Tag: alternative rock

Track By Track: Coldplay — Mylo Xyloto

Track By Track: Coldplay — Mylo Xyloto

Music
Because I dread the thought of writing yet another album review where I spend hundreds of words trying to frame an album in the proper context, or where I try to find yet another way to write about chord progressions, I'm just going to take it one song at a time and share my first impressions. So here we go with Coldplay's fifth and newest album, Mylo Xyloto. "Mylo Xyloto" -- Like most instrumental passages fewer than 60 seconds long, it's nice but not really essential. Next. "Hurts Like Heaven" -- Ooh, peppy! I like the directness and dance-ability of this, even though I am in fact a shitty dancer. This is easily more immediate than anything on the Viva La Vida album (which is not to say better, mind you). Nice vocal melodies from Chris "Mr. Paltrow" Martin. "Paradise" -- This ha
My favorite music: 1983

My favorite music: 1983

Music
If there's one thing the internet lacks, it's pointless music lists. So to fill that void, here's a sampling of my favorite albums from some random year. Let's say, 1983. (Spotify users, check out the accompanying playlist and subscribe!) Robert Plant, The Principle of Moments -- While I would in no way claim that Robert Plant's solo output bests Led Zeppelin's music, a lot of times I simply prefer to listen to Plant. In fact I'd say that Plant has enjoyed one of the most artistically rewarding solo careers of any artist who was part of a popular band that I can think of. The Principle of Moments is probably my favorite Plant solo effort (next to Fate of Nations) -- he sounds freed from the constraints of creating larger-than-life rock and the music just crackles with energy. "In the...
New Adventures in Hi-Fi: My Journey Into R.E.M., Part 4

New Adventures in Hi-Fi: My Journey Into R.E.M., Part 4

Music
When I started this series I honestly had no idea R.E.M. was on the threshold of releasing yet another studio album, Collapse Into Now. And as much as I would love to check out the new album, I think I'm going to hold off for a bit. I'd like to continue down the path I started in order to get a better perspective of their output so I can approach the new record with more than an outsider's mindset (unlike what I had when I reviewed Accelerate). We're up to album number five, Document. It's the last studio disc R.E.M. released on the I.R.S. label, and it is the group's first major commercial hit. My first thought as "Finest Worksong" got underway -- HELLO big rock production! My second thought -- Hey, so that's what Michael Stipe sounds like when he faces the microphone! Document ...
Album cover of the week: Origin of Symmetry

Album cover of the week: Origin of Symmetry

Album Cover of the Week, Music
In addition to containing one of the greatest Muse tracks ever ("Space Dementia", in case you had to ask), the 2001 sophomore release Origin of Symmetry sports a cover that is simple and striking. I couldn't find a whole lot on this work, other than the artist (William Eager). Included inside the album is a gallery of images that are each reflective of the "origin of symmetry" theme, at least according to Muse frontman Matthew Bellamy. The phrase itself comes from a book called Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the Tenth Dimension by theoretical physicist Michio Kaku. It's on my summer reading list but I haven't gotten around to finishing it yet, so I'll have to just accept that that little factoid is true. In any case I'm guessing that ...
New Adventures in Hi-Fi: My Journey Into R.E.M., Part 2

New Adventures in Hi-Fi: My Journey Into R.E.M., Part 2

Music
Welcome back! In today's installment of my musical journey through R.E.M.'s discography, I tackle the first two full-length albums from the Athens, Georgia quartet. The first one, 1983's Murmur, pops up in just about every list of the greatest pop/rock albums ever made, so I was really curious to hear what all the hype was about. And then it's on to next year's Reckoning and the first major stylistic change for the group. While the two records were released almost exactly one year apart, they really are very different artistic statements. So anyway, Murmur.  Hey I recognize that first song! It's a re-recorded version of the band's first single, "Radio Free Europe." Well one thing's for sure, this new version is a lot cleaner-sounding and much more professional. Too bad it doesn't quite
New Adventures in Hi-Fi: My Journey Into R.E.M., Part 1

New Adventures in Hi-Fi: My Journey Into R.E.M., Part 1

Music
Hello from Athens!  So to speak anyway.  This is the first leg of my journey through the discography of alternative rock heroes R.E.M. If you want a little more historical background on the band and their roots, well, I guess you can hit up Wikipedia. I'm going to focus as much as I can on just the music for this series. So I know that in the introduction post I said I'd only be hitting the main albums and EPs in my writeups, but I would be doing everyone a disservice without mentioning "Radio Free Europe." Released in 1981, it's R.E.M.'s first single and was largely responsible for landing them a record deal with I.R.S. Listening to it 30 years later it's easy to figure out where it fits in the history of alt rock, although there are some strong New Wave sounds going on as well. Her
New Adventures in Hi-Fi: My Journey Into R.E.M., Introduction

New Adventures in Hi-Fi: My Journey Into R.E.M., Introduction

Music
Several years ago (damn I've been doing this blog a long time) I posted a list of some of the biggest artists in music and confessed that I had not bothered to check them out beyond knowing some of their biggest hits. Last weekend I checked out several episodes of the 2007 BBC series Seven Ages of Rock on VH1 Classic, and got caught up in the one covering alternative rock. It covered bands like Nirvana and the Pixies, whom I've already auditioned and found wanting.  Another band heavily featured in the episode was R.E.M. And you know, the fact is I have never really given them a proper chance. I know how important they supposedly are in the world of alternative rock and of course I'm very familiar with their biggest hits, but as I was never all that much into alt rock I had little r
Album review roundup: Cage the Elephant, Cold War Kids, and Deerhoof

Album review roundup: Cage the Elephant, Cold War Kids, and Deerhoof

Music
I didn't make a New Year's resolution to listen to more new music in 2011, but it just seems to be working out that way.  And so far I've been rewarded with some pretty decent stuff.  Will the good times continue?  Let's find out... Cage the Elephant – Thank You, Happy Birthday (Jive) Here's another group that managed to become pretty popular without even appearing on my radar.  I can't speak to how Cage the Elephant may or may not have changed since their first album, but this one is pretty damn good.  For a so-called indie rock band, Cage the Elephant displays a real knack for catchy aggression and a willingness to incorporate whatever sounds and styles necessary to get their point across.  Album opener "Always Something" nails the slinky, urban vibe that My Morning Jacket went for
Album cover of the week: Ten

Album cover of the week: Ten

Album Cover of the Week
As if I needed yet another reminder of how old I'm getting - 2011 marks the 20th anniversary of Ten, the debut album from Pearl Jam (although it wasn't released until August '91).   For many music fans this album (perhaps alongside Nirvana's Nevermind) heralded the end of the Age of Hair Metal, which was either a good or bad thing depending on your outlook. But rather than focus on the music, let's take a look at the artwork from Ten. This is the CD art that most of us are familiar with (especially since Ten has sold close to 10 million copies).  I've always liked this image, subtle as it is.  It effectively conveys the whole tight-knit, brotherhood sort of vibe I've always associated with Pearl Jam.  It's a strikingly positive image, which stands in stark contrast to the rather