It can be difficult to gain a balanced perspective on an album after reading a single summary of the music. Bias can tilt a review, as can personal taste, history and just about everything else that is unique to the person writing it. So in an effort to offer an expanded perspective in such a medium, here are three reactions, three impressions, Three Takes on The Riptide by Beirut.
The story of Beirut’s music thus far has been one of shifting national identities. What began as a project inspired by Balkan folk music, culminating in their first LP, Gulag Orkestar, took on a chanson française flavor on their sophomore album, Flying Club Cup, and turned in a very different, norteño-inspired direction on their March of the Zapotec EP. However, on their latest album – their first LP in four years – they seem to give up their international influences and settled on a sound that can only be called “pop.” Nevertheless, The Riptide doesn’t feel like that big of a departure for them. All of the recognizable Beirut elements are here, from the florid (sometimes overly-florid) melodies, to the folk trumpet, to the anchor of it all, Zach Condon’s lush baritone. The Riptide offers nine lovely tracks, and for Beirut fans, it will be a welcome addition to the catalog.
I have been a pretty big Beirut fan for awhile now and though I continue to enjoy Zach Condon’s newer work, I keep finding that for the most part I am still going back to his first records, Gulag Orkestar and Flying Cup Club, to get my fix. And while I had high expectations for the forthcoming album The Rip Tide, I find that again I just don’t think it really holds a candle. I like the record, but am a little put off by some of the song’s more rock-centric beats rather than the romantic, funereal ballads that seem to be a stronger force in the older work. Take “Santa Fe” for instance that is dominated by a distractingly elementary drum beat. And “A Candle’s Fire,” which has a horn section so punctual and clinically orchestrated as to sound boring. I like Condon when he’s more ramshackle and elegantly frayed – Rip Tide seems, for the most part, much more precise and rock-driven. I still like a number of the songs: “East Harlem,” “Goshen” and “Paynes Bay,” particularly. Overall though, I don’t think this record will ever be one of my favorites.
Zach Condon recently talked about trying to create music that was a “epic melancholy,” which I somehow understand completely. Starting with the wide eyed Gulag Orkestar and through his last LP and EP, Zach Condon and the rest of Beirut have circled the wagons around a wide ranging sound of ukuleles, horns and pianos, with Condon’s older than his age baritone really bringing things together. On their latest (third) LP, the group sound grown up but as subdued as ever. The first track released from the album was the amazing “East Harlem,” and while the rest of the album doesn’t live up to the hype that the first track caused, it is still classic Condon. From the redemptive opener “A Candle’s Fire” to the strings and gallantry of “Payne’s Bay,” The Riptide is the groups most polished effort yet. While the refinement of sound will undoubtedly turn off some fans of the more ramshackle approach of their previous work, the songs on The Riptide fit nicely in the increasingly impressive Beirut cannon.
It can be difficult to gain a balanced perspective on an album after reading a single summary of the music. Bias can tilt a review, as can personal taste, history and just about everything else that is unique to the person writing it. So in an effort to offer an expanded perspective in such a medium, here are four reactions, four impressions, Four Takes on Sound Kapital by The Handsome Furs.
Jon Behm (Reviler)
It took me awhile to get into the Handsome Furs’ last album, Face Control, and I never really came around until I finally saw the duo live (a medium in which they excel). With the band’s forthcoming record Sound Kapital, however, I am finding the songs much more immediately appealing. Alexei Perry and Dan Boeckner’s pulse-pounding synth hooks are rock solid and the songwriting, while not always brilliant, certainly fits the band’s energetic and anthemic aesthetics. It isn’t difficult music. It’s not provocative. It is, however, fast and fun – two adjectives that can carry a sound pretty far.
Where Boeckner and Perry get a little bogged down is when they try to inject political discourse into their message, which on Kapital is often. For instance in the getting lectured about “serving the people” by a rock band in the track of the same name seems a little “Muse-ish”. That particular track does seem to borrow the tune from M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes” and therefore also the Clash’s “Straight to Hell,” by definition, so someone could potentially make an argument that the whole tune is some sort of cryptic joke on ”revolutionary” bands. But probably not. Anyway, I enjoy the handsome Furs when they aren’t trying to be too serious, and when they are I just tune out the lyrics and tune in the hooks, which are plentiful.
Listening to “When I Get Back” off their third effort from The Handsome Furs, its almost like they never left. Essentially that’s how Sound Kapital plays, it relies on the song structure rather than confusing you with distorted electro-punk, which in turn is a similar turn that the sophomore release from the Crystal Castles. It definitely capitalizes on the innovations made during the making of their second album, “Face Control”. You can hear it in such songs as the rhythmic wooing exhibited in “Damage,” the tour-de-force of keyboards on “Bury Me Standing”, and the highlight “Serve The People” which builds to a euphoric exuberance. At a tight and focused 40 minutes, this nine song effort by the band definitely does a great job giving us proof that even a two-year absence didn’t cause any drastic changes, and definitely plays well to the band’s strengths.
Even with my deep appreciation of the jagged songwriting of Dan Boeckner (Wolf Parade, Atlas Strategic) and his last two albums with his wife in Handsome Furs, I was a little worried about the news that their new record was written entirely on synths. Boeckner’s guitar work and crafty songwriting make him one of my favorites from the last 5-7 years, but a entire synth based record? I should never have doubted them (especially considering their last album was my favorite LP of 2009). Sound Kapital finds the duo as strong as ever, from the propulsive opener “When I Get Back” to the extended buzz of album closer “No Feeling,” the group prove that even when they go to the extreme of only drum machines and synths, they still have the magic touch. The highlight of the nine song LP is the three song stretch featuring “Serve the People,” “What About Us” and “Repatriated,” which find Boeckner’s songs at their epic best and the group really playing up their collective strengths. Even without Boeckner’s fluid guitar work, the songs on Sound Kapital hit hard and still have whatever it is that makes me like Boeckner’s songwriting so much. While it might not match its predecessor at the top of my 2011 best album of the year list, Sound Kapital will safely have a spot in my top 10, proving again the Dan Boeckner cannot seem to do wrong in my eyes.
