Monday, June 6, 2011

Foster The People - Torches


Torches [+Digital Booklet]
The Debut Album

This band has seen a quick rise to relative stardom with their debut single Pumped Up Kicks. The band has had little time to establish themselves before being thrust in front of fans playing SXSW, Coachella, and Lolapalooza all the same year. With the May 24th release of their debut, Torches, the band has proved themselves worthy of listening to. I would find it hard to see this band going anywhere. Their catchy, electro, indie, pop appeal allows the band to range their sound. The result is a musical journey that flows from the highest heights to the lowest, smoothest lows. 

The band itself was started in 2009 when Mark Foster (vocals, keyboards, piano, synthesizers, guitar, programming, percussion) was working writing jingles for TV ads. In an interview with Spinner Foster said the following of that time, "I've been composing for commercials off and on for a few years. Pretty much right when I got brought on full-time as a music composer is when Foster the People started. It was great, because it was the first time in my life when I didn't have to work at a restaurant. I got to quit my coffee job. Being able to go into a studio and make music for a living was amazing. Working at [the music production company] Mophonics ... I attribute that job to a lot of the reason why the band is where we're at now." 

The band forges a sound that blends elements of MGMT, with those of the Beatles, and even Imogen Heap. The reason for this variation of sounds comes from Foster's creative songwriting. He stated in the Spinner interview that he felt that album was versatile but it all works together. I completely agree with this because the band employs such different sounds on each song, but the album has flows naturally between songs.

The Verdict
The band has proven itself worthy of merit not only through their single that climbed to number 2 on Billboard's alternative charts. They have continued to prove themselves worthy of listening to with this debut. I look forward to future efforts from this fledgling group. I can't wait to see where their sound goes. For now I'll be listening to Torches.    4.5/5
Listen To
Call It What You Want - This song showcases the bands dance beats at their prime. The vocals and overall              sound of this song makes it unforgettable. 

Pumped Up Kicks - This song is the bands debut single that prompted 222,.000 digital downloads it's necessary listening.

Monday, May 16, 2011

My Hiatus / Brand News

The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me
Brand New's Junior Release:
The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me

Brand New is a band that has taken on many different sounds throughout their career. A career that boasts a longevity of over ten years. The band recently went on a 5 date East coast tour during which Jesse let slip that they were working on new music. During their performance Lacey announced, at their Baltimore show, that they have been writing material but have had difficulties as they are "tired of bumming you guys out. We’re trying to write something happy." This change in sound may signal a new style for the band. I for one am excited to see how the band tries to top itself. I am sure the results will be nothing short of excellent.

Listen to the above album. It is something that every music lover should listen to. There is a lot going on so be prepared to don some headphones to get the full effect.

I give this album my first 5/5 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

Originally released on February 10, 1998, this album became the defining release in the short-lived and posthumously ongoing career of Neutral Milk Hotel. I say posthumously ongoing because after the album the band went on a hiatus that has yet to see an end.  The album has marched its way from relative obscurity upon release (due to little interest from listeners) to garnering honors like #2 on's 100 greatest indie rock albums of all time. The vinyl pressing of the album was the sixth-best-selling vinyl album in 2008. All of these accolades are nice, but they cannot even begin to describe the influence that the album has had on music in general. A personal favorite reference was one by Jesse Lacey of the band Brand New in an audio interview that he gave. Lacey stated that upon first listening to the album he thought that it was O.K. and went on with listening to other albums. He continued by saying that later on he gave the album another listen and fell in love with it. He stated that the album is one of a few that he takes on tour with him. This type of influence is well merited as the album impresses with a sound that soars and swells from the highest highs to the lowest lows. A trip through the spectrum of sound guided by the one and only Jeff Magnum

The Sound
This album has a unique sound that swells to become as large as the listener can handle. The instrumentation is varied and varies by song. The album flows so well from beginning to end that one might mistake it for one epic track that carries over between individual songs. The album has a truly indie sound to it that brings in the likes of folk rock with soaring guitars and even a vibraphone. The album is truly diverse and offers an experience that few listeners will soon forget. The lyrics are often vague, which has been cited as a negative for the album, but which I feel adds to the motif of the album. The story is one that encompasses that trials that many faced during World War II and thus is equally as vague. Overall the sound defines a landmark for indie music. 

