New Release Round Up 9/22/09 – 29 Instant Album Reviews

by Gordon Elgart on September 24, 2009

This band is not made up of Girls.  Didn't they learn their lesson from Barenaked Ladies?

This band is not made up of girls. Didn't they learn their lesson from Barenaked Ladies?

When Pouria started writing this weekly column, he said there might be weeks where he was too busy to listen to 30-or-so albums.  I said, “no problem, we can get a guest columnist on those weeks.”  So when he told me this week that he was too busy doing stuff like seeing Bon Iver to write this week’s column, I said “wait, you were serious about that?”  Since I hadn’t arranged a guest, I’m doing it myself.  Let’s just say that doing this is a lot harder than Pouria makes it look.  Now, on to the mini-reviews.

Draw the Line by David Gray – The new release albums on this site are ordered by popularity, and somehow this is number one.  Do people really still listen to this guy?  He’s a decent songwriter and all, but I find his voice annoying, and I’m not gonna make it through even one entire song.

Daisy by Brand New – This album starts with a scratchy recording of a woman singing, from a recording that is clearly not “brand new.”  Oh wait, there’s the guitars and the screaming.  Can I go back to that scratchy recording now?  I was enjoying that.  No, just more screaming?  Thanks a lot guys.  I’m not a fan of this, but I could see how someone could be.  That’s the nicest thing I can think to say.

Life Starts Now by Three Days Grace – The third album in a row by a band that is surprising me by still existing.  What’s this?  I actually kinda like this?  Well produced mid-tempo rockers must be a weakness of mine.  Who knew?  Also, this album cover would probably average a 3.6 on Threadless.  Ok, now I’m on the third song, and I think that they are ALL THE SAME SONG.  Now I’m wondering, are all of this band’s songs the same song with different titles?  Does that confuse them and their audience when they play shows?

Tomorrow by Sean Kingston – I’d rather listen to parodies of this than actually listen to this.  So I’ll just watch some Lonely Island videos while you listen to this album.  Playing a few tracks off of this is enough to convince me to take the night off of work when he plays the Warfield this fall.

The Boy Who Knew Too Much by Mika – The Spinning Platters gang has many Mika fans on it, including me.  One of us came really close to changing her vacation plans to see him play at The Fox in October.  Because of this, my review of this album is “Hey!  This is out!  Go buy this!” Is it OK to admit that I’ve had this on my iPod for a couple of weeks now?  We’ll have a full-length review of this coming soon, I’m sure.

Monsters of Folk by Monsters of Folk – Conor Oberst, Mike Mogis, Jim James and M. Ward, together at last, giving me the opportunity to ignore all four of them at the same time!  Huh.  I wasn’t expecting this to start with a drum machine – maybe I should listen.  I’d like to report on who’s singing lead on these tracks, but I just don’t know.  What I do know is that this record is clearly the return of the classic yacht rock  sound, and I completely dig it.  They should have called it Monsters of Yacht Rock.  It would not only be more correct, it would probably sell better, too.

Burning the Days by Vertical Horizon – I know these guys had a hit once, but I can’t remember what it was.  Hold on.  I’m gonna look it up. Oh, it was “Everything You Want.”  Maybe I don’t like mid-tempo rockers as much as I thought I did back when I was listening to Three Days Grace. Did these guys influence Coldplay or have they now been influenced by Coldplay?  I can’t take much more of this.  Why are the albums coming out today by bands I thought had broken up?  I’m still listening to this because it’s the kind of album you forget you’re listening to.

Be Set Free by Langhorne Slim – This is listed as folk, and I shouldn’t be allowed to review folk music.  Before even pressing play, I’m wary of listening to someone with this name because I think it simply has to be made up.  Yep, his real name is Sean Scolnick.  Oh, he was booed at a Phillies game when playing “God Bless America?” Phillies fans are cruel.  I can’t believe that’s on his Wikipedia page.  Oh, this album?  It’s pretty good, but I’m not gonna link to it from my Facebook page or anything.

Here Comes Science by They Might Be Giants – I love this band.  I think it’s great that they have a secondary career doing educational music for kids. And now they come out with a political album, making the controversial statement that “science is real.”  I hear that this album has already been banned in six states.  That said, their song about the elements is not as good as Tom Lehrer’s song about the same; their song about Photosynthesis is not as good as Moxy Fruvous’s song about the same.  These things make me wonder if someone should have simply made a compilation of pop songs about science instead.  Here’s a warning for parents:  don’t take your kids to see They Might Be Giants at one of their “adult” shows.  There will be much swearing and songs mulling over death.  I love this band.

