- Top 10 Music -
I know it certainly isn’t trendy or cool to dig on Oasis these days – what with their fire having gone out sometime around 1997 if you listen to mainstream music magazines. I’m here to tell you that not only do Oasis still rock the joint – but “Don’t Believe The Truth” is also quite possibly the most consistent and brilliantly executed album of their career. It’s not something that immediately grabs you, but it burrows in and takes root – and before you know it you can’t pick a favorite. From the opener “Turn up The sun” with it’s typically Oasis jangle and backbeat – to the heartfelt closer “Let there Be Love”, featuring the first duet between Noel and Liam to appear on an official album (No, Acquiesce doesn’t count…). Each and every track is a valuable addition to the Oasis catalog – not one is a skipper or a filler track – and the band demonstrates a maturity and cohesive fullness that was only slightly hinted at on “Heathen Chemistry”. It’s the best album of 2005 for me – a larger than life rock record with no dead weight. And “Keep the Dream Alive” has become one of my absolute favorite songs…
Yeah, Sheavy are local boys – But they compete on an international level. Their latest (fifth) album finds the band rejuvenated – after a few years of start-stop meetings and one off recording, the crew is back together – living in the same area, and with Republic, they took their sweet time piecing together one hell of an aggressive rock and roll album. There’s a savage bite and a downright crushing low end that hasn’t been heard from them before – they sound downright hungry. The album kicks off with the buzzsaw riff of “Spy vs. Spy” and just careens through it’s runtime at breakneck pace. One part fury, one part groove – Dan Moore’s guitar work is the finest stuff he’s done yet – and Steve Hennesey’s vocals are as strong (and reminiscent of a sober, more talented Ozzy) as always. Highlights include “Imitation of Christ”, “Phone Booth in the Middle of Nowhere”, “Last Chance… Gremlin X”, and the epic, “Standing at the Edge of the World”.
Starsailor are band that have always resided on the fringes of popularity in
Few female singer-songwriters perform music as beautifully as Amiee Mann. Her latest album is a concept album – it tells the story of a washed up boxer and his love, making a cross-country journey. Where the subject matter came from I have no idea, it does strike me as a little oddball (which should be no surprise). Mann executes the album with skill, these songs are an emotional journey, they obviously mean a lot to her. The entire album was recorded live in the studio, the performances are lively and assured – though I do miss the presence of Michael Penn. Highlights for me are “Going through The Motions”, The opener, “Dear John”, and the closing track, “Beautiful”, though the entire album is a collection of solid songs and really works best if you listen to the whole album in one go.
The Trews wowed me with their collection of solid rock n roll on their debut album, House of Ill Fame, and I waited very anxiously for this one. It was most certainly not a disappointment. Hard driving guitar boogie and rocking beats permeate this collection of barroom rock and roll, from the awesome start-stop groove of “So she’s Leaving”, to the sing-a-long catchiness of “Ishmael & Maggie”. Colin’s vocals echo guys like Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes, and his brother Angus echoes the sentiment with his guitar style. The Trews are like a breath of fresh air – providing us with some easily accessible driving rock. They’re an Atlantic Canadian version of the Crowes – and for me that’s a damn good thing.
What the hell is with
A fantastic collection of Folk rock as is typical of the Wallflowers. This album takes them a little further afield of their usual radio friendly folk pop, and into a more earthy guitar driven direction. Highlights include "God Says Nothing Back" complete with driving wrold-music styled percussion, and the awesome uptempo anthem, "Back To California". The band hasn't lost a step, and remains one of the strongest straight ahead rock acts on the go.
What a great way to celebrate the tenth anniversary of an album! JLP-Accoustic is a resoundingly successful experiment on Alanis’ part, a retrospective on a classic pop album from the headspace of the present. The songs are definitely farmiliar, yet they’ve never sounded so good in my opinion. There’s something about songs like “All I Really Want”, “Hand in my Pocket”, or “You’ll Learn” that just seems to work better in the warmer acoustic vibe. Other songs like “You Oughta Know” and “Right Through You” surprise in how fresh and effective they sound – stripped of their glam-pop electric guitars and howling mad vocals. I’d love to see more artists try something along these lines! You needn’t be an Alanis fan to enjoy this one (god knows I’ve never really been – despite an intimate familiarity with her music), if you appreciate a good singer-songwriter folk style album – it’s worth a listen.
Devils in Dust is
Jeff Greene’s first album, Time To Heal (2003) was a collection of Bar-room country rock in the vein of Blue Rodeo with a twist of the Tragically Hip. This one, his sophomore effort, finds things in a very different place. His sound is still identifiable, You can still hear Blue rodeo, or The Hip in here, but the sound is much more textured, more layered, and the production much more meticulous. While time To Heal may have been radio crossover material, Build-Ups and Breakdowns is much more of an experience album. The opening track, “Movin’ On” is the first and last song on the album to really hearken back to his debut – everything else goes into new territory for Jeff. The country influence is still there, while songs like “Runaway” channel classic blues, and the sweeping “Slow To Fade” layers guitars and vocals with a U2-like majesty. Overall the album is a laid back and mellow affair, with a few upbeat moments – but it all works remarkably well. The album’s overall production is polished and of extremely high quality as well.
I was never a huge Weezer fan, I’ll be first to admit – but upon hearing the first single from this album, a catchy little tune called “Beverly Hills”, I figured I’d take the plunge on the album. Overall the disc is a very pleasant surprise – Weezer continues to churn out their brand of radio-friendly pop rock, though I can honestly say they’ve never done it with such style and finesse. Gone are the sour chords and off-key vocals, replaced by some lean playing and some skillfull songwriting. Weezer still wave the Emo flag – but things are far more upbeat and lyrical this time around, and the catchy hooks of
- Honorable Mentions -
- Bruce Dickinson - Tyranny of Souls
- Franz Ferdinand - You Could Do So Much Better
- Coldplay - X&Y
- The Darkness - One Way Ticket to Hell and Back
- Beck - Guero
- The White Stripes - Get Behind me Satan
- Nine Inch Nails - With Teeth