Album Review: Metals

Metals by Feist (Cherrytree Records, 2011. 50 minutes) Feist is the stage name for Canadian singer-songwriter, Leslie Feist. Having played in bands since she was 15, Feist rose to fame as a member of Toronto-based indie rock group, Broken Social Scene. While touring with the band, she recorded a collection of songs that eventually became her first solo record, Let It Die which won her two Juno Awards. Her second major label release, The Reminder, was certified gold in the U.S. and won her a Juno Award for album of the year. Her latest record, Metals, has received widespread critical acclaim. Palladium My wedding ring is composed of palladium. With the chemical symbol Pd and an atomic number of 46, Palladium,… Read More →

Concert Review: Bon Iver and Other Lives

Concert at the Paramount Theatre, Seattle. September 26, 2011 The Opener I’ve been to three concerts lately where the opening act is just as good, if not better, than what I came to see. This phenomenon certainly rang true when Bon Iver came to town. His opening act was Other Lives. Like most opening acts, I was incredibly skeptical at first. But, soon a voice akin to Brandon Summers (frontman of Helio Sequence), with complex instrumental melodic lines intertwined with atmospheric bliss changed my mind.  The band is a Sigur Ros LP and a Godspeed You! Black Emperor album all rolled up in one. Unlike Sigur Ros (or Bon Iver for that matter), the lyrics are actually aurally intelligible.  I immediately swam… Read More →

Album Review: The Rip Tide

The Rip Tide by Beirut (Pompeii Records, 2011. 33 minutes) Originally the music project of New-Mexico-native Zach Condon, Beirut is an indie rock band which combines Eastern European music, Balkan folk, and Western pop music. While traveling through Europe in his youth, Condon fell in love with world music. This love prompted musical experimentation that resulted in the band. While attending the University of New Mexico, Condon recorded his first record, GulagOrkestar, in his bedroom. He shopped the record to labels and ultimately signed with Ba Da Bing! Records. Before releasing The Rip Tide, Condon founded Pompeii Records giving him full control over his music. Evaluative Difficulty I find it difficult to review music. Of all art forms, it is… Read More →

Album Review: Codes and Keys

Codes and Keys by Death Cab for Cutie (Atlantic Records and Barsuk Records, 2011. 45 minutes) Formed in Bellingham, Washington under the shadow of Western Washington University, Death Cab for Cutie is Ben Gibbard (vocals, guitar, piano), Chris Walla (guitars, production, keyboards), Nick Harmer (bass), and Jason McGerr (drums). The band signed to Barsuk Records off the strength of an early demo written primarily by Ben Gibbard. On Barsuk, Death Cab released four albums to much local and critical acclaim. Transatlanticism – perhaps the most famous release from their time on the Barsuk label – launched Death Cab as an international act. In 2004, Death Cab signed a worldwide deal with Atlantic Records and soon after released Plans, an album… Read More →

Album Review: Strange Negotiations

Strange Negotiations by David Bazan (Barsuk Records, 2011. 41 minutes) A prolific songwriter, David Bazan began his career as the front man of Pedro the Lion and continued playing in the band The Headphones. Located in Seattle, Washington, Bazan currently works as a solo artist. Known best during his Pedro the Lion days for his theologically rich lyrics, Bazan’s time in The Headphones and as a solo artist depict a philosophical shift as his lyrics combat his problems with alcohol and Evangelical Christianity. Curse Your Branches – considered by many, including myself, to be a masterpiece, is Bazan’s first full-length record as a solo artist. Bazan lives in Edmonds with his wife and daughter. A Complicated Relationship I have a… Read More →

Album Review: Build a Rocket Boys

Build a Rocket Boys by Elbow (Downtown/Cooperative Music, 2011. 52 minutes) Formed in 1990 in Manchester, England, Elbow is a successful British rock band. The band is comprised of Guy Garvey (lead vocals), Mark Potter (guitar), Craig Potter (keyboards), Peter Turner (bass), and Richard Jupp (drums). Although Elbow has released 5 albums in their career, The Seldom Seen Kid received the most notoriety after Elbow won the 2008 Mercury Music Prize. Build a Rocket Boys is Elbow’s latest release. Looking Back While I am still considered young, I’ve spent enough time on earth to have memories both of joy and regret. Looking back at the route my life encountered, my memories flicker like a vintage slideshow. No matter the circumstantial… Read More →

Album Review: Mine Is Yours

Mine Is Yours by Cold War Kids (Interscope, 2011. 44 minutes) Based in Long Beach, California, Cold War Kids is an American indie rock band featuring Nathan Willett, Jonnie Russel, Matt Maust, and Matt Aveiro. Formed in 2004 at Biola University, the band released its first EPs in 2005. After signing with Downtown Records in 2006, Cold War Kids released Robbers & Cowards to critical acclaim. Mine Is Yours, the band’s latest effort was released on Interscope Records in 2011. Made for the Radio In Cold War Kids’ latest release, Mine Is Yours, a gritty, blues-based indie sound is replaced with catchy and accessible tunes. Employing Jacquire King (he has worked previously with Kings of Leon, Tom Waits, and Modest… Read More →