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Reviews (Album, Movie, TV)
The Royal Bangs, "Brass" PDF Print E-mail
Written by Damion Huntoon   
Thursday, 03 October 2013 16:50

Knoxville’s pride, The Royal Bangs, release the pondering pop of “Brass”

The new Royal Bangs album is good. Not good as in it may stand as the shiniest of beacons in the band’s eventual discography, but good in the fact that the Royal Bangs have come to learn who they are. They’ve grown up.

And like maturing, you come to find that you aren’t going be the next Michael Jordan, the next President or the second coming of the savior of the world, and in this reflection you find a humble peace that allows you to enjoy your life more fully while you have it. To find this peace you have to look back - sometimes way back - to your successes and failures. Were they worth it? What do I have to show for myself? Maybe I blew it a long time ago and just don’t realize it yet? That’s what the Royal Bangs are pondering on “Brass.”

Through the entirety of the album the Bangs give fans what they expect from the seasoned band. Chris Rusk’s drumming is impeccable, weaving in and out of Schaefer’s to and fro, suave pop motions. Sam Stratton’s guitar chimes like a diamonds bouncing on gold, counterpointing with Schaefer’s multiple keyboard tones and at times locking in with Rusk and recent addition bassist Dylan Dawkins’ fuzzy, poignant support.

These are things the Bangs know they can do.

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 October 2013 16:51
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Show Review: The National PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Jordan Knight   
Thursday, 03 October 2013 16:45

The National
Asheville, NC, 9/24/13

For so long I have waited, wanted, yearned to see The National. Okay, yearned is a bit too much. While running all over this great country catching concerts, for one reason or another I have never made it to see them and frustration is just the beginning. Today was different. The confirmation email appeared and dreams began coming true. With my girlfriend in tow, seats right up front and a tank full of gas, the reality set in.

We arrived to the loud, vibrant sounds of Frightened Rabbit. Their slow paced albums were nothing like this all out on slaught of sound. They were there to rock. For the final notes of the last song of their set, the lead singer Scott Hutchison smashed his guitar and the crowd reaction was palpable. This is the first and only time I have ever seen an opening band receive a full standing ovation.

The National were jovial, and by jovial, I mean frontman Matt Berninger was happily consuming wine and ready to play. The crowd was relaxed as the show slowly built. The fourth song, Bloodbuzz Ohio, a huge hit for the band in 2010, woke the crowd and had them screaming. As a lead into Sea of Love, off the new album Trouble Will Find Me, Berninger laughably stated, “I usually f**k that up.” Lead guitar, Bryce Dessner, responded, “you never f**k that up in front of people.” Berninger retorted, “I've f**ked it up in front of people. You're people! I'm going to f**k this one up!”

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 October 2013 16:47
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Keep Quiet's "Odd New Celebrity" PDF Print E-mail
Written by Alec Cunningham   
Thursday, 03 October 2013 16:35

Keep Quiet Kicks Things Off Right With Their First Release, "Odd New Celebrity"

 

Knoxville never ceases to impress music fans by fostering round after round of talented musicians, and the city has done it again with Keep Quiet, a group sure to set the music scene ablaze. This trio of indie rockers have set the bars high with their very first release, "Odd New Celebrity."

They provide a solid opener to the album with "Regret," one of the release's most memorable tracks. Luckily, the pleasantries don't end there though. The trio continues to provide sturdy footing with the following track, "Blame," a track about a literal, and perhaps also even metaphorical, plane crash. The appeal of their songs only continues from there. With their strong hooks led by fierce electric guitar progressions, it's hard not to become enthralled in this album's sound.

The trio's roaming instrumentation and spacious, drifting compositions shares close ties with Band of Horses, though their indie-rock vocals call to mind Colour Revolt. They even carry hints of MeWithoutYou here and there, especially within "Alone," a track with obvious religious connotations. Although the track has clear religious implications, much like MeWithoutYou, they do well to forge a story around their words and are able to convey more than just a sole religious message with their work. Many of their songs provide this same type of imagery, but whether you consider yourself religious or not, there's layer upon layer that can be taken away from Keep Quiet's work.

All nine tracks carry single words as their titles, the majority of which carry universally negative associations, such as "Blame," "Regret," and "Alone." The only exceptions are "Fate," the sixth track, and "Wisdom," the final track.