Disclaimer: I have never listened to Handsome Furs prior to this week. It’s not intentional; I’ve somehow just managed to miss them. I’ve been a long-time fan of Dan Boeckner’s collaboration with Spencer Krug in Wolf Parade, and some of the musical elements of that collaboration are present here – notably the New Wave influences. For anyone else in my boat, you’d do well to check out Handsome Furs. However, I’d recommend starting with 2009’s Face Control rather than Sound Kapital. While there’s not a bad track on this album, there aren’t any especially memorable ones either. It lacks some of the inventiveness of the prior LP, and it relies much more heavily on synth / drum machine, minimizing guitar and making this sound more like a straight-up disco record. The beauty of Face Control was in the cunning combination of guitar hooks and electronica. Sound Kapital tips the balance, putting them squarely in the synth-pop category.
Studies in the area of food science reported from M.E. Seyer and co-researchers.
Food Weekly News April 23, 2009 According to recent research published in the International Journal of Food Science and Technology, “The effect of the composition and physical properties of bran from four wheat samples from different cultivars was determined in whole wheat bread. High specific volume of whole wheat bread was correlated (r(2) = 0.8275) with strong mechanical properties (low friability) of the bran of wheat cultivars, as determined by sizing (over 425 mu m) of bran particles after grinding with a rotor mill.” “Fibre content and composition of insoluble fibre (hemicellulose, cellulose and lignin) in the bran fraction had a non-significant (P > 0.05) effect on the performance of wheat cultivars in whole wheat bread. Water absorption of bran was correlated (r(2) = 0.9532) with its insoluble fibre content,” wrote M.E. Seyer and colleagues. see here whole wheat bread
The researchers concluded: “Based on data obtained with white flour, it was not possible to estimate the baking potential of wheat cultivars in whole wheat bread.” Seyer and colleagues published their study in International Journal of Food Science and Technology (Bran characteristics and wheat performance in whole wheat bread. International Journal of Food Science and Technology, 2009;44(4):688-693). in our site whole wheat bread
For additional information, contact P. Gelinas, Agriculture & Agri Food Canada, Center Food Research & Development, St. Hyacinthe, PQ J2S 8E3, Canada.
The publisher’s contact information for the International Journal of Food Science and Technology is: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc., Commerce Place, 350 Main St., Malden 02148, MA, USA.
It can be difficult to gain a balanced perspective on an album after reading a single summary of the music. Bias can tilt a review, as can personal taste, history and just about everything else that is unique to the person writing it. So in an effort to offer an expanded perspective in such a medium, here are two reactions, two impressions, Two Takes on Arabia Mountain by The Black Lips.
The new Black Lips album contains some of my favorite new Lips tunes to date – with “Family Tree,” “Mr. Driver,” “Bicentennial Man,” as well as “Noc-A-Homa” creating the basis for a strong record. The occasional saxophone really gives Arabia a menacing new sound (particularly in “Family Trees”) even if it makes (perhaps) too few appearances. Famed British producer Mark Ronson makes his presence felt on the new album by giving it a shiny pop veneer. While this works well on some of the raunchy, R&B-inflected numbers, on the more garage pop songs it has the opposite effect. In tunes like “Modern Art,” and “New Direction” the sound just seems a little too clean (even if the lyrics are not). Still, Arabia is generally a pretty cohesive collection with only a small amount of filler in its sixteen songs. Personally I will be more interested in hearing these live since I think that the Black Lips’ energy/weirdness will be better experienced outside the constricted confines of Ronson’s engineering.
Many longtime fans of the Black Lips were understandably worried when word came out that the group would be working with pop music producer Mark Ronson on their new album Arabia Mountain. The scuzzy flower punk group has carved out a niche by releasing lo-fi albums and creating havoc in the life setting, building a pretty big fan base along the way, but this move gives the impression they are setting their sights even higher.
Both supporters and naysayers will have some ammo to work with on Arabia Mountain. The ear for garage rock gems is still present on the LP, especially on tracks like “Bicentenial Man,” but there are also moments of head scratching on the record. I would be remiss to blame Ronson for any of the poppier moments on the record, especially considering the band didn’t get led into the studio with a gun to their heads. The most damning part is that the group decided to hook up with someone who seems to be the antithesis of their punk, fuck the world ethos. With songs like “Bone Marrow” I have a hard time blaming Ronson when it was the band who wrote the boring track. The group still sound like garage rock worshipers of Los Saicos and 13th Floor Elevators, so at least they have that going for them. Arabia isn’t their best work, but fans can rest assured it isn’t a complete cop out that some feared when the news of the album dropped. No matter who produces their album, the band probably forever will be known for their live shows, so as long as they don’t go completely off the deep end I will at least come back to know the songs I will be hearing when they come through town.
It can be difficult to gain a balanced perspective on an album after reading a single summary of the music. Bias can tilt a review, as can personal taste, history and just about everything else that is unique to the person writing it. So in an effort to offer an expanded perspective in such a medium, here are four reactions, four impressions, Four Takes on Sun and Shade by Woods.
