Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Top 10 Albums of 2009!

I may do an honorable mentions post later sometime just to give some input on some other big albums. These right here, however, are the cream of the crop!
Just for clarification, I won't be putting grades by these albums. Honestly, their my top
10 of the year. I'm pretty sure they all A's in my book, I'm just ranking them in terms of
which ones are my favorites!

Top 10 Albums of 2009:


Circulatory System - Signal Morning
Genre: Psychedelic, Lo-Fi
Favorite Songs: "Rocks And Stones", "Solid Form Dissolving", "Gold Will Stay", "The Spinning Continuous"

If there's one thing you'll notice a lot of on this list, it's going to be very experimental, out-of-this-world kind of music. Apparently that's the next big thing on the horizon, as the psychedelic rock ensemble Circulatory System clearly demonstrates on their second full-length album, most of which is a unique meshing of acoustic, horn instruments, electronic, and up-tempo percussion tracks composed by the band's Will Cullen Hart. The most standout attribute of this album is just how well the flow of the whole CD is. The transitions are both well timed, and almost give you the sense and feel of a long elaborate psychedelic jam session. From the enchanting monotone motif established in the singles "Rocks and Stones"
and "Overjoyed", all the way to "The Spinning Continuous" which is essentially a song about how cyclical the world is. Signal Morning was a big step for Circulatory System to give themselves a very standout sound, and they just how powerful and effective a minimalistic style of music really can be.


Cymbals Eat Guitars - Why There Are Mountains
Genre: Shoegaze, Noise Rock
Favorite Songs: "And the Hazy Sea", "Cold Spring", "Share", "What Dogs See"

Next up is a group from Staten Island's first major album Why There Are Mountains. This self released project starts off with a bang, with a song entitled "And the Hazy Sea" which is one of the strongest opening songs of the year.
It starts off with a very calm atmosphere about it complemented with soothing bass, before eventually crescendo into an explosion of percussion and emotional vocals.
We then transition into "Some Trees" which is probably the catchiest of the record, really hooking you into the ride. For their first real project these four guys seem to know all the right moves and really understand how to keep you engaged in the music. "On the way home / The empty parkway wound its way back through charred black pine / Just like a wormhole / Hickory death rattles into stagnant tracts of sky." Just some of the imagery provided on Why There Are Mountains. The peaceful, resonating familiar wall of sound is brought into a new light with the seven minute long "Share". You can really feel as if this band is pouring out their soul to make this kind of music come to life. Expect these guys to be on the radar for years to come.


Between The Buried And Me - The Great Misdirect
Genre: Progressive Metal
Favorite Songs: "Obfuscation", "Fossil Genera - A Feed From Cloud Mountain", "Swim To The Moon"

Completely switching gears, Between The Buried And Me took everything they established from their 2007 release Colors, amped it up several volumes,
refined it to a tee, and came out with six intense and diverse tracks to make up The Great Misdirect. If you want heavy percussion, guitar riffs, and the sinister death metal-esque vocals, you are entitled plenty of that by Rogers and Richardson. If your looking for strange transitions in the form of keyboard intros that sound like something out of a early 20th century movie, Fossil Genera even delivers that. If you want acoustic breakdowns seething with just as much emotion as you'd expect out of a BTBAM record, look no further. Even xylophones come into play at one point!
Some portions of the long-time fan base of BTBAM may disagree, but Rogers was once quoted saying "this is some of the best material we've ever created."
This is the definition of progressive metal. They've already proven themselves to be one of the heaviest bands in their particular field. The potential
for the direction that was teased in Alaska, established in Colors, and perfected in The Great Misdirect is limitless.


This was posted up my last blog entry where you can read the review in full! It was "Exploding Head" by A Place To Bury Strangers!


Metric - Fantasies
Genre: Alternative Rock, Indie Rock
Favorite Songs: "Twilight Galaxy", "Stadium Love", "Gold Guns Girls", "Gimme Sympathy"

Emily Haines and the rest of the gang managed to come out with one of the catchiest albums I've heard in awhile with Fantasies.
Everything from start to finish has your attention, and you just can't help but feel the urge to dance or jam out to the majority of it! The soulful,
up-tempo, and unique vocals from Haines deliver such lyrics in one of their ballads "Did I ask you for attention when affection is what I need / Thinking sorrow is perfection, I'd wallow 'til you told me / There's no glitter in the gutter, there's no twilight galaxy". The synthesizers provided by Shaw lay down a very smooth foundation for Haines voice to really connect with. This record is simply infectious from beginning to end. Several songs could be successful singles, and "Gimme Sympathy" and "Help I'm Alive" have already proven that. Metric is quite energetic when performing the songs live, as well!


