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Old 09-24-2011, 01:45 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Embarrassment?
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Old 09-24-2011, 02:52 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I refuse to call this embarrassing



Nonetheless, cool writeups, will be looking into things shortly
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Old 09-24-2011, 06:43 AM   #13 (permalink)
 
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Ok I might have been a bit harsh calling them embarrassing, Origin Of Symmetry and Absolution are decent enough albums, but I could never listen to Black Holes and Revelations and The Resistance more than twice and they seem too over-the-top for their own good these days.

Thanks for the feedback though guys
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Old 09-25-2011, 12:00 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zer0 View Post
Ok I might have been a bit harsh calling them embarrassing, Origin Of Symmetry and Absolution are decent enough albums, but I could never listen to Black Holes and Revelations and The Resistance more than twice and they seem too over-the-top for their own good these days.
Agreed...
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Old 09-25-2011, 07:17 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Muse is what happens to a band with too much money and nobody to tell them no. They begin to sound absurd.

Granted, I have a soft spot for OOS and even about half of Black Holes.
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Old 09-25-2011, 02:59 PM   #16 (permalink)
 
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Band Of Horses - Everything All The Time (2006)




If you’re looking for an Americana-tinged indie rock fix you can never go wrong with Band of Horses. Although all three of their albums are superb it’s Everything All The Time that is closest to my heart, it seems more immediate and has more intent than Cease To Begin and sounds warmer than Infinite Arms. They seem to draw a lot of influences here on this album from folk and country music, as well as country rock and folk rock from the 60’s and 70’s such as The Band and Neil Young, and infuse these influences into their indie rock/Americana sound. I guess the aim of the band on this album is to create simple, timeless music that not only invokes the past but also sounds completely fresh and modern. They keep things simple and concentrate on good songwriting rather than experimenting, the music simply serves as a tight backing for frontman Ben Bridwell’s supurb reverb-soaked voice.

The highlight of the album has to be the epic and moving ballad ‘The Funeral’, which features a fine emotional vocal performance from Ben. This is the song that really makes the album for me. But the lively and uplifting ‘The Great Salt Lake’ and ‘Weed Party’ really make this a special album, with the latter basically being about smoking weed. It’s this kind of simplicity makes this album, and indeed their other two albums, easy for people to relate to. Band of Horses are often compared to My Morning Jacket mostly due to Ben Bridwell and Jim James’ vocal similarities. But Band of Horses take a simpler but just as effective approach to music than My Morning Jacket and it certainly pays off on this album.

Recommended Songs: ‘The Funeral’, ‘The Great Salt Lake’, ‘Weed Party’


Bark Psychosis - Hex (1994)




Often labelled by many as one of the first post-rock albums. Although the roots of post-rock date back further it is very difficult to draw the line where post-rock really started, or even what post-rock really is, but this album has certainly played a big part in refining post-rock and contributing to its growth in popularity throughout the 90’s. But please note that this album sounds a good bit different from the likes of Explosions in the Sky and God is an Astronaut. The album features vocals and proper songs and the music does not build and build to crescendos on every song, but the key link here is the use of rock instrumentation to create ambient music. Piano, strings and even some brass are sometimes used to heighten the mood. This is a great album to listen to really late at night and the sense of late night isolation that this album invokes resounds brilliantly, the opening track ‘The Loom’ sets this late-night mood rather superbly. The atmospheric album cover also adds to this feel and complements the music really well.

This album requires some patience and concentration to really appreciate. The instrumentation can be quite sparse at times and there is also a great use of repetition on some songs, especially the ambient closing track ‘Pendulum Man’. For best results listen to on a good pair of headphones, really late at night in a dimly-lit room, with weed optional.

Recommended Songs: ‘The Loom’, ‘A Street Scene’, ‘Eyes & Smiles’
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Old 09-26-2011, 02:05 PM   #17 (permalink)
 
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Bat For Lashes - Two Suns (2009)




This is a stunningly creative art-pop album which straddles the fine line between commercially accessible and artistic genius. Bat For Lashes is the product of Natasha Khan’s stunningly creative imagination and there are times throughout this album that you are reminded of a certain Kate Bush, especially Natasha’s impressive vocal range and her off-the-wall creativity. Two Suns is a concept album based on the idea of duality, “the need for both chaos and balance, for both love and pain” (press release) and some songs feature Natasha’s blonde-bombshell alter-ego Pearl. Despite being an album with a complex concept, this album contains some brilliantly memorable songs such as the sublime ‘Sleep Alone’, which features some distinct autoharp playing by Natasha, one of her many musical skills which also includes the piano and guitar. This song manages to be poppy and accessible yet dreamy and otherworldly at the same time. Also achieving this perfect combination is album highlight ‘Daniel’ which contains some nice danceable beats, irresistible hooks, reverb-drenched vocals and a very memorable chorus that sticks in your head. There’s some great variety throughout the album, such the piano-led ‘Siren Song’ which features some soft gentle verses, an uplifting chorus and Natasha’s vocals hitting the higher registers, and also the strange and folky ‘Peace of Mind’.

