RubbleBucket – Omega Lala

27 04 2011

In spite of the lack of income for artists, everyone loves free music. For budding stars eager to increase their listenership, releasing music for free download is an excellent way to get their sound out there, but when artists drop an entire album, us poor fans nearly weep with joy. Finally, a chance to get something legally without paying!

Unfortunately, all too often musicians release music for free because, well, the music itself is nothing more than mediocre. So when Brooklyn-based Rubblebucket released their sophomore album Omega La La in just such a fashion a few weeks ago, I was understandably apprehensive at first.

To my great surprise, however, from the very first track, Rubblebucket’s clever rhythms, simple yet catchy hooks, beautifully layered vocals and instrumental harmonics hit my ears causing bubbly audial excitement deep within my inner ear.

An epic, 10 person motley crew headed up by the vocal/saxophonic musings of Kalmia Traver and excited trumpeteer Alex Toth, Rubblebucket brings jiggly, giddy boppiness with every track on this album, whose physical release date is slated for June 7th, yet they still avoid the common pitfall in this genre of sounding just “too cute.”

Omega La La plays like a soundtrack to a warm Spring day in Prospect Park. Listening to “Came Out of a Lady” I can just envision Traver and Toth leading their rag tag marching band through the park, with streamer-girls and tambourine-accompanists following in their wake, lightening the moods of all those Park Slope moms and their unruly kids on a breezy Sunday afternoon.

But then there are the slower songs of the album, however few they are, which come out hit or miss. “Raining” tells a pensive story of distant attraction and curiosity over some very clever instrumentation, complete with arpeggios and melodic breaks. Similarly, “Breatherz (Young as Clouds)” soars through the sonic sky like a digilectric albatross, even despite the nearly nonsensical lyrics.

But then we come to the lengthy “Lifted/Weak Arms,” and Rubblebucket’s heretofore hiptastic groove bottoms out into a cacaphonic disarray of strange, sleepy monotony and uncomfortable dissonance. I’m really not too sure what the purpose of this song is, even the masterful production from Eric Broucek (LCD Soundsystem, !!!, Holy Ghost) can’t seem to save this track from the pit of failed experimentation. It just doesn’t fit right with the theme of the album. Thankfully, it only takes up six minutes of the listening experience, so it could be worse.

Overall, I am thoroughly impressed by this little “pre-“release.  It is fresh, creative, uplifting and just plain fun to listen to.  Great work, Rubblebucket, I hope this album gets you paper, even though you’re giving it away for free. 92%, A-

Download Rubblebucket – Omega La La Here


The Squeezebox: Elbow- Build a rocket boys! (2011)

9 03 2011

After winning the British Mercury Prize in 2008 with their stellar Seldom seen kid, The guys from  Manchester took a little time with the follow-up to so much success. Build a Rocket Boys! comes equipped with orchestral, Arena Ready Anthems still made to rise above the rafters- Where Emotive Subject matter and patient but Progressive Songwriting takes precedence. Filled up largely with slow, contemplative, Piano-based Melodies and Orchestral beauty. The band is Perhaps less ambitious than Seldom… and sounding more “Content” with themselves. That’s not necessarily a flaw though and It makes sense; Elbow is now more popular and acclaimed than ever before. How should band sound that has made a career writing songs about being depressed and downtrodden to now find themselves content in a heap of new fans and due respect?

Sometimes though, Rocket.. can be a little laborious to get through. The pacing of the album can slow down to a halt; some of the tracks are a little too spare and feel sluggish; which might make you tune out and allow it to fade into the background. Still, a great follow-up to Seldom seen and a very welcome addition  to Elbow’s Catalogue.

76% – Armordillo

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