Saturday, December 29, 2007

new music...sort of

here's a demo from margot & the nuclear so & so''s making it's way around the web quite quickly so don't assume we know someone who knows someone because we don't...yet.

click here to hear i am a lightning rod.

no news on tour or album release or anything substantial like that...

Monday, December 24, 2007

the new trend... not being dead; which i'm not either. i have nothing to write about really. but, to humor you all i'll write about a mix just made by yours truly. i suppose i can't even say that though. it was made by stephen chbosky, the author of the perks of being a wallflower. i just downloaded and stuck the songs on my itunes. here's the second side of "one winter":

asleep - the smiths
vapour trail - ride
scarborough fair - simon & garfunkel
a whiter shade of pale - procol harum
time of no reply - nick drake
dear prudence - the beatles (substitued by the version from across the universe due to not being able to find anything else)
gypsy - suzanne vega
nights in white satin - moody blues
daydream - smashing pumpkins
dusk - genesis
mlk - u2
blackbird - the beatles
landslide - fleetwood mac
asleep - the smiths
to begin with: i didn't put asleep on there twice by accident. that's what it's like in the book. which is not a bad thing. asleep is a very calming, beautiful song. my favorite of the whole playlist is daydream by the smashing pumpkins and gypsy by suzanne vega. incidentally, this has no point. i just really enjoy good mixes.
oh, and in reply to sami p.'s last post: dear & the headlights are better live. :]

Sunday, December 23, 2007

i'm not dead :]

So, since I have been listening to Dear and the Headlights like a crazy person and not to mention the fact that Chad apparently thinks we are dead, I decided to be a good little blogger and review it up. Basically they are great, excellent, fabulous, fantastic, terrific, etc. etc. You choose. But in all seriousness their sound is like no one I have heard before. The vocals are incredible. The music is incredible. There is not one bad song on their album; Small Steps, Heavy Hooves. You should just give them a listen to see what I'm talking about. If you don't enjoy it then you are obviously insane. Oh! I almost forgot..word on the street is that they are even better live. Which is perfect, yeah?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

cafe christmas party

well it didn't last long, but we found a few minutes to share dinner and have us an officious (everything is illuminated anyone?) cafe christmas party. lawrence is in the heartland with family, but asher was in town so that made up for his absence.

flight of the conchords anyone? hey thanks for a great 2007! we'll have great shows in 2008 and we hope you come hang out with us. even if you don't, we'll still have fun!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

dreamy dreamerton

apparently i'm the only one of our six writers that is still alive so i'm racking my brain trying to come up with articles...

so here's a band that i just discovered, even though they've been around all year. the band is coconut records and yes, jason schwartzman from films like rushmore, i ♥ huckabees, darjeeling limited and shopgirl is the lead singer. and yes, he's as talented at music as he is at acting (and still SO dreamy).

i have to stop right here and say that i usually hate when hollywood interferes with music and it usually ends up as bad as you'd expect (see 30 seconds to mars, see dogstar). but with an avant-garde artist like schwartzman, we've learned to expect quality and nighttiming certainly delivers. each song off nighttiming is it's own piece of work and each one could and likely will be featured in an indie movie sometime in the next few years. the album still works as a whole, even though each song is starkly different from the others.

so there you go: coconut records.

there will be a funeral for the other four writers of this blog as i'm sure they're dead. and when they give me grief for writing this, just go back and look at our posts and you'll soon realize that they have no ground to stand on. whenever we get the funeral scheduled, i'll surely let you know. we'll do a benefit concert as well to help pay for the funeral expenses too.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

questions for our readers

since no one's writing much these days and most of the releases are out for the holiday shopping season and there aren't a whole lot of shows left to cover, here's some questions for our readers to answer (in comment form please):

1. what were your favorite shows of 2007? if you spend any time at the cafe, what cafe show was your favorite?

2. what concerts are you looking forward to in 2008?

3. what cd releases are you excited about for 2008?

4. what band should quit and stop making "music" in 2008?

if we get enough asnwers, we'll tally them and post them later this week. also, we'll answer our own questions too, but we want to hear from you first.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

"i hope you're ready to never be good enough..."

usually the business of discovering new music (especially female singers) is tim's job. he's had a full plate lately though and i couldn't let this one go without a nod from the ship. fans of imogen heap and feist should give stacy clark five minutes of their time. or better yet, go straight to her myspace or itunes and just buy apples and oranges. i rarely tell readers to just go buy something, but that's just how compelling and instantly likeable stacy clark's music is.

stacy began in buffalo, new york, but according to her on her website, she now lives in cali (thus the title of her new cd). stacy's music can best be described as a blend of imogen's soulful and catchy songs, psapp's unique background beats/noises and feist's crystal clear vocals.

we'll try to get her into the cafe, but who knows. based on the rumor mill, sounds like she's shopping for a label right now so she might just be playing showcases in l.a. seems like everyone's a big deal these days...

ragardless, go buy her apples and oranges before it gets snatched up by some label that wants to re-release it and pretend like they made a good album.