I find it amazing that between the San Fran garage rock scene and New York’s Woodsist crew, you could taken any given year and have about 20 different albums to chose from. These respective groups of bands – including Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, Fresh and Onlys, Sonny and the Sunsets, Sic Alps, Woods and Real Estate off-shoot Ducktails – put out a staggering amount of music each year, and every subsequent year they keep on delivering. For the sixth straight year, Brooklyn band Woods, fronted by Woodsist founder Jeremey Earl, have delivered a full length album full of their signature heartbreaking, classic folk tinged tunes – and this year’s Sun & Shade might be their best yet. Their previous two releases, 2009′s Songs of Shame and 2010′s At Echo Lake, were major accomplishments in their own right, but with Sun & Shade, the band has continued it’s growth towards writing songs that somewhat lift their former noise and drone layers, while capitalizing on the tragic lyricism and hone in on their terrific melodies and perfect folk pop songwriting. That’s not to say that their knack for arty noise is completely gone – the seven-minute humming drone track “Out of the Eye” and the acoustic, tribal beat epic “Soi y Sombra” is testament to that. But on the whole, Sun & Shade seems more concerned with showcasing Woods’ ability to write punchy, melodic folk songs that both make nods to nostalgic folkies of the ’60s while still sounding innovative and fresh. The bright, soaring opener, “Pushing Onlys” is my favorite single released so far this year. While songs like “White Out,” “Any Other Day,” Hand it Out” and “To Have In the Home” are all songs that have the same rambling, cheerful glee that made their previous works so entrancing and somewhat mysterious. The Elliot Smith-esque closer “Say Goodbye” also packs a chilling emotional punch with Earl signing off with, “See me mumbling like a day breeze, like a cool breeze flying by your side.” Earl’s lyrics and ghostly falsetto vocals again are at the forefront of this release and it is what gives Woods their charm, character and otherworldly appeal. Woods continue to prove that their brand of progressive folk is nearly unparalleled in today’s indie/lo-fi scene. Sun & Shade is my favorite release from them so far and I’m eager to see where they take their sound next.
Album number seven for Woods continues to draw on the accomplishments and strides made in their lo-fi experimentation which was at its peak with Songs of Shame and the more recent At Echo Lake, however the band manages to introduce some interesting sounds into the mix, such as the UFO-like howl on “Pushing Onlys,” whereas the track “Out of the Eye” sounds like something from early psychedelic rock from the 60s. “Hand It Out” perfectly fits the mood for the summer coming up (or whatever of one we have left in the TC), while “To Have In The Home” is straight-forward in arrangement, while the drums sparsely play around. While it definitely draws on the successes of the past efforts mentioned, it also manages to serve as a great soundtrack for summer, while the clarity is present, the lo-fi experimentation hasn’t left their bones by any strech, making “Sun and Shade” yet another great listen.
On their third LP in three years, the surprisingly prolific Woods stick close to the formula that made their previous two albums so successful, playing sunny sixties folk pop with Jeremy Earl’s near-falsetto vocals backed by both fuzzed-out lead guitar and strumming acoustic guitar. While Sun and Shade doesn’t constitute a giant step forward creatively, it delivers infectious melodies on every track, with only two exceptions. Unfortunately, the exceptions are nearly three times as long as any other track – the instrumental jams, “Out of the Eye” (7:10) and “Sol Y Sombra” (9:38), which fit uneasily with the rest of the material, don’t advance the album in any way and probably should have been left on the cutting room floor.
But the rest of the album works beautifully. Opener “Pushing Onlys” gets things started right with a catchy guitar line and buoyant melody. Earl shows his quieter side on the organ and guitar-backed “Be All Be Easy” and the gorgeous, acoustic “Wouldn’t Waste.” Sun and Shade is Woods’ third winner in three years. Fans of Songs of Shame and At Echo Lake will be quick to welcome this one.
With every album, Woods have moved further away from from the lo-fi noise folk sound which they embodied in earlier albums such as At Rear House, which is full of distorted noisy folk-inspired tunes that drift in and out of tempo. With each album, the songs get more rhythmic and poppy, and refined. Sun and Shade is a prime example of the result of this transformation– It is a happy summer album that fits well within the like of Ducktails, Real Estate, and Kurt Vile.
“Be All be Easy” is the most reminiscent of their earlier sound, but the pop influence is clear in the lighthearted guitar riff and uplifting lyrics that feel similar to Akron/Family’s Love is Simple.
“Hand It Out” is a highlight, which is clearly influenced by the continual resurgence and repopularization of surfer pop– pulling inspiration from pop kings, The Beach Boys. It’s an upbeat summer song that highlights Jeremy Earl’s high-pitched falsetto– which at times can border on squeaky, but mostly floats comfortably along the melody
Personally, I dig this shift away from the trying-to-hard ambient noise drone that Pitchfork drooled over. I am an extreme fan of the not-so-recent surge of sugary rock pop that has been springing up everywhere.
In earlier albums Woods have sounded a little too loosely put together, with rambling noisy interludes and no clear focus. Where they have been the most successful is when they hold on to simple, strong, and catchy melodies, and Sun and Shade proves successful in this respect. Some may criticize them for subscribing to more of a poppy sound, which is true, however they mostly succeed at it. Their only issue is that with subscribing to a popular genre, they can easily be overlooked. They’re sound doesn’t really have anything unique that makes them stand out in the crowd of quite excellent other bands.
It can be difficult to gain a balanced perspective on an album after reading a single summary of the music. Bias can tilt a review, as can personal taste, history and just about everything else that is unique to the person writing it. So in an effort to offer an expanded perspective in such a medium, here are Three reactions, Three impressions, Three Takes on Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2 by the Beastie Boys.
Writing a review for a Beastie Boys album feels a bit odd. For starters, I wasn’t even alive when Licensed To Ill was released in 1986. For a hip-hop group that initially seemed gimmicky to experience the longevity that this trio has is a testament to their musical catalog. The Beastie Boys have consistently made enjoyable, uncompromising music that is true to their NYC roots. This time around, they return with Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, a reworked version of the original Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 1 that was delayed and remains unreleased after Adam “MCA” Yauch was diagnosed with cancer.
The Beastie Boys have always done things on their own terms, but Hot Sauce Committee Part Two is especially unconcerned with following trends. The group handled most of the production, either playing instruments themselves or finding obscure records to sample. The result is a sonically diverse output. The album kicks off with a funky bass groove on the excellent “Make Some Noise.” “Too Many Rappers” features Nas and is another highlight, boasting bouncing synth-work over Mike D’s sharp, pounding drums. “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win” is the Beasties’ successful experiment with reggae and features a guest spot from Santigold. “Lee Majors Come Again” is a throwback to their old school punk origins.
The rapping on Hot Sauce Committee Part Two is what we’ve come to expect from the Beastie Boys. There are no jaw-dropping verses or punchlines on the record, and some of the lyrics occasionally borderline on corny, like Ad-Rock’s tongue-in-cheek boast, “Oh my God, just look at me/ Grandpa been rapping since ’83!”
