Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter

    Monday, December 7, 2009

    Album Review- We Were Pirates "Cutting Ties"

    by: Alex Mayfield

    We Were Pirates is composed of Mike Boggs, who self recorded this entire debut album. I was very surprised when I felt that Boggs created something that is definitely enjoyable. The balance between the instrumentation and the vocals provides a state of relaxation with an upbeat feel. Each track is a little bit different from the others. Some songs have a dark somewhat angry tone, but not really angry because how angry can you really sound with a synthesizer playing a cute melody behind it (“Little Monsters”), while other tracks directly remind me of the Beach Boys (“Rich Girl”). I do not know why most bands these days love the synthesizer, but most people need to stop. That being said, We Were Pirates presents it in a way that is very bearable. Keep a look out for We Were Pirates because a debut album that is this good means that a future album will be on the verge of masterpiece. By the way, he recorded this entire album on his iBook. 8.0 out of 10

    Download: Little Monsters”, “Cutting Ties”, “Settle Down”

    Wednesday, November 11, 2009

    WASU Top Ten & Adds: 11/10/09

    WASU Top 10

    1. Frank Turner- "Live Fast, Die Old"
    2. The Dodos- "Fables"
    3. Two Hours Traffic- "Territory"
    4. No Age- "You're A Target"
    5. Thrice- "All the World Is Mad"
    6. Brand New- "At the Bottom
    7. Built to Spill- "Aisle 13"
    8. State Radio- "Knights of Bostonia"
    9. Electric Tickle Machine- "Part of Me"
    10. Jamie T- "Hocus Pocus"

    WASU Recent Adds

    Delta Saints- "Train Song"
    Robert Francis- "Keep on Running"
    Systems Officer- "East"
    We All Have Hooks For Hands- "Howling and Bellowing"
    Weezer- "The Girl Got Hot"
    Art Decade- "Royalty"
    Imagine Dragons- "I Need A Minute"
    Say Anything- "Do Better"
    Tegan And Sara- "Hell"
    Wolfmother- "White Feathers"

    Concert Review: Brand New/Thrice/Crime in Stereo : Nov 9, 2009

    Venue: The Fillmore, Charlotte, NC

    by: Alex Mayfield

    The crowd rolled into the newly erected Fillmore in Charlotte on Monday night. As people waited the stage was already set for what was hopefully going to be an amazing
    show. As 7 pm rolled around, the lights dimmed and Long Island’s Crime in Stereo took the stage. Musically the band was alright, with heavy riffs and your average drum beats. The vocalist, Kristian Hallbert, brought high energy but overall the band lacked something brilliant, they were missing a crowd that was into their show. Without the crowd feeding off the band, the band could not feed off the crowd, and Crime In Stereo was slowly forgotten as they left the stage.

    As the crowd waited, the lights drop down once again and the crowd rushes forward as Thrice enters. Though playing Beggars, one of the most excellent albums of the year, the biggest hit for Thrice seemed to be their creative take on The Beatle’s "Helter Skelter." Though clearly not the first time covered, it had to be one of the most blood pulsing, crowd thriving songs of the night. Though the rest of the set list was filled with "The Weight" and "All the World is Mad" (both songs were incredible), they ended the set with "Beggars." This is where Thrice truly showed how much passion was put into the music they were making. With such a great set, it was a shame that they had to be followed by Brand New, which made me almost forgot they had played.

    Brand New opened the set with "Welcome to Bangkok" off of The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me and to my surprise a wonderful guest appeared on stage with Brand New. The wonderful and very enthusiastic, Kevin Devine decided to grace us with his presence, which was even a surprise to Jesse Lacey, front man of Brand New. After, they continued playing "Sink," "The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows," "Sic Transit Gloria…Glory Fades," and several others that made the crowd scream their hearts out. Jesse Lacey slowed it down for a moment as he played one of the band’s most powerful songs (and one of the most powerful of the set) by himself. ("Limousine MS Rebridge") As the band joined him again they continue playing most of Devil and God… and their new album, Daisy. Then, Lacey walks off stage for about 15 seconds, he walks back out and says “Pretend, if you will, that we just left and you chanted for us for hours and hours.” They immediately jump into "Jude Law and a Semester Abroad" and end the show on the very high energy "Shower Scene." In the end if you ask me was a 4 hour round trip on a Monday night worth seeing these guys plays live, my answer would clearly be, “Without a doubt!” Thrice and Brand New came together to create an amazing experience and one of my favorite shows of all time.

    Thursday, November 5, 2009

    Album Review- The Almost "Monster Monster"

    by: Alex Mayfield

    The Almost are back with their sophomore album, Monster Monster. It is no surprise that UnderOath drummer/singer and Almost front man, Aaron Gillespie, produces an album with heavy, intricate percussion and a just as heavy religious influence. For those who have never heard The Almost, do not expect the heaviness of UnderOath but do expect some great music. The album thrives on some very high energy tracks ("Monster Monster," "Get Through") and the occasional calm down ("Hand Grenade"). There is a bit more of a southern feel on several tracks, where a noticeable blues/country sway exists. The Almost created a good album this time around, but I do not feel that it holds up to their first record, Southern Weather. Musically, the sound and style is almost identical over the two records. Not a great deal of diversity over the album, but the tracks all differ slightly. It is a good album; I just feel like the band re-released Southern Weather and gave it a new cover. 7.5 out of 10

    Download: “Monster,” “Books & Books,” “Monster Monster”

    Monday, November 2, 2009

    Album Review- Jookabox "Dead Zone Boys"

    by: Alex Mayfield

    Jookabox definitely does a unique job of experimenting with sounds and vocals which creates an interesting experience when listening to the album. Dead Zone Boys brings forth some suprisingly pleasant tracks where the (for lack of a better word) weird vocals join with tribe-like beats to produce something that is unique and uplifting. For example, "Don’t Go Phantom" has vocals that make it seem like Alvin and the Chipmunks found some illegal substances. However, the track pumps and thrives in a way that only Jookabox could pull off. But with its great tracks, Dead Zone Boys has it tracks that suffer. Though just as weird, some tracks produce a noise that is somewhat unlistenable. Mixing, weird disonant vocals and a chaos of instruments that keep some of these tracks from being really good (Xxxiawn Shell). Though there are some very poor tracks, there are a lot of high-quality songs that bring this album to an enjoyable level. 7.0 out of 10

    Download: “Zombie Tear Drops,” “Don’t Go Phantom,” “You Cried Me”

    Album Review- Say Anything "Say Anything"

    by: Alex Mayfield

    Max Bemis, frontman for Say Anything, is back once again with another installation of his life. “Say Anything” fits this band in the most honest way possible. They are back with their self-titled, fourth studio album where Bemis, who is a little bit calmer, puts everything out into the open once again. I say he is calmer even as he spouts off his hate for everything imaginable (Hate Everyone). Bemis is someone who is very willing to tell you the world as he sees it, and the album (and the band) is better for it. My one problem with past Say Anything albums, such as …Is a Real Boy and In Defense of the Genre is the fact that they try to shove so much onto one album that they add a lot of fillers. I was pleasently surprised that this album wasn’t a 25 track album and that SA decided to lose the songs that take up space.

