4.30.2009

Matt's Track of the Week: "Radio Cure"

Song: Radio Cure
Artist: Wilco
Album: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Year: 2002

When Warner Bros. rejected Wilco's offering of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and dropped them from the label, it was on the grounds that the major label executives couldn't find a viable single.  As far as radio-friendly, Top 40 hits are concerned, they may have been right.  Obviously, the point-of-view of someone trying to market the band and someone trying to enjoy the band are two different things.  Even so, YHF has since become their best-selling album to date, and in my opinion, contains some of the best work of their lengthy career.

The thing I find most interesting about this album, is how spacious a majority of the tracks sound.  This is heard especially on "Radio Cure", which is accentuated further by the rising feedback, and samples of shortwave radio interference that fill the void behind the simple guitar lines and Jeff Tweedy's drained vocals.  The song feels regretfully apologetic, in a way that is more explanatory than anything.  It's as if the narrator knows he is unable to fix a problem within himself that sometimes causes others pain, so now he is looking simply for understanding.  Musically, this song builds until the point where you think it will open up, but then it just continues to build more tension and change form.  Quite a unique tune.  Check it out below.

4.29.2009

John's Track of the Week: "Slow With Horns/Run For Your Life"

Track: Slow With Horns/Run For Your Life
Artist: Dan Deacon
Album: Bromst
Year: 2009

I was reading another blog a couple of weeks back, and they referred to Dan Deacon as an "electro-terrorist".  Now, though I, like everybody else, am not a fan of terrorism, hearing an artist described as one makes me want to listen to what they have to offer.  So, when I echo the aforementioned description of Mr. Deacon, know that you should probably pay attention.  Dan Deacon is an electro-terrorist.  It's his job.  It's who he is.  Oh, and he's really good at it. 

"Slow With Horns/Run For Your Life," one of the standouts off of this year's Bromst seems to personify the description to perfection.  The title of the song is also aptly named, as the progression begins slow, with horns, before quickening to an synth-keyboard based duel that creates the illusion of (wait for it)...running for your life.  To me, Bromst as a whole is a masterpiece when it comes to just the pure level of sound he's got going on, and I severely regret not being able to write about it as a whole when it came out.  Still, until the time comes when I can expand upon the album, check out this track, and watch for some Neutral Milk Hotel comparisons in the first half.  The horns get very In The Aeroplane Over the Sea-y at one point and to me, it's a pretty cool deal.

4.28.2009

New Busdriver, "Me-Time (With Pulmonary Pampsets"

I'll start by apologizing to anyone who is a music major/classically-trained musician.  Busdriver, who some may know as one of the co-collaborators on Nick Thorburn's post-Unicorns rap project Th' Corn Gangg, decided to use Mozart's "Sonata in A Minor" as a back beat for his newest single, "Me-Time (With Pulmonary Pampsets)".  The track, which utilizes his usual rapidfire wordsmithing, employs the aforementioned classical melody with a loud and steady bass to form what can be an interesting divulgence into namedropping and current economic woe after a few listens.  It's the second track off of the forthcoming Jhelli Beam, his eighth studio album, out June 9th via Anti-.  Check it out below, courtesy of Stereogum.

New Iron & Wine Tracks

Two new Iron & Wine tracks today, from the forthcoming and long Around the Well.  The first, "The Trapeze Swinger" is a folksy end to the album, and apparently was written for the movie In Good Company (anyone know anything about it?  I haven't heard of it).  You can check that one out below.  The other, "Homeward These Shoes," is a short and sad acoustic number which will surely conjure up images of Garden State.  That one is currently being streamed over at Stereogum, so I'd suggest heading over there if you'd  like to listen to its splendid simplicity.  For those who are interested in the album as a whole, Around the Well is out May 19th via Subpop.

