Melodic

Melodic

LP #1 - Kris Allen - Compact Disc (UPC 0886975480227) - Buy Books, Music and Movies at Borders

LP #1 - Kris Allen - Compact Disc (UPC 0886975480227) - Buy Books, Music and Movies at Borders

Description: If you didn't pay close attention to American Idol Season 8, you can be forgiven for thinking that Kris Allen came in second to Adam Lambert. After all, Lambert is the one who grabbed all the headlines and magazine covers, while Allen plugged along as the cute, safe alternative to the self-styled glamazon, which was enough for him to take the crown, if not enough to create much excitement. Then again, Kris Allen isn't about excitement, he's about comfort, something that's plainly evident on his immaculate eponymous debut, an album every bit as unexpected as his name. Allen possess an easy touch, makign already pleasant surroundings a touch friendlier. Kris pens almost all of the 12 songs here (the exceptions being "Live Like We're Dying," "Written All Over My Face," "The Truth" ), which unifies the album. Unhip it may be by design, but at least Kris Allen delivers the goods: it's tuneful and likeable, melodic enough to merit a close listen.

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  • Rock n' Roll parent rejoice! Rockabye baby! has turned classic, contemporary and alternative rock, grunge and other music into softer, quieter melodic versions for the baby hipster in training. Bands like the Beatles, the Beach ... Rock n' Roll parent rejoice! Rockabye baby! has turned classic, contemporary and alternative rock, grunge and other music into softer, quieter melodic versions for the baby hipster in training. Bands like the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Pink Floyd, The Cure, Bjork, No Doubt and U2. Even heavy metal like Metallica all have become lullabye recordings available on CD.

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  • This little soundbox has quickly achieved cult classic status in the electronic music community. Apparently Brian Eno bought 8 of them. The creators, FM3, are the duo of Christiaan Virant and Chinese keyboardist and computer m... This little soundbox has quickly achieved cult classic status in the electronic music community. Apparently Brian Eno bought 8 of them. The creators, FM3, are the duo of Christiaan Virant and Chinese keyboardist and computer musician Zhang Jian, both based in Beijing. Their simple box plays 8 ambient loops (buddhist type tones to melodic guitar) and fits in the size of your palm. It includes a built-in speaker, a headphone output, volume control, and a switch that rotates the loops. Plug in your headphones and veg out, or put it by your desk for stress relief. You know pretty soon that people are going start integrating the colorful, lo-fi sound into productions too. Available in 6 different colors (shipped randomly). Comes in kitschy Chinese packaging too

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  • A quick glance at the fifth Epic album by Chicago-based rock trio Chevelle may give their legions of longtime fans pause. Sci-Fi Crimes song titles like “Roswell” and “Highlands Apparition” have the same guys who delivered 2004’s ... A quick glance at the fifth Epic album by Chicago-based rock trio Chevelle may give their legions of longtime fans pause. Sci-Fi Crimes song titles like “Roswell” and “Highlands Apparition” have the same guys who delivered 2004’s dynamically crunchy This Type of Thinking (Could Do Us In) and the melodic heaviosity of 2007’s Vena Sera gone conspiracy-theory flaky, wearing tinfoil hats and praying to Mr. Spock. Taken from Amazon.com

  • MEDICName: Jeremy FunderburkStage Name: MedicD/O/B: 02/10/1984Influence: Jay-Z, Joe Buddens, Biggie Smalls,Scareface, Ludacris, Eminem, Talib QweliFavorite Food: StromboliProducer: Kanye WestMovie: MatrixHobbies: Writing, Painting... MEDICName: Jeremy FunderburkStage Name: MedicD/O/B: 02/10/1984Influence: Jay-Z, Joe Buddens, Biggie Smalls,Scareface, Ludacris, Eminem, Talib QweliFavorite Food: StromboliProducer: Kanye WestMovie: MatrixHobbies: Writing, Painting T-shirtsGoal: To be considered an influence toanother upcoming artistIn the midst of a storm there is always a bright light that shines. In the gigantic storm called Hip-Hop music Medic is that light that emerges with a burning intensity. Medic is a raw but refined talent that comes straight from the heart of Salisbury, North Carolina. His style is a combination of a melodic rhyming and a deep down dirty cut loose flare. Medic began his musical journey a mere four years ago with the knowledge that his skill would take him far beyond his imagination. His first venture into the scenes was a mix tape that he put together and then passed out 400 copies. On the mix tape, Medic displayed great versatility by taking on some of the biggest beats in Hip-Hop history.

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  • On their debut album for Astralwerks/Source, Phoenix applies a slick electronica aesthetic to traditional pop/rock songwriting, resulting in a quite adventurous album capable of re-organizing perceptions about 1980s-style verse-ch... On their debut album for Astralwerks/Source, Phoenix applies a slick electronica aesthetic to traditional pop/rock songwriting, resulting in a quite adventurous album capable of re-organizing perceptions about 1980s-style verse-chorus-verse guitar pop. Of course, the fact that the group members come from France gives them the necessary perspective on commercial American pop/rock from the past. With this perspective, they bring fresh life to something that grew stale fast, primarily with their textural approach to songwriting. For instance, the catchy vocal hook from "Too Young" seems far too melodic for its own good, mostly from the pristine production that brings an uncanny gleam to Thomas Mars' already warm voice. Furthermore, one can pick pretty much any instrument in any given song and appreciate the way the sounds come alive in ways that few pop/rock songs are capable of: the percussion gently rattles far too crisply, the bass guitar sounds more like a house bassline than an actual guitar riff, and the subtle guitar sounds seem just too little like the oft-stale sounds that have been associated with guitars over the years. In sum, the album sounds great, but the allure goes deeper than just production. The band understands how to write catchy songs that manage to retain an innocent aura of simplicity and accessibility without coming off contrived. To just think of United as an album of slick pop/rock postmodernism would be cheapening; think of the album as an uncanny yet earnest showcase of what makes pop/rock pop without the gaudy trendiness that now makes the 1980s seem so distasteful. ~ Jason Birchmeier, All Music Guide « less… more »

