Thursday, June 28, 2007

LTME Semi - Annual Album Review '07...holla!

I learned a few things while composing this list. First, I am glad to see my active readership has ballooned to 3, that's good news for the folks in the ad department. Second, Mordecai listens to far too much Dance-Pop music. Lastly, this year is off to one heck of a start and we haven't had one album from a former Idol!

Without further adieu;

T ~ #12 Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? - Of Montreal
This probably would not have made my list normally, but I gave it some thought after the rec and although it's a little too, well 'gay,' the album is amazingly constructed and contains the group's best effort to date. Possibly the most upbeat album I've heard in a while.

T ~ #12 Beyond - Dinosaur Jr.
The two to three guitar solos contained in some of these songs is enough to appease any fan of the instrument, and the throwback sounds of grunge makes this my favorite post grunge-grunge album to date. It's amazing how tight and successful the sound is on this album given the extended hiatus the band was on prior to recording. A triumph for a classic band.

#11 ~ The Good, the Bad and the Queen - The Good, the Bad and the Queen
Super groups often fall well short of aspirations, but that is once again not the case for Damon Albarn. This low-key, constantly melodious and smokey album flows extremely well and although I could have used more percussion at times, it delivers when it needs to. There are already rumors of a Blur reunion, but here's to hoping it doesn't come before a second effort with TGTBandTQ.

#10 ~ Ash Wednesday - Elvis Perkins
Simply the most beautiful songs of the year. The gut wrenching lyrics and honest voice carry the listener along an intent and at times treacherous path. Elvis has a craft with words, and his imagery supersedes the songs themselves at times, which are brilliantly composed over simplistic yet engaging instrumentation. The adjoining EP together delivers some of the years finest.

#9 ~ Icky Thump - The White Stripes
They're back, and this time they brought the noise! I was among the few that enjoyed the musical reaching and perhaps shortcomings of GBMS, but I am thrilled to hear the heat of the duo aflame again. Still exploring new realms with trumpets, bagpipes and a narrative story, this album is not simply a remake of a previous effort, it shows real growth as well and in the same a comfort with their sounds of old. The Stripe's rank among my all time favorite's and this album is testament to their stellar portfolio.

#8 ~ Emotionalism - The Avett Brothers
I might have jumped the gun calling Elvis's album the 'most beautiful' of the year, for it might be tied with this miraculous composition from one time hillbilly bluegrass boys turned masters of the trade. The introduction of new instruments, arrangements and all together focus proved a fruitful venture for the brothers. Although far diversified from their previous sound, the Bros. have not forsaken their fans, rather given them more reason to praise one of the best kept secrets in music.

#7 ~ We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank - Modest Mouse
I admit, I am biased on this one, but I can't help it I love this band. This album had all the markings of the beginning of the end after the success of Good News as well as the addition of Mr. Marr, but instead of finding a more middle of the road, radio friendly sound, Brock and Co. dug deep and created their hardest album yet. The bizarre, the complex and the relentlessly foot tapping are all there and although bigger, bolder and more produced than any album to date, it still is a welcome addition to the catalog.

#6 ~ Wild Mountain Nation - Blitzen Trapper
I really do not understand how these Portland fellas can throw their hat into so many genre's and still create such a cohesive and amazing album. It may not click the first listen or two, but when it does, watch out, because you're hooked. I am a true sucker for the sounds of alt-country mixed with the stylings of punk and I may well have found a safe place in this album. It's just Wild!

#5 ~ Neon Bible - Arcade Fire
With the weight of the world on their shoulders the muse for the Indie world took the pressure in stride and shocked us all with a dark, moody but ultimately wonderful sophomore effort. Dabbling in the same religious, lover soul searching lyrical treatment of Funeral, the Fire venture away from the uplifting sounds and bring the gloom and the earnestness of folk music. Perhaps the best guerrilla marketing for an album in years as well as one of the more exciting live shows around, this band is making all the right moves.

#4 ~ Armchair Apocypha - Andrew Bird
Bird and Dosh join forces once again and in so doing laid down track after track of the most rewarding material Bird has ever performed. Always heavy on the metaphors the lyrics set the mood for this 'thinking man's' album as the violin, whistling and tinkering of Dosh bring everything full circle. I had very high hopes for this album and boy did it deliver. Phenomenal.

