Year 3, Day 10: Madsen – Wo Es Beginnt

Year 3, Day 10: Madsen – Wo Es Beginnt

Tracklisting

  1. Wo es beginnt
  2. Lass es raus
  3. Baut wieder auf
  4. Lass die Musik an
  5. Die Welt liegt vor dir
  6. So cool bist du nicht (feat. Lisa Who)
  7. Für immer dein
  8. Generation im Arsch
  9. Nimm den Regen mit
  10. Love is a Killer (feat. Walter Schreifels)
  11. Alarm im Paradies
  12. Es wird schon wieder gut

About the Album

Wo es beginnt is the fifth studio album from German rock band, Madsen. The album was released in Germany in 2012. The album was released to mixed reviews.

Thoughts on the Album

I should probably preface this review with: yes I know the album is song entirely in German with exception to the chorus of Love is a Killer. I know that. But I love when bands sing in their native language. German is such a beautiful language, much how Swedish is as well. I’ve been listening to Madsen since their album Goodbye Logik. And while mine comprehension of German hasn’t gone up (thanks seven total years of Spanish classes!), my love for their music has. This goes back to 2006, when I believe Limewire was just becoming a thing. (What? I never used Limewire, I have no idea what you are talking about…)

Anyway, with the opener of Wo es beginnt, the titular track, the album flexes its multiple musical styles. The album packs a lot of power and content into these 12 songs. One of my personal favorites is Love is a Killer (featuring Walter Schreifels). The tack, featuring a chorus sung in English, is a good mid-to-high tempo rocker. It starts with a driving and bouncing bassline before the drums kick in and the vocals as well. The track So cool bist du nicht features Lisa Who. The track is slow ballad, but a very beautiful one. Lisa’s vocals add a real splash of color into the song and the album as well.

Conclusion

The beauty of Wo es beginnt is that is showcases the versatility and maturity of Madsen. The beauty is found in the alternating between powerful rocking songs and slower more emotional songs. This record has it all… from rap inspired Baut wieder auf to your more rock and pop sounding songs, such as Love is a Killer. I like the versatility of this record, as it shows that Madsen is definitely not a one trick pony. This is a great record.

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Year 3, Day 9: Sam & Dave’s Hold On, I’m Comin’

Year 3, Day 9: Sam & Dave – Hold On, I’m Comin’

Tracklisting

  1. Hold On, I’m Comin’
  2. If You Got The Loving
  3. I Take What I Want
  4. Ease Me
  5. I Got Everything I Need
  6. Don’t Make It So Hard On Me
  7. It’s A Wonder
  8. Don’t Help Me Out
  9. Just Me
  10. You Got It Made
  11. You Don’t Know Like I Know
  12. Blame Me (Don’t Blame My Heart)

About the Album

Hold On, I’m Comin’ is the debut album from soul duo Sam & Dave. The album, released in 1966 through Atlantic Records’ Stax label, peaked at number 45 on the Billboard 200.

Thoughts on the Album

Welcome to day nine of the Broad Street Playlist. Today’s album is full of soul. Literally. As many music critics believe, soul duo, Sam & Dave‘s Hold On, I’m Comin’ represents the epitome of Memphis soul, in all it’s down-home and unpretentious glory. Soul music has many different styles. Where in the north, Motown, added in more pop influences such as strings; Sam & Dave outright rejected it. The duo kept their Memphis soul simple and raw. Not only that this album isn’t really all that heavily produced, which lies the appeal of this album, Hold On, I’m Comin’.

The album starts out naturally with the titular track. Hold On, I’m Comin‘ is a real soul stomper. Combine Al Jackson’s rocking drum beat, Duck Dunn’s loping basslines, Steve Cropper’s funky guitar licks, and Booker T.’s organ wizardry and you give Sam & Dave a tireless, unrestrained groove to play with. Of course, leave it to Isaac Hayes and David Porter to pump out soulful lyrics. Interesting bit of trivia, the song was inspired by an interaction between Issac Hayes and David Porter. Porter was in the bathroom when Hayes shouted to him “hurry up!” and Porter responded “hold on, I’m coming!”

If You Got the Loving, with its subdued horn chart combined with country-style lead guitar fills and Jackson’s relentless backbeat plods along with a righteous wailing. While the funky You Don’t Know Like I Know could be considered on of the duo’s first true hits. Other strong songs on the album include: I Take What I WantDon’t Make It So Hard On Me, and I Got Everything I Need.

