Something More My Style

  • Artist: Between Home And Serenity
  • Album: Power Weapons In The Complex
  • Year: 2005
  • Why I picked it up: I don't really know. It just looked nice. The band name felt like something I might like, the cover was plain but unique... Whatever

Between Home And Serenity is a band which produces a contemporary post-hardcore sound, and while this is more of what I would generally listen to myself, there's little that makes this band stand out--besides the fact that they don't play their sound all too well. All the songs sound similar (with quite a few even having much too similar opening riffs), with a generic (although poor) singing voice (I even caught him miss a note once or twice), not too powerful scream, and weak bass lines. Although, the guitar work (nice riffs and good mixing of heavier sounds and breakdowns) and drumming is solid, but the poor performances from the singer and bassist really detract from their contributions. There are no really profound lyrics to save them, either, as they offer pearls of wisdom such as "this visible camouflage is visible to the eyes," which really doesn't mean anything. If they were trying to be ironic, it fell short. If they were trying to be deep, they ought to step out of the pond first. The uninspired emo breakdown in the middle of "Words Unspoken" was just too cliché for me to handle, and I had to walk away from the album for a while.

This is a genre I love, and this band does not do it justice. For similar contemporary post-hardcore (done well), go to bands like We Are the Ocean, Silverstein (older stuff, especially), A Breach On Heaven, or Drop Dead, Gorgeous first.

Labels: ,


It's easy to hum a Sweet Little Song

  • Artist: The Elktones
  • Album: Small Town
  • Year: 2002
  • Why I picked it up: It gave off really really strong country vibes, and I was in the mood for some good country (like, Willis Alan Ramsey) when I was buying.

The Elktones produce an upbeat poppyish country (not really so much the contemporary pop-country, but folksy country with a happy feeling) sound. It's very enjoyable and I do really enjoy listening to it. There are plenty of people out there who do not even want to give country music a chance (probably why this was in the bargain bin), but if they were to listen to something like The Elktones (while they don't play pure country, it is enough country to scare off the country-phobes) these people would find themselves enjoying the music, and may continue on to actually enjoy country and seek it out. With plenty of acoustic guitar, smooth vocals, solid percussion work, and a splash of electric guitar and banjo the Elktones made a very nice, enjoyable sound on this CD, which would definitely appeal to many of those who "can't stand country music."

The liner notes mention that no animals were harmed during the making of this album, which--while a nice sentiment--should not need to be stated. Are they suggesting that all the other albums I've bought were produced while the artists tortured little puppies? Makes me wonder what these Elktones were really doing...

Labels: ,



  • Artist: Red Animal War, Slowride
  • Album: Red Animal War|Slowride
  • Year: 2002
  • Why I picked it up: When I first looked at it it seemed like a rather boring cover, until I looked at the back cover and the inside of the insert. The album artwork and the CD artwork all had something relating to the Kennedy assassination, which was a cool concept for the album art.

Whoops, I accidentally bought a split EP, so there are two artists on this album, not one. Oh well, you guys are getting a special two-for-one edition of Igor and the Whale (which is good, since Igor doesn't seem to like to update over the summer). Red Animal War has a really nice sound, with punk rock vocals and catchy lyrics, sung along excellent guitar riffs, solid and varied drums, and a consistently strong (although subtle) bass line. Somewhat complimenting them, Slowride is a strong rock band, with good driving guitars, steady drums, and a nice bassist and singer. The problem is that the way the EP is laid out--with the tracks by each artist alternating one after another--makes the Red Animal War tracks way overshadow the Slowride tracks. The Slowride tracks aren't bad, it's just that when the were played between Red Animal War tracks they don't stand out enough on their own.

I really enjoyed Red Animal War (it was very tough to choose a standout track among their three, I liked them all), I hope to get more of their stuff sometime.