#3 ~ Mirrored - Battles
I imagine some of you (any of the 3) are growing tired of my rantings about Battles, but after listening to this album once again yesterday, I feel I am just in my ways. This album took me so off guard the first time I played it that I thought it could never live up to the thrill of the first listen. Countless listens later and post live performance I am finding more and more reasons why this is one of the most exciting sounds to break out of the norm in years. Challenging in so many ways, but rewarding in so many more.

#2 ~ Friend and Foe - Menomena
No question about it, my most listened to album of the year, nothing even comes close. Subtle, bold, coated, revealing, aggressive, submissive, amazing. Critics were quick to tag this effort as 'faux mature sound for a former dance-pop group.' I take it for what it is, freakin' awesome. Oft times the more bizarre a band's sound is the more inclined I am to explore and more often than not I am overwhelmed with delight when I 'get their sound.' This album has many strengths, but in a lot of ways its the weaknesses that that reveal it's true character. Congrats gang!

#1 ~ Boxer - The National
I think I made my thoughts on this album pretty obvious earlier in the year, but this is my forum and while I am still working the mic at the podium, here we go again. Maybe its just the production treatment on the vocals, but I feel like this album is swallowing me whole with every listen. Like thick molasses, the songs ooze, drip and smoother making everything it touches delicious. There is not a weak track on the entirety of the work, just some of the tastiest treats this Nation has to offer. If you haven't listened to this album yet, do yourself the favor.

-Hope this list lends itself as a source to discover some new bands and thanks to Mordecai, Pickle and Luke for helping out. On that note, I have not listened to Apples in Stereo and I think Animal Collective is better than Panda Bear, hence the omission.
Looking forward to some more stellar releases in '07 with Spoon, Interpol, Kanye, Josh Ritter, Band of Horses, Tapes N' Tapes, Radiohead etc. still to come.

Monday, June 25, 2007

It's that time of the year...again?

LTME's 1st semi-annual Essential 12 albums.

That's right folks, you heard it here first! LTME is releasing it's much anticipated mid year album breakdown.

The Essential 12 albums of '07 to date will be ranked and reviewed.

I WANT YOUR INPUT!!! Let me know what you think is the best album so far this year (it's been pretty solid, little lacking in Hip-Hop/Rap, but we got enough good stuff to cover).

Note: Chinese Democracy has not officially been released yet, therefore it is disqualified from the rankings.

Friday, June 22, 2007


I was already mad that I missed Bonnaroo this year...and then I watched this and now I am furious!

John Paul Jones, Ben Harper and ?uestlove...need I say more?

THE Flaming Lips - Do You Realize???

The White Stripes - Death Letter

Tool with Tom Morello - Lateralus

Clip of The Whigs killing it at Roo...
Clip of The Black Keys doin their thing

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Grab a stool partna, we got's summin we need to discuss

Wild Mountain Nation - Blitzen Trapper

Say partner, that’s one heck of a bootleg you got there. This some kinda unknown Kinks album or some obscure Three Dog Night punk cover band, just what you got cookin’?

Wait, now it sounds like you listenin’ to some Beck or Eels…Nah, hold on now this song is kinda like Pavement or even some backwoods version of Tapes ‘N Tapes. Just what are trying to pull with this here record bud?

Blitzer Trappen? Why I ain’t never heard tell of no Blitzer Trappen. Come again boy?

Ah, Blitzen Trapper from Port town, Oregon. Still got nothing, but this is one heck of a shindig you got spinnin’.

Wild Mountain Nation, now a man could get to steppin’ to a beat like that. Shame there ain’t no split tail in this Saloon. Kinda a swirly jaunt that sets the sun in me, then shakes off a dusty glove to grab hold of a sippin and at the same time keepin’ them weird lookin’ PBR drinkin folk from the city in the grins. That ain’t no easy feat, I tell you me.

This one here, Country Caravan, that’s just downright good 70’s country rock and it suits up nicely to Wild Mountain Jam, heck I even think I like that first one you played there, what was it called again? Right, Devils A-Go-Go. Don’t mind if I do.

