Archive for July, 2008

Snailhouse: Lies On The Prize (Album Review)

July 30th, 2008 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

Snailhouse

Lies On The Prize

(Unfamiliar Records; 2008)

7.8/10

Snailhouse’s latest album, Lies on the Prize, is a cohesive album of homely, resonant folk songs written by a thoughtful and intriguing artist. The album shares some of it’s sensibilities (such as orchestral flourishes and modestly complex percussion) with other Canadian acts such as Broken Social Scene. At the same time it’s Canadian-folksy feel and powerful lyrics bare comparison to BSS-related artists such as Bill Priddle (of The Priddle Concern) and Jason Collette.

While the album is hardly a bare-bones affair (strings and steel-guitar are not uncommon compliments to the drums-bass-guitars set-up), it does have a sort of stripped down, wooden-shack feel. Even though the majority of the album is electric, it always feels acoustic. This is augmented further by Mark Feuerstack’s warm, familiar voice. As a singer, Feuerstack impresses with his effortlessly gentle – but never fragile – vocals.

While the album is filled with enough folksy hooks to satisfy any pop-lover, the lyrics push this album from merely enjoyable to an actual intellectual and emotional experience. Feuerstack’s reflections on life are often intriguing, sometimes paradoxical, as on “Superstitious” in which he sings, “I’m not superstitious but I’m not not-superstitious”. Other songs such as “Salvation Army” boast a bitter honesty in lines like “Go on then/Make me your friend/but don’t think that you won’t be lied to.”

In the end, Lies on the Prize is very much a mood-record; one for the rainy days spent alone in your room or your car. In it’s best moments (such as the rising and fallings crescendos on “Fire Alarm”), phrases and changes reach out and grab hold of you and then let go, leaving you feeling a little more human. Those moments are hard to find; 98% of records don’t have any, actually. For that reason alone Snailhouse’s latest is a keeper. Like in life, those few precious moments are all you need.

http://www.myspace.com/snailhouse

Black Kids

July 6th, 2008 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

I know this is kinda early in the week to be writing this but I’ve got the time so I’ll just do the crime. This week’s band of the week is a band I’ve already blogged about before but(!) they weren’t the band of the week so I’m making them this week’s band of the week. When they emerged onto the scene several months ago they were just a bunch of kids from Florida who’d played a couple shows and released four songs online. Suddenly everyone is raving about them and pitchfork basically turned them into rock stars overnight by making their “online ep” “best new music”. In two days they release their debut album and hopefully further rock stardom will ensue for this talented band. That band is…

BLACK KIDS!!!

That’s right, the kids from Florida are finally releasing their big debut album titled Partie Traumatic. They’ve signed with Columbia in the states which is cool though I’d be really impressed if they were still independants trying to conquer the world on their own a la Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. I’ve really liked the Black Kids’ sound since I first heard it. It reminds me of this sort of neon late-night-prince-esque-disco feeling coupled with the childish indie innocence of bands like Los Campesinos. The guitars, vocals and keyboards shine through this sort of darkness in the music beautifully and the subject matter regarding hook ups, crushes, dancing and such fits perfectly into the musical setting.

On this album, the lo-fi sound of their EP is pumped up, expanded and given at times a sort of kaliedascopic treatment by the always reliable Bernard Buttler (of The London Suede). Is it an improvement? Mmmm, the vocals are WAY more audible now than before but those who know me know that I’ve got this little fetish for lo-fi sounding stuff so I kinda prefered the smaller sound of the earlier recordings to these new ones but overall the disc sounds great.

Their EP cuts make up most of the highlights of the new disc, though the last two new cuts, “Love Me Already” and “Look At Me (When I Rock Wichoo)” are pretty awesome as well. All in all the disc is very very solid and more than well-worth a listen. Over the course of it’s ten tracks, Black Kids consistently rock out like 16 year old romantics at a nightclub covered in glowsticks, high on that beautifully teenage feeling, lust for life and serious cuties.

http://www.myspace.com/blackkidsrock