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Twin Town High (vol. 8)
Sweet 16 CD Reviews
Wednesday 27 November @ 10:36:48
Media Astronomer Celeste Tabora rockets through HOT HOT HOT new releases!
1. 30 Seconds To Mars - S/T
2. 2. Blue States - “Man Mountain”
3. The Walkmen - “Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone”
4. Death Cab For Cutie - “You Can Play These Songs With Chords”
5. Fat Boy Slim & Midfield General - “Big Beach Boutique II”
6. His Name Is Alive - “Last Night”
7. Homunculus - “Words”
8. I Am Spoonbender- “Shown Actual Size EP”
9. Sigur Ros - “( )”
10. Transplants - “S/T”
11. Owen - “No Good For No One Now”
12.Yeah Yeah Yeahs - “Machine” EP
13.The Sights - “Got What We Want”
14. Her Space Holiday - “Audio Astronomy”
15. Cave In - “Tides of Tomorrow EP”
16. Yo La Tengo - “Nuclear War” EP
1. 30 Seconds To Mars
Actor Jared Leto and his brother Shannon make up this band, along with Solon & Wachter. But before you start cracking jokes about this being the next Dogstar, you should give 30 Seconds a listen. Their single “Capricorn [A Brand New Name]” is devourable metal. With it’s wall-of-sound production and layers of sweet instrumentation, it has caught some MTV airtime. As the album continues, I find the songs performed with a vulnerability rarely found in metal today. By the way, all songs on this progressive and futuristic album were written entirely by Jared Leto, proving he’s more than just a pretty face.
2. Blue States
This album is full of laid-back grooves, some downright tasty and some undesirably ho-hum. You’d have to be sleepy or in a deeply melancholy mood to enjoy Man Mountain. With rotating members (different lineups for every song) this can hardly be called a band—an ensemble’s more like it. Songwriting wise, there is a lack of creativity and finesse. However, the instruments used (hammer dulcimer, bouzouki, congas, etc) are rather atypical. Overall this is a mediocre release.
3. The Walkmen
“Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone”
Boy, are we lucky to have this band around. On the one hand they’re the serious, professional sort of band concerned about songwriting. On the other hand, they’re just %@!#$&ing great to listen to, a legitimate good-time band. The Walkmen show us they’re not afraid of incorporating sensationalism into their sophisticated rock sound, which sometimes approximates the suave poppyness of Coldplay yet can be as hyped-up as Interpol. One of the greatest releases this year!
4. Death Cab For Cutie
“You Can Play These Songs With Chords”
This album is made up of tracks created by Chris Walla & Ben Gibbard of DCFC on an 8-track before the band’s inception. Some of these tracks lack the lush production that DCFC is known for, but instead of taking away any endearing elements, the thinness and imperfect manner add to the album. Due to the way these tracks were performed, with the classic feeling of “I really mean what I’m saying” that this band has perfected, this release is equally as wonderful and is a must-have for any DCFC fan.
5. Fat Boy Slim & Midfield General
“Big Beach Boutique II”
For your next happening soiree you must feature this dance record for the peak of the party. That is the mood that omits from the sound of this disc. After all, it is a live disc—recorded during that big festival on Brighton Beach. You’ll find that all 74 minutes fit just right with any social mood—not too oppresively beat-bumoing, not too mellow yellow.
6. His Name Is Alive
If you let this album crawl into your collection and use it in the appropriate fashion, I wouldn’t be surprised if some boot-knockin’ would result. “Crawlin’” is particularly sensual, with its sparse guitar work, steady bass plucking and seductive vocals that almost whisper about what could be interpreted as S & M references. Of course, that’s not all the charm that this band exudes—their non-evasive, beautiful and romantic songs are just as likely to make you swoon.
Don’t judge a band by its difficult-to-pronounce name—they just might be your new favorite pop-rock band. They have the pop formula down pat, though they could stand to lose a bass solo or two, and sometimes they get a little too funk-a-delic within their song. But for the most part I’ve heard a lot worse out there. They’re not depressing or ironic like most bands these days, just plain good ,fun pop-rock with a little ’70s flair.