Futures and Folly, just feels good donnit, real simple like. That ain’t to say that I can’t get me into some trouble off that Woof and Warp of the sometin’ sometin’. For the most part that one is real nice, but I leave her and her friend Sci-Fi Kid to the boys in the vintage T’s drinking $8 coffee’s.

Believe me now or leave me good for the vultures right here, but my horse and my word are safe with that crazy one Miss Spiritual Tramp. You know if she courtin’ dese days?

Well heck boy, I gots to hit the trail but you sure did make this an interesting spot off. Imagine I’ll carry these tunes in my head most all summer, might even join me up Wild Nation Jam.

‘I twas a drive by, Colobean necktie, da da dan da’

Rating: 8.4

Friday, June 15, 2007

You ever dance with the Devil in the pale moon light?

2013 Wolves, Stone Figs, Battles – 6/14/07 The Milestone, Charlotte, NC

I never had full view, but the moon is sure to have been blue.

There are worthy venues and there are poor ones.
Every once in a while the night moon lights the way to that which the sun keeps hidden. Shadows lurk from here to there leaping past one another headed in a direction unknown to most. Creatures that nestle in the warm underbelly of the city where few have ever ventured rise and come to be. Nightwalkers know these shadows and know them well. They trust the disjointed leaps and array of misdirection for they know in the end, the shadow will drop and the pale of the moon glows bright upon the Queen City’s holy shrine of the unknown.

There are superior bands and there are dire ones.
Unexpected cosmic revelations inspire the minds and predict the future, if you take to the fate of the stars. I stand more grounded, occasionally venturing into the nether region. The live show, when executed correctly, can knock my orbit off kilter and send me spinning out of this galaxy.

On a misty, murky night in the month of Junus, the stars did align.


Ducking past the doorway I stepped foot into uncharted territory and found myself right at home. Scribbling, splatter, and slapped serve as the décor where vindications such as ‘Mess with me and you get the whole trailer park’ set the tempo. When they speak it, they speak of the Milestone.

I steered my craft beyond the bedheads, skintight denim, mustaches and black frame glasses of the nightwalkers to a region my crew and I are more accustomed to…the bar. We bellied up to three of the Lucky Cowgirl on the Moon’s and pondered how being born under different phases of the dead star that orbits the third rock from the sun we all shared the same horoscope: June 14th, 2007 – Take that risk and try something different. You’ll be glad you did when you find something new in the same old places.


2013 Wolves

Exiting the main room on a beer run I noticed the sound of heavy drumming and slicing guitar licks growing louder and louder. I also noticed that everyone in the bar room was facing in one direction and that they were bobbing their head to the beat. Then I noticed we were missing the opening act because we were in the wrong room.

Not at all what I expected from them, I dug 2013 Wolves and their garage rock meets math rock sound. Situated at the back of the room it was difficult to see the duo, but I was able to grab glimpses of the drummer, steadfast cranking away…which would be a theme for the event.

Self proclaimed white trash, 2013 Wolves wailed hard, despite being down one maybe two members? There was no denying the punk/southern rock guitar bellowing out of the speakers playing hand in hand to the smashing drums, its just that none of us even knew where the hell he was. Running with the pack, we just bobbed along to the sounds and read the graffiti and signage that littered the walls and ceilings. Both were highly entertaining. It wasn’t until the end of the set that the ‘down man’ rose from the edge of the small stage whence he was seated throughout. I’ll be damned, he was there all along.

On cue, as Wolves wrapped it up, the strums of post-punk punk pop began to make its way from the main room and the crowd knowingly made their way over to catch Stone Figs…the transition between rooms and genres was one of the coolest experiences I have had in my world of seeing live music, and I had no idea this kind of scene was even going on in Charlotte!

Stone Figs

Standing amongst the hipsters with a Moon Woman in grasp, I was startled when the punk yelp slapped me in the face from a good foot away. Situated on the floor in front of the stage the Stone Figs literally were rocking in and with the crowd. Not brilliant, but highly engaging and energetic I was a fan by the end of the stand. Indie Hip to the tee, these kids were donning the cliché of the cliché in garb and many times I was tempted to reach forward and pull the pink headband down over the guitarists eyes…just because I could. These punks did show some true musical virtuoso as they played musical chairs on the bass, guitar and drums, never skipping a beat. With the crowd huddled in tight and the room growing more awake the Stone Figs finished out strong and perfectly set the stage for the night’s main attraction.