4.27.2009

New Passion Pit, "Moth's Wings"

I'm sure Matt would have posted this if he had seen it, but since I happened upon it over at Stereogum, I figured I might as well toss it up here.  Passion Pit has a new album, Manners, coming out soon, and with that are, of course, new songs.  One of those is "Moth's Wings," a slightly lo-fi, catchy pop track that has all of the earmarks of being one of everyone's favorites by year's end.  To me, it sounds like a mix of Belle and Sebastian and The Shins.  Regardless, I'm sure you'll enjoy the track below, courtesy of Stereogum.  Manners is out May 19th via Frenchkiss here in the U.S.

Video Monday: "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)"

Track: Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)
Artist: Arcade Fire
Album: Funeral
Year: 2004

We're starting up a new feature on Animal Noises today, in the hopes that it becomes a weekly segment.  Video Monday will be taken on by both Matt and I on alternating weeks.  If it's deemed successful, perhaps we'll change it to the Track of the Week format, but we'll make that choice when the time comes.  

Leading off the segment this week is Arcade Fire's "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)" off of 2004's Funeral.  As the band's first single, and the first track on the album, it provides an interesting window into the concept of the album and the mindset that spawned it.  The video portrays various nightmarish cartoon dream sequences ending in an untimely, but none-too-graphic, death.  If you're a follower of the band at all, I'm sure you'll appreciate this image of them as a little-known start-up from Canada.  If not, it might take a few views to grasp what's going on.  Still, an interesting video for a great song.  Be sure to check back next Monday as Matt debuts his own video to debut here.

4.25.2009

New Kanye West Video, "Amazing" (Feat. Young Jeezy)

I'll tell you, Kanye West is one busy guy since the start of 2009.  Touring all over the place, defending his ego (and love of fish sticks) from those crazy guys of South Park, and making videos for most of the tracks off of his most recent effort, 808s and Heartbreak- it's a lot.  He's also apparently done with making music for a little while and will go into fashion, but that's just what's on his mind for the time being.  For all we know, Kanye will run for elected office in 2010.  The guy's fairly unpredictable, and lately, seems a bit less stable than normal (I could be wrong there, but I, like many others, have noticed a lot of odd behavior).  Still, I do like his recent do-it-yourself approach to things, so this next video, though probably not inexpensive, is novel (sort of).  Check out "Amazing," which features Young Jeezy and was shot on location in Jamaica, below.

4.24.2009

Not-New-At-All Sufjan Stevens, "Sofia's Song"

Noticed this quick and figured it'd be worth talking about briefly.  Sufjan Stevens, when in college, used to sit around making all kinds of recordings, by himself, much in the same way he does now, just without our modern methods of technology.  Recently, he found a bunch of these songs tucked away, and decided to give all of us at least one of them.  This one, "Sofia's Song" chronicles an imaginary relationship with Sofia Coppola.  Still with me?  Yeah, it's strange, but hey, people do strange things in college.  It's a good song, if you're a fan of his work, so I'd recommend it.  Check it out below, with the .mp3 courtesy of Stereogum.

Pre-Screening: Kevin Devine

Album: Brother's Blood
Artist: Kevin Devine
Label: Favorite Gentlemen
Due Out: April 28th

Sorry if the beginning of this sounds an awful lot like my review of Manchester Orchestra's latest effort, but well, there's a lot of similarities- all of which are positive. Kevin Devine's newest release, Brother's Blood, is everything you'd expect it to be. His singer-songwriter nature, the southern influence that comes out of nowhere (he's from Brooklyn), and the conflict he feels both internally and externally. Still, it feels like Devine grows up a little bit here (not that his old material was immature), and seems more comfortable in his own skin. I'll compliment it from the get-go as a truly enjoyable listening experience, and just offer some advance notice that many readers who frequent his work will be pleasantly surprised and intrigued by what you hear.