    Since the beginning, Bemis has thrown his entire life into his records, with songs on past albums about his break down on his tour bus, drugs, and medical issues. He depicts his life and soul through out this album and he shows he is in a place of acceptance of what he does. Such as his thoughts on Kings of Leon (Mara and Me), the way he beckons the love of his life into a back room to sleep with her (She Won’t Follow You), and how he knows all women are objects (Property). The fact of the matter is that Bemis’s twisted world and lyrics, backed by catchy but not generic guitar riffs, harmonistic vocals, a tad bit of a doo-wop 50’s feel, and a use of synthesizer that does make me want to destroy anything with keys (Death For My Birthday), leads Say Anything to be a really good album and one worth listening to. Old SA fans will enjoy it due to its similarity to older albums(in music style) and new fans will enjoy the stories of Max Bemis and his ability to make his horrible actions so likable. Break-up songs have never been so good. 7.9 out of 10

    Download: “Ahhh…Men,” “She Won’t Follow You,” “Property”

    Monday, October 26, 2009

    WASU Top Ten & Adds: October 26

    WASU Top Ten:
    1. Wild Beasts- "All the King's Men"
    2. We Were Promised Jetpacks- "Quiet Little Voices"
    3. Drummer- "Mature Fantasy"
    4. Port O'Brien- "Leap Year"
    5. Sea Wolf- "O Maria!"
    6. The Ettes- "No Home"
    7. Muse- "Uprising"
    8. Frank Turner- "Live Fast Die Old"
    9. Mason Jennings- "Ain't No Friend of Mine"
    10. Monsters of Folk- "Say Please"

    WASU New Adds
    1. Asteroids Galaxy Tour- "Golden Age"
    2. Bang Bang Eche- "Dirt in the Water"
    3. Big Pink- "Dominos"
    4. Hurricane Bells- "Monsters"
    5. Parlour Steps- "As the World Turned Out"
    6. Relient K- "Sahara"

    Thursday, October 22, 2009

    Concert Review: U2 w. Muse 10/03/09

    by: Nick Todaro

    Venue/Date: Carter Finley Stadium/November 3, 2009

    What happens when the band deemed by Spin Magazine as “the biggest band America doesn’t know anything about” opens up for the biggest band in the world? The answer is the most grandiose spectacle North Carolina, and possibly anywhere else in the world, has ever seen.
    Saturday afternoons on the premises of Raleigh’s Carter-Finley Stadium is usually used to hosting thousands of Wolfpack fans drooling over the prospect of adding a W to their team’s record sheet. Having been to a number of State games, walking towards the stadium to catch Muse warm-up U2’s 360 Tour seemed normal. Loud music, tailgating, and even games of corn hole gave the impression that this evening was a normal day at the ball field. Once within eyesight of the field, however, that initial assessment changed drastically.

    Referred to by U2 and their crew as “The Claw”, which is a giant spaceship-looking structure, dominated the majority of the field. Even the top of the massive structure could be viewed from way out into the roads leading up to the stadium and hovered over the top deck bleachers. Adding to the already momentous occasion was the fact that this structure is the largest stage ever built for a concert.

    While trying to find the proper gate to enter into for our group’s field access, the beautiful lights implemented by dusk began to be filled with the sound of a polyphonic symphony resulting from what sounded like a digital meltdown. By the time we reached the inside of the stadium, Muse had just begun warming up the crowd with their new track, “Uprising”. Although I think their new album, The Resistance, is their weakest, the songs live had incredible momentum. With the aid of U2’s impressive sound system, the band hit the ground running with a relentless set list comprising of key tracks off of Absolution and Black Holes & Revelations. “Map Of The Problematique” into “Supermassive Black Hole” resulted in the group’s signature thickly layered, post-apocalyptic groove. Along with other staple songs “Starlight”, “Time Is Running Out” and an insanely flawless “Hysteria”, Muse made heads explode with their cosmic guitar solos and out of this world energy. By the end of their 45-minute set, the masses were begging for another hour.

    Sticking to the concept of “out of this world”, U2 came on right after David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” echoed over the PA. Never a band to be upstaged, the Irish natives took a hold of the crowd and never let loose. The show was by far the most visually stunning spectacle I have ever witnessed. Alien-esque lighting, humongous sound elements, and a separating 360-degree HD vortex screen made Bono and company appear to have been birthed on another planet. These elements certainly helped move along the band’s newer songs from their No Line On The Horizon album, although U2 classics “New Years Day”, “Sunday Bloody Sunday”, and “With Or Without You” will never need such elements to appear resplendent.

    Album Review- Swell Season "Strict Joy"

    by: Johnathan Mayfield

    I first discovered the Swell Season while watching the motion picture ONCE, a beautiful tale of two street musicians who create an album together before going the separate ways. The two musicians are played by the front runners of the Swell Season, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. Throughout the entire film you can feel the chemistry between the two through their performance and the music. This is something that the academy also recognized when the two received an Oscar for best Original Song in a Motion Picture ("Falling Slowly") in 2007.

    The Swell Season releases its third studio album with Strict Joy, a somber but entrancing album that shows that these people really know what creates great music. The album takes the very soft spoken Irglova, and the very passionate Hansard, and places them together again for something that is beautiful and mesmerizing. Throughout the entire album, the harmonies created by the two musicians produce feelings of splendor and serenity. Some tracks pulse and drive in subtle way that is like a fast paced soporific ("Feeling the Pull," "High Horses"), while other tracks produce a somber magnificence that you cannot help to listen to ("In These Arms, Back Broken").

