July 26, 2009

Snowing -- Fuck Your Emotional Bullshit

If you know me in real life and have ever seen me at a show, you know that I love dancing. I'll dance to anything in whatever way I feel like. It's fun, it makes me happy, and I think it's a good way to experience the music. Thus, the reason I love Snowing's Fuck Your Emotional Bullshit is because it is 100% danceable. Although the cover kind of makes it look like a half-hearted attempt at a mall-emo facsimile, this album is full of mathy, spazzy guitars, really tight drumming, and vocals that are super fun to sing/scream/yell/yelp along to. Matter of fact, the song 'Kirk Cameron Crowe' might be my favorite dance track of the year, and 'Methuselah Rookie Card' has a really sweet At the Drive-In namedrop and lyrics that sound like a younger, pissed-off Jawbreaker. Although, what would you really expect from a band containing members of Street Smart Cyclist and Boy Problems? Hopefully though, these guys will keep putting out material and stay together longer than the previous two bands did. Let's hope these guys can make it to Ohio eventually (they're from Pennsylvania), because since they've played shows with Algernon Cadwallader, Band Name, Slingshot Dakota, Native, Best Friends, and Hightide Hotel, hopefully they'll bring some awesome company with them on tour.

July 07, 2009

Arkansas? -- Self-Titled

When I talked to Toby Foster at a show and asked his permission to upload this album, he told me that I could on the condition that I didn't talk shit about the band. Condition met.

At the time of this recording, Arkansas? was officially a two-piece consisting of Toby Foster and Victor Vieira-Branco. Both guys sing on this release, with Toby taking a bulk of the songs. The album opener is 'Facebook', a song about Facebook breakups that actually happened to my friend Zach. A few songs later, '45' provides the album with an awesome track that has never failed to make me smile. In fact, this album has never really failed to make me smile. The playful guitars, combined with the excellent drumming really give this album a solid pop-punk foundation to dance upon, and I'm not talking metaphorically about the music. This album is 100% danceable, no matter if you're dancing to forget the bruises these songs remind you of or if you're just dancing from the sheer optimism this album puts out. Songs like 'Hash Browns' give off great vibes while not sacrificing musical integrity or sounding too corny. I really almost feel like I'm doing this album a disservice by writing about it, because that probably means you, the reader, aren't listening to it and you don't feel happy as I do when I listen to it. If you want to buy it (which you really should do because it's awesome and so is the 1/3 of this band that I've met), you can go to
Arkansas?'s MySpace. It's on there.

P.S. On the song 'Dance Moves', Toby mentions that he stole dance moves from a guy named Evan Gornik. Evan Gornik and Toby Foster recently put out a split 12" that will probably wind up being one of my favorite albums of 2009. There's not a bad song from either artist on there, seriously. You can get it here if there are any copies left, or from a show maybe. Trust me, it's great.
This is band solidarity.

July 03, 2009

Kill and Eat -- Green Bushes

A while ago, Caleb Vogel contacted me asking if I would review his album. When I got it, however, I didn't feel much like blogging, and ended up not blogging for a good part of last month. However, the album has had a pretty stable rotation in my listening habits since I received it.
Personally, I feel as though the formula of the album can be summed up in the vocals on the first track, 'Green Bushes'. When the album starts, a voice that sounds eerily similar to Jamie Stewart from Xiu Xiu bubbles up from the music. As the song progresses, however, Vogel's vocals change, slowly but surely, into a separate entity until the song begins to unfold and explore the world around it. The rest of the album follows a similar pattern, with the songs starting out nicely, if a bit repetitive, and then, eventually, a vocal flutter or piano flourish will appear like a ray of light. This flourish reappears again at regular intervals, and has a strange power over the listener, keeping them hooked until the next one. This is probably best demonstrated on the track 'Green Bushes (sketch)', a jazzy number that would work well in coffee shops or bookstores. The percussion on this album is also something to be noted. Solid, while not carrying the album, the percussion knows its place and it content with it, similar to the Velvet Underground. Altogether, while only three songs long, Green Bushes is a solid jazzy album, with enough ambient quality to put on as background music while you're working on a paper. In fact, the album info sent to me describes it as "droning pop-informed" music, and it really does sound like what would result if modern-day drone and minimalism had a baby with lounge jazz.