Tag: 2007

The Cave Singers – Invitation Songs

ARTIST: The Cave Singers                    220px-CaveSingers-InvitationSongs

TITLE: Invitation Songs

YEAR RELEASED: 2007

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Seeds of Night, Dancing on Our Graves

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: No

LINEUP: Pete Quirk, Derek Fudesco, Marty Lund

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Seattle post-punkers in search of a band come together and make a folky type album, since that seemed to the rage during that time.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Never mind the grunge, the Pacific Northwest in the 2000’s were the home of the indie folk movement. The Cave Singers were part of this trend (like Blitzen Trapper, the Head and the Heart, and Fleet Foxes) and while it didn’t take the world by storm, it still was an interesting movement for the area.

This debut by the Cave Singers takes some time to process. Pete Quirk’s vocals are high and a bit reedy and the group (at this stage) doesn’t have a bassist. Acoustic guitars are to the fore, but sometimes they’ll throw in horns or synths.

There was a lot of buzz at the time about this album, and while it’s not as good as some of the hype, it’s solid enough especially if you dug their compatriot bands.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The members of this band came from Hint Hint, Cobra High, and Pretty Girls Make Graves.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

 GRADE: B: You’ll need a few spins for this to break through to you.

Rose Hill Drive – Rose Hill Drive

ARTIST: Rose Hill Drive                                                 220px-Rose_hill_drive_self-titled_album

TITLE: Rose Hill Drive

YEAR RELEASED: 2006

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: None, but three of the songs were on an EP

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Maybe not, at least not here.

LINEUP: Jacob Sproul, Daniel Spoul, Nathan Barnes

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Good old-fashioned power trio’s debut is a good old-fashioned power trio record.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: To some bands, retro is just adding an old keyboard sound or the gated reverb drums. To Rose Hill Drive, their whole first album is retro, harkening back to the heady days of the Grand Funk Railroad power trio, but with a crisper, fresher sound.

Their sound was recognizable to classic rock lovers, though not many stations played them, of course. Though most of these songs could fit seamlessly on that format. Daniel Sproul’s guitar has a definite 70’s tone to it, while brother Jacob’s vocals carry the melody through, allowing Daniel’s guitars to set the color and riffs.

They sometimes fall into the same traps as the older power trios, with a bit too much jamming on a few tracks, a song about a guru, and an acoustic group of songs in the middle of the record which can provide relief but aren’t as well thought out as the more rocking numbers.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Rose Hill Drive was the street the brothers grew up on in Boulder.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No 

GRADE: B+: You don’t find many power trios running around now, but they do a good job with the group format.

Arctic Monkeys – Favourite Worst Nightmare

ARTIST: Arctic Monkeys  Favourite_Worst_Nightmare

TITLE: Favourite Worst Nightmare

YEAR RELEASED: 2007

CHART ACTION: #7 US, #1 UK

SINGLES: Brainstorm (#114 US, #2 UK), Fluorescent Adolescent (#5 UK), Teddy Picker (#20 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Probably not, unless you bought it

LINEUP: Alex Turner, Matt Heiders, Jamie Cook, Nick O’Malley

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Faster and louder than their debut. It wears you out a bit but still is pretty decent.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: You’re always worried about the second album by a new band, especially if the first one had critics gushing. The Arctic Monkeys avoided the sophomore slump, by seemingly going faster and more frenetic, but still containing hooks that absorb all of the energy.

The lead single, “Brainstorm”, sets the scene, but “D Is for Dangerous”, which contains the title in its rambling lyrics, is really their call to action. Unabashed accents, clattering guitars, and a subtle yet infectious hook gives this record the pulse that pumps it throughout. The rhythm section of O’Malley and Heiders is the backbone, allowing the songs to rush over their foundations. Without them, it wouldn’t work as well.

So much of this energy may wear out the listener, because of the energy the band exudes. Still, a worthy follow-up that solidified their credentials as on the best UK bands of the 2000’s

NOTES & MINUTIAE: This was named one of the “50 Best Second Albums of All Time” by Gigwise magazine.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes. Japanese bonus tracks.

GRADE: A-: If you need a rush of energy, this is one for you.