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  • With A Series of Sneaks, Spoon became one of the unsung heroes of the guitar-driven post-punk tradition inhabited by bands such as Wire, Gang of Four, Hüsker Dü, and the Pixies. These were the guitar wizards who could package a va... With A Series of Sneaks, Spoon became one of the unsung heroes of the guitar-driven post-punk tradition inhabited by bands such as Wire, Gang of Four, Hüsker Dü, and the Pixies. These were the guitar wizards who could package a variety of taut, terse, and inventive guitar sounds and unpredictable melodies into short, tight bursts one could still consider pop songs. Lead singer and guitarist Britt Daniel acts as the overachieving honors student of this tradition, flushing the spaces in between with an expansive melodic vocabulary comparable to Robert Pollard's.

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  • The party line on Phish is that the band's live shows are so extraordinary, their studio records are almost superfluous by comparison; frankly, it's a ridiculous contention -- apples and oranges, really -- and moreover, each succe... The party line on Phish is that the band's live shows are so extraordinary, their studio records are almost superfluous by comparison; frankly, it's a ridiculous contention -- apples and oranges, really -- and moreover, each successive Phish album reveals new layers of intricacy and melodic invention otherwise lost in the epic explosiveness of their concert sets. Their rootsiest and most organic effort to date, Farmhouse is also their most fully developed -- these are complete, concise songs and not simply outlines for extended jams, boasting a beauty and intimacy which expands the group's scope even as it serves notice of a newfound pop accessibility. It's a brave record, much less an exhibition of the band's vaunted instrumental prowess than it is a showcase for Trey Anastasio's increasingly skilled and far-reaching songwriting. The opening title cut, a gorgeously rustic country-pop ballad, immediately establishes Farmhouse's muted, relaxed tone, and despite the occasional detour like the sunny funk workout "Gotta Jibboo" or the closing instrumental jam "First Tube," by and large the set opts against kitchen-sink eclecticism in favor of an evocatively pastoral uniformity. In short, Farmhouse is everything Phish's die-hard legions no doubt hoped it wouldn't be, but as a radical reassessment of their music's purpose and approach, in many ways it's closer to the band's true spirit of innovation than any record they've made. ~ Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide « less… more »

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  • The massive success of Jimmy Eat World's 2001 Bleed American propelled the band into the mass-culture spotlight, with the hit single "The Middle" seemingly popping up in every third movie released and the group turning in an energ... The massive success of Jimmy Eat World's 2001 Bleed American propelled the band into the mass-culture spotlight, with the hit single "The Middle" seemingly popping up in every third movie released and the group turning in an energized performance on Saturday Night Live. Many, many groups followed in their wake, crafting a similar blend of melodic, anguished punk-pop and leaving Jimmy Eat World in the position of crafting a follow-up that set them apart from their acolytes. Futures gets around this dilemma in two ways. First, with the help of producer Gil Norton, the band polishes its sound until it shines like a slick '70s arena rock record. The guitars are stacked like thick diamonds, the vocals are way out front and buttressed by sweet harmonies in the choruses, the drums sound large, and the mix is loaded with sweetening from acoustic guitars, keyboards, and female vocals. In the process, they sacrificed the immediacy of the previous record, but they gained an epic and weighty feel. Secondly, the lyrics are much darker and more mature, including themes that revolve around politics, drugs, and despair. The piano-and-feedback ballad "Drugs or Me" and the bittersweet love song "Night Drive" are the products of age and experience the band lacked until now. The best song on the record, the very Disintegration-era Cure-sounding "23," sounds like it was recorded by a different group entirely. Some things have remained the same, however. Jim Adkins' vocals are as intense and heart-tugging as ever, and the band still writes hooks that will have you singing along before the song is half over. "Just Tonight," "Futures," and the AC/DC-sampling "Pain" are all trademark Jimmy Eat World punky pop/rockers with anthemic choruses, while "The World You Love" and "Work" display the sweetly melodic side of the band. There are a couple of stumbles (the decision to replace Petra Haden's charming vocals with Liz Phair's, the generic "Nothingwrong"), but they don't detract from the overall power of the record. Futures will most likely not be the sensation that Bleed American was -- it is too dark and inwardly focused for that -- but it shows a progression of sound and emotion that fans of the band should embrace. [The U.K. release came with a second disc made up of demos of all the songs on Futures, All Music Guide « less… more »