Milwaukee at Last! by Rufus Wainwright – I’m not sure if we’re supposed to include live albums, but here I am.  I wanted to say nice things about this album because Rufus and his band sound on top of their game here, but the CD has 10 songs and the DVD with the same title has 23.  That means by buying this album, you are giving up 13 songs, including some of my favorites of his.  Therefore, I recommend against buying this album, but absolutely recommend picking up the DVD.  The recordings are tremendous.

Church Music by David Crowder Band – I’m checking this out in case “church music” is a metaphor.  Nope, it’s about Jesus.  The production on this album is shockingly good.  I think it’s amazing that there are bands I’ve never heard of with huge recording budgets making music that would never in a million years be marketed to me.  I probably wouldn’t even turn this off if it came on the radio.

War is the Answer by Five Finger Death Punch – Fuck yeah.  This makes me want to take my office chair, throw it through the window, and kick someone’s ass.  This is really good.  Can I say that this band has an awesome name too?  I’m willing to bet that this is the best metal album that comes out this week, so if you buy metal albums, this is the one to buy.

For Crying Out Loud by Starfucker – I don’t know anything about this band except that they need a new name.  They just aren’t good enough to have a swear in their name.  If you want to have a swear in your name, you’d better be as good as Fucked Up.  Being a shitty Paramore soundalike isn’t going to cut it.  This is a depressing experience.  The second song is called “Over in a Minute” but it’s not.  Except it is because I’m moving on to the next album.

Scars by Basement Jaxx – The only time I like listening to dance music is when I’m dancing.  Therefore, I would never listen to this album because it makes me want to tear my ears off.  I remember liking Basement Jaxx when I saw them live, but right now as this album is playing, I don’t know how that’s possible.  I hate this.  Maybe it needs lights and girls to be good.

Eskimo Snow by Why? – Internal dialog: Make the obvious joke.  No, Gordon, don’t do it.  Yes, Gordon, do it.  OK, I’ll do it.  Why does this album exist?  Wanna know why?  To give music snobs something to lord over people, that’s why.  They can pretend it’s brilliant and that you just don’t get it. Seriously, didn’t this used to be a hip-hop project?  What the heck happened?  It’s not bad; it just stopped being interesting.  There’s a million bands that sound like this.

For Lack of a Better Name by Deadmau5 – You know he’s hip because the first track is called “FML.”  Remember what I said earlier about the lights and the girls?  Same thing applies, except maybe I would listen to this in my car.  Maybe.

White Water, White Bloom by Sea Wolf – I really dislike bands that use the word “wolf” in their names.  It’s overdone.  But I like bands that use “sea” in their titles because I think of sea shanties.  So on Lala, you can only listen to songs once for free, so if you forget to pause it when you go away from your desk for a meeting, you don’t get another chance to hear the songs.  Sometimes when this happens, I shrug my shoulders and move on. This time, I actually found myself disappointed.  That’s my version of praise for this album.

Live Life Loud by Hawk Nelson – At the very beginning, I thought I was hearing a louder version of Tra La La, but the girls singing the chorus loudly was a bait and switch.  This is just shiny pop punk.  Oh wait, it’s Christian pop punk.  It really doesn’t sound all that Christian to me.  They’re sneaky Christians.  They have a song called “Ode to Lord Stanley.”  Yes, it’s about hockey, and the band is from Canada. That makes this my favorite Sneaky Christian Pop Punk Band from Canada, no question.

Why Are There Mountains by Cymbals Eat Guitars – Wow, after Hawk Nelson, this is aggresively low-fi.  Oh no, it’s one of those bands where the lead singer can’t sing so he shouts a lot, which makes him seem passionate.  You will not find me at one of this band’s shows.  I’m depressed that Ponytail is listed as an “album you might like” on this page because Ponytail is awesome.  Cymbals Eat Guitars are un-awesome.

Vapours by Islands – This is the third Islands album, and I’ve liked each one a little bit less than the one before it.  That doesn’t mean this is bad; in fact, it’s such a vast improvement over Cymbals Eat Guitars that I’m overjoyed to be listening to it.

Us by Brother Ali – I was expecting a hip-hop album based on what I’ve heard of Brother Ali when I’ve seen him.  And I was thinking that I don’t know what he sounds like these days because on track two, “The Preacher,” I’m instead trying to find out if this is a TV on the Radio side project because it sure sounds like an amazing track off of one. Why yes, in fact it is.  Lala fucked up and put the Rain Machine album here instead.  Therefore, I’ll go right on to the Rain Machine review. Sorry I can’t give you a proper Brother Ali review.  I’ve always liked him, though, so I bet the album is good.