The record starts with "All of Everything, Erase," a track which fits in nicely with anything that Kevin's ever done before. It's a quick-tempo acoustic number setting up the themes of the record, most of which I outlined in the opening paragraph. There's another element here though, and that's his stress on freedom within the lyrics. Political statement or personal statement, either way, he seems "free" of something, and much more at ease than he's ever been. The next track, "Carnival" (featured on this site a month or so ago) is still what I said it was then- a moody roller coaster that lulls you into a sense of security multiple times before finally opening up and giving you that trademark Kevin Devine agony wail. It's all about bad dreams, according to him, something easily seen by the listener. As the ending dissipates into the start of "Time to Burn (Another Bag of Bones)," you start to sense a building tension in the music and vocals, seemingly just waiting to erupt at the right moment. Throughout the record, there are many tense swells of emotions, as he reaches that line right before the breaking point, only to retreat again and start over. The production value on these tracks, along with the background noise, are superior to the artist's older work, and like I said earlier, shows some real signs of him coming into his own.

From there, it's "Hand of God (When You Breathe...Breathe)," an uptempo track about getting over and moving on. Even with the subject matter though, it's not depressing, but rather, fun to listen to. Song structures have become more complex on this record, and there are some real layers and personalities to every song. Next up, the title track, "Brother's Blood," which could, at times, substitute in for a Brand New song, and overall, is some real, legit rock and roll. It's still weird to type that, but I remember I thought it the first time I heard this song. Once the guitar solo kicked in (I know, a Kevin Devine guitar solo? but it works), with its soaring echo effect and later, the screaming over it all, I was floored. I anticipate you will be too if you've ever listened to him before this record. The middle then starts to mellow out. "Fever Moon" brings us a much more intimate experience than the previous song, as Kevin does his best job at writing an 80s love duet, with surprisingly positive results. The next two tracks will be familiar to fans of Daytrotter, as both "It's Only Your Life" and "Murphy's Song" were featured during his session on the site. They're both the type of songs you'd expect from him, just more grown-up. However, one point of interest is the short interlude into Department of Eagles "No One Does It Like You" intro at the 1:30 mark of "Murphy's Song".

And then you hear a pop beat, in the only sense that Kevin Devine could pull it off- with an acoustic guitar and a drum machine. What starts off slow in "I Could Be With Anyone" suddenly turns into a bright and synth-y pop track, very uncharacteristic of him, yet somehow, appropriate on this album of firsts for the artist. The pleasant surprises are some of the album's best aspects, and this song's no exception. "Yr Husband" has a similar effect, starting off sounding like a Devine standby before shifting gears, lightening up, and incorporating more effects than I've ever heard him use, culminating in a solo to complete the track. The last song, instead of being a sorry, sad and slow number, incorporates Devine's best friend, Brand New's Jesse Lacey, to create "Tomorrow's Just Too Late". It's still acoustic, but the harmonies work to perfection as the two croon about a bittersweet ending, both within the relationship of the song and the album itself.

Positive growth. That's all I ask for when returning to an artist's work, and Kevin Devine delivered in a way I'd never expected. The sound was together, mature and refined, yet still true to his nature. He tried some new things, but never seemed to be struggling with it. It was ambitious, yet conservative. All-in-all, I don't think fans of the man could be much happier with the product they got out of this one. The high point may exist in the middle, but the rest of the album is worth the listen, as each song tries to spin what he normally does in one direction or another. I'm still impressed as I'm writing this, and I can guarantee you'll feel the same. Similarities include Colour Revolt, Cassino and I Can Make A Mess Like Nobody's Business.

Rating: 8.5/10

Best Track: "Brother's Blood" (Not up on Imeem, so here's "Hand of God")

4.23.2009

Some Not-So-New Tracks From Discovery

Saw this up on Sterogum today and decided it was definitely worth the time to put up over here at Animal Noises.  Ra Ra Riot and Vampire Weekend side project, Discovery, featuring VW's Rostam Batmanglij and RRR's Wes Miles, will apparently be releasing something later on this year.  Due to both bands being of interest to this space, as well as RRR's Syracuse roots, I figured I'd post up some tracks, both courtesy of Stereogum.  All I'll say about them is that you can definitely hear the influence of both projects within the songs, but in no way does that mean they sound at all like either principal project. Just think pop, and go from there.  Check them out below if you're in the mood for some new tunes.

