Tristen - Charlatans at the Garden Gate

Reviewed by yewknee

Honestly, having heard these songs for years in a live setting, it did take some getting used to their alternate presentation on this debut full-length album. Since I was already so familiar with the basic structures, I couldn't help but be drawn in. I've always loved her clever lyrics and that hasn't changed a bit here. I certainly consider myself a big fan through and through but feel compelled to convince you to see her live to really GET it... the energy is too perfect.

Mar 15 2012

Alabama Shakes - EP

Reviewed by yewknee

I think it's fair to say that most contemporary Soul isn't something that crosses my path in a pleasing way. It's typically a little bit too Adult Contemporary Radio; some aspect of it seems like the band is putting on airs to emulate the checklist of what a soul band should be... just feels off. However, none of that is true with the Alabama Shakes -- it sounds authentic. The vocals especially feel like they're coming from the heart and the explosive musical builds are just right. Maybe they just figured out how to emulate the sound just right but, either way, it works incredibly well. Looking forward to having more than just four tracks to play constantly.

Mar 15 2012

The Beach Boys - The SMiLE Sessions

Reviewed by yewknee

One would think that an album with as much lore and history surrounding it as this one would actually come up short when it came time to actually enjoy the music. At least, the very least you'd expect the album to be mediocre -- so much hype affects expectations in a great way. But it doesn't. The album is great. Had it been released at its expected time it would have had a profound effect on the musical landscape we know today -- maybe those changes would have been subtle and things wouldn't appear to be that different, but it would have made a mark. I'm glad it exists in as many forms as it currently does, as it allows a rabid listener to discover variations and ponder the creation process. I don't really care for 15 tracks of studio chatter or the lamer "bonus" tracks, but the actual album is what I'd hoped it would be. A shock to all I am sure.

Mar 15 2012

White Denim - Takes Place In Your Work Space

Reviewed by yewknee

It's hard to believe that the band putting out this bit of soft-rock is the same outfit responsible for the absolutely energetic jams of Shake, Shake, Shake or Let's Talk About It. Half the EP contains some guitar noodling that steers towards the style of frat pop that I'm not too keen on, the other half consists of more tension building numbers. I'm happy to have more White Denim of any kind, but I think this officially signals their disinterest in being the Rock Band everyone wanted them to be. At least they're branching out; no stagnation in terms of style for these guys.

Mar 15 2012

Atlas Sound - Parallax

Reviewed by yewknee

I'm not going to be able to properly articulate the differences between this album, Logos, the volumes of Bedroom Recordings or the last Deerhunter record without sounding like a bit of an idiot. The same quiet, cool, somewhat introspective, shoegaze vibe is still here; although it feels more upfront about its pop tendencies at times. In the end, it's an Atlas Sound record -- it's a little different from the others, but still springing from the same brilliant mind as the previous. If you're already a fan, you'll love it. If you're not, this isn't the worst way to be introduced to the offerings of Bradford Cox.

Mar 15 2012

Mister Heavenly - Out of Love

Reviewed by yewknee

Honus Honus of Man Man, Nick Thorburns of Islands and Joe Plummer of Modest Mouse comprise the force behind Mister Heavenly. It is, to say the least, a damn fine rock record. All of the musicians involved understand the appreciation of a good hook and pop song structure, but they keep the energy level high and meld their individual styles quite well. Hopefully, this isn't a one-off side project ,as I'd be particularly keen to hear more.

Jan 3 2012

Feersum Ennjin - Feersum Ennjin

Reviewed by yewknee

Paul D'Amour is the man responsible for the bass lines you likely associate with early Tool recordings. He's also the man that put out an EP as Feersum Ennjin via Silent Uproar Records in 2005. Those five songs, plus seven more are now an official full-length album. I've heard that four of the tracks were intended for a possible Lusk follow-up, but have since been absorbed into this project -- fine with me. Intelligent, layered, non-angst ridden, hard rock is not easy to come by these days, so I'll take all I can get.

Jan 3 2012

Jessie Baylin - Pleasure Center EP

Reviewed by yewknee

Did Jessie Baylin have a recording career before this free EP of cover songs done with Richard Swift? I don't care to know. There's only disappointment at the end of that question and I'm going to willfully embrace my ignorance on it. I have listened to this EP way too many times -- an embarrassing amount. The Sonic Youth cover is perfect and the little Swift backing vocals on the Thin Lizzy song just make my day. I look forward to her forthcoming album, Little Spark, with incredibly high expectations.

Jan 3 2012

Mariachi El Bronx - II

Reviewed by yewknee

You ever wonder why bands still make music videos, if they're just going to be shown on YouTube? Well, it can generate new fans and generate sales. Case in point, I saw the Funny or Die sponsored video for "48 Roses" and immediately pointed my browser to Amazon MP3 to get the whole album. It is, as expected, very much so in the realm of Calexico, DeVotchKa, etc. Fortunately, this isn't a genre I encounter too often, so it's a pleasant desert-tinged listen.

Jan 3 2012

M83 - Hurry Up We're Dreaming

Reviewed by yewknee

After my disappointment with Saturdays=Youth, I wasn't expecting much from this double LP. Anthony Gonzalez seemed to have moved away from the foreboding and shoegaze soundscapes into total pop territory. Much to my surprise, it seems he was able to blend the two styles for this undertaking. In fact, if you imagine that Saturdays=Youth never existed this seems like a much more intelligent follow-up to Before The Dawn Heals Us.

Jan 3 2012