The Strokes Review: Comedown Machine

The Strokes
Comedown Machine

The Strokes, Comedown Machine, album cover art

Somewhere in the flood of good music that came about as a result of The Strokes’ post-punk garage-rock revival, people began to forget about The Strokes themselves. In 2001 they were a breath of fresh air to the music world as they released us from the chains of 90’s boys bands and wuss-rock like the Gin Blossoms. They brought back new wave, fuzz, and not giving a shit all in one fell swoop. Now when they release an album people shrug their shoulders, which is somewhat ironic since Julian Casablancas was the one who taught us how to shrug again in the first place. Even as early 2006, after the release of very good third album, I remember wondering why people had already seemed to not care about them as much. And yes First Impressions of Earth WAS actually good. Sure, they have a formula and they stick to it, but I commend them for that. I really love the seemingly simple yet quite intricate way they execute their songs. So after struggling more than usual to find greatness in their new release, I still have found enough victories in Comedown Machine to find it enjoyable.

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Justin Timberlake Review Royale: The 20/20 Experience

Justin Timberlake

The 20/20 Experience

Justin Timberlake, THE 20/20 EXPERIENCE, ALBUM COVER, cover art

Austin’s Thoughts:

Going into my first listen of The 20/20 Experience my expectations were high, but also slightly tempered.  Justin Timberlake hasn’t released an album in seven years, instead choosing to focus on his acting career.  Maybe after stinkers like In Time, Yogi Bear (assuming), and Trouble With The Curve (again assuming), JT thought it would be prudent to turn his focus back to music.  He could not have been more right.  With R&B coming more to the forefront of the music landscape last year on the backs of Frank Ocean and Miguel, it was time for Timberlake to reassert his dominance in this particular arena.
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Unknown Mortal Orchestra with Foxygen Show Review

Unknown Mortal Orchestra
with special guests Foxygen
3/7/2012
Lincoln Hall
Chicago, IL

Unknown Mortal Orchestra, live, 3/7/2012, Lincoln Hall

Lincoln Hall! Wow! Hats off to venues that can dovetail a bar, a restaurant,
and concert venue in such an incredibly seamless fashion. This place is
one of the best small venues I’ve been too, sound-wise, environment-wise,
and price-wise. Not only that, but they are also home to one of the better
tacos (pork belly mind you) and beer selections I’ve ever seen at a music
venue. If you’re looking to catch a cheap show in Chicago, I’d start here.
Last night fellow LxL’er Wes and myself were treated to quite the show
in this wonderful hall of sound and music. The lineup: Wampire, Foxygen, and
Unknown Mortal Orchestra. All psychedelic throwbacks, each equipped with
their own unique sounds and quirks. If you follow us at LxL, I know you’ve
heard me gush over two of these three bands a lot lately. Well put on your
raincoat because I’m about to gush all over the place once again.
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Foxygen Review: We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic

Foxygen
We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic

Foxygen, We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic, album cover art

After a barrage of EP’s and one full length album (that was released less than a year ago mind you), Foxygen was seemingly just another good garage/indie band that for the most part, I thought would perpetually be flying under the radar. Well with their sophomore effort We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic that was just released last week, they quickly proved that they offer much more than the “under-the-rader” stigma I tagged them with. Uponst my ears hearing the first few sounds of this wistful album, my brain responded by telling me that I must be listening to a Rolling Stones or Beatles psychedelic era recording. The opening track, “In The Darkness” perfectly collides the two worlds of Beatles-esque harmonies and pop vibes with the gritty garage-rock sound of the early Stones. And strap yourself in, because this trip down memory lane certainly doesn’t end there.

Beatles, John Lennon and The Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger
^My brains portrayal of a behind the scenes photo of Foxygen in the recording studio.

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Taylor Swift Review: Red

Taylor Swift
Red
taylor swift album cover art, red, new album

The first time I really listened to Taylor Swift was last year when I heard the song “Mean”. On the surface it seemed like another sad song about a love-gone-wrong, but it turned out this catchy and clever little tune is only disguised as such. When you dig a bit deeper you find that her ulterior motives are better served as a bit of an “eff you” to all her harsher critics (including Kanye, the end all be all of critics). I thought it was a good move. I know it is a bit boastful to compare oneself to Parks and Rec’s Ron Swanson, but if there is one way I am similar it lies in the irony that as he is a man who hates government, yet works for it while I am a man who hates critics, yet I write critiques for a music blog. So I really rather enjoyed hearing Taylor sing about how successful she is while all her critics are nothing but talking heads that continue to voice their loud opinions that nobody hears. Only to become exactly what she mocked in that song, I thought I would give her new album Red, a fair shake.
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Tame Impala Review: Lonerism

Tame Impala
Lonerism

tame impala lonerism cover art, album cover, new album

Tame Impala’s debut album Innerspeaker was easily one of the most underrated albums of 2010. Not that it didn’t receive high praise, because it did, it just didn’t receive enough of it. Two years after its release, and week before its sophomore follow up, it is still being discovered by many and loved by all that hear it. The follow-up Lonerism hits the physical shelves next week, and I’ll be damned if the band didn’t pick up right where they left off. Without seeming to really skip a beat, Tame Impala continues to float us on down the wavy psychedelic-pop river that their music seems to create for its listener. With his main source of inspiration for this particular album being Todd Rundgren’s 1973 effort A Wizard, a True Star, lead man Kevin Parker finds ways to mellow out a bit more with Lonerism, but without losing his edge.
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David Byrne & St. Vincent Review: An Off-Kilter Review for An Off-Kilter Collaboration

David Byrne & St. Vincent
Love This Giant

david byrne and st vincent, love this giant, album, cover, art

We at LxL have been at this for almost a year now. In this past year I have written my fair share of reviews and to be honest, I’m a bit tired of writing just the standard 700+ words all lumped together in a few poorly spelled paragraphs for a review. So for this particular off-kilter duo and their off-kilter album, I’m going to try and mix things up with a bit of an off-kilter review that tracks exactly how I came to develop my opinion for this album.

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