Apr 27, 2006

I figured it was time to introduce a new semi-regular feature to via//chicago, one that allowed me to be more consistent in sharing some great music with my loyal readers (all three of you). So here is the first edition of v//c:preview, an outlet for me to hook you up with some tunes that you might be interested in hearing. Anyway, click on the links below and follow the easy instructions to download these songs - and remember, if you like what you hear please support the artist! If you don't delete it and save precious hard drive space for something more up your alley. And away we go...

Wolfmother - "The White Unicorn" (EP version)
First up is an older song from via//chicago favorites, Wolfmother. I know I posted something about them not too long ago, but I wanted to take this opportunity to share something else as we prepare for the stateside release of the debut album this coming Tuesday. This track, "The White Unicorn" will appear on said album in a re-recorded and truncated version, so here's your chance to hear the whole thing in all it's rock glory, as it appeared on the band's first EP.
((click here to purchase Wolfmother))

Taking Back Sunday - "Twenty-Twenty Surgery"
As a follow-up to my last post, I figured it would be a good idea to share my favorite track off the new Taking Back Sunday album, Louder Now, so you can hear exactly what I was talking about. This is a great example of how great these guys are with a hook, this will probably be bouncing around your head for a long time after the first couple listens. Maybe some of you doubters out there will take a chance and realize that this band shouldn't be dismissed entirely just because of the dreaded E-M-O tag. Enjoy.
((click here to purchase Louder Now))

So that's it. Hopefully, at the very least, I'll have given you a little over ten minutes of music to pass the time on a slow Friday sitting at your desk. Feel free to leave me some feedback, its all appreciated.
Recent Release Round-Up:
Still trying to get back on the ball with updating this thing on a regular basis, so part of that will include catching up on the past month or so worth of new releases and some brief thoughts on them. Here's a batch, this time with P-Fork style numerical ratings for those that like that sort of thing.

Morrissey - Ringleader of the Tormentors (Attack)
You Are The Quarry was the big "comeback" album, so how does this one fare? Pretty well as it turns out, though not quite as successful as the last one. As you've probably read elsewhere, Morrissey seems to have found love in his life and for once he's not really holding back on letting us know. RotT actually includes one of his most direct love songs in "To Me You Are A Work of Art", but with the expected cynical Moz twist. The album, full of epic climaxes and string sections, aches to be larger than life and grandiose but ends up a little too overbearing at times. And not one but three songs with the ever-popular kiddie chorus seems a little much for one album. But still, tracks like "Dear God Please Help Me" and "You Have Killed Me" are full-on Moz classics sure to please any fan. (8.1/10.0)

Recommended Tracks: "Dear God Please Help Me", "You Have Killed Me", "In the Future When Alls Well"

Secret Machines - Ten Silver Drops (Reprise)
This disc was bound to be a slight disappointment no matter how good it ended up being, thanks to my hefty expectations after falling hard for the debut and killer live show. I expected something that pushed the bombast of the first album further into outer space, but instead the band seems to have tightened things up a bit and toned down the heaviness. The opener and closer are both wonderful tracks that showcase the band's talents perfectly, unfortunately the stuff they bookend doesn't hold up quite as well. It's difficult for me to pin down exactly why this album doesn't work as well as the last one, but it has something to do with the way many of the tracks slide right on past without leaving much of an impression. Ten Silver Drops just doesn't seem to have the same ear-grabbing intensity as Now Here is Nowhere, and it nearly kills the flow of this one. I have a feeling some of the tunes may grow on me over time, but for now I'll just hold on to the hope that their Lollapalooza appearance renews my faith. (7.3/10.0)

Recommended Tracks: "Alone, Jealous, and Stoned", "Daddy's in the Doldrums", "1,000 Seconds"

Taking Back Sunday - Louder Now (Warner Bros.)
Spare me the grief - I am, and always have been, a sucker for well-crafted songs on the poppier side of the punk/emo continuum and TBS is one of those bands that can usually be counted on for quality songs of that vein. Nothing groundbreaking, but they've always seemed to have a way with hooks that elevates them above the millions of soundalike clones. For the jump to a full-fledged major label, the band ditches some of the more emo tendencies that showed up on the two earlier albums and instead focuses on a more straight-ahead rock feel. It's easy to see why people might have dismissed this band in the past (songs titles like "Cute Without The 'E'" certainly didn't help), but I think its fair to say the band has moved beyond some of the nu-emo stereotypes that may have given pause. This is a band that deserves the same kind of mainstream attention My Chemical Romance got last year and this should be the album to break them wide open (releasing "Twenty-Twenty Surgery" as a single should help). (8.0/10.0)

Recommended Tracks: "Makedamnsure", "Twenty-Twenty Surgery", "Miami"

Apr 26, 2006

Ok, wow. I knew it had been a long time since my last post, but damn this is ridiculous. I have a (partially) valid excuse though, in that I've spent the better part of the last month up to my neck in all kinds of stuff. Moving into a new place was the biggest time consumer, but now that I'm starting to get settled in the awesomely improved digs I plan to get back to updating this thing on a much, much more regular basis.

I am still writing reviews for Static, although it's been a little while since anything new has been published (I'm sorry Brett, more coming very soon I promise!) - although a couple of the most recent ones include Immaculate Machine, Stephen Yerkey, Get Set Go, Teddy Thompson, and a vocal lesson DVD (really).

Anyway, this blog is far from dead and I promise to have some more significant updates very soon. In the meantime be sure to check out the newly updated set of links to the left and read some of my favorite locations around the net. Thanks for sticking around.