Tuesday, March 29, 2011

______________________New Releases 3.29.2011

Amon Amarth _ Surtur Rising

Apocalyptic concept album from Swedish death metal vets.

Becoming The Archetype _ Celestial Completion

Christian progressive death metal.

**Bibio _ Mind Bokeh

Funky experimental pop from British producer Stephen Wilkinson. See "Pretentious," "Anything New."

Boxer Rebellion _ Cold Still

Successful UK act aim for the US charts with hazy pop-rock.

Britney Spears _ Femme Fatale

Ahh Britney..more undeniable pop tunes.

**Broken Bells _ Meyrin Fields EP

James Mercer and Danger Mouse remind us why their first album together was so huge.

Emery _ We Do What We Want

Christian metal/screamo.

Erland & The Carnival _ Nightingale

Brit folk rock led by the Verve’s Simon Tong.

Funeral Party _ The Golden Age of Knowhere

Clever rock band from Cali features glistening guitars and catchy keyboards. The strained vocals might be too dramatic for some.

Gangpol & Mit _ The 1000 Softcore Tourist People Club

Inventive electro. See "Otsuki Sama," "The Softcore People Club."

The Haunted _ Unseen

Swedish metal featuring members of the legendary At The Gates.

**Heidi Spencer & The Rare Birds _ Under Streetlight Glow

Sparse, intricate folk. See "Go To France," "Tried and True."

Hunx And His Punx _ Too Young To Be In Love

Unique 60’s styled power pop tunes with a gay twist.

The Jeff Healey Band _ Get Me Some

Dated American rock.

Josh T Pearson _ Last of the Country Gentleman

Critically acclaimed Texas songwriter's first record in ten years.

Los Lonely Boys _ Rockpango

New classic rock. Only $3.99 on amazon.

Marillion _ Live From Cadogan Hall [2CD]

British classic rock vets pull from their extensive career on this 21-song set.

Mars Classroom _ New Theory of Everything

Silly nasal alt/rock.

The Mountain Goats _ All Eternals Deck

Eccentric acoustic storytelling.

Obits _ Moody, Standard And Poor

Solid American indie/garage band would benefit from a few more hooks.

**The Pains of Being Pure at Heart _ Belong

Blog sweethearts, make their best, biggest, most accessible album yet. See “Belong,” “Even In Dreams,” “Too Tough.”

Peter Bjorn and John _ Gimme Some

Quality Swedish popsters strip down and simplify.

Radiohead _ The King of Limbs [CD]

Officially released, although if you wanted it you had it last month.

Rory Block _ Shake ‘Em On Down: A Tribute To Mississippi Fred McDowell

Great blues singer/guitarist shows off her classic style.

Snoop Dogg _ Doggumentary

Snoop shows that he's still as funky and nasty as ever, who cares if he's pushing 40.

The Sounds _ Something To Die For

Swedish indie/pop rockers get digitized and aim to take over the world.

Ten After Two _ Truth Is…

Progressive hardcore with bursts of melody.

We Are Defiance _ Trust In Few

More hardcore with dashes of screamo.

Whitesnake _ Forevermore

Time changes everything. Except Whitesnake.

Within Temptation _ The Unforgiving

Dutch symphonic metal fronted by Sharon den Adel.

Wiz Khalifa _ Rolling Papers

The pride of Pittsburgh vies with Snoop for the title of most stoned rapper.

Yelle _ Safari Disco Club

Fun, French electro tunes. See “C’est Pas Une Vie,” “J’ai Bu.”


