Log in

When you think of a band named Smile Smile, you would assume, or at least I assume, that the music is filled with cute lyrics and adorableness. The sophomore effort from Smile Smile, Truth on Tape, is not filled with such lyrics, but ones filled with emotions that come along with interpersonal relationships, love, and heartbreak.

The songs on this album are actually about the two members –Ryan Hamilton and Jencey Hirunrusme. The two married, but when infidelity came into the picture, the relationship crumbled. Of course, writing songs with someone about each other, especially about your pain, is pretty awkward. But it seems to work well –the music, I think, is very good. They don’t rely on heavy instrumentation, which is impressive, especially with Hirunrusme’s smooth vocals that entwines perfectly with Hamilton’s.

Since Stars are known for their love-packed songs, I would say that Smile Smile is a good artist to check out for fans of Stars. They’re less orchestral, but the sentiments in these songs are raw and believable. The resentment is clear, especially with straightforward lines like “I hope it hurts, I hope you cry…this is what you get when you cheat” in the ending track, “Labor of Love.”

Filled with a universal feeling, Smile Smile’s songs are great and they are all honest and songs that everyone has, can, and will relate to. When you know that the person you care about still feels the same way about you, “Beg You To Stay” can be your soundtrack. But, when they’re not a part of your life anymore to your dismay, and the smallest things remind you of them, perhaps “The Attic” will offer you some comfort. “Cancer” is a happier take on the whole “Let’s just be together” sentiment.

Smile Smile look like a uniformed band and after listening to Truth on Tape, I look forward to seeing what Ryan and Jencey have to say about each other in the future. They’re worthy to be given the chance. A-
[mp3] Truth on Tapespan>
Current Music: Smile Smile - Somebody Else | Powered by Last.fm
29 December 2009 @ 03:16 pm
It's been a while since I've posted an update about anything here. To anyone who was ever looking forward to any posts, I'm sorry for the lack of attention to LiveJournal. I've been a little busy and haven't really gotten the time to write any reviews about most of the albums I've listened to this year. When Atlas Sound's Logos leaked, I began writing a review, but, unfortunately, I could not finish.

The year is wrapping up, so, here are my top albums for the year. These are the albums that I liked, listened to, and spoke about most during 2009. I suggest that you check out some of this material, if you haven't already.

For 2010, I'll definitely try updating more. At least twice a month!
05. M. Ward - Hold Time

Listen: "For Beginners" or "To Save Me"
Hold Time is an album that I listened to throughout the year. I loved listening to "For Beginners" every time I was passing by the Smith 9th St train station on the G, especially when the sun was out. The scenery of the skies and the melody of the song was a great combination while returning home from a day of school. The songs on this album are suitable for any season and the wistfulness and nostalgia it can bring is welcome. Props to M. Ward for these folky, pop-rock tunes. 

04. The Dodos - "Time To Die"

Listen: "Longform" or "Two Medicines"
It seems to me that it takes an acquired taste to like The Dodos as much as I do. On Time to Die, the band presents [at least slightly] thought-provoking lyrics (You have a heartache/But it never really hurts), melodious tunes, and vocal harmonies. The Dodos are a band I want to listen to all the time. Whether you're ecstatic with joy, solemn with misery, or just feeling apathetic, Time to Die is an album that can suit the mood.

03. Andrew Bird - Noble Beast

Listen: "Masterswarm" or "Tenuousness"
I feel that Noble Beast is Andrew Bird's most confident work yet. I'm not sure if there's any praise I can offer Bird for this album that I haven't given him for anything else he's done, but Noble Beast is an album that you can always come back to and enjoy endlessly. Andrew Bird is on top of his game, witty and charming. He coins smart lyrics, adding sophistication and amusement for the listener.

02. Atlas Sound - Logos

Listen: "Quick Canal" or "Kid Climax"
Bradford Cox offers a rather abstract sound in music, but it's all good. The haziness of songs like "The Light that Failed" or "An Orchid" remind me of those moments in bed when you're entering/escaping dreamland and conscious of it, yet you're not fully awake. On Logos, the songs are shimmery and ambient. If they were clothes, I bed they'd sparkle while being easy on the eyes.

01. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

Listen: "Girlfriend" or "Fences"
This album is filled with catchy songs, nice beats, and cool guitar riffs. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is fun to listen to, even when you're by yourself, and it is worthy of being mentioned in many Best Albums of the Year lists. This is easy to listen to and enjoyable for all.

