Last year, my album of the summer belong to The Beach Boys’ and their reunion album, That’s Why God Made The Radio. It was this great mix of upbeat surfin’ and party songs, matched with the melancholy that only Brian Wilson could create.
While it may be too early to tell, I would wager that at least one of the albums I’ll be listening to a lot this summer is the second album from Fitz and the Tantrums, out today.
More Than Just A Dream is the second studio album from the band, and their first on Elektra Records. Full of upbeat and catchy tracks, the album definitely makes good on all the hype and buzz that surrounded the group two years ago, when their debut album Pick Up The Pieces was all the rage.
There are lots of fun, catchy tracks throughout More Than Just A Dream, but for me, the standouts were the opening song, Out Of My League, and The Walker, which is sure to remind folks of Peter, Bjorn and John and the New Pornographers. Take a listen and I’m sure you’ll agree.
More Than Just A Dream could have been maybe two songs shorter, but this is really a fun, poppy record that keeps the energy high and the melodies memorable. Check it out – you might just find your summer album comes from Fitz and the Tantrums.
My first introduction to The Flaming Lips, like a lot of folks, was their critically acclaimed 1999 album The Soft Parade. Problem was, while everybody else loved it, I didn’t. I mean, it was beautiful in many places,with its layered vocals and production, but I couldn’t get into Wayne Coyne’s voice. I tried, believe you me. When Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots came out, I tried even harder. At War With The Mystics I got into, though. It wasn’t as twee as the previous albums. And then came Embryonic in 2009. That’s when I got it. The Flaming Lips had gone from orchestral pop back to avant-garde, Pink Floydish noise. Beautiful noise, like a psychedelic trip that had no boundaries. This was music I could get into.
It should come as no surprise then, that the band’s new release The Terror, is just what the doctor ordered for this particular listener.
“Biff Bam Pop, right. You were in the front row tonight. Are you going to review the show?”
So asked Geoff Downes, keyboardist for legendary progressive rock band Yes when I reintroduced myself at the band’s meet and greet following their sold out performance at Massey Hall Thursday, April 11th. Last summer, Geoff and I had met at the band’s summer tour opener after he and I had conducted an email interview about the band. I told him I would indeed be writing about this stop on Yes’ three album tour, where the group was performing their classic albums The Yes Album, Close To The Edge and Going For The One in their entirety. This was the first time the band was attempting something like this since the early 70′s, when they toured their double album Tales From Topographic Oceans. It’s an ambitious undertaking, but one that is paying off nicely for the group. Shows have been selling out and reviews have been positive.
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Over the last few weeks, this column has seen two different reviews of the new G.I. Joe: Retaliation film – one by “Joe” fanatic, Andy Burns, which you can read here and one by regular Los Angeles cinema-goer, Emily McGuiness, which you can check out here.
It’s safe to say that the two movies in the franchise are pretty cheesy viewing. In private circles, I’ve been known to mercilessly rip the first flick – yet I still have an interest in viewing the second. Call it nostalgia for the cartoons I watched and the action figures I collected and played with as a kid.
Still, as we’re experiencing military grandstanding in North Korea, active operations in Afghanistan, and political machinations back home in North America, it’s a great time to curl up on the couch, ditch the cheese, and watch a great G.I. film that carries a weighty and important philosophy.
I’m talking, of course, about the underappreciated G.I. Jane.
Who would have thought a skinny white kid would become the Marvin Gaye of the 2010′s? As strange as it may seem, that’s exactly who Justin Timberlake embodies with his latest album, The 20/20 Experience. Check out his singly Suit and Tie below and then read our review after the jump!
For Christmas/Hanukah this year, my Dad and Stepmom were kind enough to get me a record player. Yes, a record player. Believe it or not, vinyl has been making a huge comeback over the last few years, and most high profile new releases are being released in the format, often including cds and download codes to get either the high-rez or the mp3 version of the album. It’s very smart marketing done by the artist and the record labels.
There’s little question that when it comes to album art, bigger is better, which is part of the reason we’re starting this column. Along with commentary about the music contained in the grooves, each edition of Drop The Needle will have photos so you can get a sense of what the art looks like.
Kicking things off is album more than two decades in the making. Check out a track or two from the new release from My Bloody Valentine, and then I’ll let you in on my vinyl experience after the jump!
Our man Glenn Walker was immediately enamoured with the new David Bowie album The Next Day when he streamed it from iTunes a few weeks ago. Now the rest of the world had heard and started absorbing Bowie’s first album in a decade. As a longtime fan of the man, I have to say I’m more than pleased with The Next Day. It could be his finest work in decades.
Take a listen to the latest single The Stars (Are Out Tonight) and then read on after the jump!