Black Moth Super Rainbow - Eating Us
Genre: Psychedelic, Experimental, Electronica
Favorite Songs: "Gold Splatter", "The Sticky", "Tooth Decay", and "Born on a Day the Sun Didn't Rise"

Of all of the literally thousands of bands and artists I discovered over the past year, the enigmatic Black Moth Super Rainbow is easily
the most bizarre and fascinating of all of them. It's as if you took the most psychedelic acid trip of the late 60's or late 70's, put
it through a few mystical and abstract filters, spiced it up with some vocoders and oldschool synthesizers, and produced is some of
the wildest music you could ever imagine. Eating Us continues the group's trend, proving itself to be both groundbreaking for the band's popularity and
success, but also a better produced sound compared to some of the older releases in their discography. For instance, Eating Us begins with the most accessible
song of BMSR's to date, "Born on a Day the Sun Didn't Rise" which relies on a consistent pop-esque melody, whereas tracks of the past tend to go out in several different directions. Some may call BMSR minimalistic and amateur lyrically, as they choose to usually only have a few repeating choruses throughout most of their songs. However, on the contrary, it is very effective. As demonstrated in both "Gold Splatter" and "Dark Bubbles", you are immediately transported to another world altogether. The wicked acoustics combined with the most wicked synthesized beats provide for quite the surrealistic experiance. You can't help but be enchanted by the baselines in songs like "Tooth Decay" and "The Sticky", or the opening keyboards in "Twin of Myself". Eating Us is one of those albums that I can put on and immediately immerse myself in.


Regina Spektor - Far
Genre: Anti-Folk, Singer-Songwriter
Favorite Songs: "Folding Chair", "Blue Lips", "Genius Next Store", "Wallet"

Probably the most successful mainstream album in my top 10 list, comes the newest release from
Regina Spektor, Far! Not only does Spektor show off some extraordinary talents over a variety of topics, often themes centered towards religion and monotony in society, but she also has quite a few notable producers along her side as well! Such as Jeff Lynne of ELO and Traveling Wilburys fame! This album received quite a bit of skepticism and mixed reviews, several critics acting as if some of the lyrics and antics are "childish" and "unbecoming". However, this is not the case. This is easily one of the most moving and inspirational albums I've heard in years. You can really feel the emotion out of her when she sings the final verse in "Blue Lips". She, the band, and the producers paint a picture of a dystopic and nihilistic future in "The Machine". You feel as if your having a relaxing time at the beach when you hear "Folding Chair". "Human of the Year" is a powerful story about spirituality misconceptions.
"Wallet" and "Genius Next Doors" are sung and performed as if they were folksy modern tales yet written ages ago. There's a down-to-earth and heartbreaking
feeling you often get from Regina Spektor that a lot of musicians simply do not know how to provide. Far is a perfect example of this!


Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
Genre: Experimental, Psychedelic Pop
Favorite Songs: "My Girls", "Summertime Clothes", "No More Runnin'", "Brother Sport"