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  • The massive success of Jimmy Eat World's 2001 Bleed American propelled the band into the mass-culture spotlight, with the hit single "The Middle" seemingly popping up in every third movie released and the group turning in an energ... The massive success of Jimmy Eat World's 2001 Bleed American propelled the band into the mass-culture spotlight, with the hit single "The Middle" seemingly popping up in every third movie released and the group turning in an energized performance on Saturday Night Live. Many, many groups followed in their wake, crafting a similar blend of melodic, anguished punk-pop and leaving Jimmy Eat World in the position of crafting a follow-up that set them apart from their acolytes. Futures gets around this dilemma in two ways. First, with the help of producer Gil Norton, the band polishes its sound until it shines like a slick '70s arena rock record. The guitars are stacked like thick diamonds, the vocals are way out front and buttressed by sweet harmonies in the choruses, the drums sound large, and the mix is loaded with sweetening from acoustic guitars, keyboards, and female vocals. In the process, they sacrificed the immediacy of the previous record, but they gained an epic and weighty feel. Secondly, the lyrics are much darker and more mature, including themes that revolve around politics, drugs, and despair. The piano-and-feedback ballad "Drugs or Me" and the bittersweet love song "Night Drive" are the products of age and experience the band lacked until now. The best song on the record, the very Disintegration-era Cure-sounding "23," sounds like it was recorded by a different group entirely. Some things have remained the same, however. Jim Adkins' vocals are as intense and heart-tugging as ever, and the band still writes hooks that will have you singing along before the song is half over. "Just Tonight," "Futures," and the AC/DC-sampling "Pain" are all trademark Jimmy Eat World punky pop/rockers with anthemic choruses, while "The World You Love" and "Work" display the sweetly melodic side of the band. There are a couple of stumbles (the decision to replace Petra Haden's charming vocals with Liz Phair's, the generic "Nothingwrong"), but they don't detract from the overall power of the record. Futures will most likely not be the sensation that Bleed American was -- it is too dark and inwardly focused for that -- but it shows a progression of sound and emotion that fans of the band should embrace. [Limited quantities of the record came with a second disc made up of demos of all the songs on the album. Less polished and more immediate, the disc makes an interesting companion to the official release and is well worth seeking out.] ~ Tim Sendra, All Music Guide « less… more »

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  • In between getting dropped from Capitol and picked up by DreamWorks, Jimmy Eat World released a collection of early singles (Singles) and this split EP with Australia's Jebediah on the independent label Big Wheel Recreation. Stran... In between getting dropped from Capitol and picked up by DreamWorks, Jimmy Eat World released a collection of early singles (Singles) and this split EP with Australia's Jebediah on the independent label Big Wheel Recreation. Strangely, Jimmy Eat World's "The Most Beautiful Things" opens the collaboration on an alt-rock radio ballad bent. One might think that the band would have taken advantage of the indie breather to try out something less obviously radio-ready. But the songs here do represent a transition between Clarity's spacy rollicking and Bleed American's catchy alt-pop. The second track, "No Sensitivity," jumps back into the fold with classic emo breaks and turns; sadly, however, the melodic bittersweet post-hardcore angst crunch makes way for some pretty soggy lyricism -- "I'm taking my kisses back from you-hoo/I want my kisses back from you." The gag-me mediocre melodrama will no doubt make countless adolescents swoon while decorating their Trapper Keepers, but mature audiences might be more than willing to give the kisses back to avoid the relentless chorus. The band closes its set with a hushed, more expansive version of "Cautioners," which later appears on Bleed American in a more watered down and cleanly produced state. Which brings up one of the more attractive qualities of this recording -- that it might better represent what the band actually sounds like. There's still that guitar-bass-drum crunch going on, but you can pick out the different elements rather than just one polished pile of wholly accessible sound. Jimmy Eat World superfans and completists will no doubt appreciate this, but the fair-weathers might do better sticking to the major-label fare. Jebediah contributes three decent emo-tinged rock songs, the first of which suffers from Kevin Mitchell's too-prominent nasal vocals, which might have been less apparent had the song not held its position immediately after the remarkably pleasant "Cautioners." The song, "Animal," also appears on the band's Of Someday Shambles. Mitchell's vocal style better complements the EP's final song, "Harpoon," a sweeter, more yearning offering. ~ Melissa Giannini, All Music Guide « less… more »

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  • The massive success of Jimmy Eat World's 2001 Bleed American propelled the band into the mass-culture spotlight, with the hit single "The Middle" seemingly popping up in every third movie released and the group turning in an energ... The massive success of Jimmy Eat World's 2001 Bleed American propelled the band into the mass-culture spotlight, with the hit single "The Middle" seemingly popping up in every third movie released and the group turning in an energized performance on Saturday Night Live. Many, many groups followed in their wake, crafting a similar blend of melodic, anguished punk-pop and leaving Jimmy Eat World in the position of crafting a follow-up that set them apart from their acolytes. Futures gets around this dilemma in two ways. First, with the help of producer Gil Norton, the band polishes its sound until it shines like a slick '70s arena rock record. The guitars are stacked like thick diamonds, the vocals are way out front and buttressed by sweet harmonies in the choruses, the drums sound large, and the mix is loaded with sweetening from acoustic guitars, keyboards, and female vocals. In the process, they sacrificed the immediacy of the previous record, but they gained an epic and weighty feel. Secondly, the lyrics are much darker and more mature, including themes that revolve around politics, drugs, and despair. The piano-and-feedback ballad "Drugs or Me" and the bittersweet love song "Night Drive" are the products of age and experience the band lacked until now. The best song on the record, the very Disintegration-era Cure-sounding "23," sounds like it was recorded by a different group entirely. Some things have remained the same, however. Jim Adkins' vocals are as intense and heart-tugging as ever, and the band still writes hooks that will have you singing along before the song is half over. "Just Tonight," "Futures," and the AC/DC-sampling "Pain" are all trademark Jimmy Eat World punky pop/rockers with anthemic choruses, while "The World You Love" and "Work" display the sweetly melodic side of the band. There are a couple of stumbles (the decision to replace Petra Haden's charming vocals with Liz Phair's, the generic "Nothingwrong"), but they don't detract from the overall power of the record. Futures will most likely not be the sensation that Bleed American was -- it is too dark and inwardly focused for that -- but it shows a progression of sound and emotion that fans of the band should embrace. [The German release came with a second disc made up of demos of all the songs on Futures, All Music Guide « less… more »

