Archive for the Rock/Alternative Category

Paramore’s Brand New Eyes is nothing new

Posted in Rock/Alternative with tags , , , on October 6, 2009 by CruzerWpg

200px-Brand_New_Eyes_coverFrontwoman Hayley Williams first played the Warped Tour at age 16.  That in itself is impressive.  To look at what has transpired since – three albums, supporting No Doubt on tour, and recording one of the biggest film soundtrack songs of  2008 in Twilight’s ‘Decode’ –  is equally impressive.  So it was with Brand New Eyes, the band’s third LP, that I expected to be blown away.  Especially with all the pre-release talk of the album focusing on the bands ‘amost break-up’  and moving in a more mature direction. 

The opening track, ‘Careful’, and the following singles, ‘Ignorance’ and ‘Playing God’ are great songs.  They sound like Paramore but have an air of depth and layer that their first album, All we Know is Falling, lacked.  The rest of the tracks, however, sound like they are straight off the band’s inital record.  Where the group’s second album, the MTV friendly Riot!, grew the band’s pop-punk roots into a mainstream yet smart sound that appealed to music critics and the Hot Topic crowd the world over, Brand New Eyes fails to move the band in any new direction.  With the exception of a few tracks, it almost falls backwards.

Sure the lyrics hint of the turmoil the band faced during their new found success, but a little research uncovers that the band has had it’s fair share of quarrels and break-ups since it’s inception.  While the album has grown on me a little after a few listens, it failed to catch me from the start like most good records do.  Perhaps I’m in a league of my own here though.  Most critics are applauding the group’s latest effort.  In fact, webzine Drowned in Sound says the exact opposite of how I feel:

” [..] This is a realization, and an affirmation, of Paramore’s musical craftmanship and potential longevity.  They have allowed themselves to grow and still  retain the innocence and optimism that makes them so irrisistable.”

I’m not arguing that Williams and Co. aren’t talented and that there is no musical craftmanship here.  I’m not arguing that they don’t possess longevity.  I was simply expecting so much more after what they’ve proven they can already do.

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AFI’s “Crash Love”: a new direction

Posted in Rock/Alternative with tags , , , , on September 28, 2009 by CruzerWpg

200px-CrashlovecoverAFI’s eighth studio album, Crash Love continues the band’s transistion from their hardcore punk roots to the the chart topping act we are familiar with today.  While their last album, decemberunderground saw the group dabble in electronica and dance-rock elements, Crash Love is a more straight forward rock record, featuring a  light dose of eighties influenced sounds.  It is a good mix. 

The opening track, ‘Torch Song’ is a generic rocker, catchy but forgetable.  The album really takes off with the second track ‘Beautiful Theives”, complete with a backing choir chorus and soaring lyrics.  From then on, the disc doesn’t really lose any steam.  There are some lackluster moments mixed throughout, but it’s definately not top heavy.  In fact, one of the best tracks can be found near the end of the disc, the ballad-esque ‘Darling, I Want to Destroy You’.  As with most of the songs on the album, it uses slightly morbid and bleak imagery to descibe light aspects.  When you glance at the liner notes, singer Davey Havok revolves most of his lyrics around themes of love and relationships.

Overall, the album is the one of the strongest peices of work AFI has ever produced.  It pushes the boundries of what is expected from the band, much in the same way 2003’s Sing the Sorrow did, which will undoubtly upset many fans who long for the ‘old AFI’.  But this time around, the disc seems more complete and mature.  AFI has grown up, if their fans refuse to, that is their loss.  Crash Love rocks.

On a related note, AFI will headline this years Jingle Bell Rock at the Winnipeg Convention Centre on Decemeber 15th with guests Cage the Elephant and MAdM.  Tickets are $40.  For more info, check out http://www.jinglebellrock.ca/

3 Local Bands/Artists You Should Hear

Posted in Rock/Alternative with tags , , , on September 23, 2009 by CruzerWpg

Winnipeg has a great local music scene.  On any given night, you can go out and hear some great live music at a variety of venues and bars thoughout the city.  It is impossible to list every talented and worthy artist and band making music right now in The Peg, but here are three artists I am currently listening to.

1. Losing Focus
Playing together since high school, their debut album ‘A Portrait for the Ransom’ is a collection of raw riffs and heartfelt lyrics.   Under the wing of Juno Award winning and Grammy nominated producer Brandon Friesen, the band should be getting radio play across the country, if only they would come out with some new material.  The best cut off the album is a track entitled ‘Sway”. http://www.myspace.com/losingfocus 

2. Davinport
“It never hurts when your guitar player owns one of the most sought after studios in Winnipeg” says Jimmy Thow, vocalist for Davinport, winners of Power 97’s Rockin the 204 competition. The band currently is  preparing for their first full length release, ‘Creatures of Habit’.  While this band started off as a songwriting project it has quickly developed into one of the most exciting acts to watch for in 2009.  They currently have the track, ‘Vegas’, spinning on local radio.  Also check out the song, ‘Karma’.  http://www.myspace.com/davinportband 

3. Mike Burnard
The lead singer of local act, Crisis Jane, Burnard’s solo project shows a softer side to his songwriting and style.  The result is a good mix of soft rock and pop melody mixed with some acoustic underlying.  Check out the track ‘Sick but Pretty’. http://www.myspace.com/mikeburnard

Album of the ‘Leak’: Brand New- Daisy

Posted in Rock/Alternative with tags on September 17, 2009 by CruzerWpg

200px-Daisy_%28album%29
Just leaked, Brand New’s fourth disc, Daisy, reinvents the band from their previous release, The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me. It’s an even darker listen this time, with some new, interesting elements thrown in for good measure. As with TDAGARIM, religion plays a huge part in the lyrics, and musically, the band included some deep south country elements into the sonic architecture. Here is what SPIN says in their review of the album:

“The hardy Long Island lugs in Brand New might be the only guys in emo who still care more about Rites of Spring than they do about Weezer. On the follow-up to 2006’s instructively titled The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me, frontman Jesse Lacey howls about burning in bed and turning to dirt while his bandmates churn out noisy, jagged art-punk riffs that routinely explode without warning. (You would think the trick would stop surprising you halfway through Daisy, but it doesn’t.) The sound is old-fashioned, but the fury is fresh.”

I wouldn’t exactly call it emo. It is loud, but it’s soft at the same time. Okay, so is most emo. But Brand New has matured along the years and have grown into a sound that demands to be taken seriously. If I had to pick an album “Daisy” sounded similar to, it would get thrown in with TDAGARIM, but this time round guitarist Vincent Accardi wrote most of the material and it gives the overall musical concept a unique feel. Lacey even belts out his fair amount of screams, something he rarely did before. It is a solid listen throughout, with standout tracks being: Gasoline, Bought a Bride, and the first single, At the Bottom. The album will be released in stores September 22nd.