This is easily the most talked about album on several music sites, easily the most popular "indie" record of the year. The album leaked in December of 2008. The reception was shockingly huge. It is also one of the most hated records of the year from other sources. There seems to be quite the divide with Merriweather, and Animal Collective's music in general. You either hate it or you love it. I'm in the latter category! Furthermore, MPP is the record that opened the most doors for people to get into this group. It's widely agreed upon that it is the most accessible of all their work. As soon as singles like "My Girls" and "Brother Sport" picked up some momentum on college radio and indie sites country wide, it steam-rolled a wave of success. And as far as I'm concerned, it deserves every bit of the hype it gets. From the start of the album, "In The Flowers", you are immediately entranced by something that sounds like it came from some sort of underwater amusement park ride of instruments. From the build and mind-blowing crescendo, to one of the catchiest chorus of the year in "My Girls", the album is already off to a phenomenal start. The flow and transitioning is incredibly well executed.
By the time "Also Frightened"'s bass the vocals of Panda Bear and Avey Tare hit your eardrums, you imagine your on a ferris wheel of noise. Then comes the adventurous "Summertime Clothes" which features some of the best samples and
production values around. You are captured by the layers of beats, the whimsical lyrics such as "The restlessness calls us, that I cannot hide /
So much on my mind that it spills outside / Do you want to go stroll down the financial street? / Our clothes might get soaked, but the buildings sleep".
Just when you think you know where this journey is headed, they slow things down with a synthesized build-up and release of percussion ala "Daily Routine". The ambiance and vocals towards the end is one of the most awe-inspiring moments in music. These five tracks alone are some of the most well segwayed in recent years. The album continues through an amazing collection of songs, including the slow-tempo trippy "No More Runnin'", a playful almost love song in "Bluish", and finally comes to a close with one of the most chaotic tracks around, "Brother Sport". It makes the best use of repetition, and shows that timing is very key. Only one closing song of an album this year surpassed it. Regardless of your opinion on it, Merriweather Post Pavillion is going to be one of those albums that is associated with 2009.


HEALTH - Get Color
Genre: Noise Rock, Electronic
Favorite Songs: "Die Slow", "Before Tigers", "Nice Girls", "In Violet"

You'd think that'd be #1 after that write-up, right? Not quite! There are two albums that eventually surpassed MPP in my ears, for several reasons.
For starters, Get Color probably has my favorite opening and closings of any release this year. "In Heat" is a great prelude of percussion, feedback, and distorted guitars that leads into one of the most adrenaline pumping, mandatory jam out songs I've heard in years "Die Slow". HEALTH has been one of those bands that I've always considered to be pretty creative and cool at what they do, but I think they finally found their niche, and you can really tell when the opening of "Die Slow" begins. It immediately hooks you and doesn't let go till your begging for more.
They follow it up with "Nice Girls" which is a more typical HEALTH song, with Jupiter Keyes' intense drum skills shining through. Next up is the unusual glitchy intro to "Death", which sounds like a distorted alarm sound you'd hear in some fantasy setting like a video game or movie. This odd noise leads to a complete jam session of drums, very raw synthesizers, and eerie vocals.
As if this wasn't already an astounding record, we then are taken to "Before Triggers", which has some very innovative melodies and triggers, one in particular being the up-and-down beat of percussion and monotone synthesizers playing so well off one another. It's hard to describe the atmosphere that HEALTH creates in Get Color. It's like the ethereal style of a shoegaze project meets the most savage of
punk bands. The breakdowns of pedals, cymbals, and permeating vocals in "Eat Flesh" illustrates this even further. To top it all off, we have the almost hardcore disco-esque "We Are Water" which leads into one of the best endings to
an album, "In Violet". There's something about that one pulsating guitar riff that just leaves you with a feeling of wanting more of this raw, relentless, edgy style of music. If MPP was a breakthrough album for AC, than Get Color is this Los Angeles noise band's sleeper hit of the year.


Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca
Genre: Experimental, Freak Folk
Favorite Songs: "Temecula Sunrise", "Two Doves", "Useful Chamber", "No Intention"