Despite some very strong individual songs it’s an album that takes you on a journey and only really comes together when you listen to it from start to finish. It’s an album that takes over your imagination and draws you into a colourful parallel world and when it’s over you want to go back for more.

Recommended Songs: ‘Sleep Alone’, ‘Daniel’, ‘Siren Song’


Beck - Sea Change (2002)




Sea Change marked another distinct change in direction for Beck Hansen. Gone were the camp, irony-laden sounds of its predecessor Midnite Vultures and in its place were emotional and reflective ballads. One of the main reasons for this change was Beck’s break-up with his longtime girlfriend, and this as a result triggered a more sentimental, mellower, singer-songwriter side to Beck, something we saw glimpses of on 1994’s One Foot In The Grave and 1998’s Mutations. The album as a whole really captures Beck’s sense of heartbreak, loneliness and melancholy, but none more so than the beautiful and moving album opener ‘The Golden Age’. The sombre song tempo, gently strummed guitar and touches of pedal steel add to this sense of melancholy along with Beck’s world-weary and emotional voice. Capturing a similar mood is ‘Guess I’m Doing Fine’, however this song also contains some glimmer of hope. Another strong point of the album is the spare and desolate ‘It’s All In Your Mind’, a song which originally appeared in lo-fi form on 1994’s One Foot In The Grave. On this album however the song sound more developed and full of purpose, it almost seems like the song was destined for this collection. The album seems to be heavily influenced by folk music, in particular English singer-songwriters from the 60’s and early 70’s, but also some of the country overtones suggest a more Americana influence.

The more human and down-to-earth feel of Sea Change is the main reason why it is my favourite Beck album. It’s a great album to listen to when you are feeling low and it leaves you with a little glimmer of optimism. It’s always great to have an album you can find comfort in during bleaker times and feel like you’re not alone.

Recommended Songs: ‘The Golden Age’, ‘Guess I’m Doing Fine’, ‘It’s All In Your Mind’
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Old 09-26-2011, 02:06 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Two albums I love.
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Old 09-28-2011, 02:48 PM   #19 (permalink)
 
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Belle and Sebastian - Tigermilk (1996)

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Belle and Sebastian arrived onto the UK indie scene in 1996 a fully formed band and released this rather excellent debut album. While a lot of Belle and Sebastian fans prefer their other 1996 album If You’re Feeling Sinister and even point out that it’s their best album, I still think that Tigermilk is more enjoyable and more uplifting. Something about the album feels warmer and more cinematic, the songs are more memorable and overall the album feels a little bit more consistent. For a debut album the band sound very confident and Stuart Murdoch proved from the very start that he is an incredibly gifted songwriter and lyricist. His songs can very sweet, uplifting and witty, such as the unforgettable ‘She’s Losing It’ and ‘You’re Just a Baby’. Both these songs have an innocent charm that’s impossible not to love and the sheer effortless pop simplicity that they show is something to be admired. You are immediately reminded of certain 80’s bands such as The Smiths and Felt that effortlessly integrated pop melodies into their jangly and highly literate sound. The New Order-inspired ‘Electronic Renaissance’ also showed that the band were willing to experiment a bit and were never afraid to try out new ideas.

This album marked the very beginning of their magical career and is perhaps the best place to start with them. While the band would take an even more pop-infused direction on 2003’s Dear Catastrophe Waitress it doesn’t quite match the innocence and simple pop charm that this album has in bucketloads.

Recommended Songs: ‘The State I Am In’, ‘She’s Losing It’, ‘You’re Just a Baby’


Bethany Curve - You Brought Us Here (2001)




While the original shoegazing movement faded away from the media spotlight in the mid 90’s it had already inspired a new breed of musicians to create their own brand of sonic bliss. Bethany Curve formed in 1994 and released two solid albums before releasing this magnificent third album in 2001. This is a very dense, heavily textured and darkly atmospheric offering sounding like Slowdive on downers. The band almost sound like they are playing in slow-motion and this makes the album sound very psychedelic and spaced-out. The layers of guitars sometimes remind you of classical string sections such is the sweeping majesty that they conjure. A great example of this is the opening track ‘Long Beach’ where the layers of droning guitars and overtones almost sound like a huge symphony. The use of droning and very long sweeping melodies combined with a thick prominent bass creates this dark and dense atmosphere that engulfs the listener and draws them in, and doing this brilliantly is the epic ten minute forty-five seconds ‘Ann Illusion’.

The sound doesn’t vary too much throughout the course of the album, apart from the near two minutes of noise on ‘The Guarantee’ and the acoustic guitar-based ‘Summer Left Me’. Even the latter still retains the atmospheric sound that characterises the album through its use of droning repetition and spacey reverb-heavy vocals. But the purpose and vision of this album as a whole is to draw you in and keep you in a trance until the very end, and it does a very good job of doing so.

Recommended Songs: ‘Long Beach’, ‘Ann Illusion’, ‘The Lodge’
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Old 09-30-2011, 04:04 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Belle and Sebastian - I adore it!!!
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