Friday, October 19, 2007

The A-Sides, Silver Storms

So you probably haven't heard of The A-sides. Maybe you were lucky enough to catch them with Ted Leo recently, but they are worth finding. They have a new album out, "Silver Storms", and it's good. If you want to know what they sound like, think "Everything All the Time" Band of Horses mixed with The Walkman. It's lush sweeping relaxed sound that just takes over your ears. The vocals are perfect for their sound; he just seems comfortable singing. And what more can you ask of anyone? The combined relaxing melodies and vocals make the album a perfect listen for anytime you just want some down time.

Standout tracks:

Diamonds: This is one that stuck with me at the concert. It's one of those songs with the sweeping guitar in the background and passion in the lyrics. I really feel at a loss for words on how to describe this one, but it's one of my favorites on the album.

My Heroes Have Always Been Crazy: In addition to having a great title, this track is a nice simple song with a tambourine keeping time. It builds for a bit before going into a nice instrumental ending.

Sinking With The Ship: Another one of the songs I remember from the concert. The closer of the album. The perfect place for their sound; you have organs, violins, guitar and cymbals. The lyrics "We're all sinking with the ship/we all taste the salt on our lips" is tragic, but calming. It's as if we're happy to finally be done, we need the break ahead of us.

Again, I suggest you look out for this band, with two albums under their belts, I can really only expect better things to come.

Grade: A-

Thursday, October 18, 2007

In Rainbows - The Radio Cure Review

One week after its abrupt release, I found it apt to review Radiohead's latest masterpiece, In Rainbows.
1. 15 Step: My favorite track from their Bonnaroo show, 15 Step is notably the only track that makes heavy use of the disjointed computer beats of the previous three albums. It stands out from their earlier material however with a jumpy little guitar line that flows throughout. Key Line: "Won't take my eyes off the ball again/You reel me out then you cut the string."
2. Bodysnatchers: Hailed as "the rock song", "Bodysnatchers" is full of distorted guitar and Thom Yorke wails. I read one review that called this track a sort of sequel to Kid A's "National Anthem", but I view it more as a rebuttal to "Creep," another song about feeling displaced that the band has somewhat disowned.
3. Nude: An older, mellow, hypnotic track, "Nude" is one of the first songs to suck you in to the brilliance of In Rainbows in your first listen. Bringing his voice to the highest key it seems to reach, Yorke is at his most soulful. For die-hard fans, this song was worth the wait.
4. Weird Fishes/Arpeggi: This is not only my favorite track on the album, but also the most layered. With dueling guitar lines over Phil Selway's steady drumming and under Yorke's echoing voice, this song builds to a crescendo of escapism before rolling to a halt. This song parallels some of the best total songwriting of the last 20 years, with each member of the band distinctly heard.
5. All I Need: A somber, dark love song, "All I Need" seems to be the anthem for discontent lovers, but builds to an explosion of noise and light that suddenly takes the song to new heights and adds a bright, optimistic ending.
6. Faust Arp: The only mystery track for eager fans, this is the second closest Radiohead has come to mimicking The Beatles (#1- listen to the beginning of "Wolf at the Door" and then The Beatle's "She's So Heavy"). A softy ditty that recalls The White Album's "Julia", but with strings and distrust.
7. Reckoner: Another old track, "Reckoner" seems to remind us that Phil Selway is still an important part of the band. His echoing, jangly drumming provides the base for Thom's falsetto, soulful singing and soft piano and a chilled out guitar riff. If any other artist had played this song, it might have been a generic Top 40 hit, but again, the Radiohead touch keeps it uniquely beautiful, especially in it's warm climax.
8. House of Cards: This track is gorgeous. Another mellow, laid back track, "House of Cards" sounds like the love song of the couple that's been stuck in a rut, ready to break free. I will always associate this song with its performance at Bonnaroo, in which fans started throwing glow sticks around in the darkness. When they started landing on stage, a smiling Thom playfully threw them back. It seems symbolic of the position Radiohead is in now: content.
9. Jigsaw Falls Into Place: I find this track the most aggressive on the album, though I've heard it described as just being loose. Listening to it, you get the feeling of running away, like the band is driving at something. Unlike "Bodysnatchers" which is a direct rock song, "Jigsaw Falls Into Place" seems to be the confused cousin of Amnesiac's "Knives Out."
10. Videotape: Prior to the release of the album, this track had two incarnations. One had the whole band building it to a dramatic, sweeping climax, while the other was a haunting version with only Thom at a piano. The version that made the album finds some middle ground with the slow piano being coupled with small drum bursts. The result is the most haunting album closer Radiohead has ever used.

OVERALL: In Rainbows has been said to show a return to the more guitar driven music of the OK Computer era. I see it a bit differently. This album represents less Radiohead's return to an old era than it does the start of a new one. The band has already rewritten the book on rock music, and here again, they have showed themselves to be true innovators. Though it isn't as weird or experimental as the last four albums, there isn't anything else out today that is remotely close. Only time will tell if this becomes my favorite Radiohead album or not, but it looks like it might be.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

No, I Can't

So I've scored an interview with The Mountain Goats! It's only an email interview, but I mean I'm excited to interview one of my all time favorite artists. I'm writing it for the music magazine Eleven here on campus, but hopefully I'll be able to reprint it here for anyone that stops by and reads the blog. I know we've been a bit behind in posting here, but it's going to pick up. I'm also going to start writing for the KWUR blog, so check that out. Until the interview drops just keep stopping by, it's nice to see you once in awhile. And remember to listen to our shows. I'll have the post with the mp3 of todays show up later.

P.S. try and find the Mountain Goats reference. I even gave you a little hint.

Friday, October 12, 2007

In Rainbows is Amazing

Here's the show

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


That's the best summation of my show today. Hopefully I surprised you all with a lot of new/unreleased material, and I got a surprise myself today. If you missed listening, I had some guests on the show today in the form of Plastic Parachute, a "female-lead power punk" group from L.A. I guess they had a show here last night, and were stopping by campus to drop off a copy of their self released album. I was in the middle of my show when Mikey (KWUR GM) walks in and asks if I want to have a band on the air. Of course I agree, what you'll hear in my show is what happened. After listening to more of the cd, it's pretty good. I'll be sure to play more of them in the future. They'll also be playing in St. Louis again on December 11th at Cicero's. But you'll hear more about that as it gets closer. That's really it for now, if you missed the show, as always here it is:

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


Amazing news, no? Well if that's not good enough, and you can't wait to hear the new stuff, listen in to my show tomorrow. I'll be playing one of the new songs from their set at Bonnaroo two years ago. And then you can bet I'll be waiting up next Wednesday to download the album, so you'll be able to hear a new track that day. You won't even have to go to their website and not pay anything to get the album! That's about it for now.

I got the discbox. Yeah it was expensive, but each one is made to order! Plus you get the extra disc and vinyl and all that jazz.