Thursday, September 24, 2009

Our car's stuck on the train crossing.

I'm going to be honest, there hasn't been a lot of exciting music in my world this year. There's probably two reasons for that - I'm focusing a lot on my reading and I had that whole wedding thing go down in August. I used to do most of my music listening on my subway commute, but now I read. And wedding planning cut into "finding new music" type research or really paying attention to what I was listening to: I had bigger things on the brain.

Also, nobody really put out an album I could get behind. Well, actually, the only album I can recall really getting into this year is Mandy Moore's Amanda Leigh, and that was completely unexpected. For sure, there were albums I enjoyed, but maybe I haven't listened to them enough to be called favourites yet - Phoenix, M. Ward, Metric, Neko Case, Lily Allen, Passion Pit... (They all had albums out this year right? My timeline is totally off pre-wedding, I hardly paid attention to music in the first half of the year. Most of my music listening was picking out wedding music and our cd favor music, thus regressing to past musical choices, not current.) And there are albums I have that I have to listen to more than once - Nightmare of You, Mew, Bat for Lashes, Rodrigo y Gabriela, etc. I just need to get back into it.

I am highly anticipating the end of the year because there are releases from Dragonette, Tegan & Sara, Dashboard Confessional, and Paramore. Oh, and I have to get the new Muse album. Plus, Say Anything has a new album coming out, but I'm not really anticipating it based on the sophomoric single "I Hate Everyone." I think my own personal year in music (yeah, I'm a bit late) started this week with releases from two of my favourite bands: Monty Are I's Break Through the Silence and Brand New's Daisy. For the past two days I've been listening to the albums during work and parts of my commute. I should probably take more time to listen to them, and my opinion may change based on my continual aural study, but we'll see how this goes. I actually paid attention!

FINALLY! Finally Monty Are I are back, and though I'd heard some of the early mixes this summer, I was really looking forward to hearing it in my headphones. Plus, this album was a long time coming. Their last album, Wall of People, came out three years ago in 2006, and I'd already been listening to most of those songs a couple years before that. More than anything, my curiousity was heightened by their obvious talent and their boldness. I knew this release would have some surprising sounds uncharacteristic of a young, Warped Tour band. The thing is, I can't stand most of those bands. I can't listen to a note of their songs because I get queasy with what's being passed as "musical talent" sometimes. I find Monty Are I's non-formulaic approach refreshing.

And here they are with Break Through the Silence, still armed with horns ocassionally (let's not forget they were borne out of a high school ska band), rearin' guitars, and what I'm sure is a bevy of interesting electronic devices...along with a zitar or two. Like I said, non-formulaic. That's not to say it isn't catchy. The album sounds polished, much like the design asthetic of the cover. It's sleek, epic rock. The guitars mostly sound huge, the drums can get intense, and there's a lot of different sounds mixed together. Fortunately, it never gets too overwhelming: it's just surprising to hear it all come together sometimes. It may be a little jarring at times, but I'm thoroughly loving it now. Steve, the lead vocalist/guitarist (and my longtime friend), has definitely brought his talents to the next level with this effort. Frankly, I've never heard him sound this good. The band as a whole has something to really be proud of, and I'm excited to hear these songs live as well as congratulate them in person.

My favourite songs that have gotten stuck in my head: "The Stand," "One in a Million," and "Kaleidoscope"

Please support these fine young men - buy the album and tell me what you think - here on for $7.99! (Also available on Amazon & iTunes)

Now let's talk about Brand New's latest, Daisy. I don't even know where to start. Do I start with the actual album or talking about my mindset as I pressed play on the first song knowing who Brand New is and what they've meant to me over the years? It's almost always exhausting for me to talk about Brand New - there's so much there. The other night at Trainwreck, I was discussing this album and the band with Tyler and it became an entirely too intense discussion for a Tuesday night with drinks in our hands and dance music in the background. I basically covered my feelings about Brand New when I wrote this post about seeing them live last summer. So I turned to this album and had no idea what to expect - the only thing I could expect from them was this it wouldn't sound at all like any of their other albums. They're pretty good in that respect - and it can sometimes drive their oldest fans crazy. I never liked The Devil and God..., even though I wondered if years down the line I would, but it never happened. That said, I really like Daisy.

