Cold War Kids – Loyalty to Loyalty

Cold War Kids have a lot to live up to after their stunning debut ‘Robbers and Cowards’. And although it’s an impressive follow up, it still manages to fall short.
Every song is complete as a song, but I felt it lacked the cohesion that made Robbers and Cowards so good.
‘Something Is Not Right With Me’ is the obvious single, but instead of creating an album around it, it stands on its own.
It’s a great album, but if you’ve never listened to Cold War Kids before, buy Robbers and Cowards first – and then you’ll have to buy Loyalty to Loyalty.

Girls – Broken Dreams Club

Their follow up EP to their last release ‘Album’ and they haven’t strayed too far from the formula which made me fall in love with their sound.

Not having lived through the 60s, Girls reminds me of what I think the 60s surf culture was.
It conjures up images of high waisted bikini clad girls playing volleyball and boys surfing and showing off.
They take the elements of the soulful guitars, laidback rhythms, and simple melodies and play with it introducing horns and bells.

Everything I expected from Girls, it’s the perfect soundtrack for hitting the beach and designed for summer fun.

Cold War Kids – Behave Yourself

From the opening chords of ‘Audience’ you know exactly what Cold War Kids are all about. Nathan Willet’s vocal style, at times sounding Jeff Buckley-like, manages to draw you into their stories.
Each song is beautifully written. It’s simplistic in it’s complexity.

These are five songs which need to be heard, not only by Cold War Kids fans, but by any music lover with an appreciation for the blues and wants to hear one of it’s modern translations.

The Shins – Chutes Too Narrow

The second album from The Shins was always going to have a lot to live up to after ‘oh inverted world’ but the characteristics that made that album so complete and wonderful are still all here.
James Mercer’s impossibly complex lyrics with their shoe gazing style of pop make this a good listen.
And upon a second, third, fourth, listen it will work its way into your heart.
It has become a comfort album of sorts for me – an album that I can come back to, no matter how I’m feeling, and it will reinforce my feelings.
From melancholy to uplifting to a sense of calmness – this album can make me feel so much and for that, I love it.

It’s full of a quiet, poppy, indie, shoegazing sound which can be incredibly catchy. So Says I, Pink Bullets, and Saint Simon and favourites.

If you love the shins you’ll love this.
If you don’t yet love the shins – watch garden state.
As they say – this song (new slang – and the shins) will change your life

album reviews – the avalanches & the shortwave set

in my ongoing struggle to support my CD buying addiction i’ve turned to writing reviews in exchange for CDWow vouchers…

The Avalanches – Since You’ve Been Gone
I first listened to this album when the hype around ‘Frontier Psychiatrist’ was palpable. It’s a great song on its own but to fully appreciate the thought behind it you need to listen to the album from start to finish.
It takes you on a journey through someone elses world. If i had to compare it to anything, it’s similar to ‘the eels – daisies of the galaxy’ in that it tells you a complete story. But the way it tells you it’s story is what makes it so special, and is one of the reasons why it was recently voted number one album of the 00’s on inthemix.com.

I love to listen to this album from start to finish whilst soaking in the sunshine and just relaxing.
It truly is a wonderful album that can be listened to over and over again…

The Shortwave Set – The Debt Collection
A brilliant debut album from an indie collective. If you’re a fan of Broken Social Scene or The New Pornographers definitely check this out.

Songs like “Is It Any Wonder?” show their poppy catchy side whereas “Better Than Bad” takes a country hook and will keep you singing all day.

They take sampled hooks, tie them with soft vocals, put a bow on them with catchy lyrics and create a listening experience rather than individual songs. A wonderful debut which was followed up by the fantastic Replica Sun Machine.
If you want to hear what came before “No Social” and “Glitches and Bugs” this album will give you the answer you’re looking for…