Friday, July 29, 2011

Review: Fink - Perfect Darkness


Hear the full album here.

Fin "Fink" Greenall was once a DJ for the dance label Ninja Tune.  In 2006, he made a drastic switch to acoustic, folk music.  Since then he has fused elements of jazz, blues, soul, electronica, and folk making him one of the most compelling folk musicians in the scene today. 

In Perfect Darkness, Greenall keeps the same recipe as his previous albums.  The subject-matter wanders through quite a range of tense emotion, however, I couldn't help feeling a bit of warmth still emanating from the music.  The title track, and first song on the album, immediately draws the listener into a simplistic web of melancholy acoustic-jazz, while in other songs, like "Honesty", Greenall searches for answers to past heartache with a cool anger that resonates with the building ambience.  "Wheels", on the other hand, presents a straightforward blues melody that will immediately have the listener foot-tapping away.  "Warm Shadow", probably my favorite song on the album, starts off with a steady strumming that reminded me of a darker version of the beginning of "Two Step" by Dave Matthews.  The focus, however, is never taken away from the rhythmic strumming, even as an electric guitar emerges at the song's midpoint.  Really, Greenall's soulful voice and impressive acoustic guitar play are at the forefront in this album.  It is hard not to be fully mesmerized by Greenall's stretched words as he hums over some of the most brilliant acoustic finger-picked styles I've ever heard.

You won't necessarily find any catchy melodies in Perfect Darkness.  And, even though there really isn't anything new here in comparison to earlier Fink albums, the simplistic nature of the album and Greenall's voice and acoustic handiwork make this the perfect album for a chill evening.

You can buy Perfect Darness on iTunes and Amazon.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Download New Banquets Song


Rocksound.tv has a new Banquets song, called "Sound of Money", available for streaming and free download here.  This album is going to rock!

My Playlist of the Week


I made a playlist earlier this week, and I've enjoyed it so much, I thought I'd post it so that y'all can see what I've been listening to this week.  Really, this playlist is great for in the background, as well as for just chillin' and listening to great music.  Note, it is a bit eclectic, but should be heard in the order that I list for best results.

Without further adieu...

Let's start off down-tempo
1) Lily's Theme - Alexandre Desplat
2) Canvas - Imogen Heap
3) Hanna's Theme (vocal version) - The Chemical Brothers
4) Towers - Bon Iver
5) Ride - Cary Brothers
6) Isadore - Incubus
7) Apprehension - Manchester Orchestra
8) You Said It - Psychic Babble (Download for Free!)

Time to pick it up
9) Daisy - Brand New
10) Yellow Belly - Thrice (Download for Free!)
11) Glass to the Arson - Anberlin
12) When It Won't Save You - Conditions
13) All in My Mind - Evaline
14) In My Room - The Dangerous Summer
15) Southern Comfort - Envy on the Coast
16) Solar Powered Life - The Classic Crime

Include these if you want to add a little aggression to the playlist
17) Welcome Home - Coheed and Cambria
18) Friday Night - The Damned Things
19) So Cold - Breaking Benjamin
20) Internal Cannon - August Burns Red
21) In Completion - Underoath

Fin
22) Tron Legacy (End Titles) - Daft Punk
23) Promises (David Call Remix) - Andain
24) The Light That Shines Twice As Bright - Lostprophets

Encore
25) Empire (Midi) - August Burns Red

I've included links to download songs.  Check 'em out!  And, let me know what you think of the playlist!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Stream New Mayday Parade Song


Admittedly, I haven't really been the biggest fan of Mayday Parade.  Their albums are full of all sorts of catchy pop-punk tunes, but for some reason they just didn't feel fresh to me.  Alternative Press has an exclusive stream of a new song called "Oh Well, Oh Well", from their new self-titled album that drops on October 4th.  This song presents a more mature sound for the band (although all the catchiness is still there), and I am hoping this is exemplary of the rest of the album.  If so, this album will be quite a step up from their past material.

August Burns Red Video


See the music video for "Internal Cannon" by August Burns Red, from their latest, Leveler.  I'm posting this basically because I really love this song.  The switch-up in style mid song gets me every time.

The Horrible Crowes Pre-order


For those who cannot wait, you can now pre-order The Horrible Crowes' new album Elsie here.  Really looking forward to this one!  You can also purchase "Behold the Hurricane", the first single from the album, on Amazon mp3.

Listen To Another Psychic Babble Song


Alternative Press is streaming a new Psychic Babble (side project of guitarist Colin Frangicetto of Circa Survive) song, entitled "Samantha" from his upcoming album My Brother's Ears/My Sister's Eyes that drops on August 16th.  The song is really good with lots of great layers of sounds.

You can also hear "You Said It" and "Five Fold Kiss", both from the album, in my For Your Ears Section.  I am very much looking forward to this album!

