Friday, July 18, 2008


Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not-
Arctic Monkeys
Status: Out as of 2006
Label: Domino
Rating: 5 Feathers

Though they are a band releasing their debut album, when you first look at them, you think that they are four average acne-stricken adolescents who do the things normal guys at the age of 19 would do. Little would you believe the wonder and the gravity of the music they create and how quickly it encased the youth of not only their hometown Sheffield, but all of England. 'The View From The Afternoon' starts out with the line 'Anticipation has the habit to set you up for disappointment'. This is quickly proven wrong when you hear the beginning drum line which moves into rapid chord changes and a pumping bass-line. The shear talent exhibited is enough to suck you in. I mean, Jamie Cook sure knows his way around the fingerboard. 'I Bet You Look Good on The Dancefloor' is a more poppy song than the latter, but that doesn't make you like it any less. With references to Romeo and Juliet, a forceful guitar solo, and a driving beat, it makes you want more. 'Fake Tales of San Francisco' talks of people who say they're something they're not. With extremely conversational lyrics and a dead right view on culture, you can really relate to them. 'Dancing Shoes' starts out sounding a bit darker like 'A View' but once the second verse kicks in, Matt Helders's drumming gets you dancing in your seat. 'You Probably Couldn't See for the Lights But You Were Staring Straight At Me' has the longest title but it's the shortest song. If you've experienced youth, you'll understand the song perfectly, for it's about getting nervous in the presence of someone you like and the way Alex Turner writes it is so accurate. 'Still Take You Home' has a similar feel to 'You Probably Couldn't', but it's a lot heavier and very, very fast. The lyric 'I fancy you with a passion' makes me giggle. 'Riot Van' is a softer, more melodic feel, but the lyrics don't match the song at all. They are about messing with the cops, running away from them with friends, and ultimately getting caught. 'Red Light Indicates Doors Are Secure' seems to be about catching a taxi and while in the taxi, the narrator is talking to the cabbie and describing the events of the night. 'Mardy Bum' starts with a twangy double guitar solo. The song describes a girlfriend who has a very temperamental (mardy) side and a fun side. The over all mien of the song is calm. 'Perhaps Vampires is a Bit Strong But...' is very industrial and dark. Alex's filtered vocals add a sinister feel which is flat out brilliant. About 3 minutes in, the song stops, and you hear a faint 'All you people are vampires!' and it kicks into an astounding guitar solo. The central theme returns at the end, and it leaves you craving for more. 'When The Sun Goes Down' talks about the dark-side of the Neepsend district of Sheffield. It, to me, sounds like a dark show tune, with a soft beginning, heavy middle, and almost happy ending. 'From The Ritz to The Rubble' is my favourite Arctic Monkeys song. Alex's Yorkshire accent is overly perfect in this song and Andy Nicholson's bass throughout is just spectacular. Jamie's guitar solo at the end sounds old English-y to me. 'A Certain Romance' finishes off the album. Words can't describe it. The drum solo at the beginning is perfect, the guitar riffs are perfect, the bass is perfect, the accent-y singing is perfect, and the lyrics are so true and observant. With lyrics like 'There's only music so that there's new ring tones, and it don't take no Sherlock Holmes to see it's a little different around here' is hugely representative of today's culture that it's daunting. I cannot say enough about this album. If four teenagers can make such a perfect soundtrack to today's culture of not only England, but of the world, anything is possible. These four are geniuses who have a huge career ahead of them. Any youth going through life needs this album.
"On a couple of early recordings I sound totally different, like an American, but I feel much more comfortable with my Sheffield accent. It's natural, it's how I sound, and I wouldn't go back."-Alex Turner

Video for I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor

Arctic Monkeys Official Website
Note: Sorry this is so long, I love the album. They do have a 2nd album that I will be reviewing fyi. The singer is also in The Last Shadow Puppets, but note Arctic Monkeys are the primary band that came first whereas The Last Shadow Puppets are a side/2nd project. (Both are great though!) Thanks for the lovely comments, it's what keeps me writing!