Monday, December 17, 2007

what's in a name?

i first was introduced to the listener legend a few years ago. i've often wondered what happens to hip hop artists after they stop making hip hop (i assumed that they finished college and became babies-daddies). in the case of dan smith, aka listener, he just started making a different kind of music, one he calls "talk music." i know, sounds impressive right?

it's been a several year process now and i think he's finally on the verge of pulling something off. his new cd "return to struggleville" comes out january 14th and will finally deliver in cd form, his brand of music. one way or the other, he manages to tour relentlessly with a full band (which includes his wife kristen) and make a living playing talk music.

talk music (as best as i can describe it), is a mix of shouting, screaming and singing while always remaining in its basest form, beat poetry. it's similar to mewithoutYou and modest mouse vocally, but mixes in beats and a lot of human rhythm (including, but not limited to: clapping, banging on a washing machine and ratchets).

now that i've caught you all up, pay attention: listener will be playing the cafe on friday, january 18th with the lionelle, olé bravo and swans of never. tickets are officially $7, but if you track down someone from the cafe or from one of the local bands, they'll sell you a ticket for $5. listener has played the cafe twice and both times, it ends up being one of our highlights. now he's graced our fair city with a weekend date and hopefully it will pay off for him and everyone that goes to the tickets! seriously, buy tickets online at:

Friday, December 14, 2007

"Centuries Before Love and War"

Stars of Track and Field's cd "Centuries Before Love and War" is probably now one of my favorites. I recieved it for my birthday in November and I have been really listening to it lately and realizing how lovely it is. I really enjoy the depth of it all. If you are a fan of calmer music with a little twist of something else thrown in you should most definitely check this cd out. It's amazing. What's even more amazing is that I'm actually sharing this... i'm so nice a lot.

California, knows how to party

Check out this band Frankel from So-Cal. He didn't stay at my house and watch the office, so I can't write what his favorite color is or anything, but his music is worth mentioning.

I would liken him to late Elliott Smith, with maybe a little mix of the shins?

This is poorly written... I have a final to take now. Just check him out.

colour with an r...

so i've literally been watching the office with the guys from colour revolt for 12 straight episodes. seems like a good time to write a blog about them since they played kilby last night. despite wyoming's best efforts to wipe them off the road, they made it in time to close out the show and make 29 fans happy.

i can't pretend to know them or their music. i've heard good things for a while (from who i can't recall) and i remember about a year ago when they had everything ripped off (van, trailer, equipment, three macbooks, two cameras and more). other than that i know nothing.

seems like a good time to figure them out as a band. i've known them as people for a day now and they like good movies, are quite well read and extremely polite. they love their home state but don't share a lot of its "values" and agree that touring from denver to salt lake to reno to los angeles this time of year is a battle.

"say that we're good" jokes drummer len clark and thusfar, this the only usable quote i can get in between episodes of the office.

as a band, here are the basics: colour revolt are a five-piece from oxford, mississippi. they've played with brand new, as cities burn, menomena, okkervil river, anathallo, explosions in the sky and manchester orchestra (they claim to have known lead singer andy hull since "before he had a band"). they sound like...okay seriously i've put this off for a day and i can't come up with an honest comparison. if mewithoutYou and manchester orchestra were playing an evenly matched game of baseball, cr would be in the ballpark. if the ballpark had a bluesy edge with frenetic guitars and soulful lyrics. we all agree that comparing bands is impossible and if your band is any good and necessary then there shouldn't be any comparisons anyway.

[author note: they disagree with me on this comparison, but not enough to give me a differing comparison]

cr is on fat possum records which is the happy home of andrew bird and a cacophony of borderline criminal bluesmen that they describe as being the home of "two killers" and a guy "who doesn't know how old he is."

"we just try to stay vague and hope that comes off cool" says guitarist jimmy cajoleas when trying to describe the rigors of being on a tough blues label like fat possum without actually being a blues band.

three of colour revolt are full-time students at ole miss and still find time to play 150 dates a year (which explains why they're touring salt lake in december and almost getting stuck on the back roads of wyoming). they have an ep out now and a full length available in march 2008.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

financial ins and outs, whathaveyou's

well our 2007 run is over.

i know what all you local bands think: "venues make bank and they suck for never paying locals."

well 2007 is over for us at the cafe...we made $18. just wanted to put that out there. so hopefully in 2008 we'll double our earnings in 2007 and make $36.

seriously, it's been a great year for us. specifically i'm thankful for a lot at the cafe, including, but not limited to:

1. new door girls - you rule. keep working hard in 2008 so we can make $36. thanks to everyone that's helped out at the door this year.

2. great local bands - you know who you are. you hard working locals that pack the cafe out. i hope you do well outside of salt lake in 2008.

3. great touring bands - brighten, umbrellas, showbread, listener, surrogate, the new frontiers to name a few...come back in 2008, we love you.

4. people that come to shows - seriously, thanks. the shows with no people are brutal. so keep coming out in 2008.

here are a few things i'm thankful to hopefully never have to deal with again, but i bet i will:

1. local bands that cancel - seriously canceling is a fact of life. waiting until two days before to do so is not cool. not calling at all is just horrible. and don't tell me you're going to still promote it. i know you're lying. if you'd promoted your show in the first place you probably wouldn't cancel.