What a surprise this was to me! The David Longstreth fronted experimental pop group has made some incredible strides this year.
This album is the definition of the cliche line "Hard work does pay off." Bitte Orca is the best record of the year because every track seamlessly
flows into one another. It is a finely crafted, well-tuned piece that ventures off in several different directions musically. The passion of each and every band member shines through from "Cannibal Resource" all the way to "Fluorescent Half Dome." From the raspy Costello-esque vocals and rhythmic guitar riffs of Longstreth, McOmber's astonishing drum mechanics, to the angelic backing vocals of Coffman, Deradoorian, and other guest vocalists. Each role is vital to the album! This is very well represented in "Temecula Sunrise" which shows off the incredible harmonies this group can bring to the table. Not to mention some of the most peculiar lyrics, such as "I welcome the new construction roads
I see that my silhouette is golden, yeah / I know the horizon is bright and motionless / Like an EKG of a dying woman / Far away from the light of the high Temecula sunrise". The guitarmanship that Longstreth brings to the table all along the ride are unfathomably well executed. Every band member interacts and
plays off one another's strengths, as seen in the off-beat acoustic beginning of "The Bride" which eventually leads to an explosion of drums and a chorus of enchanting vocals from the likes of Haley Dekle.
Bitte Orca also features one of the strongest singles of the years, "Stillness is the Move", which features some of the incredible appearances by violinists, cellos. It is opened by one of the strongest, catchiest melodies of the record from Longstrength. Amber Coffman's passionate vocals are the focal point of this dancey hit track. It is followed by a slower tempo, melancholic, beautiful ballad sung by Angel Deradoorian entitled "Two Doves". It's the kind of song that leaves you with goosebumps. "Your hair is like an eagle / Your two eyes are like two doves / But our bed is like a failure / All day up in the family / At the waning of the light", Angel sings elegantly. As if this album wasn't already incredible, the Dirty Projectors follow this with a harmony of motifs and instruments lead by the distorted funkadelic guitar of Longstrength. The first half of this song is calm, tranquil, painting a gentle picture for your ears. At about the 2:43 minute mark, the whole pace is flipped upside down, an implosion of psychotic riffs and drum sticks flailing occurs. Then, the choir of fantastic female vocalists hits you unexpectedly, the pitches of their voice dictating the story for a little while, before Longstrength closes it with one HELL of a solo. This is followed by the remarkable "No Intention", which instantly is a song you'll almost immediately find yourself clapping along to. This is capitalized with a fantastic progressive guitar solo from the front man showing off his prowess, once more putting the proverbial cherry on top. "Remade Horizon" follows with even more whimsical harmonies, baselines, everything you'd want.
This record is off the charts from top to bottom. Words cannot describe what an outing this group has to offer here! Definitely do yourself a favor and check this out sometime!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Music Reviews 12/7/09 - 12/13/09 Plus, Top 10 Albums Countdown Begins!

I'm going to be revealing my top 10 albums of the year in the upcoming days, as it looks like 2009 is just about to wrap up. Now the process
is gonna be ran a little differently. For today's post I'm gonna pick a featured album that made the list. I'll likely keep doing this till we get to the top 5, which I'll unveil one by one starting from Dec 26th to the 31st.
Figure that gives it more of an official feel!

Featured Album!

A Place To Bury Strangers - Exploding Head(2009)
Genre: Psychedlic Rock, Shoegaze, Noise-Rock
Grade: A
Top 10 Albums of 09 Placement: #7
Favorite Tracks: "Ego Death", "In Your Heart", and "Everything Always Goes Wrong"

You wanna talk about being blown away. I have been hearing rave reviews for this album for a couple months now and I finally
got around to sitting down and giving it a proper listen. Much more aggressive feeling than their first album. Invoking both
fantastic elements of both psychedelic rock that would find itself at home in a 60's or 70's era, and combining it with the type of
frenzy you'd hear on a Sonic Youth record(minus the obscene length time that alienates some listeners), and you've basically got Exploding Head.
There are pure moments of mind-shattering noise that is thrown at you along the way as well, for instance in the opening seconds of both "Ego-Death" and
"Everything Always Goes Wrong". Expect these guys to keep making quality records for years to come, if they keep this up.

Raekwon - Only Built 4 Cuban Linx...Pt. II(2009)
Genre: East Coast Hip-Hop, Hardcore Rap
Grade: B

I digged how this CD started off by segwaying from the last track off Cuban Linx, North Star, into the intro track "Return of the North Star" which is produced by BT no less.
Very cool throwback to the original. While I must say this album seems to be getting just a bit overhyped by the usual online suspects(Pitchfork, Allmusic, etc),
it can't be denied that this is probably one of the most unrelenting most well produced hip-hop albums in ages. Raekwon and the rest of the
Wu-Tang Clan members that make appearances deliver some of the strongest rhymes they've ever come up with. While some of it is albeit a bit sophomoric
in a few songs, there are more than a few shining moments, such as the sampling of the classic mafia movie The Godfather's Theme in "Black Mozart".
Definitely worth checking out if you are a follower of the New York rap scene.

