Time to recap


Arizona - Welcome Back

Oh, to be a band that uses a state as their name, and one that none of the members reside in or are from. The members of Arizona are not from the US Southwest, but rather Brooklyn, NY, and why not? And while they appear to be the "pet band" of the good guys over at I Guess ImArizona Floating, they have gotten my attention this week as well.

Welcome Back Dear is the debut album from the band and it requires that you are attentive to each layer of the music in order to fully experience record. I guess you could say these guys are "naturals." In part due to the fact that they began recording this album after only 4 live shows together, and also because this certainly doesn not sound like a debut record.

Arizona are a band that are hard to put into a box or lend simple "recommend if you likes" to. The eclectic sound takes you down one path only to swoop you up and make a complete change of direction. Just when I thought I had the vocals pegged as a Turin Brakes type sound on Some Kind of Chill, then along comes a track like Splintering, which leans much closer to the heavier side of The Delgados as every guitar in sight is suddenly used to create this gem.

Have a listen to a couple great songs from this Chaturbate album, hope you enjoy it as much as I am...


The Shins - Wincing The Night Away

Wincing the Night AwayThere aren't many albums that people are almost tired of hearing and hearing about only days after their proper release. But in a age of "leaked" albums and excessive downloading with no remorse or intent to actually purchase the product, it happens. And it has happened to a large degree with the new album from The Shins, "Wincing The Night Away."

When the album leaked to the greedy hands of downloader's across the web months ago, Sub Pop did something right and pushed out an official single, "Phantom Limb" to divert the attention away from the entire album. It was somewhat effective, and did hold some off that prefer holding a CD in hand and actually paging through linear notes.

And now its on record store shelves, and I like many others who either had the patience to wait or maybe just forgot, have been rewarded. (the reward was some great album art and a free 45 with the two b-sides to Phantom Limb). Wincing in certainly not the pop gem that Chutes Too Narrow was. Chutes hooked me right away and I knew that The Shins were destined to become the next big thing in the indie realm. What I didn't know of course was that they would also achieve success on many other levels, and "change your life" as well, as a certain motion picture's quote goes.

With a soft and almost distant beginning on "Sleeping Lessons" you should know that this album falls under the category of "grower". Unlike Chutes it doesn't bitch slap the listener with a start like "Kissing the Lipless" does, but it demands respect in its own right, climaxing a little more than halfway through and causing you to inch the volume knob back down a bit after it was cranked up to experience the start of the song.

If the album as a whole is a grower, its only fair to say that some tracks do come out fully developed. Tunes like "Australia", "Turn on Me", "Phantom Limb", and "Sea Legs" certainly don't need that extra spin in order to be appreciated. But other tracks, while solid in their own right, such as "Black Wave" and "Red Rabbits", are best digested with the "rinse and repeat" method. And although I was hoping that the b-side to the Phantom Limb single, "Nothing At All", would somehow find its way onto the album, the current group of www.jasminlive.mobi songs stands strong on its own.

Overall, its an album that could be dismissed quickly by those awaiting another Chutes Too Narrow and the group that have cannonized "New Slang" as a milestone for this generation. But those willing to plant the seed that is Wincing The Night Away, and allow it to be properly listened to and examined over some time, will appreciate the album much more.


The Swimmers - Fighting Trees

Philadelphia's The Swimmers have become a bit of an "under the radar" sensation in their hometown in recent months. And its no surprise, with the success of other indie pop bands like The Shins and The New Pornographers enjoying a large following in the past 5 years or so, bands like The Swimmers are wise to follow in those footsteps.

The band does have their own fingerprints all over their debut disc however. The roots of The Swimmers goes back to when frontman Steve Yutzy-Burkey was fronting another band, One Star Hotel, and decided to base his next live sex project on the famous short story by John Cheever, "The Swimmer". Well, you can either say he got really caught up, or just realized the potential of the stuff he was working on, but One Star Hotel was ditched in favor of the new band, now known as The Swimmers.

The album, "Fighting Trees" is now complete and not only acts as an introduction to the band, but also as a nostalgic look back at youth in the suburbs in America. Complete with synth popped ballads and the kind of dreamy harmonies you know Im a sucker for. Here is a sample of two songs from the band, you can also anticipate the album to see a release sometime this Spring.


MusicNOW

MusicNOW kicked off here in Cincinnati last night with some amazing performances in what was being billed as the "marathon" set. I was working and could not make it out but from all indications it was a Sex Chat performance that many are still buzzing about. There are still tickets available for tonight's concert which includes performances from My Brightest Diamond and Amina.

Shara of MBD was kind enough to stop into the WOXY Lounge this morning for a "breakfast session" that was really special. It included two cover tunes as well. One from Roy Orbison (It's Over) and a Prince cover as well (The Beautiful Ones). Those tunes aren't apart of the session MP3 due to some legal issues, but you can still hear some other tunes from Shara and a great interview via the link below.

My Brightest Diamond - Live On WOXY.

My Brightest Diamond - Disappear

Head on down to Memorial Hall in Cincinnati tonight for the festivities, and come on down tomorrow night as well for a performance by Sufjan Stevens.


Kings Of Leon - Because Of The Times

Our live reviewer Dave sits down to do an album review for us today, Dave is a big Kings of Leon fan, so I wanted his perspective on the new album, Because of the Times.

Rock and roll seems to have lost its true identity. After a very distinct period in the 1970s, the genre seems to have departed Because of the Timesinto a disparate amount of directions. Starting with hair metal and the early onset of indie rock in the 80s and leading up to the lousy radio rock of this decade, true rock and roll fans have been searching for a band that could suffice their insatiable appetite for thunder, attitude, and most of all, emotion.

With Kings of Leon's latest Because of the Times, rock and roll is back, and might I add, with a vengeance. This album reminds the listener of everything that used to be good about rock and roll, and then some. Four relatives, three brothers and a cousin, all sharing not only the same last name (Followill) but their stage and their sound with brilliance and precision.

The album leads off with a seven minute masterpiece called "Knocked Up", that shows just how fearless and cocky the band is in their immense growth. And from there, the journey begins. Track after track shines. Truly the group has taken influences from U2 to the Rolling Stones to the Doors and molded them all into their own unique flavor. The most forward sounding track is hands down "McFearless", which finds drummer Nathan and lead guitarist Matthew simply showing off just how brilliantly their skills have developed. "Black Thumbnail" may be the catchiest song on the album, and when it hits full throttle, be ready to rock.

Maybe the most impressive part of this album is how confident Caleb sounds with his vocals. He has always been the cocky, glare-flashing frontman, but on Times he has truly developed into a singer as well, and one that's not afraid to give some raw honest emotion. On "The Runner", he shares a deeper side, one that has rarely come to the forefront in the past. "And it's cold when you're near/It's cold when you're nearing the bottom/Our time as we go/We know our times will change/I'll talk to Jesus/Jesus everyday."

"Fans" may very well be the best song the band has ever written, with a brilliant acoustic guitar line introduced at just the right point in the album and a lyrical masterpiece comparing their fame in England with virtual anonymity in the United States. The song almost mocks those in the U.S. that have yet to catch on, "All of London sing/Because England swings and they sure love the tales I bring/Those raining days aren't so bad when you're the king/The king they want to see." Well, lads of Leon, get ready, because rock and rollers in America have been waiting for this album for 25+ years. I doubt things will be the same at home for very long.