Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Shins - Port Of Morrow

9.8 [MUST LISTEN]

"You gotta hear this one song, it'll change your life I swear." A line from the 2004 film Garden State describing a song by the one and only Shins! Speaking of the Shins, did you hear, they just put out a new album? I personally am a big Shins fan. I'm actually going to see them perform live on June 1st, the day before my birthday. Happy Birthday to the Talent! Anyways, back to that new Shins album. So James Mercer and his new gang released their fourth coming album titled Port of Morrow, after the tenth and final track of the album. The LP features the hit track Simple Song that I'm sure many have heard on the radio. I had the chance to stream the entire album on iTunes about a week ago and was blown away. James Mercer is probably the most talented songwriter in the game right now. He has such a unique style, the subtlety of his writing, and his ability to tell stories with such few words is just mind blowing. You can tell that The Shins project really is his baby, they are just as good as they were back in '01 when the original gang was still together, James' ability to keep the sound with a brand new group of musicians has given me a whole new level of respect for him. The album kicks off with The Rifle's Spiral which is very psychedelic in my opinion with a hint of that Shins flare. Simple Song follows that, I'd have to say that's my favorite track so far after two listens, it's really powerful and is just a flat out exciting, passionate song. The rest of the record continues on a great streak, each song special and fantastic in its own ways. The Shins stick to their indie-rock sound but still manage to give us a new taste.


-The Talent

Friday, February 24, 2012

Fun. - Some Nights

Some Nights - Fun.
9.5 [MUST LISTEN]

On February 21st, 2012 fun. released their second studio album titled 'Some Nights'. Before I get into the album let me first tell you a little about the band. Fun. is an Indie Pop/Rock band out of New York. They released their first album in 2009 and have been kind of MIA since then, until late 2011 when they released a track titled, 'We Are Young' featuring Janelle Monae. The song was featured in a Super Bowl commercial for Chevrolet. It pretty much took my world by storm from there. I really like the song. It has a great melody and is catchy as all heck. I was delighted to see that they had a brand new album coming out soon too, and here it is. Something I thought made this album pretty cool was that producer Jeff Bhasker - who co-produces with Kanye West - produced this album and gave it a nifty hip hop flare. The album starts out with the title track. There's a two-minute intro, but it basically integrates itself with the rest of the song. It's also incredibly catchy, which seems to be fun.'s specialty. The song does unfortunately include a short, unnecessary 15 second auto-tuned solo, but the song still kicks ass. I was very happy about their wide variety of instruments. For instance, in 'Carry On' there is heavy use of synths and strings, an oddly great combination. A lot of other songs include trumpets, and orchestral strings. They all worked very well with the sounds, as did the synthesizers. Although the synths were a bit overused at times, it never bothered me too much. A great aspect of the LP is you rarely hear the same sound. Fun. does a great job of changing up the genres from Pop to Hip-Hop to Rock, and even to Funk! Throughout my listening I received a very strong sense of a Queen influence, especially in 'Carry On' and 'All Alright'. But for all the good things about this album, it has to come with some negatives. There was a slight overuse of filters on the voice and far too much auto-tune (which is a filter, but a more popular filter than others that were used.) It had a great start but I just started to lose me until 'Stars' came on. It reminded me a lot of Kanye West's record 'Runaway'. 'Stars' finishes the album on a strong note. After about two or three more interested, all of the songs really grew on me. My final thoughts on fun.'s 'Some Nights': it's a fun listen, no pun intended, and keeps you interested throughout. (Written by Zachary Matson - Reviewed and Edited by Amy Dahlke)


-The Talent