Nine Short Album Reviews.


8. Mär. 2006, 9:09

The sole perk of my job at the gas station is that I work alone with full control over what I listen to. I used to do this on the old cassette player boom box we had by jamming a tape adapter into it and listening to my discman, but a few months ago, my coworker invested in a boombox with a CD player. It's pretty sweet. Anyway. I recently discovered that a great way to pass the 8 hours is to listen to full albums at a time. I thought it might be neat if following my shifts, I did a write up here of what I listened to, and anything that I have to say about the albums. This is my first such installment.

1. Chutes Too Narrow

I hadn't listed to this album in a while prior to today. It turned out to be a wise choice. I bought this album on a whim almost two years ago following my becoming good friends with Tony. There was this awesome SubPop sale at bullmoose one time when we were shopping, and Tony seemed to think highly of this record, so I bought it. At first I was turned off by the aesthetic of the album. They are guilty of the vintage-y clean-guitar lo-fi indie thing that really bothered the hell out of me back then (I've since come to adore it). I had an argument once when this record was brand new (before I bought it) that The Shins were just another stupid "the" band that would drop off the face of the earth and nobody would give a shit about this record in five years. I'm now of the opinion that it's a true enduring classic. Funny how that works.

2. Wild Like Children

Following The Shins, of the CDs I had stuffing my messenger bag (and before you ask, yes, it's covered with band pins, i'm one of those fuckfaces), this seemed the most logical choice. Another mostly clean, midtempo goodtimes record. I discovered this band via messageboard after begging for somebody to recomend some new music to me. It was a no brainer to finally buy it when I had the money. Tap dancing percussion? Fuck yes! I read that this band has a new album either coming soon or already out. I should look into that. This album has not gotten much play from me in the past year, but it is another classic album in my opinion, with a lot going for it and only a few notable dead spots (mostly when the dude sings).

3. Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?

I decided to run with the chick-band theme. I bought this album following my initial exposure to this band in late 2004. At the time I was oblivious to how hip this band was, and indeed I was not aware of their ties to Broken Social Scene, who admittedly, I don't listen to that much of, hardly any at all at the time. At first I thought the lyrics were fucking stupid. I never really changed my mind, but I learned to successfully ignore them, and soon this became a favorite. This is an increadibly energetic record that reminds me of Blondie for all the right reasons (and I might say that even if they didn't have a chick singer). I'm a bit dissapointed by the latest Metric release. While it has some amazing tracks on it that live up to this band's potential, as an album, Old World Underground kicks the shit out of Live It Out. Better luck next time I hope.

Silent Alarm

Speaking of disco indie. I first heard this band on the local college radio station, and assumed it was Franz Ferdinand (based on a lack of exposure to both bands at that time). Later that very day, my housemate bought a copy of the album, and upon listening to it on the home stereo, I realized that the track I heard was in fact Bloc Party. Following that, I was very excited about the band, but after listening to the record in full a few times, I thought it to be boring and mediocre. After listening to it a few more times though, I found myself unable to pry myself away from it. I didn't have audioscrobbler at that point, if I did, Bloc Party would probably be closer to the top of my list than they currently are. This is possibly my most listened to album of 2005. That Silent Alarm remix album was a horrible idea. I think somebody deserves to be shot for calling that into being. Just my opinion though.

5. Who Will Survive, and What Will Be Left of Them?

In fall of 2004, I went to a show under the impression that Lucero was going to be there. They weren't. However, the headlining band was Murder By Death and they completely destroyed live. Naturally I bought their CD. My immediate reaction upon the first few listens was "What the fuck? I demand my money back!" Thankfully, It's grown on me since then, as I've developed an appreciation for the songwriting independant of the production and performance quality. Still, that a band that sounds that good live can put out such a boring CD confuses me, and indicates that they really need to find a good producer to record them. This album is not without it's charm for the production qualities it posesses though. It's more of a subtle album for relaxing to and taking in than it is a rocking album for rocking, and sometimes that's okay. Sometimes.

6. Nobody's Darlings

While listening to Murder By Death, I got an urge to listen to another great album that sounds like complete shit, enter Nobody's Darlings by Lucero! I first heard this band upon seeing them open for Against Me! in San Francisco a few years back. I was impressed by them, and when I saw this album for sale the first day of it's release, I bought it on a whim. When I got home and popped it in though, I found myself thinking what I all too often think upon hearing new albums: "What the fuck did I just spend my money on?" The guitars on this album could not sound worse if they tried. What the hell did they run these through? Did they even use real amps? I don't know, I really don't. So it pissed me off for a while, but eventually, similar to the case of Murder By Death (who oddly enough, as I mentioned, I only saw because I thought Lucero was going to be there), I grew to appreciate the album because of the songs, which are great. There is a lot of honesty on this album presented in a way that is pretty much completely unfashionable. Lucero is the kind of band that can probably actually play Freebird.

7. Designing A Nervous Breakdown

I first bought this album on vinyl in 2001. It was durring my retard emo phase where I bought a lot of vinyl because it was hip and useless. Sure, I had a good record player and all that jazz, but come on, vinyl is fucking stupid. Let's just admit it and move on. Anyway, I just recently bought a CD copy of this album last week. I'm glad I finally did. This album is one of the few albums from my emo phase that really stands up. In an era that saw me going to multiple Saves the Day shows, it was quite rare that I listened to something that was actually good. I've heard this album probably hundreds of times, and I'm not tired of it. It's beautiful. Let us never speak of the horrible turn they took on their next full album.

8. Before the Dawn Heals Us

This is one of the most unlikely albums ever to find it's way onto my CD shelf. I was told to listen to this by Tony, and I listened to it. Even on the first listen I liked it, and said to myself, "I can't believe how much I'm liking this." I don't know what style of music to call M83, but I've never been into electronic music, I've never been into instrumental post rock, I've rarely ever wanted to listen to anything that repeated itself a lot and didn't have words. This album is probably singlehandedly responsible for me expanding my horizons in those respects.

9. We Are the Only Friends We Have

Memory, for me, can be triggered by music, and if I ever want to think favorably back to my freshmen year of college, this is the album to do it. I grew up in a town of 900 people, where discovering punk rock (let alone liking it) was a miraculous act of rebellion. When I got to college and found people like myself who found this sort of music appealing, it changed my life for the better. In early 2002 I took two of my friends at the time (Miles and Saroya, niether of who'm I've seen in years) north to visit my home town, just so they could laugh at it and pity me. One the way back, they introduced me to Piebald with this CD. It was the start of a beautiful relationship. The 5/4 intro to "King of the Road" is a very sentimental musical moment for me. I don't listen to this album much anymore. In many ways I think it to be the least noteworthy Piebald record, but it is undoubtedly the one that I have the strongest attachment to.

"But wait after all, you did get us around the world and back, hell yeah"


  • HermitKing

    Nice reviews. I agree with you 100% about Metric. Live it Out just doesn't have the same spark that Old World had.

    16. Mär. 2006, 15:32
  • N0Surprises

    Hehe I had a similar on/off-love/hate relationship with Bloc Party's Silent ended amicably though =) Nice reviews, agreed on Shins, Metric, will check out some of the others.

    19. Mär. 2006, 19:03
  • conchobhar

    meh, i quite like murder by death, and ive never even heard them live.

    27. Jul. 2006, 7:42
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