The album is a bit strange, and I listened with no idea where the next note was going to go. It's been quite enthralling simply because it's so weird and interesting. There are moments that remind me of my favourite Brand New, the Deja Entendu Brand New, like the beginning of "You Stole." But I wouldn't even call those the best moments on the album. Sometimes the lead singer, Jesse Lacey, gets very Jack White with his vocals along with a simple drum beat. I like it. Can sometimes sound like the White Stripes if they recorded in 1994. Sometimes there's some industrial-like vocals echoing in the background. Still don't know if I like that, but it doesn't ruin anything per se. There's also screaming. And soundbites. Though there's a definite meshing of sounds here, it makes sense. I'm not confused or cringing, I'm intrigued. In contrast to Break Through the Silence, Daisy is raw and gritty. As far as any of this being borne of their notorious pretentiousness (at least at live shows), there's a lot of worse music that come out of pretentiousness. They have my attention again.

I've been digging on: "Gasoline," "Sink," "Bought a Bride," and "Noro"

You can buy Daisy at for $9.99!

Anybody else listening to these cuts? What do you think? Have any recent releases I should add to my listen pile? Let me know!


  1. i've been really bad about listening to new music too. i'm going to get muse, green day and probably brand new since i've heard lots of good reviews. but i'm most excited for the swellers new album, which comes out tuesday. they are my friends and i've heard it and it's SO GOOD! totally excited!

  2. Monsters of Folk (M. Ward, Conor Oberst, etc.) came out last week -- I'm pretty impressed with it so far. I've avoided the new Brand New because I wasn't a fan of The Devil and God... at all. But maybe I'll check it out!

  3. definitely pick up the new muse - I haven't been able to stop listening to it since it came out

  4. The Monsters of Folk album is great. I was a little hesitant at first with the new Brand New record since I didn't really like "The Devil and God..." but, "Daisy" has just blown me away. It's so good.

    I'll have to check out Monty Are I now. Your descripiton of their music has me intrigued.

  5. Both the new Muse album and the new Brand New album have been hard for me to get into. Each time I listen I like them a bit more.

    I cannot wait for the new Tegan and Sara album.

  6. Nice write up on the Monty album... it was a long time coming. I think "Hope" is my current favorite - CD Release party October 9th!!

  7. i agree with everyone about monsters of folk, also check out the new portugal the man and the rural alberta advantage. p.s. nice shockhound plug =)

  8. I could have wrote that whole Brand New part. Seriously. Not a fan of The Devil and God... Deja is my fave and I really liked Daisy too.

    I just love them.

  9. the last time i remember getting excited about anything music-wise was when you introduced me to dragonette last year. which i STILL listen to religiously. :)

  10. Sarah - I've heard about the Swellers!

    Heatheroo - INTERESTED. Will look into, thanks!

    Hillary - sounds good!

    Michael - it's definitely intriguing music :)

    m. - I don't think I do?

    Liz - Tegan & Sara = amazing, always. So excited.

    Toenee - Nice! I won't be able to make it to RI, unless it's in NY? I'll have to ask Steve!

    Christina - Monsters of Folk it is! Woo! Obvs, I luff the ShockHound.

    Jamie - :)

    P - Yeah Dragonette!!! It's been a subpar year in music, not going to lie. Nothing's that exciting anymore. Maybe I'm just getting older.

  11. Well at the very least you are AWARE of some of the best stuff to come out this year the Phoenix through Passion Pit sentence has some excellent stuff in there... listen to it more! Also Fun. It's really just like a new album from The Format. Band of Skulls, Grizzly Bear, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, St. Vincent, 20th Anniversary reissue of The Stone Roses... oh man I could just keep going, but I'll stop before I get out of hand.

  12. You have to have to have to listen to Thrice and fun. My top 5 of the year so far are: Thrice, fun, Brand New, Manchester Orchestra, and The Dear Hunter. I like the new Monty Are I, but I need to listen to it more. Also, you should check out Eye Alaska. I think you would appreciate them.

    And whatever happened to Empires? They need to tour or come out with something new.

  13. The CD release is at Lupo's. If it was in NYC I would have been able to come to, since it is so much closer to me than Rhodey is.

    I am loving the new album. I think it is a great mix of what I expect their sound to be and what I hoped it would become. I love the mix of old and new that is revealed in so many different layers... And I love the memories each song brings me to, as though I had them in my dreams for the last several years.

  14. that should say would have been able to come TOO. Sorry about that. Also, I wonder why my pic is centered on my chest instead of my face. weird. hahaha

  15. P.P.S. I remember hearing some of the basic stuff like 2 years ago and I can't believe how nicely it developed!