• Review: Foals - Holy Fire (2013)

    Mag 6 2013, 16:29

    Foals’ listeners who are expecting another math rock and indie pop fusion are destined to be disappointed with Foal’s highly anticipated follow-up to 2010’s Total Life Forever. Despite this, Holy Fire, the band’s latest release, sounds much more refined than anything before it but that ultimately might be the biggest disappointment of the record. Foal’s frontman Yannis Philipakkis' vocals are impeccable, more so than any previously released track which maybe the result of a more polished recording process or the lack of chanty-like backup vocals that fans of the group have come to expect. The band’s redefined sound can also be heard in their instrumentation which appears to be significantly slower and less layered than previous records. Another noticeable difference with this album is the overall themes and song progression. Total Life Forever’s range of different tempos and emotions makes listening to the record more unpredictable and exciting. Holy Fire on the other hand seems to have a more cohesive feel through the album which tends to get lackluster after three or four tracks frankly. The less organic sounds of the album have also taken on a more conventional approach which ends up coming off as a compromise of the band's intricacies synonymous with their sound. Foal’s lead single entitled Inhaler is a strong opening track which faintly resembles the band of yesteryear while also incorporating new elements which at first listen sound exciting. Unfortunately, the band falls short in properly executing these new ideas on the remainder of the album resulting in a mediocre and unmemorable listening experience.
  • Review: Devendra Banhart - Mala (2013)

    Apr 1 2013, 1:03

    Devendra Banhart has a special place in my heart. I have been following his work for over five years now and his sound has really transformed since then. The Venezuelan king of freak folk has definitely evolved from the once trendy genre which he helped expose in the late 2000s. Banhart’s latest album entitled Mala (meaning Bad) is for the most part an acoustic journey through the styles that have defined his career. Some of these recurring characteristics include his soft spoken 1970’s vocals, his occasional tracks in Spanish, and the length of the songs themselves (which tend to be on the shorter side). This record certainly alludes to the beginning of Banhart’s career in terms of the songs lyrical content and overall psychedelic vibe. Some of the more upbeat tracks from this effort include “Your Fine Petty Duck” and “Won’t You Come Over.” If you are a fan of Devendra’s earlier work then I strongly recommend this album for your collection.

    See: Devendra Banhart - Mala
  • Wild Beasts 'Smother' tour

    Lug 18 2011, 17:19

    Sat 16 Jul – Wild Beasts, Milagres

    Milagres was okay, nothing too spectacular in my opinion. Their last song was pretty climatic and had really exciting high vocals.

    Wild Beasts played mostly material off of their 2011 release Smother. It translated really well live, more so than some of their older songs in the past have. I saw them at the Black Cat last fall and it seems that they have really polished up their live performance. They recently added a touring band member who does keyboard work.

    They closed their set of encore songs with the last song of their latest album entitled "End Comes Too Soon" & the song ended up with intense lights and a humble farewell.
  • Glassjaw @ The Norva

    Mar 3 2011, 7:14

    Mon 14 Feb – Glassjaw

    When I saw them back in 2007, they still seemed really angry - and being that alot of their songs are about heartbreak and stuff, it still made sense.

    I dont really know if they all still feel that way 4 years later so the vibe was much different. They mellowed out many of the songs or kind of made them jammy (less aggressive) than you would think they should be.

    They handed out free copies of the new ep Coloring Book and I haven't really had a chance to listen to it too much.

    They played most songs from Worship & Tribute which was really great except they didnt play Cosmopolitan Blood Loss which kind of hurt my heart a bit.

    They also played most of the songs from that other ep that leaked a while back - Our Color Green.

    Overall I wanted them to be more aggressive than they were.
  • Xiu Xiu & Tune-Yards reaction

    Apr 16 2010, 9:12

    Thu 15 Apr – Xiu Xiu, Tune-Yards, Marionette, Nude Photos of Celebrities

    I've seen Tune-yards before and so I knew they were going to be amazing yet again. It was a much more engaging experience this time since I knew much more of their material.

    I had previously seen them in Charlottesville, VA at the Twisted Branch Tea Bizarre back in the fall.

    The crowd was also much more lively at this show which added another dimension of energy to her performance.

    The new songs were refreshing to hear including the last song that she played. I spoke with her (Merrill) after the show and she informed me that she was going to hit the studio in May right after she wrapped up this tour with Xiu Xiu.

    As for Xiu XIu, I wasn't really familiar with their songs. I've known of them for quiet some time but I had never really listened to them. I downloaded their latest album entitled "Dear God, I Hate Myself" recently and it sounded really depressing to me (go figure).

    They were too much of a downer after such a positive and upbeat set by Tune-Yards. It was actually really hard to bare.

    I really wish Tune-Yards had still been on tour with The Dirty Projectors, I feel like they are much more compatible artists to be on tour with.