Sunday, November 25, 2007

This is hilarious...

I have a bunch of reviews that I've been working on, but just haven't had a chance to complete for whatever reason. In the meantime, watch this hilarious video.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Record Review--Babyshambles, "Shotter's Nation"

My three favorite bands of all time are Radiohead, the Libertines, and the Stone Roses (sidenote, The National will bump someone from this list in 2 years time). Up The Bracket, the Libertines' first record, was pretty much on repeat from 2001-2004. I still love the record. From 1-15 its an unbelievable roller coaster ride. I was really devastated to see them break-up. Carl Barat and Pete Doherty were great artists. They each seemed to bring out the best in one another. Out of the ashes of the Libertines arose two bands: (i) Doherty's Babyshambles; and (ii) Barat's "Dirty Pretty Things."

Babyshambles' previous album, 2005's "Down in Albion", was probably one of the most peculiar records I've ever heard. Clocking in at over 60 minutes with 15 tracks complete with slurred vocals, broken guitar strings, missed beats, Kate Moss on backing vocals for one song, a reggae track featuring none of the members of Babyshambles called Pentonville featuring one of Doherty's prison mates simply called The General that he reportedly promised a spot on his album in return for protection, and, at one point, Pete Doherty falling down into the drum kit and knocking over the microphone. It also featured some of his most emotionally raw lyrics--just check out the lyrics to "Back From the Dead," my favorite 'Shambles song to date. Or this gem from "A'rebours", "Oh no, I think I understand/ What I misunderstood before/ How your love gives me so much more/ I am free again, I can see again/ But if I should fail today/ Would you vow today to pay tomorrow/ The fucked off big debt I owe to sorrow ?"

The album featured Doherty as alternately defiant, petulant, and overwhelmed from his addictions all over a jagged guitar crunches from Patrick Walden. Seriously, check out the riff to "Fuck Forever" and tell me it doesn't kick your ass. Its a great song to workout to. It was an album that explored the human condition of addiction from the prism of a confused, talented, and audacious young man. Although it wasn't the greatest album of all time, it was always thrilling, and ranked as one of my favorites of 2005. To this day, there hasn't been quite an album like it.

Needless to say, I was really excited about Shotter's Nation. Replacing Mick Jones on the boards is Stephen Street who produced some of the best brit-pop artists of my generation--The Smiths, Blur, and Morrissey. The album gets off to a great start with "Carry on up the Morning" that features a rude guitar opening and lyrics that show a more self-aware Doherty as he sings about his addictions. Its a great track. "Delivery," the first single and strongest track on the album, contains a Jam like hook with a shout-along chorus that recalls the glory days of The Libertines. The third song, "You Talk" really grows on the listener after repeated listens.

The middle part of the album sags as we find Babyshambles exploring new territory. "Crumb Begging Baghead" is a poor attempt at mimicing the Stone Roses and "French Dog Blues" would be much benefitted from a different chorus. The album picks up at the end with the superb "Deft Left Hand" and the dark heart of Shotter's Nation--"Lost Art of Murder", a ballad that's ostensibly about his turbulent off again/on again relationship with Kate Moss that's even stronger than Down in Albion's "Albion." The song is unbelievable.

What really hurts the album is the loss of Patrick Walden. Walden a talented, troubled guitarist that, like Doherty, was addicted to crack (The chorus to "Pipedown" addressed his addiciton--"Oh, Paddy put the pipedown") was an extremely talented guitarist. Last time I checked, Patrick was serving time in prison for domestic violence. Replacing him is their ex roadie, Mik Whitnall, who (I SWEAR I'M NOT MAKING ANY OF THIS UP) is an ex-skinhead. While his guitar-work on "Delivery" and "Side of the Road" are exceptional, the songs he co-wrote lack that Babyshambles edge and are deliberately poppy trite songs that sound like Kaiser Chief's b-sides songs.

If there's one thing that this album makes clear, is that Babyshambles produce better music amid all the chaos and strife. Hopefully Patrick Walden can clean up some and rejoin the band. Or, wait, better yet, bring back Carl Barat. Will somebody surround Pete with better talent, he's better than this.

FINAL SCORE 6.7 (was expecting the album to be a 9 or higher).

Saturday, November 17, 2007

New Band Alert

A new band I'm really excited about is The Courteeners. Their new single "Acrylic" is awesome. I can't stop playing it. Really looking forward to an album whenever it comes out.

Record Review--The Forms, "The Forms"

Its been 4 longs year since The Forms released the stellar Icarus album, which is an eternity in the music business. It had been so long since I had heard anything from them that I stopped researching them. It was much to my surprise that they even released an album. I thought they had broken up or something. So it was much to my surprise that I saw a new album released when I was going through my record catalogue catching up on old bands.

Their new album is amazing. Lush, orchestral, and complex, it is a serious step up from Icarus. Their sound is complex indie rock in the mold of Modest Mouse if Modest Mouse weren't so poppy. One of the best things about this band is they feature a lead singer with an octave range to rival an opera singer. Its refreshing to hear a band as polished as this. I recommend this album to everyone.

2007 has been a great year for music. From the new Radiohead album to the Lodger to the National's album of the year, Boxer, this has been the best year in music since 2001. The Forms self-titled LP only adds to the murderer's row of records released this year. In fact, its second only to Boxer in terms of merit.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Record Review-- The Blakes, "The Blakes"

I'm really excited about this band. They're a three piece outfit of young kids from Seattle. The album contains what should be a breakout hit, "Don't Bother Me." It has all the hallmarks of a hit--catchy beat, sweeping guitar hook, and a chorus you want to shout out loud with--"Don't Bother Me!/ I'm caught up in your legs, I don't want to get out/Don't bother me!" Its a great, great tune. The rest of the album is quite good as well. Their sound is largely garage rock with a bit of classic rock and roll built in. Its a band that I'm quite excited about. I think they have a bright future.

My favorite song on the album is "Lint Walk." The video for the song is above. Great video. Watch out for this band. They got serious talent.

RATING-- 7.7
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