Rain Machine by Rain Machine – Holy crap the song Give Blood is good, but it makes me wonder why there’d be a side project when all of the material here is so similar to what TVotR does.  I’ve always been a Tunde guy, but listening to this album is making me appreciate Kyp more.  Since TV on the Radio are doing the hiatus thing, this’ll do to hold me over.  It’s good stuff.

Forget the Night Ahead by The Twilight Sad – Pouria, the regular writer of this column, saw The Twilight Sad last weekend and left less than impressed. I’m listening to their album now, and am more than impressed.  I can also see what he meant.  This is sitting in the grass reading music; it’s not going crazy in a club music.  I like music that creates a melancholy mood, and this clearly does.

Album by Girls – The title of this album is not another Lala database mistake–they meant to call it that.  That’s so postmodern it’s stupid. Also, the fact that the first track is called “Lust For Life” does not mean that this album was replaced with an Iggy Pop album.  That’s a good thing because this is a really good pop album, and I think it would even make a pretty entertaining live show, too.  I want to type “Elvis Costello” here but I don’t know if that makes me a lazy reviewer or not.  I also want to type “John Lennon” but that’s like mentioning Hitler in a political debate. Oops, there’s a song I don’t like: “Hellhole Ratrace.”  “Headache” isn’t so good, either.  Oh oh.  It’s top heavy.  Sorry about mentioning Lennon. But wait, “Summertime” is really good.  I’ve run out of valuable things to say about this record.

Beauty Killer by Jeffree Star – I just looked this guy up, and he has a huge Wikipedia entry!  He’s apparently Internet Famous.  Does that mean I’m wrong to be enjoying this so much?  I was thinking I want to see this guy live, but now I’m worried about what his fans are like.  He’s a fashion designer and singer?  A brand?  Oh wait, let’s focus on the music, which is really catchy synth heavy dance music.  I see there are 12 producers, so this album is definitely a “product,” but I would still very much enjoy being at a club dancing to this stuff.  There’s even a song called “Love Rhymes With Fuck You.”  Winner.

Broken Side of Time by Alberta Cross – Oh my, I think this is my favorite album of the week so far.  Wow.  This is so good.  It’s modern classic rock, with a tight rhythm section, cool slide guitar solos and extremely “British” vocals–you know what I mean.  Nice.  Darn, looks like their upcoming tour isn’t bringing them out this way.

Unmap by Volcano Choir – I guess Volcano Choir is a Bon Iver side project.  No one sang any lead vocals in the first song, and now I’m in the second song and I still don’t hear any lead vocals.  I think this album might not have any lead vocals.  For some reason, this is the kind of thing I like to know in advance.  Oh wait, here’s some lead vocals.  This whole record is very pretty.  I’m recommending it for those who like pretty music.

Dusk Till’ Dawn by Breakestra – I’m so glad I noticed that there is a Breakestra album in here!  Breakestra is one of those absolutely kick-ass funk/soul bands that I like every time I hear them, tell myself I’m gonna go see them live at some point, but then never do.  If you go to the tour page on their website to see when they’re playing, all of the dates are from the summer of 2008.  This band has some serious marketing issues.  I’ll help them out.  Spinning Platters says, “When Breakestra starts playing, you’ll want to dance from Dusk Till’ Dawn!”

Truelove’s Gutter by Richard Hawley – Richard Hawley is one of the best singers ever and has been for years.  That’s all you should need to know. Don’t bring a girl to see him live unless you’re sure she’s really in to you because otherwise she’s gonna want to go home with him instead.

Gordon Elgart

A music nerd who probably uses that term too much. I have a deep love for bombastic, quirky and dynamic music.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Ben September 24, 2009 at 1:12 pm

Can’t stop laughing! FFDP, really?

Reply

Caroline September 24, 2009 at 5:24 pm

26 albums is a lot to read in one sitting. Oh wait, it’s 29 albums. When does anyone have time to do this?!

Reply

Gordon Elgart September 25, 2009 at 10:25 am

I have headphones and a computer at my day job. I just listen to music all day long for three days, and I’m done! As you can see from the mini-reviews, I didn’t make it through all of every album.

Reply

David Price September 26, 2009 at 11:23 am

Wow! Actually the new Basement Jaxx album is great and Raindrops is a fantastic song! I think that you should just put some headphones on and dance to this album!

Reply

Gordon Elgart September 26, 2009 at 11:51 am

I can bring the headphones. You bring the lights and the girls.

Reply

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