The Squeezebox: The Pains of being Pure at heart- Belong (2011)

29 03 2011

I admit, I went into listening Belong a little hesitant. It’s not that I didn’t like their 2009 Self titled debut. there were some great  songs on there, but tPoBPaT (what a crappy Acronym to type) was made a little uneven for me by a bit too much sugary preciousness that ran rampant throughout the album: Pretty but a little fluffy, with little strength behind it to cement in my mind or punch that particular chorus home. On their sophomore release Belong, They fix all the complaints I had with their sound and more.

Still mining Nostalgic Indie Pop Nuggets of Yester-Year, This album adds some new-found muscle to their Songs. The guitars are Heavier and more aggressive, the songs structures more creative and accomplished, and the production is boosted to a little higher fidelity  so the album feels less like a wispy 80s demo tape. It sounds like a big shift to avoid the second album curse, but they come out on the other side sounding like an  engaging and confident group. At its heart, it’s still a pop album; no amount of crunchy of guitars can take that away; gorgeous Pop songs about young love and looking back on your high school days. Packed with Melodies so addictive and catchy, you’ll swear you knew the words all along -like a lost song trapped in your memory. This new Punch to their sound has made me really reconsider Pains… They seem to be growing up a bit despite their nostalgic outlook:  from a wide-eyed group of lo-fi revivalists to a great Indie Rock Band that write undeniable pop songs.


Belong is now streaming for free on the band’s website. Neat-o


The Squeezebox: The Strokes- Angles (2011)

25 03 2011

Ten years ago they were the world’s biggest indie band and now this.. The Strokes‘ latest, Angles is a pleasant album, but one that suffers from having too many Cooks in the kitchen. The major complaint back then was that just about every track written by singer Julian Casablancas sounded eerily similar- using late 70s CBGB’s Artists and the Velvet Underground as a template and incorporating Chugging, dual guitar attacks and a free willing garage feel to their songs making them sound like a classic lost band of the era.

Angles is the antithesis of This is it.. sounding Big, Bright, and Glossy and Mining more from an early 80s music base.  A lot of the songs are now mostly penned by Guitarists Albert Hammond Jr. and Nick Valensi or Written with every band member credited on at least one song, and Lead Singer Julian is far away, E-mailing his vocals into the studio- this all comes across as disconnected, and the tracks end up being eclectic to a fault. Certain songs are stellar, but sometimes it doesn’t even sound like the same band from a track to track basis. I understand that they want to branch out and create something new, (it’s a few years too late going back to their early sound) and they are different people than they were a decade ago, but if you’re going to throw us fans a “Come-Back” album of sorts, they should have approached it the right way instead of the struggle Angles sounds like.

73/100 – Armordillo

Under Cover of Darkness. Sorry about the Vevo.

Fresh Fish: TV on the Radio – Will do (2011)

23 02 2011

New TV on the Radio Song from their upcoming album Nine Types of Light due out April 12th. Yay! Also, A Tour!

TV on the Radio 2011 Tour Dates:
04/08 – Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
04/09 – Charlottesville, VA @ Jefferson Theatre
04/10 – Baltimore, MD @ Rams Head Live
04/13 – New York, NY @ Radio City Music Hall
04/16 – Boston, MA @ House of Blues
04/17 – Montreal, QC @ Metropolis
04/18 – Toronto, ON @ Sound Academy
04/20 – Detroit, MI @ St. Andrew Hall
04/23 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
04/24 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
04/26 – Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre
05/02 – San Diego, CA @ 4th and B

The Squeezebox: Yuck- Self Titled (2011)

22 02 2011

The latest product of the UK hype machine , the unfortunately named Yuck comes out with their debut, an album consisting of scuzzy grunge/ noise pop deeply indebted to the distorted chord bashing of the late 80s and early 90s. Squalling, Overdriven guitars matching boyish but gritty vocals and a staunch lo-fi aesthetic. This nostalgic Rock sound and album often ends up being great but is at times inconsistent.  Some songs are bogged down by the dependence on their distortion pedals and being a little too indebted to their Influences. The slow burners particularly sometimes end up as duds that sound a little undercooked or 2nd string versions of their favorite bands.

