Little Beirut – High Dive

Little Beirut – High Dive / 2008 Self / 12 Tracks / http://www.littlebeirut.com /

The style of music with which Little Beirut start off their “High Dive” is somethignt hat is emotionally intense but full of the same jangly, guitar-driven indie rock that individuals have heard from acts as wide as Coldplay and Radiohead. The band starts the disc with “She’s A Martyr”,  a track that links together these two styles while coming ultimately forth with a style of rock that could keep pace with acts like The Killers. The band’s high momentum continues through “Sniper’s Lament”, a song that adds a large amount of electronic arrangements to the mix. Where it is not as significant as the vocals or the instrumentation on the disc, a special note has to be taken about the lush production values that are present during “High Dive”. Continue reading “Little Beirut – High Dive”

Lemuria – Get Better

Lemuria – Get Better / 2008 Asian Man / 12 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/lemuria / http://www.asianmanrecords.com /

Lemuria excites me. I had little expectations for the band coming out of just looking at the CD, but it really took me sticking the disc into my player and hearing “Pants” to really get behind the act. There is not really a referent to any of the band’s unique style. Two vocalists – one male and one female – plays a punky type of rock. This is similar in style to acts like Operation: Cliff Clavin and Matt and Kim, but the overall sound of Lemuria is miles away from these two acts. Lemuria comes forth to the quandary of how to create music that is fresh while still playing on the sensibilities of individuals that will ultimately look to purchase a CD. Continue reading “Lemuria – Get Better”

OST: Bonneville

OST: Bonneville / 2008 Lakeshore / 15 Tracks / http://www.lakeshore-records.com /

The style of “Bonneville’s” soundtrack is interesting. The first half of the disc consists of tracks by a number of individuals both famous (Donovan, Amos Lee) and either forgotten or less popular (Chelo, Nick Kershaw). The second half of the disc consists of tracks by Jeff Cardoni, an up and coming composer that has scored things as diverse as Finding tATu, Miss Guided, American Pie: Beta House, and More of Me. The different styles of the songs chosen for the soundtrack, along with those that were commission for the soundtrack specifically, fits the movie’s premise quite well. For those individuals that have not seen “Bonneville” up to this point, the movie centers around three women that attempt to deliver a husband’s ashes to a daughter that is very emotionally invested in the situation. Continue reading “OST: Bonneville”

Nik Freitas – Sun Down

Nik Freitas – Sun Down / 2008 Team Love / 10 Tracks / http://www.nikfreitas.com /  http://www.team-love.com /

Freitas has been around for a few years before signing on to Team Love. That means that there are three other albums that individuals can pick up if they like what is happening on “Sun Down”: Here’s Laughing At You, Heavy Mellow, and Voicing The Hammers. The first, titular track is an example in softly-spoken alternative pop. Hints of Paul Simon and later Paul McCartney is present. While the instrumentation on “Sun Down” is very subtle and softly-spoken, the resulting arrangements are intricate and perfectly fit Freitas’ vocals. Continue reading “Nik Freitas – Sun Down”

The Wombats – S/T

The Wombats – S/T / 2008 Kids in America / 6 Tracks / http://www.thewombats.co.uk /  http://www.thekidsinamerica.net /

Man, if there was a band that sounded like the prototypal act that has rocketed up the Popworld charts in the last two years, it would be The Wombats. This is not a bad thing, and the band’s brand of pop-cum-indie rock is really catchy. “Backfire At The Disco” sounds as if it was done by The Courteeners (listen to “Acrylic” to see what I mean), but since The Courteeners have no popularity in America, The Wombats will likely be seen as the progenitors of that style. “Kill The Director” follows with much of the same style as was first brought forth during “Backfire At The Disco”. The one major change that I can hear in the band’s sound has to be the incredibly catchy chorus that awaits listeners. This is coupled with a more sedate instrumental lead-in to that chorus. Continue reading “The Wombats – S/T”

Flogging Molly – Float

Flogging Molly – Float / 2008 SideOneDummy / 11 Tracks / http://www.floggingmolly.com / http://www.sideonedummy.com /

“Requiem For A Dying Song” is the first track on “Float”, and it shows that Flogging Molly have taken the years in between 2004’s “Within A Mile of Home” and this album to create songs that are very intricate but still have the same blend of catchy Irish and punk genres. The three and a half minutes of “Requiem For A Dying Song” go by quickly, while “Paddy’s Lament” changes up the sound to a more stripped-down and direct assault of listener’s ears. The act even throws in a little appreciation for the framework of progressive metal acts, even if everything is masterfully modified into an Irish-rock type of sound. The band finally slows things down during the title track. Continue reading “Flogging Molly – Float”