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

_________________New Releases 3.22.2011

Acid House Kings _ Music Sounds Better With You
Anticipated album from charming Swedish pop outfit lives up to the hype. RIYL Belle & Sebastian.
Aggrolites _ Rugged Road
Roots reggae band from LA comes close to making a great record.
Agnostic Front _ My Life My Way
On the hardcore punk outfit's 15th album they sound as hard as ever.
Art of Dying _ Vices And Virtues
Cringe-worthy mod rock.
Richard Ashcroft _ United Nations of Sound
Verve frontman maintains a familiar sound but with a new backing cast. See "This Thing Called Life."
Baby Bash _ Bashtown
Nu-school club R&B.
Bobby V _ Fly On The Wall
Bedroom R&B.
Joe Bonamassa _ Dust Bowl
American guitar prodigy plays classic, smoky blues.
Born Of Osiris _ The Discovery
Deathcore via Palatine, Illinois.
Edwyn Collins _ Losing Sleep
Veteran UK producer returns with his first record since a major 2005 brain hemmorage.
**CunninLynguists _ Oneirology
One of underground hip-hop's best groups, not to be missed. See "My Habit," "Get Ignorant."
**DJ Deadeye _ Substance Abuse
Producer's guest list reads like a who's who of the underground on this impressive 20-track effort.
Duran Duran _ All You Need Is Now
Electro-pop stalwarts craft quality songs but could use more of a modern edge.
Egyptrixx _ Bible Eyes
Inventive, fun electro doesnt sound like anything you've heard.
Green Day _ Awesome as F**k [Live]
High energy set of songs taken mostly from the band's last two albums.
Gucci Mane _ The Return of Mr Zone 6
Somehow its even harder to take Gucci Mane seriously with that huge ice cream cone tattoo on his face.
Horseshoe Gang _ Firing Squad
Cali rap collective known as the West Coast Slaughterhouse.
Jennifer Hudson _ I Remember Me
Suprisingly decent pop/R&B via American Idol.
Josh Kelley _ Georgia Clay
Straightforward pop/country.
Ke$ha _ Dance Commander
Pop's most annoying new fixture gets remixed.
Keren Ann _ 101
Prolific, worldly songstress plays nostalgic, airy pop.
Panic! At The Disco _ Vices & Virtues
Fall Out Boy proteges return two members lighter to follow up 2008's questionable "Pretty. Odd."
Pet Shop Boys _ The Most Incredible Thing: Original Score
One of the world's best selling groups does their first ballet.
**Pharoahe Monch _ W.A.R.
Embattled Queens rapper retains his complexity, gets a boost from a serious guest list. See "Calculated Amalgamation," "W.A.R."
Protest The Hero _ Scurrilous
Skull pounding mix of hair and real metal.
Saliva _ Under Your Skin
Rap-rock continues. Unfortunately.
Tommy Shaw _ The Great Divide
The infamous Styx guitarist tries bluegrass with mixed results.
Soundgarden _ Live on I5
90's flannel heroes prove they can still rock, impressive in the fact that it exists.
The Strokes _ Angles
Highly anticipated and highly disappointing effort from the gods of indie cool. Great review here from nymag- Easy Listening.
_ One
Ultra-produced prog metal; a metal 30 Seconds To Mars?
Yellowcard _ When You're Through Thinking, Say Yes
Yellowcard returns with more of their fast paced, upbeat pop-punk after a two year break.
Zion I & Grouch _ Heroes in the Healing of the Nation
Bay-Area rappers follow up 2006's hit Heroes in the City of Dope.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Please Don't Tell Me to Stop

As part of our Kickstarter campaign to press the Vinyl for Golden Age, we offered to record a cover song - whatever song our backer wanted.  Wendy and Chris Duby were generous enough to commission this track, and we're super grateful to them.  Chris is Evan's brother, and the truth is when we found out he had selected that reward, we were sure he was going to ask us to record the most ridiculous and challenging song possible.  Something embarrassing, all in good fun.  It took a while to come up with the song, but once he did, I was pretty excited and relieved.  I love alot of Madonna's music, and this song has always been one of my faves.  So here you go - this is a cover song commissioned by Wendy and Chris, which feels more like a dare than anything else.  We had alot of fun recording it.  It's fairly ridiculous, and has the dubious distinction of being the first Beat Radio recording ever to feature the human beat box.

MP3: Beat Radio - Don't Tell Me (Madonna Cover)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New 3.15.11!

___________________________New Releases

Adebisi Shank _ This Is The Second Album From A Band Called Adebisi Shank

Original blend of guitar/alt rock with modern electronics and interesting beats. See the appropriately titled "Logdrum."

As Blood Runs Black _ Instinct

Aptly titled hardcore/metal.

Travis Barker _ Give The Drummer Some

An insane guest list can't even help this confused rap/rock blend.