Red Animal War
  • Standout track: Dear John
  • MySpace: Slowride
  • Rating: 3/5

  • How much I would've paid: $6 (mostly for the Red Animal War tracks)

Labels: , , ,


It Seems Like Something My Dad Would Like

  • Artist: The Palladinos
  • Album: Travelling Dark
  • Year: 1994
  • Why I picked it up: The cover had a very pretty stained glass picture on it of a woman walking a path of brightly colored rocks, and I thought it looked interesting. There was an offhand chance that it might be metal.

The Palladinos have a sound which is very noteable, but I'm having trouble describing it. It's one of those banana/pomegranate issues, if you will. It's a folksy rock sound, I guess. I keep getting strong hippie vibes as I listen to it (but not in a trippy way). The vocalists have very strong and steady voices, and they're obviously very secure in their sound. The mandolin on the handful of tracks it is featured in is pretty nifty. Overall, pretty nice slow-ish calm rock that is appealing, if a little dated.

What's cool is that in the liner notes, next to each song's title is the key in which it was written.

Labels: ,


Three Guitarists, a Bassist, a Singer, and a Drummer

  • Artist: Circuit
  • Album: Eau De Humanity
  • Year: 2006
  • Why I picked it up: The cover has a bottle floating in what I assume is the perfume "Eau De Humanity." I wondered what the smell of humanity sounded like... I think.

Circuit is a typical rock band that plays a very classic guitar focused sound, which is full of complex riffs that display the guitarists' talents. The vocalist has the common powerful, mid ranged voice that is found in classic rock. What I find to be the biggest fault in the band is that the bass, drums, and keyboards that are listed in the liner notes are very insubstantial. However, the collection of songs is, nonetheless, very strong. The album contains power anthems, as well as the rock ballads with the changed up slower tempo and dampened vocals. Circuit also has their fair share of harder post-grunge/alt rock songs (with slightly less technical guitar riffs) of the type that filled the late 90s so much.

I guess my final verdict on the "Eau De Humanity" is... that it smells nice?

  • Standout track: Reasoning
  • MySpace: Circuit
  • How much I would've paid: $5
  • Rating: 3/5

Labels: ,


"Hard working and underslept, But lazy at heart"

  • Artist: Small Sins
  • Album: Mood Swings
  • Year: 2007
  • Why I picked it up: The image of the short barreled gun on the cover was interesting, and it wrapped around the case to the back following the trajectory of the bullet and I liked it. Seemed like possibly some punk rock.

Small Sins was not what I was expecting, but I'm far from disappointed. It's a nice calming indie rock, often with electronic overtones. The sound frequently gave off a strong Killers vibe, which was really nice. The album contains a really good mix of up-beat songs, such as the heavily electronic "Drunk E-Mails" or the less electronic but slightly country-tinged "On The Run," and slower songs, like the downtrodden "We Will Break Our Own Hearts" or "On A Mission." It has a high chance to become a common listening staple on my iPod. As with Morello and Angel and the Love Mongers previously, I highly suggest Small Sins.

What's really sweet is that the CD came with two bonus tracks on the CD extra portion, an acoustic version of "I Need A Friend" and a string mix of "Bullets."

Labels: , ,


No es español

  • Artist: Soft Complex
  • Album: Barcelona+
  • Year: 2006
  • Why I picked it up: The artwork gave off a nice electronic vibe, something I was in the mood for.

I'm going to guess that at some time Soft Complex released an EP called Barcelona. It had three tracks: Barcelona, Sad Note, and Beat the Chill. I hypothesize this because Barcelona+ also has these three tracks, as well as five remixes of the tracks. Fortunately, the three original tracks are all quite excellent in their own ways. Sadly, not all of the remixes fare as well. Some, like the Person Autopilot remix of Sad Note, are quite excellent. Others, like both remixes of Barcelona, aren't nearly as good––surprising, since Barcelona is probably the best of the original three tracks.

In the end, it's a good collection of songs, although I wish that it had been entirely Soft Complex's work, as they seem to be the best of the bunch.

Labels: ,