The Verdict
*Warning this album is not for the casual listener. 
This album is an album that has had an impact on me personally and as such I will try not to be biased when giving out a grade. I will say only that the album is something that, if given a chance few will dislike (outside of those who do not like this type of music obviously). 

I give this album a 4.5 - 5 

The speaker continues to speak.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Manchester Orchestra - Album Stream

Simple Math
Simple Math Available May 10, 2011

Manchester Orchestra is offering a live stream of their upcoming junior release Simple Math. The stream is located on the bands website. To unlock the stream one must correctly place 5 of the shapes from the frame at the bottom of the site. This will unlock the full stream of the album. 

My reaction
The album is a great step forward for the band which has matured greatly since the release of I'm Like a Virgin Losing a Child in 2006. The band has a uniquely southern sound to them and the incorporate their Georgian roots into their music. The band shines on this album incorporating insane elements into their already soaring melodies.

Listen to
Apprehension - This song showcases the twangy southern tones that the band incorporates into their indie rock sound. This song really struck me on my first listen through the album.

Verdict - This album is excellent you should definitely check it out.  

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Get Up Kids - There Are Rules

There Are Rules
^There Are Rules Amazon Link^

The band first teased the release of an album in the summer of 2009. The band posted photos on their Twitter  showing them working in a recording studio. At this time there was much speculation as to whether or not the band was working  on an album. While they were on the European leg of their reunion tour, TGUK confirmed that they were writing songs and would be playing at least one of the them on the tour. During a session with

Next, the band's front man, Matthew Pryor confirmed that they have recorded nine new songs, and will be recording another twelve to release on three 7-track EPs, most likely on limited-run 12" vinyl.

Then, On February 15, 2010 the band announced that they would be self-releasing a new EP entitled Simple Science, their first studio release in six years. The 4-song EP was released on 12" colored vinyl and CD in April.

On October 29, 2010, The band officially announced their fifth full-length studio album, There Are Rules, to be released on January 25, 2011. It was also released at that time that the album would not be released on Vagrant Records, the label that had been the band's home for their past three records, but on their own Quality Hill Records. The album was produced by Ed Rose, who has worked with the band many times before, and mixed by Bob Weston, the producer of the band's album, Four Minute Mile. Several of the tracks were recorded during the same session as the Simple Science EP, the track "Keith Case" appears on both releases.

The Verdict

The album is a step in a new direction for the band. They traded in their soft melodic sounds for something noisier and edgier. They have written an album that incorporates that sound's of all of their side projects creating a new sound. The band has come back with new energy. I enjoyed the album very much and like where the band is going. The new edgier sound adds a layer to their work that was missing before. I hope to see more releases like this from the band.

Listen to...

Rally Around the Fool - Nowhere on the album is the bands new darker sound more apparent   than this morose tune that opens up with noisy and ends beautifully. This song would not have fit on any album    the band has released thus far. 

Keith Case - Loved it when the band released it on their Simple Science EP and still enjoy it now. The song gives a sense of the energy that the band brings to the table when writing songs. The lyrics and sound play together perfectly to make for a great song.

When It Dies - This song starts off with powerful drums screeching guitar and softly sung lyrics and swells into a torrent of sound. I listened to the song twice in a row because I enjoyed it so much.

The Rating: 4/5

The album is a step forward for the band, but that is not to say that this step is in any real direction. The band comes up short when it comes to showing any real direction on this album. The album is easy to listen to and well written, but the songs do not seem to fit in any way. The band has made an important step and I hope to see where it takes them in future. For now I am happy to listen to this album.

