Heaven I Whenever by The Hold Steady
Before “Heaven is Whenever” I never really was in love with The Hold Steady. Always just kind of thought they were some weird middle ground between Flogging Molly and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Heaven is Whenever though is a solid rock album. I really got a Tom Petty “Last Dance with Maryjane” vibe throughout this one. Nothing too original but a really nice surprise for me.
Stand out Tracks: Hurricane J, Our Whole Lives, The Weekenders
Heaven is Whenever 3.5 out of 5
Swim by Caribou
I really liked the single “Odessa” off of this one but after that I felt like this album was over my head. I looked at it the same way I look at a lot of modern art. I’m not sure exactly what was going on but I’m sure someone more cultured would be able to tell me. The whole thing was this kind of funky house(ish) type of stuff that I just could never get into. Probably more to do with me than anything else.
Stand out Tracks: Odessa
Swim 1.5 out of 5
Plastic Beach by Gorillaz
Back in 2003-2005 it seemed like the Gorillaz were the precursor to what the Black Eyed Peas are today. Just creating generic party music for school dances everywhere. Today I’m not really sure what Gorillaz niche is. Are they a relevant band still? Plastic Beach didn’t really answer these questions for me. As an album it didn’t really have one ultra-accessible dancey hit that old Gorillaz were known for/relied on. It did have some interesting and relatively good tracks but it all kind of felt like something was missing. Like these were just bonus tracks or something. Nothing felt fully fleshed out. Also the excessive cameos made it feel like there were too many humans and not enough Gorillaz.
Standout Tracks: To Binge, Stylo and On Melancholy Hill
Plastic Beach 2.5 out of 5
Rainwater LP by Citizen Cope
I feel like Citizen Cope might unfairly get grouped into that whole barefoot, laid back, acoustic, beach-bro scene with the likes of Jack Johnson and Jason Mraz, just because he plays an acoustic guitar and seems ‘mellow’. Personally I think Cope brings a lot more to the table than these type of guys. He seems a lot more soulful and genuine. That being said, Rainwater LP had its strong moments but I think it suffered from a lack of diversity.
Stand out tracks: Off the Ground, Healing Hands
Rainwater LP 2.5 out of 5
This is Happening by LCD Soundsystem
It’s always nice when an album completely lives up to the hype. “This is Happening” certainly did just that. Right from the get go with the opening track: “Dance Yrself Clean”, I could tell that this album was exactly what I had hoped for. There are a couple misses with “One Touch” and “Somebody’s Calling Me” but the strong tracks are so damn good and epicly long that they more than make up for it. The worst thing about this was that it was only 9 tracks long.
Stand out tracks: Dance Yrself Clean, All I Want, Drunk Girls
Is this Happening 4.5 out of 5