Some noteworthy songs of the year for me included:
Animal Collective - "Summertime Clothes" (This is the song of the year for me, actually)
Regina Spektor - "Folding Chairs"
Phoenix - "Girlfriend"
The Most Serene Republic - "Phi"
The Bird and the Bee - "Love Letter to Japan"
02 August 2009 @ 10:35 am
Yo La Tengo - Popular Songs
[download] Nothing To Hide

By all accounts, all twelve songs on Yo La Tengo’s Popular Songs can easily become popular one way or another (commercials, soundtracks, blog hype). Many songs by YLT remind me of wedding songs. You can just imagine the band on stage at one lucky couple’s special day and they break out in tunes like “All Your Secrets,” in which Georgia sings to his significant other, persuading her to tell him all her secrets slowly so she won’t have to repeat herself. Yo La Tengo have a romantic quirk to them and this makes them quite more interesting than they already are. YLT also make you want to stick your head out the car window to have your hair blow in the wind and cause that oh so carefree feeling. The catchiness of “Nothing To Hide” may induce that feeling. All in all, Popular Songs is a great experience and total fun. A

The Dodos - Time To Die
[download] Two Medicines

When I heard 2008’s Visiter, I thought how it would be perfect for those moments when you’re lying on the grass at the park or your front lawn, the trips to the beach, and the sunsets. Simply put, the songs that made Visiter were equivalent to summer. Now we have Time to Die to listen to this summer, and although Visiter is the stronger album, Time to Die isn’t all that different. That’s not a bad thing. The Dodos have managed to keep their folky, indie rock style, but they’re not a low-fi band on this album. Meric Long’s voice is always a pleasure listening to and Logan Kroeber’s drumming is top-notch. The addition of a new member makes The Dodos seem like a fuller band who have managed to be able to offer new gems like “Two Medicines,” “Fables,” and “Longform.” While some may call The Dodos’ new effort indie mediocrity, I think of it as a deeper look into what their musicianship is capable of bringing. A-

Arctic Monkeys - Humbug
[download] Pretty Visitors

I was excited to hear Humbug since it’s been few years that the Arctic Monkeys have released a new album. However, I have to admit I’m not in love –or like –with the new album. More like baffled. I can see some experimentation and growth from the band members, especially Alex Turner, whose voice is deeper and more haunting. The songs seem to be constant throughout most of Humbug and I think that’s what’s most disappointing. With their debut, Whatever People Say I Am That’s What I’m Not, one wouldn’t expect a criticizing song like “Still Take You Home” followed by a somewhat low-fi song, “Riot Van.” With such consistency in Humbug, it can get a little boring. It’s a mature sound by all accounts, but there are many instances when it gets a little slow. I hoped for something edgy and frenetic when I heard, say, “Cornerstone,” but instead I heard “Dance Little Liar,” which isn’t a song one would really dance to at all. The production and execution of the album is something to admire. In fact, I would say that Humbug does demand respect and Arctic Monkeys will surely be able to gain new fans with songs like “Pretty Visitors” and “Crying Lightning.” I’m not saying Humbug is a bad album –it’s just quite different than what I imagined their new album would be like. It’s still worth a heavy rotation. B

Current Music: Patrick Wolf - Hard Times | Powered by Last.fm
08 July 2009 @ 07:14 pm
Since I've had time on my hands, I've been making icons. They're not that great -none of them have any text and they were just the products of a few clicks here and there on Photoshop. I'm not that good... Hopefully, someone will like at least one of these. Please be courteous and leave a comment if taking because it would make me happy! Also, it'd be nice if I'm credited, so that's preferred; especially my Michael Jackson ones, even if they're a bit on the bland side. 

These are what you'll find:
  • Alex Turner [1]
  • Julian Casablancas [2]
  • The Last Shadow Puppets [1]
  • Beck [2]
  • Cat Power [1]
  • Feist [4]
  • Jens Lekman [1]
  • New Buffalo [1]
  • The Most Serene Republic [1]
  • Tokyo Police Club [1]
  • Andrew Bird [3]
  • Emily Haines [3]
  • Final Fantasy/Owen Pallett [1]
  • Patrick Wolf [1]
  • Kevin Barnes [1]
  • Michael Jackson [8]

Here we go...Collapse )
It's sad that Michael Jackson passed away before he could make his comeback. However, his spirit and music remains to thrive and lives. On a brighter note, just to keep this blog running, here's a mix of songs that I've been liking a lot these past few days.

01 Regina Spektor - "Folding Chair"
A song from Spektor's latest effort, Far, "Folding Chair" is a gem. It's a sunny tune great for summertime pop. The song is very catchy and is deserving of a few plays every other day.

