Tag Archives: album

“Delta Spirit” by Delta Spirit

boyzz being boyzz

Where to begin. It’s been over a year since I’ve blogged on this. Since then, I’ve been exploring the life of being in the “real world” and working full-time and not having enough time to dedicate to simply listening to music and writing about it! I’ve been trying my best to keep up my listening habits and dabble in every online music streaming platform out there and thanks to turntable.fm, I’ve been somewhat keeping up with the indie muzak scene. And since I’m venturing into a new job/new point in life soon, I thought I’d try this long-form blogging thing another try!

So Delta Spirit. Love ’em to death. Ever since I saw a tweet from @NPR announcing that they were streaming Delta Spirit’s new self-titled album, I immediately turned off whatever the hell I was listening to (probably my “Mariah Carey Station” on Pandora), and went straight for the stream. I’ve actually heard some of their new stuff while watching them live at Holiday Hootenanny this past year and was ecstatic that the fun, gritty sound that I love about Delta Spirit was still there. I’m partial to bands that are loyal to their original sounds. (Side note: Matt Vasquez is a total charmer!) This album is a perfect intro into the imminent San Diego summer by a San Diego-based band.

My favorite track is “California.” Not just ’cause it has the title “California,” but because of all the background discords that are blended so perfectly with the main melody. And the lyrics are just so encouraging to find someone who makes you happy, even it isn’t even him… and of course all about California-loving! And I love the “oohs” throughout it. Can’t hate on a good sing-along “ooh.”

Delta Spirit is graciously streaming the entire album on their website, so take a listen! It’s also on Spotify.

If you’re in San Diego in the next few months, Delta Spirit is performing at one of my favorite SD venues, Belly Up, on May 12. Tickets are only $18! Do yourself a favor and go see them live!!!!

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“This Is Happening” by LCD Soundsystem

LCD SS

sip sip sip

So I’ve listened to This Is Happening by LCD Soundsystem about 4 times in its entirety. And it’s definitely better than the last record. It’s more calculated and thought out. I just read that it took 2 years to make it, and it shows. I saw them perform at Coachella from about 100 yards away and they were fun as hell. I was apprehensive at first of their lives shows because their previous albums weren’t amazing or anything, good but not something I’d want to see live. But it was surprising. I danced my ass off. And when they performed their new stuff, especially “Drunk Girls,” I went pretty wild. Their mellower stuff like, “I Can Change,” is great too. They still have the droning electronic beats with James Murphy’s mesmerizing voice that always has a tinge of irony and quirk. “One Touch” especially reminds me of their older stuff, which makes me happy. I think LCD is the first band which I don’t mind the 7 minute long songs. The commentary in between sets was funn-ay too. Anyway, as a final album for LCD, I say bravo. It was a good run and they definitely left it at a high note. And make sure to check out the video for “Drunk Girls” — hilar. LCD Soundsystem is performing at the Fox Pomona Theatre on June 5th. They’re labeled, “Dance Rock.” Haha.

Favorite track: I think it’s a tie between “Drunk Girls” and “All I Want”. The former because the video is just so damn funny. Come on…. violent pandas? How could I NOT like this song. And “All I Want” is just fun to listen to and rock-y.

Rating: Ahhhhh totally see them performing at a dance/performance hall. I’m so sad I’m missing out on their Pomona performance, but alas, jenkim must save money. They were great at Coachella, but I think a closed venue would work wonders on their sounds.

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“Crystal Castles (2010)” by Crystal Castles

crystal castles

shnoz.

I’ve never given Crystal Castles an honest listen before. I’ve listened to maybe a minute into a track from their first album and I immediately moved on. But Jonathan has been raving about their second self-titled album, Crystal Castles, ever since he’s taken a listen — so I thought I’d try it out. And listening to the album as a whole, I can see the appeal. Their experimental, gothy vibe works because it’s consistent throughout the entire album. They don’t let down their listeners and give in to conventional trance beats. They give us reverbs, uneven musical glitches, yells, rippling voices, distortion, and lots of postmodern musical shit (in the good sense). I’m sure by self-titling their album again, they are making a statement and declaring that this is THEIR genre of music and this second album is just a continuation of their first one. How uppity of them — I heard they’re bitches in interviews and on stage — but I suppose that’s their appeal. Not sure if I’m yet a fan, but I can imagine listening to this album while I’m studying… intensely. If I had to make a comparison of a DJ/group that I am still on the fan-borderline, they def remind me of Flying Lotus — or of what I remember during his set at Coachella this year. This isn’t much of a review, as much as it is a casual observation. Crystal Castles isn’t exactly my type of music, but I thought I’d write something about them anyway.

