Saturday, March 19, 2011

Music Reviews – Six in One Album Reviews

Music Review #1 – Barton Hollow by The Civil Wars

  •  The Civil Wars
  • Album: Barton Hollow
  • Genre: Alternative/Punk
  • Style: Folk Singer-Songwriter, Singer-Songwriter, Contemporary Folk
  • Label: sensibility music LLC / TuneCore


The Swell Season’s lyrical American cousin but with more bluegrass/folk undertones. Astounding harmonies, perfect pitch, and beautiful lyrics make this duo’s performance a must for your music collection. The first track, 20 Years, and the title track, Barton Hollow, stand out but the entire album is a solid collection of great songs. Also, Poison and Wine may be the most haunting love/hate song ever scored.

5 stars out of 5

  • 01. 20 Years 3:02
  • 02. I've Got This Friend 3:24
  • 03. C'est la Mort 2:30
  • 04. To Whom It May Concern 3:31
  • 05. Poison & Wine 3:40
  • 06. My Father's Father 3:21
  • 07. Barton Hollow 3:26
  • 08. The Violet Hour 3:25
  • 09. Girl With the Red Balloon 3:50
  • 10. Falling 3:58
  • 11. Forget Me Not 2:57
  • 12. Birds of a Feather 3:09
  • 13. I Want You Back (Bonus) 3:15
  • 14. Dance Me to the End of Love (Bonus) 3:05

The Civil Wars Official Website

Music Review #2 – All Alone In An Empty House by Lost In The Trees

  •  Lost In the Trees
  • Album: All Alone In An Empty House
  • Genre: Rock/Pop
  • Style: Alternative, Indie Rock, Commercial Alternative
  • Label: Anti/Epitaph


Classic/Alternative/Orchestral combination of highly lyrical music by songwriter Ari Picker. Evidently, the lyrics from the title track are bits and pieces taken from arguments Picker's parents had when he was growing up. But that’s not to say that the album is an indictment of despair and depression. For all that the album is packed with optimism and courage. Oh, it also has lots of stringed instruments. Check out Mvt. I Sketch and Mvt. II Sketch for a glimpse of what Mozart might be doing today (had he lived that long.) Don’t get the wrong idea though in my comparison to Mozart… this is not your father’s classical music.

4 ½ stars out of 5

  • 01. All Alone In An Empty House 5:44
  • 02. Walk Around the Lake 2:57
  • 03. Mvt. I Sketch 3:12
  • 04. Song for the Painter 3:20
  • 05. Fireplace 3:32
  • 06. Love on My Side 3:25
  • 07. Wooden Walls of this Forest Church 1:51
  • 08. A Room where your Paintings Hang 3:25
  • 09. We Burn the Leaves 2:44
  • 10. Mvt. II Sketch 5:35
  • 11. For Leah and Chloe 2:03

Lost in the Trees Official Website

Music Review #3 – The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles by Aeroplain

  •  Aeroplain
  • Album: The Wind-up Bird Chronicles


Inspired by the literary works of Haruki Murakami and found on his website Aeroplain’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles is an interesting contrast between classical/jazz/electronica music and the literary works of an exceptional writer. Each tune corresponds to a different section of Muakami’s book of the same name, but of course, you don’t have to read the book in order to enjoy the music.

P.S. Free download at the site:

4 stars out of 5

  • 1. the wind-up bird theme 6:32
  • 2. quiet 6:17
  • 3. mr. wind-up bird 5:48
  • 4. kumiko 3:04
  • 5. music of words (the creta kano song) 6:11
  • 6. reunion 4:43
  • 7. the well 4:36
  • 8. jellyfish from all around the world 5:43
  • 9. a dangerous place 7:00
  • 10. goodbye, may kasahara 6:08

Music Review #4 – Hunger and Thirst by Typhoon

  •  Typhoon
  • Album: Hunger and Thirst
  • Genre: Alternative/Punk
  • Style: Indie Rock
  • Label: Tender Loving Empire / IODA


Fertile instrumentation (horns/strings/guitars) and soulful vocals by front-man Kyle Morton make this an exceptional album and one I listen to over and over again. There’s a hint of Bright Eyes to their sound but only a hint. This is truly unique and fun. My favorite cut is the poignant Old Haunts, New Cities. Great harmonies, haunting guitars, and a story (for a change). P.S. Also, Typhoon had a song on the American re-make of the BBC program Being Human, which is where I first heard them (using the Shazam app on my iPhone).