**Caitlin Rose _ Own Side Now

Unique, stylish American folk, RIYL She and Him. See "For The Rabbits," "That's Alright."

Cornershop _ Cornershop and The Double-O Groove

Wild fusion of Indian music, Britpop, and electro.

The Damnwells _ No One Listens To The Band Anymore

American indie band release their own record after raising almost $35,000.

Death Set _ Michel Poiccard

Spastic punk.

The Dodos _ No Color

Percussion heavy art/pop. Only $2.99 at amazon.

Does It Offend You, Yeah?

Brit electro hipsters go for the biggest synths ever. See "Wrestling," "Pull out My Insides."

Eleventh Dream Day _ Riot Now!

Fuzzy altrock.

Funeral For A Friend _ Welcome Home Armageddon

Vets still doing their signature hardrock/emo.

The Joy Formidable _ The Big Roar

Welsh rockers debut full length lacks the consistency of 2010's "A Balloon Called Moaning."

Nick Lowe _ Labour Of Lust

English songwriter has a lot to offer.

Steve Martin _ Rare Bird Alert

Shockingly good banjo tunes.

J Mascis [Dinosaur Jr] _ Several Shades Of Why

Solid folk, see "Not Enough," "Can I."

New York Dolls _ Dancing Backwards In High Heels

Original punk rockers still have it. See "Streetcake," "Talk To Me Baby."

**Noah And The Whale _ Last Night On Earth

Cinematic electro. See "Just Me Before We Met," "Give It All Back."

Oh Land _ Oh Land

Danish youtube sensation makes hip electro.

Rise Against _ Endgame

Punk's angriest are cheesier than ever.

Screeching Weasel _ First World Manifesto

Vets bring their trademark snide punk.

Smoking Popes _ This Is Only A Test

Fun, rocking set from indie punk vets. See "Wish We Were," "Punk Band."

**Telekenesis _ 12 Desperate Straight Lines

Catchy, stylish indie rock. See "You Turn Clear In The Sun," "Dirty Thing" and try to resist.

Dionne Warwick _ Only Trust your Heart

Second only to Aretha on the billboard charts, Dionne plays adult jazz.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

New 3.8.2011!

________________New 3.8.2011

**Ancient Astronauts _ Into Bass and Time

Masterfully produced dark, slick, stylish beats

Buffalo Tom _ Skins

90's heroes follow up 2007's Three Easy Pieces.

Carol Bui _ Red Ship

Classic/psychedelic influenced female rock.

Children of Bodom _ Relentless, Reckless Forever

The title of the record says it all.

Bruce Cockburn _ Small Source of Comfort

Veteran singer/songwriter plays clean, moody American folk.

The Color Morale _ My Devil In Your Eyes

Rock/metal act follows footsteps of Disturbed, Linkin Park with a heavier edge.

Dance Gavin Dance _ Downtown Battle Mountain Pt II

Abrasive metal/punk.

Dinosaur Bones _ My Divider

Indie pop/rock act would benefit from a few more hooks.

Esoteric _
Boston Pharoah
Quality underground hip-hop from Boston.

Sara Evans _ Stronger

Cheesey pop/country.

Riley Etheridge, Jr _ Powder Keg

Raspy country/Americana

**Ellie Goulding _ Lights

Quality straightforward pop from the UK. Artist to watch at SXSW.

Grails _ Deep Politics

Spacey but intricate instrumentals.

Jonny Greenwood _ Norwegian Wood (Soundtrack)

Greenwood scores a Japanese flick as only a Radiohead member could.

Avril Lavigne _ Goodbye Lullaby

The genius behind "Sk8er Boi" still writes like she's in high school.

**Lupe Fiasco _ Lasers

Finally an art-rap record that might be appreciated by hip-hop fans and mainstream music.

Alexi Murdoch _ Towards The Sun

Warm voiced singer/songrwriter has some magic. See "Some Day Soon."

Parts & Labor _ Constant Future

Disappointing follow up to 2008's Receivers.

Raekwon _ Shaolin vs Wu-Tang

Rap's best storyteller claims his well-earned spot in the mainstream

**Reks _ R.E..K.S

Top-notch underground MA rapper gets help from some of the best producers in the biz (Hi-Tek, Premier, Pete Rock).

