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Coke Weed – Back to Soft album review

While much less twangy than their earlier albums, Maine-based group Coke Weed’s third album Back to Soft maintains the band’s dreamy, psychedelic sound. With the haunting vocals of lead singer Nina Donghia and the resonating guitar that reminds me a little of San Francisco band Thee Oh Sees, Coke Weed’s new album is equal parts trippy and relaxing. Although the steady drum backbeat featured in many of their tracks paired with Donghia’s purr creates the illusion of laid back songs, upon closer inspection, Coke Weed’s lyrics can be pretty intense. Already reaching…

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Matt Nathanson – Last of the Great Pretenders review

As a rock and roll enthusiast, particularly of the classics such as Led Zeppelin, I am surprised that I like Matt Nathanson’s new album. Most of Nathanson’s older songs are on the slower side, and the slowest I tolerate is typically on the same par as Zeppelin’s “What Is And What Should Never Be,” which breaks into raucous guitar solos after every verse. But Matt Nathanson surprised me. Granted, I did roll my eyes at some of his slower love songs, such as “Sunday New York Times,” but the majority of…

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Defeater – Letters Home album review

There are five men in Massachusetts who have been telling the same story for five years. Although this sounds like the beginning of an urban legend you tell over a campfire in a spooky voice and a flashlight under your face, it describes hardcore punk band Defeater, whose 2008 debut album Travels told the first part of a saga that continues with their most recent album Letters Home. All of Defeater’s existing albums are concept albums, meaning every track on each album shares a common theme. (The Who’s Tommy is a concept album, for example.) The story that…

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The Bullitts – They Die By Dawn And Other Short Stories album review

Meet your new favorite artist. Not only can Jeymes Samuel sing, write and produce his own material, and play guitar and piano, he has even created his own genre. Samuel, otherwise known by the stage name The Bullitts, says his music is under the genre “action-adventure,” because he’s musically fearless and “assassinates all rules” with his music. His debut album They Die By Dawn And Other Short Stories is Samuel’s debut album and the accompanying soundtrack to They Die By Dawn, a fifty-minute Western film he directed. (Did we mention he’s into film too?) The…

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Editors – The Weight Of Your Love album review

At the risk of sounding like someone who judges a book by its cover, I’ll admit that I cringed upon initially reading the title of both this band and their latest album. The band name “Editors” brought to mind a bunch of stuffy people stiffly playing instruments and halfheartedly whining about something, and the album name “The Weight of Your Love” makes it sound like what they were halfheartedly whining about was a failing relationship. But I was wrong–their whining is actually quite soulful. You can hear the pain in…

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Skillet – Rise album review

Skillet’s ninth album Rise maintains the metal-influenced sound they have had since their third and most popular album Comatose 2006 came out in 2006. Although billed as a Christian rock band, Skillet’s lyrics don’t outwardly endorse any religious beliefs (as in there’s no praising Jesus happening, although some older songs such as “You’re Better Than Drugs” definitely have a religious tinge). Instead of overtly Christian lyrics, many of the tracks on Rise are inspirational, encouraging listeners to work to make the world a better place. On the title track, “Rise,” lead singer John Cooper’s voice takes…

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Whitaker and Me – The Pub Room album review

If you like minimalistic melodies and mellow folk tunes, you will likely love Whitaker and Me’s first EP The Pub Room. Think folk-y acoustic guitar riffs paired with vocals similar to those of Sheryl Crow, and you’ve got the idea of all six tracks on this EP. However, if your musical taste is similar at all to mine, you’d rather listen to The Beatles or Pink Floyd, both groups that Whitaker and Me claim as their musical influences. Their track “Shine On, Harvest Moon” is clearly an ode to the Pink Floyd song…

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Teen Daze – House on the Mountain EP review

Although British Columbian electronica artist Teen Daze’s The House on the Mountain EP maintains the spacey feel of his previous musical compilations, it deviates from the trippy, futuristic sound he has become known for. Instead of his usual synth-heavy beats, The House on the Mountain has a more lighthearted, springtime feel than, say, his debut album All of Us Together, which has a sound reminiscent either of being stoned while dancing barefoot in a forest or the theme song of the British TV teen party show Skins. Like the majority of his other albums, The House on the…

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