Wednesday, September 19, 2007

5 Quick Reviews, real quick like

As promised, Fall is going to be awesome. But before we make it official (there will of course be a summer review, which will have my favorite songs of ’07 to date) let me wrap up a few reviews on a few records I ended my summer with.

Run From SafetyOctoberman

To be frank, I looked into this band because I thought the name was cool (back to that whole my liking the fall thing) and I’m glad that I was so superficial. The Vancouver group presents single structured songs that roll at up-tempo pace driven with poppy guitars and insightful lyrics. Think Decemberists and Mountain Goats covering Matt Pond PA after listening to a Clap Your Hands Say Yeah…but not so confusing to follow. The album never blows the listener away, but it does draw you in and like most records that stand the test of time with me, the picture painter grows more clear and vivid with each listen. Lyrically speaking, this album is superb, however the delivery seems lazy at times and the songs often lack any real sense of accomplishment. At the same time tracks that do stand out look strong against the weaker efforts. Cisco Kid sings itself along the tale of a forgotten hero of the west, whom no one sings for anymore. The title song is perhaps the strongest, odd that worked out that way huh? All in all a worthy effort and ideal for the cool lazy weekends of autumn…

As long as we run from safety, we’ll find our way out here, maybe

Rating: 7.7

Our Ill Wills – Shout Out Louds

I’m usually very turned off by the breathy, self important, pop/alt music of the late night 90’s, something about those faked brit accents, and crappy songs. Everyone has weak points and guilty pleasures. Mine just may be Shout Out Louds. I first found this group via a CD my friend (Laz) burnt for me. I liked it, but didn’t spend much time with it, that is until I ran with it again on a road trip last summer and it hit me just right. I had again forgotten about the band, mostly because their style of music is not in my normal rotation, so the recent reintroduction was a welcome reminder. All that being said, I’m still not a huge fan of the band or the style of music, but here on Our Ill Wills I cannot deny the talent that exists. In other words I am reviewing this album positively because I feel that people who like this kind o music will love this album. Tonight I Have to Leave It is a catchy and very well written song so I’ll let it serve as the song to try for this album and although Your Parents Living Room is the cliché song that turns me off to the genre, I must admit it is far superior to most.

Rating: 7.5

The Stage Names – Okkervil River

Another band brought to my attention by before mentioned Laz, but not nearly as pseudo important as SOL’s. In many regards SOL’s and OK River are a lot alike, but where they differ is in the folk, bluegrass styling that OK river brings…which is precisely why I prefer them. There has been a lot of praise for this album, and a lot of reviews, so I won’t waste your time with a long review here but I will spin one popular praise for the album. The strength of the reviews of this album has been in the overwhelming success of the lyrics and the stories they portray. I allow myself to deep into albums and flesh out the meanings of powerful and verbose lyrics (Wilco) and lyrics that are layered yet sharp and simple (Modest Mouse), and given time the lyrics are the biggest reason I come back to a lot of songs over time. Here the lyrics are too much. So much so that I forget about the musical arrangements and focus entirely on the story being told, not because the story is that awesome, but because the music is almost written the push the vocals forward and not distract you from the almost emo like story telling. I don’t really crap on albums on this blog (in retrospect I should have hit Wilco’s SBS even harder) but I will drop the bomb on this album and say its been the biggest disappointment to me all year. The Avett Brothers album just got even better after listening to this one.

Rating: 6.1

Good Bad Not Evil – The Black Lips

This is what a young punk garage band from the south is supposed to sound like. They don’t throw you no flash, they just make it rock and rock like the Ramones did, not giving a fuck if they impress you with award winning songs, just making an album that is blast to listen to and you know would rock live. The perfect punk revivalist, they mix Kinks, Ramones, Iggy and wasted wankers of the industrial burbs of London with the dirty rawness of the southern US and the early Clash thrill of the punk scene. The songs are short, catchy and just like a good punk album, they kinda all sound the same, but you know there is something different. Simple, dumb and refreshing.

Rating: 7.9

Super Taranta! – Gogol Bordello

All the adjectives I want to use to describe this album I used when I relayed my impression of the Man Man show from earlier in the year, but I’ll try something. Wild, Wacky and Weird. Euro, Mixed Up, Bizarre! It’s part DeVotchka, part Man Man part Fiddler on the Roof and its all pretty damn cool. Nothing something you can listen for long periods or very often, but if you have the right setting, maybe latenight with your craziest Eastern European pals in an underground club chugging vodka from mother Russia’s supple bosom. It’s punk, it’s electro, its worldly, ambitious, and its gotta be freakin awesome live.
Here’s to em! Whoever these Gypsies immigrants are.

Rating: 7.6

No comments: