Friday, April 24, 2009

Spotlight: We Were Promised Jetpacks

I vote We Were Promised Jetpacks as one of the best band names ever. It's not just catchy; it's a callback to growing up with romanticized views of the 21st century, only to get there and end up without flying cars, colonies on the moon, and yes, jetpacks.

But back to the point. This Glasgow-based rock band packs a lot of great music behind their name. Check out "Quiet Little Voices," from their upcoming album These Four Walls:



The album isn't out until June, but this is definitely a band to watch.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Spotlight: White Lies

White Lies, formerly Fear of Flying, plays alternative rock that's equally somber and uplifting. Sound impossible? Their single "Death," from To Lose My Life..., makes it work. This is definitely a band to keep an eye out for: this song takes you places, and you won't want to come back.

CD Review: Quiet Company, Everyone You Love Will Be Happy Soon

If you've been on thesixtyone for any length of time, you've probably heard of Quiet Company. They're an indie band based in Austin, Texas, and they're fantastic. Their sophomore effort, Everyone You Love Will Be Happy Soon, came out on March 10. And yes, all their songs are as optimistic as the title.

But Quiet Company combines a cheery attitude with witty, well-delivered lyrics and cascading piano melodies. They'll please most pop and rock listeners, but have a unique sound that shines through the catchy music.

"You better love the life you live," sings vocalist Taylor Muse, and he means it. The album takes on a variety of topics with pure bliss. It has songs celebrating friends who are expecting babies ("Congratulations Seth & Kara"), and amusing takes on fears of the afterlife ("My New Year’s Resolution is To Cope With My Mortality").

And yes, Quiet Company does like long titles. But while the names of the tracks might be hard to read on your MP3 player's tiny screen, the songs are certainly easy on the ears.

The album kicks off with an expedition in search of love in "A Nation of Two," then winds its way through the playful, tongue-in-cheek "It's Better To Spend Money Like There’s No Tomorrow Than Spend Tonight Like There’s No Money" (another long title) and the amorous "Our Sun is Always Rising." The tracks are stylistically very similar, and blend into each other well.

The band gets a bit more serious in the slower "The Beginning of Everything at the End of the World," but still keeps up its realistic optimism. The song leads into the mellow "Red & Gold."

They get back on track with a series of sunny songs, including "Well, the Truth Is…," perhaps the best song on the album, and "On Husbands & Wives," a sweet exploration of a relationship.

"How To Fake Like You Are Nice & Caring," another great track, buzzes with synth melodies and strong vocal harmonies, then fades into the quiet, windswept instrumental "When I Am Empty, Dispose of Me Properly."

At 15 tracks, the album is a bit longer than most, and when it finally winds out, it will leave listeners wishing for more. But there's certainly plenty to hear, and the album gets better on a second listen.

Everyone You Love Will Be Happy Soon is available for streaming and purchase on the band’s web site, http://www.quietcompanymusic.com/.

Monday, April 6, 2009

CD Review: Margot & the Nuclear So and So's, Not Animal

While you were raking leaves last September, Margot & the Nuclear So and So's released two companion albums: Animal! and Not Animal. The unusually-named, eight-piece band from Indianapolis plays a blend of alternative and chamber pop, and has been compared to The Shins and Arcade Fire.

So why isn't the band more popular? Who knows? The lyrics of Not Animal positively drip with melancholy, and they're so catchy that it doesn't matter. The band blends vocals, guitar, and piano with synth, hand claps, percussion, harmonica, bells, a trumpet and violin. And despite the large number of instruments, the band layers the songs neatly.

Not Animal starts with the soft, dreamlike "Children's Crusade on Acid," followed by the interesting, mellow "German Motor Car" and winding, ballad-like "Broadripple is Burning."

"Holy Cow!" and "Cold, Kind and Lemon Eyes" have some great instrumentation with violin and keys, and the vocals don't disappoint, either. But when "As Tall as Cliffs" finally arrives, you'll wonder why the band held out for so long. It's one of the best tracks on the album, and especially shows off their talent at percussion.

"Pages Written on a Wall," another good track, lures you in with a slow tune and then rises dramatically, favoring the brass and drums and creating an eerie mood. "Shivers (I've Got 'Em)" is also great, if a bit dark--which also stands true for the whole album.

The band is currently on tour in the US.

  • Margot and the Nuclear So and So's on Myspace
  • Margot and the Nuclear So and So's on thesixtyone
  • Friday, April 3, 2009

    News Feed: Metric

    Metric's album "Fantasies" comes out on 4/14. If you can't wait that long, you can pre-order the album and download it from their site.

    The Toronto-based indie band has been hyping "Fantasies" for some time, and from the looks of it, fans won't be disappointed. Here's the video for their track "Gimme Sympathy."



    Apparently it was shot in one take. (No word on how many times they had to practice to get it right.)

    The first post

    Well, I finally started a blog. My tastes usually lean toward alternative and indie, but I listen to just about anything if it's catchy. I'll try to post album reviews as well as quick snippets, like youtube videos or information on new releases.

    I'm kilexia on thesixtyone, if you want to track me there.