    I have to say one of my favorite parts of Swell Season has to be the vocals of Market Irglova. Her voice seems to be the embodiment of some divine being and could very well bring tears to the masses. She produces this delicate majesty through the gift of her tone and song, which produces a feeling that everything in this messed up world could be solved through her voice("Fantasy Man"). I was amazed with the album and pleased with the Swell Season. 8.4 of 10

    Download: “In These Arms”, “Fantasy Man”, “Feeling the Pull”

    Wednesday, October 21, 2009

    Album Review: The Disciplines "Smoking Kills"

    by: Johnathan Mayfield

    The Disciplines are an alternative group out of Oslo, Norway that brings an interesting sound to the table, with the release of their album Smoking Kills. Now, something that seems to be very trendy is this washed out guitar vocal sound, and The Disciplines do a great job of capturing that sound. The use of melody that intermingles amid the vocals and guitar lead to a pleasantly bar-rock sound that is easy to enjoy. The vocalist, KS, presents some very fascinating and vigorous vocals, which is very alluring. My only setback with this album is the lack of diversity from track to track. The first three songs are excellent, but the more I listened the more every song sounded exactly the same, the more bored I became. If I wanted one song, I would get a single, not an entire album. The lack of variety is what keeps this album from being really good. By the time I got to the track I Got Tired, I was tired of listening to the album and just wanted to stop. As a whole, they have a good sound and show a lot of promise, just very little variety. 6.9 of 10

    Download: “Best Mistake”, “Get It Right”, “Yours for the Taking”

    WASU Top Ten & Adds: October 20

    WASU Top Ten
    1. Jupiter One- "Volcano"
    2. Yo La Tengo- "Here to Fall"
    3. Hockey- "Too Fake"
    4. Wild Beasts- "All the Kings Men"
    5. We Were Promised Jetpacks- "Quiet Little Voices"
    6. Drummer- "Mature Fantasy"
    7. Port O'Brien- "Leap Year"
    8. David Bazan- "When We Fell"
    9. Sea Wolf- "O Maria!"
    10. The Ettes- "No Home"

    WASU Recent Adds
    Paper Zoo- "Laughing Legba"
    Flaming Lips- "See the Leaves"
    Middle Distance Runner- "The Sun & Moon"
    Old Canes- "Little Bird Courage"
    Kurt Vile- "Childish Prodigy"
    The Literary Greats- "That Mountain Yonder"
    Imaad Wasif- "Priestess"
    The Swimmers- "Shelter"
    The Temper Trap- "Fader"
    Animal Kingdom- "Tin Man"

    Thursday, October 1, 2009

    Concert Review: Dr. Dog w. Those Darlins 9/28/09

    by: Nick Todaro

    Venue/Date: Orange Peel / Sept. 28, 2009

    Third time may be a charm, but when it came to my third time seeing Philadelphia quintet Dr. Dog, it was more epic than charming. These guys are rapidly growing into one of America’s premier live acts to catch, both in the departments of dynamics and fan base.

    Not only was it my first time visiting Asheville’s stunning hometown venue, The Orange Peel, but Dr. Dog’s as well. On my way into the venue, I ran into vocalist/lead guitarist Scott McMicken. Having mentioned I’d only seen them play a couple small bars in my hometown of the Triangle, Scott summed up the group’s enthusiasm for the current tour: “This may be one of the biggest venues we’ve played so far. That’s kind of what this whole tour’s about: seeing if we can bring in larger crowds.” Once walking into the venue’s show room, I could clearly see the band would have no problem of accomplishing said goal.

    As I reached the bar to grab a pre-Dog brew, openers Those Darlins were busy warming up the crowd with their unique brand of Tennessean country-punk. For anyone who has ever wished there was an all female equivalent to The Black Lips, here ya’ go. The group was a bit of a one trick pony, but was awfully energetic. Some memorable lyrics included a hilariously catchy chorus during their tune “Dui or Die” and the hunger-inducing “The Whole Damn Thing”, which contains the line “I got drunk and I ate chicken/ I ate a chicken I found in my kitchen.”

    Once the Darlins wrapped up their hootenanny stint, it was finally time for the Dog. Many in attendance were first time show-goers and their eagerness for the group showed up the atmosphere of any of my previous experiences seeing the Dog. Soon, the lights dimmed and the band hit the stage runnin’ with a tremendous rendition of the We All Belong track “Worst Trip”. Admittedly, heads were bouncing, mouths were singing, and all in attendance began having a fantastic time. The next song, “The Way The Lazy Do” demonstrated the band’s unmatchable live capabilities. Soaring guitar solos and an airtight three-part vocal harmony allowed fans to receive their first impressions of the live act.

    Throughout the night, the band nailed various tracks from their current album, Fate, as well as past favorites, “Oh No”, “Fools Life”, and the beautifully stripped down version of “California”. Dr. Dog certainly delivered a set that made two hours feel as if it had been ten minutes. Already, I’m in need of another house call from Dr. Dog.

    Setlist: Worst Trip / The Way The Lazy Do / Army of Ancients / The Breeze / Hang On / Aint It Strange / Die, Die, Die / Oh No / Fools Life / Keep A Friend / 100 Years / The Ark / From / The Beach / Rabbit, Bat, & Reindeer / Encore: California / F- It

    WASU Top Ten & Adds: September 29

    WASU Top Ten

    1. Son Volt- "Down to the Wire"
    2. Asteroids Galaxy Tour- "The Sun Ain't Shinin' No More"
    3. James Morrison- "Nothing Ever Hurt Like You"
    4. Florence & The Machine- "Rabbit Heart"
    5. Howling Bells- "Cities Burning Down"
    6. Modest Mouse- "Satellite Skin"
    7. Dead Weather- "Treat Me Like Your Mother"
    8. Weezer- "I Want Y0u To"
    9. Arctic Monkeys- "Crying Lightning"
    10. MuteMath- "Backfire"

    New This Week

    No Age- "You're a Target"
    Rain Machine-"Give Blood"
    State Radio- "Knights of Bostonia"
    Stars Of Track & Field- "Breaking of Waves"
    Electric Tickle Machine- "Part of Me"
    Thrice- "All the World is Mad"

    Avett Brothers- "Tin Man"

    Album Review- The Melismatics "Acid Test"

    by: Alex Mayfield

    The Melismatics is a New Wave/Post Punk band out of Minneapolis, Minnesota that dive into their third studio album, The Acid Test, with interesting vocals and catchy new age guitars. The Acid Test has its times that suffer and more times of promise. The band has a unique sound that comes off as annoying in some parts and pretty appealing at others.