2. rock stars - yeah, book shows somewhere else please! you only succeed in hacking off our sound guys and annoying the door girls and i'm always going to like the sound guys and door girls better than i like your band. i could really name some names here, but this isn't that kind of blog (that would be fun though!).

3. the super guest list - i love that you have a lot of friends. trying to put 20 of them on the guest list though is ridiculous. you wouldn't sneak 20 people into the movies with you or put 20 people in your car right?

so our 2007 is done and we're excited for a break. we're excited for 2008 too. we're going to focus on doing quality shows in 2008. we took on a lot of questionable shows in 2007 to get our name out there. we're not doing that any more if possible. we're not trying to be snobby, just realistic. we've been doing shows for two years now; we don't have to feel awkward and embarrassed about our venue. we like our venue and we think we do a good job with shows and tours.

so go buy some tickets online and give them away as stocking stuffers! thanks!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

invisible children

here's a thank you from invisible children for the benefit show we did for them in november with brighten and friends. just thought i should pass it on since you're the ones who bought the tickets and came out and supported a good cause. we'll be doing another benefit show for ic in april and they're sending representatives out to the show. we may screen the film and do q & a or just have bands play. maybe both. what do you think?

for you christmas types

click here to listen to nathan pettijohn's (the new frontiers) cover of "christmas time is here" from a charlie brown christmas. i don't know what else to say really. if you like christmas songs you'll like it and if you like the new frontiers (nod your head with me) then you'll enjoy it as well.

as for new news of the new frontiers, their militia group release is scheduled for february 12th.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Out with a bang? (vanessa) (plus top five list from Nathan Pettijohn, singer from The New Frontiers )

So I attempted this last night and went unsuccessful so I guess I’ll take another shot at it.
My list was extremely difficult to come up with, but I’ve made a few decisions on my top five.
The go from five to one (five being my least favorite, one being my all time favorite)

Feist – The Reminder
I am very much a fan of Feist’s new album. Albums in the past I felt were repetitive and almost annoying however The Reminder’s repetition was catchy and easy to listen to. I listened to every song all the way through and that is a huge step for me considering I have terrible music ADD. The down fall of this album, I’d have to say is the fact that 1234 is on every time I turn on the T.V. Favorite song of the album : Honey, Honey. Guilty pleasure : 1234

The Shins- Wincing the Night Away
This one was a definite favorite. In my opinion this album was just as amazing as any of the other albums. James Mercer’s unmistakable voice was easy to listen to. I was fortunate enough to be able to go to the concert a while back and The Shins are just as good live as they are on CD. Favorite song on the album: Australia and Pam Berry (even if it is just an intro to the next song).

Tegan and Sara- The Con
Tegan and Sara, like the Shins, did it again. I enjoyed every song and listened to the album over and over again. The lyrics on the other had were a little weak, nonetheless, it was catchy and worth the twenty bucks I paid for it. Favorite song: I Was Married.

Andrew Bird- Armchair Apocrypha
It pains me to admit that I’m new to the Andrew Bird scene simply because I feel like I was so out of the loop before I listened to him. His new album is, for lack of a better word, amazing. The lyrics were stuck in my head for weeks and I caught myself humming the tune to Heretics (quite embarrassing when it happens in the middle of class). All I can say is nice work Andrew
Favorite song: Plasticities.

Eisley- Combinations
This album by far is the most compelling of the Eisley collection (mind you the "collection" is their EP and first album Room Noises). I’ve been an Eisley fan for as long as I can remember (since eight grade) and Combinations just made me love them even more. Forgive me for being dramatic but had they just stopped at Room Noises, there would have been a small part of my heart missing. This lyrics on this album said things I’ve only hoped to say but couldn’t.
Favorite song: I cant pick just one so I’ll go with least favorite. I’d probably have to agree with Ken and say that The Sea King’s Daughter was my least favorite, it didn’t seem to fit the rest of the album very well and I felt that it would have belonged better on a commercial or in a Disney short film.

Well, now that that’s over here is Nathan Pettijohn, (singer from The New Frontiers):

1. Wilco - Sky Blue Sky
2. Band of Horses - Cease to Begin
3. Bruce Springsteen - Magic
4. Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
5. The Shins - Wincing the Night Away

Honorable Mention (in no particular order):

Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Baby 81
Blonde Redhead - 23
Ryan Adams - Easy Tiger
Keven Drew - Spirit If...
Dolorean - You Can't Win
The Snake the Cross the Crown - Cotton Teeth
Moonbabies – Take Me To The Ballroom

Saturday, December 8, 2007

the uphill battle, or: seeing iron and wine in concert

last night was a testament to how much tim and i wanted to see sam beam and are a few of the uphill battles we had to face:

problem 1: the rain and snow while waiting outside
solution - undisclosed. rest assured, we didn't sit out in the snow.

problem 2: arthur and yu
solution - sadly, there was none. we had nice spots on the balcony and as bad as arthur & yu were, we were forced to sit through every plodding song. it was seriously pretty rough. on the plus side, they made the whole crowd REALLY excited to see iron & wine. of course, after their set i was REALLY excited to step on a rake. in case you missed it, here's what they looked like and sounded like. just switch the keyboard and you're there.

