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The Court of Flippant Reviews Adjourns!

November 7, 2011 Leave a comment

After a long recess the Court of Flippant Reviews makes its final decision!  After the previous two installments I am ready to hang up my robe in the coat room ($2 coat check fee … eye gougers!).  I have cobbled together the last of a few records that I have yet to review after getting them mailed to me unprovoked.  It is time to sentence these albums as I see fit, even if it fits me to see these reviewed quite quickly.  Alright baliff, push ’em all up to the stand will you?  Defend yourselves!

The gavel comes down:

  • The Devil Whale “Teeth” – Mostly soft pop music with a bright element, but rarely is there anything with a kick to shake one out of the comfortable state.  “Magic Numbers” at least has a little zing.
  • The National Rifle “Vanity Press” – Big skull on the cover does not mean scary or heavy music from this duo.  Band has some great rock energy thanks to interesting compositions and dynamic vocalist.  Pretty good!
  • Panic Years “Finally, Today is Tomorrow” – Vocalist sometimes sounds like Cobain at his most pained, though music is mid-range alternarock.  Some nice sounds here and there, but no real lasting impression.
  • Imaginary Cities “Temporary Resident” – Vocalist and band sound a little like Portishead early, but then show they can veer towards rock and light pop.  These guys sound great throughout the record.
  • Moddi “Floriography” – Ultra, ultra soft and peaceful music.  Think Iron and Wine.  Not my thing at all since it bores me to tears.
  • Tic Tic Boom “Reasons & Rhymes EP” – Hey, fun electronic pop rock!  I even like the female vocalist, whose voice doesn’t sound too annoying or cutesy.  Not so sure about the band name, though.
  • The Blue Eyed Shark Experiment “The Fluffer” – Pleasant singer-songwriter stuff that includes a lot of keyboards and sound effects.  Doesn’t sound like he’s trying too hard to pour on the emotion, which is a good thing.

It seems that the verdict for my final (as of now) installment of the Court of Flippant Reviews is that there were a couple of good ones.  This comes as a surprise since the last couple of sessions ended with difficult mixed bags.  I think I’m definitely going to try and follow up on what the National Rifle and Imaginary Cities are up to thanks to the quick gavel of approval.

As for you, members of the audience, I ask that if you’re going to learn anything from this Court’s methods, it’s to be open to listening to music from any artist no matter how unknown.  Sure, after a few minutes you’ll know if it’s for you or not.  However, if you find something interesting in 1 out of 5 albums you listen to then consider yourself in happier musical shape than the next guy.

And to all of you still lingering in the aisles making eyes at my stenographer, out with you!  The Court of Flippant Reviews is now adjourned!

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The Court of Flippant Reviews is Back From Recess!

June 29, 2011 2 comments

Back in February I whimsically reviewed albums that were sent to me for perusal.  For those that missed it, I had an abundance of these new records that I had gotten through the mail from a promotional group.  Unfortunately, given the time that I have each day to listen to music (dwindling, sadly) I hadn’t really had a chance to give them a spin.  So I spun and wrote about them quickly.  Found a few of the good and the bad while I was at it!

So I have another pile of these CDs that deserve a once over.  Again, these write ups are mostly from the hip so I imagine a truly dedicated, less-hackish of a music writer would delve more deeply into the song compositions, exquisite album art, or the moving lyrical content.  I’m not one of those guys.

Here goes it:

  • HoneyChild “Nearer the Earth” – A pleasant indie pop record with great, sugary vocals from Erik Donley.  Switches between soft and hard stuff quite often.  Try “The Owl”.
  • A House For Lions “I Want Us to Be Remembered” EP – Soft pop with the quiet, unimposing vocals like Jose Gonzalez.  Not much resonating impact after the last song finishes, but nice enough.
  • Stereoflower “It’s Alright, It’s OK, Satellite Commander” – Lengthy tracks fluctuate between softer pop and ambitious rock virtually every other track.  I hear a banjo here and there.  Similar to HoneyChild with a little more of a country twang feeling.
  • Louderbach “Shine” single – What’s this, a single?  For a song entitled “Shine”?   The Ian Curtis-like electronic tune drones on for awhile.  And honestly, when does a single ever need nine remixes?!   This one should get two, tops.
  • Manitoba Music “Sampler” – Well, this Canadian sampler I can dig.  Many artists with solid tracks without wearing out their welcome.  It’s all mostly soft indie tracks throughout.  Imaginary Cities, JP Hoe, Greg Macpherson, Wab Kinew and Enjoy Your Pumas stand out to me.
  • Green River Ordinance “The Morning Passengers EP – Acoustic Sessions” – Definitely aimed towards the soft pop, singer-songwriter crowd.  A bit too light and dramatic for me.
  • Hafdis Huld “Synchronised Swimmers” – Cute Icelandic blonde with precious voice might be a nice find for light pop enthusiasts.  Most of the thirteen tracks sound the same:  upbeat and simple.
  • Ringside “Lost Days” – Raspy vocalist and energized pop music sound good on “Money” and “Dayglo”.  Album consists of decent interweaving between electronic and typical pop.  Pretty good.
  • Eldridge Rodriguez “You Are Released” – Rodriguez sort of sounds like the quivering guy from Arcade Fire but with a deeper voice.  Some good rousing tunes (“This One Sends the Cast Home”) on here.
  • Simon Says No! “Self-Titled” – The one true rock band in this reviewable collection and they’re rather inconsistent.  Some good, brash moments with many predictable ones don’t make them stand out all that much.  Worth a listen if you’re looking for some new energy.

Not nearly as many clunkers as last time as I could probably find a good tune or two on most of these discs.  I likely won’t hang onto any of these to put in the long-term collection, but I did appreciate the Ringside, HoneyChild and Manitoba Music sampler the most if I had to choose.  I guess when you get it for free the expectations are what they are.  Court adjourned!

The Court of Flippant Reviews is Now in Session!

February 25, 2011 3 comments

Due to being a music blog writer, sometimes other parties get wind that you like to write about music.  Granted, they may not know that it’s specific music (cast off albums that are worth a dollar or less, say) and they likely do not care either.  In the mail comes a package every once in awhile that contains a new album or two.  Believe me, this isn’t the new Radiohead or Johnny Cash retrospective, folks.  Though I feel that I do have a good sense of who the big indie names are these days, when I open up these packages I feel that I really don’t know any trendy groups at all.  If anything, these records are a free, tangible source of new music that I get to listen to at my discretion.  There’s a small problem, though…

When I have time to listen to music it’s often something I want to listen to.  In the car it’s sports radio or the local college radio stations.  At the computer it’s either something new I bought myself or a disc that I wish to write about for Rummaging Through the Dollar Bin.  Rarely do I think to myself that hey, I should really give that unheard band’s CD that was sent unprovoked through the mail to me a chance.  An mp3 here or there, sure, but a whole album?  I couldn’t do it justice.  Perhaps this is why I’m still listening to Dinosaur Jr these days … :/

Speaking of justice, I think this whimsical judge of musical credibility is finally going to take some time to don the gown of critical self-importance and bring down his gavel of truth (or mistruth).  Really, I have just enough time to write about a sentence or two from the gut to give for the following records, so if you are the type to base your musical purchases solely on a decimal number created from thin air (ahem), then keep reading.  These reviews are for you:

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