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Quick Spins

by admin October 20, 2009

Quick Spins

by admin October 20, 2009

Quick Spins

by admin October 13, 2009

Quick Spins

by admin October 13, 2009

Quick Spins

by admin October 7, 2009

Intensive Care
Fairy Tales from the Island
(Self-release; 2009)

4.5/10

Intensive Care’s first full-length album, Fairytales from the Island, fails to enchant.
Despite a combination of proficient musicians, Intensive Care’s desire to create pop songs out of nervous structures doesn’t work.
Their self-proclaimed “mad scientist arrangements” are offensive mishmashes. Most begin on experimental and dark notes only to jump into upbeat melodies that lack conclusion.
While there are moments here, the songs don’t hold together. The first track, “Tales of Sarah Jane, the Golden Horse,” is reminiscent of Cold Play’s Viva la Vida, while “Wandering Man” is clearly influenced by The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper.
Unfortunately, the songs do not live up to their predecessors. Despite Intensive Care’s potential, Fairytales from the Island is missing the magic.

Trial Track: “Tales of Sarah Jane, the Golden Horse”

– Candace Roscoe

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Bob Dylan
Christmas in the Heart
(Columbia; 2009)

7.5/10

Living musical deity Bob Dylan has taken the Christmas complication and turned it into a charitable collection of yuletide standards (all royalties will be donated to Feeding America).
Dylan rarely strays from the usual interpretation. Christmas in the Heart may be unimaginative, but Dylan is paying homage to a long-standing tradition of carols, hymns, and holiday songs.
Dylan’s worn voice plays both against him and with him though out the album.
“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” benefit from the lonesome vocals of Dylan.
But it’s on tradition carols like “Hark The Herald Angels Sing” and “O’ Come All Ye Faithful” that the coarseness is most apparent.
A compilation that isn’t aimed as a cash grab, Christmas in the Heart has it’s heart in the right place.

Trial Track: “Must Be Santa”

– Brennan Neill

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Sufjan Stevens
BQE
(Asthematic Kitty; 2009)

7/10

Stevens’ eighth release is the soundtrack to a home-movie styled documentary, about the division of colourful New York City neighbourhoods, Brooklyn and Queens by the decrepit artery of an expressway.
The soundtrack, composed by Stevens and preformed with a 36-piece orchestra, showcases jumpy woodwinds grappling with regal brass and plucky piano chords.
Highlights include “Interlude I: Dream Sequence In Subi Circumnavigation,” a track that is both eerie and dreamy, climaxing into a frantic and erratic beat, and the aptly named “Traffic Shock,” where the album changes gears for one song into a classically composed tune fed into a pulsing beat machine.
Exquisitely composed, this album truly underlines the exceptional musicianship of Stevens.

Trial Track: “Movement III: Linear Tableau With Intersecting Surprise”

– Kelly Malfara

———————————————–

Velvet Underground & Nico
Velvet Underground & Nico
(Verve; 1967)

With the guidance of Andy Warhol, New York’s The Velvet Underground, joined by the super model and actress Nico, have released their self titled debut.
The album could be easily be split into three; Lou Reed’s pop tracks, Nico’s vocal touch, and Reed/John Cale’s experimental art pop.
Reed has a certain knack for writing catchy unconventional pop songs. “I’m Waiting for the Man” is a song written about a drug deal in Harlem.
Nico provides the vocals for three tracks and the backing for “Sunday Morning.” Her detached delivery and smokey voice is a perfect contrast to the sometimes rambling style of Reed.
The album has an experimental edge as songs break down and the ring of Cale’s viola cuts through the noise. “Heroin,” a song about the addiction users face, descends into screeching hopelessness.
Three distinct sections, one great album.

Trial Track: “I’m Waiting for the Man”

– Brennan Neill

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Intensive Care
Fairy Tales from the Island
(Self-release; 2009)

4.5/10

Intensive Care’s first full-length album, Fairytales from the Island, fails to enchant.
Despite a combination of proficient musicians, Intensive Care’s desire to create pop songs out of nervous structures doesn’t work.
Their self-proclaimed “mad scientist arrangements” are offensive mishmashes. Most begin on experimental and dark notes only to jump into upbeat melodies that lack conclusion.
While there are moments here, the songs don’t hold together. The first track, “Tales of Sarah Jane, the Golden Horse,” is reminiscent of Cold Play’s Viva la Vida, while “Wandering Man” is clearly influenced by The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper.
Unfortunately, the songs do not live up to their predecessors. Despite Intensive Care’s potential, Fairytales from the Island is missing the magic.

Trial Track: “Tales of Sarah Jane, the Golden Horse”

– Candace Roscoe

————————————————————————————————

Bob Dylan
Christmas in the Heart
(Columbia; 2009)

7.5/10

Living musical deity Bob Dylan has taken the Christmas complication and turned it into a charitable collection of yuletide standards (all royalties will be donated to Feeding America).
Dylan rarely strays from the usual interpretation. Christmas in the Heart may be unimaginative, but Dylan is paying homage to a long-standing tradition of carols, hymns, and holiday songs.
Dylan’s worn voice plays both against him and with him though out the album.
“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” benefit from the lonesome vocals of Dylan.
But it’s on tradition carols like “Hark The Herald Angels Sing” and “O’ Come All Ye Faithful” that the coarseness is most apparent.
A compilation that isn’t aimed as a cash grab, Christmas in the Heart has it’s heart in the right place.