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Turn on the Bright Lights-
Status: Out as of 2002
Label: Matador
Rating: 2.5 Feathers

The opening lines of the album 'Surprise will sometimes come' is a horrible omen for the debut album of New York City's Interpol. With four sharply dressed NYU grads and a huge following, you'd expect them to make an innovative, attention-grabbing album. Your expectations are too high. The album starts with 'Untitled'. It's drawn out and a tad boring. I definitely wouldn't have chosen this to be the opening because it doesn't make you want to listen to the rest of the album. 'Obstacle 1' should've been in 'Untitled'(s) place because it offers a much more varying upbeat sort of mood. Sam Fogarino's drums are perfect in the sense that they are weird but fitting. This song makes no sense lyrically, but musically it's brilliant and full of hooks and Paul Bank's monotone vocals were made for this song. 'NYC', not New York City but as the lyrics suggest, New York cares, is quieter. It starts out soft, but once the chorus comes in it gets more appealing. Something I noticed was the lyrics contained the album title. 'PDA' is completely different than the rest of the album. It starts with a pulsing drumbeat and it's much heavier than what you'd expect. With lyrics like 'we have 200 couches' help add to the obscurity of the album. 'Say Hello To The Angels' quite honestly makes me feel nauseous when I first listen to it. The bass and drums at the beginning don't fly well with my equilibrium. The lead guitar, however, is reminiscent to that of The Strokes. When 'Hands Away' played, I didn't even realize it was on until the next song came on. You think, as the lyrics hint, 'Oh, what happened?' 'Obstacle 2' is very properly placed in the album due to the fact that you wake up when it comes on. It's significantly more appealing than the last two songs. 'Stella Was A Diver And She Was Always Down' is very dull. You certainly realize that it is the longest song on the album and you want it to end. 'Roland' sounds very different from the rest of the album. With Carlos D.'s deep bass-line and with Paul's very robotic voice, it's good for someone who likes your basic 2:50 pop song. 'The New' as you will quickly realize, like 'Stella' is another sleeper. It's just monotonous and too calm. 'Leif Erikson', named for Leif Ericson, is also very quiet but it feels like it's got more to offer than the others. It's still not the greatest. By the end of the album, when you arise from your nap, you think, 'That was it?' The album is simply a few gems surrounded by dust. Daniel Kessler has a very distinct style, but does he have to start out every song with a repetitive guitar intro and puncture every song with a long guitar rant? This is a very talented band with some catchy tunes and I love their future work, but you cannot turn on lights bright enough to keep me awake through this album.
"I'll be honest, we don't always know exactly what Paul means with his lyrics." Carlos D.

Video for Obstacle 1

Interpol's Official Website
Note: I changed 'stars' in the rating to 'feathers'. Also, this album was released in 2002 so it's not as recent as the first two. I hope you enjoy! I appreciate the comments!

Sunday, July 6, 2008


The Age of the Understatement-
The Last Shadow Puppets
Status: Out as of 2008
Label: Domino
Rating: 4 Feathers

When you take two 22 year olds, you would expect a record to be a bit punk, possibly angry. What you would not expect is a big bold orchestral section with pieces of brass and slightly softer sounds. Well, that's pretty much what Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys and Miles Kane of The Rascals did, with strings provided by Owen Pallett (Final Fantasy) and drums provided by James Ford (Simian Mobile Disco). The album kicks off with the title track 'The Age of The Understatement'. The song opens with strings that sound like seagulls that move into drums and guitar reminiscent of 'Knights of Cydonia' by Muse. It's extremely epic sounding, not what you'd expect. Miles's and Alex's vocals sound similar enough that them singing together creates a grander feel. 'Standing Next to Me' seems like it could've been taken from the hit-list during the 60's. It is upbeat and has a pop-y feel. 'Calm Like You'(s) vocals at the beginning sound almost like they could be from an Arctic Monkeys song but the orchestral feel continues to make it their own. 'Separate and Ever Deadly' is the sort of song where if you listen to it once, it grinds into your skull, sets up camp, and as it says in the song, 'won't let go'. It has a somber, but frantic feel and you will want to listen to it over and over again. Apparently, 'The Chamber' was the duo's first try at the whole swapping vocals thing. Well, they've got that down. The message of being 'cornered by yourself' adds to the sullenness of it. The quiet of 'The Chamber' is the exact opposite of 'Only The Truth'. It kicks in with the two shouting 'only the truth' which'll surprise you if you're not ready. This isn't my favourite song because it sounds like too much like 'The Age of The Understatement' in the sense that the guitar is just too similar and the drums are also not as fitting as they were in the title track. 'My Mistakes Were Made For You' starts with a drum-roll and moves into a very acoustic-y sort of feel with Alex singing alone. It, to me, is beautiful due to a single voice against a melodic orchestra and acoustic guitar. It's got the perfect amount of calm, but just enough of a darker feel to make you love it. I mega-loathe 'Black Plant'. I just don't like it. It's by far my least favourite. The beginning is annoying and I hate the upbeat pace that's punctured by slow movements and a horn that just follows the vocals. Miles's and Alex's vocals don't mesh in this song at all in that the harmonies are all screwed up. 'I Don't Like You Anymore' is very, let's say, different, but in a good way. The beginning is a little slow, but once Miles comes in, you can hardly understand his thick Liverpool accent because he sounds like he's putting his heart into that stanza. It's a very odd journey that leaves you thinking 'What WAS that?' 'In My Room' is a very, very dark song and it ends on an awkwardly happy chord. 'Meeting Place' is amazing. It's so beautiful, that when listening to it in a certain mood, it may make you cry. Its sound is so filled with hope, though the lyrics are about a guy leaving a girl, that the mood init of itself makes it so brilliant. 'The Time Has Come Again' has a solo acoustic guitar, later accompanied by strings, and an echo-y vocal that make it the perfect ending for such a grand, epic album. This album, specifically, sounds like 50's-60's orchestral pop, with a modern, youthful, epic feel. Miles and Alex are both promising lyricists and musicians. You'd expect an album like this to be done by a critically acclaimed musician that's nearing his 7th or 8th album, but the fact that they are so young just makes this album that much better. Noting each of their band's works, The Last Shadow Puppets definitely took a huge risk. These guys have guts and I would strongly suggest this album for listening to. A Monkey and a Rascal: Who knew.
"I walked into the studio when they were doing 'Meeting Place'; this little song you've written in your bedroom is being played by an orchestra! I went cold".
-Miles Kane
Video For Standing Next To Me
Note: I took the picture myself. Also, I posted a rating and a video in the Vampire Weekend post to, so check it out. I hope you enjoyed!