problem 3: the drunk underage guy standing right next to tim
solution: well he was so annoying that i left and stood down below. i'm not sure how tim put up with him, but in addition to tim and i, there were about four other people ready to toss him over the balcony. seriously, if talking for three hours is your thing, why pay $30 to go to a show? why not just talk annoyingly loud at home? news flash man: you're never going to double date with your friends you bumped into and your lady is dumping you sometime just after christmas.

problem 4: the weather home
solution: some sweet defensive driving...otherwise this post would never have happened (i guess it really is like that butterfly flapping it's wings thing). no seriously, God apparently wants tim and i alive for a little bit longer because there was a soccer mom in a white van dead set on wiping tim and i off the planet.

as for the was amazing. it was worth the uphill battle. my only disappointment was that many of i&w's catchier, upbeat songs were played down tempo. this was a cool effect for the first few songs, but as a hyperactive person, i wanted him to open the throttle a bit. he shared the stage with seven other talented musicians, i wanted to see their range. that's such a minor critique though: the show was amazing. they played for nearly two hours, everything sounded amazing, the crowd was appreciative and hopefully their tour made it out of utah and on to denver.

for those of you looking for vanessa's top five from 2007, she had some computer difficulties this weekend. she'll post soon! thanks for being patient.

Friday, December 7, 2007

can I finish? (plus Dan & Kristen Smith from Listener)

So, I guess it's my turn. Dan and Kristen's top five is at the bottom.

2007 saw a lot of albums from a lot of my favorite artists, Band of Horses, Broken Social Scene, Pinback, Jose Gonzales, and tons of others. So when I started this little endeavor I thought it would be pretty easy... not so. Instead of writing a top five I just want to write down a bunch of albums you should go listen to, Pink Nasty for instance, or The Pipettes. Both bands released great first albums, I listened to them non-stop for weeks, but I struggled putting them, ultimately, before the albums that you are about to read.

Another point I would like to make before you read my top five, I was really against numbering them, I'm not OK with it. So, since I was just going to randomly assign the numbers to albums anyway, I decided to take another route. I will be listing them by animal, you can decide for yourself what animal corresponds to what number.

Meercat - Iron & Wine - The Shepherd Dog.
This album is just too good, and coincidentally Chad and I are going to seem Iron & Wine tonight, which I love him for. Sam Beam went to another place on this album, not completely, but it's definitely different than The Creek Drank the Cradle. The Shepherd Dog is much more percussive, and to me, seems like a natural progression from his last release, The Woman King.

Antelope - Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
This is a "first effort" that did actually make my list, and was easily a no brainer. Bon Iver (pronounced eevair) created a masterpiece with For Emma, Forever Ago. I have to give credit to My Old Kentucky Blog for introducing me to this guy, and I'm glad he did. For those of you who know me, you know that I really enjoy a soft, down-tempo album, and this album is one of the best of it's kind.

Dung Beetle - Laura Veirs - Saltbreakers
I'm actually really surprised that this album hasn't gotten more love in the top albums of the year category. I'm not sure if it just didn't get promoted the way it should have, or what, but this album is easily one of the best of 2007. Laura has a special little place in my music heart because I have a great memory of seeing her in Berlin, and I think this is her best release yet.

Polar Bear - Kate Nash - Made of Bricks
I love Kate Nash, literally. Not only do I want to date her (I'd move to London, whatever), but she makes great music. I almost forgot about this album, and luckily Chad reminded me of it a few weeks ago. It's very poppy, very British, and really fun. I usually don't listen to lyrics, but I love hers. This is her first released album, and I think she'll be around for a long time. Favorite songs: Birds, We Get On, Shit Song [Interlude].

Goose - Radiohead - In Rainbows
I struggled a lot with this one. It's a great album. The way they released it is better than anything that's been done in the music industry in a long time. I think I'll be listening to this album for years to come. At the same time, for me, it's on par with all the other 20 albums that I wanted to put on this list. In fact as I write this, I just want to change it to the Kevin Drew/Broken Social Scene album. I don't know. You've already heard all about it, I don't need to write more.

Dan & Kristen Smith from Listener

1. Explosions in the Sky – All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone
2. Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
3. El P – I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead
4. Radiohead – In Rainbows
5. Iron & Wine – The Shepherd’s Dog

Thursday, December 6, 2007

I love a lot. (sami p)

Well, this was difficult for me to figure out for two whole reasons: 1) there are a lot of good cds to love out there & 2) i'm one of the most indecisive people ever. That's why there is no order at all in the top five. I love all of them the most. So here goes everything. At the end of my list is Alex Bhore's list (drummer from The New Frontiers).

  • Andrew Bird-Armchair Apocrypha.
    So I actually started listening to Andrew Bird just this year...I know, right? I don't know how I was going on without listening to him. AND! listening to this cd. His vocals and style are amazing. There is really no other word for it. Everything about it is soothing and not to mention completely puts me in a nice mood, every single time. Favorite Song: Imitosis.

  • The Cinematics-A Strange Education.
    I first heard of The Cinematics this year at a show I had gone to. I was seriously blown away. This cd was exactly the same. Scott Rinning's voice is one of the most beautiful I have heard in a long time. He seems to sing with such little effort; everything is so natural. This cd has a wonderful mix of fast paced songs along with the slower ones and that is something I love in an album. I really don't know how else to explain except for it was just one that I needed. Favorite song(s): Human, Someday, Home.

