Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Damn, I love Dreamend

Ryan Graveface, the man behind Dreamend, has had my ear for a number of years now. He first landed on my radar when I, on a bit of a whim, bought As If By Ghosts. I was, I think, duly impressed, and I’ve since paid some attention to Graveface, his label. Some of what’s released by the man is brilliant.

Maybe We’re Making God Sad and Lonely is no exception. This is a delectable mix of post-rock and pop; the swells, the drops, the hesitant approach and the glorious return: It’s all here, and it’s all masterfully done. This LP is among my favorite in my collection.

Listen to “New Zealand” below.

Bright Eyes preview track “Shell Games” leaves my head spinning

Bright Eyes - The People's Key

There’s about as much variety in the latest song from Conor Oberst (this time, as Bright Eyes) as you could probably pack into one single four-minute outing without sounding, well, messy. “Shell Games” manages to avoid that mess by establishing a theme early on, and sure, the post-punk interludes mesh without too much trouble with the crowd shouts, stomping synth, and Oberst’s vocals, but there’s something off here.

[audio:|titles=Bright Eyes – “Shell Games”]

The track opens with ragged piano and some sort of warbly noise (perhaps it’s the signature warble from Conor Oberst transplanted,) but the road it goes down isn’t just a little back-and-forth: It’s almost wacky in its machinations. Still, sometimes, I can’t help but tap my foot to the beat, and sometimes, I find I’m really caught up in the song — it’s certainly no travesty, but it’s all over the place.

It’s nice to hear Oberst knee-deep in Bright Eyes again, because his solo material just droned on and on as he looked for heartfelt country-folk-rock (or whatever he decided to term it,) but I, for one, hope the rest of the album manages some sort of consistency. If it’s all as disjointed and scatter-brained as “Shell Games” is, I doubt I’ll be able to listen more than once or twice.

Rural Alberta Advantage issues anticipatory track

The Rural Alberta Advantage - Departed

My love for The Rural Alberta Advantage is not really a secret. Their full-length, Hometowns, held a very special place in my record player, and it was easily one of my most-listened albums of 2009, when it was reissued. When Departed was announced, I became, well, a little giddy. I don’t think this should come as too much of a surprise — I get giddy at the merest mention of new things from bands I enjoy, and when it’s a band I have an unabashed affection toward, make no mistakes: I’m like a little school girl. Well, I mean, I’m like a little school girl in some respects, not all.

At any rate, I snagged an e-mail this morning from Paper Bag Records advertising a track from the upcoming Departed, which is due out March 1. I jumped from the couch I’d fallen asleep on, grabbed my laptop, and the listening took off.


Recession Proof Music: Top Ten EPs of 2010

I’m not sure if the recession really had much to do with it, but short track lists didn’t seem to be in short supply this year.  In my tenure as an indie music blogger and investigator, I’ve usually been able to pick out a couple EPs throughout a year that acted as more than just a promotional tool for a forthcoming LP or simply as a demo of a band’s talent.  But in 2010, it seemed as though many artists decided they would stuff 12 tracks worth of brilliant material into just a few songs (in some case, just two tracks.) Were they in a rush?  Were they just broke?  Or did they simply realize that they can express everything they wanted to in a much quicker fashion?

In the end, it doesn’t matter. Some wonderful tunes were made, and that is all that really matters.  So, here is a list of ten of my favorite EPs from the year:

10)  The Flying Change – Singer/Songwriter.  Sam Jacobs went an entirely different route than he did on his 2009 album, Pain Is A Reliable Signal, that appeared on many “best of” lists, including mine.  He traded in the acoustic guitar for some dancable beats.  Although it is only two tracks, it is very exciting.  I wouldn’t expect to hear an experiment like this from Jacobs again, as he is constantly looking to create something new.  Just be thankful he did this at all.


Danko Jones: Live in Spokane, Dec. 9th

Danjo Jones

Danko Jones

Hard rock has earned an ill report lately in certain artistic circles.  And sadly, some of the negativity being thrown at the genre is actually well deserved.  What with some of the same tired old bands screaming out lyrics you can’t understand to the same 3 or 4 chords bursting with enthusiasm but lacking any creativity, it does make sense.  But thankfully there is still hope.  Yes, spread out amongst the damned and bitter under world, there are some things to get excited about.  And making his way, after a very long journey, through the current mainstream is none other than the Canadian guitar-wielding maestro of the insane, Danko Jones.


The Gracious Few: Live In Spokane, Nov. 30

The Gracious Few

The recent snowfall in the Lilac City is reaching its final stages of existence.  The snow has turned to slush and has easily complicated the downtown streets of this fair city.  But somewhere in the deafening night, a strange bit of alternative music history is about to be put on display, as well as up to the test of time and understanding of fans who have devoted themselves to this genre of music for two decades.

The young have become old; the rebellious have become sales associates and marketing experts.  Grunge is gone, and where Bill Clinton stuck his dick is no longer important. But, where there is a glimmering light of hope for those who have lost their vibrant ways, you will probably find a band.  And on this cold November night, that hope lies within a franchise music venue.  And the band would be The Gracious Few.


Graveface relaunches titles following flood damage

The Seven Fields of Aphelion — Periphery

One of my favorite record labels, Graveface Records, went through a bit of a tragedy earlier in the year when parts of their catalog were damaged in a flood. This left some very good records unavailable — three of them: The Appleseed Cast’s Two Conversations, The Seven Fields of Aphelion’s Periphery, and Dreamend’s Maybe We’re Making God Sad and Lonely.

With some great help, Graveface is now able to relaunch the records, and they’re now taking preorders. Get them while you can. I can’t recommend any of them enough.

The Seven Fields of Aphelion – “Mountain Mary” from Periphery | download
[audio:|titles=The Seven Fields of Aphelion – “Mountain Mary”]

· Check out the Graveface store

Quick Track: Keith Canisius – “The Beach House”

Keith Canisius - This Time It's Our High

Here’s a bit of fun, engaging shoegazey stuff for you. It’s Keith Canisius, dream pop craftsman, with something from his second release, This Time It’s Our High. Check it out; it comes highly recommended.

Keith Canisius — “The Beach House” from This Time It’s Our High | download
[audio:|titles=Keith Canisius – “The Beach House”]