By Matt MacKenzie
Beck has had some amazing albums throughout his long and successful career. Albums like Sea Change, Odelay, and Guero took to the charts and brought a host of different emotions with them. Many hit songs came from these albums, such as “E-Pro” and its massive guitar rips to start the song off or “Massive Gold,” which elevated Beck to a new level in his career and got people to consider him a possible master artist in the future.
Colors introduces listeners to ten new songs that enter the mind and heart with a joyful and kind of peppy feeling to them all. It is a very strong lineup for the album, making it, in my opinion, one of the best albums released in 2017. Every song on Colors is high-caliber and makes me want to get up and move around. Songs like “Colors,” “Seventh Heaven” and “I’m So Free” just gives off the dancing vibe and makes me want to shake it. Beck’s voice in it is superb along with the backup of the band. The mix of the drums, bass and certain added sound effects, like hand clapping, make the songs seemingly perfect. I would highly recommend this album to all.
By Zachary Stryffeler
Lotta Sea Lice, the new album authored and performed by indie-alt pioneers Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnett, combines the perfect amount of great songwriting with talented musicianship to create a great and new sound. Both artists bring their own elements to the table and do not force their own sound over the other. Instead of clashing visions, the two have created music that is neither Vile nor Barnett, but rather a new and exciting style for the pair.
The first track on the album, titled “Over Everything,” is a laid back mellow jam, reading almost like a conversation between the two artists. The jangly guitar and smooth solos add to the songs’ immense depth. The sound quality is unreal. You can hear almost every layer of music that Vile and Barnett have plunged themselves into. The producers of this album really outdid themselves.
“Let it Go” follows next on the album and is quite like the first track lyric-wise, but has more of a War on Drugs feel to it. Slower and synth-like. The guitar is less like a guitar here and sounds more techno-inspired. The drums are rapid at intervals and create a garage band drum machine feel. The vibe is entirely technological and still, while not one of the better tracks on the album, it’s a good song. “Fear is Like a Forest” is next and is one of my personal favorites from the album. The song starts out with a “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”-type riff built with Vile’s extremely Petty-esque flat voice. The whole song sounds straight out of the 70s like a duet between Tom Petty and Grace Slick from their respective golden eras. The next song, “Outta the Woodwork,” has the same Petty feel to it.
“Continental Breakfast” is a heartfelt acoustic piece that combines folk with indie. The acoustic guitar and rustic, scraping folk drums combine with Vile’s ringing Fender Jaguar that slides like oil over the top of the melody. The lyrics resonate with honesty and strike at the heart of the listener. The next song, “On Script” is a mellowed out slow jam that highlights Barnett’s smooth and thick vocals.
“Blue Cheese,” another one of the top tracks on the album, has a lighthearted guitar intro that is followed by Kurt Vile’s Lou Reed style vocals and lyrics that sound like something from Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited. Altogether, one of the best songs I’ve heard in a while. “Peeping Tom” is one of the more forgettable songs on the album but is good enough to deserve a spot on the album.
The closer, “Untogether,” is a great end to a stellar album. It combines the acoustic brilliance of Barnett with Vile’s electric feel to reflect upon the great new sound they created. All in all, I recommend listening to this in its entirety. A truly great album from two truly great artists.
By Ashley Gallagher
Released 26 years ago this month, Teenage Fanclub’s third album Bandwagonesque has achieved a few milestones over time, like being named album of the year 1991 by Spin and having singles chart on Billboard. For many, this album was very noteworthy and significant, and for Benjamin Gibbard, lead singer of Death Cab For Cutie, this was no exception. He has stated how important this album is for him and that it “came along at a pivotal time” in his life. After 25 years, he finally got around to covering it song for song.
Anyone who is familiar with Benjamin Gibbard knows that, as an artist, he tends to lean more on the indie rock side. He has a much softer sound in his music compared to Teenage Fanclub. He reworks the whole album to fit his sound without straying too much from the original sound the album possessed. “The Concept” is one of the most recognizable songs on the album, but with Gibbard, he adds in echoes and softer guitar parts on the song without compromising the mood of it all. Sometimes covers do not feel like the same song, but he does a good job keeping the original feeling while keeping his artistic integrity. “December” sounds very close to the original. As listeners, it is noticeable that Gibbard knows what he is doing. He takes the songs apart piece by piece in order to truly appreciate the whole song and it is evident across the album. As for the fan favorite “Star Sign,” Gibbard keeps the signature upbeat quality but adds more effects on the backing vocals than Teenage Fanclub would have.
It is quite clear that Gibbard is a fan of this album, for the songs still have the same nostalgic feeling, but with a small twist that does not distract from the original album. He stripped apart each of the songs in order to make a version to suit his voice. He clearly had fun changing around the parts and dissecting the album for what it is. This album is a must-listen if you are a fan of either the album or Death Cab For Cutie.