Archive for the ‘rock’ Category

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Radiohead – The King Of Limbs [2011]

February 20, 2011

Post #52.  LP8, though hardly L.  My only disappointment with this album is its length. I want more!!  I’m such a Radiohead glutton that one of the reasons Hail to the Thief is my favorite Radiohead album is its length.  How can you beat 56 and a half minutes of Radiohead?  At 37 and a half minutes across only eight tracks, The King of Limbs is Radiohead‘s shortest album.

Perhaps keeping the album brief is an evil Radiohead trick to get me to listen over and over so I spend more time absorbing the details in each piece.  Well it’s working as I’m on my 25th listen and each track gets better every time through.  Whether this was intentional or not, TKOL needs multiple listens.

TKOL explores elements of psychedelic minimalism, with subtle themes entering and exiting, stream of consciousness lyrics, and droning undertones, which keep the songs from making major transitions as many other Radiohead songs do and give them an inward focus.  Unlike most other psychedelic rock, the droning elements to these songs are interweaving strings and horns orchestrated by Radiohead‘s lead guitarist, Jonny Greenwood.  In some senses the band is lost in this album.  There aren’t any crazy Max/MSP solos and you have to try really hard to hear contributions from Ed O’Brien, the traditional rhythm guitar glue that holds a Radiohead song together.  The band member that stands out most to me is actually Phil Selway, as he takes the wheel for beat-driven tracks 1-5 and 8 and gives the rest of the band room to play and extend the range of their instruments.  The vast sonic landscape explored on this album is also largely facilitated by the work of producer Nigel Godrich who cleverly separates and blends each instrument.  His touch is especially evident on Bloom and Feral.

Here’s the music video for Lotus Flower and a full youtube stream of the album below.

source: deadairspace

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Twin Shadow – Forget [2010]

November 22, 2010

Post #51. Forget by Twin ShadowTwin Shadow‘s live performance is solid.  Probably the coolest dude in Boston last Thursday, George Lewis Jr. led Twin Shadow with an electric guitar, afro, and thick mustache.  The band rocked with hard drums, heavy bass, and guitar leads, giving Lewis the occasion to show off his skill and flare.  While this made for a great set, it doesn’t much compare with their album.  Forget is great.  It’s simply great.

If given only a quick listen, Twin Shadow is perhaps easy to write-off as another hipster 80s throwback.  I think the distinguishing factor upon listening to the full album is that everything sounds completely honest and unassuming.  Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear‘s production sets all parts around the vocals yet keeps the dressing elements simple.  Though I didn’t listen to anything nearly as cool when I was young, these songs remind me of childhood and make me want to dance around in the living room (softly enough to avoid skipping the needle).

Stream the entire album here. Also, here’s a free download of I Can’t Wait, which also happens to be my favorite track on the album.

source: pfork

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Arcade Fire – The Suburbs [2010]

August 18, 2010

Post #45.  The Suburbs by Arcade Fire.  You knew this was coming (sorry DrewDrew, you had your way last week).  This Arcade Fire album takes on a more rock spirit than their previous albums and even has a somewhat shoegaze atmosphere.  The whole thing builds and builds to the end and I can’t help thinking that AF intentionally muddied up their sound and structured the album this way to give me the feeling that I’m driving through endless suburban sprawl.

The last six songs on this are fantastic, and of course Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) is a contender for single of the year.  Enjoy!

source: pfork

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Punch Brothers – Antifogmatic [2010]

June 23, 2010

Post #42, written by SPK.  Punch BrothersAntifogmatic.  If you like pure bluegrass, rock, or classical music, you probably won’t like this.  But if you can imagine them all rolled up into a ball, pressed flat, and cut into four-minute eclectic cookies, this is your band.  His third album since departing from grammy-winning Nickel Creek, mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile’s newest, Antifogmatic, with the band Punch Brothers and produced by renowned Jon Brion, conjures musically the restlessness of ambitious young urban spirits eager to be recognized for creativity by day, lyrically distracted by the call of collective loneliness-avoidance at night (supplemented with Rye Whiskey, of course).  A personal favorite is the out-of-body violin “float[ing] out the window and down the street” in contemplative Me and Us.  See the WSJ review, their entire Bonnaroo set, and don’t miss the homage to Radiohead below.  Enjoy!

Link to This is the Song video

source: ncreek

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Radiohead Singles!

