Music Reviews

Adds for 3/30/10

Adam Green Minor Love

This is Adam Green’s sixth solo album since he was part of The Moldy Peaches. Minor Love has a definite old school, ‘70s glam rock influence; Green’s laid back swagger reminded me of a lo-fi version of Lou Reed’s Transformer.  The album has a casual, folksy vibe, with all of the songs clocking in at three minutes or under. Green writes with a witty, quirky sensibility, and this view helped him break into a bigger audience when he was featured on the Juno Soundtrack, collaborating with fellow Moldy Peach Kimya Dawson on the track “Anyone Else But You.” Green also has some pretty ridiculous lyrics thrown in the mix (“Castles and Tassels and Flatulent Assholes/ I love you always” on “Castles and Tassles”). Minor Love also reminded me of Little Joy’s self-titled debut that came out last year, lead by Fabrizio Moretti of the Strokes; both albums have lo-fi, alternative folk influences that lead to an overall surprisingly sophisticated sound.

RIYL: Kimya Dawson, Leonard Cohen, The Moldy Peaches

Picks: 2,3,6

No Profanity

Fat Possum Records                                    Duffy 03.07.10

Oh No Ono Eggs

Oh No Ono is a Danish indie pop group, and since their first EP (Now You Know Ono) was released in 2005, they’ve been a big influence on the Danish music scene. Eggs continues Oh No Ono’s sound that they established on their first album Yes with a mix of alternative pop, electroclash, funk, and new wave; they achieve this with a mix of synthesizers, organ, and twee vocals. Fun fact: Eggs was recorded over a period of nine months in various Danish churches, beaches, forests, and abandoned factories, and Oh No Ono also experimented with using contact microphones on various materials, lending a psychedelic, echoing sound. “Internet Warrior” is definitely one of the standout tracks on Eggs, although some might find the vocals a bit grating.

RIYL:  Animal Collective, Architecture in Helsinki, Devo

Picks: 3,4,5,6, 7

No Profanity

Friendly Fire Records                        Duffy 03.07.10

Italian Japanese The Lush, Romantic Weirdness

This is the first release from the largely under the radar band Italian Japanese, they’re performing at SXSW this year and touring in support of The Lush, Romantic Weirdness. This is pretty standard indie rock fare, I have to say that I feel like the creativity of the song titles (“Le Pony,” “Jaguar Paw”) exceeds how interesting the songs actually sound.  They sound a bit like The Little Ones or other gentle sorts of soft indie, guitar-driven rock. I could imagine Italian Japanese playing in the background of a television show, its pretty inoffensive indie rock…. But nothing spectacularly unique, didn’t blow me away.

RIYL: The Little Ones, Phantom Planet, Death Cab

Picks: 3,4,2,8

No Profanity

VMG                                                            Duffy 03.07.10

Zeus Say Us

Zeus is the brain child of Mike O’Brien and Carlin Nicholson, two Toronto-based musicians who have been touring as the backing band for Broken Social Scene member Jason Collett. Say Us has a definite ‘70’s rock influence, with fuzzed out guitars and an overall timeless feel to the songs; they reminded me a lot of The Kinks, The Beatles and The Band. Even though Zeus was clearly influenced by their rock predecessors, it still seems unique and fresh. The songs on Say Us are really catchy, bold and confident, with an appropriate amount of edginess on tracks like “You Gotta Teller.” Overall I found this album very intriguing, and fans of both classic rock and modern indie would enjoy.

RIYL: Broken Social Scene, Classic British Rock, Dr. Dog

Picks: 6, 9, 8, 2, 1

No Profanity

Arts and Crafts                                    Duffy 03.07.10

Mist and Mast Action at a Distance

Mist and Mast is a local Oakland-based Bay Area rock band, and Action at a Distance is their second release.  Jason Lakis is the singer-songwriter for the band (he actually performed all of the instruments for Mist and Mast’s first release), and enlisted three other musicians to tour with around the Bay Area, they just performed at Noise Pop.  Mist and Mast is laid back, almost minimalistic indie rock, similar to Pinback or Neutral Milk Hotel. The bass-guitar-drum combo lends an old school, classic rock feel to Action at a Distance, a pretty cool album overall.

RIYL:  Pinback, Neutral Milk Hotel

KID CUDI – Man on the Moon: The End of Day

This is the clean version of Kid Cudi’s debut album, “Man on the Moon.” Kid Cudi became well known through his internet-circulated independent releases and collaborations with Kanye West, who appears on this album.  His song, “Day N Nite,” which is on this album, is probably his best known song. “Man on the Moon” is laid back stoner hip-hop with indie influences; Ratatat and MGMT are featured on the track “Pursuit of Happiness.” Other highlights on the album include “Make Her Say,” a track featuring a sample of Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face,” along with Kayne West and Common collaborating on the song.  The album’s songs are divided into sections considered “Dreams” and “Nightmares,” the songs are appropriately moody.  The album as a whole is pretty cool, Kid Cudi has a fresh, unique sound.