  • Lovedrug-Everything Starts Where it Ends.
    First off, I have to say I know that some people (cough..chad..cough) think this album is one of the biggest disappointments but I love it. Maybe because I love, excuse me..adore, Lovedrug. But still, I personally thought this album had that same great Lovedrug sound from "Pretend You're Alive." I didn't need anything other than that. Favorite song: Everything Starts Where it Ends.

  • The Shins-Wincing the Night Away.
    The first time I listened to this album, I loved it immediately. I honestly can never get over James Mercer's voice. Everytime I listen to this album, or anyone of them in fact, I just go calm. What I enjoy about The Shins is that each album has it's own sound but stays the same Shins that I know and love so much. As for the lyrics I cannot even begin to say anything. So I won't. You'll have to get in my mind to find out...mahaha, oh good luck. Favorite song(s): Australia, Split Needles.

  • Modest Mouse- We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank.
    I never actually jumped onto the Modest Mouse boat until "The Ship". Just kidding. Actually not until around sometime last year but this album is what, I think, really got me. The intensity of Isaac Brock is completely mind blowing. I have never heard any other voice that is like his and I don't ever want to. He is one in his own which makes Modest Mouse what they are. The whole album is fabulous; every single second of it. I cannot even pick a favorite song. Every single song on the album is my favorite. I tried to choose but i can't do it. I ended up literally going through all the songs and picking everyone of them. I told you I was indecisive...
Oh, could I possibly say amazing or that i loved something so much one more time??? But there were really no other words to describe how I felt about each of these albums. Just love :)

Honorable Mentions:

Tegan and Sara - The Con
Brighten - King vs. Queen
Anberlin - Cities
The Lionelle - The Little Bee ep
Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
Arctic Monkeys - Favourite Worst Nightmare
Dear and the Headlights - Small Steps, Heavy Hooves

Biggest Disappointments:

John Mayer - Continuum (for not being released in 2007!!!!! haha i knew i could fit John in here somewhere..)
The Academy Is... - Santi

Alex Bhore's (drummer from The New Frontiers) top 5

Top 5 Albums of 2007:

1. Wilco - Sky Blue Sky
2. Blonde Redhead - 23
3. Ryan Adams - Easy Tiger
4. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Baby 81
5. Menomena - Friend and Foe

Honorable mention:

Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
Kenna - Make Sure They See My Face
The Perishers - Victorious

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

top fizzle...with a little help from my friends (chad)

i really should have decided on a top ten list, because there were a lot of really good albums released in 2007. these are a few that i have really enjoyed. and i should note: i want to hear what your top five are in 2007 (leave some comments). this isn't one of those reviews where i tell you what you just HAVE to go out and get. these are just cds that have meant a lot to me in 2007. speaking of hearing what others have to say, attached to my list are the lists of two friends. jimmy richards (drummer for brighten) and linsday stranigan from the militia group (she seems to have a new job or at the very least, new responsibilities every month so i'm not quite sure her title).

5. iron & wine - the shepherd's dog (sub pop)
what a year for sub pop. they've had such a great year i bet emi is going to buy them out and wreck the label (i pray the emi rumors aren't true). i've enjoyed iron & wine for a while now (not as long as my wife though) and i was worried when i heard his new cd, was, well, different. and it is different, but it's quite good. real good. it's so good that i bought a ticket for his show in salt lake later this week. an expensive ticket (expensive for me is anything over $15). any fan of iron & wine need not worry, the shepherd's dog is as solid as any of his other releases. favorite song: carousel - it haunts me in all the right ways.

4. radiohead - in rainbows (independent)
there's a whole lot out about this lil' record and there honestly should be. what radiohead did with this album has already made waves through the industry and will be studied for years to come in every music business night class. not to mention they're doing what rock is all about: thumbing their noses to the industry and conventions and doing their own thing. good thing they've got the music to back it up. favorite song: jigsaw falling into place - in 15 years when my child hopefully asks me about radiohead, i can truthfully turn to this song as a classic example of what radiohead was all about.

3. surrogate - love is for the rich (tooth & nail)
full disclosure: i'm a friend of surrogate's lead singer chris keane and have a strong affinity for all of his creative endeavors. that said, love is for the rich is still deserving of being in anyone's top 5 list. i spent two weeks in africa this summer and i listened to this album up until the night my ipod died and stayed dead until arriving back on american soil (note: don't try to sync anything to a computer in west africa). what's my point: well it's december and i just spent a whole week with love is for the rich in my car's cd player. surrogate's music possesses a rare ability to remain timeless. i had most of the demos from love a full year ago and am still listening to it. and i'm a ridiculously hyperactive music listener. favorite song: stay out of the sun - if tooth & nail were smart (and they're not), they'd pitch this song to movie types and it would fit perfectly in any type of coming of age tale with an indie bend (zach braff take note).

2. andrew bird - armchair apocrypha (wegawam/fat possum)
i know i'm supposed to say that armchair isn't as good asbird's last album, the mysterious production of eggs, but i actually like armchair better. songs like fiery crash, heretics, and simple x help armchair pop in a way that eggs never did (i still love it though, don't get me wrong). the lyrics from the songs heretics ("thank God it's fatal, thank God it's fatal") may be some of 2007's best. favorite song: heretics.

