Saturday, April 25, 2009

RULES-The Whitest Boy Alive

The Whitest Boy Alive
Status-Out as of 2009
Rating-2.5 Feathers

Formed in Berlin as an electronic dance group in Germany, The Whitest Boy alive are now classified by their simplistic combination of a minimalist guitars and drums, with a thick bassline. Since their creation, they have released the very well received ‘Dreams’, and are now back with the follow up entitled ‘Rules’. Starting with ‘Keep a Secret’, you can tell just how basic they are. It’s a nice opening, and the ambient feel gives it a nice flair. The way he pronounces ‘can you keep a secret?’ is pretty interesting also. ‘Intentions’ is a little more subdued than the last song, but I’m not saying that the last song was upbeat or anything. The synthesizer is very, very reminiscent of ‘Fly Like an Eagle’, which is ok, just not really my taste. ‘Courage’ is a pleasant song, but it is more powerful than the previous song. The bass line is so clear which really helps the song a lot. ‘Timebomb’ immediately sucks you in with a combination of random chord bursts and a thick bass line. It really creates a nice groove. Though he says ‘it’s a rollercoaster ride of emotion’, ‘Rollercoaster Ride’ fails to bring you to the emotional state that he promised. It’s actually pretty bland. Though very simple, ‘High on the Heels’ has a weirdly danceable vibe, and I quite like it. The vocals are paced a little quicker than the others, and it really helped. ‘1517’ is simply refreshing. It’s not refreshing like ‘they are sooo innovative’, it just gives you a refreshed feel, similar to how you feel after drinking a cold iced tea. The song has a very nice feel and the structure very well done. ‘Gravity’ is pretty boring. I must admit, it kind of just drags on. The only good part of it is when he goes ‘How long can a cool cat keep its calm?’ It made me laugh. As expected by this point, the chorus in ‘Promise Less or Do More’ sounds way too much like the majority of the album. The verses and the solo, however, are very well done and give you a little hope for the rest the album. ‘Dead End’ fulfills that hope. It’s my favorite, and possibly the best song on the album. The bass is absolutely brilliant, and the song just goes so nicely. ‘Island’ sounds, again, like the rest of everything previously heard. The little dings sound very out of place. The bit at 3:45 sounds very much like ‘Burning’ from Dreams, which was a great little touch, but a little surprising. As you can see, this album was a little disappointing. I like them a lot, but this had an extreme amount of repetitive redundancy and it was really very boring. They are pretty cool cats with a lot of potential, but they need to add a little something that keep you from forgetting you are listening to something. The bassline throughout is honestly the only thing that kept me motivated to listen. I really believe that there is better to come from The Whitest Boy Alive.
“In case your record dealer doesn't know what you are talking about when you ask for "Rules," just tell him it's out now and that he can order it.”-Marcin Öz

Recommendations: High on the Heels, 1517, Dead End
The Whitest Boy Alive's Official Website
Note: I'm very sorry for my lack of reviews, and I'm trying. Three Friday Things in a row is not good. Atleast this album album came out last month, let alone this year. Thank you Ian France over at Danish Poet for the review idea. I hope you enjoy and I accept any comments and requests!

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Friday Thing: A Lady of a Certain Age by The Divine Comedy

While watching the 'From The Basement' with The Shins and White Stripes, this guy Neil Hannon came on and did two songs that episode, 'A Lady of a Certain Age' and 'Our Mutual Friend'. He was quite possibly the dullest thing I've ever heard. His appearance, his voice, the way he played the instruments were so beyond dull. However, I watched the episode a couple of times, and I absolutely love him now. I hope you enjoy The Divine Comedy, and note, Neil Hannon is the singer.

A Lady of a Certain Age


Friday, April 17, 2009

The Friday Thing: Sing For Absolution by Muse

While watching the glastonbury special for 2004, I was shocked that they played Muse in the hour of it. This performance single handedly made me re-fall in love with Muse. It's beautiful and powerful in it's own way. It also helps that it's performed brilliantly and with perfection. Enjoy!

Sing For Absolution

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Friday Thing: Song of Our So-called Friend by Okkervil River

Recently, I cannot get enough of this song. On the album recording, it has such a simple/subtle beauty that when quietly listening to it can (and will) leave you in tears. This song is absolutely lovely, and although it's just Will Sheff singing this without the aid of a female harmony, you can still see why the flowers are dancing! Enjoy!

