Monthly Archives: May 2012

Best Coast – The Only Place

It can be argued that the first album from LA duo Best Coast benefited immensely from frontwoman Bethany Cosentino’s possibly manufactured relationship with fellow stoner Wavves.

On The Only Place, the band has opted for a cleaner sound, presumably to reflect the Californian sun rather than its smog. Unfortunately, this serves to showcase the band’s limitations. The first two songs feature almost the exact same tempo and chord progression, while Cosentino’s weak and utterly flat voice is, for reasons unknown, pushed to the forefront.

This ultimately means that her moronic lyrics are, for reasons unknown, on full display. Cosentino’s emotional spectrum begins with happy and ends with sad, leading me to believe that this grown woman has either cannibalised her own sixth-grade diary, or has smoked so much weed that she is literally retarded.

Artist: Best Coast
Album: The Only Place
Label: Mexican Summer

Buy Best Coast The Only Place

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Gold Leaves – The Ornament

Do you feel like you are more sensitive than your peers?  More in tune with your feelings? Do you have a sneaking suspicion that you might be emotionally hypersensitive?  Do you walk around at all times like you are in some depressing indie film clip?  Did you cry at the end of 500 Days Of Summer / Wall-E / Marley and Me?  Do you listen to “depressing” music and subconsciously enjoy having your emotions controlled by strangers?

If this sounds like you, please report to your nearest music retailer and purchase The Ornament by Gold Leaves.  Stay golden, but remember, nothing gold can stay.

Artist: Gold Leaves
Album: The Ornament
Label: Hardly Art

Snag some mp3s here courtesy of Hardly Art

Buy Gold Leaves The Ornament

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Lights – Siberia

Siberia is the second album from Canadian electro pop-tart Lights, a 24 year old with a fondness for Jesus and dance music.

Siberia is slick and sounds tight on a decent stereo, but every song reeks of sentimentality and nostalgia the way a high school senior might look back on her freshman year.  Track eight uses the, ahem, metaphor of a boyfriend being “like a peace sign”.  Right.  I guess puberty is kind of like a war zone.

For someone so religious, you would think that the American Apparel-esque half naked photo shoot in the album’s booklet would’ve been off limits.  I guess you have to be prepared to ride the slutwaves if you want to compete with Ke$ha.

Artist: Lights
Album: Siberia
Label: Last Gang

Buy Lights Siberia

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The Maple Trail – Cable Mount Warning

One part Grizzly Bear. One part Bon Iver. Add annoying over-arching nature theme to taste. Add a splash of redundancy. Garnish with boredom. Shake with ice and top off with an oversaturated genre. The Maple Trail is sweet at first, but the aftertaste will make it difficult to keep down.

Cable Mount Warning slowly drips along at the pace of, well, maple syrup. Recommended only to those with complete disregard for their own health, or an infatuation with folky music that falls in the it-all-kind-of-sounds-the-same category.

Artist: The Maple Trail
Album: Cable Mount Warning
Label: Broken Stone

Buy The Maple Trail Cable Mount Warning

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Mark Tulk – Central State

This album was recorded in some abandoned psychiatric hospital.  To the average Joe, these creepy locales are cringe worthy and nightmare-inducing.  It would seem, however, that to artists, these modern day dungeons act as conduits for creative expression.  Something about dilapidated furniture and mold must be inspiring.  Maybe it’s the asbestos.

Aussie Mark Tulk has recorded Central State in the infamous Central State Hospital in Georgia, it’s biggest claim to fame being where a purported 25,000 were buried in unmarked graves.  The muse ultimately proves to be the album’s undoing, because unless you’re Haley Joel Osment, you’re not going to even see any dead people, much less make use of their constructive criticism.

Artist: Mark Tulk
Album: Central State
Label: Small House

Buy Mark Tulk Central State

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Shearwater – Animal Joy

When I first glanced at the laughably bad photoshop cover to this album, I thought that the chicken scratch at the top read “Stillwater”; which would’ve been awesome because I’m a big fan of the song “Fever Dog” by the fictional band from the movie Almost Famous.

Instead, Animal Joy is a self-absorbed album with a bloated sense of importance. The running theme throughout the record has something to do with animals, how we should celebrate them, or revert to our animalistic impulses, or some nonsense. In reality, the plodding pace and vocal vibrato wears thin rather quickly. In Shearwater’s defense, pitches love vibrato.

Artist: Shearwater
Album: Animal Joy
Label: Sub Pop

Grab some mp3s here courtesy of Sub Pop

Buy Shearwater Animal Joy

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The Duke Spirit – Bruiser

The Duke Spirit have always found themselves in a kind of musical purgatory.  They have the necessary elements to be great: the sexy swagger and overall badassery of frontwoman Leila Moss, and brooding, thumping hooks. The Howling Bells or late-era Cardigans have followed the same formula, and have achieved considerable success.  So why hasn’t The Duke Spirit?

On their third LP, The Duke Spirit flip-flop between murky, boring ballads and chugging rockers.  As a result, the physical marks left by Bruiser are more akin to what you would sustain during a half-serious wrestling match with your mate, as opposed to going ten rounds with the heavyweight champ.

Artist: The Duke Spirit
Album: Bruiser
Label: Fiction

Buy The Duke Spirit Bruiser

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Portugal The Man – In The Mountain In The Cloud

In fashion with their nonsensical name, Portugal The Man have crafted eleven songs that are virtually devoid of all meaning due to their cryptic lyrics.  To be fair, this could stem from the fact that the band simply refuses to adhere to the conventions of the English language.  Grammar?  Who needs it?  Syntax?  That’s for the fat cats in Washington!

Even lead singer John Gourley admits that he “can’t make no sense of this” on the appropriately titled Senseless.  Despite these minor annoyances, Portugal The Man has yet again delivered a rousing psychedelic pop record.

Artist: Portugal The Man
Album: In The Mountain In The Cloud
Label: Atlantic

Buy Portugal The Man In The Mountain In The Cloud

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Guillemots – Hello Land!

In the book Freakonomics, the authors use statistics to show how seemingly unrelated things do in fact have an affect on one another, and society at large. Early in the book, they take on the real estate business, examining the market. They present an analysis of the ten most common real estate ad terms, one of which is an exclamation mark (!).

They claim that seeing an exclamation point in a real-estate ad is bad news, suggesting that it’s use is merely a “bid to paper over real shortcomings with false enthusiasm.” Looks like Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner just wrote my review for me.

Artist: Guillemots
Album: Hello Land!
Label: independent

Buy Guillemots Hello Land!

Buy Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner

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Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Songs From The Great White North

Back in his days with Oasis, Noel Gallagher always made a point to record B-sides that were just as good (and in some cases even better) than the album singles that they supported. With Songs From The Great White North, Noel assures us that his artistic integrity is still in tact.

Released in support of Record Store Day, the EP is made up of four previously released B-sides on a 12″ opaque white heavyweight vinyl and limited to a mere 2000 copies. If you were lucky enough to get your hands on one, I suppose you’ve earned the right to gloat about your “godlike genius”.

Artist: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
Album: Songs From The Great White North
Label: Sour Mash

Buy Noel Gallaher’s High Flying Birds Songs From The Great White North

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