The real brains behind this album are the duo of Issac Hayes and David Porter. However, this album is a worth endeavor that all fans of music (not just soul music) should listen to.

Conclusion

One of the things that gives Hold On, I’m Comin’ it’s very unique edge is the overall rawness and what I can only dub as “just-starting-outness”. The duo are just cutting their teeth, as songwriting partnership between Hayes and Porter blossomed. A delight to the ears, is the fact that Sam & Dave sing more in unison rather than trade verses. Anyway, good luck finding a mono version of this album, as the stereo release is absolutely garbage. And so I must ask you question: do you need some soul in your life? If you answered “yes” or even “no”, you should probably pick up this album.

Year 3, Day 8: Mando Diao’s Aelita

Year 3, Day 8: Mando Diao – Aelita

Tracklisting

  1. Black Saturday
  2. Rooftops
  3. Money Doesn’t Make You A Man
  4. Sweet Wet Dreams
  5. If I Don’t Have You
  6. Baby
  7. Lonely Driver
  8. Child
  9. Romeo
  10. Make You Mine

About the Album

Aelita (or Ælita) is the seventh studio album from Swedish rockers, Mando Diao. The album was released in late April/early May of 2014. The album’s name, Aelita, is the name of  titular Russian synthesizer that plays throughout the album. The album, was seemingly a smash hit, as it instantly rose to the top of the Swedish charts.

Thoughts on the Album

Where to begin with this one. Where to begin. First off, I love this band, I really do. The music from these five Swedes have gotten me through some incredibly rough times. This album marks a departure for the band as they experiment with new sounds and style. It’s not just dripping their toes in and testing the water, they do a full cannonball into the deep end. Which I absolutely love.

The name of the album, Aelita, comes from the name of a Russian Synthesizer, known as Aelita, Queen of Synthesizers. However, Aelita is seen prior to this as the name of titular character from Aleksey Tolstoy’s dystopian science fiction novel, Aelita (known also as: Aelita, or The Decline of Mars).

So with that bit of background on the name of the album, let’s dive right in. As I stated earlier, the album marks a departure for the band as they experiment with a more 1980’s style of new wave/synthpop/electro-rock. It is an eclectic mix of their old style and sound, and new style and sound.

The album opens with might just be one of my favorite Mando Diao songs ever; the album’s first single, Black Saturday. The song opens with a chugging synth riff that seconds later, the main guitar riff and bassline meld together. It is Gustaf Norén’s guttural and deep voice that bellows out. The song is a terrifically paced one too as once it starts, it doesn’t stop and builds up until the keytar solo. Yes. I said keytar. Black Saturday features a two-plus minute long keytar solo during the outro. That solo during live performances of the song, turns into a dueling keytar and guitar solo between guitarist and singer, Björn Dixgård and keyboardist Daniel Haglund. It’s a fantastic song to dance and air band along to (seriously, a keytar solo? who wouldn’t want to airband that one?!). Think Dance with Somebody from their previous (English) album release, Give Me Fire!

With exception to Money Doesn’t Make You A Man and Sweet Wet Dreams, the rest of the tracks are, to me, a mixed bag. For example, I love the track Lonely Driver. It sounds like A Flock of Seagulls(I Ran) So Far Away or Cutting Crew‘s (I Just) Died in Your Arms Tonight. But the track sounds unfinished; it doesn’t end abruptly or anything like that. It just felt like there could have been another two or maybe three verses instead of just a five minute long bass solo to end. But nevertheless, I still love it.

Along with Black SaturdayMoney Doesn’t Make You A Man, and Sweet Wet Dreams complete a trilogy. Money Doesn’t Make You A Man is probably another hit from the album. Featuring an icy synth line and guitar riff, the song features a lead of Norén on vocals with Dixgård on backing. But it is more like both share the microphone at the same time. The live version of Money Doesn’t Make You A Man features the band band’s familiar (and trademark) dual-guitar riffs, culminating with a give-and-take guitar solo outro.

Sweet Wet Dreams on the other hand is a slower jam. Closer to a ballad that it is a rocker, it features prominently an acoustic guitar riff. And yes, the title of the song is about just that: love, romance, and sex. The bassline for this song is second to none, played on a Electric Upright Bass. Though, I thought that the song could have been supplemented with female backing vocals. But never the less, it holds up.