Bigelf - Cheat The Gallows(2008)
Genre: Progressive Rock
Grade: B

Easily one of the wackiest, most diverse prog rock albums I've heard in quite some time. It almost feels like an homeage to several different old
kinds of rock music, as Bigelf seems to channel everything from high-pitched harmonies and flamboyant guitar solos like something
you'd hear off of a Queen record, Black Sabbath circa Osbourne vocals, all the way to Electric Light Orchestra-esque ballads.
Cheat The Gallows's theatrics, while sometimes may seem a bit over the top, really come together and are executed very well. This is much different from any sub-par
uninspired radio rock you might encounter, and it's this kind of thing that proves that the traditional genre is far from dead. The album ends with an eleven minute track titled "Counting Sheep" which is a fitting conclusion to an album that goes all over the place.
Check it out!

Baroness - The Blue Record(2009)
Genre: Sludge Metal, Proggressive Metal
Grade: B

This band that hails from Savannah, GA is pretty much everything Mastadon wants to be.
The Blue Record has quite a lot to offer. The arrangement of these twelve powerful, often times anthemic sounding
tracks truly distinquishes itself from a lot of metal acts these days. It's got everything from Explosions in the Sky
producer John Congleton doing the mixing, capitalizing on every nook and cranny this "sludge metal" group carries under it's belt.
The acoustics, vocals and percussion on "The Gnashing" is an excellent example of a build-and-release technique leading up to one epic tale. The intro and outro for the record feature guitar solos
that hook you into quite the story before letting you go from one hell of a ride.

Fever Ray - Fever Ray(2009)
Genre: Electronic
Grade: B+

Take one half of Swedish renowned electro pop duo The Knife, Karin Dreijer Andersson, throw her in what sounds like
a dark vacation to some remote jungle full of primitive inhabitants, throw down some entrancing synthesized vocals
and you've got the self-titled release from Fever Ray. At times, it often has a sense of surrealistic ambiance about it that
you wouldn't normally hear from a The Knife record. You can see a few comparisons from Silent Shout here and there, but Fever Ray carries
a much darker more tribal connotation rather than it is poppy, so upon first listen you might feel a little alienated. However, you will sooner rather than later be engrossed into this fantasy setting.
"You speak softly, we are capsules of energy" just an example of one of the many
trippy and other-wordily kind of lyrics and beats you'll hear out of this one.

Emilie Autumn - Opheliac(2006)
Genre: Industrial, Classical, Gothic
Grade: C+

Emilie Autumn is one of the most eccentric characters I've come across in the music industry recently. She carries
a wide variety of talents, several of which are put well on display in her third full-length album Opheliac. It features everything
from a classical violin Bach cover, some very strenuous vocals, and even a bit of Autumn's poetic skills on the double-disc deluxe edition. Often
times these songs are quite chaotic sounding, such as the harsh screaming on "Liar" and "Dead Is The New Alive", as you'd expect with someone who described
this record as her "mad scene", Autumn once stated. It has a very theatrical presentation to it. Sometimes it feels rather self-absorbed at times, but overall
her talents really shine through, and ultimately outweigh it's flaws.

That about wraps it up for today's post! I'd like to remind you guys that my sister, Sara Crawford, just put out her first debut album "Unsent Letters" out today!

It is available for both digital and physical purchase at and you can even preview the tracks on her website. She also has a 21 and up CD Release Party for it December 18th at Smith's Olde Bar in Atlanta. So if anyone's interested or wants to support local music, be sure to check it out!

All that being said, I'm going to leave you guys with one of my favorite songs off the featured album of today. Here's "Everything Always Goes Wrong" by A Place To Bury Strangers!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Introduction Post, Latest Albums, and a look back at the Metric Concert!

Hello everyone! This is the first edition of what will hopefully be an ongoing project of mine. I'm going to attempt to update this at least once a week! My goal here is mainly to get the word out about a variety of all kinds of music and to offer a new perspective on things. Hopefully I can expose some people to some interesting bands and artists! It is also to incite discussion about genres, albums, occasional concerts, and anything else you can think of encompassing music. So, without further ado, I’ll go ahead and get started with a few reviews…