REM _ Collapse Into Now


Rival Schools _ Pedals

Post-hardcore act return with their first album in 10 years.

Turisas _ Stand Up and Fight

Theatrical Russian metal.

Kurt Vile _ Smoke Ring For My Halo

"Constant hitmaker" has potential but is inconsistent on new disc. See "Baby's Arms," "In My Time."

WC _ Revenge of the Barracuda

Familiar West Coast rappers over XXL beats.

Wye Oak _ Civilian


___________________________Featured Review

Wye Oak _ Civilian (3.5/5.0)


With their first two records, If Children and The Knot Baltimore duo Wye Oak operated largely under the radar. They joined the latest generation of indie rock DIYers briefly with self-released If Children in 2007, until catching the attention of Merge records a year later. The Knot (2009) was dark, gorgeous, and moody all at once, and cemented the band as one to watch in the future. Two years later the band returns with Civilian, retaining their dark hazy atmosphere while enlarging their sound to reach a wider audience than ever before.

A trebly guitar welcomes the listener over a restrained snare, before expanding into an expansive chorus followed by shimmering harmonics. The second track "The Alter" finds the band in unfamiliar territory with the attention removed from the guitar and shifted to a bouncy keyboard part and huge rhythm section. This could almost be a Black Keys song, but the noisy build of the chorus reminds you who you were listening to if you had any doubts. "Holy Holy" is one of the best tracks on the album; a simple guitar progression chugs along before the tension is released with a sparse chorus before a massive wall of guitars comes crashing down all over again.

The tracks are arranged in away that maximizes contrast and commands the audience's attention; the heavy darkness of "Holy Holy" is followed with the quirky stuttering guitars of "Dogs Eyes," and the uneasy build of the title track, which provide a welcome respite from the onslaught. Just when things may have been getting sleepy synths pick up in the chorus of "Fish" offering yet another variation on the bands penchant for large, dark choruses.

"Plains" is a change of direction and one of the prettiest tracks the record has to offer; simply strummed guitar chords plod while delayed noises swell and explode into their trademark heaviness. The staggered pounding of "Hot As Day" is reminiscent of a National song, the restrained "We Were Wealth" acts as the beginning of the ending, and "Doubt" closes the record in singer/songwriter mode. The overall result here is an artful, cohesive record full of depth and emotion, warranting repeat listens and keeping Wye Oak on our short list of bands to watch.

Highlights: "Holy Holy," "Plains," "Civilian"

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Heart of Darkness/Geography

Mark Linkous from Sparklehorse died a year ago today.  As many much as any other band, Sparklehorse's music has been a constant source of inspiration for me with Beat Radio.  Here's a great video Christina Vantzou made for one of my favorite of Mark's songs.

Our song "Geography" which is the last song on our new LP was one that I wrote in memory of Mark.  Some of the lyrics are direct references to Sparklehorse songs.  Here's an mp3 of us playing the tune live last week at our rehearsal space.

Beat Radio - Geography (Rehearsal tape 2/11) (mp3)

Here's a tribute to Mark from NPR.

RIP Mark.  "There's a heaven and there's a star for you"

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

New March 1, 2011: Middle Brother, Papercuts, more!

____________________________New 3.1.2011

**Alexander [Edward Sharpe, Ima Robot] _ Alexander

Alex Ebert plays more of the upbeat folk that saw his last record as Edward Sharpe take off. See "In The Twilight."

Mark Ballas _ HurtLoveBox

Cheesey pop attempts to channel Timberlake, Maroon 5.

Beady Eye [Oasis] _ Different Gear, Still Speeding

Oasis minus Noel return with a rock album.

Davila 66 _ Tan Bajo

Interesting Beach Boys-esque indie-pop by way of San Juan.

**DeVotchKa _ 100 Lovers (1.28)

The masterful band plays their signature brand of nostalgic, operatic neo-folk.

Dropkick Murphys _ Going Out In Style

Quincy, MA rockers play their widely popular Irish-punk.

Linda Eder _ Now

Streisand disciple sings show tunes.