    The vocals are presented as a duel Male/Female mix which brings some very cool duel harmonies on different tracks (Modern Machine, Useless Generation) and at times the choruses are so frustratingly likable. The vocals are at times, very enthralling. However, at other times the vocals bring down certain tracks with shallow lyrics (Soul Sucker, It’s a Drag). I was pleasantly surprised by some of the guitar solos on certain tracks. I feel had they done more with the talent they had, the album would have been better for it. I was on the fence for the entire album but the final track (Speaking in Tongues) won me over. The raw guitar, commanding drums, and a cult like vocal lead it to be the best track on the album by far. Had the rest of the album been this way, it could have very well been an amazing album. Overall the music had points that I liked that could have been a lot better. The album was saved with some really interesting music style and catchy tunes. 6.8 out of 10

    Download: “Speaking in Tongues”, “Modern Machine”, “The Stranger”

    Tuesday, September 29, 2009

    Local Album Review- The Avett Brothers "I and Love and You"

    by: Jordan Muse

    Ah, the Avett Brothers, such a great band. What beautiful (predominantly) acoustic, banjo-laden music they craft, or used to. With their latest release, I and Love and You, they shed most of the banjo and any other folk instruments and adopt a more usual rock set up. They get poppy. Guess what though, it’s not bad, not by any means. It could very well be one of their best albums, but obviously that’s just personal opinion. All their albums provided quite a noticeable change in sound, but just because they made more changes this time around (maybe too many for some) it certainly doesn’t make it bad. Lyrics are strong and emotional just like always, only with a more radio-friendly vibe for a majority of the album.

    The album’s title track and opener is a heartfelt ballad, and while it may linger for a little too long, it packs quite the punch. “January Wedding” is a bit more in tune with their roots, re-plucking that banjo to aid with the lovely proposal the song details. “Head Full of Doubt, Road Full of Promise” evokes Emotionalism, and for most I shouldn’t need to say much more. One stipulation though: it sounds like they threw it through a Hollywood orchestra. “And it Spread” is certainly a poppy number, but it still retains the usual emotional intensity, with a great breakdown about halfway through. “The Perfect Space” is a piano-driven piece about loneliness, with swirling strings. It’s quite beautiful. “Ten Thousand Words” is on the folk side, enough said. “Kick Drum Heart” is way poppy, incredibly upbeat, with minimal lyrics. It’s definitely a hit-or-miss track. “Laundry Room” is almost too slow, but obviously its still an emotional song.

    “I’ll With Want” is haunting, the instrumentation, vocal delivery, lyrics, all piled up to make one intriguing song. “Tin Man” has an upbeat feel, but deep down it’s a terribly depressing song, yet wonderful. “Slight Figure of Speech” was issued on 7” vinyl, and there’s a reason: it’s happy, catchy, but not lyrically or musically lacking. “It Goes On and On” does not do what the title suggests, it’s just a good old fashioned love song. Finally, “Incomplete and Insecure” speaks on a pretty sad-willed character, with the perfect instrumental backing, definitely a rocking stand-out track. It’s catchy too.

    Overall the album is phenomenal, despite the notion of them abandoning their roots. They sound great, especially playing these songs live. It would blow your mind. A few listens are recommended, for the die-hard and casual listeners, and after that it ought to be greatly appreciated. 9 out of 10

    Download: “Kick Drum Heart,” “Slight Figure of Speech,” “January Wedding.”

    Tuesday, September 22, 2009

    WASU Top Ten & Adds: September 22

    WASU Top Ten

    1. Owl City- "Hello Seattle"

    2. Grizzly Bear- "Two Weeks"

    3. 311- "It's Alright"

    4. Pearl Jam- "The Fixer"

    5. Son Volt- "Down to the Wire"

    6. Asteroids Galaxy Tour- "The Sun Ain't Shining No More"

    7. James Morrison- "Nothing Ever Hurt Like You"

    8. Florence and the Machine- "Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)"

    9. Howling Bells- "Cities Burning Down"

    10. Modest Mouse- "Satellite Skin"


    Brand New- "At the Bottom"

    The Dodos- "Fables

    Girls- "Laura"

    Monsters of Folk- "Say Please"

    Muse- "Uprising"

    Two Hours Traffic- "Territory"

    Album Review- Brand New "Daisy"

    by: Alex Mayfield

    Brand New returns with their next studio album, released almost 3 years after their masterpiece, The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me. Daisy, their most recent album, continues with songs depicting the struggle between life and religion. Brand New’s Devil and God…, was one of my favorite albums of the decade and there is no way that such greatness was an accident.

    Track one; entitled “Vices” starts with a clip from the song “One Life’s Highway” written by Bertrand Brown. It starts slow and brings this hymnal feel and suddenly……..HITS YOU WITH A TON OF BRICKS! Jesse Lacey proclaims for the need for “Vices” as pulsing drums and distorted guitar rings in the background. It kicks of the album in an interesting way. It immediately drops to a more somber tone with the second track, "Bed," which drives on while Jesse Lacey’s lyrics discuss uncertainty and his voice sings discontent. Brand New continues their solemn journey through the track "At The Bottom" which falls into similar style used on Devil and God… The track itself bleeds a mysterious power while Lacey’s vocals provide an ominous, but still gripping, atmosphere while he goes on yelling, “Well I carry this box to its proper place, and when I lower it down, I let you fade away.” The pace gets faster with the track “Gasoline” as Lacey screams for understanding.

    The next track on the album, "You Stole," could very well be one of Brand New’s most powerful tracks ever. It drives with an unstoppable force that creates a sense of pure beauty. It pushes forward, demanding for your attention. "Be Gone" follows Brand New’s precedent of placing unique and weird things into their songs right before blasting into the high energy "Sink." The energy doesn’t lessen through the track "Bought a Bride," where powerful vocals and an intense arrangement, keep you engaged. The tempo takes break but the energy doesn’t on the title track. With this song being the title track you would expect for it to be superb, and it doesn’t disappoint. The backing guitar and the forceful drums create for a grave but powerful experience.

    It’s a good thing when the weakest song on an album is a good song. "In A Jar" lacks some of the pure emotion that the rest of the album seems to have an abundance of, but the emotion returns in the final breath with the song "Noro." The song screams out and bleeds a dark feeling that finishes the album on a high as vocals proclaims, “I’m on my way to Hell.”

    In my opinion, it will be almost impossible for Brand New to create an album that is better than Devil and God… However, Brand New comes very close. I challenge you to find a band that puts as much pure energy and emotion into every note they play. “Some Men die under the mountain just looking for gold” and Brand New found it! 8.5 out of 10.

    Download: "You Stole," "Daisy," "At the Bottom"

    Monday, September 21, 2009

    Album Review- Sea Wolf "White Water, White Bloom"

    by: Jordan Muse

    Sea Wolf captivated me with the song “You’re A Wolf.” The mellow, autumnal feel of the song hooked me into the band. With their latest release, White Water, White Bloom, they eschew that mellowness.

    The album’s opener, “Wicked Blood,” is proportionally heavy for the band, with a mildly more poppy edge. One contention of the song is that it will get stuck in your head, thankfully I do enjoy it. Medieval sounds flutter about in the next track, “Dew in the Grass.” It features a heavy chorus that seamlessly bleeds back into the medieval setting. Another notable feature is the scratchy guitar solo, making it one grand track. “Orion & Dog” is a children’s story-esque tune laden with lush strings, bringing back those beloved autumnal feelings just for a bit.