Matt's Track of the Week: "Fewer Broken Pieces"

Song: Fewer Broken Pieces
Artist: David Bazan
Album: Fewer Moving Parts
Year: 2006

Former Pedro the Lion mastermind, David Bazan, has recently announced a tentative summer release date for his new record, Curse Your Branches, from his new band, David Bazan's Black Cloud.  That being said, I thought it would be a good time to highlight some of his most recent past work.

"Fewer Broken Pieces", from Bazan's debut solo EP, chronicles his decision to disband Pedro the Lion, and the effects of that decision on him and the people close to him.  One thing that can be said about this song, as well as David Bazan's entire catalogue, is that the formula is simple.  Still, his chord progressions are matched by few, and his bitter, often satirical lyrics on religion, sex, and alcohol give us a completely uncensored view into the inner-struggles of a man living in 21st century America.  Check it out below.

4.22.2009

John's Track of the Week: "American Low"

Song: American Low
Artist: Cassino
Album: Sounds of Salvation
Year: 2007

For some readers, the name Northstar may ring a bell.  The Alabama-based band, led by Nick Torres and Tyler Odom, set up shop in the NYC-Long Island area in the late 1990s to early 2000s, and was soon associated with groups such as Taking Back Sunday, Piebald and Hot Rod Circuit.  After two full-lengths, the band called it quits in 2005.  This was mostly due to creative differences within the band, as their sound was seemingly straying from their southern roots and was melting into the noise of the emo scene.  As a result of the break, Torres and Odom formed Cassino.

Cassino, unlike Northstar, is a project much more focused on folk rock, and the Alabama sound that seemingly comes naturally to Odom and Torres.  No screaming, no wailing guitar solos.  Instead, it's just creative and natural music, a relaxing and soft juxtaposition to their old sound.  This track in particular, "American Low," is a moody and active melody that touches on the flaws the authors see in current American life, and their grappling with the associated feelings.  Political undercurrents may or may not be present here, but if they are, I'll choose to ignore, so as not to take away from its quiet simplicity.

4.20.2009

New Sonic Youth, "Sacred Trickster"

Admittedly, I'm not a huge fan of Sonic Youth's more recent material.  I feel it all pales in comparison to 1988's Daydream Nation, but that may just be a personal thing.  However, I will say that I like where the band's new album, The Eternal, is headed, and that's where we'll be starting off this week's content.  The opener, "Sacred Trickster," harkens back to the Daydream Nation days, just not as noisy (a bit disappointing, but it's only one track).  It's a nice pace-setter, and hopefully, the rest of the album follows suit with a similar level of noise.  For those interested in the rest of the album, The Eternal is out June 9th via Matador.  Below is an mp3 of "Sacred Trickster," courtesy of Stereogum.  Enjoy.

4.17.2009

Pre-Screening: The Wooden Birds

Album: Magnolia
Artist: The Wooden Birds
Label: Barsuk
Due Out: May 12th

Some of the readers out there may be familiar with Andrew Kenny, lead singer of American Analog Set, as well as Ben Gibbard's coconspirator on Home, Vol. 5. For those individuals, this is his new project, a relaxing and folksy indie act called The Wooden Birds. As for everyone else, Kenny, in general, makes very listen-able and accessible music in the folk vein, in this case, incorporating a western feel to his usual sound to create an Oregon trail type aesthetic. While listening to the project's first effort, Magnolia, I feel at ease and simply able to take in the scenery around me. If you're planning on a road trip, or simply driving around in the western plains states, this is probably the album you're looking for. It's not too long, and not too short- rather, it's concise, and to the point. No frills, no extraneous details. It's just the type of album you can drift along to without a care.