The Dangerous Summer Full Album Stream


You can now listen to The Dangerous Summer's ridiculously amazing album, War Paint, in its entirety here (for the week).  Go check it out!  Then buy it.

By the way, the album's first single, "Work in Progress", is still available for free on Amazon mp3!

Friday, July 22, 2011

New Bon Iver Album $3.99 on Amazon


The new self-titled Bon Iver album is on sale at Amazon Mp3 for only $3.99.  In this album, Justin Vernon drops the minimalist-guitar style from his previous album and instead adds in an amazingly talented full band.  The result is one of the best albums of the year.  This is a great deal, and y'all should definitely pick up this highly regarded album.

Hear Banquets & This Love

Hey all, AP.net has a couple exclusive streams from a couple of band I had not heard of until recently.  I thought I'd share them with you.



The first exclusive comes from the band called Banquets.  The song, "Sometimes a Wolf" comes from their upcoming album Top Button, Bottom Shelf that drops on August 23rd.  I quite like the song.  It fuses driving guitars with a pseudo-punk noire sound.  I recommend it for anyone who like bands like the Gaslight Anthem and such.


The second exclusive song is "The Thief" by This Love.  This comes from their debut album, At War, that will drop on August 2nd.  It's a fun song with some great hooks and choruses.  I'm sure these guys will do well.

Needless to say, I'm looking forward to hearing both albums in their entirety.  Have a listen to "Sometimes a Wolf" and "The Thief" and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Thrice Release New Song: "Yellow Belly"


Thrice has released a new track, "Yellow Belly" off of their upcoming album Major/Minor that drops on September 20th.  You can listen to and download the song here.  Interestingly, Riley has said that the working title for "Yellow Belly" was originally Major/Minor, which eventually became the title of the album.  "Yellow Belly" is also the first track laid down in the studio at the beginning of their sessions in May.

The song is really good and has elevated my anticipation for Major/Minor to new heights.  Check it out!

The Dangerous Summer - War Paint Released Today. Go Buy It!


The Dangerous Summer's new album War Paint drops today.  You can buy it on Amazon and iTunes (which also includes two bonus acoustic tracks).  The full album can be heard on Simfy for those in Germany, Switzerland, or Austria.  Sorry, I couldn't find a full album stream for those of you in the USA.  This album is amazing and is definitely worth the purchase.  Help to support these guys so that they will keep making music!

Other albums that dropped today that could be worth your time (and money):
3 Doors Down - Time of My Life
Fink - Perfect Darkness
311 - Universal Pulse

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Listen To New Horrible Crowes Song



You can listen to a new song by The Horrible Crowes, "Behold the Hurricane", at the Rolling Stone website.  This song comes from their upcoming album, Elsie, that will be released on September 16.  The song is quite good and sounds much like the Gaslight Anthem.  Enjoy!

Free Tunes On Amazon Mp3

Amazon Mp3 has "Adolescents", the single from Incubus' new album If Not Now, When? up for free today.  You can also snag "Simple Math" from Manchester Orchestra's latest here.  Other great songs, such as those by Thievery Corporation, Taking Back Sunday, Conditions, The Decemberists, Fleet Foxes, Go Radio, Metric, and many others are also listed.  Have a look here!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mini Review: The Dangerous Summer - War Paint

Listen to "Work in Progress" from War Paint here.

I didn't start listening to The Dangerous Summer until about a year after their first release, Reach for the Sun.  I absolutely loved that album, and really was hoping that these guys would write more great stuff.  Well, War Paint is no "sophomore slump".  I love how they immediately immerse you in a sea of guitars with so many great chords pounding through the music.  This album is also powerfully personal with Perdomo's lyrics adding a certain honest poetry to the music.  I thought I'd refer you to two solid reviews of War Paint here and here on Absolutepunk.net that pretty much sum up all of my thoughts as well.  It's safe to say that this album will be in my top 5 for the year.  Make sure you check them out!

You'll be able to purchase the album on July 19 on iTunes and Amazon.

Bush to Release New Album


It looks like, after 10 years of absence, Bush will be releasing a new album, The Sea of Memories, on September 13.  You can actually download a song from the album, called "All My Life" here.  My initial impression of "All My Life" is that it's pretty good, but nothing really special.  It could definitely grow on me, however, after more listens.  Nonetheless, I'm definitely looking forward to listening to the full album!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Simfy: Listen to Full Albums for FREE!

For those of you who live in Germany, Austria, or Switzerland, you should definitely check out the site Simfy.  You can register for free and stream full albums at no cost.  I checked over the site and it's totally legal since they include advertisements throughout.  Also, they have millions of albums -- even of artists that are not well known.  Simfy also allows you to create your own playlists and listen to different radio stations.  It's a definite must for those who love music!

Sadly, if you live in the US, you cannot partake in this wonderful site.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Review: Incubus - If Not Now, When?

