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Archive for June, 2010

CD Review – Minor Stars (for fans of Dinosaur Jr.)

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

The Death of the Sun in the Silver Sea

Summer Secret Records

Attention Dinosaur Jr. and Queens of the Stone Age fans! I have your new favorite group. Minor Stars combines the new age stoner rock of QOTSA with the fuzziness of Dinosaur Jr. to make the indie psych rock album of the year. Tracks like “Silver Lining” and the epic “All Your Stars Out” prove that this is not a trio that are taking this whole band gig leisurely. They are all-in. Heck, guitarist/ vocalist Eric Wallen was laid-off at his job and decided to make this band his life. Now that’s dedication! Wallen’s voice at times channels QOTSA’s Josh Homme and at times it channels a grittier Jeff Buckley, but it is the nucleus of the entire album. The music wraps around it and the sound is thrown at you like a paintball. Let the sound cover you and I guarantee you’ll be begging for more.

CD Review – The John Hartford Stringband

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Memories of John

Red Clay Records

 John Hartford was a bluegrass legend and his music is a trip back to the bluegrass from the Old West. It’s street dancing with that gal you’ve been eyein’ or that guy that you’ve been too shy to talk to. Colleagues and friends of Hartford made “Memories of John” as a tribute to his influence and as a way to keep his memory alive nearly a decade after his death. “Three Forks of Sandy,” is the perfect song to start the album as this is the one that Hartford himself would play to start his performances. “Love Grown Cold” sounds like a carbon-copy of the Del McCoury Band, while “The Girl I Left Behind Me” features banjo-icon Bela Fleck. This is a must for all traditional bluegrass fans and for those that enjoy being taken back to a time when you could literally kick up a little bit of dust.

CD Review – Jennie Arnau

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Chasing Giants

Jennie Arnau’s gorgeous fourth album starts out with the beautiful mid-tempo “For the Winter” which brings to mind Allison Krauss. That sentiment is kept up on the following track “The Sparrow & the Gods.” Arnau’s music is like a carbon copy of Lucinda Williams and Kathleen Edwards, but her voice is so pure that she sounds like audio honey. Even on the bluesy, “The Sharp Things,” Arnau’s pipes pull the trigger to the bullet of heartache and unleashes it straight to your heart. This is the album you hear when you are driving out in the middle of nowhere and you stop to admire the miles of untouched landscape. This is the album that brought Arnau back to her roots. And it will bring you back to yours.

CD Review – Jen Olive

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Warm Reboot

Ape House Records

The new album from Jen Olive is a dreamscape of acoustic guitar-led craziness that is an album you will either love or hate. “Set it on Fire” is a funky acoustic track that keeps you noddin’ your head, while “Claustrophobe” is more of a whimsical song that sounds like a more controlled Bjork. The album has a lot of Bjork-like tendencies, except with a guitar instead of electronics. The vocal swirls and sonic instrumentation will either enrapture or infuriate. Coming from a family of jazz musicians (her uncle is the saxophone lead in the Count Basie Orchestra), the syncopation is expected and her guitar skills are above most acoustic females today, but her voice and the songs as a whole are avant-garde enough that it will shun potential fans and make what would be casual fans, fanatics. The choice is yours. As for me? I’ll pass.

CD Review – Casiokids (Norwegian Nintendo-pop)

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Topp stemning pa lokal bar

Polyvinyl Records

Have you ever played Mega Man on the original Nintendo? If you have, this is the other soundtrack to that video game. Norway’s Casiokids have released one of the most fun albums of the year with their US debut that, when loosely translated, means “Great vibe at local bar.” That vibe is carried throughout this 16-track collection of tracks that last well over an hour and keep the party going the entire time. At times sounding like a poppier Thom Yorke (“Eraser”-era on “Verdens storste land (Captain Credible’s Orchestral Stab Mix)”) and other times sounding like the artists who brought you the background music for video games like “Street Fighter” and “Mega Man” (“Gomurmama”), Casiokids take electronica and make it accessible to the masses, while still keeping the die-hard clubbers flailing their glow-sticks. If you are even remotely into electro-pop, or music fit for the club, then Casiokids is your new favorite band. Even if you this isn’t your type of music, check it out. You might just change your mind.