OST: Atonement

OST: Atonement / 2007 Decca / 15 Tracks / http://www.focusfeatures.com/atonement /

Atonement is director Joe Wright’s adaptation of Ian McEwan’s 2001 novel, of the same name. The film itself features James McAvoy (Band of Brothers, Chronicles of Narnia) and Keira Knightley (Pirates of the Caribbean, Love Actually), and is set in the 1930s, detailing the lives of Briony, Robbie, and Cecilia. The soundtrack for the film was created by Dario Marianelli (V For Vendetta, Pride & Prejudice) and features the work of Jean-Yves Thibaudet (The Portrait of a Lady, Bride of the Wind and Pride & Prejudice). First off, the strongest element to this score is the fact that it genuinely feels as if the recording is coming from the movie’s period, rather than being created by an individual that was not very musically conscious or even alive during the movie’s period). Continue reading “OST: Atonement”

The Killers – Sawdust

The Killers – Sawdust / 2007 Island / 17 Tracks / http://www.thekillersmusic.com / http://www.islandrecords.com /

Before I start this review, I have to saw that “Tranquilize” is one of the best songs of the year 2007. The fact that it has Lou Reed on it only increases the amount I enjoy the song, and the accompanying video does not paint The Killers as any sort of slouches either. “Tranquilize” is on “Sawdust”, which is a sort of B-sides and rarities album for fans of the band. Of course, for the casual listener, The Killers have added tracks that everyone is familiar with, albeit tweaked in some way. That means that there is a Jacques Lu Cont mix of “Mr. Brightside” that turns the track into something eminently dance worthy, while “Sam’s Town” is a little bit more raw and angry than it was originally presented. For fans of the somewhat retro sound of dance-rock that The Killers create, the cover of Joy Division’s ”Shadowplay” will link past to present, influencer to influence, and show how talented The Killers really are. Continue reading “The Killers – Sawdust”

Rick Springfield – Christmas With You

Rick Springfield – Christmas With You / 2007 Gomer / 15 Tracks / http://www.rickspringfield.com /

Of course, Rick Springfield is the mastermind behind the song “Jessie’s Girl”. This song was released a good twenty years ago and the catchiness of the song has been enough to keep Rick Springfield at least somewhat in the public eye since then. However, there has not really been a follow-up that has reached the level of fame as “Jessie’s Girl”, even if there have been a number of new tracks in the years that have followed. The last time that Springfield even approached the charts was in 2004, when eir single “Beautiful You” reached #28 on the United States adult contemporary charts. Continue reading “Rick Springfield – Christmas With You”

Vashti Bunyan – Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind

Vashti Bunyan – Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind / 2007 Dicristina / 25 Tracks / http://www.dicristina.com /

We at NeuFutur have reviewed Bunyan’s works before. Eir career in a quick nutshell: “Just Another Diamond Day”, eir debut LP, was released in 1970. “Lookaftering” was intended to come out soon after “Just Another Diamond Day”, but was unreleased until Bunyan finished it up and Fat Possum released it in 2005. 2006 saw Bunyan go out and tour to completely new audiences, while a new track (“The Fire”) was released for the compilation “Ballads of the Book”. This year (2007) marks the release of “Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind”, which is a compilation of singles and demo versions of other tracks by Bunyan stretching forward from 1964 until 1967. The only thing that I could construe as a weakness with “Some Things” is the fact that there should have been a more steadfast use of chronological ordering to the tracks on the discs. The songs here bounce back and forth between all four years, and I know that I personally would have liked to hear the evolution in Bunyan’s style throughout the four years sequentially. It’s a minor complaint, but still one that bears mentioning.  Continue reading “Vashti Bunyan – Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind”

American Steel – Destroy Their Future

American Steel – Destroy Their Future / 2007 Fat Wreck / 12 Tracks / http://www.americansteel.com / http://www.fatwreck.com /

American Steel has been around for a few years and “Destroy Their Future” marks the fourth full length released by the band. Individuals may think that their Fat Wreck Chords debut is their first, but they would be mistaken; this mature (in regards to arrangements and overall sound) band comes forth first on “Destroy Their Future” with “Sons of Avarice”, which is a track that ties together a Cramps sound with something more current, something more like Lucero and Against Me! than anything else. The addition of a small piece of alt-country to the mix gives “Sons of Avarice” a full sound that assaults all senses equally.  Continue reading “American Steel – Destroy Their Future”

The Flatliners – The Great Awake

The Flatliners – The Great Awake / 2007 Fat Wreck / 12 Tracks / http://www.theflatliners.com / http://www.fatwreck.com

