Ghetto Brothers were a Bronx street gang who, figuratively, traded in their knives for musical instruments, and created a brilliant album in Power Fuerza. Self-claimed admirers of The Beatles, Ghetto Brothers harmonies are right on target, and the Beatle influence is apparent on some tracks. The guitar playing on this record is a stand out, combining choppy rhythms with some great licks. The opening track, "Girl From The Mountain", is reminiscent of Jefferson Airplane in it's chord changes and leads. "Mastica, Chupa Y Jala" has a great Santana-like jam, a-la "Soul Sacrifice", which is quite a feat, considering the groups leader, Benny Melendez, claims to had never heard of Santana before the record was recorded. "Got This Happy Feeling", an upbeat tune, resembling Lighthouses "One Fine Morning" --which came out the same time as "Power Fuerza" -- shows that Ghetto Brothers were quite inventive, and could have been a significant musical influence if they had more exposure. A highlight of this album is "You Say That You're My Friend", a bouncy tune that combines 60's garage rawness with a Latin feel, nice harmonies, and a catchy melody and guitar lick that are infectious enough to have you singing it to yourself over and over. "Viva Puerto Rico Libre" has a pretty Latin folk melody and some nice guitar solos. Throw in some James Brown-type funk, and you have an album that is very diverse in style and well-produced. A great, although overlooked masterpiece of late 60's Urban America.
Walk the Moon has yet to disappoint. Everything they've written thus far, including this small group of ridiculously fantastic songs, is unique, danceable, and will get stuck in your head in the best way. Do yourself a favor and add this album to the playlist for your next get-together, party, whatever. The overall tone of this group of songs is like a step up from any funk you might be in - exuberant and relentlessly optimistic.
The acoustic version of "Tightrope" and the Talking Heads cover especially show off this group's versatility. The men of Walk the Moon are incredibly talented, with both impeccable technical skills and a style that's able to blend itself with so many others. The lead singer Nick Petricca's ablility to not just sing, but belt, serenade and yell make every song a different experience.
I like everything Sea Wolf does. Alex takes his time doing it and the scenes he paints in Sea Wolf's music are brilliant. The songs on this release are as good or better as anything on White Water, White Bloom. The delivery is less bombastic, but the sentiment is still there. I've been listening to this for a while now and I noticed right away that it was lacking something. It's not the songs, they are fantastic. It's the lack of live drums on this album that sets it back. I wouldn't want to compare Sea Wolf to Phil Collins, but it has it's moments here and there. AS I said before though, the songs are so good that you'll get over it like I did. The second half of the album is incredible and sounds perfect in the fall. If you liked other Sea Wolf albums, you'll like this one too. If you are just getting into them, give White Water White Bloom a try first.
With Fade, Indie-Rock Darlings Yo La Tengo celebrate longevity,keeping on course, & dealing with life's challenges as they age. I've played the release over 10 times over the past 2 days & find myself enjoying it more with each listen. The combo is led by Ira Kaplan & Georgia Hubley & is the group's 13th legitimate release. I was turned on to the group during the heydey of Indie-Rock in the 90's & have enjoyed nearly all of their diverse releases. If you are familiar with the group, you know that they can begin a song with soft, melodic, textures that can evolve into ear-splitting sounds that may make you wish that you have brought your set of ear-plugs. On Fade, however, the emphasis is on gentler, mellow sounds. Fade deals with gentler, melodic, warm tones with experimental undertones. The 10 songs on Fade seem to morph quietly into each other. 2 songs even introduce strings & textured orchestration. It's clear that the emphasis here is on life's mortality & staying the course as time passes & things around them are struggling to keep from falling apart. The warm Velvetsy-Pop wins out here. All of the songs are very strong. Highlights include "Ohm", Is That Enough", "Paddle Forward", "I'll Be Around", "Cornelia and Jane", & "Two Trains". No speaker-blasting fireworks here. As I previously emphasized, the clear focus of Fade is gentle, layered, melodic, warm pop. Like putting your child's or your lover's head down gently on a soft pillow. As I said there are 10 tracks & the release clocks in at just under 46 minutes. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!! SMRZ!!
The previous album, All Eternals Deck, didn't quite succeed in reaching me, though I listen to a couple of the songs regularly. I worried (like you do) that John was going to go somewhere I couldn't follow with his work, and I was going to lose one of the few people currently working who write things that resonate with my soul.
But Transcendental Youth was exactly what I needed.
