Archive for columbia

Random Quick Picks

Posted in Black Sabbath, blue oyster cult, Creature with the Atom Brain, Gorguts, The Residents with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 30, 2013 by Nicholas

So, Ryan has got me to join him in a random rotation album shuffle — basically selecting twenty-five albums at random from our collections and listening to them from start to finish before moving on to the next one.  Once the twenty-five are finished, we repeat.  It’s a good way to bust out the stuff you don’t listen to as much or that you haven’t listened to at all.  I completed my first five albums the other day, so here are some shitty thoughts on them.

1975

Sabotage

Black Sabbath

1975

NEMS / Warner Bros. / Vertigo

Black Sabbath is one of my favorite bands.  From the Ozzy era, the first six albums are incredible, Sabotage being number six.  I do listen to this album somewhat regularly, but since it came up in the random shuffle, I gave it a good, solid listen.  For some reason I liked it more this time around than I remembered liking it.  Sabotage is an excellent mix of heavier Sabbath, such as “Symptom of The Universe” — which is a fantastic track — and some more experimental stuff.  The only song I wasn’t too crazy about is “Am I Going Insane.”  It feels a little too poppy for the rest of the album.  Otherwise this is a sexy slice of Sabbath. Continue reading

A Smattering of 2012 Albums

Posted in Band of Horses, David Byrne & St. Vincent, Jack White, the shins with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 23, 2012 by Ryan

Getting ready for the end of the year, I realized there were quite a few albums released in 2012 that I never got a chance to listen to (read: have on in the background while I do something more important, like chastise Nick for being the Scott Stapp of real people).  So this past week, I’ve been playing catch up on a few of those records, hoping for a life-changing experience to come out of my speakers. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened yet, but I’ll still tell you what I think about the handful of recordings these artists made this year.

Mirage Rock

Band of Horses

2012

Columbia Records

This new album by Indie rockers Band of Horses surprisingly delighted me.  Their blend of Indie and Alt-country caught me off guard; I was expecting more of something like “Is There a Ghost” from these former Sub Pop artists.  Instead, I got songs along the lines of Gram Parsons, modernized.  While I wouldn’t say this is a great record, it’s certainly very solid, with the member’s harmony vocals standing out on every song.  The familiar-sounding, but completely original “A Little Biblical” stood out the most to me with its catchy chorus, country vocals, and tight arrangement.  I’d definitely recommend Mirage Rock. Continue reading

Gossamer – Passion Pit

Posted in Passion Pit with tags , , , , , on August 13, 2012 by Kristen

Gossamer

Passion Pit

2012

Columbia

Call me a square, but I don’t really get Passion Pit. Lead by Michael Angelakos on vocals/keyboards, the band from Cambridge, Massachusetts, Passion Pit has made their way onto the Electronic Pop music scene — maybe winning a few synth-hearts along the way. I’ll admit, I also don’t really get the concept of their second studio album Gossamer. This 12-track disc feels like the soundtrack to the ultimate hipster summer, full of synthesized noises and simplified drum beats so you can be…hip.

Song after song I feel like I’m shopping in a Forever 21, drinking organic coffee, and wearing over-sized glasses with no lenses. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve heard the first track “Take A Walk” in a Forever 21. The song is simple, maybe even a little fun. The beat remains at a constant without unexpected surprises in the song. You would think the march-like beats on “Take A Walk” would set the pace of the album. They don’t.  The tempo of “I’ll Be Alright,”  the second track,  throws this album into high-gear and takes us into a sort of frenzied cacophony of techno. Continue reading

My Aim is True – Elvis Costello

Posted in Elvis Costello with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 10, 2012 by Ryan

My Aim is True

Elvis Costello

1977 / 1978

Stiff / Columbia / Rykodisc / Rhino / Hip-O

“ELVIS IS KING” — These are the words repeated on the nerdy, checkered cover of Elvis Costello’s debut album.  While this phrase may be an homage to Presley, it also doubles as an alarm to the conceit, the arrogance found in the music of Elvis Costello.  Look at him there, bowlegged, awkwardly holding a guitar on the cover, his bespectacled face ready for the masses.  This is a man without fear.