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  • The massive success of Jimmy Eat World's 2001 Bleed American propelled the band into the mass-culture spotlight, with the hit single "The Middle" seemingly popping up in every third movie released and the group turning in an energ... The massive success of Jimmy Eat World's 2001 Bleed American propelled the band into the mass-culture spotlight, with the hit single "The Middle" seemingly popping up in every third movie released and the group turning in an energized performance on Saturday Night Live. Many, many groups followed in their wake, crafting a similar blend of melodic, anguished punk-pop and leaving Jimmy Eat World in the position of crafting a follow-up that set them apart from their acolytes. Futures gets around this dilemma in two ways. First, with the help of producer Gil Norton, the band polishes its sound until it shines like a slick '70s arena rock record. The guitars are stacked like thick diamonds, the vocals are way out front and buttressed by sweet harmonies in the choruses, the drums sound large, and the mix is loaded with sweetening from acoustic guitars, keyboards, and female vocals. In the process, they sacrificed the immediacy of the previous record, but they gained an epic and weighty feel. Secondly, the lyrics are much darker and more mature, including themes that revolve around politics, drugs, and despair. The piano-and-feedback ballad "Drugs or Me" and the bittersweet love song "Night Drive" are the products of age and experience the band lacked until now. The best song on the record, the very Disintegration-era Cure-sounding "23," seems like it was recorded by a different group entirely. Some things have remained the same, however. Jim Adkins' vocals are as intense and heart-tugging as ever, and the band still writes hooks that will have you singing along before the song is half over. "Just Tonight," "Futures," and the AC/DC-sampling "Pain" are all trademark Jimmy Eat World punky pop/rockers with anthemic choruses, while "The World You Love" and "Work" display the sweetly melodic side of the band. There are a couple of stumbles (the decision to replace Petra Haden's charming vocals with Liz Phair's, the generic "Nothingwrong"), but they don't detract from the overall power of the record. Futures will most likely not be the sensation that Bleed American was -- it is too dark and inwardly focused for that -- but it shows a progression of sound and emotion that fans of the band should embrace. ~ Tim Sendra, All Music Guide « less… more »

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  • It's said that consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, and if that's true, Robert Pollard must have a mind as big as all outdoors. For an artist whose melodic style is as instantly recognizable as Pollard's, there's been a r... It's said that consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, and if that's true, Robert Pollard must have a mind as big as all outdoors. For an artist whose melodic style is as instantly recognizable as Pollard's, there's been a remarkably wide swing in the level of quality in his post-Guided by Voices projects, and the third album from Boston Spaceships -- Pollard's ongoing collaboration with Chris Slusarenko and John Moen -- unfortunately isn't as strong or engaging as their first two efforts. Zero to 99 is certainly a lot livelier than most of Pollard's solo work, featuring some rollicking post-glam melodies powered by a handful of musicians who aren't afraid to draw sweat and make with the strut. Pollard and his friends were also able to attract some A-list guest stars for these sessions, including Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey from R.E.M., as well as power pop guitar hero Tommy Keene and Sam Coomes of Quasi. And Pollard's own performance can't be faulted; he's singing as well as ever and sounds as engaged as anyone on board. But while Zero to 99 has more impressive credentials than the previous Boston Spaceships' discs, the results don't feel much different from where they've gone before, and this album suffers from the same bugaboo that curses so much of Robert Pollard's music -- the impact of a few really good songs has been seriously diluted by a whole bunch that are ultimately nothing special. On Brown Submarine and Planets Are Blasted, Boston Spaceships stood above much of Pollard's recent work because he stuck to top-shelf material with worthy collaborators backing him up. The musicians are as good as ever, but Pollard once again can't seem to tell his star players from his B team, and that's why Zero to 99 disappoints, despite all its virtues. ~ Mark Deming, All Music Guide « less… more »

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  • Since Tom Scholz is such a slow worker, there were only four Boston albums between the group's 1976 debut and this Greatest Hits collection in 1997. That may mean that there isn't much music to compile, as the reliance on their bi... Since Tom Scholz is such a slow worker, there were only four Boston albums between the group's 1976 debut and this Greatest Hits collection in 1997. That may mean that there isn't much music to compile, as the reliance on their biggest-selling album, Boston, suggests, but that doesn't matter for most casual fans, since Greatest Hits gathers all of their best songs, from "More Than a Feeling" to "Amanda," on one compact disc. For the collector, the record isn't quite as appealing, even if it contains three new songs as bait. These three songs simply don't deliver the melodic punch or guitar crunch that distinguishes the group's best work. It's nice to hear original vocalist Brad Delp on "Higher Power," but "Tell Me" is slight, and an instrumental version of "The Star Spangled Banner" is nearly an insult. So, for the devoted, Greatest Hits is a mixed bag, but for less dedicated listeners, it may be all the Boston they need. [Epic/Legacy reissued the collection in 2009.] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide « less… more »

