Tag Archives: Album

Fake Problems – Real Ghosts Caught On Tape – Album Review

There was a time and place when I liked the band Fake Problems because they sounded like some other band out there that I enjoyed that will remain unmentioned.  The similarities between them and this certain Gainsville, Fla. act I speak of were clear but never to be considered a rip off, at least to my ears.  I soon learned of their hard working antics, their harsh stories while touring and most of all their passion for what they love to do.

I recall the first Fake Problems release as being an enjoyable punk/folk sing-a-long jam while the follow-up showed a clear change in their style.  Now dropping Real Ghosts Caught On Tape,their third full length release, Fake Problems really have evolved from a one time punk rock sounding band into a fine-sounding rock n roll outfit that impresses me on a few different levels.

Still kicking it with Side One Dummy Records, the Naples, Fla. foursome is back with all new material bordering on more of an indie-rock feel without letting go of their roots.  There is this major fun change though that is heard throughout making me think that Fake Problems has pointed their style in a different direction almost hinting back to the 60’s.   Real Ghosts contains 11 toe tapping songs that will easily compliment any good day you are having.

The opening “ADT” won me over immediately.  I loved the drum playing, the white-collar rock n roll strums and of course the, dare I say, heartfelt lyrics.  It was easily the catchiest song on the track.  Following was “5678”, a more dance-causing, Electric Six sounding, jam worthy of multiple listens.  Again, another catchy track especially with the “everybody’s clapping along” chorus.

It’s not all about the fun though on the album, just listen to the lyrics on “Songs For Teenagers”, a beautifully done tune but with a saddened message about letdowns, suicide contemplation and drug use.  “Soulless” on the other hand was fun-major, if that makes sense, with tons of energy slapped into the 60’s-ish, girl doo-whopping track Phil Spector would even enjoy (I have the feeling I am not the only one who has said that but oh well…).

Real Ghosts is well written from start to finish and if anything, the band has proved on how they have matured as musicians.  With hints towards So.Cal. indie-rock and sandy beach jams they have not forgeotten where they came from.  Real Ghosts is a whole more fun and a lot more mainstream friendly than their priors, but don’t be too quick to throw that “sellout” label at them.

In a sense sellouts happen because it there is a certain element that grabs attention – it happens all the time if you think about it (i.e. Gaslight Anthem, Flogging Molly, 1/2 the bands on the Warped Tour).  Sure, sometimes bands throw in a huge twist to earn more green in their wallets but this is not the case with Fake Problems.  They are a fun and hardworking act that dropped a great, fun album aimed at anyone out there who is looking for a upbeat and catchy album to listen to.

Download This: Cheyenne Marie Mize & Bonnie “Prince” Billy Among the Gold

Cheyenne Marie Mize and Bonnie “Prince” Billy have released Among the Gold, their rendition of a collection of 19th Century American parlor music handpicked by the duo themselves.  The album it is available to enjoy for everyone for free.

Yes, free.  What are you waiting for???

DOWNLOAD THIS! Cheyenne Marie Mize & Bonnie “Prince” Billy – Among the Gold

Track Listing:
1.) Silver Threads
2.) Loves Old Sweet Song
3.) Beautiful Dreamer
4.) Let Me Call You Sweetheart
5.) Kiss Me Again
6.) Only A Dream

Upcoming Shows
Jul 27 – Czar Bar – Kansas City, MO
Jul 28 – Vaudeville Mews – Des Moines, IA
Jul 29 – The Mill – Iowa City, IA
Jul 30 – Uncommon Ground on Clark – Chicago, IL
Jul 31 – White Rabbit Cabaret – Indianapolis, IN

Quick Reviews: Sh*t Robot, The Chemical Brothers, J. Tillman

I have been getting tons of material lately for review consideration so I thought I would try something new and shrink down my usually lengthy reviews.  Nothing fancy, just trying to get the word out on some amazing bands and releases.  Enjoy.

Sh*t Robot – From The Cradle To The Rave

Marcus Lambkin, aka Sh*t Robot, has taken his time releasing his debut album – literally it has been 20 years in the making.  The Irish born punk rocker turned DJ has made a name for himself in the NYC club scene and even though has never recorded an album before has made a huge name for himself by just doing his thing.  I should also mention that Lambkin helped build that which is now DFA Records from the ground up.

From The Cradle To The Rave reflects Lambkin’s life as a DJ and more.  Opening track, co-written by LCD Soundsystem‘s James Murphy, “Tuff Enough?” is an electronic anthem of sorts with simple beats and synthesizer that was actually written about an upcoming expectancy.  “Losing My Patience” featuring Hot Chip‘s Alexia Taylor was a fun track that I think many of the dance clubs will have no problem spinning. “Simple Things (Work It Out)” was an entertaining experimental dance track of sorts with almost a spoken word feel to it.

My personal favorite cut on the album was “Take ‘Em Up” featuring another musician from LCD Soundsystem, Nancy Whang.  This song not only screamed retro 80’s but also heavily reminded me of what would happen if Daft Punk decided to sample a Sonic The Hedgehog soundtrack.  Whang’s vocals are perfect for this track more suitable to be played at a roller rink.

From The Cradle To The Rave is proof that sometimes taking your time is a good thing.  This release is for all the folk out there that still enjoy the clubs.  Full of electronic goodness that reaches back to the days when techno was all the hype in the 90’s as well as hints at some Kraftwerk.  The album is solid front to back without over doing it.  Where I don’t frequent those types of clubs anymore I still got a kick out of that which is Sh*t Robot.

The Chemical Brothers – Further

Seeing a band like The Chemical Brothers come out with new material makes this guy right here happy.  As a longtime fan of the British duo (Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons), I was thrilled when Further was released and even more intrigued when I heard that alongside the album would be visuals to accompany each of the songs. While I still have yet to obtain the videos I can tell you that they are available on DVD and iTunes for download.

Further is different from previous releases as it is mostly instrumental with Rowlands taking it upon himself to sing on a couple tracks as well as features Stephanie Dosen (Massive Attack) who lends her vocals as well.  I honestly prefer when they collaborate with other musicians on their previous releases but still enjoyed listening to tracks like “Escape Velocity” and “Another World”. “Swoon” was a trip in itself that I could not help but tag along with.

Heavy on the synthesizers and easing back on the drum machines throughout make for a very chill album to listen to.  This is one of those types of albums I can see myself not growing tired of anytime soon.  For those of you out there that still has a soft spot for the duo who hit the charts with “Block Rocking Beats” back in the day don’t hesitate to pick up Further.  The duo still has it and has dropped one great album to dance the night away to or even just sit back and get lost in.

J. Tillman – Singing Ax

Beautiful is just one of the many words that can be used to describe J. Tillman‘s latest release Singing Ax. Not just a member of Fleet Foxes, the folk artist has been very involved in recording material with others as well as himself since around 2004.  His latest offering is a vinyl only release that was recorded by Tillman almost entirely by himself in just three days.  The result is a calm yet captivating collection of songs that couple compliment any campfire gathering or just a quiet afternoon of solitude.

Opening track “Three Sisters” pretty much set the bar up high for the entire album for me.  While listening to TIllman’s singing I could only anticipate on what he was going to sing next and patiently waited the story, backed by acoustic guitar playing and drum machine, to unfold.  “Diamondback” continued with a calm retreat of a pleasant tale that had me closing my eyes and absorbing the intimate song.  In fact I found myself doing that a lot while listening to Singing Ax.  Later on I was treated to the album ending “A Seat At The Table” a song, to me, that almost was a musical rendition of a storm rolling in complete with thundering drumming towards the end of the track.

Tillman dropped an amazing album that barely carried any further supplement aside from his singing and acoustic guitar.  Honestly nothing more was needed as the folk chill release was presented perfectly.  I can only imagine what a live performance would entail.  Luckily for me he is touring with Phosphorescent and is making a stop in Cleveland in just a short couple of weeks.  Fans of Nick Drake and even a younger Neil Young I think will really enjoy this album as well as anyone out there that is just looking for a musical form of relaxation.