Tag Archives: Cage the Elephant

Kyle’s Best of 2013

2013 wasn’t an amazing year for music, but a lot of cool things did happen. There were artists who re-emerged on the scene in Daft Punk, My Bloody Valentine, Boards of Canada, and The Pixies, and then there was a movement headed by Daft Punk and Arcade Fire to try and revive disco in a modernized way. The reason for my semi-disappointment is that a lot of the artist’s efforts this year to set a new standard for their peers failed in my eyes to create something overly significant and lasting (with one exception). Motives aside, and favoritism thrown out the window, here are my top 25 albums to get released in 2013

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25. Of Montreal- Lousy With Sylvianbriar

Release Date: October 08, 2013

Grade: B

I’m really interested to know if this album’s stripped down and more accessible approach was a choice made by Barnes or his management. A part of me hates it because I view him as one of the most fascinating artists out there and really enjoy hearing what he creates when he tries to make electronic masterpieces, but Lousy With Sylvianbriar serves as a reminder to earlier Of Montreal days when he made his living off making pretty pop songs and displayed his thoughts in a less bizarre way.

Track Pick: “Triumph of Disintegration

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24. Thee Oh Sees- Floating Coffin

Release Date: April 16, 2013

Grade: B

One of the better noisy rock albums that came out this year, Thee Oh Sees is a band that must be an absolute blast to see live and tries to capture that energy on the album. When that does happen it’s an awesome thing to hear, but it happens inconsistently as interest tends to fade during the second half of the album, but there are some gems on it like the one suggested below in “Toe Cutter – Thumb Buster”.

Track Pick: “Toe Cutter – Thumb Buster

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Afraid of Heights

23. Wavves- Afraid of Heights

Release Date: March 16, 2013

Grade: B

I like listening to Wavves because their music is fun, and that’s why Afraid of Heights gets mentioned here despite it’s struggle to be substantial. They can do much better than this and have shown potential to write interesting songs, but they haven’t quite gotten to their peak yet in my opinion and I’m hopeful that they do soon.

Track Pick: “Cop

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22. The National- Trouble Will Find Me

Release Date: May 17, 2013
Grade: B

The product was still good on Trouble Will Find Me, but it’s a difficult one to get inspired by because it sounds uninspired in comparison to the previous three releases. I do enjoy Berninger’s delivery and cadence in their music a lot though, and it appears that even a sub-par record by The National is a quality album when you compare it to it’s peers.

Track Pick: “Don’t Swallow the Cap

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peace-in-love-album-leak21. Peace- In Love

Release Date: March 25, 2013

Grade: B+

This was the debut album for the group and it was a great success by a lot of standards. Their sound has evolved already from their first EP, and In Love is a more consistent album than most bands will achieve in their entire discography, let alone on their debut. This group has a ton of potential but I still have some questions about which genre they ultimately gravitate towards, because they’re stuck in between pop and rock right now and that’s not a good place for them to be because they’re completely different approaches.

Track Pick: “California Daze

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Continue reading Kyle’s Best of 2013

Album Reviews: Best Coast, Cage the Elephant and Caroline Smith

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Best Coast- Fade Away

Grade: C

Release Date: October 22, 2013

It’s starting to look more and more like Bethany Cosentino doesn’t have anything to say anymore. Maybe it’s her love for California which has placed her into a heightened state where she has no need to develop interesting viewpoints, because nowadays Best Coast just sounds like the complaining of a closed off individual, which doesn’t translate into good music. That might have always been the truth too which is easier to notice in hindsight, but the lack of development from this band is really frustrating when you consider that it’s probably going to continue to be true for their future releases as well. Best Coast isn’t singing about anything new or profound but they’ve still formed themselves a solid fan base, a steady slot in festivals, and a strong social media presence. In other words, although it’s incredibly annoying to continuously hear her sing about how great California is and how she’s sad because of failure in relationships, Best Coast doesn’t really have to much of a reason to change their sound at this point because they have an audience for it.

Melophobia

Cage the Elephant- Melophobia

Grade: A-

Release Date: October 08, 2013

I’d managed to not listen to Cage the Elephant before this, and now I feel obligated to search their other albums because I really like Melophobia. Sometimes it’s got the sound and energy of a live show like in the album opener “Spiderhead”, but it’s been cleaned up enough to be heard as a proper album in a similar manner to what Slam Dunk did on Welcome to Miami last year. It’s a very raw sound which gets messed with a bit to often by adding unnecessary production effects and bad guest vocals (the presence of Alison Mosshart on “It’s Just Forever” is painful) but on the whole the sound stays consistently great to make it a fun listen. There’s screaming choruses, funny lines (personal favorite: “I think your mother wants me dead”), and boatloads of catchy guitar parts. There’s even surprisingly genuine moments like the album closer “Cigarette Daydreams”, Cage the Elephant brings a lot of great qualities to the table in this album and the final product is a really good listen.

Caroline Smith
Caroline Smith- Half About Being A Woman

Grade: C+

Release Date: October 08, 2013

Incredibly disappointed here. Back in 2011 Caroline Smith and the Goodnight Sleeps released one of the best albums of the year in Little Wind, and that was an eye opening experience for me about the hidden gems that could be found from artists that I wasn’t familiar with. Little Wind was a mixture of pop and folk sounds with Smith singing about insecurities in relationships, and the confidence she suddenly exudes on Half About Being a Woman isn’t really a welcomed change in sound. Smith switched from singing about how “ain’t that always how it seems to go, when something good comes oh it goes” to singing about wanting to find a man who can buy her things. It has the sound of a project where Caroline Smith really wanted to define the person that she was and switched to a neo-soul sound in order to do it, but I think she’s really just moving further away from her strengths. She’s got a fantastic voice still, but it’s not being used properly on this album.