Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Album Review: Eels: End Times

Barrels of ice-cream needed to listen to End Times.

By Captain Pownzor
Staff Blogger
I have been a long time listener of the eels and sort of fell off the wagon on Hombre Lobo. I decided to give End times a chance though and I am glad I did.
Its hit and miss, But the songs that hit are wonderful. For anyone who has listened to an eels album before its sort of an eclectic racket, with a brash honesty and a bit of zany lyric styling.
When you first put it on do not be fooled by the opener, this is not a bright eyes want to be folks. Eels seem to vary between a crushing sadness and a happy go lucky “fuck you world” , on End times but the album is generally a saddie overall.
The story of end times seems like someone who is just going through a breakup, eventually reaching back to a stage of contentment. The transition is like a story book if you listen to it in sequence, you see the story of the split, and the hopelessness, followed by some acceptance.
Songs like Gone man and unhinged bring me back to the happier rock days of the eels with tracks like Saturday morning and Mr. E’s Beautiful Blues.
A line in the dirt tells a story like only E can. It’s a touching piano ballad about the story of the couple’s squabble, but its told with such a lonely and honest quality.
End times seems like just a spewing of observational thought, I laughed a bit hearing it for the first time, as it just seemed like he was spewing random thoughts, but upon listening a bit more you discover the song is just about pure rock bottom.
Towards the end of the album, we have three tracks that are very much like the track Daisy through concrete from the album, Daisies of the galaxy.
End times is a decent album and I think it would be some good jams for your next break up, but I just cant see recommending it as a whole to non Eels fans. If you like the style go for it, if you don’t find yourself liking any of the earlier stuff by the Eels don’t even bother.

You can hear some of the tracks from End times on Myspace.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Cold War Kids: Behave Yourself EP

By Captain Pownzor
Staff Blogger

Since the first time I heard hang me up to dry, I’ve been intrigued by the sounds of Cold War Kids. The behave yourself Ep does not disappoint either.
Starting off with the clap happy jams of audience, the band proclaims to “drop the needle were playing for an audience of one.” That’s right cold war kids dropped the needle for me dammit. Or you…if you happen to be listening too.
Coffee spoon is an eclectic almost traditional Spanish style guitar, mixed with a sort of dueling harmony between Willet and Russell. This is definitely something new and a slower side to the band.
The third song Santa Ana Winds is basically just another song off of Loyalty to Loyalty. Its got a great buildup but after it just begins to take off its over. If you like the sound of the last album you will love this bittersweet track.
Finally the 4th and last track that floored me.
Back in 2006 Cold war kids put out an EP whilst on tour, called With our wallets full. It had some really great tracks on it like, Rubidoux and Red Wine Success. The end of the EP had a song called Sermons vs. The Gospel in a really rough cut demo version.
Well, here I am listening to behave yourself, and I hear something familiar, Yes they have retooled the song and shortened the title to Sermons.
I have to say the professionally done version of this song is just brilliant. With a soul like quality and some really thought provoking lyrics you’ll feel like your sitting in a southern Baptist church yelling TESTIFY!

If you want to check out Behave Yourself Its out on Itunes Jan 19. Here's the Teaser on youtube.

2009 Albums: Through the Eyes of a Noob

ONE: Daisey by Brand New
2) Strict Joy by The Swell Season
3) Them Crooked Vultures by Them Crooked Vultures
4) Monsters of Folk by Monsters of Folk
5) Swoon by Silversun Pickups
6) Fantasies by Metric
7) Everyone is Someone by Dala
8) Horehound by The Dead Weather
9) Blakroc by Blakroc
10) Three by Joel Plaskett
11) The Ecstatic by Mos Def
12) Old Crows/Young Cardinals by Alexisonfire
13) The New Moon Soundtrack

*Like Tho Foz, I didn't like 20 albums in 2009. Unlike The Foz, I'm not going to pretend. 13 albums is all you get Internet. Enjoy.

