New Release Round Up 2/2/10 – 31 Instant Album Reviews

by Gordon Elgart on February 3, 2010

Read on to find out who these guys are.

Pouria said he wanted to take the week off because he’s burned out on new releases. And then he sits next to me and tells me about all the albums I’m missing. I think he’s actually burned out on being funny. Lucky for you, I’m not burned out on being funny; I’ve hardly begun being funny!  Read on, dear readers, for 31 album reviews await.

Rebirth by Lil Wayne – What if a rapper does a rock album, using too much Auto Tune in his vocals? Would this surprise you? I don’t think the musicians playing on this album knew what was going to happen to their tracks. He doesn’t even try to make it sound like a band; this is totally lifeless.

Who I Am by Nick Jonas & the Administration – Who is Nick Jonas? Just a guy who wishes he were Adam Levine, apparently.

The Courage of Others by Midlake – This album takes me back to the record collection of my older cousin. It was full of music being sung by people living in England in the ’60s, doing a lot of drugs and having a lot of sex.

Tomorrow, in a Year by The Knife – I don’t get this album at all. It’s clearly background music for something visual. Without the visuals, though, I don’t see a point to it. Feel free to tell me I don’t “get” it because I don’t. I just said so.

The Soft Pack by The Soft Pack – This album sounds like your too-cool friends from SoCal spent a lot of time listening to surf rock classics while surfing, and then decided they could do better. They can’t, but full points for the attempt.

East Is East by Pepi Ginsberg – Her voice comes across as aggressively quirky on record, overpowering the fun, herky jerky music happening behind her squeaks and screams. I’m guessing this is a killer live show, but the production choices on record aren’t satisfying.

Descending Shadows by Pierced Arrows – This is listed as garage rock, which is secret code for “we’re not very good, but we’re not trying to be which makes us really cool.” Other than the vocals, which are often painful, this is pretty solid.

Sun Kissed Planet EP by Kakuzi – Named like a middling electronica project, but actually a British pop band, playing bright and energetic pop songs. (Anglophiles, take note!) The single is fantastic, but the rest of the tracks are not.

A Chorus of Storytellers by The Album Leaf – If I were the type of person who sits in a quiet room staring out the window on a rainy day, this would be my favorite album ever. Also one of my favorite band names.

Invisible Violence by We Are Wolves – Another wolf band? This one is like synthy punk. It’s killer. They’re from Montreal, and I think they’re singing in French. Maybe the lyrics suck.

For the Masses by Hadouken – If you’re gonna name your band after a Street Fighter move, you’d better sound like awesome fighting music. This sounds like music that’s trying to beat me up. Time to make my escape. Shoryuken!

Feral Fire by Glossary – These are comfort songs. They sound like every southern rock band you’ve ever heard, so knock back a Bud in a roadhouse bar, and remember to be nice.

Fall Hard by Shout Out Louds – Maybe this is a single, maybe this is an EP. (The full album comes out Feb 23.) Pouria said I should listen to it. I thought he was taking the week off! He’s right, though, I should listen to this. Who doesn’t love a Swedish pop band?

Satellites & Sirens by Satellites & Sirens – It’s Christian music, but it sounds a bit like Owl City and a bit like Fall Out Boy. Am I allowed to admit I like this and still stay a cool music blogger? No? Then I hate it. (Wink, wink.)

Ship of Light by Husky Rescue – This album is really sweet. Just sweet music like a summer day. They’re Finnish, so if you’re in Helsinki, go see them live.

Cutting Our Teeth by We Are the Ocean – It turns out the ocean is full of British screamo kids that sound like they recorded their album in a bathroom because they couldn’t afford studio time.

The Green Ghost Project by The Evil Genius DJ Green Lantern & Styles P – I don’t care about hip-hop, but I do care about comics, so if you’re gonna use the Green Lantern as your DJ name, you really should be better than this. This is more like DJ Blue Beetle.

Adventure Stories (Not Based on Fact?) by …soihadto… – Dramatic instrumental rock is all around these days, and this band does it really well. Like, really well. Following on Twitter now.

The Northern Key by The Northern Key – Extremely pretty, well arranged songs with nice harmonies. The biggest weakness, and what’s keeping me from really liking this, is that the singer’s voice just can’t do what he’s trying to do. Not everybody can pull off Elliott Smith vocals.

BK3 by Bruce Kulick – The former lead guitarist of Kiss does a solo album with many friends, including Gene Simmons and John Corabi (one-time lead singer of Motley Crue), and you get a hard rockin’ blistering good time album with inane lyrics and tasty guitar solos. If you are the target audience, you’re gonna love this.

R and R and R by Susu – Here’s more dramatic instrumental rock, but if you name your track “Mustang Sally” and it’s NOT a cover of “Mustang Sally,” I don’t have time for you. Oh wait, now there’s vocals of the “pitchy” quality. Good musicians, but I’m not into the songs.

Tales of Tragedy by Winter’s Verge – It’s symphonic power metal from Cyprus! It’s fast and has lots of giant vocals and keyboard solos and twin guitar leads. They’re not bringing anything new to the table, but they definitely are worthy of sitting at it.

Almost Everything I Wish I’d Said the Last Time I Saw You… by Wakey!Wakey! – Insanely catchy piano-based pop that would be multi-million selling in the hey-day of major labels. Now it’s destined to be a cult hit, especially since the lead singer is an actor of some reknown.

Bufo Alvarius by Bardo Pond – I can’t take more than 45 seconds of this. The album is 80 minutes long. Iistened to about 1% of it. Maybe the other 99% is brilliant.

Nonsense & Ostensibility by Enlai – Basically a home multitracked recording in Garage Band. Sounds like a demo for someone else, maybe Bruce Kulick. It would be better by a better performer.

To All the Ladies in the Place with Style & Grace by Milkymee – French pop sung in English. I’d tell you what she’s all about but her blog is in French. It’s ambient and sugary at the same time.

Risk and Investment by Du – This sounds like a failed pop band from the ’80s, which makes them more interesting than most current pop bands. Still, there’s no hooks here.

Smile!… Tomorrow Will Be Worse by Battle Flask – Drinking out of this flask tastes like real punk rock, including an unstoppable bass player.

Things to Say EP by The Lion & The Sail – Really polished alt-rock, too polished to catch on. Sounds high budget. The songs sound like they want people to shout along, which is nice, but the whole thing is too clean and well done for what it is.

Klassenfahrt by Wise Guys – GERMAN A CAPELLA! You need to hear this.

Blaming Tim vs. the Mechanical Robots From Outer Space by Blaming Tim – Clearly influenced by the Ben Folds Five, and in case you didn’t know, I love the Ben Folds Five. This is great. The band even produced a video game to go along with their previous EP. Conceptual piano nerdcore may as well have my name on it.

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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