    Darkness arises in the next song, “Turn the Dirt Over,” but light shines down throughout. Interesting plucked arrangements twirl around throughout it, and more of those strings as well; it’s pretty unique. “O Maria!” contains some serious distortion, and wonderful shouted vocals. It calls to mind the imagination of a child…having a nightmare. It’s definitely worth a listen.
    The title track has a slight Norwegian feel to it, with sounds seemingly emitting from a cold forest. The chorus is certainly very catchy in this track, and I don’t mean that as a dissention. The wind chimes are also another great feature. “Spirit Horse” has a twanging, sliding, pop-and-go set-up, backed by the perfectly aligned vocals that sound like they sung in a cave. “The Orchard” is a tad haunting. The instrumentation in the beginning is very minimalistic, though it picks up after about a minute, moving somewhat in a rush.

    “The Traitor” is really poppy. The lyrics and obviously vocals aren’t bad, but the instrumentation, fueled by way too many strings and claps or clicks or whatever, is way too obnoxious. This song just drives me bonkers. The albums closer, “Winter’s Heir” is pretty chill. It’ll bring to mind images of a snowed in cabin, sitting by a fire place. It serves as an astounding ending to a predominantly well-crafted album. 8 out of 10.

    Download: “Dew in the Grass,” “O Maria!” and “Spirit Horse.”

    Thursday, September 17, 2009

    Hip-Hop Album Review: Kid Cudi "Man on the Moon: The End of Day"

    by: Jordan Muse

    Kid Cudi’s debut album Man on the Moon: The End of Day was much awaited by me after the two massively entertaining singles of “Day’n’Nite” and “Make Her Say,” the latter beautifully sampling a live rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face.”

    The wait almost seemed not worth it after the opener, “In My Dreams,” played, but persevering through it got me to a highlight of the album: “Soundtrack 2 My Life.” This track hits hard, with intense flow, swirling synthesizers, and deep meaning that continues throughout the rest of the album. “Simple As…” is pretty crazy; a fun listen though not a very meaningful track in comparison to the many stronger ones. “Solo Dolo” has this mighty funky, yet subtle, island feel to it, but sadly the lyrics seem to fall into the sea. “Heart of a Lion” starts with Cudi spitting pretty rapidly, then swiftly transfers to anthem territory; it’s a solid track. “My World” has a mild Oriental feel to it, particularly in the intro, which is nice, but the flows a little too tame, and the chorus is just agitating. “Sky Might Fall” is tragically wonderfully; it almost makes you feel bad enjoying such a depressing song, but I guess Cudi’s optimism makes it alright. “Enter Galactic” is a love story about tripping out, with an impressively catchy hook and danceable beat; the song’s just fantastic.

    “Alive” is one of two tracks featuring Ratatat, certainly making it one of the highest points. It sounds like a blend of Daft Punk’s funkiness with Ratatat’s trademark swirls turned into a trance-inducing mantra. “CuDi Zone” is rushed and happy, yet the lyrics are conversely stark and dark. “Pursuit of Happiness” is phenomenal. It features MGMT and Ratatat wonderfully aiding Cudi’s accounts of his night terrors and his methods of coping with angelic vocals and beats. “Hyyer” is easily the weakest track, despite evoking Chicago House music. Lastly, “Up, Up, and Away,” is a joyful anthem that serves as a great track to close the album on.

    Overall, the album is pretty stellar. I thoroughly enjoy it, playing it on repeat through all this stormy weather. However, non hip-hop fans may want to shy away from the album as a whole and just stick to the Ratatat tracks, and maybe “Enter Galactic.” That said, I still recommend it to anyone interested in spacey hip-hop. 8 out of 10.

    Download: “Pursuit of Happiness,” “Enter Galactic,” “Soundtrack 2 My Life”

    Monday, September 14, 2009

    Album Review: The Calamity: "Songs From the Gold Coast"

    By: Alex Mayfield

    Style of music seems to fit a pop/country station better. Though it seems to have its roots into alternative, it comes off as pop and sometimes even sounds a bit country, mostly due to the poor vocals. Though some songs start out with promise, it doesn't last. Waiting for July starts off upbeat and enjoyable till the vocals pop in with lack of depth in lyrics and a wanna-be Rascal Flatts feel. Whisky Sour seems like it is going to bring something interesting up to the table but the chorus brings the band back to its comfort zone of poor guitar riffs and bad harmonies in the vocals. Overall the album would work for a pop/country station listened to by 13 year old girls who like simplistic beats and simplistic vocals. 3.5 out of 10

    Download: Whisky Sour, Island, 45

    Tuesday, August 25, 2009

    Fall '09: Back With a Vengeance

    So yes, the blog has been rather dead this summer, as you've probably well noticed. The music department itself was somewhat dead too. Not to worry, WASU Music is back in full force. New music is on its way, and there's some good stuff on the horizon.

    A little about myself, my name is David Edscorn and I'll be taking over the position of music director for this year. I'm a junior Outdoor Education major, and I've been with the station for my entire college career. I've got a passion for all kinds of music, as well as keeping the station sounding as good as possible. Don't be afraid to let me know what you think, shoot me an email at

    For any current (or future...but more on that at the upcoming new DJ meeting) WASU air-talent interested in music, we need all the help that we can get listening to albums and writing reviews. Send me an email if you want to help, and I'll let you know when to come by (I'll also have my office hours updated on the website soon).

    You probably also noticed the Twitter feed at the top of the page. Reluctant as I was to get involved, I'll admit that it is an interesting way to keep people updating on music going-ons. However, I think I'm still too verbose to get all my thoughts out in 140 characters, so keep checking the blog for the juicy stuff. I see Twitter posts (yes, I still refuse to use the actual temr) as the nice sautéed mushrooms on top of a good medium-rare blog steak. Just right, not too dry and chewy.