"False Alarm" starts the record with a warm and inviting voice, seemingly greeting you at the door and taking you into the small space you're about to embark on. For me, upon hearing a new band's initial offering, it is very hard for me to feel at home and comfortable, yet it's accomplished here. My surroundings look familiar, and I am at ease with what is going on around me. "The Other One" does not change this mood all that much, keeping a similar tempo and inflection, and continuing you on the path you began to embark on. It's pleasing and almost-maternal. Though you're keenly aware of the music, it does not intrude upon your thought process, and rather, exists as a complement to the visions in your head. Next, "Sugar" adjusts your feelings just slightly, focusing your attention to the people and things around you, and initially removing you from the steady and present percussion section which consumed the first two tracks. "Hailey" proceeds to move you forwards at a steady pace, as you're not yet galloping, but the trotting percussion has quickened a bit since the beginning of the record. The sound here volleys back and forth between bright and a subdued and stifled darkness, gaining steam where appropriate.

"Hometown Fantasy" also seems to juxtapose these images of light and dark well, as it seems to show the triumph of the journey, while also revealing the regret of being far from where you started. Following that, "Choke" slows it back down, with the arrival of night (or so I'll assume), and takes the mood all the way towards regret. If I had to paint a visual picture here, lying out in the desert of Arizona at night is the best image I've got, but it seems appropriate. The regret continues throughout the night, with "Quit You Once" (bare with me with this imagery, it works for me), and carries over, though more actively, to "Never Know". Here, the tempo begins to pick back up, and though Kenny's voice carries stronger, it doesn't seem more confident, though he does pick up a few Elliott Smith-esque harmonies. The move to "Anna Paula" then signals the transition we've been waiting for, from the reserved nature of the first part, to the changeover at the middle, and now, the more active and engaging ending portion.

As we reach the home stretch, "Believe in Love" starts with some of the earmarks of a last song on the album, but manages to abort, and then recoup, sort of how the mood of the album at one point seemed resolved to failure, before picking itself back up. Still, what really lends to the continuity of this collection of songs is the steady percussion section, nearly identical from track to track, keeping the personality of the record intact throughout. Next, "Seven Seventeen" provides us with some fond senses of regret, as our narrator speaks of lost love, seemingly prevented by age. The female vocals here also provide a nice changeup, and give both figures in this short story a voice and face. Closure? Maybe. But if that wasn't, perhaps "Bad" is. All the moods and regrets have seemingly been dealt with, as Kenny gives instructions as how he should be seen and remembered. Definitely not the type of track that abruptly ends an album, it slowly walks us out the door, and we're completely comfortable with that as listeners.

What made Magnolia so enjoyable for me was the comfort and familiarity I felt right from the onset. Not since Blind Pilot's debut last year have I been so at home while listening to a record. Andrew Kenny's got something good on his hands right now with The Wooden Birds. All he has to do is fine tune it, and try and mold it into a potential long term project, as right now it still resembles something which may or may not be a permanent musical act. Still, though, I really did get a lot out of this one, but I'd recommend a couple listens if you really want to appreciate it. Simplicity is what makes Magnolia endearing, and if you're a fan of that, you'll enjoy it. For similarities, check out the aforementioned Blind Pilot, Rocky Votolato and Bon Iver.

Rating: 7.5/10

Best Track: "Seven Seventeen" (not up on Imeem, but here's "Sugar")

4.16.2009

Matt's Track of the Week: "The Taming of the Hands That Came Back To Life"

Song: The Taming of the Hands That Came Back To Life
Artist: Sunset Rubdown
Album: Random Spirit Lover
Year: 2007

In the past decade, Spencer Krug has had a hand in creating some of the most intriguing music to come out of the indie rock scene.  Although he is most well-known as the co-frontman of Canadian powerhouse Wolf Parade, he also has put out several records and toured extensively with Sunset RubdownSwan Lake, Frog Eyes, and Fifths of Seven, since even before the release of 2005's Apologies to the Queen Mary and after 2008's At Mount Zoomer.