1. band of horses - cease to begin (sub pop)
rather than spend time writing about cease to begin, i'll just skip that so that this post will be that much shorter, thus allowing you to get to a local cd store that much faster. if you already own it, then you know exactly why it's on the top of my list. favorite song: the general specific and islands on the coast. ben birdwell's musical charm goes far beyond satiating just southern fans with southern style: he paints a southern mythology that all of us would like to see and be involved in.

honorable mentions:

explosions in the sky - all of a sudden i miss everyone
eisley - combinations
kate nash - made of bricks or foundations (or anything that she released in 2007)
as cities burn - come now sleep - (i'm as surprised as anyone else)
brighten- king vs. queen - (this really should be in my top 5)
menomena - friend and foe - (i promise sub pop isn't paying me (but it wouldn't kill them to send a few pre-releases yeah?))

biggest let down of 2007

jimmy eat world - chase this light

watching jimmy eat world perform during halftime of the mls cup confirmed it: they're bored with making music and as a result are making boring music. if they can't even pretend to like their new album, why should i?

so there's my 2007. i'm going to likely write a follow-up next week with my favorite songs and also a look ahead for what's being released in 2008 (sneak preview: the new frontiers will be your favorite new band this time next year).

here's jimmy richard's (drummer from brighten) top 5 from 2007:

1. radiohead - in rainbows
2. copeland - eat, sleep, repeat
3. eisley - combinations
4. m.i.a. - kala
5. colbie calliat – coco

and here is lindsay's (militia group awesomeness) top 5 from 2007:

1. m.i.a - kala
2. radiohead - in rainbows
3. menomena - friend and foe
4. band of horses - cease to begin
5. feist - the reminder

honorable mentions:
lovedrug - everything starts where it ends
avett brothers - emotionalism
tegan and sara - the con
kanye west - graduation
beirut - the flying club cup

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

the elite core. (keni)

my top 5 albums of 2007 along with brian little's (guitarist from vedera) top 5 at the bottom.

5. the chariot - the fiancée
my first impression of the chariot: "dear god. how can anyone listen to this?" however, after putting on the album after a pretty bad day that changed to "how can anyone not listen to this?" This music is, indeed, harder than most, but i find a better way to describe it is urgent and very calming. so suprisingly enough i fell in love with this album. favorite track: “the deaf policemen.”

4. eisley - combinations
i felt a faster, more upbeat sound was present on eisley's newest cd "combinations", but the beautiful vocals on eisley's first album, "room noises", carried over as well. only one song was out of place: "marsh king's daughter" had a peppy and (what could be described as) a disney feel to it. favorite track: “a sight to behold”.

3. brighten - king vs. queen
before i actually acquired this album it was all i could do to not listen to the four songs up on brighten's myspace over and over. along with their indie-pop music, clever lyrics such as "i am windows breaking in the airplane" kept me very interested. to sum it all up: i love the vocals, i love the sound, i love it. favorite track: “darling nicotine” or “treasure island.”

2. dead poetic - the finest
this album eased my indecision when trying to settle on only five from this year. it is a "best of" album from dp and includes tracks from all three albums. if i had a say in choosing the songs, i might have switched a few, but i feel the collection is pretty well put together and (for all you die hard dead poetic fans) an acoustic version of "in coma" and some demos are also included. favorite track: “glass in the trees.”

1. anberlin - cities
i know i'll probably get a lot of crap for putting this album as my number one, but anberlin gets a bad rep as "that band with the really old singer trying to dress like an indie kid." however, if it even means a thing, i am sticking up for them. you know the albums you buy, then play over and over until you know it completely? this was that album. i literally bought it and for days straight i played nothing else. perhaps it was just the time in my life that it came out, but i found cities to be inspiring and life changing. frontman, stephen christian, commented that this album had a self vs. self theme (and i'm paraphrasing to the best of my abilitly). it kept that familiar anberlin sound and as their third album out not only seemed more mature, but deeper as well. favorite track: “fin” or “reclusion.”

other albums i enjoyed this year (alphabetical, by band):
andrew bird - armchair apocrypha
the arctic monkeys - favourite worst nightmare
as cities burn - come now sleep
the cinematics – cinematics

dear and the headlights - small steps, heavy hooves

gregory and the hawk - in your dreams
lovedrug - everything starts where it ends
mayday parade - a lesson in romantics
maylene & the sons of disaster
- II
the shins - wincing the night away
stars - in our bedroom after the war

straylight run - the needles the space
yeah yeah yeahs - is is ep

i think i got a little carried away…2007 was better than I thought.

as far as disappointments go, armor for sleep and their new album “smile for them” took the cake. “smile for the camera” was a catchy song (and the only one i really liked), but to me it wasn’t armor for sleep. maybe i should cut them some slack since “what to do when you are dead” has to be one of the hardest albums to follow up. another really disappointing album of 2007 was “santi” by the academy is… i stopped listening after “lax to o’hare.”