But the lack of lyrical complexity does not diminish the overall enjoyability of the album. In the end, Hot Sauce Committee Part Two is everything one could hope from a longstanding group like the Beasties: a funky offering from musicians that understand what they do best and decide to stick to their strengths. Long live the grandpas.
I have a lot of respect for the Beastie Boys as hip hop pioneers. And I love me some classic Beasties. I can’t really seem to get into The Hot Sauce Committee Part 2, however, the crew’s latest album. And the most frustrating thing is that some of the tracks on the new record sound like they could have been good. Particularly the album’s first three tracks, which are something of a timeline of Beastie’s history – from punk/rap braggarts (“Make Some Noise”) to experimentalists (“Nonstop Disco Powerpack”) to a balance of both (“OK”). You could possibly make a case that actually the first four tracks are more representative however, with the ludicrously bad “Too Many Rappers” filling the role of the Beastie’s post millennium crappiness. But for now I would like to focus on the good. While none of these first three tracks represent anything new for the band, they do represent what they can (or used to be able) to do well.
Unfortunately the Beastie’s seem to have decided to go with incredibly tinny, reverb-heavy production on their vocals that make the rapping sound like it was recorded in an empty stadium from under the bleachers. The vocal production, which at times makes the rapping even unintelligible, takes everything good about the album and basically makes it moot. The production style is a bit more suited to guest vocalist Santigold, who carries “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win,” but with Mike D, Yauch, and Ad-Rock it just sounds terrible. The worst the overly long album gets is “Funky Donkey” and child-sampling “Crazy Ass Shit.” The best of the lot isn’t awful, but it’s still a far cry from the Beastie’s in their heyday.
MCA, AdRock and Mike D join forces yet again for their eighth album, Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 2 manages to combine elements from their older records; the band elements existent mixed with electronic elements on Check Your Head & Hello Nasty with the foolishness and hip-hop style exuded on Ill Communication, which upon first listen provides to be a breath of fresh air that the boys are back. Check such tracks as “Long Burn The Fire,” which sounds like it could have been an easy b-side from the Check Your Head sessions, while the track names such as “Nonstop Disco Powerpack,” “Tadlock’s Glasses,” “Lee Majors Comes Again,” and “Mulitilateral Nuclear Disarmament” feel like tracks that were on the cutting room floor from Hello Nasty. Music-wise, it hearkens back to stuff the boys experimented with in a more electronic-esque sense on the instrumental release The Mix-Up, while Nas provides a nice complement to the boys on “Too Many Rappers.” Overall, if Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 2 were an actual hot sauce, it’d be more like Sririacha or Tabasco; basic, yet advanced in many elements, proving that the boys still got it.
It can be difficult to gain a balanced perspective on an album after reading a single summary of the music. Bias can tilt a review, as can personal taste, history and just about everything else that is unique to the person writing it. So in an effort to offer an expanded perspective in such a medium, here are Four reactions, Four impressions, Four Takes on The Family Sign by Atmopshere.
Since the years after their last effort, “When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold,” Slug, ANT and company have honed their craft fully in making more tunes that revolve around stories, and there’s a reasoning behind that; Slug has been a good writer since the days of Lucy Ford, and their newest effort, The Family Sign, revolves more around the solemn and well-told stories that Slug has managed to weave around ANT’s production. Running the gamut of genres across the album from funk, new-wave, soul and country, The Family Sign is not a traditional rap record, rather its a rap record for the grown and aged, those who recollect a time when the tales Slug told such as “The Woman With The Tattooed Hands,” and managed to merge with very solemn, yet dignified production. The description thrown around here fits the mold of grown-ass-man rap tunes that weave tales of abuse (“The Last To Say,” “Just For Show”), and a life of settling down (“She’s Enough”). And there are many others, such as “Became” which could be the darker kin to “Painting,” and traces of braggadocio such as the grungy “Bad Bad Daddy,” and the doo-wop stylings on “Ain’t Nobody.” With every record, Atmosphere gets better and better at their craft, and The Famly Sign can be chalked up as yet another success.
Where to begin? “Family Sign,” the new effort from Atmosphere, should have just been titled “CC Club Problems,” and really, it’s everyone’s problem. Bringing Death Cab For Cutie and Limp Bizkit together is just an awful, awful idea. Kicking Bruce Hornsby out of the studio? That would have been a fantastic idea. This is a rock album that doesn’t rock in any way, and the rapping, lyrically speaking, is barely worthy of an open mic poetry night. Listen to the chorus of “Bad Bad Daddy,” and try to make an argument that it somehow has something over Soulja Boy or any other top 40 rapper. It’s doesn’t. It’s much worse. Not talking about money and being “real” does not make good hip hop, or any other kind of music. Sure, it’s not Atmosphere’s fault that many people seem to think otherwise. And just looking at flow, Slug can still rap. He’s never been at the top of hip hop in that department, but he’s certainly far from the worst. I’m working to find the bright side. Please don’t kill me, Minnesota. Um, let’s see. The melody of album opener “My Key” isn’t terrible. But face it: If Creed had re-branded themselves a rap crew in an attempt to make a comeback, they would have made songs that sound exactly like “Something So.” They may have even done it better. That’s how insipid this stuff is.
Twin Cities indie rap champions Atmosphere are back with their first full-length release since 2008’s commercial breakout Lemons. But if you are expecting The Family Sign to pick up where the band left off with Lemons — or even the 2010 double EP release To All My Friends… — you would be wrong.
The Family Sign is a largely somber affair, Atmosphere’s most mature album yet. Absent lyrically are Slug’s sense of humor, self-pity, or sarcasm. In their place is a feeling of perspective that comes with age and experience. Slug is still a technically gifted rapper; that won’t ever change. What is different is that he has deliberately assumed the role of narrator instead of being the focal point of his stories. These tales touch on familiar themes of love and loss. The best ones evoke an emotional response that all listeners can relate to (“The Last To Say,” “She’s Enough”), while on other tracks Slug feels too lost in the story to reach a clear resolution (“Beware,” “Your Name Here”).
