Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged rock

The Jealous Girlfriends

When the package arrived in the mail containing The Jealous Girlfriends' new, self-titled album, I had just been laid off. Requesting to review the album solely on what I deemed to be an excellent band name, I've been in the mood for quiet lovelorn angst, I suppose. If both the words “quiet” and “lovelorn” may reside in a territory of artistic license and open-ended transition, that is.

The Glow Pt. 2

Originally released in the shadow of 9/11, The Glow, Pt. 2 became an indie classic, a college radio staple, and something people would name drop to make sure you knew what was happening in the world they believed meant everything.

Tickley Feather

Do you wish Animal Collective had a female member? We’re not there yet, but since Tickley Feather (nee Annie Sachs) has been opening for the band and their sometimes solo, acclaimed drummer Panda Bear recently, we may be closer to collaboration that anyone realizes. I’ll be the first to admit that noise rock can seem insanely unlistenable if you’re used to the uncomplicated ditties mainstream radio often provides, but with a woman like Sachs, you get a lot of substance.

Shake Yourself Awake

When the first song of rock band Ms. Led’s new album, Shake Yourself Awake, blasted on my stereo I became an instant fan. As a 35 year old woman who came of age in the ‘80s, I felt like I was taking a stroll down musical memory lane as I listened. Ms. Led’s music, fronted by lead singer Lesli Wood, is punk with a dash of ‘80s new wave.


With Kandinsky on the cover and a name like Vertigo Butterfly, I desperately wanted to like 1932. But I couldn’t. Maybe the music is too moody. Maybe I had secretly hoped for some type of Jen Wood impersonation. Maybe I just couldn’t get past the operatic dramatic voice of Luray Hodder Kuca. Whatever it was, 1932 was a Black Tuesday for me – it just crashed. The arrangements are good – fantastic even. John Kuca, Jr does an excellent job putting together the instrumentation and backing vocals.

Bees and the Birds

The Bee Team (formerly known as the Bees and the Birds) presents a sweet sample of songs on its EP Bees and the Birds. With melodies that seem to have been born somewhere in the Appalachian Mountains, the songs with flit between folk, pop and rock. This Philadelphia band is self-described as a group that makes fun and honest music.

Ma Fleur

Imagined by frontman Jason Swinscoe as the soundtrack to a movie which has yet to be made, Ma Fleur does have a grand and sweeping feel to it. It sounds especially pretty on a rainy afternoon, but I found it far too solemn to be tried on a sunny car trip. While this is a band made up of gentlemen, it is the female guest vocals that shine on this album.

We Belong To the Staggering Evening

Ike Reilly’s charm lies in the fact that he asks for salvation quite frequently, knowing damned well that he has no intention of repenting. The devilish genius behind the pop-sensible major label release, Salesmen and Racists _(among a slew of others titles), is back in the saddle with the independent, roadhouse-ready _We Belong To The Staggering Evening.

It’s A Bit Complicated

Art Brut’s second album, It’s A Bit Complicated, hit the streets June 26th. Judging from the five song EP, it won’t disappoint the multitude of fans won over by their debut album, Bang Bang Rock & Roll. Known for his shrewd self awareness, front man Eddie Argos and his crew have done it again. Mixing talk/stylized vocals, smart verbosity and catchy melodies, Art Brut will satisfy your longing for intelligent upbeat music.

Because I’m Awesome

Confession time: I’m a child of the '80s, but I never listened to Madonna, Prince or even the Talking Heads. I like to think I came of age with Gwen Stefani, Tori Amos and, well, Ani Difranco. Even when I was younger, lyrics took precedence over sound, substance or production, and I think these are the reasons why the first riff of The Dollyrots new album, Because I’m Awesome, was instantly appealing. With quick guitars, a girl singer and short, snappy songs, I was immediately hooked.

Destroy Me I’m Yours

Move over Sid and Nancy. Free form rock is the new black and Brooklyn, New York do-gooders Jen and Johnny from Shellshag are the ultimate musical couple. Years ago while performing in separate bands, they were involved with a public arts warehouse and living experiment in San Francisco called Starcleaners. Fast forward to present day, where Starcleaners has become a haven for the artistic community, releasing limited edition music including Shellshag’s first full-length album, Destroy Me I’m Yours.

PJ Harvey's Rid of Me: A Story

Rid of Me is the latest addition to Continuum International’s 33 1/3 series, which takes seminal albums of the last 40 years and allows writers of various bents to write about, around, through and over the music that informs the books.

I Hate You, Rob Crow

Pinback frontman Rob Crow has released his first single, I Hate You, Rob Crow, from his solo debut, Living Well. The single includes the title track, “Slick,” “Sea Sawn,” and the video for “I Hate You, Rob Crow.” “I Hate You, Rob Crow” is an especially catchy tune, while the other two tracks are of the dark and moody variety, but still make for excellent listening. Rob Crow obviously has no problem poking fun at himself.

Hats Off to the Buskers

The View’s Hats off to the Buskers opens with “Comin’ Down,” a ruff and raw garage sound with a catchy hook and muffled vocals. “Superstar Tradesman” is no different and continues along in the same vein. The comparisons swirl overhead as the music continues. I hear Jet, Phantom Planet, The Strokes, The Sex Pistols and Fishbone. “Same Jeans” and “Don’t Tell Me” are lighter and more mainstream.