Still, there is more than enough to love on Yuck. Georgia offers up an equally jangling and fuzzy pop song with sweetly sung fe/male vocals to make a song that can stand along with their idols. Or the opener Get Away a song that’s fueled with punkish angst and a guitar lead that would make Dinosaur JR. proud. Yuck is still a very young band and have a lot of things going for them. As long as they continue develop their potential and break out of their shell, their future work could be something really special.

74% – Armordillo

Yuck is streaming this whole album for free on Soundcloud, what a cool band!

The Squeezebox: Surf City – Kudos (2010)

8 02 2011

Better late than never, right? Released in November of last year, I am just now hearing of this? (I’m Lame, I know) New Zealand’ s Surf City play in a Scruffy Indie Rock flurry using jangling fuzz, catchy surf riffs, and Softly Cooing Harmonies with reckless abandon. Check out the Guitars and ode to the West Coast on the title track kudos, the hum-able  Teacher or the slow burner Yakuza Park to see what I mean.They might not be the most innovative group – the songs seem Familiar in presentation but confident in execution.

Imagine if Jesus & The Mary Chain (a B-side of theirs inspired their band name) and the Pixies or Pavement had a love child with a more noisy, jamming approach and you’d be close (Sort of). The reverb of every instrument on every track may put off listeners who like their Indie Rock to sound more clear and in-your-face and some of these songs are either a little long-winded or bogged down by the lo-fi production(Just like this sentence, Hey!). But fans of this new resurgence of Chiming Beach rock (a la Real Estate and Surfer Blood) will no doubt find plenty to love on here. 78% -Armordillo

Surf City on BookFace

Surf City’s MySpace

The Squeezebox: The Megaphonic Thrift – Decay Decoy (2010/11)

26 01 2011

Hailing from one of my favorite music hubs of Norway, former members of Low Frequency in Stereo form a new band with some new blood and venture their way into Noise-Pop:  Blistering  passages of sonic squalls and dive bombing guitar techniques balanced out with smart melodic hooks and sense of song-craft.  There is a definite 90s influence going on here – Bands like Seam and New Radiant Storm King come to mind – but this album is most often being compared in the press and listeners to Sonic Youth.  While I definitely hear this  in the effects pedals and the storm of distortion (check out the crazy guitar shredding of the opener Undertow or the thrashing and dynamic Candy Sin) this tag can be a little misleading. It’s not as snotty/obnoxious ( I mean this in the most loving way as a SY Fan) and sometimes there’s  a sense of delicacy/intimacy to the songs – something Sonic Youth hardly ever tries.  Tracks like Mad Mary and Sister Joan can sound downright vulnerable amidst the Chaos. An album I can’t get enough of, I suggest you get this if you enjoy the angular alt rock of the 90s or just Guitar Rock in general. 84% -Armordillo

Check This Album out in February 2011, when it will be officially importing into the “colonies”

Opening Track From Decay Decoy, Undertow

The Vault:Arctic Monkeys-A Certain Romance(2006)

10 12 2010

Written with Uncanny Observation and Dry Wit, This Semi-Anthem strikes a cord within us all:Daring tales of Adolescence and growing up. This has seemed to be the Monkeys Forte: Forging Stories of Drunken Bar fights and Dance Floor Lust into Tales of Near Myth you would laugh about and exaggerate to your friends the morning after. Of all the songs on their record breaking debut, this is the group at their most tender and memorable Catchy while Rocking hard, Weary but still sounding Uplifting. Being the last track on the album makes a lot of sense. Sounding like Alex’s Turners Final Story Before calling it a Night and passing out with a pint in his hands, A Bloody Nose, and a grin on his face.    –Armordillo

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