Sonically, The Family Sign relies too heavily on the slow, doleful chord progressions of keyboardist Erick Anderson. Slug’s sung raps and choruses are not his strong suit, and Ant’s drum programming often rides a tedious and unchallenging kick-snare-kick-snare pattern. The songs where the band switches up the tempo and deviates from this formula (“She’s Enough,” “Millenium Dodo,” “My Notes”) are the catchiest and contain the most replay value.
The Family Sign is an intimate album that takes a few spins to warm up to. Once you accustom to the sound it can be beautifully melodic, insightful, and an overall enjoyable listen. This long into Atmosphere’s career, they continue to grow. They might not get everything perfect in the process, but maybe we love them all the more just for trying. The Family Sign is definitely not the best release in Atmosphere’s oeuvre, but it is certainly another fine addition.
Jon Behm (Reviler)
On the third to last track on Atmosphere’s new record, Slug raps that “it aint that hard to sing a sad song.” This is the attitude the emcee seems to have taken over the course of the album, which contains the rapper’s weakest songwriting to date. It’s not just that Slug has lost the rakish attitude of his “sad clown” persona (which seems to be the consensus in the reviews I have read). The real issue is he also seems to have relinquished his strongest weapon, his golden tongue. The lyrics of The Family Sign sound uninspired – as if many of them were included for the sake of a rhyme rather than the meaning behind it.
Even at his most depressing (of which he is at throughout Family) Slug has the ability to be a tremendous emcee. Just listen to the bewildered anger of 2005’s decidedly melancholy track “That Night,” in which he channels emotion into poignant, gripping lyricism. That songwriting ability just isn’t as present here. There are still a few turns of phrase that demonstrate the talent isn’t extinguished – it just isn’t a full, roaring blaze it seemed to be before. Ant’s production is good though and I love Nate Collis’s classical guitar accompaniments. Hopefully this is just a bump in the road for Atmosphere’s Slug.
(NOTE: All reviews were written and submitted before the tragic loss of bass player Gerald Smith, who passed away yesterday after fighting Lung Cancer. Both TV on the Radio shows scheduled for this weekend at First Ave are cancelled. Our thoughts are with the band and with Gerald’s family.)
It can be difficult to gain a balanced perspective on an album after reading a single summary of the music. Bias can tilt a review, as can personal taste, history and just about everything else that is unique to the person writing it. So in an effort to offer an expanded perspective in such a medium, here are four reactions, four impressions, Four Takes on Nine Types of Light by TV on the Radio.
A year-long hiatus, a move to a new coast, and a bandmember’s bout with lung cancer definitely had folks worried for TVOTR’s future plans. Rest assured those thoughts are quelled once “Nine Types of Light,” gets to see the light of day. Rest assured, there is a different mood to this album given all the factors mentioned, but it definitely provides the album with a different sound altogether. Dave Sitek at the helm of production duties helps give the album a much more airy and lighter sound, and a very much fresh, rhythmic outlook that isn’t as fast paced as such tunes like “Wolf Like Me” off “Return to Cookie Mountain.” Regardless, such tunes as the stuttering “New Cannonball Blues,” and the almost hip-hop/rock-esque styling of “Caffinated Consciousness” provide the album with a more brash and deliberate delivery, however you also have a nice accordion introduction in “Second Song,” and stark but hard drums strike on such songs as “You,” and the eerily arranged “Keep Your Heart.” Overall, it’s a great catalog continuation from a band that continues to innovate and not sacrifice the subtle nuances that continue to make TVOTR a great band.
One of America’s best exports, Brooklyn’s TV On The Radio, delivers their fourth studio record Nine Types Of Light. They recorded in LA at producer David A. Sitek’s home studio after various solo outings, among them solo shots from Tunde Adebimpe plus a little acting (Rachel Getting Married) , guitarist/vocalist Kyp Malone’s Americana styling on his solo jump as Rain Machine, and Sitek’s Maximum Balloon with Little Dragon, Karen O., TVOTR mates and others. Recording in LA allowed the crew to depend on themselves, without a million Brooklynites on deck for coloring.
On Nine Types Of Light Singer Adebimpe seems obsessed with love, capturing and maintaining it. It opens with a defense of lovers anthem “Second Song”, where jazzy horns accentuate soft disco as Adebimpe cries “every lover on a mission, shift your know position to the light”. From there the light turns to the neon-blues on “Keep Your Heart” where there’s a darkness that carries over the record; as Adebimpe sings ‘”I’m gonna keep your heart” it feels like a rainy Sunday. On the stunning ballad “You” Adebimpe pleads ” You’re the only one I ever loved” over the mid-tempo waltz. The new-wave, spunky B-52′s jolt of “No Future Shock” feels a bit weird with a “semi-rap” Saul Williams vocal, whose novelty could be a radio hit. “Killer Crane” is another mournful reflective ballad. The sterling centerpiece is “Will Do” echoed with a stately elegance, full of tranquility. On “New Cannonball Run” TVOTR make more than a few hints at Prince. “Repetition” is a clunky rocker. A jewel towards the end is the very fine “Forgotten”. “Forgotten” is loaded with marching horns, bells and a few whistles. Closing with the album’s ace rocker “Caffeinated Consciousness”. “Caffeinated Consciousness” soars with Bowie inspired precision ”Optimistic we’re gonna survive”. TV On The Radio’s brand of love, perhaps love is all we need. The title track “Will Do” alongside “Keep Your Heart”, “You”, “New Cannonball Run” and “Caffeinated Consciousness” are all keepers. There’s also a beautiful bonus track in “Troubles” where Adebimpe sings “Our love is a sure-fire thing” over a futuristic dubbed-out two-step in the spirit of The Specials.
Nine Types Of Light finds the band at its most nuanced and meticulous, and will go down as TVOTR’s ode to love and romance. TV On The Radio are growing into elder statesmen who continue maturing with a brooding, reflective, melancholy all their own. Nowhere as ambitious as their 2006 release Cookie Mountain, or as artfully designed as 2008′s Dear Science. TVOTR are clearly looking forward and enjoying where they are in their lives. Despite the recent unfortunate news that their bassist/ keyboardist Gerald Smith has lung cancer, and is taking time off recovering. Love, love and more love is the answer from Brooklyn’s groove merchants who are sailing with the brightest of smiles.