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  • After the muddled production and ultracomplicated song structures of ...And Justice for All, Metallica decided that they had taken the progressive elements of their music as far as they could and that a simplification and streamli... After the muddled production and ultracomplicated song structures of ...And Justice for All, Metallica decided that they had taken the progressive elements of their music as far as they could and that a simplification and streamlining of their sound was in order. While the assessment made sense from a musical standpoint, it also presented an opportunity to commercialize their music, and Metallica accomplishes both goals. The best songs are more melodic and immediate, the crushing, stripped-down grooves of "Enter Sandman," "Sad but True," and "Wherever I May Roam" sticking to traditional structures and using the same main riffs throughout; the crisp, professional production by Bob Rock adds to their accessibility. "The Unforgiven" and "Nothing Else Matters" avoid the slash-and-burn guitar riffs that had always punctuated the band's ballads; the latter is a full-fledged love song complete with string section, which works much better than might be imagined. The song- and riff-writing slips here and there, a rare occurrence for Metallica, which some longtime fans interpreted as filler next to a batch of singles calculated for commercial success. The objections were often more to the idea that Metallica was doing anything explicitly commercial, but millions more disagreed. In fact, the band's popularity exploded so much that most of their back catalog found mainstream acceptance in its own right, while other progressively inclined speed metal bands copied the move toward simplification. In retrospect, Metallica is a good, but not quite great, album, one whose best moments deservedly captured the heavy metal crown, but whose approach also foreshadowed a creative decline. ~ Steve Huey, All Music Guide « less… more »

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  • The Shins' "So Says I" was the lead single off of 2003's acclaimed Chutes Too Narrow. The title track is taken from the album and is an insanely bouncy song with some very woozy vocal harmonies. "Mild Child" was recorded in singer... The Shins' "So Says I" was the lead single off of 2003's acclaimed Chutes Too Narrow. The title track is taken from the album and is an insanely bouncy song with some very woozy vocal harmonies. "Mild Child" was recorded in singer James Mercer's basement. It's a lo-fi, dreamily melodic ballad that is shrouded in an atmospheric haze of reverb, and the ramshackle acoustic take on Chutes Too Narrow's "Gone for Good" was also recorded in Mercer's basement acoustic. A fine preview for a fine album by a fine band. ~ Tim Sendra, All Music Guide

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  • The Shins 2001's debut, Oh, Inverted World, made a lot of best-of lists by demanding fans' ears, whose reaction to the tiresome glut of indie rock was to grow even more discerning. Separating the wheat from the endless fields of c... The Shins 2001's debut, Oh, Inverted World, made a lot of best-of lists by demanding fans' ears, whose reaction to the tiresome glut of indie rock was to grow even more discerning. Separating the wheat from the endless fields of chaff is more and more difficult, but always rewarding when the actual talent presents itself to you, as this LP does right away. And it sure makes it easier when a respected label such as Sub Pop gets back on the supreme melodic bent it was on when they ruled with Sebadoh, Eric Matthews, Jeremy Enigk, and others, just a few years prior. And having digested the many splendid pleasures Oh, Inverted World offers, glomming this four-song EP is a nice stopgap while waiting for more. Its familiar "Know Your Onion" and three B-sides aren't mere collector's fodder. Recorded live at Seattle's Graceland, October 26, 2001, "My Seventh Rib" must have been written too late for the LP sessions, as this insistent, 16th-note- fest reveals the band's forte: it's filled with non-stop energy, deft dynamics, and James Mercer's typically singsong tune that grabs you like an NHL defenseman if you get near the puck. The LP's "New Slang" sounds more plaintive and Kinks-like, and another new tune, "Sphagnum Esplanade," closes matters on a minimal, light note. We want more Shins and we want it now! This just whets the appetite. ~ Jack Rabid, All Music Guide « less… more »

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  • Beginning with "Caring Is Creepy," which opens this album with a psychedelic flourish that would not be out of place on a late-1960s Moody Blues, Beach Boys, or Love release, the Shins present a collection of retro pop nuggets tha... Beginning with "Caring Is Creepy," which opens this album with a psychedelic flourish that would not be out of place on a late-1960s Moody Blues, Beach Boys, or Love release, the Shins present a collection of retro pop nuggets that distill the finer aspects of classic acid rock with surrealistic lyrics, independently melodic basslines, jangly guitars, echo laden vocals, minimalist keyboard motifs, and a myriad of cosmic sound effects. With only two of the cuts clocking in at over four minutes, Oh Inverted World avoids the penchant for self-indulgence that befalls most outfits who worship at the altar of Syd Barrett, Skip Spence, and Arthur Lee. Lead singer James Mercer's lazy, hazy phrasing and vocal timbre, which often echoes a young Brian Wilson, drifts in and out of the subtle tempo changes of "Know Your Onion," the jagged rhythm in "Girl Inform Me," the Donovan-esque folksy veneer of "New Slang," and the Warhol's Factory aura of "Your Algebra," all of which illustrate this New Mexico-based quartet's adept knowledge of the progressive/art rock genre which they so lovingly pay homage to. Though the production and mix are somewhat polished when compared to the memorable recordings of Moby Grape and early-Pink Floyd, the Shins capture the spirit of '67 with stunning accuracy. ~ Tom Semioli, All Music Guide « less… more »