    Speaking of reviews, those are on the way as well. Keep checking here for information on everything you ever wanted to know about WASU's music.
    -Dave Edscorn

    Wednesday, April 22, 2009

    WASU Top 10 & Adds: April 21-28

    WASU Top 10
    1. Telekinesis - "Coast of Carolina"
    2. Pearl Jam - "Brother"
    3. Silversun Pickups - "Panic Switch"
    4. Handsome Furs - "Evangeline"
    5. Say Hi- "One, Two...One"
    6. White Lies - "Farewell to the Fairgrounds"
    7. Metric - "Sick Muse"
    8. The Decemberists - "The Rake's Song"
    9. Cursive - "From the Hips"
    10. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Shame and Fortune"

    King Khan and the Shrines - "No Regrets"
    Manchester Orchestra - "I've Got Friends"
    Doves - "Jetstream"
    Immaculate Machine - "Sound the Alarms"
    Band of Skulls - "I Know What I Am"
    White Rabbits - "Percussion Gun"
    The Veils - "The Letter"
    Camera Obscura - "French Navy"
    Eulogies - "Eyes on the Prize"
    Harlem Shakes - "Sunlight"
    The Evening Rig - "The Hilltop Pines"
    Paper Route - "Carousel"
    Screaming Females - "Skull"

    Junior Astronomers - "Cavalcade"
    The Poles - "We Dine In White"

    Tuesday, April 7, 2009

    WASU Top 10 & Adds: April 7 - 13

    WASU TOP 10
    1. Spoon - "Well Alright"
    2. Beck - "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat"
    3. Bonne 'Prince' Billy - "Beware Your Only Friend"
    4. Morrissey - "One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell"
    5. Pearl Jam - "Brother"
    6. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Dull Life"
    7. Metric - "Help I'm Alive"
    8. Silversun Pickups - "Panic Switch"
    9. Handsome Furs - "Evangeline"
    10. Neko Case - "This Tornado Love You"

    Peter Bjorn and John - "It Don't Move Me"
    Bat For Lashes - "Daniel"
    Phoenix - "1901"
    Mastodon - "Oblivion"
    PJ Harvey & John Parish - "Black Hearted Love"
    Black Joe Lewis - "Boogie"
    The Boy Least Likely To - "A Balloon On A Broken String"
    Blue October - "Should Be Loved"

    Hammer No More the Fingers - "Nobody Knows"

    Wednesday, April 1, 2009

    To Download or Not to Download: Music Piracy

    by: Daniel Earney

    Music piracy first came to prominence in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s with the rise and fall of Napster. Nearly a decade after Napster’s demise at the hands of the Recording Industry Association of America, illegal downloading of music is still widely popular. Napster’s lead spawned numerous other downloading sites like BitTorrent, Grokster, and LimeWire. Action against downloaders, uploaders, and hosters has been sparse, overly harsh, and ineffective overall.

    Apple’s iTunes and other legal downloading sites have offered some relief from illegal downloading’s cut into record sales. According to NielsenSoundscan, album sales dropped 20 percent in 2007 and 14 percent in 2008. Digital album sales have grown 83 percent over the past two years, and digital single sales rose 27 percent and 47 percent in 2007 and 2008 respectively. Still, the increase in legal downloads has not made up for the industry’s total loss of revenue.

    So, should you feel guilty for illegally downloading that new Bruce Springsteen album? If you ask Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, no, you shouldn’t. In July of 2000, Radiohead’s album, Kid A, hit number one on the Billboard Charts, something they had yet to accomplish. Yorke attributed the success to the album’s proliferation on sites like Napster. This shows one of the benefits of file sharing: artists and songs that wouldn’t normally be played on radio and MTV can find an audience. The only caveat is that people who download albums and songs would then have to go out and buy what they had already downloaded. Now Myspace ,, lala, and other sites allow you to preview an entire album before you head to the store, so Yorke's enthusiasm for file sharing is not as relevant today.

    Another argument made by illegal downloaders is that music is supposed to be free. After all, music is culture and who could put a price on culture? You have to remember, however, that this is America and anything is for sale.

    Perhaps people make a big deal about illegal downloading because it’s easy to believe that bands make most of their money through record sales. People who download music illegally, have claimed that they “make up for it” by going to the artists’ concerts and buying their merchandise. Fair enough, but there is quite a difference between buying an album and paying $10 to see three bands play. And how do you keep up with and make time to go to concerts for every artist whose album you’ve illegally downloaded?

    Where illegal downloading really irks me is when albums leak to download sites weeks or even months before the album's official release. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs recently had a leak problem when their album, It’s Blitz!, hit download sites a full month before its official release. Interscope tried to curb sales losses by putting the album on iTunes ahead of schedule, but there’s no telling how poorly the album will sell because of the leak. One of the most anticipated albums of 2009, Grizzlybear’s Veckatimest, hit download sites in early March but the album is not due for an official release until May 26th.

    To me, downloading music illegally just doesn’t seem fair. I don’t have time to go out to all my favorite bands’ concerts, and you can only own so many band t-shirts. Plus, I’m a collector. Nothing beats having a solid, physical copy of an album. I don’t even like using iTunes.

    So, downloading music illegally is both good and bad. If you do get an artist’s album for free, make sure you help them out in some other way. Go to their concert, order a t-shirt, if you like the album, snag the Deluxe Edition. If artists can’t make money, they can’t make music.

    WASU Top 10 & Adds: March 31 - April 6

    WASU TOP 10
    1. Spoon - "Well Alright"
    2. The Love Language - "Sparxxx"
    3. Black Lips - "Short Fuse"
    4. Beck - "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat"
    5. Audrye Sessions - "Julianna"
    6. Bonnie "Prince" Billy - "Beware Your Only Friend"
    7. Morrissey - "One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell"
    8. Pearl Jam - "Brother"
    9. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Dull Life"
    10. Silversun Pickups - "Panic Switch"

    Telekinesis - "Coast of Carolina"
    The Soft Pack - "Call It A Day"
    Crystal Antlers - "Andrew"
    The Asteroids Galaxy Tour - "Around the Bend"
    Cage the Elephant - "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked"

    Us - "What Moves Us Along"
    Lonnie Walker - "Summertime"

    Wednesday, March 18, 2009

    WASU Top 10 & Adds: March 17-23

    WASU Top 10
    1. Von Bondies - "This is Our Perfect Crime"
    2. Two Tongues - "Back Against the Wall"
    3. Dan Auerbach - "Street Walkin'"
    4. Franz Ferdinand - "No You Girls"
    5. M. Ward - "Never Had Nobody Like You"
    6. Sam Roberts - "Them Kids"
    7. Spoon - "Well Alright"
    8. Love Language - "Sparxxx"
    9. Black Lips - "Short Fuse"
    10. Beck - "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat"

    Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Dull Life"
    Silversun Pickups - "Panic Switch"
    Cursive - "Mama, I'm Swollen"
    Taxpayer - "Night Vision"
    Say Hi - "One, Two...One"
    White Lies - "Goodbye to the Fairground"
    Wild Light - "My Father Was a Horse"
    An Horse - "Horizons"
    East Hundred - "Plus Minus"
    Mastadon - "Just Got Paid"
    Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles - "Do It For Free"
    Bishop Allen - "Dirt On Your New Shoes"
    Beast - "Mr. Hurricane"
    Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band - "Anchors Dropped"