After their initial two “arty” records that brought them widespread attention, the EP OK Calculator and the LP Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes, TV on the Radio have seemed to mirror the mood of the country on their LP’s. 2006’s Return to Cookie Mountain was a dark, angry opus spun out during the ominous Bush years. 2008’s Dear Science, was a redemptive collection that felt like years of tension were being released, after eight dark years, in their sonic jumbo of sounds.
Now, three years and multiple side projects later, the group are back with their fifth album Nine Types of Light and there seems to be a restrained, meditative feel to the album. The mood over the record seems to say that the group, as they have aged, have realized it wasn’t so bad before, and it may never be as good as they hope, but we can as least make the most of it while the world burns. When they sing “Throw your hands up and walk away,” on “You,” it is hard to tell if they are talking about a relationship or just their overall feeling towards the world. “Second Song” and “Will Do,” would serve as a good soundtrack to those who wish to be having sex when the apocalypse comes, mixing the groups sensual grooves with their usual charging and gloomy instrumentation.
The TV on the Radio from the first two album seem to have grown up, for better or for worse. The songs on Nine Types of Light have a full, fleshed out sound and a resigned feeling to them. There is an overcast feeling to the record, but it still feels like they leave the door open, ever so slightly, for some surprising redemption. If the world is falling apart, I can’t think of a better soundtrack than TV on the Radio.
I haven’t really liked a TVotR record since Desperate Youth, so going into Nine Types of Lightyou could say my expectations weren’t really that high. I actually found the new material pretty listenable though, in part because it’s probably the lightest, funkiest, easygoing TVoTR album by a long shot. To my mind most of the band’s back catalogue suffers under the groaning weight of its own pretension and self-seriousness, but with Nine Typesit seems that the band is finally ready to shed a little of that weight. TVotR as a group is very talented at layering dense sonic textures – and when they do so with a light touch here it feels dexterous and fun. The songs still aren’t anything to write home about but coming from someone who has felt pretty ambivalent towards this band for a long time those thoughts should be taken with a grain of salt. Still, If I had to listen to any TV on the Radio album I just might choose this one.
Asset redelivered — Cresthaven building has rare Poplar corridor commodity – lots of vacant space
The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) October 21, 2008 | Cassandra Kimberly Tucked away in a nook at the corner of Poplar and Interstate 240, a treasure is waiting to be discovered.
The gem, better known as Cresthaven Professional Building, has been completely polished, and now the 52,239-square-foot mixed medical and office structure sits as one of East Memphis’ largest blocks of vacant space.
“At this point in time, it’s very rare to find more than 50,000 square feet of class B-plus contiguous vacancy in the Poplar corridor,” said CB Richard Ellis Memphis leasing associate Lindsey Cockrell , who handles the leasing of the property. “The mere size of the vacancy combined with the quality of the building is unique.” Earlier this year, Fowler Property Acquisitions completed more than $1 million in renovations to the 22-year-old building at 1068 Cresthaven. go to web site builders first source
Deferred maintenance such as electric wiring and heating and air systems were upgraded, and Memphis-based Crump Firm Inc. focused on the interior and exterior designs.
Not only did Cresthaven’s lobby get a new look, but the outside was changed drastically as well.
New signage, a rebuilt entrance and landscaping were put in place to catch the attention of passersby.
In addition, a four-story parking garage on the property was renovated and given matching signage.
Fowler purchased the vacant property in August 2007 for $3.3 million, making it the group’s second investment in Memphis. The San Francisco-based company also owns the Builders First Source building at 3615 Lamar. site builders first source
“Looking at comparable properties, we felt we could really bring something back to life that would be desired by the users,” said Ryan D. Rubenkoenig with Fowler. “It was a chance to redeliver an asset that could meet an unmet need in the Poplar corridor.” In addition to its abundance of office space, Cresthaven is suitable for physicians.
Lead walls line the first-floor offices of the building, which can be used for diagnostics centers with medical equipment such as X- ray machines.
“Cresthaven is in such close proximity to three major hospitals – St. Francis , Baptist and Methodist ,” said Laura Carpenter , team leader for CBRE Memphis’ newest health care real estate division launched earlier this summer. “It’s a great location for doctors to come and go from the hospitals.” Although Cresthaven is currently vacant, its owners don’t expect the East Memphis property to remain that way for long, Cockrell said.
“The momentum of showings and proposals has taken off and we are working with several groups toward leases now,” she said. “There is still the opportunity to come in and name your space.” – Cassandra Kimberly: 529-2786 ——————– Cresthaven Professional Building Address: 1068 Cresthaven Owner: Fowler Property Acquisitions Leasing: CBRE Memphis Size: 52,239 square feet Built: 1989 Renovated: July 2008 Online: fpacquisitions.com ——————– Cassandra Kimberly
It can be difficult to gain a balanced perspective on an album after reading a single summary of the music. Bias can tilt a review, as can personal taste, history and just about everything else that is unique to the person writing it. So in an effort to offer an expanded perspective in such a medium, here are four reactions, four impressions, Four Takes on Tomboy by Panda Bear.
Ah, Panda Bear, the artist who launched 10,000 pompous hipsters. But, in all seriousness, how do you really begin to review Tomboy, an album that follows Person Pitch, a piece that completely redefined electronic music and brazenly shifted how samples and expansive soundscapes are created and recorded? Looking back now, it’s hard to judge what was more influential in regards to Person Pitch: the music or the movement – which manifested into dozens of sub-genres and like-minded artists. It’s unfortunate then (maybe), that an album as great as Tomboy has to, no matter how you shake it, be compared to something else. Thankfully, though, this is not a Person Pitch redux. Multiple layered samples and rhythmic patterns are instead replaced with swaths of echoy reverb and vibrating synth chords. Panda Bear, a.k.a. Noah Lennox, explained that this album would be less bright and wandering and more ‘structured’ than Person Pitch. He also mentioned that he recording sessions took place in a dark basement with only a single light, but even after one run-through of the album, it’s hard to imagine these songs, even at their darkest, coming from such a place – especially considering his Brian Wilson, larger-than-life falsetto is again front and center.