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  • Allusion to the digital world though it may be, there's a sweet, elegiac undercurrent to the title of Paul McCartney's Memory Almost Full, an acknowledgement that it was written and recorded when McCartney was 64, the age he mytho... Allusion to the digital world though it may be, there's a sweet, elegiac undercurrent to the title of Paul McCartney's Memory Almost Full, an acknowledgement that it was written and recorded when McCartney was 64, the age he mythologized on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, released almost exactly 40 years before Memory. Certainly, McCartney has mortality on the mind, but this isn't an entirely unusual occurrence for him in this third act of his solo career. Ever since his wife Linda's death from cancer in 1998, he's been dancing around the subject, peppering Flaming Pie with longing looks back, grieving by throwing himself into the past on the covers album Run Devil Run, slowly coming to terms with his status as the old guard on the carefully ruminative Chaos and Creation in the Backyard. But if that previous record was precise, bearing all the hallmarks of meticulous producer Nigel Godrich, Memory Almost Full is startlingly bright and frequently lively, an album that embraces McCartney's unerring gift for melody. Yet for as pop as it is, this is not an album made with any illusion that Paul will soon have a succession of hit singles: it's an art-pop album, not unlike either of the McCartney albums. Sometimes this is reflected in the construction --- the quick succession of short songs at the end, uncannily (and quite deliberately) sounding like a suite -- sometimes in the lyrics, but the remarkable thing is that McCartney never sounds self-consciously pretentious here, as if he's striving to make a major statement. Rather, he's quietly taking stock of his life and loves, his work and achievements. Unlike latter-day efforts by Johnny Cash or the murky Daniel Lanois-produced albums by Bob Dylan, mortality haunts the album, but there's no fetishization of death. Instead, McCartney marvels at his life -- explicitly so in the disarmingly guileless "That Was Me," where he enthuses about his role in a stage play in grammar school with the same vigor as he boasts about playing the Cavern Club with the Beatles -- and realizes that when he reaches "The End of the End," he doesn't want anything more than the fond old stories of his life to be told. This matter-of-fact acknowledgement that he's in the last act of his life hangs over this album, but his penchant for nostalgia -- this is the man who wrote the sepia-toned music hall shuffle "Your Mother Should Know" before he was 30, after all -- has lost its rose-tinted streak. Where he once romanticized days gone by, McCartney now admits that we're merely living with "The Ever Present Past," just like how although we live in the present, we still wear "Vintage Clothes." He's no longer pining for the past, since he knows where the present is heading, yet he seems disarmingly grateful for where his journey has taken him and what it has meant for him, to the extent that he slings no arrows at his second wife, Heather Mills, he only offers her "Gratitude." Given the nastiness of the coverage of his recent divorce, Paul might be spinning his eternal optimism a bit hard on this song, but it isn't forced or saccharine -- it fits alongside the clear-eyed sentiment of the rest of Memory Almost Full. It rings true to the open-heartedness of his music, and the album delivers some of McCartney's best latter-day music. Memory Almost Full is so melodic and memorable, it's easy to take for granted his skill as a craftsman, particularly here when it feels so natural and unforced, even when it takes left turns, which it thankfully does more than once. Best of all, this is the rare pop meditation on mortality that doesn't present itself as a major statement, yet it is thematically and musically coherent, slowly working its way under your skin and lodging its way into your cluttered memory. On the surface, it's bright and accessible, as easy to enjoy as the best of Paul's solo albums, but it lingers in the heart and mind in a way uncommon to the rest of his work, and to many other latter-day albums from his peers as well. [The deluxe edition of Memory Almost Full contains a live DVD, extra packaging, and bonus tracks, including an interview with McCartney about the album, plus three new songs: the pleasant-enough instrumental "In Private," the quite good, mildly brooding pop tune "Why So Blue," and the amiably ambling throwaway instrumental "222."] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide « less… more »

