Monday, 6 February 2012

Amanda Says... Listen to This

Hey, remember Music Monday? Remember my "listen to an album a day" resolution?
Welcome to the return to both. Here I review several albums I listened to over the past week. I also listened to a couple albums that weren't really new new, so they're not listed here because nobody cares about them anymore but me.

I know NOTHING about music, really. I'm a complete moron. Consider these the musings of a layperson. I'm not discerning. I pretty much like every kind of music--as long as it's good. These are just my thoughts on what I heard last week.

The Maccabees - Given to the Wild
Released January 6, 2012

Most of the album is a parade of promising intros that melt into mildly soporific melodies and mournful vocals. "Ayla" is a notable exception, with its bright keyboard part playing the lifeline that keeps it from drowning in melancholy. Predictably, I also liked the single "Pelican" quite a bit better than the rest of the album. Given to the Wild is full of well-constructed songs, though, and I wouldn't be surprised to hear a few of them on Blockbuster soundtracks. They've got some intriguing lyrics and tonnes of mood. Just not my mood.

You might like this if you like:
Death Cab for Cutie, Christina Perri

"Pelican" and "Went Away" are worth a listen.

Enter Shakiri - A Flash Flood of Colour
Released January 16

Heavy metal protest songs featuring insightful thought-provoking lyrics speckled with metaphors that you'll wish you'd thought of first. With a voice that could sing you to sleep as easily as it riles your rage, Rou Reynolds is the ideal heavy band frontman. He also provides the pervasive electronic element, that despite my electroniphobia, doesn't prevent me from calling this real music. It actually gets categorized under, among other things, dubstep. Colour me corrected.

You Might Like This If You Like:
Taking my advice? I don't know. I don't have a huge reference bank for this type of music.

Best use:
Vehicular rocking.

Most of this album got my Grooveshark seal of approval.

Kathleen Edwards - Voyageur
Canadian; Released Jan 17, 2012

While there's nothing particularly painful about this album, there's nothing outstandingly pleasureful about it, either. Edwards is a talented singer, but not one of these tracks stood out as something to be remembered and re-listened. Most were sadness without soul, and that's just boring. The saddest part really is that there are some neat lyrics, but they needed better backup to make them worth revisiting.

You Might Like This If You Like
The Indigo Girls (but they were too interesting for you), Easy Listening

Best lyrics:
God doesn't know you like I do. - "Mint"

I gave it a wide miss.

Nada Surf - The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy
Released January 18, 2012

If you're a fan of Nada Surf, this album is sure to leave you with one thought ringing clearly in your mind: Why did they do that? The album lacks personality and passion, and offers only a vague shadow of what you think of as Nada Surf.

You Might Like This If You Like
Sleeping, Not Nada Surf

"Looking Through"

Hit up iTunes for the one or two songs you like

Foxy Shazam - Church of Rock and Roll
Released January 24, 2012

This band is one of those few that will make you believe that Rock--the way you wish you were old enough to remember it--really isn't all dead or derivative. Finely-crafted songs are borne out in performances that are solid and human, and overlain with cleverly placed whimsy. The Church of Rock and Roll is the joyful, soulful, playful man child of decades of rock, and it got all the best of all of its ancestors.

Favourite lyric:
"Your eyes are filled with fire; your mouth is filled with cuss."

You Might Like This If You Like:
Music, Life.

In the rotation. So effing in the rotation.

John K. Samson - Provincial
Canadian; Released January 24, 2012

Provincial is post-modern folk rock. Samson lays his emotive voice over an understated but interesting drums-guitar-bass bed. His smart, pithy lyrics have a distinctly Canadian flavour and a unique frame of reference that brings an endearing sense of honesty to each song. My guess is that if you like this album, you'll love it.

Favourite Lyric:
I'm just your little ampersand. - "The Last And"

You Might Like This If You Like:
The Weakerthans (duh), hipster stuff

I bought this album. I PAID MONEY for it. I also bought a ticket to go see John K. Samson live.


  1. I'm so goddamn old. The only names I recognized were "Death cab for Cutie", Christina Perri and Indigo Girls.

    1. I hadn't heard of most of them before, either. And two of them are pretty Canadian and may not have been exported much. So don't feel bad!

  2. Did like Church of Rock and Roll, although I couldn't stop thinking about all the shots fired into the air. All those bullets would need to come down somewhere.

    My mind is annoyingly obsessive like that. Like when I watch a film or TV show and people park their cars and walk away without locking them. I want to shout: "Lock the car, stupid!". But I don't. Because they can't hear you.

    1. Ha! I think the same kinds of things all the time! And in stereotypically female fashion, I often find myself thinking, "Man, who's going to have to clean that up?" Both who has to clean it up in the context of the show AND who has to clean up the set. I ask sometimes, but they never answer, because, as you say, they can't hear us.