“You Can Count On Me,” with its vocal-only opening is a perfect way to set off the album. While the one-two punch of “Last Night on the Jetty” and “Surfer’s Hymn,” one of my favorite tracks, are two of the best vocal performances ever by Lennox. And again he stretches his harmonies and vowels for miles, creating a hypnotic vastness of space and distance. Stuck in between these are “Tomboy” and “Slow Motion,” two of the earliest singles released from the album. These both serve as free-wheeling, vibrating loops that blend nicely together. As mentioned before, the songs here are more insular and lonely than say “Bros” or “Comfy in Nautica,” and they are far-removed from the everlasting sprawl of Person Pitch. (See: “Good Girls/Carrots.”) The songs are also tighter, more ‘conventionally structured’ and accessible. Some of the songs (“Drone, “Scheherezade”) however, even for how booming and soaring they are, also have a kind of restricted, almost claustrophobic veil around them. The lusher, glossier production is indebted to Lennox’s decision to have Sonic Boom master the Tomboy sessions. Unlike Person Pitch, which tended to have a thinner, lo-fi sound, many of the tracks on Tomboy are elevated by much-needed heft and punch. Another highlight is “Afterburner,” that has a tropical/tribal rhythm that bleeds perfectly into the heart-wrenching closer, “Benfica.”
For me, Panda Bear is the perfect kind of musician in terms of pure listener enjoyment: the more time you put in the more you take away. That’s not to say that he is the only musician I feel this way about, but for the sake of this review, and Tomboy in general, the description seems fitting. Tomboy and Panda Bear aren’t for everyone. And whether or not it takes a “music nerd” to “get it” is completely, and rightly, up for debate. But I would argue that a piece like this isn’t necessarily for a so-called ‘casual music listener.’ Like all of Panda’s music, in and out of Animal Collective, it usually takes time to appreciate songs like this. But sometimes music begs for that kind of uninterrupted, invested attention. Tomboy is that kind of album.
It’s been a good minute since the last Panda Bear record, but a lot of folks have been anticipating Tomboy’s release. With words like “summery” and “accessible” have been thrown around in reviews for this album as of recent, but both are great words to describe the sentiment of feel-good music that Panda Bear has laid out here. Throughout the near 50 minute exploration, you hear a lot of elements that weave around the sounds of Merriweather Post Pavilion, but imagine more percussive and vocals that trend toward the stark echoes, such as “You Can’t Forget Me,” whereas grooves become more alive and existent in the title track as well as “Slow Motion.” Elsewhere you have songs like “Last Night At The Jetty,” which plays more like the Smashing Pumpkins “1979,” moreso in terms of nostalgia than it does experimentation. The record definitely harkens back to a time when music was to be enjoyed as an entire body of work rather than selective tunes. In the case of Tomboy, it definitely plays to those strengths and makes for yet another success in the Panda Bear discography.
As a preface to this review, I want to point out the the last album Panda Bear released, Person Pitch, was the #1 album on my list of best songs of the ’00′s. That leaves pretty big shoes to fill, especially after waiting for four years for the follow up album to drop. While it wouldn’t be fair to say whether Tomboy reaches the dizzying heights of Person Pitch, the fact that it isn’t a resounding disappointment is a gigantic compliment to both Noah Lennox and his latest LP. Starting with the hypnotizing beauty of “You Can Count on Me” and winding through the 11 song, 50+ minute LP, Panda Bear is as pristine and compelling as ever. From the longer, more elaborate tracks like “Friendship Bracelet” and “Afterburner” to the more direct, sublime pop tracks like “Surfers Hymn” and “Last Night At the Jetty,” Lennox shows his truly amazing songwriting talent. With a Brian Wilson like sense for melody, melancholy and drama, Panda Bear has become the mainstream electronic avant pop song smith of the 21st Century. The songs on Tomboy are engrossing and swallow the listener in blankets of soft noise, with each listen rewarded with a new treat put together by . I didn’t think it possible that there would be an album that would be able to “follow up” on Person Pitch, but somehow Tomboy does.
The long-awaited, repeatably delayed, now finally here, and yup it’s almost epic-like. The fourth release from Animal Collectives’ co-founder Noah Lennox, better known as Panda Bear. Since Animal Collective’s 2009 ground breaking Merriweather Post Pavilion it appears the musical landscape has titled. Bridging the gap between indie’s psychedelia and glitchy experimental electronica. On Panda Bear’s follow-up to his 2007′s Person Pitch, Panda Bear further explores the spaces in between adventure and discovery on Tomboy. Heavy does of reverb-soaked, multi track vocal harmonies carry the opener “You Can Count On Me” with a warm, cheerful, hypnotic melody, aided by sprawling guitar chords.
Followed by the slow pounding haze of “Tomboy” with it’s revelatory vocal technique. There’s the brilliant Phil Spector collage of sounds on “Slow Motion” buried in a wash of Brian Wilson harmonies and hand claps. ”Surfers Hymn” is a winner as it soars after a splash of bells and noises shifts to a swell of harmonies. Among the records highlights, the indie waltz “Last Night At The Jetty”, a raunchy mid-tempo thumper closest to Animal Collective’s MPP. Swirling and spinning it’s own Daydream Nation. Tomboy goes off track on the ambient “Drone” a testy, synth-driven track, with high pitched sharp frequencies flushed with warm textures. This requires an extra patience since there no boom-bap of anything. “Alsatian Darn” is built on weird synths amist huge vocals hints at a buried pop song. The piano ballad ”Schenerazade” is spacious, sorta of new age for new kids. “Friendship Bracelet” is a nice floater. “Afterburner” is a drab techno workout. While on the closer, the gorgeous “Benfica”, Lennox captures the harrowing vocals awash in atmospherics without making any grand statement. There’s a relaxed mood that is as subtle as exploratory.
