New Release Round Up, 11/10/09 – 31 Instant Album Reviews

by Tony Butterworth on November 12, 2009

This is a Christmas album, a live album, and a greatest hits album. It was probably re-released this week.

This is a Christmas album, a live album, and a greatest hits album. It was probably re-released this week.

I’m back, the weekly search for original and pithy comments continues.  The holidays are coming and it’s time to drag myself away from my new Droid phone (where’s the LaLa app guys ?) and toil through the mass of holiday music to find the true gems of the week.  There was really no huge standout for me this week.  I loved the first track on the Switchfoot album and was quite pleasantly surprised by the late day discoveries of  Dead To Me and For Against.  If I am forced to choose then I will pick The Fountain by Echo and The Bunnymen with them getting the nod based on their historical relevance to me personally.

Hello Hurricane by Switchfoot.  I feel like I know Switchfoot but this isn’t what I think I know, much more modern pop than rock.  Glossy, full of shine, the emotional crack in the voice, the riffing guitars, the rousing chorus, it’s all here.  This is music made according to the Tony Butterworth music formula.  I should like it but I’m not sure I do, it’s too much like someone found the secret formula for music I like and tried to exploit it.  Oh yeah and they have radio friendly ballads.

Midwinter Graces by Tori Amos.  The original mistress of twee is back.  Tori is one of those people I’ve always felt I should like but have never really actually enjoyed. Any doubt about that was shattered listening to this.  A twee Christmas album no less !!!!!

After The Ending by Dashboard Confessional.  Still angsty after all these years.  This is exactly what you would expect, nothing has changed, perhaps nothing ever will.  I like them well enough but I don’t think it has a good shelf life. “Belle of The Boulevard” is a standout track.

The Circle by Bon Jovi.  Oh no, how did I get this one ?  Bon Jovi (not to be confused with SNL’s Jon Bovi) are a conundrum of a band.  A never credible band that, for me, has somehow lost its credibility.   The music is peppy and inoffensive though I’m not sure I like being preached to by an ex proponent of the spandex culture.  I’m sure my Dad will like this and I really didn’t have to listen to it to write this review.

Memento Mori by Flyleaf.  A Rock Band discovery for me.  All the components are here, angry female vocals, guitar riffage, power choruses.  It’s all OK but if there was a sense of humor to be found somewhere it might be better.

The Singles Collection by Britney Spears.  I wonder if Britney can morph into a new Kylie over the coming years.  This is an odd collection of singles since it misses out some many “classics” in favor of her newer stuff.

Attention Deficit by Whale.  A rather predictable title.  Not bad rap but I think people need to come up with something new or else their just going to be compared to the masters of their genre.

The Christmas Triology by Trans Siberian Orchestra.  Three disks, 57 songs and so ends the Christmas part of this week’s reviews.

Desperate Measures by Hollywood Undead.  Specially featured since they are my 14 year old son’s favorite band.  It’s not surprising this appeals to 14 year olds.  Rap/Metal with lots of swearing rules dude.

The Fountain by Echo and The Bunnymen.  The Bunnymen are one of my favorite all time bands, so throwing an album by them into a week just makes the whole “multi album review” process get delayed.  Echo has a relatively unique thing for me in that I like there new music as much as their older stuff.  All the usual stuff is here and I love it.

Wow there’s a lot of greatest hits and collections out this week.

Kidz Bop Sings The Beatles This is hilarious

Reality Killed The Video Star by Robbie Williams.  A very cute title.  I’m in that camp that has always liked Robbie though his last couple of albums have strayed away from the fun pop that I like.  This one is, overall, enjoyable, plenty of the mid tempo stuff that reminds you more of Cliff Richard than any wild dance orientated sound he sometimes strives for.  It’s a mixed bag but worth a listen.  All the songs are too long though, lop a minute off of each and it would be more engaging.

Ladies’ Love Oracle by Grant Lee Phillips.  This one confused me cause I could have sworn most females preferred SAP.  Not sure what to make of this, it’s not that bad and has some high spots but seems to take itself way too seriously.   It’s another short album (36 minutes) which seems to be a new, and appreciated, trend.

There’s also a lot of live albums this week.

Received Pronunciation
by Pants Yell.  Finally a band name that almost satisfies my childish mind.  They are described as “Brit Pop” on LaLa, but as “Twee Pop” on Wikipedia ???  I like this one, reminiscent of Blur with a strange kind of French flavor.  This album is only twenty six minutes so based on my “shorter is better” rule it may be the best album of the week.

New Moods by Bobby Birdman.  Quirky synth pop is the very specific genre here.  Pretty much all of these songs start out well but somehow don’t go anywhere, with the last 30 seconds being barely different from the first 30.  It’s really not bad but could do with more variety.

Houseboat by Sleep Whale.  Mmmm, I’m running out of quirky comments. This one is nice enough, sometimes instrumental, sometimes spacey vocals, alternative/indie folk they call it.  It’s listenable for sure though more as background music than an upfront listening experience.

