So this is a new blog I have created to review music, feedback would be appreciated! I will try to review one CD a week, and these will range from new to old, depending on how I feel about the week :P
Review: The Black Keys - Brothers
The Black Keys are back in fine form with their newest release, Brothers. While not a significant departure from the Danger Mouse-fueled last album, the album still feels good and nails the line between hard blues and hip hop.
Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney return as one of the only modern rock acts to truly embrace the old school of blues rock founded by pioneers like Muddy Waters and Led Zeppelin. However, they are not bound to such comparison and have moved into the realm of hip hop with Brothers. Songs like the remarkable “Too Afraid To Love You” paint a picture as to how a Jay-Z/Zeppelin crossover would sound. It is in these sparse moments on the record - when the bass levels are at 11 - that Brothers transcends whatever was originally possible in the blues category.
Unfortunately the entire album does not hold up to such promise, and some songs like “Unknown Brother” basically drone for three minutes too long. It is the increased emphasis on big beats and crunchy synth lines that make the traditional blues songs stick out like a sore thumb. Also, the songwriting here is not quite as good as that of Attack & Release, where the songs were instantly recognizable and hummable. On the new record, many of the songs get lost in a sea of blues. It is still good, soulful blues, but not quite as genius as the previous release.
Still the duo deserve credit for standing to the side of current market trends. It is always exciting to purchase a new Keys release and know that forthcoming music will be a refreshing change of pace from the current pop and indie schlock that frankly all starts to blur. Give this one a shot. It is not the best album of the year by any means, but it is still an enjoyable and unique audio experience.
- Next Girl
- Tighten Up
- Too Afraid To Love You
My band, Advent Fire, performing our Number 1 Hit Single, “Bones”. Hope you enjoy.
E3 imPRESSions: Sony
Last but not least (pun intended) was Sony, a company who had fair success last E3 with a software barrage. It was a strong year for Sony, and people speculated that this year would center on the Move and on 3D gaming. Those people were right.
Sony started with 3D gaming and a floor demo of Killzone 3 which looks really good (If not exactly like Killzone 2). It apparently did a good job, and Sony then MOVEd to (oh yeah, on a roll!) the next bit.
Sony did unveil pricing for their new hardware, and while it wasn’t beautiful ($100 for most consumers), it was nice to actual hear real details about product aside from how cool it is (and it is cool). The software announced for Sony’s motion solution was ok at best, but the games shown should be deemed legendary compared to the horrific Kinect software.
Pretty much every game shown at the conference had already been announced weeks before, but two major surprises came in the form of Portal 2 (with Steam support no less) on the Playstation and a new Twisted Metal. The former was ironic given Gabe Newell’s public “hatred” for the Playstation 3 hardware and the latter was very cool but definitely feels old fashioned. Gamers have moved on from car combat, and even the new changes to modernize the Twisted Metal series may not be enough to move units.
Overall Sony had a good showing, but there were no huge announcements and it was fairly lax.
Overall Score: B
Awesome: Move works and has details, Good number of games shown, Valve support
Lame: Move pricing steep, Lots of advertising, No Last Guardian (sad face)
E3 imPRESSions: Nintendo
After a lukewarm Microsoft conference, it was Nintendo’s turn to take the stage. Though earlier in the day, Nintendo would have everybody awake and on their feet. After a couple years of casual product and poor content, Nintendo really had to step up and deliver. And boy did they deliver in what may go down as one of the best press conference’s in E3’s history.
The theme of the show was epic from start to finish, with epic games (literally) and epic announcements. It started with the anticipated Zelda: Skyward Sword, the first true Wii Zelda title. For many, myself included, it was a bittersweet moment. The game looked amazing and smooth. But Miyamoto had a lot of trouble controlling the “one-to-one” swordplay. I have since heard that it is no issue and that the game works, but it was still a speed bump on an otherwise flawless showing.
Next, Nintendo scared us with announcements like Wii Party and Just Dance 2. The terror filled the room as everyone watching expected another year of shovelware and Mario. In fact, looking back, the opening was very weak, even with a new Zelda title.
And then it happened. Like a boxer being repeatedly pummeled with bags of candy, gamers were hit with classic over classic. It started with a remake of the classic Goldeneye and included other Nintendo mainstays in Donkey Kong Country: Returns, Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Kid Icarus: Uprising, Metroid: Other M, NBA Jam, and Golden Sun.
And while the press was still reeling from the prior blow, Nintendo quickly struck with the 3DS and a ton of titles. Everything from Zelda to Mario to Resident Evil to Final Fantasy to Metal Gear was announced. It was simply an astonishing press conference that quite literally threw everything at you.
Overall Score: A
Awesome: Tons of games, 3DS is cool, No Cammie
Lame: Beginning was slow, no dates or price on 3DS, Miyamoto sucks at Zelda.
E3 imPRESSions: Microsoft
Microsoft was first up in the press conference battle and was, in my honest opinion, a mixed bag. I will say that the company succeeded in delivering the message that everyone needs an Xbox 360. However it was not done with the first-party software… Or the recently renamed Natal project Kinect… Or with the new and improved hardware (250 GB, Built-in wireless n, Kinect ready)…
No it was ESPN of all things that carried the message. Microsoft announced a joint venture with the company that would give users the ability to stream live content as well as past games through Xbox Live. The reason this is so huge is the possibility for all consumers. With the ability to stream loads of movies in Netflix and now the ability to watch sports, who needs cable? For 200 bucks and 50 per year, you can get all you need out of cable. HUGE.
Kinect combined with music, movies, and voice chat is unbelievable, if you shell out the potential $150 for the device, you can control the interface simply and easily.
As for the negatives, there were many. I had little faith in Kinect’s potential for gaming, and now I have zero. The games quite frankly looked like they sucked and having no controller makes many games impossible on the device. Also, Microsoft gave me no reason to buy a system with their coming game library. If you really want a new Gears and Halo, you already own the damn system.
Overall Microsoft and ESPN went above what I expected from the company at E3, but I still am skeptical about what they have for the coming year.
Overall Score: B-
AWESOME: ESPN, Kinect-ing the Xbox interface, New Xbox 360 with wi-fi!
LAME: Kinect games, No software support, Mattrick bribing crowd with free Xbox 360s.
This is the perfect picture I was looking for in how the world is making a big mistake. It is almost unbelievable in fact.
Here we have the world’s universal language being quelled completely by the government while one of the most devastating spills in history is brushed off like a kitchen fire. I think before we can start to sue companies for things like oil spills and illegal downloading, we have to figure out exactly what we are fighting and, more importantly, what we are doing.
Funnily enough, Thom Yorke was just quoted on the subject of the music business, saying:
Initially I found this to be crazy, but Yorke may be on to something. The industry is slowly becoming an all out nuclear war between the greedy RIAA and the artists fueling their paychecks. Does the RIAA realize that without the exposure of big bands, there will be no major labels left and nothing for the RIAA to protect, save acts from forty years ago?