Brian Little's (Guitarist from Vedera) top 5 of 2007

1. Foo Fighters "Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace"
2. Radiohead "In Rainbows"
3. Iron & Wine "The Shepherds Dog"
4. Rogue Wave "Asleep At Heaven's Gate"
5. Stephen Marley "Mind Control"

Monday, December 3, 2007

well i guess it's about that time...(lawrence)

Well I guess it's about that time...

Here are my top 5 along with Daniel Taylor's (bassist from Surrogate) top 5 at the bottom.

5. Foo Fighters - Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace
The Foo Fighters are one of those bands that have been around for years. They have released solid records for well over a decade. I can't imagine them ever releasing a bad record. They have solid songs and of course a great sounding record. Favorite Song, "Let It Die."

4. As Cities Burn - Come Now Sleep
As Cities Burn are a band that came from hardcore roots from Louisiana. They lost their singer(screamer) and decided to call it quits. Upon breaking the news to their fans amidst of touring was the best decision they could have made. Many of their much loyal fan based decided to tell the band how much they adored the band and how life changing their music was. The band decided not to call it quits, but with losing their front man they were different band. They no longer have a screamer but Cody stepped up at took over the front man position. ACB quickly lets you know they are a changed band with the first song almost reaching 7 mins and setting much of the chilled tone for the record. Although they have changed, they still haven't lost their aggression with songs such as This is it, This is it. Favorite song: "Timothy."

3. Circa Survive - On Letting Go
When I bought the first record (Juturna) by Circa Survive, I was not particularly interested in this band. I found them dull and boring and not too attracted to the singers voice. Like I did with so many records that I have purchased, I put it in my car cd player and refused to take it out until had listened to it in full several times. It ended up growing on me and becoming a record that i frequently visit. On Letting Go is the follow up record by Circa Survive. I truly enjoy the passion Anthony Green sings with (i also enjoy listening to others try and mimic such a unique singer, its quite entertaining). Favorite song: "Your Friends are Gone."

Surrogate - Love is for the Rich
Love is for the Rich
is a personal favorite of mine. I got to hear many of the songs last November while i spent some time in Chico, CA. So I was excited when this record came out because i remembered hearing many of the songs and enjoying them, I just didn't expect much. Little did i know how amazing this record was going to be. This record quickly became a favorite because of the the wonderful yet simple lyrics, as well as the enticing melodies. I have no Favorite song on this record because I find it very hard to not play this one straight through. Make sure you download the song "Popular Mechanics" that did not come with the record, yet i wish it would have.

1. Minus the Bear - Planets of Ice
Minus the Bear has been around for several years, they have been one of those bands that i have several of their records, but i have trouble putting them on. I can't listen to them all the way through because i get distracted or lost. This is not downplaying the band though, their musicianship is incredible and i enjoy the band. It just wasn't until i heard Planets of Ice that i realized how much i appreciate this band. There is something about this record that makes me want to pick up my guitar and play, yet at the same time put the guitar in its case and sell it. I highly recommend this record for any guitar player(especially those of you who play loud in Guitar Center. I mean really we need you to learn new songs so we don't have to hear the same tunes over and over). This record is the gateway i needed to help me through the previous releases. Favorite song: "When We Escape."

Honorable Mentions

Brighten-King vs. Queen
Every Time I Die- The Big Dirty
Radiohead- In Rainbows

Worst Record of the Year
I don't know if I can get away with this, but since I'm not actually from Utah i will have to throw it out there. The new The Used record Lies for the Liar record receives this award from me. This record sounds awful, its way overproduced and with lyrics that read "liar liar pants on fire" you can't win. Wow what a pile of garbage, and now I hope I live through the rest of the year. But hey, someone had to say it.

Daniel Taylor's Top 5...(bassist from Surrogate)

1. The Six Parts Seven: Casually Smashed to Pieces (Suicide Squeeze)
2. Son Volt: The Search (Transmit Sound/Legacy)
3. Circa Survive: On Letting Go (Equal Vision)
4. Thrice: The Alchemy Index Vol. 1 & 2 (Vagrant)
5. Brighten: King vs Queen (Carbon Copy)

top five, by chris keane of surrogate

note: all this week our staff writers are posting their top five cds from 2007. as a bonus, we've asked some of our friends to add their top five to ours. chris keane from surrogate took it above and beyond though and wrote an article that's just too good to pass up. below is his top five along with his remarks. and with all of our top fives this week, leave us your top five in the comments section. what albums did we miss? what is your top five and why? our only rule is that it had to have been released in 2007.

**In the ensuing paragraphs I will be referring to age not in numbers, like so many boring "normal" (or whatever) people do, but in terms of bands. For instance, there are many bands to which you can attach an age, consider for a moment Say Anything or The Decemberists or Refused (God forbid anyone misunderstand and think that I'm talking shit about these bands ((especially Refused)))? What age do you associate with these manufactured smells of teen (and twentysomething) spirit? This is a very intuitive situation and thusly there really isn't to be an actual number attached to these bands, more of a state of mind. I will henceforth refer to this concept at "bandage".**

Radiohead: In Rainbows (independent)

Radiohead is one of those rare bands that crosses almost every musical generation of bandageness. The appeal that this band boasts is almost completely across the board, for instance; I became a Radiohead fan when my CD collection consisted of mostly NOFX and Pennywise albums, a toddler in bandage. But I also know people who rock free jazz and world music (so old, should be dead in bandage) who absolutely lost their cool when they heard Radiohead was putting out a new record; a testament to the bandagelessness of Radiohead.