DJ Khaled – We the Best

ARTIST: DJ Khaled                         220px-We_the_Best

TITLE:  We the Best

YEAR RELEASED: 2007

CHART ACTION: #8, #2 R&B, #2 Rap

SINGLES: We Takin’ Over (#28, #26 R&B, #11 Rap), I’m So Hood (#19, #9 R&B, #5 Rap)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Don’t know how much else was on the radio

LINEUP: DJ Khaled and Rick Ross, Akon, TI, Fat Joe, Lil’ Wayne, Young Jeezy, Dre, and I could go on and on

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Second project under his name finds DJ Khaled with lots of guests and not much focus at times.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: DJ Khaled is successful as a producer, both critically and commercially, and in his solo work he brings together many of his friends in the business to rhyme with him over his beats.

Sometimes, it works. Sometimes, it doesn’t. This, his second album, finds Khaled trying, too hard at times, to establish his street credentials. That and the use of geography (New York, Dade County, really, which one to you rep?) and catch phrases doesn’t tie it together but rather makes it a bit all over the place.

Yes, there are hits, but I didn’t find this compelling, and he’d do better later.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: His debut album, Listennn…the Album, is nowhere to be found online.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: C+:  You may find the singles interesting, but I didn’t hear much that made me want to keep this around. Exiled.

Los Campesinos! – Hold on Now, Youngster

ARTIST: Los Campesinos!                                        los_campesinos_-_hon_y

TITLE:  Hold on Now, Youngster

YEAR RELEASED: 2008

CHART ACTION: #45 Heatseekers, #72 UK

SINGLES: You! Me! Dancing!, Death to Los Campesinos! (#198 UK), My Year in Lists

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Not

LINEUP: Neil Turner, Ellen Waddell, Ollie Biggs, Tom Bromley, Gareth David, Harriet Coleman, Aleksandra Berditchevaskia

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Full length debut by large, noisy, and snarky Welsh group. At times brilliant, at other times wearing.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: They’re a large group, and it sounds large. Lots of things are going on in the songs of Los Campesinos!, and especially in the vocal area.

Singers come and go, trading lyrics and lines, seemingly being a bit overwrought and rushed at times, like they only have a minute to tell you the news before the bomb goes off. It’s a unique sound, but as the album goes on it can wear you at times.

They have a lot of influences, and it shows. The kitchen sink isn’t thrown in on every song, but it’s always in the background. All in all, it’s an adventure and worth a try out.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They released an EP earlier (that I didn’t realize wasn’t a compilation, sigh) before this full length.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: B+: They sound like they’re having fun. It does sound a bit overwhelming at times.

Kate Nash – Made of Bricks

ARTIST: Kate Nash                                kate_nash_-_made_of_bricks

TITLE:  Made of Bricks

YEAR RELEASED: 2007

CHART ACTION: #36 US, #1 UK

SINGLES: Foundations (#116 US, #2 UK), Mouthwash (#23 UK), Pumpkin Soup (#23 UK), Merry Happy (#112 US, #116 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Birds

LINEUP: Kate Nash, Jay Malhotra, Elliot Andres, Mei-ling Wong, Fiona Brice

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Debut by very-English very-feminist singer songwriter that broke through using MySpace, limited editions, and MP3 sharing.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Kate Nash doesn’t hide her feelings, nor her accent. That’s a great contrast to many singers in this area that seem pre-programmed and smoothed out.

Nash also took an unconventional path to success, uploading songs to MySpace, then getting a producer after that, and then whetting appetites with limited edition records, and also having songs leak out creating word-of-mouth buzz.

The arrangements are also unconventional. They have an edge to them, even though their acoustic based and could sometimes be sweet. The melody and vocals make it unique – they fully back up her worldview.

This was quite successful in the UK, for good reason. She’s got a uniquely British sound and it fits well on the radio there. However, she translates well over here and everywhere. This was one of the most promising debuts in a while.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: She first recorded her songs at home after breaking her foot in 2005.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, including the ubiquitous Japanese version

GRADE: A: Not just the singles made an impact – the entire album is full of excellent songs and performances.

Wussy – Left for Dead

ARTIST: Wussy                             220px-wussy_left_for_dead

TITLE:  Left for Dead

YEAR RELEASED: 2007

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Gotta go back in time to indie radio in 2007, and then probably not.