Trial Track: “Must Be Santa”

– Brennan Neill

————————————————

Sufjan Stevens
BQE
(Asthematic Kitty; 2009)

7/10

Stevens’ eighth release is the soundtrack to a home-movie styled documentary, about the division of colourful New York City neighbourhoods, Brooklyn and Queens by the decrepit artery of an expressway.
The soundtrack, composed by Stevens and preformed with a 36-piece orchestra, showcases jumpy woodwinds grappling with regal brass and plucky piano chords.
Highlights include “Interlude I: Dream Sequence In Subi Circumnavigation,” a track that is both eerie and dreamy, climaxing into a frantic and erratic beat, and the aptly named “Traffic Shock,” where the album changes gears for one song into a classically composed tune fed into a pulsing beat machine.
Exquisitely composed, this album truly underlines the exceptional musicianship of Stevens.

Trial Track: “Movement III: Linear Tableau With Intersecting Surprise”

– Kelly Malfara

———————————————–

Velvet Underground & Nico
Velvet Underground & Nico
(Verve; 1967)

With the guidance of Andy Warhol, New York’s The Velvet Underground, joined by the super model and actress Nico, have released their self titled debut.
The album could be easily be split into three; Lou Reed’s pop tracks, Nico’s vocal touch, and Reed/John Cale’s experimental art pop.
Reed has a certain knack for writing catchy unconventional pop songs. “I’m Waiting for the Man” is a song written about a drug deal in Harlem.
Nico provides the vocals for three tracks and the backing for “Sunday Morning.” Her detached delivery and smokey voice is a perfect contrast to the sometimes rambling style of Reed.
The album has an experimental edge as songs break down and the ring of Cale’s viola cuts through the noise. “Heroin,” a song about the addiction users face, descends into screeching hopelessness.
Three distinct sections, one great album.

Trial Track: “I’m Waiting for the Man”

– Brennan Neill

Leave a Comment

Black Feelings – Black Feelings
(Alien8 Recordings; 2009)

8/10

After locals Les Angles Morts called it quits a couple of years ago, half the band went on to form Black Feelings. They brought with them some of the elements of arty, synth-psych that defined the sound of their former band, but their new project has a decidedly darker vibe.
On their full-length debut, Black Feelings have replaced the spazzy, kaleidoscopic grooves of Les Angles with big brooding throbs of tribalistic psych-rock. Rooted in the nihilistic sounds of early 80s darkwave and post-punk, weaved into the mix are spacey soundscapes, and undertones of pulsating surf rock rumblings which at times verge on Spaghetti Western score-level intensity.
Despite combing these seemingly disparate styles, this is an impressively cohesive album, which satisfies the full sonic spectrum: from avant garde noise, to catchy pop tunes, often all at once.

Trial Track: “Golden Children”

-Daniel Maxham

Girl + the Machine – Hello Earth
(Aporia Records; 2009)
5/10

Ever wonder what Alice was listening to as she fell down the rabbit hole into Wonderland? Probably the trippy first track on Toronto trio, Girl + the Machine’s, debut LP, Hello Earth.
The album starts out well with “We Take the Train,” evoking the upbeat energy of the Beach Boys with a healthy addition of futuristic synth pop. However, with the slow muted tones of the second track continuing on for most of the remaining songs, it loses the spark and energy that made its first track memorable.
Further efforts leave listeners lost in a schizophrenic mess, throwing in everything from odd sax solos, telectro-flutes, and nature sounds (bird and goat calls).
Solid vocals and insightful lyrics get lost under the cacophony of electronic effects and bizarre genre-hopping.
A shaky first effort, but with a bit more refinement and perhaps a little more simplicity, this trio could produce a solid album.

Trial Track: “We Take the Train”

Kelly Malfara

Karen O and the Kids &- Where the Wild Things Are OST
(Interscope Records; 2009)

7.5/10

How could you capture the fantastical spirit of a children’s storybook? Spike Jonze’s has an answer: Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
The soundtrack opens with a soft lullaby of a cooing Karen O over an acoustic guitar and xylophone. It’s a sleepy progression towards a dreamscape.
The lull is broken by “All is Love,” a bubbling track that may just be the leading cause of cavities as it is undeniably sweet and sugary.
The OST takes a bit of a dark turn with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs-esque “Capsize” but remains playful as Karen O and the Kids spell out the songs title letter by letter.
It may be impossible to capture the essence and power of imagination, but Karen O and the Kids have come close.

