Soundcheck: Music Reviews

Music Reviews Spread. Click to read print version.

Kid Cudi

Man on the Moon: The End of the Day

Alternative hip-hop

(Buy it)

The Kid’s got style. And that might just be enough to bring this debut album out of obscurity. It’s a conceptual album that brings both new and old to the game in a slow-downed hip-hop form. It’s 808s and Heartbreak without the inflated ego or the damned auto-tune. Insert your own Kanye joke here. Hipster acts MGMT and Ratatat complement Cudi’s style, but it’s a surprise to find Crookers’ remix of “Day’n’ Nite” missing from the album. Reminiscent of Lupe Fiasco, Kid Cudi adds the narrative aspect to direct the flow with Man on the Moon: The End of the Day. Definitely a solid entrance into a growingly recycled genre.


Brand New


Alternative Rock

(MySpace It)

Once upon a time, Brand New was a Long Island pop-punk quartet that sang about girls and how the lead singer of Taking Back Sunday stole their girlfriend.  The inter-text was beautiful. Almost a decade later, the pop punk has vanished. Daisy is a decent album, but it’s not what Deja Entendu was, and takes The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me’s sentiment a little too far. The single, “At The Bottom” is the crown of this album; the remainder just tends to blend into familiarity. The lyrics have their moments, but sometimes it’s just how it’s said rather than what is said. A pity since Brand New has carved out such a strong collection of albums.


Paul Burch & the WPA Ballclub

Still Your Man


(Download it)

14 songs about love and fidelity, with plenty of hip-shake thrown in. The music is a (somehow) effortless hybrid of rustic country, regular and alternative country-rock, rockabilly, swing, blues and Latin. This translates into no two songs sounding the same. You have the shuffle of “Like a Train” opposed the rumba that is “Honey Blue.” Burch’s euphonious tenor and the timelessness of the album’s live-in-studio recording, which features predominantly acoustic instrumentation, ties it all together snuggly. Burch has been a solid songwriter since he started in ’98, but none of his releases have ever been this uniformly stellar.



Fixin’ the Thrill

Electro Pop 

(Download it)

Dragonette’s full-length debut album Galore was a heavy hitter in 2007 with its propulsive and sexually-charged tracks like “I Get Around” and “Jesus, Doesn’t Love Me.” Today, the Canadian quartet returns with a more potent sophomore album, Fixin’ to Thrill. The album is undoubtedly early ‘80s-obsessed, especially with synth tracks like “I Rule the World” and “Okay Dolore.” Lead vocalist Martina Sorbara has to be one of the major highlights of the album, as her vocals layer perfectly on top of the pop-synth and more polished sound of the rest of the band. Fixin’ to Thrill is an outstanding piece of pop confection.  


Various Artists

Twilight Saga: New Moon Soundtrack

Various Genres

(Download it)

The Twilight Saga: A book and movie series that has greatly impacted pop culture with nothing more than a vampire and an overly-dramatic 17-year-old girl falling in love. Sure, vampires are over-done these days, but no matter, as this collection from some of the industry’s best is something. The soundtrack’s opener, “Meet Me on the Equinox” by Death Cab for Cutie, produces a melancholy mid-tempo feel. The ongoing selection of tunes revels in the same moody and occasionally haunting feeling. The soundtrack includes new music by Band of Skulls, Lykke Li, Bon Iver, Grizzly Bear, Muse, and the influential Thom York of Radiohead. We don’t care for the vampires, but that’s some line-up.



Brand New Eyes

Pop Punk

(Buy it)

Hayley Williams could be the cutest girl alive. I could easily come up with 1,000 words telling you why I’m going to marry her. But I won’t bore you. It’s too romantic anyway. Instead, I’ll come up with fewer words telling you why you should buy her band’s new album. The main reason: It’s their best work to date. The only thing prettier than her face is her voice. From start to finish, seriously, the album is transcendent with its touching lyrics and soaring vocals. It’s going to leave their last record, Riot! in the dust, pushing Paramore onto a new platform of fame. They are currently promoting Brand New Eyes on two tours. One with the infamous indie rockers in Paper Route, the other with fellow punk rockers, You Me At Six. I love you, Hayley.

  1. good review. i like dragonette. :)

  1. December 14th, 2009

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