March 23, 2010

Post #31.  You knew it was coming.  I’m actually impressed with myself that I went 30 weeks without making a Radiohead post.  Well, there are three reasons to do it now: 1. Radiohead and various band members have been writing and releasing singles recently, 2. Radiohead are currently recording!, and 3. I get to see Atoms for Peace (Yorke’s solo group) perform in Chicago on April 10 and I wanted an excuse to brag about it.  (And, yeah, I took that photo at Bonnaroo.)

RadioheadHarry Patch (In Memory Of).  Gorgeous classical arrangement featuring Yorke’s isolated voice.  This was written for Harry Patch, the last surviving British soldier of WWI, and released after his death last year.  Yorke’s vocals are left untouched to portray Patch’s state.

RadioheadThese Are My Twisted Words.  This song is as good as any of the tracks on In Rainbows and makes me excited for what they might be recording now.  I love the trailing guitars and light kickdrum thump.

Thom YorkeHearing Damage.  Song from Twighlight series New Moon Soundtrack.  Way to expose those vampire-loving teenagers to good music, Thom!

Thom Yorke feat. Jonny GreenwoodFeeling Pulled Apart by Horses. This track is a pretty neat experiment in musical deconstruction.  Instruments enter and exit as they please to contribute to the creepy groove.   A less impressive track, The Hollow Earth, was included on the flip side of this release.

Thom YorkeAll for the Best.  This is a lovely cover of a Mark Mulcahy song featuring Thom’s brother, Andy Yorke, on harmony vocals.  This is from the tribute album Ciao My Shining Star.

Jonny GreenwoodDoghouse.  This is an abstract classical piece that Greenwood was commissioned to write for the BBC Orchestra.  It is similar to his earlier composition Popcorn Superhet Receiver, which was used for the soundtrack to There Will Be Blood.  You can stream it here, but only for two more days.  An interview with Greenwood starts about 26 minutes in and the actual piece starts around the 31 minute mark.

Phil SelwayThe Ties that Bind Us and The Witching Hour.  Two finger-picked acoustic songs. (The Ties that Bind Us is the better of the two.)  From Seven Worlds Collide album The Sun Came Out.

Ed O’Brien (with Liam Finn) – Bodhisattva Blues.  A basic rock song with some pretty neat guitar work.  You can stream it here. From Seven Worlds Collide album The Sun Came Out.

Thom YorkeThe Present Tense.  Beautiful unreleased song.

source: dead air space and pfork

(all but Greenwood’s and O’Brien’s work is on this youtube playlist)

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Bear in Heaven – Beast Rest Forth Mouth [2009]

March 3, 2010

Album post #28. Beast Rest Forth Mouth by Bear in HeavenBear in Heaven pulls off a dreamlike and haunting sound while keeping rock roots.  Occasional pitch warbling, cloudy synths, and theme repetition add the element of confusion we experience when dreaming.  Again I urge you to listen to this one the whole way through.  It won’t be nearly as good broken up, plus you’ll miss the surprising yet delightful reappearance of the album’s single Lovesick Teenagers in the closer Casual Goodbye.

Lovesick Teenagers, one of my favorite tracks of 2009, can be downloaded for free here. Here’s a Full youtube playlist of the album.  I wasn’t sure this album was going to stick with me, but after 4 months of listening I’m still very fond of it.  Enjoy!

source: dataless and pfork

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Surfer Blood – Astro Coast [2010]

January 12, 2010

Album Post #21. Surfer Blood‘s debut album Astro Coast, to be released on January 19th but available for streaming now at SpinnerAstro Coast is summery Weezerish surfer rock that seems better suited for release 6 months from now.  However, I’m glad I won’t be listening to it with my windows rolled down for some time because I would miss the subtleties that make this album great.

The element that stands out to me is that each instrument sounds as it occupies its own space within the music and doesn’t interfere with sound from the other instruments.  Recently I’ve steered clear of rock because I’ve become a snob to muddyness.  But Surfer Blood even seems to be able to use fuzzed out power chords without sacrificing clarity.  Also, I absolutely love the towering reverb used on the vocals (see Swim).

I could only find one song on youtube (Harmonix, below).  Please be sure to listen to the songs Swim and Take It Easy. The single Swim is available as a free download here. Listen to the whole album here at Spinner.

source: dataless