Ok Computer has, since it's inception, been a staple in the alternative music lover's diet, a well known fact. Radiohead's following efforts, I believe, have been skewed by the fact that Ok Computer was such a revolutionary record given not only the preceding Radiohead records, but the musical environment it was born into. Kid A, Amnesiac and Hail to the Thief were judged as Radiohead's attempts at a respectable return from Ok Computer, negating the fact that all three were very respectable albums in their own right.

In Rainbows is an extremely important record, not only to fans, but also to the industry itself. 1) Yet another testament to Radiohead's bandagelessness is the fact that they had outlived their 20 year contract with Capitol Records, a feat that very few major label bands ever accomplish. In addition, while they are labelless and have no external funding, are still producing innovative, brilliant and relevant music.
2) In the age of iTunes and file sharing, Radiohead has chosen to be the first band to offer product not in stores, but exclusively on their website for whatever you think is right. A wave of the future if you ask me.

15 Step serves well as the opening track featuring the familiar beeps and boops associated with the more recent Radiohead records while incorporating very organic guitar and drum accompaniments, all the while jocking Tom York's melodic pop sensibility setting the mood for another exceptional Radiohead release.

The album then leads down a raw path of full band showcase displaying Radiohead's unique understanding of pop and beyond. Standing out in this journey down Intelligent Britpop lane is tracks such as Weird Fishes/Arpeggi, boasting a very precise, almost Dismemberment Plan esque pop gem, as well as Reckoner, a soulfully mournful track with a strong percussion section, as if telling the listener that you don't have to be happy to dance.

In Rainbows is not Radiohead's best record. It may not even be in Radiohead's top two, but anything that they have put out in the past has made my top 5 every time, and In Rainbows is definitely no exception.

Spoon: Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (Merge)

Brit Daniels and company have been making their unique brand of indy-pop for a while now. Their sugary melodies tempered by eclectic guitar and piano lines and analogue purity has earned them a spot at the very top the genre, while simultaneously holding them as it's best kept secret.

Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga is finally changing all that. Finally getting a little commercial attention, Spoon has been seen on multiple night shows including SNL, a spot usually reserved for pop superstars and the underground's next big thing. And it's easy to hear why Ga has been such an attention grabber; the band really stepped up their game with this record. They've incorporated more electronics and horns than previous records, but they jump out at you, which is a sign that it was done well. But then again, doing music well is nothing new to Spoon.

Kanye West: Graduation (Roc-A-Fella)

Kanye West is an ass. He is a conceded media whore. He has an atrocious habit of exploding on national television in the form of an ill-informed conspiracy theorist, or a temper tantrum throwing child who doesn't feel appreciated enough. And he just happens to be my favorite rap producer. His third solo attempt is every bit as good as I was hoping. Stellar production, including a sample of Daft Punk's "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" (as if you didn't know about that), and quick witted rhymes contribute to the cohesive core of what will no doubt become a staple in the genre. My one complaint is in the visual department. While the novelty of a hip-hop album cover this different is not lost on me, I think cartoon bears being shot out of cartoon cannons into a Disney esque cartoon outer space tends to be a little too childish for an album as good as this one.

Busdriver: RoadKillOvercoat (Anti/Epitaph)

I'd heard Busdriver a few times before RoadKillOvercoat was released, and I never thought too much of him. His earlier releases initially struck me as a bit pretentious and a little annoying but definitely impressive. His flow is extremely rapid and choppy lending itself to it own unlistenability, but boasting a vast vocabulary and some really interesting lyrical content. And that's where I left him. That is until my roommate got a copy of Busdriver's debute on Epitaph records RoadKillOvercoat. Put plainly, this record kills. It still features his hyper fast word-jumble rapping, but something is different. The production complements his stylings and the growth of melody suits him; altogether a valiant abstract rap effort. Stand out track "Sunshower"

Andrew Bird: Armchair Apocrypha (Fat Possum)

Andrew Bird has an interesting history. Hailing originally from the band Squirrel Nut Zippers (made famous during the late nineties pseudo-swing revival), he has since made an impressive foray into the indie-folk scene. His records are thickly laden with violin and whistles giving his records some of the most interesting and well orchestrated production values in a scene lousy with boring sounding records.

Armchair Apocrypha picks up where his previous record, The Mysterious Production of Eggs, left off. With choruses that unashamedly harness pop appeal without bumming you out with predictability. His lyrics are a mix of whimsical nonsense and very humorous satire, such as the song title "Sick of Elephants" (think about it, it'll come).

Although, not quite the quality of his past offerings, Armchair Apocrypha will still blow you away, especially if you've never rocked Mr. Bird before.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

wow for next week

so starting monday each of our staff writers are posting their articles on their top 5 albums of 2007. but to add a little spice to it, we've asked some of our friends to add their list to ours. so next week check in with the ship for six days of reviews from us and some of friends from: vedera, surrogate, brighten, the new frontiers, listener, and more.