Monday, September 30, 2013

Two Door Cinema Club - Changing Of The Seasons EP

8.7 [MUST LISTEN]

Not too long ago, we were blessed with the glorious news that, after a year of the release of Two Door Cinema Club's second studio album Beacon, the band would be releasing an EP titled after their upcoming sing Changing Of The Season. That day is finally upon us. Though I'd already gotten the chance to listen to the title track/single several times and 90 second previews of the other three tracks, I was still unbelievably excited to listen to this EP and I was not disappointing in the slightest.

The EP kicks of with it's title track. In the song lead vocalist Alex Trimble begins the song with "So it's over? I didn't realize / It's so much colder / But it was no surprise" referring to a past relationship, he compare the changing of the time (seasons) to his development in thought of his former partner, "'Cause every day since you left me / I've thought less and less of you" "Could be the changing of the seasons / But I don't love you anymore"

Track two, Crystal, Alex's soft vocals are accompanied by a beautiful string section, something the band has yet to have done. Alex sings repeatedly "I should have kissed you". The song is a reflection, a look back at the mistakes he has made and the regrets he holds. "Sweetness suspend me in crystal" ends the song through an angelic harmony.

Golden Veins and Changing Of The Seasons (Monsieur Adi Remix) finish off the EP in style. Golden Veins brings us back from the sorrowing melody of Crystal with an opening riff that sounds very similar to the bands track The World Is Watching (With Valentina). Hip Hop synths and percussion stream in creating yet another fun Two Door dance track. The Monsieur Adi Remix of Changing Of The Seasons takes the track and doubles the length in time. It's your typical remix track, but it does what all good remixes should do; it creates a new dimension of the song and it's themes and not completely transforming the song itself. If this a sneak peek of what the young Irish rockers have in store for us, you can color me interested.

-The Talent

Monday, September 16, 2013

MGMT - MGMT

6.8

MGMT's new self-titled LP is their third, and it is truly an album of a band that is trying to cover it's tracks. The band is very well known for the singles Kids, Time To Pretend, and Electric Feel off of it's very good, debut album Oracular Spectacular, but if you ask MGMT about the songs they'll likely scoff and attempt to change the subject. It's this sense of defiance towards the bands old selves that really seems to be holding this album back. No doubt about it, there are still some very sold songs featured on the album (Alien Days, Mystery Disease, Your Life Is A Lie, Plenty Of Girls In The Sea), but even in those tracks you can still hear the distracting anti-pop undertones. This is not to say that the only way for MGMT to create a collection of successful songs is for them to go back to their old Oracular Spectacular roots, but, perhaps trying to not be overly psychedelic and experimental may be a start. Now before you get the impression that I am not in favor of this album or the band, I'll have you know that MGMT is one of my favorite groups and are one of the first bands that really allowed me to start obtaining a great care for music. So it just pains me to see a band with so much potential hold itself back.

Luckily, if you're also an MGMT fan, like myself, you'll still be able find the light in dark and see why there are still many reasons to like this album. First of all, you still have the freaky-ass synths that shine in both Oracular and Congradulations, which is also a miraculously underrated album. You still have Andrew and Ben's keen strive for narrative through each song, and we still have front man Andrew VanWyngarden's chilling lyrics. In the albums opening, and best track, drug themed Alien Days, which sounds like an acid trip in itself. VanWyngarden sings, "When the peels are down it feels like travel / Annotateing in style / You don't need wings to hover forty ton stones for a mile" the vocals are cushioned around large amounts of reverb and the ear-crunching synths as VanWyngarden explains that everything in life is open ended and should be experienced in several ways. A message concerning the state of MGMT? I guess that's for them to know and us to find out.

-The Talent

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Janelle Monae - The Electic Lady

8.6 [MUST LISTEN]

Pop music these days is getting a bad rep. If you were to ask a pretentious snobby music critic like myself, "What is your opinion on pop music?" You might hear in reply, "it's nothing but top 40 shit from Katy Perry or Lady Gaga." Which in a sense is true. Pop these days is represented by female artist like Perry, Gaga, P!nk, etc. Who's lyrics are lackluster and formulas are almost identical to one another. Luckily for us pretentious kids who still like to shake our hips and not hate our selves for doing so, there's Janelle Monae, who most might now as "the female vocals from Fun.'s We Are Young." But did you also know she is the proud owner of both 2010 and now 2013's best pop/r&b albums?

