Tag Archives: dale earnhardt jr. jr.

WCDB’s Top Albums of 2013

Reflektor

1. Arcade Fire – Reflektor

Voting Points: 213

The spectacle of the album release was a wonder in itself, and Arcade Fire’s experimentation into Disco was the top voted album of the year by a wide margin in our poll.

Acid Rap

2. Chance the Rapper – Acid Rap

Voting Points: 157.5

The second mix tape from Chance the Rapper caught the attention of multiple departments in our station, helping it be named the top hip-hop album of the year on our list.

Modern Vampires of the City

3. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City

Voting Points: 142

The sound matured for Vampire Weekend, solidifying their role as one of the premiere pop artists in today’s music scene.

Hummingbird_(local_natives_album)

4. Local Natives – Hummingbird

Voting Points: 112

An inspired and experimental album from the group garnered them a lot of attention this year from media publications, and our DJs viewed it with a similar level of admiration.

FIDLAR

5. FIDLAR – FIDLAR

Voting Points: 106

The debut album for the California Skate-Punk band brought a ton of energy with it during their screamed stories about drugs and youthful ideals.

Wakin On A Pretty Daze

6. Kurt Vile – Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze

Voting Points: 102

A relaxing and pretty listen, Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze gave Kurt Vile a lot of artistic freedom to create long songs about his past experiences that have led up to this point.

II

7. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – II

Voting Points: 92

The sophomore album by the group tended to get mixed reviews from critics, but our DJs were supporters with it finding it’s way onto numerous lists.

220px-Trouble_Will_Find_Me

8. The National – Trouble Will Find Me

Voting Points: 90

One of the more consistent alternative bands out there released another very good album this year, while also having a documentary about them made by Berninger’s brother aptly named “Mistaken For Strangers” receive favorable reviews at film festivals. 

Foxygen

9. Foxygen – We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic

Voting Points: 87

Foxygen found themselves getting talked about a lot this year with We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors, and they were the most played artist on our station in 2013.

Yeezus

10. Kanye West – Yeezus

Voting Points: 77.5

Probably the most polarizing man in music added a new album to his discography this year and debate ensued about where the album actually stood in his discography. Our DJs liked it enough to have it round out the top 10.
Continue reading WCDB’s Top Albums of 2013

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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220px-Lousycover

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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220px-Floating_Coffin

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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220px-Trouble_Will_Find_Me

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: Arcade Fire, Cults, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

Grade: A-

Release Date: 10/28/2013

Staying fair with this album is difficult. On one side, the Arcade Fire and Reflektors buildup was gigantic and the live show I attended(and covered in another post) was the best live event that I’ve ever seen. This seemed to set the table for this to be an almost unfathomable ‘next-step’ for a band which was already one of the premiere names within the alternative music scene, and a band who was already following up on an album which won album of the year in 2011. In my opinion, that next step didn’t happen on Reflektor, but you can’t hold the fact that an album didn’t turn out to be a classic against it when grading. Reflektor is a very good album which contributes to the dream of reviving disco in 2013, and it’s awesome to hear that when Arcade Fire collaborates with James Murphy the product can legitimately be played and danced to at random venues. There’s also a few new Arcade Fire gems like “Normal Person”, “It’s Never Over (Oh Orpheus) “and my personal favorite “Here Comes The Night Time”(which I personally believe will become as hypnotic and repetitively played as “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” was for Tame Impala in 2012). Reflektor is much better than the average record that you’d hear, which is why it deserves an A-, but it’s hard to mark it higher when it’s likely the third or fourth best Arcade Fire album out of their four releases(Neon Bible being it’s competition). The final viewpoint for me is that it’s really cool to hear Arcade Fire do disco, but I don’t think that this product is as good as what they’ve done before, so I hope it’s not a permanent sound shift.