You told me you love me, well I've heard that lie before.
You say that you miss me, well you're gonna have to miss me some more.



Thwap thwap Thwap, Badum badum badum, danana danana danna nanna na, psssss zippp zippp zippp, Wack

Battles is a word and that word is phenomenal.

Experimentalism done right. Without question one of the most amzing + bands I have ever seen. Their musical prowess and know how is nearly unmatched. Mixxing looped vocal elements and awing guitar riffs, the songs built on top of each other at light speed. The drming alone could have been a show and were that the case it would have been an amazing show and I would go see it again tonight, tom night and twice on Sunday. The précis - on and timing thez men displayed was, man I don’t know how to even put any of this in words, it was just downright awwesome!

Whirrl whirrl whirrl, sump sump sump, whiiip whiip whip, Slam ++

Tonto, Race: In, Atlas etc. the stellar set list was matched only by the musiicians themselves. Prerecording subtle vocals, Tyondai Braxton, added to the death defying drum work in powerful, but mathematically precise ingenuity. Multi instrumentalist and now the hardest working man in show biz, Ian Williams, was a wizard conducting a mad orchestra on the guitar and keys. With s=weat flying, beats dropping and wonderment multiplying, the crowd swarmed around the foursome, piling on shoulders, standing on odd pieces of furniture and equipment in hopes of a closer look at the musical brain surgeons slicing and dicing the known and accepted mmusical cadaver in Milestone ER. Swapping chords, jumping from laptop to keyboard, wrecking shop on the turn knobs and causing mayhem in general the astronauts Battle entered and exited the solar system sending beats along disjointed{} leaps through an array of misdirection of solos, plugging loops, and dept timing, leaving the crowd stunned in the best possible way.

Zanngg zangg zang, tazapttt tazaptt tazapt, minus mins, plus plsu, divide divd, remndr

Taking only one brief break in the acttion, which appearded to have only been done so to prevent members of the band from tumbling to the ground in exhaustion, Battles shook the foundation of CCharlotte’s best venue and when they were done they took their applause and whispered away into the shadows of the night. Numbered. Executed. Mirrored.


Worthy and Superior, I stumbled through the night and found the inspiration of true musical masterminds and my new personal music mecca.

All praise Junus!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Portrait of an American Family

For eight years ‘The Sopranos’ revolutionized cable television, often leaving viewers digging for more long after the closure of episodes. Once a stark reality of gruesome violence, bigotry, womanizing, corruption, family, trust and success the show took on many faces before it wore its final mask. Over the years concepts and characters came and went, never exiting with grand finale or the closing of curtains, rather just a signal to go stage right and to not reenter for the next act.

The final episode brought many of the familiar conflicts to light. What is the meaning of therapy? Is it nothing more than a soapbox for the self indulgent and diluted? What has happened to our family values in America? Do the pressures parents put on their children come from their own failures and the fear that their young will live the same faults? Are we as American’s ignorant in our ways? Do we preach change and progress, condescending our government and undermining our actions in the Middle East and then turn a blind eye to it all in pursuit of self-interest and the chasing of the dollar? Do we all live on constant fear of death itself, or the knowledge that we never know where and when it will come? Can we truly trust the ones we depend on or are they ultimately the ones that will provide us with the greatest letdowns? Are those onion rings really that good; they look undercooked?

Subtleties were everywhere as the final hour ticked away. The Egyptians feared and honored the feline, for they felt it could see one’s soul, walk among the non-living and steal the breath of those still alive. Did Paulie fear the cat’s constant observance of Christopher’s mug because he sensed foul play had been done and that his days were numbered as well? We last see Paulie giving into Tony’s demands on a job ‘jinxed’ as the omnipresent cat comes his way…a foreshadowing of a man already dead?

Mr. Leotardo got his, to the back of the head, seconds after saying goodbye to children (a constant source of conflict as well as reassurance over the years). But creator David Chase did not just leave Phil in a pile of his own shortcomings, he has him decapitated a la stagecoach trampling from A Tale of Two Cities.