Conclusion

While Aelita comes with a bit of culture shock that may drive away the more casual Mando Diao fan, with a bit of tolerance, no, open-mindness and patience, one will come to love this album as I did. It is different, but different doesn’t always mean “bad” or “terrible”. And of course, if a band stays too long in specific style, they become endangered of becoming their own cover band of themselves. Where Aelita lacks in, in-your-face/screaming guitars and edgy rock, it more than makes for in artistry and replayability. The album certainly doesn’t lack in style.

While I got a feeling of “style over content” with Aelita; it is alright. It’s alright mainly because the style is unique enough to make a listen worthwhile. But, of course, as always with such cases there seems to be a feeling like there’s a distance between you as listener and the heart behind the songs. However, with that, it’s pretty safe to say that Aelita is a very successful and interesting dive into a new frontiers for the Swedes, and it still hasn’t quenched my desire to see them live.

https://vimeo.com/116150670

Year 3, Day 7: Hockey’s Mind Chaos

Year 3, Day 7: Hockey – Mind Chaos

Tracklisting

  1. Too Fake
  2. 3 A.M. Spanish
  3. Learn to Lose
  4. Work
  5. Song Away
  6. Curse This City
  7. Wanna Be Black
  8. Four Holy Photos
  9. Preacher
  10. Put the Game Down
  11. Everyone’s the Same Age

About the Album

Mind Chaos is the 2009 debut studio album from Portland (Oregon) based band, Hockey. The album peaked at number 33 on the United Kingdom charts and number 29 on the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart.

Thoughts on the Album

I decided to go on a hunt for something different today. I was on the look out for one of my favorite indie-rock albums and I found a gem in Hockey‘s Mind Chaos. It’s easy to see why big time labels such as Sony and Capitol Records were interested in the band: their angular and bouncy basslines, chugging guitars, and washy keyboards. It’s a mishmash of tried-and-true new wave indie sounds like that of the StrokesOK Go, and The Killers. But given that, while the album and the band sounds effective, it is certainly not fresh sounds by any means.

The character of this album lies in the vocals of Ben Grubin’s raspy crooning and his surprisingly smart lyrics. The album, to me, suffers from a lack of stretching things out. But when the tracks on this album do stretch things out, they get very intriguing. One of my favorite tracks, Work, is a slinkier and smoky side to the band but also seems to give off a vibe of a “disco style” fetish. It’s weird but it works for me. It has you tapping your foot and singing along to it.

The track, Preacher, goes from a gospel-infused ballad and transforms into a blazing rock song. Too Fake, the album opener, while stutters to a start, thumps and bounces along before the hook: it’s chorus. The chorus soars above the rest. While the chorus in itself is rather cliché, it is Grubin’s crooning that keeps it from becoming dull, infusing it with enthusiasm. The song has the vibe and attitude of a James Murphy track, and grooves along with dance-punk beat.

Song Away, almost sounds like it was made for a commercial (in fact I think it was used in a few). While it’s nothing more that your run-of-the-mill pop song, it’s the band’s surging delivery and Grubin’s lyrics that make it a cut above the rest.

Conclusion

While I see why multiple record companies were interested, Sony dropping them while in production really hurt this album’s quality. If the Label would have stuck with the band/album, I think the album would have been excellent. The album could have been better (a lot better), Mind Chaos was a good start.

Year 3, Day 6: Bad Religion’s The Dissent of Man

Year 3, Day 6: Bad Religion – The Dissent of Man

Tracklisting

  1. The Day That the Earth Stalled
  2. Only Rain
  3. The Resist Stance
  4. Won’t Somebody
  5. The Devil in Stitches
  6. Pride and the Pallor
  7. Wrong Way Kids
  8. Meeting of the Minds
  9. Someone to Believe
  10. Avalon
  11. Cyanide
  12. Turn Your Back On Me
  13. Ad Hominem
  14. Where the Fun Is
  15. I Won’t Say Anything

About the Album

The Dissent of Man is the 15th album by California natives and punk rockers, Bad Religion. The album, recorded in May/June of 2010, was released in late September 2010. The album debuted at number 35 on the Billboard 200 and debuted at number six on the Billboard Independent Albums Chart. The album also marked the first time since the band formed (in 1979), that the line-up had not changed in four consecutive studio albums.