Eisley _ The Valley

Texas girls still feature unique vocals and rich harmonies but lose some of their indie appeal with big production.

Everyone Dies in Utah _ Seeing Clearly

Super melodic screamo act borrow inspiration from Underoath.

Forever the Sickest Kids _ Forever the Sickest Kids

Gen Y pop-punk features nasal vox, slick production, even synths!

Go Radio _ Lucky Street

Emo lives on Fearless records.

Kopek _ White Collar Lies

Agro/hard rock by way of Dublin.

Lewis, Aaron [Staind] _ Town Line

Remember "It's Been Awhile(ft Fred Durst)"? Want More?

Lykke Li _ Wounded Rhymes

Sweedish songstress is on a major label but retains warm, artful production.

**Middle Brother _ Middle Brother

Debut from supergroup featuring frontmen of Deer Tick, Delta Spirit, and Dawwes manage to equal the sum of their parts.

Papercuts _ Fading Parade


Popper, John [Blues Traveler] _ And the Duskray Troubadours

Warm, familiar roots-pop.

Rural Alberta Advantage _ Departing

Faced paced roots-folk similar to Mumford & Sons.

Ron Sexsmith _ Long Player Late Bloomer

Well established Canadian plays smooth, soft rock.

**Those Dancing Days _ Daydreamers and Nightmares

Dense up-beat pop tunes from female fronted act by way of Nacka, Sweden. See "Reaching Forward," "Help Me Close My Eyes."

Watt, Mike _ Hyphenated-Man

Career bass player makes predictably weird record of 15 tracks under 2:04 in length.

**Williams, Lucinda _ Blessed

Strong folk rock from one of America's top songwriters.


________________________________________Featured Review

Papercuts _ Fading Parade (2.0/5.0)

Sub Pop

For Papercuts mastermind Jason Quever the challenge isn't making pleasant music. as he's repeatedly demonstrated his capabilities on 2007's Can't Go Back, and 2009's You Can Get What You Want. The challenge now becomes about keeping a coherent narrative and maintaining interest through ten-tracks of his hazy guitar driven "dream pop." The band's success in doing this on their Sub Pop debut is debatable.

The opener "Do You Really Wanna Know" is a promising beginning, featuring a strong vocal melody and bright instrumentation. Comparisons to the spaced-out guitar pop of the Shins will abound, and the lead single "Do What You Will" continues in the same vein. Unfortunately it's almost all downhill from here as the band's reverb soaked instrumentation and songs begin to run together in a forgettable melange. "I'll See You Later I Guess" plods along in a slow drone for nearly five minutes, and "Chills" borrows an Eliot Smith melody that doesn't feel quite right. The sludge-fest is continued with "The Messenger" which while 100% pleasant has shockingly little in the way of melodic interest, offering little more then a repetitive four word/note refrain.

Melody returns with "White Are the Waves" which might be the strongest track on the record, differentiated with a strong upright piano melody and interesting vocal line. "Wait Till I'm Dead" is another sleeper, built on a pretty chord structure but the vocals feel weak and anemic, guiding the song halfheartedly. The album ends with some of the record's strongest tracks; "Marie Says You've Changed" is by far the most upbeat track (but still lacks a clear hook), and "Winter Daze" and "Charades" finds the bands dream-pop march at it's most effective as the drums over echoing keys and guitars.

This record is totally listenable and could initially make it past the undiscerning ears of hipsters from Portland to Williamsburg, but the lack of substance will leave a limited population returning for repeat listens. In a music world saturated with indie/art/dream rock listeners will have to decide for themselves if hazy styling and carefully calibrated reverb can make up for a serious lack of substance.

Highlights: "White are The Waves," "Winter Daze," "Charades"

Looking forward to a spring of good new music - a few records we’re looking forward to getting our hands on:

Raekwon _ Shaolin vs Wu-Tang (3.8)

Wye Oak _ Civilian (3.8) (streaming free @npr.org!)

The Strokes _ Angels (3.22)

Panda Bear _ Tomboy (4.12)

Radiohead _ King of Limbs (5.9)

Okkervil River _ I Am Very Far (5.10)

Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi _ Rome (5.17)