This is the debut album by Toronto’s own The Flatliners, and the band is able to come at their first release with such intensity that individuals will feel that they are much farther in their careers. The first track on “The Great Awake” is “July! August! Reno!”, and it paints The Flatliners as a band that likes to give their listeners a dollop of punk while still having some of the emotional intensity of current day hardcore. The overall approach of the band during this track plays on the output of bands like Latterman, but there is a hint of earlier acts like Thought Riot present during this opening track. Similarly, “Eulogy” is a track that will recall 2005-era Rise Against, along with hints of Strike Anywhere and earlier Against Me!. Continue reading “The Flatliners – The Great Awake”

The Rumble Strips – Alarm Clock

The Rumble Strips – Alarm Clock / 2007 Kanine / 6 Tracks / http://www.therumblestrips.com / http://www.kaninerecords.com /

Few bands have the cahones to cover the great Thin Lizzy. That is what The Rumble Strips do on their “Alarm Clock” EP, along with placing 5 other rockin’ songs on the disc. “Alarm Clock” starts with a very prominent horn section that make The Rumble Strips sound a little like the Planet Smashers. When the Birtish accent of the band kicks in, I go back to the days when I would watch The Undertones and Madness on MuchMusic, and tried to catch episodes of the Young Ones on BBC America. The Rumble Strips have that type of retro sound, but it is the strength of the vocals and impressive production that is present on this EP that make the disc into something that is truly great. Continue reading “The Rumble Strips – Alarm Clock”

Georgie James – Places

Georgie James –  Places / 2007 Saddle Creek / http://www.myspace.com/georgiejames / http://www.saddle-creek.com /

If one really thinks about it, the fact that Georgie James is currently on Saddle Creek and not Dischord is a fairly major type of thing. This is due to the fact that Georgie James is comprised of a member from Q And Not U, which were located on Dischord before their break-up. For quite a few years, pretty much any act that played around the Washington area that garnered critical acclaim worked with Dischord, and the release of “Places” on Saddle Creek shows that Dischord’s stranglehold on indie rock has decreased to the degree that Saddle Creek can coerce a band from Dischord’s back yard into signing with the label. Continue reading “Georgie James – Places”

The Last Goodnight – Poison Kiss

The Last Goodnight – Poison Kiss / 2007 Virgin / 12 Tracks / http://www.thelastgoodnight.net / http://www.virginrecords.com /

Individuals may know who The Last Goodnight are without knowing exactly why or how they know them. Their music was featured as a free download on iTunes, and was used as a musical interlude during a promotional clip for the show Brothers & Sisters. In regards to knowing the band in a non-electronic sense, they have been lucky enough to tour with Elliott Yamin and Josh Hoge, and have also toured with Rocco DeLuca and the Burden. The opening track on “Poison Kiss” (also the title track) paints The Last Goodnight as an act that is tremendously influenced by an act like Maroon 5.

There is a decidedly pop sound present in their rock output, to the degree that it would not be surprising to see them on rock radio rotation. The biggest track (the song that individuals would be most familiar with The Last Goodnight with) on “Poison Kiss” is “Pictures of You”. “Pictures of You” is a much slower track than “Poison Kiss”, and the opening piano line during the track is thrown into a R&B influenced backing instrumentation, while the band continues to do their feel-good brand of rock. “Pictures of You” will bring The Last Goodnight fame and fortune, as the track is soft enough that it will not offend being on adult contemporary stations, while there is just enough of an edge to merit the track being on rock stations.

The band continues “Poison Kiss” with “Stay Beautiful”, which is a track that continues with the soulful, pop-laced brand of rock music that has preceded the track. The only thing that could be problematic for The Last Goodnight is how closely grouped the tracks on “Poison Kiss” are; the songs, whether they be “Poison Kiss” or “Incomplete”, rarely break new ground. While this bodes well for individuals that can really get behind this style of music, the band feels as if they are creating a rut for themselves that will be difficult, if not impossible, to get out of. The Last Goodnight show enough talent on this album to make me confident that they could break free of this style if they are prodded to, but I feel as if there might not be enough in the way of desire to do so. Keep an ear to the ground about the band, though, and they may just yet surprise individuals listening in to them.

Top Tracks: Stay Beautiful, In Your Arms

Rating: 3.8/10

Angels and Airwaves – I-Empire

Angels and Airwaves – I-Empire / 2007 Suretone / 12 Tracks / http://www.angelsandairwaves.com / http://www.geffen.com /

While my post-Blink bands loyalty was in the +44 court for a while, I found out about Angels and Airwaves after procuring for myself a copy of their last album. “It Hurts” was an amazing track, and it swing my loyalty over. “Call To Arms”, the first track on “I-Empire”, puts me more firmly into Angels and Airwaves’ camp. While there is not necessary a radio track to be find in “Call To Arms”, the intricacies present in the arrangements will draw individuals in. Continue reading “Angels and Airwaves – I-Empire”