This is a solid album with plenty to offer listeners. Not only are the melodies something to be noted, but the lyrics are something to be admired as well. Each line seems to be delicately crafted in a way that both conveys a significant message and flows well while doing so.

These guys have provided listeners with a spot-on debut album; we couldn't have asked for much more. The official release for "Odd New Celebrity" is scheduled for Oct. 15, and it's one you won't want to miss. This is an album you'll want to get your hands on as soon as possible. The only regret you'll have after finishing the album is that you weren't able to experience these guys and this music any earlier. Although we haven't seen too much out of Keep Quiet yet, it's safe to say they'll be a staple in the local music scene before we know it.

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 October 2013 16:39
 
Washed Out's 'Paracosm' PDF Print E-mail
Written by Johnny Sughrue   
Monday, 09 September 2013 17:23

Making a much larger splash into the world of dream pop comes the second blissful outing from Atlanta’s Washed Out. For those unfamiliar with Washed Out, it’s basically Earnest Greene, his keyboards and drum programs and he has a way of creating warm and fuzzy tunes that resemble a chilled out version of the eighties British new romantic scene. Another clue is if you happen to be familiar with the theme music to the hip show Portlandia, he does the soundtrack.

Paracosm is a bigger sound for Greene, more seasoned production, and it could be the soundtrack to recall some of your summer vacation beach parties. In fact most of the tracks fade in and out of party noises mixed with the peaceful sounds of birds and nature. The vocal echoes are stronger, the phasers are heavy, and the tunes are laid back, poppy, and shoe-gaze-y in case you missed your Beach House fix. “It All Feels Right” and “All I Know” are both feel-good dance tunes while “Weightless” comes in soft waves like evening along a summerset beach, and “Great Escape” is just that thanks to some real drums, phasing keyboards and a happy skipped beat.

Mr. Earnest Greene seems to have washed out any signs of worry in making that difficult second album, because Paracosm is an easy going last breath of warmth and romance to sign off the summer with.

 

Last Updated on Monday, 09 September 2013 17:27
 
Portugal. The Man's 'Evil Friends' PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Michaela Marchardt   
Monday, 09 September 2013 17:18

In June 2013 the band Portugal. The Man released its new album Evil Friends. The band did a fantastic job building up hype around the release of this album using social media. First, teasers were published on the Bonnaroo Tumblr page, hinting that Danger Mouse would produce the album. The name of the new album was first released on Instagram, followed by a Tweet-to-Reveal Mosaic to reveal the album art work. Then, the video to the title track “Evil Friends” was released on the band’s YouTube page.

As with most records produced by Danger Mouse (e.g., Broken Bells, The Gorillaz, Gnarls Barkley, etc.), it’s hard not to listen to this record front to back, immediately falling in love with its brilliance. Right from the beginning, the band lures you in with catchy melodies and clever lyrics that tie the album together. So you have a short teaser of the title song’s chorus in the track “Creep in a T-Shirt.” And likewise, you have a short reference to “Plastic Soldiers” in their final song “Smile”. What a great way to tell a story and to evolve an album into more than just a collection of songs.

The opening track “Plastic Soldiers” is a simple, melancholic song while the following song “Creep in a T-Shirt” has you dancing and singing along to its upbeat sound in seconds. The title song “Evil Friends” seemingly starts out as a slow track, but soon turns into a head-banging punk rhythm. Lead singer John Gourley states, “It’s not that I’m evil, I’ve got a friend in the devil.” It appears that he’s embraced his corrupted self for quite some time, “Before you were born, I was already sinning,” he says in this song.

While the song “Hip Hop Kids” disses today’s youth, including punks, rock ‘n rollers and hip hop kids, the song “Modern Jesus” dishes out harsh criticism on modern religion, “We may be liars, preaching to choirs, but we can sell you dreams. You don’t need sympathy, they got a pill for everything.”

“Atomic Man” and “Purple, Yellow, Red and Blue” remind of old 60’s pop songs – a sound also embraced by MGMT. Overall, the band – and Danger Mouse – did a fantastic job creating an eclectic, yet beautiful album that takes you on a journey through various musical elements, influences and sounds. It’s a progression of sounds, yet smoothly balanced and interwoven in order to create a musical experience for the listener that extends beyond just some catchy tunes. In the end you can’t help put hit repeat.

 

Last Updated on Monday, 09 September 2013 17:22
 
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