Now, I mean all of that with extreme fondness.  My Aim is True is a classic album, one of my favorites, and it owes its significance to its pomposity.  The music is slightly eclectic, as Costello opens up an early punk sound to other influences of folk, reggae, and ’50’s rockabilly, a feat which takes refuge in its audacity.  More than anything, however, the lyrics stand out, really pushing the songs into territory not marked by many other songwriters beforehand.  The sarcasm apparent in his somewhat nasally voice creates his signature styling, readily available on this first album. Continue reading

Broken Bells – Broken Bells

Posted in broken bells with tags , , , , , , , , on March 23, 2010 by Ryan

Broken Bells

Broken Bells

Columbia

2010

Ahh… time to get back to actually writing reviews.  Which brings me to this new release (read: released on March 9th.  New as in the first post since then.).  Now, I’m a decently big Shins fan.  I am not, ny any means, a huge aficionado on the band.  I will not go around telling people stupid things like, “This band will change your life,” like some people named Zach Braff would have.  I do however, have each of their three albums as well as When You Land Here, It’s Time to Return from Flake Music (essentially The Shins before they were The Shins).  And it was with this frame of mind that I went out and bought James Mercer’s and Brian Burton’s project.

I am greatly underwhelmed.

This album is not by any means a bad album.  The songs are thought-out, melodic, and have well-written lyrics.  But Broken Bells is not a good album either.  The songs are not too interesting, the ten tracks feel longer than they actually are, and there are no real tempo changes.  It is tremendously average.

As a warning, I’m going to focus more on Mercer than on Danger Mouse, as I know more about The Shins then anything Burton has done.  I know some of his mashup of The Grey Album, some of his production work with Gorillaz, and his work on Beck’s Modern Guilt.  The last two I never got into.  I though Modern Guilt was boring compared to Guero and I always preferred Blur to Gorillaz.  I also haven’t mentioned his band Gnarlz Barkley, probably because I hate that infernal song “Crazy.”  Continue reading

Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits – Bob Dylan

Posted in bob dylan with tags , , , , , , on February 5, 2010 by Ryan

Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits

Bob Dylan

Columbia

1967

As noted before, I’ve mentioned that I despise greatest hits collections.  They don’t represent albums – the larger works of art that these select songs come from.  This holds true especially for Bob Dylan (this is the fifth mention of his name in this review, and yet, only the third sentence of it.  Stupid greatest hits’ title.) whose records during the 1960’s are seen as classics.  I admit, I’m not a huge Dylan fan, in fact, I don’t even own many albums of his yet (yes, yet, for I do want to listen to him a lot more – I mean, come on, it’s Bob Dylan), but even I realize some albums of his are so seminal: Blonde on Blonde, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, Highway 61 Revisited.  I include these three for a point – most of the ten songs found on Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits are from these three influential records.  And so, one question that I always ask about greatest hits compilations is this: Why take the songs out of context?  No, I don’t have an answer – that’s my entire reason for my diatribe against these despicable discs.

That all being out of my system for now, this was my first taste of Bob Dylan (shudder, horrible mental image.  Could you imagine if I used that phrase while reviewing Michael Jackson? Double shudder.).  It had to be maybe eight or so years ago, so I would’ve been entering my teenage years.  By this time, I had already been playing guitar for a while, figured out that The Beatles are amazing, and was on my way to becoming quite dissolved into music.  I gained much of my early musical tastes from my parents and my guitar teacher.  Neither the former nor latter really liked Dylan.  Both groups expressed respect for the man, but just didn’t particularly like his music.  Hence, my hesitation to begin listening to him.    Continue reading