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  • Allusion to the digital world though it may be, there's a sweet, elegiac undercurrent to the title of Paul McCartney's Memory Almost Full, an acknowledgement that it was written and recorded when McCartney was 64, the age he mytho... Allusion to the digital world though it may be, there's a sweet, elegiac undercurrent to the title of Paul McCartney's Memory Almost Full, an acknowledgement that it was written and recorded when McCartney was 64, the age he mythologized on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, released almost exactly 40 years before Memory. Certainly, McCartney has mortality on the mind, but this isn't an entirely unusual occurrence for him in this third act of his solo career. Ever since his wife Linda's death from cancer in 1998, he's been dancing around the subject, peppering Flaming Pie with longing looks back, grieving by throwing himself into the past on the covers album Run Devil Run, slowly coming to terms with his status as the old guard on the carefully ruminative Chaos and Creation in the Backyard. But if that previous record was precise, bearing all the hallmarks of meticulous producer Nigel Godrich, Memory Almost Full is startlingly bright and frequently lively, an album that embraces McCartney's unerring gift for melody. Yet for as pop as it is, this is not an album made with any illusion that Paul will soon have a succession of hit singles: it's an art-pop album, not unlike either of the McCartney albums. Sometimes this is reflected in the construction --- the quick succession of short songs at the end, uncannily (and quite deliberately) sounding like a suite -- sometimes in the lyrics, but the remarkable thing is that McCartney never sounds self-consciously pretentious here, as if he's striving to make a major statement. Rather, he's quietly taking stock of his life and loves, his work and achievements. Unlike latter-day efforts by Johnny Cash or the murky Daniel Lanois-produced albums by Bob Dylan, mortality haunts the album, but there's no fetishization of death. Instead, McCartney marvels at his life -- explicitly so in the disarmingly guileless "That Was Me," where he enthuses about his role in a stage play in grammar school with the same vigor as he boasts about playing the Cavern Club with the Beatles -- and realizes that when he reaches "The End of the End," he doesn't want anything more than the fond old stories of his life to be told. This matter-of-fact acknowledgement that he's in the last act of his life hangs over this album, but his penchant for nostalgia -- this is the man who wrote the sepia-toned music hall shuffle "Your Mother Should Know" before he was 30, after all -- has lost its rose-tinted streak. Where he once romanticized days gone by, McCartney now admits that we're merely living with "The Ever Present Past," just like how although we live in the present, we still wear "Vintage Clothes." He's no longer pining for the past, since he knows where the present is heading, yet he seems disarmingly grateful for where his journey has taken him and what it has meant for him, to the extent that he slings no arrows at his second wife, Heather Mills, he only offers her "Gratitude." Given the nastiness of the coverage of his recent divorce, Paul might be spinning his eternal optimism a bit hard on this song, but it isn't forced or saccharine -- it fits alongside the clear-eyed sentiment of the rest of Memory Almost Full. It rings true to the open-heartedness of his music, and the album delivers some of McCartney's best latter-day music. Memory Almost Full is so melodic and memorable, it's easy to take for granted his skill as a craftsman, particularly here when it feels so natural and unforced, even when it takes left turns, which it thankfully does more than once. Best of all, this is the rare pop meditation on mortality that doesn't present itself as a major statement, yet it is thematically and musically coherent, slowly working its way under your skin and lodging its way into your cluttered memory. On the surface, it's bright and accessible, as easy to enjoy as the best of Paul's solo albums, but it lingers in the heart and mind in a way uncommon to the rest of his work, and to many other latter-day albums from his peers as well. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide « less… more »

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  • According to Paul McCartney, working on the Beatles Anthology project inspired him to record an album that was stripped-back, immediate, and fun, one less studied and produced than most of his recent work. In many ways, Flaming Pi... According to Paul McCartney, working on the Beatles Anthology project inspired him to record an album that was stripped-back, immediate, and fun, one less studied and produced than most of his recent work. In many ways, Flaming Pie fulfills those goals. A largely acoustic collection of simple songs, Flaming Pie is direct and unassuming, and at its best, it recalls the homely charm of McCartney and Ram. McCartney still has a tendency to wallow in trite sentiment, and his more ambitious numbers, like the string-drenched epic "Beautiful Night" or the silly Beatlesque psychedelia of "Flaming Pie," fall a little flat. But when he works on a small scale, as on the waltzing "The Song We Were Singing," "Calico Skies," "Great Day," and "Little Willow," he's gently affecting, and the moderately rocking pop of "The World Tonight" and "Young Boy" is more ingratiating than the pair of aimless bluesy jams with Steve Miller. Even with the filler, which should be expected on any McCartney album, Flaming Pie is one of his most successful latter-day efforts, mainly because McCartney is at his best when he doesn't try so hard and lets his effortless melodic gifts rise to the surface. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide « less… more »

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  • Not your average chime but, the same melodic sounds.

    Tags: wind chimes
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  • Wildling is a recording that is more a mood than an album. For me it fills a sonic space with subtile performances of quite melodic drone, and lite vocal babble. As an artist music by Kammerflimmer Kollektief is nice to have when... Wildling is a recording that is more a mood than an album. For me it fills a sonic space with subtile performances of quite melodic drone, and lite vocal babble. As an artist music by Kammerflimmer Kollektief is nice to have when I'm in the studio drawing, or staring into the void.

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  • One of my favorite albums of the year so far. Rich melodic indie rock.

    Tags: Pop, music, rock, indie, vinyl, LP
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  • Tim McGraw stayed out of recording studios for nearly three years after his smash single and album Live Like You Were Dying. McGraw is a road dog and a husband to Faith Hill. The pair had a child and McGraw comes back to a style o... Tim McGraw stayed out of recording studios for nearly three years after his smash single and album Live Like You Were Dying. McGraw is a road dog and a husband to Faith Hill. The pair had a child and McGraw comes back to a style of country music he helped form in the early '90s. His backing band, the Dance Hall Doctors, is the E Street Band of country music in the 21st century. McGraw -- who, with help from Byron Gallimore and Darran Smith, produced Let It Go -- is once more willing to push the sonic formulaic envelope with a wonderfully textural array of sounds and the moods they help to underscore. (Think, if you will, Mitch Easter as a country music producer with a big road band to rein in.) In fact, the sound of the record, its varied richness, and its pluralities illustrate that this is an era in countrymusic when creatively almost anything is possible. It still comes down to songs, though, and the 13 here are all winners. The honky tonk songs are more so ("Shotgun Rider," "Whiskey and You"), the pop tunes are more on the rock & roll side of pop ("Last Dollar [Fly Away]"), and the romantic and story-songs ("I'm Workin") are so utterly, unabashedly plainspoken, they hit the listener straight in the gut. But the real shock is the psychedelic country-rock of the title cut, written by William C. Luther, Aimee Mayo, and Tom Douglas. There are multi-layered pedal steels, baroquely jangled electric guitars, and McGraw's singular vocals riding above the wall of multivalent yet melodic noise to offer a message of threadbare hope in the face of adversity. In the grain of his voice, you can hear the determination to talk and walk from the place of redemption rather than the terrain of suffering. He's singing to convince himself as much as he is the listener. "Put Your Lovin' on Me" is another one, but this one is an anthem, albeit one that pleads for relief and sustenance. There is an amazing spirituality at work in the songs that McGraw chooses here. A Hammond B-3, spiky guitars, and booming snares and cymbals play at the distortion point in this tune by Hillary Lindsey and Luke Laird, but no matter how loud and proud the music is, McGraw's insistence on delivering an unfettered, albeit desperately sincere, melody is what makes him stand apart. When he sings "Put your lovin' on me/Take this weight off me/Put your lovin' on me," he's way beyond the ledge of asking, "There's nothing here to catch me now/I'm gonna fall anyway." He has nothing to lose and expresses that. The haunting guitars and mandolin lines that introduce "Between the River and Me" offer a story-song that is tough, overblown, and full of anger, regret, and the voice of a man haunted by his anger. The other great rocker is the obligatory country train song called "Train #10." The sound here evokes the arid desert landscapes, where frontier and train tracks meet one another. It's a leaving song that's offered with a vengeance. And, of course, there is the beautiful love song duet between McGraw and Hill in "I Need You," with its provocative line "I need you/Like a needle needs a vein." Hill answers from the loneliest space in her full-throated alto: "I want to dance to the static of a neighing radio/I want to wrap the moon around us/Lay beside you, skin on skin/Make love till the sun comes up/Till the sun goes down again/'Cause I need you." It's the equation of death, addiction, love, and redemption all rolled into a four-minute tune. While this set of songs doesn't have the same unabashed optimism that Live Like You Were Dying does, it is no less so in its own gruff, rock & roll way. That said, this is one of the best interpretations of the country tradition by McGraw yet, and while he no longer has the wild edge of his earlier records, McGraw has something deeper: he can look at the dark side without flinching and bring it up to the light, always looking to find his way home. Let It Go was well worth the wait and McGraw is still at the top of the heap. ~ Thom Jurek, All Music Guide « less… more »

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  • Pink Floyd followed the commercial breakthrough of Dark Side of the Moon with Wish You Were Here, a loose concept album about and dedicated to their founding member Syd Barrett. The record unfolds gradually, as the jazzy textures ... Pink Floyd followed the commercial breakthrough of Dark Side of the Moon with Wish You Were Here, a loose concept album about and dedicated to their founding member Syd Barrett. The record unfolds gradually, as the jazzy textures of "Shine on You Crazy Diamond" reveal its melodic motif, and in its leisurely pace, the album shows itself to be a warmer record than its predecessor. Musically, it's arguably even more impressive, showcasing the group's interplay and David Gilmour's solos in particular. And while it's short on actual songs, the long, winding soundscapes are constantly enthralling. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide

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  • While Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A Ghost Is Born established Wilco's reputation as one of America's most interesting and imaginative rock bands, both albums were the product of a band in flux, and this was particularly evident to th... While Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A Ghost Is Born established Wilco's reputation as one of America's most interesting and imaginative rock bands, both albums were the product of a band in flux, and this was particularly evident to those who saw the group on-stage after the release of YHF. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot may have blazed new sonic trails for Wilco, but the departure of Jay Bennett in the latter stages of its production left the band with an audible hole when they played the new material on-stage, and while multi-instrumentalist Leroy Bach may have been a technically skilled player, he looked and sounded like a cold fish in concert, unwittingly emphasizing the cooler surfaces of Wilco's new music and negating much of the passion of Jeff Tweedy's songs. However, by the time Wilco hit the road following the release of A Ghost Is Born, the group's latest round of personnel shakeups had the unexpected but welcome effect of spawning one of the group's best lineups to date; after Bach amicably left Wilco, the addition of keyboard and guitar man Pat Sansone and especially visionary guitarist Nels Cline gave the band players whose energy and passion matched their technical skill, and suddenly the band was playing its challenging new material with the same sweaty force Tweedy and company conjured up in the band's earlier days. Thankfully, Tweedy had the good sense to document the prowess of Wilco's latest incarnation on-stage, and Kicking Television: Live in Chicago, recorded during four shows at the Windy City's Vic Theater, offers a welcome second perspective on the band's more recent work. With the exception of two numbers from Wilco's collaborative albums with Billy Bragg (in which they set Woody Guthrie's poems to music), Kicking Television focuses exclusively on their "post-alt-country" work, but while many of the songs featured here sounded cool and mannered in the studio, here they gain new muscle and force, not to mention a great deal of enthusiasm, and while tunes like "Ashes of American Flags" and "Handshake Drugs" are never going to be crowd-pleasers in the manner of "Casino Queen," the élan of this band in full flight shows that the fun has been put back in Wilco, albeit in a different and more angular form. Nels Cline's guitar is especially bracing in this context, and his marriage of melodic weight and joyous dissonance fits these songs while expanding on their strengths at the same time. And the title cut thankfully proves that Wilco still can (and still does) rock on out. Kicking Television is the best sort of live album -- a recording that doesn't merely retread a band's back catalog, but puts their songs in a new perspective, and in this case these performances reveal that one great band has actually been getting better. ~ Mark Deming, All Music Guide « less… more »

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