One of the albums which received the most critical acclaim during this time was Sunset Rubdown's Random Spirit Lover.  And of my personal favorites off of that album would have to be "The Taming of the Hands That Came Back To Life".  The dueling synth and electric guitar parts that flow through most of this song are as close to a direct ABBA rip as any self-respecting indie band would dare come, but it's a perfect combination with Krug's dramatic vocal style.  This song delivers the hooks that you have come to expect if you are a fan of Wolf Parade, but in a much more pop-oriented package.  Check it out below.

4.15.2009

John's Track of the Week: "Love Me"

Song: Love Me
Artist: Department of Eagles
Album: Sweetheart
Year: 2009

Contrary to my original beliefs going into this article, this is not the first time we've had a cover song as a track of the week.  Still, back in February, many readers may remember Starbucks' Valentine's Day mixtape, Sweetheart, which featured indie artists covering their favorite love songs for hipsters and others to enjoy.  Ever since, I've been listening to the best track on the record, "Love Me," an Elvis Presley cover by Department of Eagles.  On this particular song, Daniel Rossen's haunting, doo-woppy voice becomes the perfect substitute for The King, complete with a few falsetto jumps that Elvis himself may have struggled to reach.

If you enjoy the new sounds of Grizzly Bear and Department of Eagles, I can pretty much guarantee you'll like this one.  As covers go, I feel it does what's asked of it- re-imagining and reworking a song in their own vision, rather than just playing an exact copy of the original work.   Since DoE is less about lyrics and more about the music behind it, this one becomes a bit more intriguing, since it sets lyrics into the forefront of a fairly simple background.  The band passes with flying colors, of course, so I'd recommend checking this one out, to those who have not done so already.

4.10.2009

Pre-Screening: Manchester Orchestra

Album: Mean Everything to Nothing
Artist: Manchester Orchestra
Label: Favorite Gentlemen/Canvasback
Due Out: April 21st

Every once in a while, a band comes out with a sophomore effort that is not, in essence, dwarfed by its first album. This situation will usually lead to a faction of band "purists" insisting that the old stuff was better and becoming the hipsters that every new fan of the band hates. However, with Manchester Orchestra's second official full-length, Mean Everything to Nothing, this is not the case. Truly a rock and roll album, MEtN allows the band's sound to evolve to a level even its most diehard fans will be pleasantly surprised by. Yes, there's still angst, but those feelings are made to simply enhance the musical aspects here, rather than become to focus, along with questioning God and life. Each time I hit play on this record, I'm still equally as shocked as the first, and incredibly glad to be listening to something as moving and interesting as I am. Without getting out of the first paragraph here, I'll commend them for a job well done.

Within five seconds of the onset of "The Only One," you're hit with nostalgia, but not for the band's old work. The fast-paced and hard-hitting pop track immediately alludes to Neutral Milk Hotel and the rest of the Elephant 6 Collective. The record label's psychadelic fuzzy pop gained quite a following at the end of the 90s and the early part of this decade, and if you look hard enough, you can still see its influence on today's music. Some may be fooled by this clever ploy at the beginning of the album- assuming a complete change in sound for the group, but the next track, "Shake It Out," is what the band has always excelled at. Quick and soaring hard rock, coupled with lead singer Andy Hull's angst and pain-ridden voice makes the song one of the record's best, as it explores new dimensions of the band, from a young garage band to a more mature, arena indie rock artist. Next, "I've Got Friends" epitomizes what the album is about, a certain growth and potential, whether reached or unreached, but still strived for. This is not reflective of the band, but rather a life, perhaps- not necessarily Hull's. Still, what grabs you on this track, as well as every other, is the amount of organized and overwhelming noise contained within. It's an all-consuming aesthetic that really enhances the listening experience.

