Thurston Moore “The Best Day” Album Review

Thurston Moore

The Best Day (Matador Records)

By: Andrew Grieve

10/31/14

Since Sonic Youth went on hiatus in 2011, Thurston Moore has kept himself busy collaborating with Yoko Ono and John Zorn, as well as moonlighting in black metal supergroup Twilight and his own side-band, Chelsea Light Moving, which released their self-titled debut last year. Thurston-Moore-The-Best-Day

Despite Sonic Youth’s rather heady discography, Moore has remarkably only released four solo albums in nearly four decades of musical activity. His first two; Psychic Hearts and Trees Outside the Academy were more along the lines of Sonic Youth, noisy, yet catchy and melodic, not too outside-the-box as his collaborations typically go. His last, 2011’s Beck-produced Demolished Thoughts, was much more subdued and melancholy, with Moore trading in the atypical noise for a more organic, acoustic folk sound.

Moore’s latest solo release for Matador Records, however, The Best Day, is not far from the last Sonic Youth albums that were released in the 2000s or his earlier solo work. Backed by familiar faces such as SY drummer Steve Shelley on Drums and My Bloody Valentine bassist Debbie Googe, Moore manages to return to a solo album that mirrors much of his previous work.

If you’re already acquainted with Sonic Youth, The Best Day will seem like familiar territory, for first-time listeners, the beginning may be a bit of a slog to get through, with the first two tracks clocking in at 20 minutes alone, with the rest of the album being far shorter than the beginning.

The album begins with “Speak to the Wild”, an eight-minute melodic jam that sets the tone and mood for the album itself, beginning with a verse/chorus structure, fraying into a psychedelic jam and then closing with a final verse, similar in nature to tracks off of Trees Outside the Academy.

The lead single “Detonation” is a great, speedy attack from Moore and his solo band; close to the music he made while heading Chelsea Light Moving over the last two years. Follow-up “Vocabularies” takes a darker turn, taking a mostly acoustic approach.

Closing tracks “Grace Lake” and “Germs Burn” would fit in great next to Thurston’s originals on the last Sonic Youth full-length, sprawling, psychedelic tracks that manage to get out of control and fall apart right to the point where he and his band manage to spin right back into control.

While one could say Moore very rarely thinks outside of his comfort zone when it comes to original solo work or his time in Sonic Youth, it’s clear that he has refined a sound that only he can make. There will be numerous Sonic Youth copycats, as there has always been in alternative rock; but only one Sonic Youth. Only one person can make that dissonant yet melodic guitar tone, and it’s Thurston Moore. Like other alt-rock luminaries, such as J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. fame, he has found his ground and continues to move forward in a controlled fashion, not too crazy, but just enough to where it sounds like Thurston.

That being said, The Best Day is a great follow-up for fans of Sonic Youth and Moore in general – but as for first-time listeners, this writer would most likely point to a SY album such as Dirty or Rather Ripped if you have an aversion to wordless psychedelic jams.
If you don’t, however, you’re in for a noisy treat.

Key tracks: “Detonation”, “Speak to the Wild”, “Germs Burn”
Listen if you like: Sonic Youth and associated projects, Slint, Television, J Mascis

Nikki Yanofsky “Little Secrets” Album Review

Nikki Yanofsky

Little Secrets

By: Erin Ben-Moche (@ebenmoche)

10/29/14

Nikki Yanofsky’s album, Little Secret should not be a secret to the public.  This twelve track album includes fantastic vocals and big band jazzy tones. Yanofky is only 20 years old and she resembles Christina Aguilera and Amy Winehouse perfectly. Yanofsky has killer soul and a mature sound for her age. If you love vocal jazz you will want to see what she has to offer. Nikki Yanofsky

Nikki Yanofsky’s recent album shows off how far she has come singing for the music industry. Born in Montreal, Quebec, Yanofsky has been singing since she could talk. She performed for the Winter Olympics in 2010 and has made many appearances for TV Jazz specials. By the age of 18, she won the award for “Favorite Jazz Vocalist” at the Canadian Independent Music Awards, the “Allen Slaight Award” for the Canadian Walk of Fame, and “Best Female Vocalist” at the WAVE Smooth Jazz Awards. She has covered The Beatles and Ella Fitzgerald as well as written and recorded her own jazz pieces. She is well acquainted with jazz music from working with composer and violinist Phil Ramone, and legends Quincy Jones Etta James, and Stevie Wonder.

Little Secret  was released October 7, 2014, containing jazzy, soulful, and bluesy songs. She scats throughout the album and is so articulate; anyone can tell that she is a pro. The best part about her music is that you can feel her passion in every song. She adds dynamics and stress in a way that is different than other current young female singers.

Little Secret album opens with “Something New” which has a groovy sound. It is no coincidence that the hidden melody is the Austin Powers theme song. This song is upbeat and shows off her vocal range. Another great piece is “Jeepers Creepers 2.0” which has a 1940’s flair to it. It opens with a muted trumpet then follows with a head-nodding tempo. Yanofsky shows of her flirty side talking about the eyes of her admirer. She slows it down later in “You Mean the World to Me” which is a sweet ballad that can only be described as a song someone dances to in a big ballroom movie sequence. Other songs include “Out of Nowhere,” “Knock Knock,” and “Little Secret.”

This album is smooth sounding and easy to listen to. Yanofsky shakes things up by mixing fast and slow paces as well as showing off her belting and scatting. She is so talented and will only become more popular once she performs in America. “Little Secret” is a great album and listeners should check her out!

 

4.5/5 little secrets

Gone Girl Review

Gone-Girl-Poster
By Neil Hazel | Follow @IamNeilHazel 10.17.14 While most of the years biggest blockbusters come out in the summertime, fall and...

Death From Above 1979 “The Physical World” Album Review

Death From Above 1979

The Physical World

By: Neil Hazel (@iamneilhazel)

10/8/14

Death From Above 1979 is back in the game with the release of their new album, The Physical World. After releasing their first album back in 2004 and then breaking up in 2006, the Canadian duo took a long break from writing and performing. Despite the time away, the band hasn’t forgotten how to write tracks that immediately grab you ear and hold your attention through the entire album.Death-From-Above-1979-The-Physical-World

 

With The Physical World, Death From Above 1979 have shown that they can perfectly walk the line between pop and hard rock. Some segments are straight and to the point, with pounding drums and hard hitting guitar chugs, while others are filled with clean fills and smooth riffs. Almost every song has a catchy chorus that will have you singing it in your head days after you listen to it. “Right On, Frankenstein!” is impossible to listen to without wanting to sing along and nod your head as it moves along at a breakneck speed. “Always On” is a track filled with solid rock licks and roughly crooning vocals. “White Is Red” starts off as a ballad like song, slowly building into a noisy rock chorus before suddenly dropping back into calm. “Government Trash” stands out as one of the coolest tracks on the album, moving quickly from one section to the next with a slick guitar lead and blasting drum beats lining the whole song.

 

The best thing about Death From Above 1979 is their ability to craft songs that you will want to listen to over and over again. Upon each listen it is easy to identify a new, exciting part of each song. A vocal melody, a guitar lick or a drum fill all start to pop out to make The Physical World worthy of many repeat listens. It sounds as if the two members sat down to write the album and just began violently thrashing on their instruments, and then went back and added in layers of heavy rock precession, before finally implementing the catchy hooks into each track. For the most part, this back and forth is pulled off extremely well. However, there are some transitions that seem a little off, and some of the songs may seem a little out of place.

 

The Physical World is a solid, fun-to-listen to album. It won’t require too much effort to enjoy all 11 tracks on the CD.  Death From Above 1979 has created a pure rock album that pulls from multiple facets of the genre. The album is many things: punky, poppy, noisey, heavy, exciting, and really well put together. Let’s hope the band can avoid calling it quits for a second time and continue to produce jams for years to come.

 

4/5 Fake Elephant Noses

Karen O “Crush Songs” Album Review

Karen O

Crush Songs

By: Erin Ben-Moche

10/1/2014

“When I was 27 I crushed a lot. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever fall in love again,” Karen O, singer of The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, expresses on the inside cover of her debut album, Crush Songs.

This record is extremely short, clocking in at just over twenty five minutes. The length of the songs range from 57 seconds to 3 minutes, but all capture her feelings of each “crush.” She starts each song with “One…Two…Three…” to set the tempo, but her soft voice sets the mood for the songs. Karen O’s Karen-O-Crush-Songscalming melodies and airy vocals perfectly describe who she is as an artist: simple and to the point. Her poetic lyrics don’t have to be over the top in order to be romantic. Each song’s minimal instrumentation and vocal percussion adds to the simplistic nature of the album.

“Ooo” opens the album with the words “Don’t tell me they are all the same.” This song provides an introduction to the album, showing that each person she fell for was different and each one made her feel a certain way. “NYC Baby,” only 57 seconds in length, discusses how O loathed leaving her former crush and letting their long-distance relationship consume her.

Crush Songs also includes a cover of “Indian Summer” by The Doors. It is a beautiful cover that mixes classic rock with O’s own unique touch of Indie soul. It gives the song a new perspective coming from a female’s point of view.

“Native Korean Rock” is another highlight from the album, providing an anthem for those having a hard time getting over their own soured romantic endeavors. Fortunately, it leaves a silver lining of hope towards new beginning.

What is interesting is that Crush Songs took four years to record and produce. Recording started in 2006 and ended in 2010. During this time, Karen O released three albums with The Yeah Yeah Yeahs and was also nominated for her Oscar winning work “Moon Song” from the film Her.

If you need a slow playlist, or are in the mood for love, heartache, and raw emotion, you should check this out this album. Karen O should be celebrated for her raw, breathy sound and smooth guitar melodies that are haunting to listen to. Anyone who has ever been in a head-over-heels relationship, brutal breakup, or yearned for hope will enjoy this album. Karen O leaves us wanting more of her and the passionate lyrics that tell the story of her search for love.

4/5 Rating