Album Reviews From 2012 So Far

It’s been a while since I posted and I apologize for that. Computer problems are abound, turns out I plugged my speakers in wrong and wasn’t getting sound and the recent external hard drive debacle that still hasn’t been fixed yet. Oh and who could forget the first vacation in years and all the work I have had to do. Anyways I digress and realized I haven’t posted a single album review yet for this year. This would make my year end album list quite hard to make without any biased thoughts on the matter. So I am gonna write just a little blip about each album from this year that I can think of that came out. Enjoy

Future This by The Big Pink
Future This  by the Big Pink features and eclectic mix of indie rock as well as electronic tunes to keep your head thumping. Lead single “Stay Gold” has a catchy thumping chorus that stays stuck in your head for days, if not longer. (B-)

The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy by Nada Surf
Nada Surf first came to my attention years ago with the single “Popular” which is a great song as is another single, “Blonde on Blonde” but the indie rockers return with a stellar (no pun intended) album. With poppy sounding tracks mixed in with acoustical tracks Nada Surf returns with an astronomical sense. “Waiting for Something” is one of the strongest tracks on the album as the attempt to prolong growing up is in the actual track or at least the feel. (B+)

Attack on Memory by the Cloud Nothings
The Cloud Nothings prove that not all indie rock has to be sensitive or even soft. The aggressive tracks form an intense mixture of pop and hard rock. “Stay Useless” continually repeats the lines “I need time to stay usless/I need time to stop moving” and who could forget the angst ridden “No Future/No Past.” The shredding on “Wasted Days” helps make an eight and a half minute long song not feel so long after all. (A-)

Provincial by John K. Samson
Former Weaktherthans lead Samson shows off his straight up songwriting skills. The album blends in a more friendly rock with indie tracks. “Cruise Night” and “When I Write My Master’s Thesis” retain the old sound from back in the day with the catchy chorus and storytelling verses. Samson’s vocals stand out on the folkish “Heart of the Continent” as well as his petition track about Reggie Leech. (B+)

Born to Die by Lana Del Rey
We all know about Lana’s mishap on SNL earlier in the year but the single “Video Games” remains one of the more catchier if not dreamier sounding songs. By capturing the sounds of the 1960’s and mixing it in with today’s modern lyrics. Del Rey’s strong female vibe remains constant throughout the album with songs like “Blue Jeans” and the title track “Born to Die”  mix in the influences ranging from Britney Spears to Elvis rather well. (C+)

Out of Frequency by The Asteroids Galaxy Tour
Talk about a great band name. The Asteroids Galaxy Tour jumped onto the scene with their EP from last year but the full length LP delivers a sound of today mixed with the 1960’s style and glam. “Heart Attack” is a catchy anthem that leads all to dance along. “Dollars in the Night” feels too short but once again leads you to sing and dance. “Cloak and Dagger”, “Mafia” and “Gold Rush Pt II” all showcase the vocal range of the lead singer and make this a phenomenal summer time track. (A-)

 Paralytic Stalks by Of Montreal
For the last few albums the band is more about lead singer Kevin Barnes’ drug trips and less about the whole band. Although this album features more lyrical sounds to “Hissing Fauna” than the last few albums as darker more brooding lyrics mix in with the neo-prog, indie pop sound of the band present the most personal album from Barnes. With tracks such as “We Will Commit Wolf Murder” and “Ye, Renew the Plaintiff!” we see the naming of tracks hasn’t changed much. (B)

Reign of Terror by Sleigh Bells
With their debut sounding like nothing but noise that was recorded there was a lot to tweak if you didn’t like the first album. Needless to say with the singer actually doing the writing this time Sleigh Bells comes off with a noise-pop album that is quite an even balance on both noise and pop. Tracks like “Crush” and “Comeback Kid” feature heavy sounding guitar riffs with heartfelt and personal lyrics. The punk influences can be seen even in the opening track “True Shred Guitar” which seems like a dare to other musicians to make more shredding guitar riffs as the duo continues to rip off some insane riffs with deep lyrics. From the super aggressive “Leader of the Pack” to a less angst ridden “Road to Hell” the duo construct a solid album. (B+)

Animal Joy by Shearwater
An album that flew under the radar until the lead single “Breaking the Yearlings” popped up in my Pandora radio station. The brooding and somber sound piqued my interest and it was good. Solid sounds throughout the entire album include the lead song “Animal Life.”  (C+).

