Album Review: Lonesome Dreams

Lonesome Dreams by Lord Huron (Iamsound Records, 2012. 45 minutes) Lord Huron is an American indie folk group from Los Angeles. They are signed to Iamsound Records and released their debut album in 2012. To Innovate or to Perfect: That is the Question? What’s better: the innovator or the perfector? We are often wowed when an artist appears, utilizing a new technique. Ernest Hemingway popularized short, staccato sentences where the content left out is as important and meaningful as what remains. However, since his time, many authors have used this technique, some perhaps to better effect. Likewise, consider Jimi Hendrix. His use of heavy distortion and lightning riffs revolutionized the sound of guitar. But is he the best guitarist ever?… Read More →

Album Review: Shut Down the Streets

Shut Down the Streets by A.C. Newman (Matador Records, 2012. 40 minutes) A.C. Newman is a Canadian singer-songwriter. After contributing as a band member of Superconductor and Zumpano, Newman currently leads The New Pornographers. He launched his solo career in 2004. Dreaming Solo When I was in a band, a solo project always sat in the back of my mind. Going solo offers unique creative opportunities compared to a collaborative band setting. Compositional and lyrics choices are yours alone. Truthfully, most solo projects should never find the light of day because collaborative band settings function as an editing process. Most band members keep each other from making major musical mistakes. But, a rare few hold the talent to do it… Read More →

Andrew’s Top 20 Albums of 2012

No, there’s no Kesha, Maroon 5, or Carly Rae Jepsen on this list, and that’s how I like it. This list, at the moment anyway, reflects what I feel to be the best albums released in the year 2012. I’ve listened to a ton of albums this year, so this represents just a small smattering of what I feel to be the best. Most of these albums have an in depth review on this very blog, so check it out! Also, many of these albums appear on Donovan’s top ten list, and rather than re-inventing the (idler) wheel, I copied his descriptions for those albums because he’s right.   20.  Ben Folds Five – The Sound Of The Life Of… Read More →

Donovan’s Top 10 Albums of 2012

Much like last year, I am surprised at the continued narrowing of my musical consumption. Narrowing down my music to a Top-40 list a few years ago represented quite a project. Having listened to a continuous stream of music, I had no problem outlining an extensive list. Well, this year, I have added only 18 albums to my iTunes from 2012. As I said last year, this list no longer represents what I feel to be the absolute best music from 2012. I fully expect that I have missed some excellent music. Instead, this list represents a snapshot of my year. These albums sat in my car for months at a time. Most of them found their way to a… Read More →

Album Review: Silver & Gold

Silver & Gold: Songs for Christmas, Vols. 6-10 by Sufjan Stevens (Asthmatic Kitty, 2012.) Sufjan Stevens is an American singer-songwriter born in Detroit, Michigan and based in Brooklyn, New York. Stevens has released many albums of varying styles but is perhaps best known for Come On Feel the Illinoise, a concept album based on the state of Illinois. Stevens collaborates often with a variety of musicians and his work has received much critical acclaim. A Magical Time of Year, A Complicated Time of Year Isn’t December a magical time of year? The air seems to fill with the spirit of the season. People buzz around grabbing gifts, attending holiday parties, imbibing in spirits, and viewing Christmas lights. There is a… Read More →

Album Review: Negotiations

Negotiations by Helio Sequence (Sub Pop, 2012. 40 minutes) The Helio Sequence is an American alternative rock duo from Beaverton, Oregon, signed to Sub Pop. The band was formed in 1999 and consists of Brandon Summers on vocals and guitars and Benjamin Weikel on drums and keyboards. Glad I Missed It The year was 2004, and as a young, naïve college freshman, I was going to take a road trip to Portland, OR to hear Helio Sequence live for the first time.  I had a friend that invited me to go, and I had never heard of them.  Brandon Summers, however, had lost his voice, and decided to cancel the tour.  I was bummed, sure, but from what I heard… Read More →

Album Review: The Heist

The Heist by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis (Macklemore LLC, 2012. 61 minutes) Macklemore is the moniker for Seattle-based rapper, Ben Haggerty. Macklemore has worked closely with his producer, Ryan Lewis, to release 2 full length albums and 3 EPs. Macklemore’s latest album, The Heist, debuted at number 2 on the Billboard 200. Call Me Never Never a big fan of Top 40 radio, you can often hear snarky comments and extensive criticism from me whenever the radio is on. Most often, my critique falls sharply on menial lyrics. The songwriters behind the biggest hits know how to write music. Sadly, they also realize the average listener requires no challenge from the lyrics. Take, for example, the current hit, “Call Me… Read More →

Album Review: Old World Romance

Old World Romance by Sea Wolf (Dangerbird Records, 2012. 32 minutes) Sea Wolf is an indie folk band fronted by Alex Church. It began as a side project for Church but morphed into a full-fledged band. They signed to Dangerbird Records in 2007. Sea Wolf’s first record, Leaves in the River, hit #24 on the Billboard Heatseeker’s Chart. We All Believe in Something Some people have faith in a higher power; they see absurdly complex entities and conclude a higher power is in control. Some people believe in an emotional state. They meet their one true love and they know, without a shadow of doubt, wedding bells will soon follow. Some people have faith in reason. They read the latest… Read More →

Album Review: Synthetica

Synthetica by Metric (MMI, Crystal Math Music Group, and Mom + Pop Music, 2012. 43 minutes) Metric is a Canadian new wave and post-punk revival band consisting of Emily Haines (vocals), Jimmy Shaw (guitar), Joshua Winstead (bass), and Joules Scott Key (drums). Metric’s previous release, Fantasies, won “Album of the Year” and contributed to Metric earning, “Band of the Year” at the 2010 Juno Awards. Metric’s music has been featured in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. Job Search Ruminations In the last year, I spent some time unemployed. I must say, it is a position I do not wish on anyone. Countless resumes drifted into the void of hiring manager’s recycling bins. It always seemed… Read More →

Album Review: Babel

Babel by Mumford & Sons (Island Records, 2012. 52 minutes) More Banjo! I’ve been listening to two albums almost non-stop for about a week now, and the two could not be more diametrically opposed to one another. The first, embodied in this review is the new Mumford & Sons album, Babel. I have mixed feelings about the album, and the first is encapsulated by a fake quote a friend of mine posted as his Facebook status. “You know what this song needs? More banjo!” – Mumford & Sons The statement, while tongue-in-cheek, is incredibly true. The stereotypical Mumford sound is formulaic at its best. This bugs me. It probably bugs me because I’m an intellectual hipster at my core, and… Read More →