Listen to "Promises, Promises" and "Adolescents" in the For Your Ears Section.

Incubus has come a long way since S.C.I.E.N.C.E. in 1997.  A band that used to rock hard has now transitioned to one that would rather chill on a couch and roll out some tunes.  Actually, in one of their concerts, they brought out a couple couches and all sat down with their acoustic guitars and played one of the best versions of "Pardon Me" I've ever heard.  Looking back to that moment, I am not surprised by their progression to more relaxed music.

One thing I've come to expect from Incubus is that no two albums will ever sound the same.  They have even commented as much, saying, "we hate making the same record twice".  This mentality is probably one of their greatest strengths, but also one of their greatest weaknesses -- at least when it comes to satisfying fans.  It is clear that with every new album, Incubus has somewhat alienated those fans that want another S.C.I.E.N.C.E. -- another hard, kick-ass rock album.  Sadly for them, this will never happen.  If Not Now, When? is a tremendous shift from their original sound.  Others think that Incubus can't seem to find their identity, musically.  Or, that they're so self-loathing, that after two years, they already hate the album they put out.  I whole-heartedly disagree with this.

Progression of sound is a sign of growth and artistry.  Why keep making the same thing when you have the potential to try all sorts of other sounds?  Rather, one can look at each album as an experiment by the band to see what their repertoire of song writing holds.  I read a review of their latest album that said, "whatever made Incubus uniquely Incubus is nowhere to be found here".  My question to that reviewer is if almost every album is different, then what is uniquely Incubus?  My answer is simple.  Incubus is the band that sounds like no other at the time of their release.  I challenge you to go back to every album and find another album that sounds at all like it within two years of its release.  You won't find it.  These guys are true artists -- younger bands aspire to be able to do what these guys can do.

Ok, ok, enough babble.  On to my thoughts of the new album.  I thoroughly enjoyed listening to If Not Now, When?.  Everything about this album is relaxed, especially Brandon's singing.  They also took a minimalist approach to the music, with barely any instrument rising above the others.  A pleasant surprise was Mr. Kilmore, who at one point was the Incubus DJ, showing off his skills on the keyboard.  

The listener is immediately thrown in head first with the title track, the only familiar sound being Brandon's voice as he bellows "It's time..." over this poppy ballad.  The only song on this album that has any connections to their past sound is "Adolescents", which comes late in the track list.  During most of the songs, I found myself conjuring up all sorts of "sunny" imagery.  For some reason, I felt a real sense of optimism while listening to this album.  Really, this album invokes a feeling of honesty coming from the music, almost as if this is the sound the band really wanted to have.  And, that's what music is all about!

The bottom line?  This album is really, really good.  It's not the Incubus of old.  It's not the Incubus of two years ago.  It is the Incubus of now.  The question, however, is (to quote Spaceballs backwards) when will now be then...

You'll be able to buy the album on July 12th here or here.
You can also see an alternate version of my review here.

Monday, July 4, 2011

American Gospel

Go here to listen to the debut single from American Gospel, called "Hunting Boar".  American Gospel is a side project of Greg DellaRocca of Republic of Wolves.  Republic of Wolves' album Varuna was among my top ten albums from last year, and is a fusion of folk and indie rock.  You should definitely check that album out as well here.  Also, you should take a listen to another more folk-like side project, Tigers On Trains, by Mason Maggio and Christian VanDeurs (both in Republic of Wolves as well) here.  Anything by these guys is fantastic.  I hope they never stop making music!

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Graduate Go On Indefinite Hiatus

Today is a sad day for news.  One of my favorite bands, The Graduate, have decided to go on indefinite hiatus due to struggles with labels and such.  Really this is just another example of a great band not making it, because the majority of "music" fans (for some reason I cannot fathom) listen to fake, trash-pop like Keisha or other "production-performers" of the like.  Even worse are all the people that think there's real talent that comes from shows like American Idol.  It's sad, really.  I have more respect for bands that can actually write and compose their own songs -- not just perform one.

Anyway, I'll miss The Graduate.  They put out two really solid albums (Only Every Time and Anhedonia) that should be listened to by all.  If you haven't heard either album, I suggest having a listen.  And for God's sake, stop buying crappy albums and help the bands with amazing talent that need support!!

Mid-Year Top 10

Here's my mid-year top 10 list. There are a lot of great albums coming later this year.  I'm anticipating this will change quite a bit by the end of the year.

1. Thursday - No Devolucion
2. Moving Mountains - Waves
3. Manchester Orchestra - Simple Math
4. The Chemical Brothers - Hanna Soundtrack
5. Evaline - Woven Material
6. Funeral For A Friend - Welcome Home Armageddon
7. Bon Iver - Bon Iver, Bon Iver
8. Thievery Corporation - Culture of Fear
9. The Wonder Years - Suburbia I've Given You All And Now I'm Nothing
10. August Burns Red - Leveler

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