Thoughts on the Album

Bad Religion can be considered the elder statesmen of punk in the United States of America, having been formed in 1979. Not only are they considered elder statesmen of American punk, they are certifiable legends. The fact that they continue to produce music that holds meaning to people is a testament to the band’s steady-as-she-goes style/sound despite ever changing line-ups and personnel. I mean seriously, the band formed when Ronald Reagan was taking office! Well… damn! So let’s talk about their fifteenth release, shall we?

Let’s face it, the album sounds like the fourteen that have come before it, which could be considered both a good and bad thing to some people. So let’s also face reality here as well, they are not reinventing the wheel here. They invented the wheel with their song Suffer some 22-odd years ago and have never looked back.

The album opens with the raging and burning, The Day That the Earth Stalled, a 90 second thunderous barnburner that leads right into the it’s follow-up, Only Rain. These two tracks dish up brainy, meat-and-potatoes melodic hardcore which Bad Religion perfected with 31 years of recording. Both have the right combination of distorted guitar riffs and double-time smoldering mid-tempo melodies. Tracks like The Resist Stance and Someone to Believe burn with a righteous, angsty, and fire and energy of bands half their age.

The issue I have with this album is that of it’s sequencing. The problem is, the album is seemingly frontloaded with the heavier, faster, and overall strongest songs. This leaves the backend of the album with weaker mid-tempo tracks that just make it seem uneven. Also, the amount of songs on this album could have been fewer. Fifteen tracks was just too much, they had 10-12 arguably great tracks, if they trimmed the fat.

Conclusion

You know? For a band that started when freaking Ronald Reagan was President of the United States of America, they show no signs of slowing down. Considering most bands around the age that Bad Religion is slow down, this album proves that they can rock very, very loud, hard, and heavy. The Dissent of Man does a little bit of experimentation with various sounds and melodies, but through it all the songs don’t lose their punk edge. Tracks like Only Rain, Wrong Ways Kids, and Avalon marry catchy, hook filled melodies with a driving tempo. Whereas tracks like The Resist StanceMeeting of the Minds, and Ad Hominem just outright blow away the listener with ferocious guitar riffs and lyrics. Maybe, unlike other bands the same age, Bad Religion has found a fountain of youth and threw their fists in the air.

Year 3, Day 5: Waking the Dogs with the Donots

Year 3, Day 5: Donots – Wake the Dogs

Tracklisting

  1. Wake the Dogs
  2. Into the Grey
  3. Come Away With Me
  4. You’re So Yesterday
  5. Don’t Ever Look Down
  6. Born a Wolf
  7. Control
  8. Solid Gold
  9. You Got It
  10. I Don’t Wanna Wake Up
  11. Chasing the Sky
  12. All You Ever Wanted
  13. Manifesto
  14. So Long (feat. Frank Turner)
  15. My Side of the Street (United States version only)
  16. Going Through the Motions (feat. Frank Turner) (United States version only)

About the Album

Wake the Dogs is the ninth studio album released by German punk band, Donots. It is only the second album of the band to released in the United States of America. In the United States, the album was released through OK!Good Records, whereas it was released through Vertigo Berlin (Universal). The album was released in late April of 2012. The album peaked at number six on the German charts.

Thoughts on the Album

There are few bands I actually get giddy like a schoolgirl about when they release a new album. It could be a greatest hits compilation or B-sides album and I’d still fanboy out. The Donots are one of those bands (with Johnossi, Mando Diao, and Billy Talent being the others). In 2012 when I saw that the Donots were doing a few United States shows in support of their ninth album, Wake the Dogs, I needed to either go or get the album. So I bought the album, only because the band wasn’t performing anywhere near Philadelphia.

Wake the Dogs is a strong effort from the German punk outfit. Since the release of Coma Chameleon, each of the band’s releases have decidedly gotten less hardcore punk and more pop punk or punk rock. Wake the Dogs is a decidedly pop punk effort with a mixture of their old hardcore style and sound mixed in. Despite their sound changing towards more of pop punk, the band’s style has stayed almost the same throughout the now 22 years of the band’s existence.