What had to be spoken was.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Kevin Devine - Nervous Energies Session

Bad Books
Bad Books Debut Album

I have already spoken once before about the amazing artist that is Kevin Devine. Today I was browsing around and stumbled across this set that he did for Nervous Energies. The set includes four songs, 3 of which are off of his upcoming album, and another which is a song taken from Kevin's side project Bad Books. The band is comprised of all of the members of Manchester Orchestra with the addition of Kevin and featuring Ben Homola on drums (Thanks Ashley). The band melds the styles of both acts (Kevin Devine and Manchester Orchestra) to create a sound that is neither one nor the other. Their debut, self-titled album,  is a staggering work that gives me hope for the music that the group will make together.

Now, as for the 4 song set that Kevin played at Nervous Energies the set consisted of the songs, Between the Concrete and Clouds, Luxemburg, and 11.17.10 all from his upcoming release, Between the Concrete and Clouds. Kevin also played the song You Are a Mirror I Cannot Avoid from Bad Books' debut album.

The first track of the set, I posted a video of last week and is titled, Between the Concrete and Clouds. This version is a stripped down acoustic. Kevin sings the song in a very personal way and really conveys the lyrics to the listener through his emotional performance. This song makes me excited to hear the full release of the album.

The next track was another unreleased track off of the upcoming album called, Luxemburg. This song is right at home in Kevin's catalog of songs. The song has a sweet melody and a slow tempo. The lyrics are especially captivating as has become the standard for Kevin's songs over his career. The song tells a story that only Kevin could convey. Filled with regret for past mistakes and past loves. This is truly a great song.

The third song that Kevin performed for his set is titled 11.17.10. This was my favorite of the three songs off of the upcoming album. The song has a powerful tone that takes hold of the listener and does not let go. The video speaks for itself.

The final song of the set is titled, You Are a Mirror I Cannot Avoid and is from the Bad Books debut album. This song is another acoustic to fill out the set. Kevin kills the song. Let the video speaks for itself.

The speaker is.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Manchester Orchestra - Song Premiere!

Simple Math
Simple Math The Title Track!

Some of you may know about this band from their last release, Mean Everything To Nothing. This album was explosive for this Atlanta based band. Their sound combines the energy of rock with a softer indie tone. The result is noisy at times, melodic mostly, and excellent always. I was lucky to have caught on to this act early with their release of the album, I'm Like A Virgin Losing A Child with its release in 2006. The six song debut speaks for itself.

Now for the exciting news. The band is debuting a song off their upcoming album Simple Math tomorrow at 12 noon on the Red Bull Facebook page. The song they will be premiering is titled "April Fool". The event was release on the band's Homepage. The blog has gotten me excited to get another taste from the upcoming release on May 10, 2011.

Here is a picture of Andy Hull,

The speaker hath spoke.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Happy 1000th View!!

Wow I did not know what kind of a reaction I would get when starting this blog. You guys and girls have been awesome with your words of encouragement. Thank you for supporting what I thought would be a passing idea but has turned into a working obsession for me. I am grateful to you all. I will continue tomorrow with another update.

Simple Math
Preview of my next topic. :]

The speaker is grateful.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz

Pictured Above: Sufjan Stevens

The Age of Adz

This newest effort comes from Sufjan only a few months after the All Delighted People EP which premiered earlier in August of 2010. The Age of Adz displays a powerful new side of Sufjan's work. The music is multi-layered as usual, with the multi-instrumentalist taking up as many as possible to fill out the sound of the songs. Each song has its own personality. The instruments build to chrashing crescendo and then ease up to allow soft piano strokes greet the listener with a soft reproach. The music flows at a nice pace and the songs seem to follow one another. So now to the verdict.

When I first got my hands on this album I found myself underwhelmed with the sound of it. I pushed it off to the side and paid it no mind. I gave it a few more listens recently and it has come back into my daily listening. I feel like the songs are well written and enjoyable. The album has great flow and depth and showcases Sufjan at his best. I would recommended this anyone that enjoys Sufjan's other works or wants something mellow and new in their  collections.

This is a song off of Sufjan's 50 States Project from the state of Illinois. This song is a lot simpler than the songs on Age of Adz and may be an easier listen for first time Sufjan listeners. I enjoy both.

Amazon Link to this album.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Brian Bonz Dee the Dinosaur Premiere.