Crystal Castles (2010) has already been digitally released (April 23, 2010) but the physical copy is due out May 24, 2010.

Favorite song: No favorite song yet, but the title “Pap Smear” makes me giggle. And reminds me of my friend Martha during senior year of high school — but that story is for another blog.

Rating: Nighttime club scene with lots and lots of lasers, fogs, and heavy eyeliner on both genders. And people solo-dancing, high off of E. That scene.

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“Subiza” by Delorean

delorean

sparkly

I know it’s the night before my 22nd birthday, but instead of waiting restlessly for midnight to strike, I decided to write a review on one of my favorite bands at the moment, Delorean. Upon discovery, I liked them instantly for their ethereal style and electropop goodness. I’m a sucker for synth-y music (all starting with Hellogoodbye back in the day).

Subiza, released in March of this year, was recently reviewed as best new music by Pitchfork. And rightfully so. I’ve never really heard anything like this before and the music just seems to float above everything else — it takes you on some sort of space, star-filled adventure. Subiza is filled with soft club dance tunes that remind you of the hazy 90s videos — but with much better music (not that the 90s had awful music.. but come on.. there were some terrible music during that time). I love the echo-y chipmunk voices blurred in with the continuous airy beats — interrupted by actual “singing” by the band. This album makes me want to visit Spain even more.

Favorite song: All of their songs are good but “Stay Close” sticks out to me. I guess you can call it their single since they released a MV for it. It’s a total aimlessly-driving-through town-during-summer-nights tune. The whole album is actually.

Rating: Indoor, club scene with lots of lasers and lights (like Voyeur in SD). Their DJ set must be awesome.

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“Congratulations” by MGMT

fuuuur-tastic.

After visiting Brooklyn for a brief night over Spring Break, I can understand why great music comes from there. I might be swayed by Zaytoons, this AMAZING and AFFORDABLE Middle Eastern restaurant on Myrtle Ave. If you live in the area or are planning to visit Manhattan/NY, please make your way over there and try their menu. As much as I love music, that’s how much I love food.

Anyway, back to the album. This sophomore album (as MGMT and not The Management) by this Brooklyn-based band can be described in one word: surrealism. But of course, I am not one to be so trite. SO, here continues my review.

We got a taste of what’s in store when they released their wildly odd track, “Flash Delirium,” attached to an even weirder video. They apologized for any confusion arising from the track — which I found pretty funny and charming. Apologizing for their weirdness? Okay. You guys are legit. I’m glad their Grammy nominations didn’t blow their heads up.  But it definitely influenced the direction of their album. After their sudden popularity and nomination bill appearance, MGMT responded with Congratulations. The “Flash Delirium” video says it all: apathy for the congratulations from the “elite” white folks of the Grammy committee. I’m sure the guys of MGMT are completely grateful but there was definitely a reason why these guys decided to not release a new album until this year: count three years. Each track is tinged with a circus-like quality with several melodies tied into a singular track. They do a much better job of that than the ghastly Black Eyed Peas crew. *Will I Am, I despise you as a producer*  Watch out for any imagery of “Monster Mash” or Halloween that pops up into your head as you listen, they packed in lots of eerie keyboard synths and frontman Andrew VanWyngarden’s signature echo-reverbs. I totally imagine this being the soundtrack to a Halloween party. Maybe they should have had an October release. Though slightly inconsistent with what they’re trying to achieve in this album, it keeps me interested even past their instrumental track, “Lady Dada’s Nightmare,” Dada (or Dadaism) most definitely referring to the anti-art movement during the mid 1910s to 1920s. And I like that the album ends with a track like “Congratulations.” It is stripped of all the chaotic electronics and flutes and animal noises. Acoustic guitar, simple bass line, repetitive drum beat, and a simple harp-like line: it’s as if it’s time for the listener to wake up and recollect themselves from what they have experienced from their surreal adventure. And the applause is spectacular. Congratulations will be officially released April 13, but you can preview it on their website.

Favorite track: “Song for Dan Tracy” is one of the two songs on the album with names in them. Many people don’t know this, but I have a weird attraction to songs with names in them. No idea who Dan Tracy is, but we learn about him in this song and his funny antics. The track is completely danceable and upbeat and the lyrics are quite funny.

Rating: They’re performing at Coachella this year. I don’t know if all these electronics and soft voices will work well with the festival setting. I imagine them performing in a smaller cafe setting — this album just feels too studio-heavy to me. I’ve seen them perform on campus a few years ago and their stage presence wasn’t really there. But then this was before they decided to wear capes on stage. Maybe I’ll be surprised at Coachella and they’ll blow my mind.

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“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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“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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