The honesty and emotion in his writing and singing is a mix of healing balm and concentrated sunlight through a magnifying glass. Perhaps it's best described as something that lances old wounds and lets the poison drain. It's what I love him for: everything he tears open, he puts back together a little better than it was before, and after I've worn through an album, maybe I'm a little more sane.
One thing that particularly caught me was the moment in Night Light when he sings, "Jenny calls from Montana ... Probably never see her again in this life, I guess." We met Jenny on All Hail West Texas, when they ride into the sunset, triumphant for the moment. He hopes she's heading east; he leaves the lights on for her, counting his few scant hopes. I'm left remembering a time when I was fifteen, staring out my window like I could force the love of my life materialise in my driveway, if I believed hard enough.
My wife, being a Canadian and being a fan of indie music, has been a huge fan of Metric since their inception. She got me into them (and into vinyl again), primarily with 2009's FANTASIES, but had me listening to LIVE IT OUT, OLD WORLD UNDERGROUND, WHERE ARE YOU, and GROW UP AND BLOW AWAY. Songs like "Poster of a Girl", "Monster Hospital", and "Combat Baby" were the songs I was weaned on, but then I came to love tracks like "Succexy", "Soft Rock Star", "Patriarch on a Vespa", and "On The Sly". When FANTASIES came, though, it was like an explosion going off. There were very few albums from the last decade that had such an immediate hold on me as the songs from FANTASIES had. "Satellite Mind", "Sick Muse", "Help, I'm Alive" and "Stadium Love" were anthemic, powerful, rousing, and more instantly lovable than any of their previous albums.
I knew that album would be hard to top, but I certainly had hope that the musical and lyrical success of FANTASIES would be at least duplicated on their new album SYNTHETICA. As the album's title might suggest, this has a more electronic sound than any of their previous albums, but this doesn't take away from the aesthetic we've come to expect from Emily Haines, Jimmy Shaw on guitar, Joules Scott-Key on percussion and Josh Winstead on bass. There is also a guest appearance by Lou Reed on the song "The Wanderlust", and while he may not have the greatest voice in the world, he's got the gravitas, being one of the grandfathers of independent music. There are beeps, sirens, klaxons and synthetic sounds galore in this album, but when you strip it bare, you still get piano or synth, guitar, bass and drums and Emily's incredibly haunting and sensual voice.
The issue that I have with the album is with its second half, mostly because the first half raises such an incredibly high bar of music. The opening track "Artifical Nocturne" is a magical opening track, particularly with its opening line (which decorum prohibits me from quoting here) which speaks with the same kind of immediacy as "Help, I'm Alive" did with FANTASIES. "Youth Without Youth", the album's first single, is basically the perfect Metric song. It has everything you'd want and expect: Driving rhythm section, solid guitar, and incendiary lyrics, but with a hint of the electronic. "Speed The Collapse" is another power song that allows a further step into the arena rock potential showed in FANTASIES. "Breathing Underwater" is a little Coldplay-esque, but that's certainly not a bad thing because it's a just-about-perfect pop song done in the Metric style. The true highlight of the album for me is the ethereal and reflectively electryfying "Dreams So Real". The song has no percussion, but the movement of the song is amazing, particularly with the lyric, "I'll shut up and carry on; the scream becomes a yawn." "Lost Kitten" is the album's most overt piece about sexual politics; something that has been a staple of Metric's music since their beginnings and it's a great track. But once you get to "The Void", the rest of the album seems to become a little less powerful. While it's still really good, with songs like the title track "Synthetica", "Clone", and "The Wanderlust", it gets more into the synthetic and less into the power. However, "Nothing But Time" is a great closing track.
My wife pretty much demands that we get everything on vinyl to start off with and if it has the digital download codes, that's great; if not, we buy them digitally anyway. The vinyl edition is a 2-disc, 180-gram, white-colored disc set and it's gorgeous in its simplicity. We got the digital download codes, however, it might be important to point out that they didn't come with the album; they actually came from the pre-order for this vinyl record directly through Metric's website, so it MIGHT NOT be available purchasing the vinyl from Amazon.
Despite the comparatively lukewarm tracks of the second half of the album, the first several tracks of SYNTHETICA make this a Metric album very worth owning.
Glad there is life after Diddy, Dawn Richards rocks again - this time with a little hip holiday spirit. Knux the traditionals and bring on dem bells. A funky collection of epic damn-near dubstep proportions with her vocals on point as usual. And i love the hint of Brandy i always get from her. Hope her 2013 album is a real success.
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