created by

created by
thekemper at deviantart

Search This Blog

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Funky Freshness


Boisterous, rowdy, and impeccably mixed are things one might expect from the indomitable Kevin Barnes, but that doesn't make the superlatives any less true.  With a slew of magnificent musical offerings already available, the sweet beats and trippy lyrics on False Priest leave me satisfied and tempted.  The single and third track on the album, "Coquet Coquette," changes how I previously felt about dance rock and pop together, meaning this song melds them well enough for me to want more.  "You Do Mutilate" is full of awesomeness, most notably the ending monologue.  You really should hear for yourself.  False Priest does not lack the inventiveness of a solo-produced Of Montreal/Kevin Barnes album, and Mr. Brion can rest assured that he hasn't lost any fans for the band, but has quite possibly gained some more for himself.  (On a side note, I still hate Kanye West.)

Please visit POLYVINYL RECORDS for more information.

Love and peace,

United in Difference

Women- Public Strain promo image

Public Strain by Canadian band Women possesses distinct originality and captures the essence of music through lo-fi sonic experimentation.  Sounds similar to Warsaw, Neutral Milk Hotel, and The Unicorns can be found throughout the disc.  Track 2, "Heat Distraction," reminds me of what rock should be- simple, powerful, melodic and thoughtful.  Great guitar intros, sizzling drums, and understated, sparse vocals skillfully backed by steady bass make this a standout track.  Could this album be what Iggy Pop and Paul McCartney might have produced if they formed a band in the mid-70s?  Possibly.  Elegantly subtle, yet raw and full of energy, this album will have you gathering household objects for noise-making parties.  At times melancholy and somber, breaking into upbeat, joyful harmonies, Public Strain is indicative of what I hope is a lasting resurgence in melodic rock.

For more information please visit JAGJAGUWAR.

Love and peace,

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Reader and Curious Passerby Survey

Hello darlings!

It's time to gauge your level of interests in topics and formats for this lovely little blog.  I've been getting a decent amount of response, but feel that to boost interest and readership (and thereby increase available review materials), some changes may be in order.  Please take a few moments to respond to the questions below by commenting on this post.

Thank you ever so much for your continued support,


Survey Questions:

1.  Do you prefer shorter reviews that give an overview of an album, or longer more detailed reviews going over each song?
2.  Do you feel there has been a fair variety of bands and artists represented thus far?  Why/not?
3.  Would you like to see more pinups profiled and interviewed?
4.  Do you have any bands, artists, models, photographers or writers you would like to see featured?
5.  Do you enjoy the current format with one item per post, or would you better enjoy multiple subjects per post?
6.  Any further comments or suggestions?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Follow the Graphite and Ink

Many people have seen the wonderful covers by comic artist Alex Ross, but few have seen the beginnings of such covers.  With Rough Justice, Alex Ross and editor Chip Kidd provide a glimpse of some never before revealed sketches and roughs for many iconic covers and comic book characters.  Inside the pencil-drawn, canvas bound hardcover book you will find the beginnings of covers for JSA, Kingdom Come, and Batman RIP among others.  With an easy to follow layout, and sketchbook like design, fans and newcomers to the works of Ross will enjoy perusing this volume and learning about some proposed, but never published stories and character arcs, as well as long-loved favorites at DC- the big three.  You can find Alex Ross on Facebook and Twitter, and you can purchase the book, published by Pantheon Graphic Novels, a division of Random House, at your local bookstore, or online at:

Five stars go to this delicious book!

Love and peace,


Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Violent Wind From a Modern Band