2009 Albums: The Foz Edition

ONE: Metric- Fantasies

2) Phoenix -Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
3) Yeah Yeah Yeah's-It’s Blitz!
4) Thornley-Tiny Pictures

5) Jet-Shaka Rock

6) Them Crooked Vultures-Them Crooked Vultures

7) Marianas Trench -Masterpiece Theater 2

8) Billy Talent- 3

9) The Fray-The Fray

10) Priestess-Prior To The Fire

11) Our Lady Peace-Burn Burn

12) Matt Good-Vancouver

13) Tegan And Sara- Sainthood

14) Wolfmother-Cosmic Egg

15) Muse-The Resistance

16) Alexisonfire-Old Crows/Young Cardinals

17) Owl City-Ocean Eyes

18) Paramore-Brand New Eyes

19) Ill Scarlet -1UP

20) U2-No Line On The Horizon

Before you judge, let The Foz explain:

Yes I put Metric at the top of my list of albums of 2009, but this is not the first thing I want to discuss. I would like to point out that after #13 on my list none of these albums are overly good. Most of them got 1 or 2 plays out of me and that was it. So understand I don’t love No Line On The Horizon, but I had 20 spots to fill and I did that.
Most people reading this will also be upset the Them Crooked Vultures is only number 6. The reason the Them Crooked Vultures is so high on the list is because I got the album on Christmas Day and have listened to it in its entirety once. For me after one listen to like an album this much is impressive to say the least!
One last comment before I actually talk about my #1. I need to mention that for part of the summer I turned into a screaming 14-year-old girl and loved Masterpiece Theater 2. This has nothing to do with the fact that the lead singer is “Dreamy” and has all to do with the fact this album is a pop song dream book. I must say the lead singer does have his moments.
Fantasies! I have fantasies about this album some nights then again I also have fantasies about Emily Haines…These two fantasies might be related. The album is downright amazing. There is not a track that I skip when it comes on my mixes, and the whole album is on most of my mixes these days. The album starts with “Help I’m Alive” and is a great song don’t get me wrong, but there are so many other amazing songs on this album. The list includes Sick Muse, Satellite Minds, Gold Gun Girls, and Stadium Love. All of these songs are amazing! Simply put I can listen to this album a few times a day and I still love it. I would like to discuss Stadium Love for one moment. Who decided that writing a song about putting random animals in a ring and letting them fight would be good? Emily Haines I guess! She is so good in this song I can look past the fact that lyrics are stupid and just enjoy the sounds. Needless to say there is no way in a few hundred words I can describe why Fantasies is the best album of the year. If you have been living under a rock over the last year and have not heard it just listen for yourself and you will see what I mean.