Song of Our So-called Friend


First Impressions of Earth-
The Strokes
Label-RCA Records
Status-Out as of 2006
Rating-2 Feathers

With other legendary bands of this decade edging up to there third albums like Interpol or The Shins, The Strokes are no exception. After the release of their massive debut album (Is This It) and the ever successful ‘Room On Fire’, they have been known as one of the biggest and best New York City bands of this decade. However, keeping up to par with their legacy may prove impossible with their third release, First Impressions of Earth. ‘You Only Live Once’ starts out the album with a funkier groove than what they have previously offered. It has almost a summery vibe, and Julian’s vocals fit the song very well. It’s kind of a strange, yet great dive in. ‘Juicebox’ is possibly the heaviest song they’ve done so far. The weird breath vocal pattern sets the mood perfectly. I feel bad for Nikolai because the bass is the lead part (and makes the song), and it never lets up. ‘Heart in a Cage’ is pretty dark, and the lead guitar riff is flippin’ annoying. It’s just not that much of an ear-pleasing song. ‘Razorblade’ is a very positive sounding song that’s very, very catchy. The retro-beachy guitar sound and the part where he sings ‘Oh no, my feeling are more important than yours’ just set you in an awkwardly good mood. The only problem with the song is that he compares a razorblade to a girl. ‘On The Otherside’ has a decent groove to it, but it sounds not fully Strokes, which is mildly intriguing. The lyrics however just make him seem like a whine who’s tired of everyone/thing. That’s a turn off. ‘Vision of Division’ is really not a very good song. It seems like they never alerted Julian on how he was supposed to sing it because it seems like he’s just winging the whole thing. On the surface, ‘Ask Me Anything’ seems simple, almost too simple, but the constantly changing mellotron and the lower register vocals keep your ear through. The mellotron is really a great addition. ‘Electricityscape’ has a nice semi-airy tune. It could have been very easily used in a film trailer for the fact that it has a somewhat reflective quality. ‘Killing Lies’ is more pleasing than many of the other songs, but the bass is very annoying. It sounds like he’s playing in morse code. The vocals are an improvement, but the song just sorta comes and goes. ‘Fear of Sleep’ is also a pretty bad song. The backing instruments just sorta meld together as a wall of noice. The only decent part are the vocals, but not when he sings ‘fear of sleep’ because they sound very creepy. ‘15 Minutes’ has a nice tune, and he really pours into the vocals. It’s a very good song, but it’s not a classic. ‘Ize of The World’ is very grandiose and dramatic, in a bizarre way. The lyrics are pretty clever being that by ‘ize’ they mean it as the suffix. They use it to make odd social observations like ‘movie stars to idolize, leaders to scandalize’. ‘Evening Sun’ is very bland. Bland doesn’t even properly describe it. The vocals don’t even help; they are beyond a bore. The song needs a little something and the drum breakdown they threw in isn’t it. ‘Red Light’ is one of the more annoying ends to album I’ve heard. They failed at the guitar arpeggios and the general dissonance of everything really sends a searing pain through your head. The only thing you can cling onto is that it sounds a bit like ‘Room On Fire’. As you can see, this album was not what you’d expect. It’s not that is was out right terrible, it was just a huge bore and a let down. Boring doesn’t even explain. Except for about 3 songs, nothing really stands out and most of it just comes and goes. A generally portion too just sounds improvised on the spot, which really didn’t work to their benefit. They say third times a charm, but that blatantly doesn’t apply to The Strokes. This unfortunately leaves me question, is this it?
"A tour is the most intense, stimulating way to hear music; it's the best form to receive it. There's genuine excitement from people. I feel like we've stepped up a level."-Julian Casablancas

Video for Heart in a Cage

Recommendations: You Only Live Once, Juicebox, Razorblade
The Strokes Official Website
Note: I know, basically 3 Friday Things in a row. I am re-getting into reviewing and posting, so I really hope to exceed the last two months turn outs review wise. I finally finished with The Strokes, and I'm in the midst of reviewing The Kills and will do something like Spoon after. So please keep posted because I'll keep posting!

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Friday Thing: Dominic Howard

The video tells all.