02 Michael Jackson - "Beat It"
Michael Jackson's death resulted with many saddened fans, celebration of his work, and remarks about his life. In a way, his death made everyone realize how special Jackson was and how brilliant his music is. In an age where downloading the torrent beats the option of buying the actual CD of an artist, one can't deny the effect the mesmerizing Michael Jackson had on everybody who gave him a chance and listened.

03 Avey Tare & Kria Brekkan - "Sis Around the Sandmill"
Avey Tare of Animal Collective and his wife, Kria Brekkan, make a great pair. The album they made together, Pullhair Rubeye, is definitely worth the listen. It's less glitchy than Tare's main project, but it's perfect for those lazy, summer days.

04 The Most Serene Republic - "The Old Forever Things"
I cannot stress any more how much I love The Most Serene Republic. They are way too underrated and very talented. My respect definitely comes from my experience in watching this band evolve from their first record to their newest -which happens to be one of my favorite albums of 2009 right now.

It’s been a few days since The Most Serene Republic’s latest effort, …And The Ever Expanding Universe, leaked online. Since I’m such a big fan of theirs, I was delighted to listen immediately. However, I would say that it takes a person a few listens to really enjoy this record. After each listen, you seem to like it a lot more than you did the first time you tried giving these guys a listen. Soon enough, you do end up loving this album, even if you’ve never listened to The Most Serene Republic before. Dave Newfield produced the album, which may have been a good choice on the band’s part. A whole new appreciation for TMSR is achieved when the album is given a listen. Although they’re already a respect-worthy band, you can’t help but hold The Most Serene Republic in an even higher regard.

The first track, “Bubble Reputation,” isn’t as good as most of their other intros to previous albums, but it’s still a Most Serene Republic-esque welcome. The next song, “Heavens to Purgatory,” is great! When it first surfaced the Internet, I listened to it on repeat. It’s a different side of the band, but there’s still a lively feel on it.

“Vessels of a Donor Look” gives me an I Can Hear This Heart Beating As One feel. It captures the pop that Yo La Tengo carried out in songs like “My Little Corner of the World.” One song I love from this album is “Phi.” It reassures that …And The Ever Expanding Universe sounds like one whole record to play during those summer road trips, where the windows are rolled down and the wind is blowing in your face and messing up your hair.

Other albums, Population and Phages, were denser, but this album lightens things up a bit. While previous works had more glitches and anger, …And the Ever Expanding Universe embodies a more laid-back feeling, like the carefree desire to lounge around and feel a cool breeze coming through the window. Needless to say, Population, Phages, and even Underwater Cinematographer are unique in their own ways, but …And The Ever Expanding Universe has something different about it that draws itself away from the band’s other work.

However, what doesn’t change on this record are Adrian Jewett’s and Emma Ditchburn’s voices’ abilities to blend so well together. “The Old Forever New Things” contains the often-filtered voice of Jewett. The Most Serene Republic often allude to BioShock, and “Patternicity” may be the spot on this album in which the video game gets its spotlight. My favorite song here is probably “Four Humours.” The drumming is top-notch, the vocals sound incredible, and the melody is perfect throughout the entire track. The closing track is “No One Likes A Nihilist,” a song that builds up and then calms back down –a satisfying closure to a great experience.

The Most Serene Republic never fail to impress me. They have superb musicianship. Nearly everything on this album is carefully detailed and perfectly aligned. Perhaps all this praise is due to bias, but honestly, I feel like this band has a lot to offer. One can hear the development and growth of this band when they listen to their debut, Underwater Cinematographer, and listen their way to …And The Ever Expanding Universe. This is one very smart, quirky band. A
Current Mood: impressedimpressed
02 May 2009 @ 10:33 am
Like the title of this post suggests, I want to reach out to all of you about music you should start listening to. This is also a memo for me to start listening to these bands more, too. But in any case, I'm glad I've come across these artists, because I honestly do think they're worth the honorable mention.
Emilie Mover is just precious. Her album Good Shake Nice Gloves is really just whimsical and her voice, although not original, still deserves a lot of praise. Speaking of originality, my comparison of Mover to Regina Spektor definitely isn't, but it's still a justified observation. Both these singers have strong voices, I would say. A lot of Mover's album is low-fi, but I think that's what she should stick to for now. Emilie Mover's songs have such a modest charm. Songs like "No Hill To High" and "Ordinary Day" are gems. I always thought that music sounds best when it's summer. Good Shake Nice Gloves is for those lazy sunday mornings when you want to keep lying still, but are moved enough to smile. A-
Another group I think can raid the blogosphere if they had more listeners is Green Go. Although I still haven't listened to them as much as I would like to, they have some pretty good songs. They've been described as "a propulsive mash-up electro-rock, post-punk, and funky grooves." Needless to say, if you're interested in "electro-rock, post-punk, and funky grooves," then nothing should be stopping you from listening to the band's debut album, Borders. If I threw parties, Green Go would definitely be part of the night's playlist. Green Go have youth and exuberance on their side, which I hope will help them out during their musical career.