Top Albums of 2009 According to The Captain

xx by The xx
This album is on the list because of Crystalised, an undoubtedly catchy song that took the interbutts by storm and that I listened to for quite some time
Timber Timbre by Timber Timbre
Timber Timbre has a style all his own, with a really neat voice and folky music style. Demon host was a song I had on repeat for quite some time.
Blakroc by Blakroc
It’s the self titled album 3 block I know, Blakroc was a captivating project band to start with, Blending the Black keys Bluesy rock with the talents of RZA, and Mos def to name a few. This is one of the very few hip hop albums I can actually say that I listen to and believe me from someone that really doesn’t listen to hip hop that’s high praise.
Beacons by ohbijou
Ohbijou sounds like hybrids of my favorite indie pop rock bands, and this album is a nice fit to the genre. Black Ice is a song to remember and the reason I would drive to Toronto to see ohbijou.
White Lies for Dark Times by Ben Harper and The Relentless 7
I’ve been a fan of Ben Harper for quite some time, The new album with the relentless 7 brought his bluesy soul quality to the table with a band that was equally as tight as the solo work. Songs Like Faithfully Remain and Fly one Time sound like Ben Harper classics where songs like Boots Like These add a louder faster southern band element to the mix. Results are a nice crossover between the old and a new side of Ben Harper.
Strict Joy by The Swell Season
You watch the movie Once, immediately want the soundtrack, Just go and download this. There are most of the songs from the film, all played live as well as a bunch of equal caliber songs like In These arms and the powerful Back Broke.
Post Nothing by Japandroids
Japandroids are yet another emerging artist of 2009, This album was simple and dirty like someone had broken their distortion petal and never bothered to unplug it. Simple almost primal pounding around on shit kind of sound, with some quick dead simple lyrics. Somehow though I’m not disappointed. Japandroids make a joyous racket that makes me want to play post nothing over and over and this year I did just that.
Hospice by the Antlers
Two Is one of the best songs/music videos of the year, Antler’s have really stood out in my mind as far as new bands of 2009 are concerned. With the entire album dedicated to the theme of a loved one getting over cancer many of the songs have a meaningful and emotional impact on the listener. With great playing and a great and relatable message hospice deserves an honorable mention in my top 15.
No One’s First When Your Next by Modest Mouse
Ever since satellite skin leaked early on in 2009, I eagerly awaited the new modest mouse album. I have been listening to modest mouse for quite some time and I would have to say that this album is nothing terribly special in terms of the band but I like it anyway. Songs like I’ve got it all (most) brighten any day and the video for King Rat that Heath Ledger Directed was just cool as shit.
Old Crows/ Young Cardinals by Alexisonfire
Overplayed to shit in the summer I neglected to download this album until about a week ago. Although I am really sick of young cardinals still, (I’m serious our local radio played the SHIIT out of this song) you hear a lot of details when you actually have the album playing right in your ear as opposed to my 2 half dead car speakers. This is a fantastic Alexisonfire album however, I’ve been playing since I got it and probably still will be until well into the new year. Old crows and Midnight Regulations are worth a listen for sure.
Cosmic Egg by Wolfmother
Yeah I guess I’m sort of a silly pants for listing a Wolfmother album in the top 10 but I don’t even curr. New moon rising was a sweet song when it came out and still is now. The album is a time warp and exactly what you would expect from Wolfmother I guess I’m just a sucker for it. Sundial has some really neat heavy guitar effects that will make your penor twitch 10,000 ft sounds like they just plain ripped of zeppelin. But hey that’s cool it still makes my list dammit.
Fantasies by Metric
Now this is going to come across as gossipy but I am going to say it anyway. According to a friend of mine who saw Metric live this year, if you go and your near the front row Emily Haynes wears a short skirt and frequently reenacts that scene from basic instinct. If that isn’t reason enough to go see Metric at least give the music a chance. Fantasies is a solid effort from metric, maybe not the same level as the last two efforts but still in a grand scheme of things not a bad album. I cant say as I have heard a bad metric album to date.
Upper Air by Bowerbirds
Bowerbirds have a really interesting sound. The use of the really traditional sounding drums and accordian style instruments make it something really different and new. Its almost like a very traditionalized folk pop. Northern Lights is probably one of my favorite songs of 2009. Beneath Your Tree has a really neat drum part to it as well. The vocals are done in a very different style and the album itself is just something new and original that I really feel needs recognition. This is a great band and an eclectic selection of music.
Horehound by The Dead Weather
With all the hype surrounding this album and me watching it all year, It was worth the wait. The first leak I heard of Hang You up From the Heavens gave me chills. I had never really gotten into the kills prior to The Dead Weather and horehound was more or less the diving board that launched me into this whole mass of music I had been missing. With little snippets and leaks being released almost weekly up to the release it was nice to finally have it in its entirety. During the first whole music I could not wipe the grin off my face. It had the feel of the white stripes with the kills and some kind of psychedelic feel I couldn’t shake. Just a great bunch of songs.
Humbug by Arctic Monkeys
So I read in spin that The Arctic Monkeys had a helping hand from Josh Homme on their new album, and rushed from my reading perch on the toilet (I wiped) to the computer to listen to the first single, Crying lighting. What I heard was something that stunk of Homme and I liked it. When the whole album was released I could not stop playing it. Starting off out of the gate with My Propeller I was enchanted with this album for a solid 2 months. Every track is a gem and there are elements of the old Arctic Monkeys sound, just with something tweaked ever so slightly it appeals to me in a grander scale.
Julian Plenti Is…Skyscraper by Julian Plenti
Paul Bank’s makes an album without Interpol. It becomes my late summer jam. I signed up for the mailing list a long while before the album came out and I got a copy of the song, Fun that we have. Somehow I didn’t get sick of it by the time the album release rolled around. There was something about hearing an almost uplifted version of Interpol that was really refreshing. The album is something I can listen to on repeat like mad. From the instrumental tracks on the album like H, to the louder and more radio friendly songs like Games for Days there is a great contrast and a real story to the album that you can hear just by listening to it.
Swoon by Silversun Pickups
This album should have probably gotten me a speeding ticket. Somehow it played in my car mostly during the summer of 2009 on those trips to and from work, whereby I took some back roads in order to blast more of songs like The Royal we and Sort of. It tended to spawn some fancy driving. But that was the great part of this album there were these songs that were energizing and then there were some nicer chill out songs like Catch and Release. I loved Silversun Pickups last album and this one is just as good. Panic Switch got overplayed on radio but no where near as bad as Lazy Eye did in years past. Swoon however feels like just as strong an effort and I look forward to the next album.
Daisy by Brand New
Surprise, Surprise Joe was probably watching out for this one much harder than I. I remember throwing on vices and being like WUT? And then listening to the album non stop whenever my computer was on for the next 2 weeks. This album gave me an obsession I hadn’t had about an album in years. Every track on Daisy is as good as the last. I would have to say Daisy is my second favorite brand new album after 2003’s Deja Entendu. For the pure amount of playability and enjoyment I got out of this album this year it gets my number 3.
Spinnerette by Spinnerette
Mrs. Homme makes some sweet, sweet music. I was never really got into the distillers much but this album is just awesome. With a number of different car trips I took this year this was one of the go to albums and it certainly kept me awake and alert on some longer hangover plagued drives. With Jack Irons (Red hot chili peppers, Pearl Jam) on drums and Alain Johannes (Queens of the stone age) on guitars, they made an insane album, with a punk feel to it and elements of some sexy desert rock. I had not heard of Spinnerette and the ep they had released previously in 08. But when I fired on the album and Ghetto love blew through my headphones I knew I was in for something special. Each song on the album is like a single and could fetch some decent radio play, and that’s rare for today where albums are generally only worth 3 songs if they are any good at all. And so as I am influenced to put this at number two by both the sexy lacey crotch on the front cover and the joy this album brings.

