Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Album Review: Death Cab for Cutie - The Open Door EP

Death Cab for Cutie have been known to really understand the importance of the EP. They usually release them as a way to give their fans a hint of what's to come for their next album. With The Open Door EP, Death Cab's fifth EP of their career, they've instead given their fans a hint of what could have been with their sixth full length Narrow Stairs, which released May 13, 2008. These songs were recorded during the Narrow Stairs sessions and the band have been talking about releasing an EP from the sessions for quite some time now. Really, they weren't missing much taking these songs off of Narrow Stairs but it is quite a good companion to go with the album.
The EP starts off with "Little Bribes" which is an upbeat, vibrant alt-country-esque song about visiting a casino and possibly Las Vegas. "And oh so empty were the faces of the dealers and the waitresses around," sings lead singer Ben Gibbard.
There's "A Diamond and a Tether" which mirror's the sound of Narrow Stairs' "You Can Do Better Than Me" and "My Mirror Speaks" in which Gibbard confesses that he's "a man who hides from all that binds and a mess of fading lines
and there’s a tangled thread inside my head with nothing on either end." The song filled with cheerful clapping and familiar high pitched Gibbard vocals probably would have fit better with the album Transatlanticism rather then Narrow Stairs.
The last two tracks on the EP, "I Was Once a Loyal Lover" and an acoustic version of Narrow Stairs' "Talking Bird," are the two that stand out the most on this EP. "I Was Once a Loyal Lover" collaborates fuzzed guitar with an echoing keyboard played by Chris Walla. The sound is different from the constant guitar strumming that is apparent throughout the EP which is why is stands out so much. Not to mention the melody, lyrics about infidelity and the production overall. It really should have been a song on Narrow Stairs, in my opinion just because it would fit with the overall flow of the record.
The acoustic version of Narrow Stairs' "Talking Bird" is simply beautiful. It actually makes me like the song better after listening to it. The guitar sound is very reminiscent to Hellogoodbye's "Oh, It Is Love" and I highly recommend listening to this version of "Talking Bird" even if you don't like the album version...you might appreciate it more.
Overall, this EP is pretty great (maybe minus "A Diamond and a Tether," that's alright,) and if I could describe how it feels to me in one sentence, it's really just a continuation of Narrow Stairs but like I said before, a great part two to go with the album.

Rating: 4 and a half/5
Picture courtesy of thephiller.com

Where the Wild Things Are Official Trailer

Directed by Spike Jonze and featuring the voices of Forrest Whitaker, James Gandolfini and Paul Dano, the childrens book finally comes to the movie screen on October 16 (according to imdb.) The trailer is really great in my opinion. I've been watching it over and over again not only because they used Arcade Fire's "Wake Up" for the music, but also because it captures the feeling of being a kid and letting your imagination go which is ideally what the story is about to begin with. Definitely a movie to look out for!

Friday, March 27, 2009

"Slowly (Oh So Slowly)"

Listen to Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band's new single "Slowly (Oh So Slowly)" here.

The Mystic Valley Band is Oberst's backing band who play with him even on Bright Eyes albums and tour with him exclusively. They consist of Nik Freitas (guitar,) Taylor Hollingsworth (guitar,) Macey Taylor (bass,) Nate Walcott (keyboards/organ) and Jason Boesel (drums).

Many reviewer's and critic's are sensing a Dylan vibe from the band's recent work.

Outer South, the fifth solo album by Oberst and the first credited to the Mystic Valley Band, comes out May 5.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Animal Collective remix Yeah Yeah Yeahs' "Zero"


I usually don't like remixes but this one isn't bad. Check it out!