Current Music: Emilie Mover - Shake Sugaree | Powered by Last.fm
17 April 2009 @ 07:50 pm
I love this band. I am a huge fan of the music, the lyrics, and you guys -the much talented members of this great outfit. In fact, The Most Serene Republic is one of my favorite bands and Phages might just be in my top ten favorite records ever.

So it probably won't come as a surprise to know that learning about ...And the Ever Expanding Universe, a new album, to be released on June 14, made my day happier than it already was. It's also good to know, just so that we don't have to wait so long for new songs, in the meantime, an EP titled Digital Population will be available on April 28. The songs "Humble Peasants," "Compliance," "The Men Who Live Upstairs," "Present of Future End," and "Sherry and Her Butterfly Net" have been turned into "16-bit dance tunes." That sounds very lovely to me.

However, the new songs excite me more, especially since the track "Heavens To Purgatory" has surfaced the internet. It seems as if you guys have started to explore a bit more. It's a very fresh song, I'll tell you that. But since I want to share the tracklist, I'll go right ahead:

01 Bubble Reputation

02 Heavens to Purgatory

03 Vessels of a Donor Look

04 Phi

05 The Old Forever New Things

06 All of One is the Other

07 Patternicity

08 Four Humours

09 Catharsis Boo

10 Don't Hold Back, Feel a Little Longer

11 No One Likes a Nihilist

Ah, eleven new songs just waiting to be heard by folks like me. What I like even more is knowing that The Most Serene Republic have a few tour dates soon, especially in Brooklyn.

6/24 - Boston at Great Scott

6/25 - NYC at Cake Shop

6/26 - Philadelphia at North Star

6/27 - Brooklyn at Union Hall

Thank you so much,
Your biggest fan,

P.S. People who want to listen to something new, something delightful, should listen to this song.

[mp3] Heavens To Purgatory

Now that I've finally attained the time to make a quick post, I decided to write about Emanuel and the Fear's recently released self-titled EP. This is a band whose niche is "intertwining the modern day pop song with extravagant and complex composition."

I have to point out that "Jimme's Song" is pretty fantastic. Sounding like desperation for more than half the song, the track later turns into a dance-worthy, head bobbing tune. It's evident that Emanuel and the Fear know more than just a thing or two when it comes to making music. It wouldn't be too much of a stretch to say that this is an artist trying to take a shot at originality. The EP is pretty enjoyable to listen to, especially when you're hanging out with your friends in your room and playing music in the background.

Emanuel and the Fear seem like a smart band, and it looks like they might be heading somewhere. If I can recall correctly, they've landed a show with The New Pornographers, which is probably just swell for any upcoming artist. This EP is a great place to visit if you're looking for something new and unique to listen to. You will not be disappointed. It's ambitious, strong, and deserves attention. A

11 March 2009 @ 04:34 pm

Metric's Fantasies was leaked a few days ago, and many fans have taken the opportunity to listen to the new songs as they wait for their pre-ordered editions. As they listen, they'll be satisfied with the price they paid for whatever package they went along with for the album.

The first thing I want to say is that Emily Haines is one of my favorite vocalists. There's something about her voice that is just so cool, smooth, and icy sweet. She seems to experiment well with it too, judging from the b-side, "Waves." Metric has now implemented a more rocky pop sound and they still have the electronic compliments. Haines' voice is graceful in an edgy way. The quality of the songs are impressive, too, and it's evident that the album needed some time to be completely accomplished.

I'm not sure if there's a song that I don't like. There are tracks on the album that I would choose over other songs, but I definitely wouldn't say that there's a single song I'm not a fan of. As of now, my favorite song off Fantasies is "Gimme Sympathy." The acoustic version, which is included in the pre-order download bundle, is great. "Twilight Galaxy" is a easy song to listen to and will surely please anyone in the mood for wist. Emily Haines sings "Everybody just won't fall in love" in "Sick Muse," whose intro is a reminiscent of Bloc Party. But Haines is a little wrong, Fantasies is pure entertainment for the music lover.

As Metric figure out whether they'd rather be The Beatles or The Rolling Stones, fans will delight over the new set of tunes that they were waiting for so long, but not out of sympathy for the obvious effort put towards the record. A
Tags: ,