Albert Hammond, Jr – Yours To Keep

Albert Hammond, Jr – Yours To Keep / 2007 New Lie / 10 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/alberthammonjr / http://www.newlinerecords.com /

Albert Hammond does not sound like much of a rocker. However, for those individuals that do not know, ey was one of the integral parts to the seminal band The Strokes. The opening track on “Yours To Keep” is “Cartoon Music For Superheroes”, and it does not sound like the hard, catchy rock of The Strokes for a second. Rather, Hammond plays a style of dreamy pop that has a lot of influence drawn from the sixties pop acts like The Turtles and The Monkees.

Hell, there is even a nod to the sun-baked sounds of the Beach Boys, with more than a passing glance to their “Kokomo”. The track is endearing but it does not yet mark a solo hit for Hammond. The second track on the disc makes a much stronger play for radio rotation. This track, “In Transit”, still uses a lot of the earlier influences to create a track. However, unlike “Cartoon Music”, “In Transit” has a link to the work of acts like Interpol and Fischerspooner, in that there is just a minor hit of electronic music that plays on the edge of the track. The hooky, Polaris-like drum beats of “Everyone Gets A Star” works with the deadpan vocals of Hammond during this track to play to the Bloodhound Gang crew. This track could make it up the charts in the “ironic” way, and the song should be noticed for its’ smart arrangements. This is the first track, in fact, that makes me appreciate Hammond as a master of arrangement. By the end of “Everyone Gets A Star”, Hammond is sitting pretty. For my money, it is the lead up to the chorus on “Bright Young Thing” that makes “Yours To Keep” for me.

The emotional gravity, coupled with impressive instrumentation, is THE reason why individuals should pick up this album. Couple that with a linkage back to the sixties sound of prior tracks along with the dance-like drumming, and one has a track that shines in both the single and album context.  Albert Hammond, Jr on eir “Yours To Keep” does well in the construction of a post-Strokes style. I actually prefer Hammond’s sound at points over the highly repetitive sound of The Strokes. I just hope, that as the years pass, that Hammond can come up with more in the way of solo efforts that are up to the same high quality of “Yours To Keep”. 

Top Tracks: Bright Young Thing, Blue Skies

Rating: 6.1/10

Bad Religion – New Maps of Hell

Bad Religion – New Maps of Hell / 2007 Epitaph / 16 Tracks / http://www.badreligion.com / http://www.epitaph.com /

Anyone that actually knows me knows that Bad Religion is one of my favorite bands of all time. I thought that they had a trying time in the Atlantic days, but that they came back to true form with “The Process of Belief” and “The Empire Strikes First”. With Joe Barresi at the helm (Tool, Queens of the Stone Age), how will the band sound? Well, Bad Religion sounds a lot like they always have, but the band seems to have included some Weezer into their overall sound. Now, I did not like what Todd Rungren did to the band for their “New America” album. Continue reading “Bad Religion – New Maps of Hell”

Cashis – The County Hound EP

Cashis – The County Hound EP / 2007 Shady / 8 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/cashisoc / http://www.shadyrecords.com /

Cashis is the latest project put forth by Eminem and eir Shady Records. Eminem’s touch has not been the strongest with the last few releases on the label, with Obie Trice being the most notable failure up to that point. “That Nigga A Gangster” is the first full track on the disc, and it has a strong flow. The fuzzy backdrop for Cashis to flow on works well as well, and the second set of vocals give a nice contrast to the track. Overall, Cashis starts this EP in a strong way. Continue reading “Cashis – The County Hound EP”

OST: 300 Soundtrack

OST: 300 / 2007 WB / 25 Tracks / http://www.300themovie.warnerbros.com /

Pretty much everyone has seen 300 at this point. It is the story of the valiant Spartan army against the evil Persians; what individuals may not be immediately familiar with is the work of Tyler Bates. Bates, who composed the score to this movie, is best known for creating the soundtrack to movies like Dawn of the Dead and The Devil’s Rejects. The subject matter is a little different, but Bates comes up with a score that fits the movie and the current period well. Continue reading “OST: 300 Soundtrack”

Videohippos – Unbeast The Leash

Videohippos – Unbeast The Leash / 2007 Monitor / 12 Tracks / http://www.videohippos.com / http://www.monitorrecords.com /