Today’s Featured Band:
Gospel Gossip

Gospel Gossip – Milkshake EP(2006)
Genre: Shoegaze, Alternative
Grade: B+

Up-tempo three-piece shoegaze act’s first four-track release highlighted with some very laid back, but incredibly catchy guitar and drum work, as noted in the opening track “Shadows Are Bent”(Milkshake Version). You can really hear the passion shine through in the second song entitled “Out West”, the vocalists Ollie Moltaji and Sarah Nienaber and the instrumentals hitting some well timed and well built crescendos in the last minute or so. This release sounds almost like some sort of dream-pop scenarios at times, especially in the beginning of “Stopped I Didn’t Move” but it slowly transgresses and ends with some glitch-esque noise, like something you’d hear off of a 65daysofstatic record. The production value for such a low-budget project from a basement in Carleton College’s Concert Hall is kind of astonishing. You really get the feeling these three bring a lot of energy to the table in the closing song “Maybe Next Fall”, which has everything from a keyboard section, tambourines, smooth baselines, to a full on forty five or so second long breakdown to wrap things up.

Gospel Gossip – Sing Into My Mouth(2007)
Genre: Shoegaze, Alternative
Grade: B

Soon after the 2006 EP Release, Minneapolis label Guilt Ridden Pop signed these guys on a contract, which lead to their December 07 release. The record starts off leading you in with the tradition wall of sound you’d expect out of the shoegaze genre, before some computerized vocals utter the words “Home is Where The Hibah Is”, followed by a loud, amped up, entrancing harmony between all three musicians. You immediately notice the “studio vibe”, however the rawness of the band is still present. What follows is probably the most accessible song on the record, “revolutions in physics”. This feels like something you’d hear from a less-depressing sounding M83 “Saturday = Youth” track. The lyrics on this album paint you a very nostalgic feeling picture, describing a lot of random childlike scenarios in nature and urban playgrounds. The vocals remind me a bit of Alec Ounsworth of folk band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah fame. A few of the interlude tracks feel a little forced and kind of random segway pieces, but overall they don’t detract from the overall album very much. The high point of this album arrives in the form of a song that goes a little over the eight minute mark, entitled “Lucky Lemmings”. Some incredible build-up, reminiscent of quite a few successful shoegaze acts of the past, but with their own definitive spin on it that makes them stand out. These guys are something I’ll likely be tuning into more often!

Blakroc – Blakroc(2009)
Genre: Rap Rock, Blues, Alternative
Grade: A
Take several of the biggest names in Hip-Hop and R&B including Raekwon, Ludacris, Mos Def, Q-Tip and more. Now, combine them with the bluesy rock duo The Black Keys and you’ve got one hell of a collaboration project, which is exactly what Blakroc is. There is something incredibly fresh about this sound, every single track telling a certain story from those particular points of views and styles. In a cross genre that usually comes with plenty of criticisms, the efforts by everyone involved here make for something not only unique and creative, but great to blast on a pair of speakers as well.

Felix Da Housecat - He Was King(2009)
Genre: House, Electronic, Electroclash
Grade: B+
This has been getting heavy rotation on Album 88.5 recently, and for pretty good reason. The Chicago DJ has really outdone himself here, with a great collection of songs full of the usual suspects in electronic music. And by usual suspects I mean satirical lyrics and epic amounts of bass! Not exactly the most complex music in the world, but hot damn is it catchy and probably full of club hits, which is rare because it’s sometimes hard to find good dance/house music these days that isn’t painfully generic. He Was King is here to prove otherwise! Easily one of the strongest electronic releases all year even, I’d say.

Fugazi – Repeater + 3 Songs(1990)
Genre: Post-Hardcore, Punk
Grade: A
If you wanna hear Punk done right, listen to this album. It had been a few years since I picked this up, recalling checking it out during high school at some point, so I stumbled upon it and decided to give it another play through just to see if it was still as good as I remember. I think I enjoyed it even more so this time! This album is pretty much the definition of unrelenting, attacking a wide amount of issues such as capitalism. The guitar work between MacKaye and Piccioto here is full of innovative rhythm throughout the CD. Definitely recommend checking this one out sometime.

Russian Circles – Station(2008)
Genre: Post-Rock, Instrumental Rock
Grade: C
Generally I enjoy most bands that come from this genre, I really do. And half of this album is incredible, very powerful stuff. Mogwai, eaststrikewest, God is an Astronaut, This Will Destroy You, plenty others. I actually really like a couple other Russian Circles albums(particularly their latest one, Geneva). However when you start to feel drained from the music, and begins wondering just where a song is going, it definitely detracts away from its value. There are times where this music screams via drum build-up sequences and cold slick solos, however in the end a lot of it just doesn’t really connect.