2010's The ArchAndroid received massive, and well deserved critical acclaim. The album tells the story of an out of place Droid trying to chase her dreams and make her way through a world full of humans that look down on her. The newest album The Electric Lady, which follows the theme of ArchAndroid and 2007 EP Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase), features connections in the story lines during the albums three interludes featuring a radio DJ. The theory is that The ArchAndroid and The Electric Lady are the same droid, but the DJ has no interest in discussing this idea when it comes up. It also contains Suits IV and V, following behind Metropolis' Suite I and ArchAndroid's Suite's II and III, which are the album's beautiful, orchestral transition pieces.

Once again, Monae rocks us with a record filled with numerous fun pop tracks like Dance Apocalyptic, Q.U.E.E.N., We Were Rock & Roll and incredible r&b ballads with collaborations like Give 'Em What They Love featuring Prince, Primetime featuring Miguel, and Dorothy Dandridge Eyes featuring Esperanza Spalding. Monae once again raises the bar for todays pop stars. Your move, Rhianna.


-The Talent

Volcano Choir - Repave

8.5 [MUST LISTEN]

Justin Vernon of Bon Iver side project with members from All Tiny Creatures and Collections Of Colonies Of Bees titled Volcano Choir return with the bands second LP Repave. It comes four years after the bands very good debut 2009 LP Unmap. The band spent the four years working on the new LP off and on again while also working on their other musical projects, but recently came together to put on the finishing touches.

The bands strays slightly away from the rapid experimental sound that was highlighted in Unmap to focus on a more constructed, tuned product. With Vernon focusing purely on lyrics and vocals and the rest of the group concentrating on the instrumentals, Vernon's story telling shine like never before. For instance in the albums strongest track, Byegone, Vernon tells us of the times of old friends together out in an isolated northern cabin, sharing "enough keif / You could really bore somebody"

With Volcano Choir we don't quite get the unique, sorrowing, flavor of despair that we ironically love with Vernon's Bon Iver. But the beauty of the hooks and choruses will show you that Vernon and friends are more than just a side project.

-The Talent

Monday, September 9, 2013

Arctic Monkeys - AM

9.3 [MUST LISTEN]

There are a lot of bands out there these days. We've got metal bands, rock bands, jazz bands, blues bands, folk bands, indie bands. But which of these categories do the Arctic Monkeys fall into? Some might say rock/indie rock. But the true, honest to God answer is the Arctic Monkeys are an Arctic Monkeys band. There's really no one like them, and they are like no one else. With the release of their fifth LP, 'AM', this statement has never made more sense.

It seems as though with every new album the Arctic Monkeys put out, it is far different and further out there than the one before. 2006's record shattering Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not rocked your socks and made you put on your dancing shoes. The even better Favorite Worst Nightmare of 2007 still had you grooving, but also doing some serious thinking and reflecting. 2009's "experimental" Humbug had you crying over lightning. 2011's Suck It And See had you swaying your head and wondering what the fuck Alex Turner was talking about. AM has got us all wondering how the hell the Arctic Monkeys can complimentary transform their sound into a sexy hybrid of hip-hop/pop/and rock, and still manage to maintain the bands continuity. I don't get it either!

AM brings something competitively new to the game. The Arctic Monkeys are innovators, renaissance men, and surprise, surprise, they hail from Britain. This all comes after the release of the 2012 single 'R U Mine?'. After such a positive response from the track from both the fans and the band themselves, they decided to make a whole album of R U Mine-esqu tunes, and thus, AM was born.

I can't help but keep describing this album as "damn sexy", with tracks like Do I Wanna Know?, Arabella, Snap Out Of It, and Knee Socks I can't help but lose myself in the music and then find myself back in reality humping the nearest object. With Alex Turners seductive lyrics (i.e. Arabella:
(That's magic) in a cheetah print coat
(Just a slip) underneath it I hope
(That's magic) in a cheetah print coat
(Just a slip) underneath it I hop
That's magic, in a cheetah print coat / Just a slip, underneath it I hope) accompanied by Drummer, Matthew Helders' ghostly falsetto, you can't not want pelvic thrust the air. But it's not all pure sex, you still get your slow jams with No. 1 Party Anthem, Mad Sounds, and I Wanna Be Yours. And don't forget about your groovy/dance songs like R U Mine?, One For The Road, I Want It All, and Fireside. AM truly has it all, and is a certainly an album you can't afford to miss this year.

-The Talent