Evans the Death “Evans the Death”

June 3, 2012

This band’s name reminded me of someone I used to play an online RPG with like 15 years ago. So I found him on Facebook, and honestly, Facebook is so much faster and cheaper than going to therapy.
Evans the Death the band, on the other hand, is like a melodic version of Pillow Fights. They’re a driving rock ‘n’ roll band with a female lead singer and no pretense. There’s clearly a sense of humor, though, because the back of the CD has tracks 1 through 6, followed by six separate Track 7s. I actually didn’t care for any of the 7s, which just goes to show that when you buy SuperLotto tickets that you should get different numbers every time.
So anyway Slumberland Records always seems to get it right, and with the help of singer/keyboardist Katherine Whitaker, they do it again. That’s a label whose showcase I would attend.
The two tracks I like are “Sleeping Song/So Long” and “Morning Voice,” but they’re all pretty good. “Morning Voice” is more of a traditional song that alternates between noisy and quiet parts, like “Goldfinger” by Ash.

DEaf “Pocketknives & Friendship Bracelets”

June 3, 2012

I really want to like this record, but it’s just not very good. The songs are all short, like punk songs should be, but most of the tracks veer off into White Stripes territory, and that is the opposite of what I want.
An exception is “Hold My Hand,” because the backing vocals sound like Andrea Zollo (Pretty Girls Make Graves), but these are the slowest and most boring fast songs I’ve ever heard.
The sound attempts to be like Pre, Mika Miko, or even the Red Aunts, but instead it feels as if it’s on antidepressants instead. Useful punk is like when you have a good fart ready to go. Sometimes, you just have to let it rip.
“Make It” sounds like older Yeah Yeah Yeahs. If you want to hear the dude sing, “Find You” isn’t that bad, and it has some Devo-style sound to go with it.
If you don’t expect much, you won’t be disappointed.

Kissing Party “Wasters Wall”

June 3, 2012

Lots of suggestive titles and lyrics make for a good time on “Kissing Party.” All the tracks are good, but the best is “Empty Bed, but Bed.” The band borders on twee in all the right ways, and the male-female vocals work well with the fast pace set by the drummer.
The synths in “The Game” also stand out and make this a recommendable number. Most of the rest of the tracks are not radio-friendly, which is a shame. Sure, I can hate the game instead of the player, but when your sounds are all about players, it stings to not be able to spread the gospel.

Lower Dens “Nootropics”

June 3, 2012

I played the hell out of “Twin-Hand Movement” so I was excited to see a new record from Lower Dens. “Alphabet Song” is the first track and sounds like a remix of one of the dungeon levels on the original Legend of Zelda for the NES.
Although I’m pretty sure the band isn’t trying for it, the late ’80s video game feel continues on “Propagation.” I think it’s the synths. There are lots of things “Candy” could be about, but it didn’t seem to be about any of them.
“Lion in Winter Pt. 2” has lyrics, unlike Part 1. Maybe it’s like “Another Brick in the Wall” because it is really good. Even musically it is better than the first one. The last track has the cliche title, “In the End Is the Beginning.” It is also 12 minutes long. I think it cycles through the end and the beginning two or three times, if you catch my drift.

Here We Go Magic “A Different Ship”

June 3, 2012

I reviewed “The January EP” in July. Now it’s a different month to review a different album. The sound hasn’t changed much — nor does it need to. “Hard to Be Close” is a good example of how the band continues to put out good work.
The falsettos are a bit strained on “Alone but Moving,” and I hear the channeling of Steve Miller Band a wee bit. If you’re looking for the female backing vocals found on previous Here We Go Magic efforts, you’ll find them in “Over the Ocean,” which also has harp and other acid-encouraging accompaniment. This is a lot of fun if you’re not trying to drive at the time.
A faster tempo and subdued-this-time harp give “How Do I Know” a nice, shiny finish. This track builds and builds toward a strong finish. The title track is last and 8 minutes long. After 5 minutes, you think it is done, but instead it is like Grampa Simpson telling a story.
The album is fine, but I was really excited and set my expectations too high. I think I might have had the wrong impression about the band from the get go.

Blasted Canyons “2nd Place”

June 3, 2012

It’s an EP, and everyone in the trio does everything. On leadoff track “Get High,” singer Matt Jones sounds like Ivan Doroschuk (Men Without Hats). That’s really hard to do by accident. There are bits of Peter Schilling in there as well. “Liquid Fiend” has a retro, Portland-power-pop sound mixed with a little P.I.L. The bass and guitar sounds like the Jolenes’s “Spare Tire Liar.” I enjoy this one as well.
Slightly noisier is “Holy Geometry.” The guitar during the bridge sounds like Operation Makeout. “Finken’s Lament” is much noisier and very experimental. I guess the different tracks are auditions for what their second LP will sound like. (This EP is a followup to their debut full-length.)
More of a Sisters of Mercy sound can be found on “Manson Eyes.” The last track is “Glass on Your Pillow” and is an amalgam of noise and goth. It’s a bit too disorganized to work, but then it’s the last track, and that’s what you do at the end, so whatever. They probably end their live sets with this one as well.

