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    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”