Posts Tagged ‘review’

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones bring back their signature sound with Pinpoints and Gin Joints

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - Pinpoints and Gin Joints

The album starts with a sound familiar to any fan of ska music. It’s an instant reminder that The Mighty Mighty Bosstones haven’t lost it, even after all these years. The band started in back in 1983 playing something completely new: a mixture of punk rock, hardcore and British 2 Tone ska. They were together until 2003 with few line-up changes. From 1989 to 2002, the seminal ska band released 7 albums and reached legendary status in the scene.

After a 4 year hiatus from 2003 to 2007 the band reunited and performed a few small tours. In 2008 they announced they would be recording a new album, and on December 8th, 2009, the band released the first new album since 2002’s A Jackknife to a Swan. This new album, Pinpoints and Gin Joints, really shows that ska is still alive and skanking.

SPOTLIGHT: Lightspeed Champion releases new full length LP

Lightspeed Champion

Lightspeed Champion is the brain child of Devonté Hynes and has been active since 2005. In 2007, he released Falling off the Lavender Bridge to critical acclaim. This record was recorded and produced in Omaha, Nebraska with the help of Saddle Creek producer Mike Mogis.   Mogis is most famous for his work with Connor Oberst and Bright Eyes. Falling off the Lavender Bridge has a star studded guest list, including Nate Walcott, pianist and trumpet player for Bright Eyes, and The Faint drummer Clark Baechle.

Now, in 2010, Hynes has finally released the followup to 2007’s Falling off the Lavender Bridge, titled Life is Sweet! Nice to Meet You and is a bit more complex than the initial Lightspeed Champion release. Where Falling off the Lavender Bridge is often simple and poppy, the new record is thick and speckled with new sounds. Now, it’s not to say that Life is Sweet! Nice to Meet You doesn’t feel like the same band that captured the indie folk scene’s heart back in 2007, but it is definitely a departure from the earlier release. Devonté’s voice is definitely stronger on this release. The 2007 release had a kind of sweet nervousness to the vocals, which have since been replaced with vocals soaring with confidence and intention.

You can currently purchase the both Lightspeed Champion albums at Domino Record’s website on vinyl for $12.99, CD for $8.99 and digital for $7.99. The band is currently touring the UK and western Europe.

New Sophe Lux EP ‘Hungry Ghost’

The most important thing I can say about (and to) Sophe Lux is this: get your ass in a studio and put out a full-blown rock opera now!

These guys totally get it. And by “it” I mean the concept of modern music as serious art that still manages to entertain; something Freddie Mercury and Bryan Ferry and Peter Gabriel and I suppose even Peter Hammill got a long time ago. Gwynneth Haynes needs to credit Kate Bush’s muse in the liner notes of anything she ever records though – seriously, even if the resemblance is unintentional. That aside, this is about ten minutes of outstanding theatrical rock that lasts considerably longer, mostly because the two tracks on this EP will replay several times before you become a little concerned about attracting flies to your gaping mouth and pop the thing out of your CD player. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard such enthusiastically faithful attention paid to the critical factors that make serious theatrical rock work really well; with the ‘Hungry Ghost’ EP we get to witness what could become the birth of a new art rock classic if these guys can take it another step and use the EP to launch a full-length follow-up. I’m hoping they will.

I’ve read about these guys on various websites, a couple of trade mags, and even their own propaganda outlets, but the words don’t do justice to the music. Check them out on youTube if nothing else.

Lyrically both songs on this EP tilt heavily left; that is, if you consider taking umbrage at the past eight years and what they have wrought on America and her place in the world social order to be left-leaning. Haynes gets right to the point in the opening chords: “America she dreams, cracking at the seams; she ain’t what she used to be.” This is a skewering castigation of petulant arrogance and hubris as a nation employing a situational value system lumbers inevitably toward the disruptive change that must occur to restore harmonic balance. Sophe Lux deliver with panache and admirable showmanship, all the while making sure the message is not lost in the swirl of pageantry. Dead-on and breathtaking.

“Sophia Song”, on the other hand, is the rebirth: “the pendulum swings, and like begets like.” Briana Ratterman’s lush piano strokes dominate like dew and the overwhelming scent of freshness dominate a spring morning. The plodding rhythm and marshal drums paint a demon-and-dark skyline, but Haynes’ words and Ratterman’s piano float off Ken Yates’ persistent guitar riffs to draw chaos back to order in what will inevitably become the lead-in to the postlude of this rock opera I’ve already constructed in my head.

A tantalizing taste of what could be, Sophe Lux’ ‘Hungry Ghost’ EP channels the art rock greats of my youth and uses them to paint a new musical canvas for a generation with far more to worry about. The only thing that remains to do is finish the story and commit it to sound. Call me Gwynneth, we’ll do lunch.

Very highly recommended.

Sophe Lux