This Video Premiered on this site, in May 2009. The song is from Brian's first full length album, From Sumi to Japan. I have this album on Vinyl and it is an excellent listen. The quality of the vinyl recording really adds to the sound of his voice. The album is available here.

From Sumi To Japan
Amazon Link to From Sumi To Japan. Check it out. ^^

Friday, March 25, 2011

Brian Bonz interview.

The Triborough Odyssey
^^^Link to Amazon's Mp3 if you want to check him out. </ad>

Brian Bonz is a singer/songwrighter from Brooklyn new york. He has his own brand of indie folk music that soothes the soul and tells a tale. His newest effort The Triborough Odyssey tells of tales of Brian's life in Brooklyn starting in Carnarsie and eventually ending in Sunset Park. He even commented on the rise of the music scene in the area and of Williamsburg in general. This article provides a better feel with answers from the man himself.

I have even spoken personally with Mr. Bonz about this album. He said some interesting things to me in a Facebook chat where I approached him to express my fondness of his tunes. It was an awesome thing getting my chance to talk to a hero. He's a cool guy with an interesting voice, honest sound, and great lyrics.


Listen to: From Sumi to Japan on Vinyl.

I had the chance to experience Mr. Bonz and his band twice live. Once with Manchester Orchestra and Kevin Devine, and then again in support of Kevin Devine with Miniature Tigers and another local Pittsburgh Band at the Altar Bar. Both shows he was excellent and even played with the other artists. He adds a lot to the other groups by giving on a new personality to their music. No doubting this man isn't a great performer. Go Check Him out.

The speaker has spoken.
This is a good listen.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Brother's Blood
Kevin's Latest effort.

This is a video of Kevin Devine's new song, Between the Concrete and Clouds from his upcoming album of the same name. The video is live from the Basement in Columbus, Ohio. I saw him earlier on this same tour and it was excellent. He is a great performer and person. I would recommend that you go see him if you have the chance. His shows are very personal, entertaining, and you will most likely meet him. He runs his own merch table and he and the band are always hanging around. Ask him anything you want and don't be shy. He talked to my girlfriend and I for ten minutes because hardly anyone was paying him any mind. The show was great and this video showcases the feel of his live shows and the music. The vocals on the video aren't that great but trust me Kevin can really belt it out and grab you with his music. Check him out.

Kevin Devine- "Between the Concrete and Clouds"-Live

The speaker keeps on speaking,

p.s. Thanks to everyone that has been checking out my blog and commenting I really appreciate it.

James Vincent McMorrow

Early In The Morning
Amazon MP3 Download

James Vincent McMorrow is a product of Dublin, Ireland. He has toured with the likes of Tracy Chapman, Bon Iver, and Iron and Wine. This singer and songwriter is renowned for his rich falsetto voice. I can only imagine that seeing him live would be a treat because his recorded music has an organic feel. As if in the recording session the whole band sat down, hit record, and started playing. His natural talent is undeniable and his up and coming nature speaks for itself. His debut full-length album, Early In the Morning, released on, Vagrant records is a showcase of his songwriting and vocal talents. He recorded the eleven song album by himself in a cottage near his home.

Of the album itself McMorrow described it as being, "Harmony-driven pastoral folk-pop music, in a nutshell!" Which might not be for all audiences but I am sure that some will find the warm tones and rich harmonies right at home in their musical tastes. The album has a flow to it that takes the listener on a journey from start to finish and leaves the listener satisfied and wanting for more. The album first became available in the January of this year after being released in Europe for some time. I hope that my U.S. listeners will find this Dubliner at home in their musical collections. The album is well worth the price tag as you will be listening to it for days.


On my soapbox I stand,

The speaker.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Statement of My Mission

The goal of this blog is to introduce those of you with a limited taste in music to random artists that tickle my fancy. I hope to explore more deeply the careers of artists that I already know and love and others that are new to me. I will update as much as possible to keep the artists fresh and so that we can all learn. Comments are welcomed and encouraged and suggestions for new artists are very very welcome. 

I look forward to experiencing new music with you and for you.

Godspeed and good luck,
The Speaker