14 Feb 2011 @ 2:52 PM 

Reviews. Webster’s dictionary defines review as: To make like new or restore to freshness, vigor or perfection. This is the result of those inquiries.

Cut Copy: Zonoscope — After anticipating this as much as I was, it was admittedly pretty difficult to let it speak for itself over my own expectations. I guess I was hoping for them to revert back to what they did on Bright Like Neon Lights. Did they? Of course not, they’ve already done that. Cut Copy have never been ones to repeat themselves much, unless you’re talking about one of their catchy loops. No, Zonoscope evolves out of In Ghost Colours(colours with a ‘U’ because they’re New Zealanders) into something less dance-y without losing that aspect of their sound. More rock n’ roll? Not exactly. If anything, this record is a beautiful coupling of new wave and their own style. If you doubt this, just listen to Take Me Over. They’ve updated new wave in a way that no one has quite yet. And with everyone seeming to try to revive the 80s in music and fashion lately, this album could very well be the perfect anthem for that style. Overall, the flow of the album is just as smooth as In Ghost Colours with airy transitions throughout that blend each song perfectly. Well-executed, well-mixed and very fun to listen-to…9.1/10

Need You Now

The Get Up Kids: There Are Rules — After 7 years, The Get Up Kids are finally back. After trading in their post-punk style in 2002 for a more easy going indie style, I pretty much thought they’re best days were behind them. After hearing what they did on Guilt Show in 2004, those fears were absolutely realized. Regrettably(?), they broke up after their tour in support of Guilt Show. Then something happened a couple of years ago– they began rehearsing again and even writing songs. This album is the culmination of those ideas. I have to say my favorite thing about this record is that it sounds nothing like their last 2 records. Did I hate On A Wire? I didn’t hate it, but I don’t know if I’ve ever tried as hard to like an album before or since then. Did I hate Guilt Show? Absolutely– It was the worst thing they could have done. So now that they’ve left all of that behind them, the question is what direction have they gone on this record. The answer is a little complicated. They’ve definitely hearkened back to their post-punk roots to write a lot of these tracks… but not all of them. They’ve played with synth a little more and even sounded like they were trying to mimic a version of themselves covering something The Killers would write(When It Dies). It was weird. There really wasn’t a consistent flow to this record. It was all over the place. It sounded like everyone had some ideas for some songs and they played with the guy who wrote the song. The result is an album that sounds like it was written by a band thrown together in the last couple of months and this is what happened when they were finished. It lacks the passion that I hear when I pick up their early material and thats why I’ll continue to dust that band off and listen to them for years to come and I doubt that I’ll revisit this one much at all…6.5/10


Mogwai: Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will — Mogwai have been around for awhile now. I’ve come to expect a few things over the years when I pick up a new Mogwai record. Namely, excellence in all aspects of everything they do. Its easy to screw up instrumental rock and let me tell you, I’ve heard some epically shitty instrumental rock. But when you find a band that can not only do it well but do it consistently well, they’ll have you forever. That being said, in my opinion, this is their best work yet. Yes, they’ve had some pretty spectacular records in the past, but this one edges them out. Not only have they evolved yet again, but in typical Mogwai fashion, they’ve done it in a way that remains completely true to themselves. They don’t mimic anyone and you know Mogwai when you hear them. Its difficult to criticize an album that quite honestly screams awesome in so many ways in so many instances. If you’re a fan of Mogwai, this record reminds you why you always will be and if you’re not a fan, this album tells you why you should be…9.9/10

Letters To The Metro

Solar Bears: She Was Coloured In — This largely instrumental electronica band from Dublin caught me by surprise last month. I’m usually looking to find out things about bands that I’m already familiar with. Every once in a while I encounter someone like Solar Bears. In this case, we have some electronic/indie minimalists that don’t really sound like anyone. At times I heard influences like Black Moth Super Rainbow, Deastro, Cut Copy… but making an accurate comparison still eludes me. Though you might hear a brief loop that one of those aforementioned bands would write, it never completely resembles anyone on an entire song. They were entirely unique compositions. And when you hear someone in this genre that can do that for the length of an album, you know you’ve found someone special. This is a very smooth and steady electro record thats reversible as ambient or foreground music, which can sometimes be a tricky thing to find. Very impressive…9.2/10

She Was Coloured In

 24 Jan 2011 @ 12:50 PM 

There are plenty of interesting records being released over the next month or so and so instead of talking about whats already come out recently now, come with me and lets fantasize about what could be.

The Get Up Kids: There Are Rules(1/25)

As I mentioned last month, the prospect of any new material from a band returning to their roots while simultaneously reuniting is somewhat noteworthy… When that particular band is The Get Up Kids, that news is downright exciting. The only thing that I’m worried about is being overly optimistic about it. Review coming soon…


The Radio Dept.: Passive Aggressive: Singles 2002-2010(1/25)

Sure, these are merely 28 songs that they’ve already written and recorded over the last 9 years. In fact, if you’re already a hardcore fan of theirs, you probably already have all of these songs. I personally am only missing one of them. Why is this something to get excited about? How dare you insult my enthusiasm, sir or madame! Its because anything new to you from someone you love will always be welcomed. And this, my friend, is one of those occasions.