    The Old Ceremony - "Same Difference"

    Wednesday, March 4, 2009

    WASU Top 10 & Adds: Mar 3rd - Mar 10th

    WASU Top 10
    1. Andrew Bird - "Fitz and Dizzyspells"
    2. A.C. Newman - "Like a Hitman, Like a Dancer"
    3. Los Campesinos! - "Ways to Make It Through the Wall"
    4. Cotton Jones - "Little Ashtray in the Sun"
    5. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - "Everything With You"
    6. Cut Off Your Hands - "Happy As Can Be"
    7. Von Bondies - "This Is Our Perfect Crime"
    8. Two Tongues - "Back Against the Wall"
    9. Dan Auerbach - "Street Walkin'"
    10. M. Ward - "Never Had Nobody Like You"

    Neko Case - "This Tornado Loves You"
    Bell X1 - "The Ribs of a Broken Umbrella"
    Bonnie "Prince" Billy - "Beware Your Only Friend"
    Handsome Furs - "Evangeline"
    Pearl Jam - "Brother"
    Malajube - "333"

    Do It to Julia - "Y.F.G.O.T."
    WAUMISS - "Clapping Yer Hands"
    Western Civ - "Capital Steps"

    Wednesday, February 25, 2009

    WASU Top 10 & Adds: Feb 24th - Mar 2nd

    WASU TOP 10
    1. Nickel Eye - "Brandy of the Damned"
    2. Fires of Rome - "I'll Take You Down"
    3. Andrew Bird - "Fitz and Dizzy Spells"
    4. Matt & Kim - "Daylight"
    5. Cotton Jones - "Little Ashtray in the Sun"
    6. Los Campesinos - "Ways to Make It Through the Wall"
    7. A.C. Newman - "Like a Hitman, Like a Dancer"
    8. Cut Off Your Hands - "Happy As Can Be"
    9. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - "Everything With You"
    10. The Von Bondies - "This Is Our Perfect Crime"

    Vetiver - "More of This"
    The Vines - "Braindead"
    Metric - "Help I'm Alive"
    U2 - "Get On Your Boots"
    ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead - "Fields of Coal"
    K'Naan - "If Rap Gets Jealous"
    Robyn Hitchcock & the Venus 3 - "Up to Our Nex"
    Nico Vega - "So So Fresh"

    Friday, February 13, 2009

    WASU Top 10 & Adds - February 10th-16th

    WASU Top 10
    1. Tom Gabel - "Anna Is A Stool Pigeon"
    2. Kings of Leon - "Closer"
    3. BPA ft. Iggy Pop - "He's Frank"
    4. J. Roddy Walston & the Business - "Stop Rip and Roll"
    5. Nickel Eye - "Brandy of the Damned"
    6. Fires of Rome - "I'll Take You Down"
    7. The (International) Noise Conspiracy - "Arm Yourself"
    8. Kaiser Chiefs - "Never Miss A Beat"
    9. Oh No Not Stereo - "Can't Trust Anyone"
    10. Andrew Bird - "Fitz and Dizzyspells"

    Yves Klein Blue - "Silence Is Distance"
    Dan Auerbach - "Street Walkin'"
    Sam Roberts - "Them Kids"
    Iran - "I Can See The Future"
    Elusive Parallelograms - "Benzedrine"
    The Naked Hearts - "Only For You"

    Monday, February 9, 2009

    Auto-Tune: The Imperfection of Perfection

    By: Dave Edscorn

    It’s not often that I get too upset about new trends in pop or hip-hop. In my opinion, both of them are too far gone to waste too much time complaining about, but I feel that the time has come to rant a bit about the monstrosity that is the pitch-correction program Auto-Tune.

    My first conscious experience with Auto-Tune was listening to T-Pain’s guest spot on “The Good Life” off Kanye West’s Graduation album. I didn’t think much of it at the time, my reaction was most likely akin to “Who is this man and why does he sound like a robot?”

    Since then, I feel like I hear Auto-Tune everywhere in hip-hop. T-Pain may have invented the technique of using the program to distort his vocals, but it didn’t stop there. Last November it went from fad to full-blown movement with Kanye’s album 808’s and Heartbreak, where West sings every song through Auto-Tune. He uses the technique to provide a cold and emotionless effect, which is exactly what makes it inaccessible to me. What is music when you take emotion out of it?

    Even more disturbing is when the program is used as its creator, Andy Hildebrand, intended. As a pitch-correction program, Auto-Tune allows notes to be bumped to a perfect pitch, ensuring that any singer can release a song that is perfectly in-tune.

    According to a recent article in Time Magazine (,9171,1877372,00.html?iid=digg_share, check it out, it’s very informative), this is done more often than most people realize. Most pop songs these days have been run through Auto-Tune, making the vocals far more perfect than most artists can achieve on their own. The side effects? Singers may be getting lazy, assuming that they can get by with a few lousy takes and still produce a great-sounding track. As consumers, we may be getting lazy as well. We expect every song coming out to be a little pitch-perfect gem, making it difficult for dedicated artists that actually try to sing well on their own to get proper recognition.

    Personally, I prefer a little grit in my music (the day that Lucero or the Hold Steady start using Auto-Tune is my last), and don’t have much time for musicians that see digital alteration as perfection. However, what about my kids? Are they going to dig through my records and complain that Pete Townshend is out of tune and Mick Jagger is a little pitchy? Auto-Tune may be taking the emotion out of hip-hop, but it’s also taking the soul out of everything else.

    Thursday, February 5, 2009

    Review: Naked Gods - Welcome Home

    Every time I hear the guitar solo in "Stranded/Poor", the eighth track on the Naked Gods' debut full length Welcome Home, I feel like the that melody is the most important thing happening in the world. I hum it for days. Welcome Home is full of moments like that, and the record almost comes close to the live energy exuded by Naked Gods.

    The first time I saw the band, and consequently downloaded their EP It Ain't Just Cold Outside from their website, I was hooked. Short and sweet. The full-length is not as immediately catchy, but after spending several days listening, the songs don't leave your head. Naked Gods play rock and roll to put it simply. There are country and folk influences and touches of The Band and The Boss. Live comparisons to Akron/Family are less present on the recording, and the punk rock energy of former bands is manifested more in a small room with live instruments than on the small plastic disc, but it makes for two different experiences.

