Ryan Adams & the Cardinals - Cardinology
Ryan Adams, a North Carolina native, and the Cardinals put forth a commendable effort on Cardinology. Alt-country is a genre I haven't much explored, and thus my knowledge of Adams' work is also limited. I get that Adams is going for the whole rehabilitation/rebirth/finding the light thing, and that the music is graceful and sweet for that reason. Yet, at times the songwriting feels a little hokey, and I kept hoping the band would show a little bit more energy. Some tracks -- "Fix It," "Go Easy, " "Magick," and "Sink Ships" -- do show signs of life, but overall, the album is set on cruise control. Cardinology may be a faster pace for Adam's, but it's still too slow for my taste. 6.7 out of 10
Rise Against - Appeal to Reason
I may have at one point in recent history described Rise Against as one of the few good modern punk bands. That was before I heard Appeal to Reason. Don't fret; Appeal is still a progressively minded, humanitarian, stick-it-to-the-man power chord punk fest. Besides reasoning behind the lack of variety, all I want to know is why there isn't a law regulating the number of times you can work pick scrapes into an album? I'm not sure of the official count, but they're in 90% of the songs on this album. Stand outs on Appeal to Reason for me are (of course) "Re-Education (Through Labor)," "Collapse (Post-Amerika)," "Audience of One," and "Entertainment." 7.5 out of 10.