Picks: 7, 2, 12, 13, 15

Similar to: Kanye West, Common

No Profanity- Clean edit

Reviews by Duffy

***REVIEWS FOR 12.8.08***

ALONE II – The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo
Part two of the Weezer frontman’s collection of home recordings originally
released at the end of 2007. Most of these tracks were recorded in Cuomo’s
home studio in Connecticut from 1993-2006 and tell the story of his various
bouts with depression, self-doubt and insecurities as an unlikely rock star.
While some tracks were demoed for proper Weezer albums, others were just for
fun or manifests of Cuomo’s relentless, unfiltered drive for
self-expression.
RIYL:   Weezer, Rivers Cuomo, Weezer, Rivers Cuomo


BANG BANG ECHE “self-titled”

No, not En Esch. Bang! Bang! Eche! They are from New Zealand. Old people
will hear the keyboards and think of The Police. Kids will hear the same
thing and think of The Killers. For once everyone is correct. It’s
definitely not a unique sound, but it is of fill-in quality for what’s
popular these days. It’s a five-track EP, self-titled. “4 to the Floor”
leads off quietly, a little bit Flock of Seagulls, a little bit David Bowie.
“Time Mismanagement” has a bit of a Panic at the Disco feel to it. Very
likable!
RIYL: Killers, Panic at the Disco, The Police

SYSTEM AND STATION – A Nation of Actors
System and Station returns with its fourth full-length album, A Nation of
Actors, to deliver its most solid work to date. Principle songwriter and
anchor of the band, RFK Heise, introduces elements of the gentle ambiance
formerly reserved for his side project Protest Hill.
RIYL:  Drive Like Jehu, Built to Spill, Jawbox

VARIOUS ARTISTS – “Electrostatik Volume 2”
This is a compilation of electronic music featuring Centipede, Baconflex,
Violedy, Fewfuzz, Perfect North and more. RIYL: Daft Punk, 80s synth pop Electronic music… all the tracks are
different


LEAH – “I’m Not Goin’ Nowhere”

Not since Des’ree told us “I Ain’t Movin'” have we been notified of an
artist’s whereabouts so specifically. This five-track EP seems short,
considering that if she really isn’t goin’ anywhere then why couldn’t she
record a full-length album in the process!
RIYL: Paramore without the angst, happier Pink

——————————————————————–

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT (NOVEMBER): The Hearts of Palm UK

Every time I play The Hearts of Palm UK on my show, I get a phone call about them; “Who is this? I really like this!” Thus I decided they would be a great spotlight for our first KSCU artist spotlight. So, raise your hands up if you’ve heard of the Hearts of Palm UK and knew they were part-Bay Area band. Yeah, I had no idea either. I just assumed after hearing the album that they were some band out of, well, the U.K.�most likely Scotland, judging from the sounds of their dreamy bedroom shoe-gazery pop songs. Nope. Lead singer Erica Elektra is a Bay Area native–though the band now resides in Los Angeles. Shoot, had I known that I wouldn’t have put off reviewing this surprising Cali hit-with-me for a near month! Shame on me! Any way�if you dig sexy female vocals layered over indie-electro loops (and cello!) then you will definitely appreciate this album. Hearts of Palm UK are a three-piece, mostly driven by lead vocalist Erica Elektra. The songs all started life as recordings of Elektra singing and accompanying herself on the guitar, and she added most of the other sounds later using a Korg workstation. Elektra seems to have that special kind of talent. And the album closes with what, in retrospect, feels like an inevitable cover version of Roxy Music’s “More Than This.” And really–who doesn’t love a little Bryan Ferry? If you like music in the vein of the Sea and Cake, Metric, Ivy, Helium, Broadcast or Au Revoir Simone then you will love Hearts of Palm UK. Give this trio of Los Angeles, but by-way-of Bay Area females some lovin’!

You can catch Nicole spinnin’ tunes as DJ Schrute host of the Beet Farm Tuesdays from 7-11 a.m.

———————————————

Supergrass- Diamond Hoo Ha
Well into their second decade, these Britpop stalwarts are back –  with their sixth and most rockin’ and rollicking studio album to date. The title track sets the stage with its super fuzzed out guitar tones and ramshackle drumming and marks a nice change of pace from 2005’s rather subdued and introspective Road To Rouen. As with most of their previous albums, Supergrass proudly display their affection for 70s pop and glam – with piano and guitar laden romps that mine the best of Bowie and T. Rex. Despite the obvious stylistic nods, they still manage to sound fresh and vibrant for a band easing into their middle ages. Review by: Mr. Power Pop (June 2008).

The Fratellis- Here We Stand
I admit that prior to hearing this album I expected to be completely underwhelmed. I imagined some eye-rolling and “I don’t get it” shrugging, thinking to myself—”what’s the big deal? There are a billion other bands doing this exact same thing”. Only after a couple listens, I felt completely different. While there is a definite liking to the now-Brit-sound of bands like the Arctic Monkeys & Swedish rockers the Kooks, there’s something a little different about these Scottish brothers. The singer, Jon Fratelli sounds like a cross between Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys) and Colin Meloy (Decemberists) with some Gallagher Brothers (Oasis) & Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne) thrown in for good measure. The music is pretty comparable to all those bands as well—which is far from a bad thing. The songs on Here We Stand start off much like standard versions of songs by their contemporaries; though magically take you in a surprisingly different—better—direction, full of combined pop-harmonies and catchy 60s-inspired hooks. There’s no sophomore slump here for the Fratellis, just some great power-pop/Brit-pop inspired tunes that always leave you with a smile rather than a shrug. No shrugs here—I completely get it. Review by: DJ Schrute (June 2008).

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