hate the number ten, so what’ll my top nine be?  THE SUSPENSE IS KILLING ME.

-9-

‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!

Godspeed You! Black Emperor

2012

Constellation

Ryan, having once again interested me in a band, had me check these guys out. A heavy instrumental band, they kick some ass. Since this is the first album that I have listened to from them, I figure I should check out their other stuff. So far my favorite from this album has to be the second song, “Their Helicopters’ Sing.” It reminds me a lot of Wagner, the classical/opera composer, and the instrumentals in this song are quite impressive.

Best Tracks:”Their Helicopters’ Sing” and “We Drift Like Worried FireContinue reading

Kristen’s Top EIGHT of 2012

Posted in Band of Horses, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, LISTS, Mumford & Sons, Norah Jones, Regina Spektor, The Gaslight Anthem, The Killers, the shins with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2013 by Kristen

I’m hungover. I’m only giving you eight. Ryan is a tyrant. Here’s my list.

-8-

Handwritten

The Gaslight Anthem

2012

Mercury

It took me being bored at work to find this gem streaming for free on NPR, and I’m oh-so-glad I did. I let it repeat at least three times because the first time just blew me away. Perhaps you’ve heard the single “45” on the radio over and over and over again? It’s only one of the many jam-worthy songs on this album. Clearly, I’m the worst for having never listened to this band prior to the release of this NJ native band’s fourth album, Handwritten. But, better late than never.

Best track: “Handwritten” Continue reading

Nicholas’ Top Ten of 2012

Posted in Corrosion of Conformity, Devin Townsend, Dragged Into Sunlight, Enslaved, LISTS, Ne Obliviscaris, Pallbearer, Royal Thunder, Storm Corrosion, The Faceless, Trioscapes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2013 by Nicholas

Year-end best-of lists suck.  I haven’t listened to everything that came out this year that I wanted to hear yet (Neurosis, High On Fire, Melvins, etc. fucking etc).  There’s just too much.  And 2012 was pretty God damn good year for music.  So, this is not a best of list.  This is simply my favorites.  The albums I spun the most.  The ones I like more than the ones I hated (Muse).

In no particular order…

(Edit: Ryan is making me do a numbered list even though I don’t want to.  So now the albums are numbered.)

-10-

CVI

Royal Thunder

2012

Relapse Records

Another kick-ass debut album.  Royal Thunder’s CVI is a super dose of hard rock a la Black Sabbath doomage.  Everything about this album kicks ass.  Front woman Mlny Parsonz has a strong voice that leads the monstrous riffs through the seedy, dimly lit, back alleys the music feels like it’s bringing you to.  This is a band that must be seen live as well.  They were easily one of the best performances I saw this year.  If you like your hard rock to rock hard, pick this album up immediately.

Best Track:  “Parsonz CurseContinue reading