Trial Track: “All Is Love”

– Brennan Neill

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Black Feelings – Black Feelings
(Alien8 Recordings; 2009)

8/10

After locals Les Angles Morts called it quits a couple of years ago, half the band went on to form Black Feelings. They brought with them some of the elements of arty, synth-psych that defined the sound of their former band, but their new project has a decidedly darker vibe.
On their full-length debut, Black Feelings have replaced the spazzy, kaleidoscopic grooves of Les Angles with big brooding throbs of tribalistic psych-rock. Rooted in the nihilistic sounds of early 80s darkwave and post-punk, weaved into the mix are spacey soundscapes, and undertones of pulsating surf rock rumblings which at times verge on Spaghetti Western score-level intensity.
Despite combing these seemingly disparate styles, this is an impressively cohesive album, which satisfies the full sonic spectrum: from avant garde noise, to catchy pop tunes, often all at once.

Trial Track: “Golden Children”

-Daniel Maxham

Girl + the Machine – Hello Earth
(Aporia Records; 2009)
5/10

Ever wonder what Alice was listening to as she fell down the rabbit hole into Wonderland? Probably the trippy first track on Toronto trio, Girl + the Machine’s, debut LP, Hello Earth.
The album starts out well with “We Take the Train,” evoking the upbeat energy of the Beach Boys with a healthy addition of futuristic synth pop. However, with the slow muted tones of the second track continuing on for most of the remaining songs, it loses the spark and energy that made its first track memorable.
Further efforts leave listeners lost in a schizophrenic mess, throwing in everything from odd sax solos, telectro-flutes, and nature sounds (bird and goat calls).
Solid vocals and insightful lyrics get lost under the cacophony of electronic effects and bizarre genre-hopping.
A shaky first effort, but with a bit more refinement and perhaps a little more simplicity, this trio could produce a solid album.

Trial Track: “We Take the Train”

Kelly Malfara

Karen O and the Kids &- Where the Wild Things Are OST
(Interscope Records; 2009)

7.5/10

How could you capture the fantastical spirit of a children’s storybook? Spike Jonze’s has an answer: Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
The soundtrack opens with a soft lullaby of a cooing Karen O over an acoustic guitar and xylophone. It’s a sleepy progression towards a dreamscape.
The lull is broken by “All is Love,” a bubbling track that may just be the leading cause of cavities as it is undeniably sweet and sugary.
The OST takes a bit of a dark turn with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs-esque “Capsize” but remains playful as Karen O and the Kids spell out the songs title letter by letter.
It may be impossible to capture the essence and power of imagination, but Karen O and the Kids have come close.

Trial Track: “All Is Love”

– Brennan Neill

Leave a Comment

Arch Enemy – The Root of All Evil
(Century Media; 2009)
9/10

Arch Enemy’s eight release, The Root Of All Evil, features re-recorded tracks from the band’s first three albums with Angela Gossow replacing former vocalist Johan Liiva.
If the words “metal’ and “frontwoman’ conjure images of Evanescence, think again. Gossow won’t disappoint.
The vocals of Gossow does Liiva justice; in fact it takes a few moments to realize that it’s a woman screaming.
Take the new version of “Beast Of Man” as an example. You’ll find it hard to believe that the primal roar infiltrating your ear is coming from the chest of a hot blonde.
Arch Enemy is Swedish death metal at its best. Wholesome metal staples such as doubled melodic guitar riffs and an overall heavy sound are hard not to love.
Trial Track: “Beast Of Man”
– Candace Roscoe

————————————————–

Zero 7 – Yeah Ghost
(Atlantic; 2009)
7/10

A strong album from beginning to end, Yeah Ghost is Zero 7’s follow-up to their Grammy nominated album, The Garden.
Yeah Ghost doesn’t quite compare to earlier releases. Their first album Simple Things remains untouchable. However, Zero 7 has kept the same energy used on past albums and gives Yeah Ghost a certain spark.
Most of the album is quite upbeat. Tracks like “Mr. Mcgee” and the lead single “Medicine Man” are probably the most head bob worthy, and “Swing” is a likely contender for next single.
With the return of guest singers (Sophie Barker), and the addition of Eska Mtungwazi, the lyrical tracks tremendously overshadow the instrumental ones, which, in the case of this album, barely even deserve mention.
Yeah Ghost may sound somewhat more evolved than previous albums, but the classic sound of Zero 7 remains.
– Owen Nagels

————————————————

Girls – Album
(Matador; 2009)
8/10

There is nothing earth-shattering about Album, the debut release from the San Francisco duo Girls. Yet the surmounting hype may well be deserved.
Album is a collection of feel good songs that recall everything that was good about classic sixties California music. With hints of the Beach Boys, Jesus and Mary Chain, and Elvis Costello, there is a tinge of welcome familiarity that hits straight to the heart.
“I wish I had a suntan,/ I wish I had a pizza and a bottle of wine,” muses vocalist Christopher Owens. With its simple lyrics and romantic sentiments, Girls weave fuzzy surf-rock, shoegaze, and dream pop into accessible, pleasant melodies.
From the infectious “Lust for Life”, to the wistful “Hellhole Ratrace”, and the shoegazy “Morning Light”, Album is full of melodic pop songs, delivered with nonchalance and self-effacing humor.
Trial Track: “Lust for Life”
– Anna Chigo

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