AJ rambles his way through the hour, preaching Bush’s missteps, scorning our dependence on foreign oil, escaping in the words of Dylan, and watching his SUV go up in a ball of fire…a sweet escape from his dark depression. He then seeks to make a difference by joining the ARMY and moving on to bigger aspirations. In the end we find him rocking and rolling on the movie set, sporting a new Beamer as he picks up his 17yr old model girlfriend, but still bitter.

Meadow seems certain to wed the son of one of Tony’s constant nemeses and to serve the people Tony exploits to earn his respect and his dollar.

Tony’s wife, sister and closest friends are all in a state of confused feelings, but all are looking forward, no matter how bleak the future may seem. Have they found closure or a way to move forward without any closure?

What’s with the classic rock? From Janice’s Stones tat, to the often-used Pink Floyd, the finale opening to a classic rock station and the Don’t Stop Believing from Journey to close it all out.

How does it all come to an end? Has Chase shortened the leash on his audience so much that he can toy with our every expectation and emotion? The tension and drama of the final minutes is nearly overbearing. Is Tony about to get whacked? Will it be the suspect man at the bar? The shady character making his way to the bathroom? The young black hoodlums? Is Meadow about to miss the final moments of her father’s life because she can’t park? Will she be the only Soprano left standing? Is she to be mugged by the very type of person she seeks to legally defend?

Is Chase just putting a mirror to the face of a culture overrun with terror and stereotypes? Is the final scene designed for us to see ourselves as bloodthirsty profilers in the midst of a pleasant family dinner?

How could the Chase bring eight years of unanswered questions, a final episode on the boiling point and a viewership of millions to a conclusion? How did he shine the light on it all and then drop the curtain?

He brings it ALL together in one fell swoop when he

Friday, June 8, 2007

Why fight yourselff?

Mirrored – Battles

It’s an oddity at best. A mixxing of brilliant syncopation, rhythmic timing, steadying beats layered atop a growing surge of sound and just when the cllimax is to come, the sounds swwerve right, dodging the pothole of the expected. Labeled ‘post-rock’ or ‘math rock’ this approach to music takes a pro-tech stance, intertwining organic and inorganic in such an absorbing manner that the listener struggles to differentiate what is being kickedd up and slapped down by drummer John Stanier (formerly of Helmet), that which is ripped out on the simply complex strumming of basss and electric guitars and the remainder that originates on soundboards and laptops.

It’s an aggressive approach. In order to pull off an album ffluttered with the mind-bending wonderment of Frank Zappa and the techno underground of Aphex Twin, Battles had to bring the intensity and bring it fast. Race: In. A perfect introduction. Standing as one of the stronngest tracks on the bands first full-length album it’s immediately clear that the cat is out of the bag and the bag is lleft in tatters as the feline searches for its next target. The odd cat finds it’s way easily with the first single, Atlas. One of my favorite songs of the year, Atlas, has grown on me more and more with each listening, so much so that I was prepared to let the strength of this one track carry the rest of the album, letdown or not. Lose not your way as Bad Trails and Snare Hanger, confirm this album as a massive triumph.

It’s not one to take itself seriously. It’s almost impossible to make music like this appeal to the masses, especially when the masses have turned the ‘math rock’ sound down again and again to the point where most are clueless as to what it is. Iinstead of making the complex overly complex, Battles find a common ground, realizing themselves best by dropping beats that could serve as soundtracks to video games and kids television shows. The vocalls are always distorted, to the point of absurdity at times. When it all comes together it’s evident that Battles have made the most multifaceted album of the year, by taking a long gaze in the mirror and breakingg themselves down to that which is most basic…everything all at once.

Rating: 8.5

Monday, June 4, 2007

Cause: Meeting you, again Effect: A royal pain

'Ol Jack and Ms. Meg Discuss the Icky Effect and Cause of love

The Brothers of the Chemical sort, simply put, Do It Again

Momma wolf'll give you anything, if you want anything

Aussie 70's rock recreation, Wolfmother drop new single - Pleased to Meet You for the Spidey flick, visit the site to hear the track and take a look at the Making of video.

Feelin' Eel? Try not being such a pain all the time

Eels journey back into the enchanted forest once again, this time they're causing Shrek a Royal Pain. I did hear when it was all over everyone lived happily ever after.
Eels - Royal Pain ...