Mad About The Boy

Cut Copy: Zonoscope(2/8)

After mixing, remixing and mixing again for what seemed like 3 years, Cut Copy will finally release Zonoscope. They were playing songs from this record as early as their 2nd tour for their last record, so knowing that they had the songs and were only waiting to complete the album and record it over all of this time was a pretty frustrating thing to be aware of. The anticipation was almost killing us all, or at least it was for me. I’ve already shined my best dancing shoes and all they need to do is satisfy my restless leg syndrome.

Pharaohs & Pyramids

Mogwai: Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will(2/15)

Thankfully, unlike most of the bands in this entry, Mogwai have steadily been putting out fantastic records since 1997-ish. In that time, they’ve grown and evolved musically while keeping their integrity intact. They never overly experimented and went electronic on an album or did a stripped-down acoustical record(thankfully), but they have honed their musical skills to a near science. This makes each record unique and usually better than the last. A new Mogwai record will always be something to get excited about.

Rano Pano

STRFKR: Reptilians(3/1)

I admit that Starfucker is pretty new to me, as I’m sure they are to many of you. But, after hearing this track, theres plenty to be optimistic about. First of all, Polyvinyl doesn’t typically sign shitty bands, which helps. Secondly, this song was thoughtfully written and if they can continue this innovation and originality for the length of an entire album, I think we’re in for something special.

Bury Us Alive

 10 Dec 2010 @ 2:00 PM 

Not a whole lot is has been happening lately, yet at the same time there is still plenty to talk about. I admit that I’m a little late to the party on a couple of these releases, but I couldn’t resist sharing them anyway.

Small Black: Photojournalist/Sun Was High (So Was I)– As I mentioned a couple of entries ago, one of this year’s unexpectedly great records was Small Black’s New Chain. If you bought your version on iTunes, you got the exclusive cover of Best Coast‘s Sun was High (So Was I). Now if you were patient or just liked the song especially, you can get it on a 7inch from Jagjaguwar along with Photojournalist, a favorite from the album. The original is a pretty good song and it was nice to hear an alternate take on it. But, the 7inch presumably only comes on regular black vinyl and you can still get it almost anywhere without having to pay the entire $6. So unless you’re a gigantic fan, simply find a download and enjoy… like right here… 8.1/10

Sun Was High (So Was I)

The Get Up Kids: There Are Rules– Some years ago, a little emo band(when emo was a new and despised term) broke through the indie scene with a unique take on post-punk and heartfelt vocals. Multiple records and years later, The Get Up Kids had amassed a hefty library. I honestly started to care a little less after On A Wire, the first record that they began to walk away from post-punk towards more of an indie sound. By the time Guilt Show came out, you could say that I wasn’t very happy. More accurately, you could say I was irate… and I wasn’t alone. At a show after On A Wire was released that I attended, the crowd was completely still during their new songs. However, when they played songs from earlier in their career, the crowd was visibly and audibly elated. Now, maybe I’m just not privy to their little strategy and maybe they were just trying to build up to their great songs, but I doubt it. THANKFULLY, now that they’ve reunited, all indications from their Daytrotter session a year ago to the single that they’ve released recently are all pointing to them picking up(appropriately, might I add) where Something To Write Home About left off and should have led them to: A modernization of their already great sound. There Are Rules drops on January 25th and though I admit that 11+ years is a hell of a long time to wait for an adequate follow-up, at this point I think I’ll see any progress in the right direction as a complete success… wait, did I just tip my hand?

Regent’s Court


Beach Fossils: Face It/Distance– If you’re not familiar with Beach Fossils’ sound and you have a fair grasp on indie rock, just think Surfer Blood meets Beach House with vocals similar to Small Black. If I’ve totally lost you, stay with me for a second. Earlier this year, they released a full length album that was a bit more lo-fi rock than this, but not much else was dramatically different. This is simply a 2-song single they released as of late and being that this was a couple of pretty songs AND a slight improvement percussively over their LP, I felt a well deserved bit of attention was due. If they continue to grow like they already seem to have done over the past few months, I think they’re really going to surprise us all…8.0/10

Face It

Psychic Powers: Glide and Brighter– I recently stumbled upon this band looking for something electronic and I’m glad that I did. Psychic Powers specialize in having smooth, airy transitions that they make with synthesizers and vocals over dance beats. Its actually pretty similar to what The Depreciation Guild does, but with more of an emphasis on beats. The 2-man outfit sounds remarkably tight for being a project carried out between a band separated by the Atlantic between New Zealand and Los Angeles. They’ve only released a small handful of songs up to this point, but most are available for free here. Glide’s title track is much better than Blue Icing, the B-side. Its definitely an 80s throwback song(Blue Icing), much to its detriment. It comes a little too close to the Pet Shop Boys to be considered original. Brighter features acoustic guitars and airy vocals and as a departure from their other work, no beats. To round out their other song, they give us an artfully acoustic version of a song from their Frozen EP. I’m somewhat skeptical that they’ll continue to abandon dance beats in favor of acoustically-driven songs, but being that Psychic Powers seem to release singles and EPs with semi-regularity, I’m more than optimistic that they’ll continue to improve with each coming release. Now, that they’ve solved the Atlantic problem in premise, they just need to solve it long enough in practice to amass a tour…8.0/10 and 9.0/10



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