LINEUP: Chuck Cleaver, Lisa Walker, Mark Messerly, Dawn Burman

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT:  Second album from the group leaves the ghosts of the Ass Ponys behind.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The opening cut, “Trail of Sadness”, resembles the late, great Ass Ponys due the the plaintive voice of Chuck Cleaver, but as soon as “Rigor Mortis” kicks in, this group is now blazing its own trail.

Lisa Walker’s voice takes charge – working well with Cleaver and being assertive on her own. Walker takes charge of the songwriting, with eight cuts of her own, and her voice has become the voice of the band.

If there was any justice in the world, this record would have been spun and spun and spun. There aren’t many flaws, and it’s not ‘out there’ – just a real rock-and-roll record. It’s a shame it has no traction in the marketplace.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The songs may have been inspired by the brief breakup of Cleaver and Walker as a couple.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: A: Jeez, this is just a good record.

Battles – Mirrored

ARTIST: Battles                                 220px-Battlesmirrored

TITLE:  Mirrored

YEAR RELEASED: 2007

CHART ACTION: #7 Heatseekers, #26 Indie, #70 UK

SINGLES: Atlas, Tonto

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Not by name

LINEUP: David Knopka, John Stanier, Ian Williams, Tyondai Braxton

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Still complicated, complex, intriguing, but now with vocals of a sort.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: This album comes on the scene after the bands’ two EPs, and instead of being all instrumental, the band uses vocals (mostly treated, nothing really straight forward) from Tyondai Braxton.

The song “Atlas”, with its video, proved to be a success and they also got a great live reputation for their work in presenting their precise, methodical pieces to the crowds. The entire album is a little more song (and less sound) oriented than their other works.

Battles moved the profile of ‘math rock’ and its possibilities forward, and proved there was an audience for this music if it was presented in a way – not that Battles compromised on this album at all.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Drummer John Stanier was in Helmet in the 90’s.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: A bonus track in Japan.

GRADE: A-: The loops, patterns and rhythms are still intriguing, but now seem to be more song-oriented, which is a plus.

Port O’Brien – The Wind and the Swell

ARTIST: Port O’Brien             MI0000693566

TITLE:  The Wind and the Swell

YEAR RELEASED: 2007

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: I Woke Up Today

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Not really

LINEUP: Van Pierszalowski, Cambria Goodwin, Caleb Nichols, Joshua Barnhart

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Bay area duo (later expanded) releases an album of their home brewed and single tracks before moving into a full band.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Van Pierzalowski, an Alaskan Native, collaborated with Cambria Goodwin on a set of folky songs that are loose sing alongs, kind of goofy and strange and somewhat fun.

A lot of the songs feature just Pierzalowski and Goodwin, but some have a whole gaggle of folks singing in the back, while just a couple include the full band. They sound like they’re having fun and enjoying playing together. Because some of these are home recordings it’s a bit roughly recorded but that doesn’t detract a lot.

Port O’Brien moved to a full band after this, but at the heart they’re a loose, fun, folky songs.

 NOTES & MINUTIAE: M. Ward called Port O’Brien his favorite new band in 2007.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: B: Some sing-alongs with some fun songs.

Year Long Disaster – Year Long Disaster

ARTIST: Year Long Disaster YearLongDisaster-YearLongDisaster

TITLE:  Year Long Disaster

YEAR RELEASED: 2007

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Per Quaiche Dollardo in Piu, Leda Atomica

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: None

LINEUP: Daniel Davies, Rich Mullins, Brad Hargreaves

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Retro-sounding hard rock trio stay true to their roots and influences.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: What this album has? Riffs, attitude, volume, swagger?

What it doesn’t have much of? Real originality.

However, that’s not to say it’s bad or boring. This is pretty decent for a hard rock aficionado. It’s a power trio that just crank up the power chords and wail away. They’re not like Wolfmother in that they don’t try to really ape anyone directly, but they just write basic rock songs in a power trio format.

In the 70’s, they’d be lost in a sea of bands like this. In 2007, they stood out, and us rock fans were better for it, even if it wasn’t truly trailblazing.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Daniel Davies is the son of Kinks’ guitarist Dave Davies, so he comes at his guitar playing honestly.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

GRADE: B: I sometimes wish this was on 8-track, because it’s one of those albums that would have sounded good in that format.