Category Archives: Music

Kanye West – Yeezus

Can well all just stop for a second and enjoy the music?

Everyone wants to over analyze and critique/praise Kanye. The quicker and faster, the better. But can we just digest the record for a minute?

Yeezus

I bought the record on Tuesday (no leak necessary). I listened to the album that morning on Spotify. More than anything, what struck me was excitement and wonder. Yeezus is truly unique and hence, will be emulated for years to come. Electronic synths, minimalist beats, uncompromising bravado—it’s a stew on Kanye could brew. For 2013, it’s perfect.

That doesn’t mean there are not flaws or that I’m a blind follower of Yeezus. It means that Kayne is in it and poppin’ a wheelie on a zeitgeist. Now hurry up with my damn croissants.

 

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Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City

Modern Vampires of the City is a fantastically enjoyable album. The songs are precise and meticulously crafted works of a band that is finally stepping out of the shadows of their influences. There is subtlety like on “Hanna Hunt” and bombast like on “Diane Young.” There is experimentation like on “Step” and familiarity like on “Don’t Lie.”

Vampire Weekend

Members of the band have said that this is the end of a trilogy. Their debut was fun and quirky; the follow-up worldly and ambitious. Modern Vampires feels like the best combination of both— a fully revised vision that is executed flawlessly. It is even more exciting thinking about where Vampire Weekend will go next.

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The Wonder Years – The Greatest Generation

I wasn’t completely sold on The Wonder Years right away. Then they made my Top Albums of 2011. It’s a testament to a band that works incredibly hard and puts all they have into their music.

wonder years

The Greatest Generation is a loose concept record in the same vein as Suburbia. The songs are personal, evocative and heavy. While I’m not sure any band could live up to the immense hype/expectations that fans have bestowed on The Wonder Years in the past twelve months, they have certainly not disappointed. My one thought is that the lyrics aren’t grabbing me as much as their previous records. I suspect that will change. But it could also be because I’ve changed and it’s harder for me to relate to the specific topics Soupy addresses in his lyrics (life on the road, relationships, family).

Irregardless, The Greatest Generation has spectacular moments of production and catharsis. It’s not a giant leap forward for the band, but sometimes that’s OK.

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Biffy Clyro – Opposites

Opposites, the new double album from Biffy Clyro is massive. The Scottish power trio is everything a rock band should be—heavy, ambitious and unapologetic. Opposites is packed with equal parts head bang and soaring sing-a-long melodies. They have built on their sound (and success) of Only Revolutions to deliver the most satisfying rock record of the year.

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The Story So Far – "Right Here"

The first song from The Story So Far’s new album What You Don’t See was released overnight and it’s a doozy. Pounding drums, intense vocals and dual guitars all signal that the band has picked up where they left off on Under Soil and Dirt. “Right Here” is a small sample size, but it looks like the sky high expectations for What You Don’t See have the potential to be met.

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Rustic Overtones at Church

Rooms by the Hour is considered by many to be Rustic Overtones‘ best album. It is certainly their most popular, and the release that broke the band within the Portland, ME music scene, ultimately leading to their major label deal with Artista. Rooms was released in 1998 and features the building blocks of what has come to be known as the Rustic sound—funky riffs, big horns and energetic vocals.  The band recently joined the ‘play-your-whole-album’ craze that is super popular with fans right now by holding several sold out shows in their hometown around Christmas. The performances were so popular that Rustic decided to bring it around New England, specifically to Church in Boston this past Friday.

Rustic Overtones

Fans expecting to just see Rooms were surprised when the band announced that they’d be playing two sets—the first being one of catalog-spanning fan favorites then a second of the famous album. Rustic got Church moving with tight versions of “Rock Like War,” “Common Cold” and “Crash Landing” which added an extended percussive jam. Guitarist and lead singer Dave Gutter almost blew the roof off the joint during “Combustible,” jumping into the crowd and performing the whole song with sweaty fans singing word for word back in his face.

After a short break, Rustic returned to the stage and effortlessly tore through every track on Rooms. Highlights included rarities like “Kicking and Screaming” and “The Shaker.” Ryan Zoidis raged with two killer solos on “History Crush” and “Iron Boots” respectively. Having seen the band several times in the past few months, it’s safe to say that Gary Gemitti is finally cutting loose behind the kit. He sounded more confident and really got in the groove on uptempo songs like “The Heist” and “Let’s Start a Cult.”

These Rooms by the Hours shows have clearly re-energized the band. Rustic remain humble and appreciative to their fans who have stuck with them for over twenty years. These shows are their version of giving back. So return the favor once more by checking out their music and catching them in person next time they roll through your area.

Set List

Let’s Start a Cult
Gas On Skin
Rock Like War
I Like It Low
Crash Landing
Common Cold
Combustible

BREAK

Feast or Famine
Girl Germs
Check
The Letter
Hardest Way Possible
Kicking and Screaming
Pink Belly
Sugarcoat
The Heist
The Machinemaker
History Crush
The Shaker
Iron Boots
Outro

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I Believe in a Thing Called The Darkness

The Darkness are rock & roll. Guitars, bass, drums and vocals. All cranked to eleven. Whatever you may think you know about The Darkness is irrelevant. See them live. Witness the dual guitar attack from the Hawkins brothers. Hear the blistering vocals. Feel the tight rhythm section. They put on one of the most entertaining shows you’ll ever see.

Justin Hawkins

The Darkness came to Boston and conquered. For two solid hours the band tore through their catalog with blazing bravado and cheeky camp. Early on singer/guitarist announced that the band was “here on business” and it sure felt like it. The band was a machine, cranking out riffs, sing-a-longs and smiles from the entire crowd. Highlights included “One Way Ticket,” “Hazel Eyes” and “Concrete.” The show ended with a massive jam with “Love On the Rocks With No Ice” where Hawkins mounted the shoulders of a security guard and played a sick solo while walking throughout the crowd. [Pictured above]. He then climbed to the balcony and did a huge dive and crowd surf back to the stage. He was a golden god.

Irony is a confusing topic for Americans. There is nothing ironic about The Darkness. They are a hard rock band from England where sensibilities are a little different. I believe that many “fans” of The Darkness think the band is some joke and that all that falsetto singing and spandex is meant to get a rise. Their Boston show was sold out and had a good mix of fans that only new “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” and others that appreciate the band for their classic seventies and eighties rock vibe. Hopefully those who came to be simply entertained were, but they aren’t laughing anymore.

The Darkness are a fierce and seriously diesel band that can rock with the best of them.

Darkness

Check out the set list on Spotify below. (Not listed: “Best of Me,” a b-side from their first record that was played around “Love Is Only A Feeling.”

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