Monday, November 29, 2010

Special Others - Quest (2008)

The sixth release from jazzy Japanese rock quartet Special Others, Quest sounds like what you'd hear if the math rock mafia hijacked your local smooth jazz station. This record isn't abrasive, but it's far from timid. When it comes to length, only two of the ten songs fall under the six minute mark, but this album never drags its feet for a second. A mix of Japanese and English vocals compliment the songs, but make no effort to be the main vocal point of the music, instead providing a layer that fits in perfect harmony with the rest of the instruments. There are definitely points on here that give off a This Town Needs Guns vibe, most noticeably in the album's title track. Jazz is not the enemy, boys and girls, and don't worry, I'm not saying that you have to dive into the genre as a whole, nor am I implying that this record will make you yearn for afternoons filled with freeform jazz. What I am saying is that you are better off having lived a life that included listening to these ten songs.

For fans of: American Football, This Town Needs Guns, Your Song is Good

Friday, November 19, 2010

El Ten Eleven - El Ten Eleven (2004)

The eponymous debut of Los Angeles based post-rock duo El Ten Eleven, El Ten Eleven is nine tracks of instrumental wonder. I stumbled upon this band by accident when the third track, "Lorge," captured my attention when it came up on an internet radio station that I'd had set to play songs by and like The American Analog Set. As soon as the synth loop started going, I was hooked and immediately sought out the album from whence it came. Now, my friends, I pass it on to you. Enjoy!

For fans of: The American Dollar, Unwed Sailor, The Six Parts Seven, Saxon Shore, Sigur Rós

Pop Unknown - If Arsenic Fails, Try Algebra (2000)

While they might not have been the poster boys for the second wave emo movement or the Midwest sound it became synonymous with, Austin, TX's Pop Unknown put out a record on Deep Elm in 2000 that was a perfect representation of the genre. If you like your emo untainted by whining, this record is for you. If you look back on the time when burning CDs was cool and nobody had an iPod with a smile, then this record is definitely for you.

For fans of: Christie Front Drive, The Gloria Record, Sunny Day Real Estate, Boy's Life

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Savoir Adore - In the Wooded Forest (2009)

This album was, hands down, one of the best releases of 2009. The proper full-length debut of Brooklyn's Savoir Adore (following 2008's The Adventures of Mr. Pumpernickel and the Girl With Animals in Her Throat), In the Wooden Forest is a gust of wind that gives the listener's ears a breath of fresh air (if ears had lungs, that is... You get the picture.). This studio release is full of little nuances and idiosyncrasies that keep it fresh with each listen. Songs like "We Talk Like Machines," "Transylvanian Candy Patrol," "MERP," and "Space Travel" sound new with each and every listen. This record has been given a lot of care and nurturing, and the end result is something much more cohesive than the band's previous release, while still containing all of the defining characteristics that made your humble narrator fall in love with them in the first place. Fans of their first release will recognize the track "The Wooded Forest," (formerly titled "In the Wooded Forest, A Girl") now in an extended and much more finished version (not to mention where this album gets its name). If lights had sounds, this record would be home to the entire visible spectrum of color.

For fans of: The Submarines, Broken Social Scene, Mates of State, GIVERS, The Ethnographers