The Suburbs, by Arcade Fire, is one of those rare albums that gives you goosebumps from the first time you listen to it through all subsequent listens.  I will do my best not to gush too much, but come on man, this is outrageous!  
Beginning with the title track, "The Suburbs," has a smooth rock intro; right away you're grabbed by the lyrics and movement (a la "Tunnels").  Opening the album up to a wonderful world of musical possibilities, we experience excellent timing and sensational vocals, exhibiting the band's growth since the release of their ep.  
"Ready to Start" gives plenty of evidence for Win's love of Bruce Springsteen, some qualms with immoral and religious leaders, and a bit of 90s rock influence as well.  Masterfully bridges tracks 1 and 3, while strongly standing on its own with glittery, gorgeous guitar and bass, along with lyrics such as, "I would rather be wrong, than live in the shadows of your son."  F'in A!
"Modern Man" further explores some Springsteen style music, yet is absolutely their own.  You want to pick up a guitar to play and sing along with this powerful tune.  Another shot at self-righteous, self-described "modern men" (ahem Bill O??), this track ends with a Built to Spill-inspired riff, which I adore.
Orchestral sounds pepper the opening of "Rococo," even though the band returned to their 8 piece original for this record.  This is the first "big band" track on this killer album.  Heavy bass and strings add to the ominous feeling which is reconciled with lovely keyboards and guitar moving into lighter strings.  The ups and downs in the music successfully mimic the tides of popular culture in North America. See and hear for yourself:
"Empty Room" is our first reminder of a previous time, building on the ferocity of the re-worked No Cars Go, then punching up the volume with guitar and strings, droning into super sonic happiness.  A beautiful vision of independence when conformity is still the norm, this is a quick interlude with much presence.
Hand claps and sweet vox with some more smooth guitar work open "City with no Children," an excellent showcase of this band's immense talent.  Anyone who's driven through Dallas or Houston (or Atlanta for that matter) during heavy traffic will most likely identify with this piece.  It also speaks of the evils associated with being rich and lazy, you get the sense Win fears becoming that which he despises most, and don't we all?
"Half Light I" is a light refreshment of sound quietly leaking in with beautiful vocals and guitar, increasing slowly but steadily in volume and intensity much like "How it Ends" by Devotchka.  A gorgeous song for a gorgeous record (if you guessed I kinda like this album, you're wrong.  I freakin love it!)  I'm always a fan of Arcade Fire's string arrangements, and this song has some of their best to date.
Next you get smacked in the face with the awesome "Half Light II (No Celebration)."  Think U2, War-era, only, well, better.  This tune is frightfully good and lyrically and rhythmically succeeds in caressing your ear holes with affection.  Rousing vocals, Strummer and Boeckner- esque guitar, and fabulous strings backed by heavy bass and well paced drums, this tune will turn you inside out.  Another excellent example of their sensational synthesizer skills as well.
In another nod to Arcade Fire's past, with "Suburban War" I'm reminded of the tropical storm of "Ocean of Noise," but again they've built on to the success of such a song and made another great anti-love ballad.  Keyboards and guitar carry us on this wonderful drive through economically and emotionally broken towns and give us something amazing to hold onto.  With the line "The music divides us into tribes, you choose your side and I'll choose my side;" the song explodes into an amazing drum crescendo, moving the "tribes" apart amid reminisces of an aging young man, carrying us out into the next whirlwind.
"Month of May" is the most eccentric, yet somehow still familiar song for Arcade Fire, at least on this cd.  Very evocative of Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World," this song was written about tornadoes in Toronto, making you feel surrounded by the wave of mistrust in society and young people's anxiety.  A true rocker, you can't deny the band's heritage as a rock'n'roll band with this one.
Moving on to Neil Young's "Harvest Moon," we have the sweetly enchanting "Wasted Hours."  Comforting you after the turbulent ride through the storm of the previous track, you will be thankful for this song.  This is a slow piece with real musical integrity; the contrast is nothing short of masterful.  It's also slightly similar to some of the newest M. Ward, only, again, better.  (Sorry guy, you're great, but it's true.)
 Picking up the pace a bit to prepare for some more rock awesomeness, "Deep Blue" has an incredible piano arrangement mixed with higher male vocals moving into some excellent strings and guitar.  It may make you think twice about what you see on TV news (even if you're one of those people that actually watches and enjoys Fox & Friends.)
Outstanding keyboard and vox open "We Used to Wait."  Layering terrific guitar and bass with a steady beat, you're drawn in by a switch to a fantastical melody which continues to build throughout the song.  Stings enter after two verses rounding out a killer chorus and giving us one hell of a tune.  You might think track number 13 on a 16-track album would be sloppy and boring, but that couldn't be further from the truth here.
"Sprawl I" is a stunning display of Mr. Butler's vocal abilities, a track that reminds you why this band is known for subtle yet amazing arrangements and astounding musical creativity.  Somber and revealing, this seems to be about the darker side of suburban life, making you feel on edge while listening, yet at the same time you're marveling at the beauty of this brief musical expression.
My absolute favorite track is "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)."  Regine stars in this outstanding synth-rock beauty.  Reminiscent of Kate Bush (The Dreaming) and a bit Cyndi Lauper and Soft Cell, this is strong yet pretty, electronic and rocking.  You fell the pressure of stuffy, over crowded neighborhoods, but you want to dance with the keys that are just sheer genius.  Featuring even more incredibly subtle guitar and bass work, this song is one of their most focused tracks.  We get our favorite face-melting spiral into musical insanity about 3/4 of the way through this masterpiece, and Regine's voice never wavers.  I get chills every damn time!
Finally, "The Suburbs Continued" is an alluring, peaceful closer on this musical roller coaster ride through society's most popular urban areas and not so rural towns.
Once in a while, an album comes along that has been talked about and hyped up for months or years before its release, only to be a monumental disappointment.  Well, have no fear, because The Suburbs absolutely delivers.  It is so far beyond any expectations I had, I almost cried when I first heard it (embarrassing but true.)  There is divine power, emotion, breathtaking vocals and musical arrangements, and a salient depth that most bands releasing albums today seriously lack.  If you only buy one album this year, I'd ask for you to pick this one.  You will not regret it!

Love and peace,

P.S.  DO NOT MISS THIS- Arcade Fire live from Madison Square Garden at 9pm central time here:

Buy here:)