According to their Myspace page, Ladycop is known for their live show; the trouble is I haven’t seen it. Based in Brooklyn, their self-released and self-titled EP, showcases a band that isn’t easily captured second-hand. With layers upon layers of sound, rattling guitars, and mystic vocals, I’m aching to hear more from this indie rock four-some, preferably at a small, dark club in their hometown. I just want more! Similar to The Arcade Fire, Ladycop are serious musicians.

Optimism in E Minor

There is a reason I waited so long to review the Broken Poets’ most recent album, Optimism in E Minor. While the album offers a slightly less banal form of contemporary adult rock, its instrumentation and lyrics leave something to be desired. As producer and front man of the band, Tim McDonald seems to have forgotten the beauty of simplicity. The songs are lyric-centric, but instead of poetry, the lyrics I hear are affected and hollow.

Welcome to My Bad Behavior

Do you miss Dolores O’Riordan and the Cranberries? I do. While edibleRed’s Welcome to My Bad Behavior doesn’t make me forget that I’m still waiting for the Cranberries to reunite, their new CD is an adequate replacement. Although not nearly as distinctive sounding as Dolores, edibleRed’s lead singer Collette McLafferty is a chameleon that can swing from classically trained vocalist to full-on rocker.

Greatest Hits: The Road Less Traveled

I’ve always been a sporadic fan of Melissa Etheridge’s work; perhaps it’s because, to me, her lyrics often feel oddly a little sophmoric and platitudinously P.C.—even when her sound is rocking tough, true and primal. Her guitar sounds dangerous, but her words don’t. The disconnect in poetic feeling between her amazing guitar work and lackluster words is one of the reasons she’s not, up to now, been included on my ipod.

Both Before I’m Gone

Nas says hip-hop is dead, but after checking out rock trio, Girl in a Coma’s debut CD, Both Before I’m Gone, rock fans can relax. After the dismantling of Sleater-Kinney and Le Tigre, devoted fans of female rockers have been waiting for an act that follows the legacy of these two pioneers, but doesn’t sound overproduced. While other bands (who shall rename nameless) sell out by featuring their songs on over-hyped summer movies, there are still bands with a woman at the mike that scratch and claw and kick for their independence.

The Trucks

The Trucks’ self-titled album is a consciousness-raising, therapeutic jam session that sounds like the musical lovechild of riot grrrls Sleater-Kinney and gay glam-rockers Scissor Sisters. The foursome’s first outing makes the personal political by letting off steam about subjects as varied as emotionally distant lovers, the politics of neighborhood bullies, sexual assault and concepts of beauty.

Live at Club Europa (4/12/2007)

You're not fooling me, Panthers. Despite your new, more marketable album The Trick, I know you're still the kind of absurdist intellectual revolutionaries who want to think things over and then go fuck them up--just with a little more focus on style this time round. Front man Jayson Green's voice, more a hybrid of punk-50s, screamo-wail than a grating hardcore rasp, packs a whopping punch into a single verse.

The Underdogs

Texas native Jen Foster is a singer-songwriter that strives for the passion of a rocker and the melodic sensibilities of a folk artist. On The Underdogs, Foster--who has a diverse following in several major cities--succeeds on both fronts on at least three songs on her second release.


While the interesting paper lion on the cover of Candylion – the new solo album from Super Furry Animals front man – may attract you at first, the soothing melodies are what will keep you listening.

The Dust of Retreat

The Dust of Retreat is an impressive, eclectic debut from an eight-piece band that easily navigates the waters of folk rock, chamber pop and alt-country. Like Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes, singer and multi-instrumentalist Richard Edwards can tell compelling stories with just an acoustic guitar, but many of his songs, while simple in melody and structure, ascend to thrilling heights when backed by the right combination of instruments.

by ebb and by flow

Summer has arrived, and if you can’t feel the warm sun on your face, the grit and grime of sand in your feet and the splash of water as you float down the river, then you need to put the new album by Alice Di Micele into your CD player.

Concerto em Lisboa

When I was in high school, I dreamt of having a voice like Janis Joplin; the yearning that she captured in her voice was simply extraordinary.

Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters

The Twilight Sad’s debut album, Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters, offers nine tracks filled with melancholic lyrics and music that is softly sweet at times, and quaking at others. The album reaches far, but it is not a stand-out. Although intense and gripping at times, many of the tracks fall slightly short of being great.


I have to admit, I was a bit concerned when I hit play on the first song of OOIOO’s album, Taiga. I’m not one to discredit noise as a musical form; I even own an album or two by Agoraphobic Nosebleed. However, there’s only so much “noise as art” that I can take at a time, and as the droning and incoherent screams of “UMA” came rushing into my headphones, I was seriously contemplating the ibuprofen in the bathroom cabinet. Luckily, the repetitive yelps of the first song are not present throughout, and there are some good moments.

Live and Learn

Drive Thru Records appears to have taken a gamble on House of Fools and won. The Greensboro, NC sextet - recently on tour with Brand New - is quite a departure from the label’s notoriously pop-punk roster. Following their eponymous 2006 EP, House of Fools released their first full-length album, Live and Learn.

Four Songs

This New York-based instrumental sextet is unlike your typical rock band. Experimental and percussive in approach, Blue Velvet’s image is organic and minimal: Their music has no vocals, no electric bass, no standard rock-drum kit and no loops or samples. Is it then worth listening to? Hell …Yeah! “Docile 1” and “Docile 2” from their EP Four Songs has a Hitchcock-style to it: strings cut harshly and are repetitive, producing a drony and eerie quality.