Although lacking the dynamics of Pitch Perfect, if Tomboy only had “You Can Count On Me”, “Tomboy” , “Slow Motion”, “Last Night at The Jetty” and “Surfers Hymn” it would rank as terrific. Although part of the record weighs heavy not emotionally, but clouded in mystery, making it’s way to being evocative headphone music. It’s as if Lennox, working with producer Sonic Boom (Spacemen 3/Spiritualized) and is living some Beach Boys fantasy through a 21st century vibrant lenses. Tomboy seems to be two records, the first half that’s open ended excellence and the second half which feels like an effort not to stray to far away from what works. The beautiful, dream like excursions of the second half, feels unfocused, without a knockout punch as hypnotic and immediate or as “Slow Motion” or “Last Night At The Jetty”. The first half of Tomboy is one hell of a ride. I’ll take what I can get.
The Current is making a push to recognize local music with their new Local Stream internet station (or, looking at it more cynically, finding a way to push local music off the airwaves so they squeeze in more Kings of Leon and Mumford and Sons tracks). In addition, last month during SXSW they picked four songs to represent our local music scene in a trade with a station in Texas. We saw their picks and thought to ourselves, “hmm, those aren’t the tracks we would pick to represent our great scene.” So we reached out to people who have written for us in the past and posed the simple question,”What four songs would you pick to someone who couldn’t pick Minneapolis out on a map, let alone know about our great scene.” Below are the choices, and the wide range of bands and songs go to highlight, again, how amazing our local scene is currently and how lucky we are to have so many great bands at our fingertips.
Brute Heart – Scritch Scratch
I have a feeling this band could take Austin by storm (not to mention the rest of the world).
Blind Shake/Michael Yonkers – Cold Town
Would prefer to send something from their forthcoming record but if not, this classic jam will do.
Daughters of The Sun – Moontan
DotS would fit right in with the “keep Austin weird” crowd. That scene could also benefit from a band that isn’t just weird in a self concious, postering sort of way.
Something from Moon Glyph
Food Pyramid, Tender Meat, Velvet Davenport, whomever – have to mention at least one of the bands from our scene’s most exciting stable of new talent.
(also: Gay Beast, Dark Dark Dark, Aby Wolf, Sims)
1. CLAPS – “Fold”
As far as Kraftwerk/Depech Mode-leaning-new wave-electro bands are concerned these guys (and girl) are the tops. No real reason behind choosing this song over others, this one is just my favorite, and the catchiest.
2. Solid Gold – “Just Like Everyone Else”
Though the guys don’t have much to show recently as their latest release was 2010′s Synchronize EP, they are still one of my favorite local bands of the last few years. Also, if more people saw and heard Solid Gold, they would probably better understand where Gayngs’ soft-rock throwback sound is coming from.
3. Velvet Davenport – “Mystery Michael”
There are many reasons why you see the psych-garage outfit Velvet Davenport popping up everywhere – this is mostly thanks to last year’s terrific Warmy Girls LP. And it’s also no wonder that his cassette tape esthetic has led him to rub shoulders with the likes of Ariel Pink. This dude is poised for big things.
4. Red Pens – “Blue Lighters”
A while back I almost got beat up for not knowing who Red Pens were – I would’ve deserved it. These two crush it.
Haunted House – “Chandeliers” (Holy fuck, man. I don’t know how many times I’ve listened to this jam.)
Low – When I Go Deaf – Low is one of the real musical gems of Minnesota and it’s hard picking just one song but this one is just beautiful both lyrically and musically. I can’t even count how many mixes I have put this on for friends or to listen to in the car.
Vampire Hands – Safe Word – This song has a cool T. Rex / psyche influenced vibe along with all of the great things you want in an excellent pop song.
Daughters of the Sun – Ghost With Chains – The final song on their newest record on Not Not Fun is a long drone-y song that just invites you in to hang out for awhile. One of the best jams of a growing psych / drone music scene.
STNNNG – Two Sick Friends – Chris Besinger knows how to tell a story with his lyrics. The mood of the music matches with the lyrics perfectly. Another band that you could make an argument for 5-10 songs for one of the best songs. It’s a song that is aggressive but not overly macho. This can be said for a lot of louder bands. The music is loud but the message is a bit more thoughtful.
From the punk-rock glare of Phantom Tails to the intricate rhymes of new school rookie Mally, to the riot-girl righteousness to the emo observations of Doomtree’s Sims, Minneapolis music can go toe to toes with any city in the United States.
Phantom Tails -Street Sweeper
Mally – Heir Time
Pink Mink -Black Door
Sims – In My Sleep
Even though they have broken up, this is still one of those songs that is simply timeless amongst the stalwarts that get named in MPLS Hip Hop.
Mally “The Passion”
One of the newest faces wanted to prove he was worthy of all the blog praise he received out of state to his local folks. Over a soulful and apocalyptic backdrop, Mally drops jab after unforgettable jab of lyrics that are reminiscent age of rap when it was about skill.
Musab “Midwest Biz”
One of the initial founders of Rhymesayers, he name drops and checks every scene and landmark imaginable about Minneapolis.
Big Quarters “Painkillers”
The dark, anthemic and ominous backdrop provided by Benzilla provides the brothers Baagason with ample ammo to talk about the ills of society and the cost of their surroundings. Definitely a proper representation of the times of MPLS.
Dante and the Lobster “Wake Up”
A song that best explimfiies to me the burgening garage/pyschedlica sound prevalent in our current scene.
Crescent Moon is in Big Trouble “Hunting Season”
I could have picked lots of stuff Crescent Moon (Kill the Vultures) has done, but this song never ceases to floor me.
Retribution Gospel Choir “Working Hard”
It was a tough call between a bunch of RGC and Low songs, but this song is just a classic example of the simple but powerful songwriting that makes Sparhawk one of our best exports.
Food Pyramid “Cloudscape”
There were many bands from both the Totally Gross Nationally Product and Moon Glyph labels (where Food Pyramid recide), but I chose Food Pyramid