Kanye West Charged with Three Misdemeanors

According to Rolling Stone, West has been charged after an altercation with the paparazzi at LAX airport.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

New Again

Taking Back Sunday have finally set a release date for their new album, New Again. The Long Island natives have decided on June 2 according to absolutepunk.net.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Album Review: The Bird and the Bee - Ray Guns are Not Just the Future

The second album from The Bird and the Bee, Los Angeles very own delightful dance duo, Ray Guns are Not Just the Future, will make you want to get up from your laptop and dance around the house.
The 17-track indie-dance pop album written by Inara George (the bird,) and Greg Kurstin (the bee,) is full of gentle and melodic hooks that sometimes even can be pulled off instrumental without lyrcis (the carnival-esque introduction, “Fanfare”).
Probably the key track is “My Love,” the story of undeniable, forbidden love that can’t be ignored. (“Hey boy wont you take me out tonight? I’m not afraid of all the reasons why we shouldn’t try,” George whispers.) The track is very reminiscent to Jem and Imogen Heap’s last effort Speak for Yourself, full of mystical dance beats and hard drums.
George sings almost in an aloof way with a touch of flirtiness to it. The lyrics are generally very flirty and fun, “I will love you on your birthday, I will love you better than them,” she sings on “Birthday.”
While the lyrics can stand on their own, the instrumental arrangements used are what shine the most on this album. Kurstin relies mostly on keyboards without making it sound tacky, something that can be easy to do. The drums are also something to note, almost sounding like the bass for the songs. You can just picture the drums blaring from a car with the windows down with everyone in the car dancing to the lively beats.

Rating: 4 and a half/5

(Picture courtesy of Amazon.com)

Adams and Moore tie the knot

One of my favorite singer/songwriters, Ryan Adams just married singer/actress Mandy Moore! I didn't even know they were engaged but apparently they announced it a month ago. I'm so happy for Ryan, he's always getting screwed by the ladies. Parker Posey, I'm talking to you! Congratulations!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Album Review: Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz!

The howl of Karen O never gets old. The third full-length album by New York City band Yeah Yeah Yeah's, It's Blitz! is a fantastic return for the indie rock trio after suffering from a dud with the Is Is EP. The album was to be originally released on April 13 but because the album leaked on to the internet in February, the release date was pushed forward to March 9 for the digital download, March 31 for the album.
It seemed for a while there like the band lost their Fever to Tell ferociousness and catchy, punk hooks. Sure, Show Your Bones was a great effort but it was a little more Elliot Smith, a little less fast paced thrash rock; what Karen and the boys do best. The most reminiscent to Fever to Tell is probably the first single off the album "Zero" along with the Joan Jett-esque anthem "Heads Will Roll." The distorted guitar underneath Karen's eerie voice make these songs memorable and the album as a whole an instant classic. "Off with your head. Dance until you're dead," she makes you believe on "Heads Will Roll" and will not be afraid to show you her moves.
"Dull Life" is actually not so dull, it being one of the key tracks on this album with a very dark undertone in the lyrics ("We've seen the nightmare of the lies that you speak"). This song could be the "Maps" the band as well as fans have been hoping for.
If you've been already rocking out to the disc since late February, you probably know all of this already. If not, it's definitely something to check out and a really solid record.

Rating: 5 out of 5

(Picture courtesy of Amazon.com)

Dead Weather

White Stripes frontman Jack White is forming yet another band called Dead Weather. In addition to the White Stripes and Dead Weather, he also has The Raconteurs with one of my favorite male vocalists, Brendan Benson.
If you haven't really gotten a chance to listen to The White Stripes, I'd recommend listening to Elephant first and as far as the Raconteurs goes, both of their albums are equally fantastic (Broken Boy Soldiers and Consolers of the Lonely.)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Lost Blogs/Podcasts

You can also join their podcast "The Transmission" on iTunes hosted by Ryan and Jen. They're really knowledgeable about the show, very funny and very interesting to listen to.

Another podcast to recommend would be The Lost Lowdown with Claude and Justin.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Pitchfork Music Festival, Yeah Yeah Yeah's release album early due to internet leak.

Pitchfork Media announced their line-up for the Pitchfork Music Festival held in Chicago July 17-19.

Also, according to NME.com, Yeah Yeah Yeah's are releasing their new album It's Blitz! next week due to a leak on the internet. The album was originally supposed to be released April 13. http://www.nme.com/news/yeah-yeah-yeahs/43188