Climb Up by Apse.  This is a wide mix of styles, some jam like indie folk, some pop songs, some rock, all done with enough attitude to tie it all together.   One of the better release of the week.

The Quiet Times of a Rock and Roll Farm Boy by Big Kenny.  Opening with Native American chanting this “country” album was confusing but the banjo’s quickly appeared.  I’m kind of on a weird country music kick right now and this was really pretty good.  Kind of like a more Americanized Keith Urban, it has an appeal.  Since I spend a lot of time on songwriting (being a hobby songwriter and songwriting podcast host) I find that a lot can be learned from country music song writing since it’s much more accessible to the home musician than many other genre’s.  All the requirements for a modern country/rock/pop album are here and despite our cynicism it’s all pretty enjoyable.

Good City for Dreams by General Elektriks.  Immediately turned off by the band name I was surprised to find the music quite enjoyable –  at first.  In the end it all tries to be, just like the band name, far to clever.

Uzi Does It by Get Busy Committee.  My rule of the week is – attempt at over clever name = not likely to enjoy the music.  More Jay-Z disciples here, when you open an album with the words “Ladiies and Gentlemen introducing ….”  you just know there’s going to be a complete lack of originality.

Endless Summer by Haymarket Riot.  Finally some rockin’ guitars, something sorely lacking in this weeks releases so far.  But they tricked me by making the first song an instrumental.  There’s guitars, screamed, angry sounding vocals and noise but it all sounds a bit forced.

We Wish You Well On The Way To Hell by Computer Perfection.  Another clever title but they spelled perfection without a “K” so I’m letting them off.  I definitely enjoyed this one, tuneful, rousing rock based synth pop.  Sung in higher register male voices and indie style female voices it definitely is in my top few for this week.  Clearly recommended.

Close by Better Than Ezra.  Yeah I remember these guys, though I can’t remember what it is that I remember.  More glossy listenable rock pop here.  I don’t mind glossy rock pop though I prefer it when it’s not hidden being psuedo angst etc.  I can’t really tell where these guys stand.  It’s inoffensive and radio friendly, which could be a good thing or perhaps a terrible insult.  Two tracks are listed as featuring DJ Swamp so things can’t be all bad.

Anxiety by Smile Empty Soul.  Well with this album title and band name I was looking forward to some upbeat bubblegum pop but no this is angst ridden grunge rock !!!!.  Good production, good power choruses etc. all put together in another grime covered shrink wrapped package.  Quite listenable but ultimately disposable.

There’s also a lot of re-releases this week making it tough to figure out what’s new.

Lullaby Renditions of Guns ‘n’ Roses by Rockabye Baby!   Just had to include this, just because it’s so frickin cool !!!!

The Band of Heathens by The Band Of Heathens.  Not sure if this is new or not but it makes the list.  A good solid band based country Americana style gem.  Not for everyone but I enjoyed it, in my current country mood.  As a side note, my favorite all time band, Pulp, were once described as “Sheffield Country” which I loved.

Ox EP by Coalesce.  Just because every round-up needs some metal.  As a teenager I was a big Metal fan but what they called Metal back then is not what they call Metal now, this is hard riffs and screamed vocals.

African Elephants by Dead To Me.  Now this one is fun, bouncy, exciting new wave style music.  By this point in the weekly list I was reaching all the re releases, comedy albums and soundtracks so it was great to really find something fun to listen to.  Almost like a kind of New Wave Blink 182, more snarl and less production, perhaps early Blink like.  Lots of the songs are around two minutes which scores them bonus points also.  As the album progresses I’m hearing more and more of The Clash in the music and that can’t be bad.

Wow there’s a lot of jazz releases this week. I can’t listen to jazz, sorry.

Never Been by For Against.  Another “way down the list” find, melodic jangly indie pop, what else could I want this late in the, reviewing, day.  Very similar to Thirteen Senses or other modern jangle pop stuff.  I really like their style and even appreciated some of their long tunes.  Very different from Dead To Me but this grand emotional style is another favorite.  I guess there are times this sways towards pretentious but I can live with that.

The Art of The Lute by Paul O’Dette.  Once again I say “just because”.  It’s always fun to imagine lute players being the rock stars of the middle ages.

Yesterday’s Work
by Ecstatic Sunshine.  These guys used to be a kind of minimalist punk band but this one is just a vocal free collection of electronic noises.  Kinda hypnotic in a weird way.

and there we go, another week of hard work listening to the latest sounds all so you can read about it from the comfort of your computer desk.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Vanessa Romero November 12, 2009 at 9:28 pm

I believe that rapper’s name is actually Wale. I watched mtv for half an hour and learned something useful (sort of)! I think it’s pronounced wa-lay. I just want to call him wall-e though.

Reply

David Price November 13, 2009 at 12:57 am

*regarding Hollywood Undead*
They also dress up in masks, 14 year old boys like that too!

Reply

kanemaro10 March 2, 2010 at 2:10 pm

kentarooo

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