Sufjan Stevens is a musician on the move. For the last ten years he’s been in a constant state of re-invention and experimentation. While most people are familiar with a handful of his songs and, perhaps, his 2005 full-length Come On Feel The Illinoise!- a musical journey through the Land of Lincoln- Stevens’ newest work, The Age of Adz, is difficult to simply lump in to his previous catalog.
At this point calling Arcade Fire a true indie band is a little like calling Star Trek a fresh new show. Still, the release of their new album, The Suburbs, has been treated with a new excitement in indie nerds such as me. Starting the album, I was personally pleased by the clarity and coalesced nature of the music. The title track, “The Suburbs,” holds a charming beat reminiscent of an old saloon with a very active piano starting off the mix. While this song is good, it seems to go on a bit too long. Luckily this element is quickly put to the side with the strong piercing beats of “Ready To Start.” For the next few songs, including my personal favorite “Modern Man,” the album remains deceptively pensive by disguising deep lyrics with cheerful bounding instrumental parts.
Broken Social Scene has done it again, and while it is not on the same level as their smash hit “You Forgot It In People,” Forgiveness Rock Record is worth the investment. Like most albums in the genre, this album starts of ramping up into a slower but calming intro with the languid but calm “World Sick.” The following few change the pace, with “Chase Scene” being my preferred choice as it has the feel of a futuristic chase scene, as the title implies.
The Bird & The Bee are undeniably hip. Singer/bassist Inara George (the bird) has a smooth-yet-powerful delivery, the likes of which reminds me of Feist or Astrud Gilberto. Matching her vocals with the modern synth-pop styling of Greg Kurstin (the bee) has already resulted in a pair of excellent records on jazz-label Blue Note Records. At a first glance, their newest record Interpreting the Masters Vol. 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates sticks out from the crowd.
AutoVaughn officially released its Science of Our Time album on September 14 and it is all over the Internet as well. Science of Our Time is an album that demands to be played. It tells a story while inspiring its audience. Their genre is future rock where soft rock meets instrumental meets auxiliary percussion. Guitar…
At first listen, “The Right Place To Be EP” by Adventure Galley is surprisingly professional for a debut album of a relatively unknown band. After a few listens it is not surprising that Adventure Galley won the recent Toyota Music Rock The Space 2 contest. The album begins with a soulful prelude that sets the scene for the rest of the album; of course everything only gets better from here. This leads right into “Knife In The Sail,” a song that is sure to find you tapping your foot along with the jazzy beat. As you fall deeper into the CD, you will find yourself in amazement that such a great debut album is even possible.
Somewhere between shoe-gaze and surf sits Candy Claws, a Fort Collins dream-pop band that has garnered national attention with their recent summer tour and newest record Hidden Lands.
Similar to the group’s previous record In the Dream of the Sea Life, the new disc was inspired, in part, by a book: Richard M. Ketchum’s The Secret Life of the Forest. I used the phrase “in part,” because the band’s own personal experiences living on the cusp of the Rocky Mountains also had a role to play in inspiring a record full of nature-inspired ambient dreamscapes and ethereal melody.
Every year in the U.K. a group of music industry insiders award the Mercury Prize, an accolade given to the best alternative album of the year. When The xx received the prize last week they joined the ranks of other notable British groups such as Portishead, Franz Ferdinand, and The Arctic Monkeys. To win an award is one thing, to produce a truly excellent album is another. The question is: “Is xx all that it’s cracked up to be?”
Formed in 1997, Motion City Soundtrack has been rocking the airwaves with their pop punk attitude, catchy rhythms, and geeky lyrics. Eight years ago when the hit single “Everything is Alright” made it onto MTV, Motion City Soundtrack has been creating unique pop punk music that can best be described as varied and sporadic. Their newest album, My Dinosaur Life, was funded by Blink-182’s own bassist Mark Hoppus, but the band would have never made it to this point if it was not for the success of their second album, “Commit This to Memory.” Ever since then, Motion City Soundtrack has opened for bands such as the All-American Rejects, Fall Out Boy and Metro Station, just to name a few.