"Pride" also hits with force, and coupled with the first three tracks, you're already hooked. What differentiates these tracks from the band's past work seems to lay in the fact that they used to simply couple softer pop instrumental parts with harsh vocals, but now, have seemingly allowed the instrumental pieces to catch up with the heavier vocals. Even the pop tracks have an edge rarely seen on those types of songs. Following that, "In My Teeth" starts in slow, before exploding into a spacious and vast wall of sound, further enhanced by the vocal layering of Hull's voice. Once you've fully recovered from those songs, you'll probably welcome the break that comes with "100 Dollars," a stripped down song about Hull losing a $100 bill that his father gave him. It's simple, yet thought provoking, and is well-placed in the canvas of the record as a whole.

For anyone that owns the band's most recent EP, Let My Pride Be What's Left Behind, you'll surely recognize the next track, "I Can Feel A Hot One". Along with "I Was A Lid," the two songs were the standouts off of the EP, and I'm glad that at least one of them made it on. Both remind me a lot of their old sound- very damaged and subdued, with its moments of heavier sonic influx. From here onward, you'll notice a move back towards that sound, but only in bits and pieces. The next track, "My Friend Marcus," seems like a full band version of a piano ballad, and in my opinion, is. The song is also one of the tracks where the name of the album comes from. Then, for all you cereal enthusiasts, "Tony the Tiger" follows. I'm pretty sure this is about some guy Tony who cheated on Hull's sister, but maybe I'm wrong on that perception. Afterwards, "Everything to Nothing" seemingly wraps up the sentiments expressed throughout the album, speaking of insecurities and dependency, but is not the end of the album. "The River," with hidden, enclosed track, "Jimmy Whispers," both seem to readdress the faith issue, as touched upon in I'm Like a Virgin Losing A Child, but barely hit on here. Stick around for the full 11 and a half minutes to hear "Jimmy Whispers". I feel like both tracks complement each other pretty well, and provide some appropriate closure, as well as a cliffhanger for the next album.

When you reach the end of MEtN, you are questioning a few things, but in the best way possible. The God issue becoming prominent again doesn't confuse, but rather keeps the motor running, even after the music's over. It's one of those records you're sad to see end, but are content with what you've got at the same time. From everything I've heard with this one, it seems as if Hull and Brand New's Jesse Lacey spent a lot of time together during the writing and recording process, as I detect pieces of Lacey's songwriting mentality within this record. Borrowing from a friend is a good thing, however, and the commonalities going forward between Manchester Orchestra, Kevin Devine and Brand New will only make the three artists more enjoyable to listen to. I was impressed to say the least by this album, and I'm sure you will be too. For some similarities, the best place to go is obviously Manchester Orchestra's past work, but other comparisons include the aforementioned Brand New, Nirvana (to a point) and Northstar.

Rating: 8.5/10

Best Track: "I've Got Friends"

4.09.2009

Matt's Track of the Week: "The Center of the World"

Song: The Center of the World
Artist: Bright Eyes
Album: Fevers & Mirrors
Year: 2000

There has been a lot of talk on Animal Noises and across the interwebs lately about Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band.  With all of the buzz surrounding their new record, I started to feel a bit nostalgic, and thought it would be nice to highlight an old favorite of mine from when Conor was recording exclusively as Bright Eyes.

In my opinion, as much as I consider myself a fan of everything Oberst has recorded in his lengthy career, there's no topping his releases from 2000-2005.  There's an intensity and emotion that was so apparent in his music from his own internal struggles and passions that simply has not been reached since.  And that's not to say I hold it against him either.  Every artist has to grow and mature.  But there's something about the almost bi-polar nature of a song like "The Center of the World" that just strikes a chord in me.  It's one of the many standouts on Fevers & Mirrors, and it hits hard and sticks with you with its closing lines: "Two pills just weren't enough.  The alarm clock's going off, but you're not waking up.  This isn't happening, happening, happening, happening, happening.  It is."  Check it out below.