    "Mothersun" and "Blah Blah Blah" have both morphed from early sing-along stompers to a beautiful sparse arrangement and soulful Rhodes- and bass-led tune, respectively, which makes the record flow smoothly. "Slow Dogs" and "Mountain Smashing Song of Joy" are standouts, but nothing beats "Stranded/Poor". It has the quickest tempo of the collection and plays itself off as a simple major key pop song until it slows into the simple and effective guitar solo and wordless group backup vocals. Welcome Home is an exciting, and even cathartic, rock and roll record from Boone's best band, and I'm excited to see where they go from here, they could do big things if they wanted to.

    Wednesday, February 4, 2009

    WASU Top 10 & Adds - Week of February 1st

    WASU Top 10
    1. Tom Gabel - "Anna Is A Stool Pigeon"
    2. The Killers - "A Dustland Fairytale"
    3. Kings of Leon - "Closer"
    4. Foreign Orange - "Another Suggestion"
    5. The BPA ft. Iggy Pop - "He's Frank"
    6. J. Roddy Walston and the Business - "Stop Rip and Roll"
    7. Nickel Eye - "Brandy of the Damned"
    8. Kaiser Chiefs - "Never Miss A Beat"
    9. Fires of Rome - "I'll Take You Down"
    10. Oh No Not Stereo - "Can't Trust Anyone"

    WASU Adds
    Franz Ferdinand - "No You Girls"
    Ladyfinger (ne) - "Little Things"
    Black Lips - "Short Fuse"
    Audrye Sessions - "Julianna"
    Ida Maria - "Louie"
    Broken Spindles - "I've Never Been This Afraid"
    Umphreys McGee - "Red Tape"
    Spiral Beach - "Made of Stone"
    Loney, Dear - "Airport Surroundings"
    The Love Language - "Sparxxx"
    Bruce Springsteen - "Working On A Dream"

    Wednesday, January 28, 2009

    WASU Top 10 & Adds - Week of January 25th

    WASU Top 10
    1. Franz Ferdinand - "Ulysses"
    2. Tom Gabel - "Anna Is A Stool Pigeon"
    3. The Killers - "A Dustland Fairytale"
    4. Kings of Leon - "Closer"
    5. Shiny Toy Guns - "When Did This Storm Begin?"
    6. Longwave - "Shining Hours"
    7. Snow Patrol - "If There's A Rocket Tie Me To It"
    8. Foreign Orange - "Another Suggestion"
    9. The Deep Vibration - "Oklahoma City Woman Blues"
    10. The B.P.A. - "He's Frank"

    Vulture Whale - "Tote It To Cleveland, Al"
    Howlies - "Sea Level"
    The Priddle Concern - "Make It Go Away"
    Los Campesinos! - "Ways To Make It Through The Wall"
    Cut Off Your Hands - "Happy As Can Be"
    Two Tongues - "Back Against The Wall"

    Death to the Details - "Lessons In Animation"
    Sleepsound - "The Lead"
    Union County - "Who Am I"
    Betting 4 Benson - "Remembering Amy"

    Wednesday, January 21, 2009

    Album Review: Animal Collective - "Merriweather Post Pavillion"

    by: Daniel Earney

    Is this the album of the year? Widely read music blog,, has posed this same question. Five days into 2009, Pitchfork Media gave Merriweather a 9.6 out of 10 rating. Pitchfork never gives ratings that high., which compiles reviews from sources across all forms of media, has the album sitting at 91 out of 100 on their scale. Uncut magazine has proclaimed, "It feels like one of the landmark American albums of the century so far." The question still remains: Is it really?

    It's hard to compare any band as unique and striking as Animal Collective to any other band; that leaves, as a comparison, the band itself. As someone who has listened to every Animal Collective album and EP, Merriweather Post Pavilion seems like both an expected progression and somewhat of a let down -- possibly even a commercial/critical cop-out. Again, using as a reference, the Collective's 2007 album Strawberry Jam received an astounding 9.3. Reviewer Mark Richardson hailed "the album and its transcendent centerpiece, 'Bros,' [as] deservedly being widely considered among the year's best." Yet, the album that Pitchfork proclaimed as album of the year was Animal Collective member Noah "Panda Bear" Lennox's solo album, Person Pitch. The difference between Panda Bear and Animal Collective -- it's safer, it's slower, and it's easier on the ears.

    Where, on Person Pitch, Noah Lennox's soft, endearing voice floats gently upon synthetic beats and atmospheric tones, Avey Tare's impassioned shrieks and unorthodox vocals on Animal Collective's Strawberry Jam attack the listener head-on. It's also what seems to annoy people most about Animal Collective. On MPP, Animal Collective take heed of Avey's obtrusive vocal tendencies, restricting his outbursts to the simple "Whoo"s on the album's first single, "My Girls." I have to say, I'm saddened by this. Nowhere in music could you hear a sound like Animal Collective, vocally, musically, or otherwise. Merriweather takes every notion of what Animal Collective once was (in the sense of every album prior to MPP), puts it on a leash, and ties it up in front of Rolling Stone headquarters.

    Another thing I noticed: Pitchfork's Best Songs of 2008 is heavily laden with electronic and dance music (Hercules and Love Affair, Santogold, Hot Chip, Cut/Copy, Air France, Portishead, and Estelle ft. Kanye West all making the top 10.). Even a cursory listen of MPP is sure to get your feet moving, and I dare say there's hardly a guitar to be found on the whole album. I guess what I'm saying is that this feels like a changing of the guard. Where Avey Tare once dictated the Animal Collective sound, the band now seems to follow Panda Bear's lead.

    The good news is that this is not entirely a bad thing. Geologist's exquisitely layered electronic textures, sounds, and rhythms will beckon endless listens. The harmonies and interplay between Panda and Avey are gorgeous and sophisticated. As far as content, it's easy to tell that the members have grown up (after all they attended college in the late 1990's). "My Girls" isn't the budding club song that the title might imply, but rather an homage to familial love ("I just want four walls and adobe slats for my girls.) and anti-materialism. My favorite track, "Summertime Clothes" is a swirling array of liquid synthesized riffs with an irresistible chorus that makes me long for warm days of August. The tinkling and atmospheric "Bluish" is utterly hypnotic, echoic the sentiment of "I'm getting lost in your curls." The Collective sounds a bit Australian (or perhaps "White Fang"-ish) on "Guys Eyes." Yet from there, the album seems to take a temporal dive until the album's closer, "Brother Sport."

    In all, Merriweather Post Pavilion is more cohesive, which is perhaps why it is receiving so much praise. However, I'm not sure if I'm ready to see a shift in the American music psyche (as Uncut magazine points toward) this far in the electronic direction. Yet, if the results are as intriguing and satisfying as Animal Collective show us it can be, I may have to change my mind. 8.5 out of 10.

    Download: "Summertime Clothes," "My Girls," "Bluish," and "Brother Sport."