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neurological dryer lint

dirty deeds... and the dunderchief

 

who you are these days

 muse - black holes and revelations

i know that i'm sort of late to the party here with muse. (not as late, btw, as i am to discovering the silly brilliance of futurama, which i finally appreciate, but that's a topic for another day.) ethel plays a decent amount of this band, and they ended up being a band that i didn't love but that i didn't turn off, so i figured i'd give one of their albums a shot. usually when i start to listen to a band late in their life i try to start with albums earlier in the cycle, so i can see how they've evolved over time. i've found i'm losing patience with that process, though, so i just grabbed this year's black holes & revelations instead.

see i'm rarely in the mood to listen to bands with a sound like this - a gooey blend of stabbing westward's beats and guitar, mansun's vocals, and coldplay's self-important mellow vibe. usually i would playlist oasis + mansun + pete yorn if i was. nevertheless they are intriguing, with complex rhythms and great songwriting. i find myself really enjoying most of this disc - supermassive black hole and exo-politics are great driving / party tracks... there's a few quieter, more delicate songs but they don't overwhelm me... you know, i bet these guys do a sweet live show...

 greg graffin - cold as the clay

i occasionally pulled out bad religion frontman greg graffin's american lesion disc if i was in a wander-off-by-myself emotional place. mostly acoustic guitar and piano, it's got some decent songs but it's a bit overproduced and comes off as a collection of watery-billy-joel-wannabe tracks. cold as the clay is a stark contrast - produced by bandmate and punk-guru brett gurewitz, it's a tradeoff of folk-acoustic and bluegrass that's enrapturing from the outset. the whole thing sounds a lot darker and more mature than lesion. the mixing made a big difference - greg's voice is stacked loud on top of the banjo and guitar, where it belongs.

about a third of the disc is made up of the tom-petty-ish folk rock. good stuff that greg pulls off, but in the end they feel unnecessary and a little out of place. the remainder is bluegrass, a genre i don't spend much time in, but on this disc i've found they're the strongest and most interesting songs. omie wise, california cotton fields, and talk about suffering are beautiful and intimate - and from a guy playing punk rock for twenty years they sound incredibly natural, like he'd been playing this music his whole life (which he probably has).

 tom petty - highway companion

speaking of tom petty, his new solo disc highway companion sounds much like the rest of his material - melody like warm, soothing water; rich harmonies; lyrics that stick in your head, remind you of your own life, make you feel free. this guy can't not make good music. it's just not possible.

 anti-flag - for blood and empire

finally, anti-flag's for blood and empire is another disc full of outrage against a corrupt american government. these guys have been complaining about whoever is in power for over a decade, though, so don't get offended too quickly. they just happen to have a bit more ammo nowadays. their sound has gradually become more polished, but their lyrics have lost none of the tenacity.

 

for this post

 
Blogger ryanham Says:

Polished + anti-flag...Does not compute.

ERROR.

Anyway, good reviews.

 

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