8. I Am Spoonbender
“Shown Actual Size EP”
Listen up all electro-philes out there: you will love this band. I have, ever since I witnessed their visually stimulating and energetic live show! They shout out to the ’80s electronic revolution as well as to the ever growing electronic present. Be forewarned: this album is exteremely danceable. If you’re into any sort of no/dark/new wave, from The Faint to New Order, you’ll fall for I Am Spoonbender.
9. Sigur Ros
Breathe this music in: eight multi-dimensional, ethereal, keyboard- and string-heavy tracks with vocals in a pastiche of languages. Like a lover’s soft kiss on the cheek, it’s subtly romantic. The new album sounds similar to their previous effort (Agaetis Byrjun), the band’s songcraft evolving at the same glacial rate as their songs. You won’t need to worry about pronouncing any of the song titles this time around though, because there are none. Pretentious or utopian? Does it really matter when you are experiencing music that is undeniably hauntingly gorgeous?
Band members Tim Armstrong (Rancid), Travis Barker (Blink-182) and Rob Anston just may propel Transplants to the highly-anticipated list for any punk fan. The band plays punk influenced by hip-hop, drum and bass, hardcore and reggae, among other unusual genres. The result is quite an interesting, sometimes ironic take to the old stand-by, even with a sometimes flimsy delivery. Which is what I hear punk was all about in the beginning, right?
“No Good For No One Now”
This release is more in the singer-songwriter vein than Owen’s debut, but it still features solid songs to break your heart. Don’t analyze the lyrics too closely, or you just might be filled with regret and longing for lost loves. Mike Kinsella’s tear-jerking lyrics and talent for translating raw emotion into plastic will make you love this album. Ooh, it hurts so good.
12.Yeah Yeah Yeahs
(Touch & Go)
This EP is barely nine minutes long, but it still manages to get at what the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are about. Karen O’s distorted basket case vocals, Nick Zinner’s breakneck strumming technique, and Brian Chase’s steady punk beat stay close to their live show. The three songs on the disc are raw, clumsy, and bi-polar—everything that makes this band endearing, freaky, and worth your while.
“Got What We Want”
(Fall Of Rome)
Nostalgia for ’70s British rock permeates The Sights, from their album to their sense of fashion. This three-piece band cranks out perky but raunchy 4/4 time rock ’n’ roll. This release is great for both Beatles and Rolling Stones fans. “It’d Be Nice (To Have You Around)” is a sweet love song, shot-through with naïve teenage hopefulness. “One And Only” belongs to the gyrating and bawdy side of rock. Each provides a different facet of The Sights’ ability to love and rock.
14. Her Space Holiday
More other-worldly sounds from this band. It’s like the soundtrack to your vacation to space camp. “Through the eyes of a child” doesn’t sound like much at first; just some cricket sounds laid over duelling synthesizers. But then it builds, gradually becoming heavier, and before you know it you’ve been taken on a magical mystery tour of sorts. The whole album makes for an interesting listen… you space junkies or music mavens would do the right thing in purchasing this disc!
15. Cave In
“Tides of Tomorrow EP”
I was swept away from the first second of this EP. Things kick off with a rush of gigantic drums and a bold, booming bass, followed by lush guitars, and sweet vocals delivered with rock band professionalism. Cave In has always done right with their brand of heavy rock music, given their ability to craft impressive tracks album after EP after album. It’s no surprise that this recent release doesn’t disappoint.
16. Yo La Tengo
“Nuclear War” EP
It is now 3:45 in the morning. I’ve been joyously obsessing over the tracks on this album, repeatedly hitting repeat. I’m sure you will be doing the same once you add this to your collection. It’s the same song called simply Versions 1 to 4 performed in four different variations. It’s not only good in concept, the product is excellent. There is something for every popular music fan on this album. That’s right—if you’re into hip hop, electronica, indie rock, jazz, pop, and countless sub-genres you will feel ecstatic delight at the sound of this disc.