Them Crooked Vultures by Them Crooked Vultures
I should be giving this one number one for the pure amount of time I wasted checking to see If it leaked or if there was any new captured footage. This album was an obsession of mine since its inception. I mean come on, Dave Grohl drumming on an album is enough to make it pure gold, let alone adding two other superstars to the mix. I was initially a bit disappointed by some of the material on this album, but after a few listens I grew to love it, nay obsess over it. My zune logged over 200 album listens in roughly a week and a half, so that pretty much tells you how often I was listening to Them Crooked Vultures. Considering how often I played them the songs still have not grown old for me. It seems too that when you play it in the car or on headphones or even through shitty speakers on a laptop, songs like no one loves me and neither do I, seem to reveal more layers then could be heard before. Jones bass just about blows my car speakers every time but you can really hear just how complex some of the bass lines are on this album if you crank it up to Eleven. The pure excitement and joy that I get listening to this album has not been matched this year or for a few years. I get goose bumps thinking about the kind of sound these guys were able to produce. Them Crooked Vultures, for saving music in 2009, I award you my number one.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Zsammy: W

4/5 Tissues used during this emotional masterpiece.

By Captain Pownzor
Staff Blogger

I’m going to start out my first review of 2010 with a plea for Zsammy to continue on with the be let down solo project. Having explored the website and checked out some of the other tracks I’ve got to say that there is some really enjoyable tunes from this Pittsburgh native.
W is a haunting acoustic ballad that sounds like its missing from the new moon soundtrack. Not to mean this as an insult either that album was filled with some surprisingly good tracks.
The guitar track sounds a bit like Espers, with some almost spooky harmonies. If your in a mood for some emo acoustic you should certainly throw on W. Something about the desperate lonely nature of the song style just captures the emotion in the lyrics.

Perfect for the emo kid in all of us you can check out Zsammy or download his tracks on his website, or
myspace page

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