Thursday, July 3, 2008


Vampire Weekend-Vampire Weekend
Status: Out as of 2008
Label: XL
Rating: 4 Feathers

In a world of Fall Out Boys, Amy Winehouses, and Panic(!) At the Discos, Vampire Weekend is a huge breath of fresh air. Straight from New York, these four Columbia University grads combine afro-pop, indie, and a basic sound to produce a new style. The album starts off with 'Mansard Roof', which gives you a beach-y sort of vibe. The simple sound is very evident but effective. 'Oxford Comma' comes next. I don't care what the pricks on MTV say, this song is perfect. Though the title is a grammar concept, the song is not just about that. It mentions ideas of travel and insubordination. Chris Tomson's heavily African-influenced drumming couldn't be any better. 'A-Punk' is what got me hooked when I saw it performed on 'Later...with Jools Holland'. Possibly the catchiest song of the album, Rostam Batmanglij's keyboards produce some addictive hooks using a flute like sound. Based on frontman Ezra Koenig's travels to India and Africa, 'Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa' features unprocessed guitar and falsetto vocals (that make me giggle) allow for the raw talent to shine through. 'M79' uses a combination of strings, keyboards, and subtle harmonies to produce a happy, sunny product. 'Campus' talks about, don't you know it, school. 'Bryn' just doesn't stick out to me. It doesn't have really any special sound. It just drones on and on with little variation that leave you with no memory of actually listening to the song. 'One (Blake's Got A New Face)' just flat out irritates me. The beginning is great, you know, with the drums and all, but once the keyboard kicks in and the backing vocals say 'Blake's got a new face' after Ezra does, really just doesn't fly with me. 'I Stand Corrected' is captivating. The keyboard at the beginning, reminiscent to the synthesizer in '505' by Arctic Monkeys, brings you in and the somber sounds hold you there. 'Walcott' paints a dismal picture of Cape Cod and Hyannis Port than one would expect, but the sound is far from it. It's a fan favourite probably because of it's catchy-sing-along nature. 'The Kids Don't Stand a Chance' closes the album with a gloomy, but hopeful sound. Chris Baio's bass sets the mood and keeps it that way throughout. The melancholy strings add the perfect effect and leave you saddened, possibly because the album is over. Although there are a few kinks, Vampire Weekend is a band that does not disappoint. With references to Peter Gabriel, India, and The Holy Roman Empire you know this album must be good. I have high hopes for the future of Vampire Weekend.
"We want to bring things together that haven't been brought together before."-Ezra Koenig
Video for A-Punk
I took the picture myself. Sorry if it were a little ruff, but I hope you liked it.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Greetings One And All!

I'm Double Hawk and I welcome you! In this blog, you will find reviews on music that I have chosen to review (and possibly movies) and rants. I have much knowledge on all the bands I like and knowledge on others too. I know so much about music and how it works that I've developed some strong opinions on it. I listen to indie, a specified portion of what the media considers 'alternative', punk, rock, classic rock, and other sorts. Most of my music comes straight from England. Well, I hope you enjoy reading this blog as much as I enjoy writing it and if you have any suggestions on music to review, suggest it!

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.”-Dr. Seuss