The Dutchess & The Duke – Sunset/Sunrise(2009)
Genre: Folk
Grade: B
If your looking for thoughtful lyrics about struggling to find one’s self, along with such instruments as organs, violins, pianos, and minimalist guitar strums(“Scorpio”) to compliments the vocals of Jesse Lortz and Kimberly Morrison, you’ve come to the right band. “Let It Die” is a perfect example of the sort of reluctant acceptance of the life they have chose for themselves, often singing “I don’t wanna be here no more.” The title track and "New Shadow" contain simply haunting endings. The Dutchess and The Duke weave together some impressive material here.

Featured Concert!

Band: Metric(w/ Band of Skulls)
Date: November 28th 2009
Venue: Center Stage, Atlanta GA
Setlist: 1. Twilight Galaxy
2. Help I’m Alive
3. Poster of a Girl
4. Satellite Mind
5. Handshakes
6. Gold Gun Girls
7. Empty
8. Gimme Sympathy
9. Sick Muse
10. Dead Disco
11. Stadium Love
12. Monster Hospital
13. Combat Baby(Acoustic)

This show was one of the more spontaneous concert decisions I’ve made recently. I learned these guys were coming to Atlanta a good month or so before the show, but completely forgot about it until I was browsing local shows literally like a few hours before it started! I’m very glad I stumbled back upon this, as it was pretty fun, energetic gig. When I got inside the venue, I took notice of the crowd. Probably about 75% of them were chicks in plaid flannel, indie-esque attire, a funny shift when compared to the audience from the last show (Skinny Puppy) I went to. The opening band, Band of Skulls, was pretty damn cool. Not exactly what I expected to open for a more electronic act in Metric, these guys were all about a more gritty side of tunes, often going off on 4 or 5 minute guitar solos in at least two or three songs, and pulling it off to come off badass and intimidate sounding instead of just plain old wankery. Needless to say, I approved of these guys and will have to give their debut record a listen in the future.

(Band of Skulls)

About half an hour after the Band of Skulls set finished, Emily Haines and the rest of the group from Toronto hit the stage, to a pretty major reaction from the audience! The place was pretty electric all night. “Did they tell you, you should grow up, when you wanted to dream? Better warn you, you should shape up, if you want to succeed? I don’t know about you, who are they talking to? They’re not talking to me” Haines states pleasantly as their first number, a pretty softer tune “Twilight Galaxy” begins to play. There was a nice live spin on this song however, the ending of it being a breakdown of synthesizers, cymbals, and some satisfying baselines. They followed this up with the main single off Fantasies, “Help I’m Alive” as well as a slew of other songs off their newest record, all of which sounded fantastic live. Metric always reminded me of a sort of mellower, electric-toned version of The Yeah Yeah Yeahs for some reason, and seeing them live kind of reinforced this opinion for me. Especially the Haines/Karen O comparison. Everyone in the band had a great deal of energy though, and Haines definitely knew how to work her crowd.

The songs that got the biggest reactions from the crowd would probably have to be “Gold Guns Girls”, which I believe was actually featured in the Zombieland OST. The crowd really got behind the two encore songs “Monster Hospital”(a personal favorite of mine, love the original and the MSTRKRFT remix.) and most of all, an acoustic version of one of an older Metric hit “Combat Baby”, which resulted in a pretty big sing along out of the audience. The show had a couple of surprises though, one where a song was interludes by Haines going off and starting up the verse “You gotta fight! For your right! To party!” ala Beastie Boys, which was kind of random, but they made it badass. The other little shock was a really cool performance of Neil Young’s “Hey-Hey, My My” right before they transitioned into one of the stronger tracks from Fantasties, “Gimme Sympathy”. After they closed, I rushed over to the merch table and picked up a cool autographed tour poster for 15 bucks, not too shabby. Overall, I’d say I give this show a B! Quite a lot of fun indeed, but somewhat of a short set compared to some of the concerts I’ve seen throughout the year. That’s about the only complaint I really have. And with that, I’m gonna leave all of you guys with a video from the show!