Yuna “Yuna”

June 3, 2012

Yuna gives us more of the Ellie Goulding/Laura Marling revival. Her gimmick is that she is Malaysian. Whatever. It’s just an opportunity to hear more of this genre.
“Lullabies” is the first track and is a nice introductory ballad. Somewhat forgettable but still better than most is “Remember My Name.” A lot of the songs do kind of run together.
Colbie Caillat fans will be impressed with “Planes.” Other tracks, such as “Island,” remind me of Regina Spektor and Nelly Furtado. So the common theme is that there’s not a lot of originality.
“Fading Flower” has a faster tempo and sounds like something Paul Krugman would listen to. That’s actually a compliment if you know anything about him. I don’t know whether Malaysia’s government supports Keynesian economics or anything like that, though.
Slightly trippier with hints of Portishead, “Stay” is the most mature sounding track on the record. This is one of my favorites. The last track, “Loud Noises,” is also pretty good. Yuna sounds like Beth Sorrentino (Suddenly, Tammy!) a bit here.
Not the best record out there but still an enjoyable listen.

Allo Darlin’ “Europe”

June 3, 2012

It just gets better and better with this group. Melodically similar to Louise Wener (Sleeper), Elizabeth Morris has a voice that Irishes up the coffee quite a bit on “Neil Armstrong.” (She is actually from Australia.)
The title track reminds me percussively of 3 Doors Down’s “Kryptonite,” sadly, but the guitar sounds like Icicles, and Morris sounds like Sarah McLeod (Superjesus). Put it together, and this is one of the best songs I’ve heard all year. After all, 3 Doors Down didn’t suck because of their drummer.
“Northern Lights” is like some of the Sundays’s faster songs. It’s not fast, of course, but it would be fast for a Sundays song. Something folkier can be found on “Tallulah.” It’s not their strength, but it still sounds fine.
The other track I like is “Still Young.” This song won’t make sense until they use it to open a set during their comeback tour in 2040. I’m actually a bit frustrated because the secret is out on these guys, but at least it ensures we’ll get more stuff in the future. Potential album of the year here.

Joel’s Hit Show, Episode 153, 30 May 2012 Playlist

May 30, 2012

Gemma Ray, They All Wanted a Slice
Jenny Lewis, Bad Man’s World
Lemuria, Trivial Greek Mythology
The Goblin Market, High Waving Heather
Liam Finn + Eliza-Jane, Won’t Change My Mind
Le Tigre, TKO
WAZU, Walk All Night
Liesl’s Wet Dress, Ruby
Lois, Bridge Burner
Imaginary Cities, Temporary Resident
Lil’ Pocket Knife, Red Hott
Loch Lomond, Alice Left With Stocking and Earrings
The Chieftains, Carolina Rua
Lisa Gerrard and Patrick Cassidy, Abwoon (Our Father)
Little Teeth, Applegate (1)
The Shins, No Way Down
The Lightfighters, Elvis Presley
Lissie, Wedding Bells
Santigold, Go!
The Like, Fair Game
Mary Lou Lord, Bang Bang
Kaiser Chiefs, Man on Mars
Los Campesinos!, The End of the Asterisk
Barbara Manning, Isn’t Lonely Lovely?
Lost in the Trees, This Dead Bird Is Beautiful
Lisa Germano, Sexy Little Girl Princess
L7, Mr. Integrity
Beach House, Myth
Lush, Hypocrite
Luckie Strike, Carpet
Frankie Rose, Know Me
The Lovemakers, Prepare for the Fight
Sara Lov, Seasoned Eyes Were Beaming
Best Coast, My Life
Kirsty MacColl, You Know It’s You
Lunachicks, Don’t Want You
Loquat, Seeds
Luna, 4000 Days
Luscious Jackson, Under Your Skank
Soley, I’ll Drown
Lykke Li, Sadness Is a Blessing
Magnapop, Texas
Lux, The Window
Eleni Mandell, Don’t Say You Care
Aimee Mann, Pavlov’s Bell
Malachai, Rainbows

Joel’s Hit Show, Episode 152, 23 May 2012 Playlist

May 23, 2012

Santigold, Disparate Youth
Julie Ruin, Breakout A-Town
J. Perdiod and Nneka, Changes
AU, Get Alive
Kenickie, In Your Car
Killola, This Is How the World Ends
Imaginary Cities, Don’t Cry
The Kelley Deal 6000, My Boyfriend Died
Kaia, Where in the World Is Greencastle Indiana?
Go Back to the Zoo, Hey DJ
The Kabbs, Down This Road
Kepi, Hurt & Alone
Nneka, J
Kahimi Karie, Lolitapop Dollhouse
Kevin Devine & the Goddamn Band, Sleepwalking Through My Life
Panic Years, Bad Faith
The Kirby Grips, Liar
Kitten Forever, Slamdunk
Cock and Swan, Happy Thoughts
Kitten, Johnny Johnny Johnny
Komeda, Blossom (Got to Get It Out)
The Goblin Market, The Night Wind
Korea Girl, Reunion
KMFDM, Rebels in Kontrol
Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles, Catacombs
Laika, Knowing to Little
La Chansons, X Marks the Spot
The New Kinetics, Cha-Cha
Lady Lazarus, The Eye in the Eye of the Storm
Ladyhawke, Paris Burning
Anebrun, Undertow
The Ladybug Transistor, Caught Don’t Walk
Laura Gibson + Ethan Rose, Leaving, Believing
Emily Wells, Darlin’
Kung Fu USA, Stars and Bars
Las Rubias del Norte, Seguedille
Wild Belle, Take Me Away
Cate le Bon, Eyes So Bright
L7, Andres
The Grenadines, Colourblind
Cyndi Lauper, How Blue Can You Get?
Lederhosen Lucil, Doin’ the Ganglion
The Chieftains, When the Ship Comes In
Leerone, To Fill the Void