5 out of 5 stars

  • 01. Starting Over (Bad Habits) 3:33
  • 02. White Liars 4:46
  • 03. CPR / Claws Pt. 2 6:59
  • 04. Ghost Train 2:58
  • 05. Body of Love 3:52
  • 06. Intermission 1:13
  • 07. Happy People 4:08
  • 08. Old Haunts, New Cities 4:39
  • 09. Mouth of the Cave 0:44
  • 10. Belly of the Cavern 7:11
  • 11. The Sickness Unto Death 3:20

Typhoon Official Website

Music Review #5 – Alexander by Alexander

  •  Alexander
  • Album: Alexander
  • Genre: Rock/Pop
  • Style: Alternative
  • Label: Community Music
  • Copyright: (C) 2011 Community Music (US)


Perhaps the oddest sound of the six bands listed here Alexander may also be my new favorite. Its quirkiness alone demands attention. This album is Beatlesque-Dylanesque-Clashesque (from their fun years), lyrical, nostalgic, playful, full of pop hooks, and totally endearing and amusing. Alexander is that rare combination of songs that both sound great and entertain at the same time.

5 out of 5 stars

  • 01. Let's Win! 2:57
  • 02. Awake My Body 5:04
  • 03. Truth 4:21
  • 04. In The Twilight 3:14
  • 05. Bad Bad Love 3:29
  • 06. Old Friend 5:02
  • 07. A Million Years 4:51
  • 08. Remember Our Heart 3:17
  • 09. Glimpses 5:40
  • 10. Lets Make A Deal To Not Make A Deal 3:15

Alexander @ MySpace

Music Review #6 – Brothers by The Black Keys

  •  The Black Keys
  • Album: Brothers
  • Genre: Rock/Pop
  • Style: Alternative, Commercial Alternative, Indie Rock
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • Copyright: 2010 Nonesuch Records, Inc.


All I can say about this album is “Freakin’ Awesome!” Okay, that’s not all I can say about it. How about this: This is an exceptional album that A) sounds better every time you listen to it, B) every song on the playlist is better than the last, C) is a smoky, haunting blues album that will last the test of time, D) has some of the best lead guitar work I’ve heard in a very long time, E) has great bass rifts (probably because they’re performed by the lead guitarist), F) should be on every iPod, MP3 player, and computer in the world, G) has no contemporary comparison, H) did I mention it’s freakin’ awesome!, and I) this is a duo (unbelievable!). My favorite cuts are “Ten Cent Pistol” and “I’m Not the One” but that may change later today when I listen to this for the third time. Locate it, download it, listen - find bliss!

5 out of 5 stars

  • 01. Everlasting Light 3:24
  • 02. Next Girl 3:18
  • 03. Tighten Up 3:31
  • 04. Howlin' For You 3:12
  • 05. She's Long Gone 3:06
  • 06. Black Mud 2:10
  • 07. The Only One 5:00
  • 08. Too Afraid To Love You 3:25
  • 09. Ten Cent Pistol 4:29
  • 10. Sinister Kid 3:45
  • 11. The Go Getter 3:37
  • 12. I'm Not The One 3:49
  • 13. Unknown Brother 4:00
  • 14. Never Gonna Give You Up 3:39
  • 15. These Days 5:12

The Black Keys Official Website

The Alternative

Southeast Wisconsin


Freight Agent said...

When I decided to read this book, I must say I was quite skeptical. Unknown Author and I usually stick to true crime novels. Imagine my surprise when not only was it well written but it grabbed my attention and had me reading late into the night. My only disappointment was that the next one isn't out yet so I can't find out what happened to the supporting characters yet.

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