Category Archives: 8

Review: Elvis Costello – Secret, Profane & Sugarcane

Label: Hear Music Released: June 9, 2009 Elvis Costello has had quite a long and varied career to say the least, making albums bordering on punk on one hand and working with the likes of Burt Bacharach and Allen Toussaint at others. The genres he’s avoided, like metal or hip-hop, are surely more by choice than inability. There’s no question… Read more »

Review: Spirits of the Dead

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Label: White Elephant Records Released: September 29, 2008 Even those who love prog rock often understand that its shortcoming stems from putting the head before the heart. While no genre in rock can compete with prog’s technical prowess, it’s still often dismissed as self-indulgent and lite where the true spirit of rock n roll is the exception, not the rule…. Read more »

Review: City of Ships – Live Free or Don’t Tour

Label: Forcefield Records Released: January 27, 2009 This vinyl-only release collects two earlier City of Ships EPs from 2006 and 2007 that are clearly worthy of being issued on this superior format. Both EPs feature monstrous waves of dissonance underscored by shockingly melodic lines. The tension created isn’t pleasant, but reflects that nice is a minor virtue next to truth… Read more »

Review: Landing Project

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Label: self-released (available at the bands Myspace and at shows) Released: January 31, 2009 In recent years, there have been a number of bands who have returned to punk’s old loose hooks and gritty melodies. Against Me is at the top of that pile with bands like Gaslight Anthem quickly climbing up behind them. Many voices are screaming to be… Read more »

Review: Oceans – Nothing Collapses

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Label: Copper Lung Records Released: March 24, 2009 I have long believed that artists only are only half of the creative force behind art. The other half of the creation is the interpretation. Often, the greatest art allows for significant breadth of interpretation even as it guides the very same. Most often though, the artist errs on the side of… Read more »

Review: The Weather Station – The Line

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Label: self-released (distributed by Fontana North/Universal) Released: April 28, 2009 Terms like lo-fi and DIY have become quite commonplace these days. Unfortunately, these terms are often applied to music that could also be described as contrived or just rotten. The Weather Station is certainly the epitome of both of those common terms, but not of the descriptions which often destroy… Read more »

Review: One Win Choice – Define/Redefine

Label: Jump Start Records Released: February 16, 2009 Hardcore has struggled on and off for years with the concept of melody. When bands in late 70s and early 80s first decided to abandon traditional songwriting and simply go for broke at near light speed, a lot was lost despite the opening of a new avenue. Over time, bands began to… Read more »

Review: Fun Machine – Sonnenhuhn

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Label: BNS Sessions Released: February 24, 2009 Story problem: If King Crimson and ELP were together heading south at 75 mph, Art of Noise was heading north at 102 mph and Hawkwind was heading west at, well the speed of the Silver Machine, what would you call the force where they met? Answer: Fun Machine. If that isn’t enough in… Read more »

Review: Thin Lizzy – Still Dangerous

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Label: VH1 Classic Records Released: March 3, 2009 Probably the biggest trap into which a live album can fall is that of sounding too much like a studio album. After all, if it sounds pretty much like the studio cuts with crowd noise in between, what’s the point? A live album should inject different energies or arrangements into the songs… Read more »

Review: Sepultura – A-Lex

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Label: Steamhammer/SPV Released: January 27, 2009 There’s a fine line between grand and grandiose. Most concept albums are so much the latter that they never even get close to the line. Sepultura, veterans of the concept album, aren’t close to that line either, but they’re on the good side. Their new album, A-Lex, is based on Anthony Burgess’ novel A… Read more »