Key Tracks: The Suburbs, Modern Man, We Used To Wait
Sounds Like: Bruce Springsteen had he grown up an angsty prep-school kid
The Skinny: While most of us have somewhat fond memories of our times growing up in the suburbs, cruising around with mostly nothing to do, it seems to have had something of an adverse effect on Winn Butler. Inspired by his hometown of Houston, TX, the Arcade Fire’s sprawling third album is loaded with Butler’s confessional, emotionally charged lyrics and hauntingly passionate vocals, couple with the band’s unconventional jaunty arena rock. The Suburbs takes listeners on a journey through Butler’s apocalyptic view on suburban sprawl and the baby boomers unfulfilled vision for the future.
Key Tracks: Bright Lights Big City, Fuck You
Sounds Like: The funk and the soul, baby
The Skinny: Cee Lo Green has been making music since the early 90’s, but it took him until now to drop his weight into the pool for one of the biggest cannonball dives that we saw in 2010. The internet release of Fuck You in August had over two million YouTube plays in less than a week, and was nominated for five Grammy’s in December. Arista Records is kicking themselves now for dropping him, my friends. The full-length album, The Lady Killer, is the trigger on the gun that shot the bullet that was Fuck You. Cee Lo’s voice cries, wails, screams, and calms in his 14-track love story. He brings modern pop together with the classic sound of Motown funk, soul and doo-wop without losing ground to the haters who said that Gnarls Barkley was just a played out pop sensation. Anyone who says The Lady Killer isn’t a near perfect blend of old school and new isn’t listening hard enough.
Key Tracks: Stitches, Wet Cement, All Day Daylight, Excuses
Sounds Like: Being paid a visit from a “Grizzly Bear” while numb at your “Beach House”
The Skinny: On the one hand, the Morning Benders latest release sounds like a number of modern bands that fall into the trendy dream pop neo-genre – not the least of which is Grizzly Bear, as Chris Taylor from that band sat in the producer’s chair – but those hangups should be set aside immediately, as Big Echo ambles along in an entirely enjoyable, almost anesthetic manner. While seamlessly shifting gears between ambient milieus, hushed harmonies, and 50s pop, the music comes across so textured and whooshy with reverb and instrumentation that it serves in taking the listener along on its sonic diversion. If modern indie rock has taught us anything, it’s that getting a good tone can be just as important as any hook, riff, or chorus.
Key Tracks: I Only Wear Blue, Station, Mirror Mirror
Sounds Like: The crossroads where The Band meets The Beatles
The Skinny: Dr. Dog have come a long way from the lo-fi basement rock of 2002′s self-released Toothbrush. With each passing album the Philadelphia-based act have continued to hone their craft. The group’s latest manages to capture the exuberant sound that makes them a must see band live. Drenched in psychedelic guitar swaths, bouncy rhythms, gorgeous harmonies and even more of their signature lush oohs and aahs, Shame, Shame is Dr. Dog’s most developed album yet arriving at the crossroads where The Band meets The Beatles.
Previously On HT: