Album Review: Neck of the Woods

Neck of the Woods by Silversun Pickups (Dangerbird, 2012. 59 minutes) Silversun Pickups is an alternative rock band based out of Los Angeles. Formed in 2002, the band is comprised of Brian Aubert, Nikki Monniger, Christopher Guianloa, and Joe Lester. Neck of the Woods marks their third studio album. Horror! I’ve always loved when albums are albums, not single tracks put into a last-ditch mélange of sound. With Neck of the Woods, Silversun Pickups makes a whole album, in the classical sense, by playing on the listener’s sense of fear. When listening to the album, images of horror movie scenes overwhelm and attack, causing the listener to reminisce the adrenaline-pumping scenes of past. After a listen, it’s understandable why Brian Aubert,… Read More →

Album Review: The Lion’s Roar

The Lion’s Roar by First Aid Kit (Wichita Recordings, 2012. 43 minutes) Formed in 2007, First Aid Kit is Johanna and Klara Söderberg from Enskede, Sweden. A 2008 viral YouTube cover of the band, Fleet Foxes, gained the duo wide notoriety. First Aid Kit signed to Wichita Records in 2008 and released their debut record, The Big Black & the Blue, in 2010. A Starbucks on Every Corner of the Globe The world is shrinking. 100 years ago, an inter-continental trip was tedious and dangerous. Today, a jetliner connects us anywhere in the world within a day. This ease of travel, while presenting the modern world with the ability to engage in a myriad of culture, offers a melting pot… Read More →

Album Review: Little Broken Hearts

Little Broken Hearts by Norah Jones (Blue Note, 2012. 45 minutes) Norah Jones (b. 1979) is the daughter of famous sitarist, Ravi Shankar. She launched her career in 2002 with the release of Come Away With Me, which won her five Grammy Awards, and sold over twenty million copies. She is listed as Billboard magazine’s 60th best selling artist and the top jazz artist of the 2000 decade. Evolution A lack of evolution is my main complaint of most musical artists. Take famed smooth jazz saxophonist, Kenny G., as an example. He has found a formula and exploited it for thousands of middle-aged housewives all around the country. His music has plagued elevators for at least a decade, and why?… Read More →

Album Review: Ashes & Fire

Ashes & Fire by Ryan Adams (Capitol Records/Pax Americana Record Company, 2011. 43 minutes) Ryan Adams is a singer-songwriter renowned for his contributions to the alt-country genre. Originally a member of the band Whiskeytown, Adams began his solo career with Heartbreaker in 2000. A prolific songwriter with 13 albums released since 2000, Adams garnered the most commercial success with Gold. In addition to music, Adams has published Infinity Blues and Hello Sunshine, books of poetry. Adams married Mandy Moore in 2009 and took an extended hiatus—for him, at least—from music. In 2010, Adams founded a record label, PAX AM and has released has latest two releases on the label. The Rubric of Great Art There are times when music pauses… Read More →

Album Review: Port of Morrow

Port of Morrow by The Shins (Columbia Records/Aural Apothecary, 2012. 40 minutes) The Shins are an indie rock band originally from Albuquerque, NM, now located in Portland, OR. The Shins consist of James Mercer (vocals, guitar), Joe Plummer (drums), Jessica Dobson (guitar), Yuuki Matthews (bass), and Richard Swift (keyboards).The band is most widely known for their third album, Wincing the Night Away, which debuted at number two on the Billboard Charts and nominated for a 2008 Grammy award, as well as the Garden State soundtrack. The Purge   Ok. Port of Morrow is good. It shows sometimes a purge is necessary, as only one of the original members of The Shins remains. In 2008, when the band announced their contract with Sub… Read More →

Album Review: Come Back As Rain

Come Back As Rain by Good Old War (Sargent House, 2012. 38 minutes) Good Old War is Keith Goodwin, Daniel Schwartz, and Tim Arnold. The band started after they recorded free demos in a late night session at a studio. Good Old War have played at the South by Southwest festival in Texas, and toured with both Anthony Green and Alison Krauss. They are currently signed on the label Sargent House. Americana Pop Good Old War has been active since their 2008 release of Only Way To Be Alone. With an album in 2010, Good Old War didn’t change much. But, this new release, entitled Come Back As Rain provides evidence of a maturing, sophisticated sound. The band’s sound is… Read More →

Guest Album Review: Wrecking Ball

Wrecking Ball by Bruce Springsteen (Columbia Records, 2012, 62 min.) Bruce Springsteen, nicknamed “the Boss”, is an American songwriter and guitarist/vocalist that is best known for his working-man albums of the last 30 years, including Born to Run, Born in the U.S.A. and The Rising. Mr. Springsteen has 21 Grammy awards and an Oscar in his celebrated career. Wrecking Ball is his 10th chart-topping #1 Album, trailing only Jay-Z and the Beatles. Post-9/11 Revitalization Bruce Springsteen has hit a stride since the 9/11 tragedy re-awakened him, revitalizing both his songwriting and his purpose with the album The Rising. With similar purpose and drive, Wrecking Ball finds Bruce fighting for blue-collar Middle America in response to the Wall Street greed that… Read More →

Album Review: Barchords

Barchords by Bahamas (Universal Republic, 2012. 39 minutes) Bahamas is the stage name of Afie (AY-fee) Jurvanen, who is a Canadian guitarist and singer-songwriter. He is a self-taught musician who has toured with Feist and Beck. His freshman release, Pink Strat, won the 2010 Juno Award for Roots & Traditional Album of the Year. Sophomoric  Barchords is the sophomore album released by Bahamas, and it’s usually around the second release where I start legitimately listening to a musician. I’ve found that the growth from the first to second album is generally a good indicator of how successful a musician’s career will be overall. If Barchords serves as any indicator of Bahamas’ future success, he surely will be challenging the soul-and-roots… Read More →

Album Review: Some Nights

Some Nights by Fun. (Fueled by Ramen/Nettwerk, 2012. 46 minutes) Fun. is an American indie pop band from New York City that was formed in 2008 after lead singer Nate Ruess broke up with his Arizona-based band, The Format. He formed the band with Andrew Dost of Anathallo and Jack Antonoff of Steel Train. Epic As I sit writing this review, I am one day removed from receiving word that I needed to listen to Some Nights by Fun. I was in the store at the time, getting some groceries for the week, and I was told to leave the shopping cart in the aisle, and run home to listen to it. In retrospect, I should have left the cart… Read More →

Album Review: Kisses on the Bottom

Kisses on the Bottom by Paul McCartney (Hear Music, 2012. 56 minutes) Sir Paul McCartney (MBE, Hon Ram, FRCM) is an English musician, singer-songwriter, and composer. He is well-known for his work with The Beatles (1960-1970) and is widely considered the most successful musician and composer alive. He has sixty gold records; his song “Yesterday” has been covered by more than two thousand artists; and has thirty-one number one singles on the Billboard top 100. He is one of the wealthiest people in the UK, with an estimated wealth of £475 million. An Icon Is Born Sir Paul McCartney is an icon who is turning seventy this year. From Beatles days of old to his work with Wings and even… Read More →