Some Nights by fun
An incredible pop sensation that took the nation that is “We Are Young” was and is an amazing track but the rest of the album is what stands out. “Some Nights” the title track features incredible range from lead vocalist as well as some introspective lyrics.  “Carry On”, “Why Am I The One” and “It Gets Better” all feature incredible pop instrumentation with catchy hooks that can stay stuck in your head for days. I know for a fact “We Are Young” remained in my head all day at work even with “Lovesong” by Selina Gomez was playing. (A-)

Break it Yourself by Andrew Bird
The vet returns for another stellar album. Break It Yourself features great arrangements of all instrumentations. “Danse Caribe” is one of the stronger tracks on the record with the folkish instrumentation and slower sounding acoustic accompaniment. But the real highlight of the album is the lead single “Eyeoneye.” The strings add a haunting vibe to the beginning and Bird’s lyrics and vocals haunt the very speakers the song comes out of. (B)

Happy To You by Miike Snow
The second album from the Euro electro poppers starts off with “Enter the Joker’s Lair” and leaves you on the ride until the very end of the album. The best track is the lead single “The Wave” as it’s insanely catchy sound that should be played in clubs but seeing as they don’t play quality music there it makes sense. “God Help This Divorce” is a track that really shows off the songwriting of the band and how vocals can really be the big highlight in the electronic industry. (B-)

Port of Morrow by the Shins
It’s been years since James Mercer made an album as the Shins. Broken Bells had their time last year but Mercer comes back as one of the only original members and puts out a great album. From the beginning (“The Rifle’s Spire”) straight down to the very end (“Port of Morrow”) this ten track record is one of the highlights of 2012. With “It’s Only Life” and “For a Fool” being some of the stronger lyrical tracks on the record. But who can forget the insanely catchy “Simple Song?” Overall Mercer and co craft a dreamy pop of an indie album. (A)

The Only Place by Best Coast
The follow up is much better than the original. I’m not kidding. Lead singer Bethany Consentino said this was more of an emo album, but not in that sense. Tracks that are lyrically about drinking, spending money and having sex fill an album of dreamy California rock that capture the vibe of the west coast. Tracks like “The Only Place” and “Why I Cry” are middle speed that just happen to feel faster because of the faster paced vocals. One problem I have noticed is that some of the songs do sound the same unfortunately. (B)

Bloom by Beach House
If Best Coast were to write dreamy hooks then what does Beach House write? They are the epitome of dream pop and with the follow up to their last sensational album Beach House is back with Bloom. Almost every single track flows smoothly between each other and the vocals seemingly blend in with all the instrumentation that is littered throughout the entire record. (B-)

Gossamer by Passion Pit
The problem I have had this year is that I have missed a lot of music so I find out I miss a lot and get frustrated but I caught this album early on. The follow up to Manners is a great mix of pop and electronic from the catchy dancey anthem “Take a Walk” all the way to the end. “Mirrored Sea” and “Constant Conversations” are two great tracks that are in the beginning of the record. Almost every song is a nice mix of poppy and radio friendly electronic music mixed in with deeper meaning. (A)

Infinity Overhead by Minus the Bear
MTB seems to have matured and it sounds like it throughout the entire album. From the opening riffs on “Steel and Blood” to the closing lines on “Lonely Gun.” Stand out tracks like “Toska” and “Heaven is a Ghost Town” shows off the more depth they’ve gained in the lyrical sense. They still mix in some progressive sounding instrumentation and the mix of the electronic sounds once more help keep MTB as a genre bending band who turn out great albums. (A-)

Four by Bloc Party
Bloc returns for another album after a long absence and it’s all around solid. From intense alternative sounds to the somber indie rock tunes Bloc churns out track after track after track on this, their fourth studio album. “So He Begins to Lie” is a passive aggressive track that leads into the exceedingly aggressive (and semi-From First to Last Sounding) “3×3.”  The single “Octopus” has that typical Bloc Party sound that fans love and grew up with, the fast and seemingly intense guitar riffs and rapid drumming mixed in with fast paced vocals builds on a solid track and album. Stand out track for me is the slower more emotional sounding “V.A.L.I.S.” (B+)

Beacon by Two Door Cinema Club
TDCC’s debut album made it high on my top list of albums from 2010 and they will probably be back this year. A more mature sound with a new real boy drumming TDCC comes back with a more emotional and lyrical album. “Next Year” and “Handshake” start off with a slower (for the band at least) sound but still feature catchy choruses and beats. “Pyramid” is a nice simple sounding track and is a prime example of the band ditching the synth style of sound for a more rock based sound. Single “Sleep Alone” is most likely the best track on the record with a chorus that stays stuck in your head for hours if not days. (A)

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About Angerbanjo

As passionate as one can be about certain topics it is hard to make a living with that passion, that being said my passion for nerd culture, modern music and video gaming has yet to translate into anything moderately successful, that and my degree in electronic media, but hey at least I can use that journalism minor. View all posts by Angerbanjo

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