Holy Rolemodel – The Sum of Our Parts

Holy Rolemodel – The Sum of Our Parts / 2006 Self / 11 Tracks / http://www.holyrolemodel.com /

“Bleed America” is the first track on “The Sum of Our Parts”, and it shows that Holy Rolemodel is a punk act that links together a number of punk sub-genres. There is not a specific set of acts that the band tries to ape, but there is a heavier influence on the band by acts such as Ten Foot Pole, Face to Face, and Dropkick Murphys. The act still has some rough spots that come forth especially during tracks like “Cast Out”. It seems as if the band could easily be the next big punk thing but the act does not gel together completely. This means that the guitars and drums may work on the same plane as the vocals but don’t give the proper highlighting and rub to the vocals. Continue reading “Holy Rolemodel – The Sum of Our Parts”

Intodown – Brave New World

Intodown – Brave New World / 2007 Self / 11 Tracks / http://www.intodown.com /

Intodown is an act that loves their long tracks. This means that the shortest composition on “Brave new World” is 5 minutes, while the next (the eponymous track) is 7 minutes long. In the middle of the album, there is a 21 minute track. Now, whether the band will succeed or fail is really dependent on how the and paces themselves. The act takes a rock approach to thing, instead of trying to do something like dungeon or black metal, which would drastically reduce the number of individuals that could appreciate the album. Rather, Intodown comes forth with a brand of rock that focuses o the work of acts like the Replacements and Husker Du.

The band also finds themselves taking up the standard of some of the more psychedelic bands of the sixties to create something that is simultaneously intense and intricate. There is little in the way of traditional vocals during the opening track to “Brave New World” – “Elevator” – but the act is able to tell enough of a story to keep individuals interested throughout all eight minutes of the song. The eponymous track starts out with a smoky, country type feel to hard rock music – the nearest thing that I can approximate the band’s output to would be either “This Love”  or “Cemetery Gates”-era Pantera. Of course, there is not the quick shifts in the band’s sound that a Pantera was known for, but the overall sound of the track is similar to that. The first major shift in the band’s sound that I can really hear during “Brave New World” would be during “Revolution”.

“Revolution” has a carnival-infused sound to the track that stands alone as the only example of that particular sound during the disc. The band shifts back into a Black Sabbath-esque sound for the rest of the track, but the presence of this minor deviation from the sound cultivated during the disc will keep individuals interested. Where there is not as much of a focus on crafting a current, contemporary type of sound during “Brave New World, the style of music that Intodown does play will garner new fans. The absence of a vocalist would be problematic to pretty much any other act, but Intodown have the talent to make the instrumental thing work. This is an album that virtually requires listeners to strap a pair of headphones on and chill out for the duration of the disc.

Top Tracks: Intodown,  Revolution

Rating: 6.5/10

Great Northern – Sleepy Eepee

Great Northern – Sleepy Eepee / 2008 Eenie Meenie / 5 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/greatnorthern / http://www.eeniemeenie.com /

Eenie Meenie has tagged this as “The Prequel For Trading Twilight For Daylight”, and these five tracks do a damn good job in giving individuals a good idea what Great Northern sounded like from 2003 to 2004. The dreamy brand of indie music that they play is given a rough form here. The first track on “Sleepy Eepie” is “Loose Ends”, and it blends together a very organic brand of vocals with an oscillating, inorganic type of sound. What results during “Loose Ends” is a track that finally coalesces into something more than its constituent parts about two and a half minutes in. Continue reading “Great Northern – Sleepy Eepee”

Quiet Life – Act Natural

Quiet Life – Act Natural / 2008 Safety Meeting / 11 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/quietlife /

The bluesy rock style that Quiet Life starts off their “Act Natural” with is something that could easily break the band big as soon as the right individuals find the album. It is not only the catchiness of the act that will sell listeners on this album, but their ability to create order in chaos (especially during the chorus on “Trying To Get Home”) and make something utterly beautiful. The vocalist of Quiet Life has the same funkiness, classical style of Chris Robinson (from The Black Crowes). Instead of the rest of the band going that route for their “Act Natural”, Quiet Life goes for a more indie-rock meets blues sound. Continue reading “Quiet Life – Act Natural”