The album opens with the titular track, Wake the Dogs. The track is a fine one with a catchy melodic hook that stands out amongst some of the other harder or rougher cut tracks. The next track, Into the Grey, is a more symphonic number, but could be, what I think is a very rousing and beautiful piece. The third track, Come Away With Me ventures more in the punk ballad (if that’s not an oxymoron) territory, a la Green Day. It is more of a rock anthem with a huge, catchy, and soaring chorus (see it highlighted below)

Come away with me
While the world’s asleep
Walk from sea to shining sea
Find ourselves a place to be

Highlights: The ninth track, You Got It is a track more in line with the band’s old hardcore style. It is fast paced, fist pumping, blood pumping punk goodness. The chorus is massive, epic, huge, soaring, and catchy… much in the veins of Chumbawumba‘s Tubthumping (see it highlight below).

You gotta stay up with me
Sing out of key
Pissing the night away
If I don’t sleep
Nobody sleeps
Bring on the light of day

Chasing the Sky could have been an epic closer if they didn’t use So Long. It’s another track in the vein of Come Away With Me. Whereas Come Away With Me was a mix of light and symphonic, Chasing the Sky pulls no punches and comes out like a howitzer. The chorus is heavy and catchy, and the track as a hook that will have you singing along and sticking your lighter in the air (or cellphones as the kids these days use). Finally, So Long. This track ventures into a genre combination of folk rock and punk thanks to one Frank Turner. I like it, but I don’t in a way. It’s a little bit too light for me. But it does close the album on a high note.

Conclusion

If I were to rank my favorite Donots albums this one would be number three right after The Long Way Home and Got the NoiseWake the Dogs brings an excellent mix of hardcore punk, mellower indie rock, and crunchy pop punk. This album was more in the vein of their last two releases, but whereas Coma Chameleon was more experimental and The Long Way Home was more symphonic and orchestrated. This one is mixture of both experimental and orchestrated, and fused together with their old hardcore style and sound. Not only do the Donots manage to wake the dogs, but they might even have managed to wake the States with this release.

You can buy the album’s page on OK!Good Record‘s website here! Check out OK!Good Record‘s page on the album here!

Year 3, Album 4: Oh No! Wait What? OK Go.

Year 3, Album 4: OK Go – Oh No

Tracklisting

  1. Invincible
  2. Do Want You Want
  3. Here it Goes Again
  4. A Good Idea at the Time
  5. Oh Lately It’s So Quiet
  6. It’s a Disaster
  7. A Million Ways
  8. No Sign of Life
  9. Let it Rain
  10. Crash the Party
  11. Television, Television
  12. Maybe, This Time
  13. The House Wins

About the Album

Oh No is the second studio album by Chicago based band, OK Go. The album, recorded in late 2004, was released in August of 2005. The album features the grammy awarding song for Best Music Video, Here It Goes Again.

Thoughts on the Album

OK Go‘s second album Oh No is a fun, underrated, and one of my guilty listening pleasures. This album falls into the genre of Alternative rock, power pop, and dance rock. The album is full of catchy melodies and hooks that will have you dancing and singing along to it. As with most albums I’ve come to listen to, there are a few uninspired songs, most are energetic tunes.

Oh No opens with two of the arguably best songs on it: the muscular Invincible and the instantly recognizable stomp-rock of Do What You Want. Both tracks are rough, but incredibly catchy ones, sounding fresh, despite the oft-repeated “come on, come on!” of Do What You Want.

However, the track that the band is most known for, is the treadmill song, or Here It Goes Again. The video for this song, was a viral sensation featuring a choreographed dance number involving the band jumping and dancing back and forth on treadmills. The song itself really isn’t anything to write home about.

The problem with this album is that it begins to lose steam after the first five or six songs. Fortunately, Crash the Party, the ninth track saves the backend of the album. The track brings the energy back with a 1000 watts of power. The album itself is a fun one to listen to.

Conclusion

OK Go with Oh No made a fun, effervescent, and lively album despite some periods on it of less than impressive tunes. The album is one made for partying, ready to fill the dance floor with people rocking out and jamming out. And lets face it, the album isn’t much of a mature one, but that’s alright. Personally, the songwriting isn’t exactly up to snuff with the rest of the band’s skills. However I’ve noticed that with later releases from this band, was remedied on later releases. While the songs could use some more structure and gain some more substance, I am always perfectly fine some sophomoric fun.