The electro-indie rock of Videohippos reminds me of a coked-out reinterpretation of Neil Young’s Trans album. There is an earthy, natural progression to the track even as the synthesizer and electronic fuzz seem to paint a picture opposed to that. “Tooth Sub” is the first track on the disc, and the band’s only fault at the onset of this disc has to be a little too much reliance on the same arrangements that were present throughout the entirety of the disc. However, the band flips the script for “The List”. The overall structure of the track is the same, but there is a little bit of a depressed and downtrodden sound to this track. Continue reading “Videohippos – Unbeast The Leash”

Amber Pacific – Truth In Sincerity

Amber Pacific – Truth In Sincerity / 2007 Hopeless / 12 Tracks / http://www.amberpacific.com / http://www.hopelessrecords.com /

For a few years back when I first started the magazine, The Red Hot Valentines were the band that could do no wrong. Through four or five releases, everything they did was golden. They broke p a few years back, but it did not take me too terribly long to find another band to take their spot. This band is Amber Pacific, and “Truth In Sincerity” marks their second album. “Rule #76” is a short introductory track, but the band immediately starts kicking ass again with their “Summer (In B)”. The same fast, almost punk-infused emo rock of Amber Pacific is as clear and as vibrant as on any other tracks. The sizzling guitar tracks link themselves well with the catchy vocals and splashy drums. Continue reading “Amber Pacific – Truth In Sincerity”

Baby Boy Da Prince – Across The Water

Baby Boy Da Prince – Across The Water / 2007 Republic / 18 Tracks / http://www.babyboydaprince.com / http://www.universalrepublic.com

Baby Boy Da Prince is one of the few artists that I actually knew about before I received the disc. “The Way I Live” (featuring the up and coming Lil Boosie) has been played on all the local radio stations on high rotation, and “Naw Meen” is another track that has been making waves. However, the biggest question is whether Baby Boy Da Prince is able to string together a cohesive album or if the rest of the album. The one thing that immediately becomes clear to listeners of “Across The Water” is that Baby Boy Da Prince throws too much extra chaff on the disc. Continue reading “Baby Boy Da Prince – Across The Water”

The Toasters – One More Bullet

The Toasters – One More Bullet / 2007 Stomp / 12 Tracks / http://www.toasters.org / http://www.stomprecords.com/

The Toasters have been around for a quarter-century. They were one of the most influential acts in the creation of the third wave of ska music which peaked around 1996. Surprisingly enough, The Toasters are still around while the rest of the acts latter era have broken up or have decreased in importance. Feeling bad for the casualties of the third wave, The Toasters have included a number of members from these bands. For this album, this includes members of Mephiskaphales, Slackers, and Daze of Dawn. Continue reading “The Toasters – One More Bullet”

OST: Ocean’s Thirteen

OST: Ocean’s Thirteen / 2007 Warner Bros / 20 Tracks / http://oceans13.warnerbros.com / http://www.warnerbros.com /

I have not had a chance to see any of the newer “Ocean’s” movies, but I can generally guess what the movies are able. A group of people (however many are determined by the title of the movie, typically) are trying to rip off a casino. One can guess that the music for a movie of that type will largely look back to the lounge and Elvis-like styles of music. David Holmes is the composer of the music to this movie (Actually, ey has been responsible for the scores for the last two Ocean’s movies). There seems to be more of a homage with this score to the classic James Bond movie, “Diamonds Are Forever”. Continue reading “OST: Ocean’s Thirteen”

Plan B – Who Needs Actions When You Got Words

Plan B – Who Needs Actions When You Got Words / 2007 Warner / 14 Tracks / http://www.time4planb.co.uk /

The United Kingdom comes up with the most interesting rappers. Since Goldie Looking Chain and The Streets, the country has been creating notable changes to the style that still maintain a very catchy and radio-friendly song. “Who Needs Actions When You Got Words” starts out with “Kidz”, and while the backing beat does not change up much throughout the full length of the track, the flow titillates and keeps individuals listening in. “Sick 2 Def” has an acoustic guitar operate as the backing beat, while the flow mixes equal parts Streets with Eyedea. Continue reading “Plan B – Who Needs Actions When You Got Words”