“Big Echo” by The Morning Benders

the morning benders

fresh 'n clean

A dream. When listening to Big Echo, I imagine myself in a surreal world with clouds and slow-moving stuffed animals roaming around me. Not saying that the album is vacant, it just feels like it’s the soundtrack to a discontinuous dream. The first track, “Excuses, ” utilizes a full orchestra (check out the Vimeo video), and it’s beautiful. But sadly, as much as I love this band from the beginning, I’d have to say it stops there. Though slow-tempo’d music is nice once in awhile, it only puts me to bed. It’s obvious these SF-based kids are musical but they lack spunk! The only real upbeat song is the Spoon-tinged, “All Day Day Light.”  Maybe this album is a grower. I did obtain this during finals week and I was SO not in the mood for sloooooow music. But I do admire their cuteness. They’re performing on March 26th at Casbah in San Diego. I’m going to have to miss them AGAIN, but I’m sure they’ll come back. They seem to love playing in San Diego.

Favorite track: “Promises.” They released this free mp3 prior to their album release. So good!! Had high hopes for the album. Sigh…

Rating: Best to be experienced in a small 200-person venue, like The Loft on campus (UCSD). They probably feed off of the closeness of their fans and gauge their performance to the crowd’s excitement. I can’t imagine them surviving in a bigger venue with a musically-diverse crowd. Not to judge a book by its cover, but they seem way too sensitive for that.

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“Conditions” by The Temper Trap

The Temper Trap

aren't they adorbz.

As their first studio album, Conditions (2009) is pretty darn impressive. I knew it was going to be good after I listened to the SUPER addicting and smooth “Sweet Disposition” from the film, (500) Days of Summer. The OST for that flick is legit — music video director turned film director Marc Webb packed so much indie shit in there, a beardcore hipster needn’t buy any other album until the next Band of Horses album (coming out in MAY!!!). And having “Sweet Disposition” on there made the OST worth the listen and worth The Temper Trap a peek. My friend, Phil, has been teasing me about how great they were since we saw a free screening of the film earlier this school year, but he didn’t give it to me! Just kidding, I’m not upset. It was worth the hunt. Every song makes you want to listen to what else these musical talents have in store. And it’s the perfect soundtrack to my studying. I wrote this in my tumblr blog yesterday, but The Temper Trap are my Band of Horses of this music festival season (apologies for the continual BoH plug). The Temper Trap are performing at San Diego’s Belly Up in Solana Beach on the 19th of April. Tickets are sold out (drat!) but I’m sure FM94.9 will be giving out tickets soon enough. Plus they’re making their appearances during the American festival route. Coachella and Sasquatch here I come! Spring quarter is going to be grand.

Favorite track: Of course, “Sweet Disposition,” is the best on the album, imo. But Fader is amazing and live stadium-worthy. I didn’t know it was a single in the UK until I did some Wiki research.

Rating: The lead’s vocals deserve a carefully listening crowd of an intimate venue like Belly Up, but The Temper Trap are bound to blow the minds and ears (OF AWESOMENESS) of the patrons who frequent the outdoor stadium venues (i.e. Hollywood Bowl, Greek Theatre, Cricket Wireless Amphitheater). Imagine quiet listeners pulling out their cellphones to sway along with the music. Epic.

*side note: because Rubin kept pointing it out, I’ve been using the word “frequent” as a verb A LOT. I hope it doesn’t get annoying. I do it rather subconsciously.

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“Volume Two” by She & Him

She & Him

Zooey and M.Ward as "She & Him"

Officially releasing on March 23, 2010, Volume Two takes you back to the floaty ’50s. Listening to the album, I can’t help but imagine a scene with hazy, soft lighting and a slight ripple across a lake next to a meadow with daisies and bubbles. You get the picture. If you want another description, imagine pink cotton candy: airy and sweet. Zooey’s voice is infectious and you can’t help but bob your head along to her songs of optimism and loooove. So grab your sunglasses and one-piece bathing suit and go lounge outside with an iced tea while listening to She & Him through your iPod headphones.

NPR is streaming the full album now till its release here.

My favorite track: “Gonna Get Along Without You Now

Rating: Mid-day set during Coachella. I imagine this album being performed to me while I sit on the grass with my floppy wide-brimmed hat on… and having an unobstructed view of Zooey (and her outfit).

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Time change

So it’s 3:24am right now and I’m pretty sure I’m going to wake up at 1pm tomorrow. Sigh. I hope not. I’m rather hungry right now and waking up at 1pm would just depress me so. Guh, I think I’m going a little loopy– especially since I’m watching 30 Rock and the humor is so crazy/blunt.

I’m still debating where this blog is headed. I really like tumblr so I’m torn.

And I could really care less. I think it’s just something for me to do at 3:28am. Tumblr got boring. Facebook is filled with statuses about the time change. NBC.com is currently streaming 30 Rock already. I’ve already read every blog I follow. Blargh.

I can’t believe I wrote a 12 page paper in about 6 hours. Let’s just hope I wrote it correctly. At least I’m doooooone! Just got dreadful econ left on Thursday. And then it’s Boston and New York! zomg. Can’t wait. Things are all coming together.

Shit. I just laughed out loud and Jasper is sleeping. Poor girl has  work in about 3 hours. btw, I love Brian Williams.

“The Brutalist Bricks” by Ted Leo and the Pharmacists

I don’t consider myself a writer, but I enjoy writing. So I guess this blog will be more writing-based and therefore will include my reviews on music, films, tv, and any other media I find on the Internets.

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists' The Brutalist Bricks

"The Brutalist Bricks" by Ted Leo and the Pharmacists

SO. First review of this blog: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists’s (written as “Ted Leo” hereinafter) new album, The Brutalist Bricks. Released digitally yesterday, this album has been playing on my iTunes non-stop. It’s packed with high energy, awesome guitar hooks, and just pure Americana rock, which Jonathan pointed out: the “Americana” hype is coming back. Starting off the album with his distinctive singing backed by distorted guitar riffs, Ted Leo sings about cafe doors exploding on the track, “The Mighty Sparrow.” And of course it wouldn’t be a Ted Leo song without the AUDIBLE bass guitar, which is rather refreshing since bass guitarists don’t get much air/music time. I could be wrong, but that’s just my opinion.

And normally, I hate that damn airhorn noise that a lot of rappers and hip hop artists use in their songs (like M.I.A.’s DJ did during her Coachella performance; I wanted to blast his ears with an air horn.), but ending the song with a faded air horn mixed with some synthy riff in “Mourning in America” sounded pretty appropriate and rather funny.

And my favorite song off the album is “Bottled in Cork.” The melody is sweet and simple. And the repeated hook at the end is catchy as hell: “Tell the bartender, I think I’m falling in love.”

If you want a rating, I’ll rate albums according to how I’d want to see the bands perform this material live. So, I’d rate this album appealing to a short-set festival setting. “Bro, I’m so glad I’m experiencing this with you.” That kind of setting.

*an FYI for following music reviews: not a big lyricist. more of a music-focused kinda fan. it’s terrible i know, but that’s just how i roll*

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Trying out wordpress.

Don’t know if I’m going to keep using this, but I figured I’ll try it out since every company out there uses WordPress as their blog (in addition to Twitter .. which IS NOT CONSIDERED A BLOG IMO).

We’ll see what this blog turns into.

This shit is so complicated. English proofreader and word count? Damn son. I feel like I’m writing a paper for one of my lit classes.

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