Cults- Static

Grade: B-

Release Date: 10/14/2013

Cults had an outstanding  self-titled debut album back in 2011 which showed a lot of promise for the indie pop duo, but there was a bit of an odd development in between that release and their sophomore effort Static. Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion decided to split and end their relationship, but maintain the band and continue releasing music together, a snippet which makes tracks like “Always Forever” a bit of an awkward listen. Static is a step back for the band in terms of the energy and catchy pop choruses which were present on their debut, but this album is still a fun listen even if it is an unspectacular release.


Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.- The Speed of Things

Grade: B+
Release Date: 10/08/2013

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. and Cults actually have a lot in common, both indie pop duos released terrific debuts in 2011 (Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.’s being It’s A Corporate World) and  released their second albums within a week of each other. It’s a tough band to judge because Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. is exceptionally good at making music with pop gimmicks in it, which begs the question of if an album should be judged based upon how enjoyable it is or how likely it is to last the test of time. The Speed of Things is not an album which is going to inspire people to make new music or make people marvel at their sources of inspiration, but the album is a tremendously fun listen with moments that are surprisingly beautiful. Hopefully increased exposure for the band inspires them to take more risks in future projects about song topics because they have a great pop sensibility, and it would be fun to hear what a more ambitious project by them would sound like.

CMJ 2013: A Preview

It’s the most glorious week of the year. CMJ is finally here! Most CMJ-newbies and even some seasoned veterans will find the abundance of shows, unofficial parties, day-showcases, RSVP-only parties, and things to do during CMJ week a bit overwhelming. As a WCDB alumni (key word: alumni) I have the added challenge this year of doing it all without a badge, that wonderful golden ticket that lets you in to (almost) any show during the week. However, over the years I’ve found that most of the smaller shows are free, some of the medium sized shows are free w/rsvp, and a lot of the cool stuff to go to aren’t in traditional music venues or are even shows at all. The only shows that definitely require a CMJ badge to enter are the big ones: shows at Bowery Ballroom, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Terminal 5, and Webster Hall. And who wants to go to those? Because really, CMJ isn’t about seeing Savages play at Terminal 5 (capacity: 3,000) during CMJ 2013, it’s about seeing their first live shows in the U.S. before their debut album came out, at Glasslands (capacity: 275) and Public Assembly (capacity: 400) during CMJ 2012.

Every year I try to find a nice balance between bands I love and bands I’ve never heard of before. It’s my own opinion that the quality of the festival and number of bands that I’m excited to see decreases slightly every year, but I’m trying to stay optimistic. Here are the showcases I’m most excited about, some “bands to watch”, and other things I’m looking forward to during CMJ next week. See you there?

Bands to Watch

the bold CMJ dates below are free, even if you don’t have a badge!

Joanna Gruesome

SO GOOD SO GOOD SO GOOD. Seriously, look past the name. Their debut album Weird Sister came out September 2013 on Slumberland Records (swoon) and it’s surely one of my favorites of 2013. It’s amazing. I’m in love. Go see them.
~ RIYL: Riot Grrrl, noisepop, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart


Where to catch them:
Tuesday 10/15 @ Ran Tea House (Force Field PR showcase) 12:10am | $5 without badge
Wednesday 10/16 @ Pianos (Kanine Records/SESAC party) – 3:30pm
Wednesday 10/16 @ Pianos (Old Flame Party) 7:45pm
Thursday 10/17 @ Cakeshop (Capeshok Presents) midnight
Friday 10/18 @ Shea Stadium (Portals Music) 9:00pm
Friday 10/18 @ 285 Kent (Pitchfork showcase) 11:15pm | unofficial show, $10 with or without badge
Saturday 10/19 @ The Rock Shop (Lost Colony party)
Saturday 10/19 @ Death By Audio (Agency Group showcase)

Perfect Pussy

debut cassette demo I HAVE LOST ALL DESIRE FOR FEELING is incredible.

thumbs down for no free shows:
Wednesday 10/16 @ The Flat (SHOT! Presents) | $8 or free w/CMJ badge
Friday 10/18 @ 285 Kent (Pitchfork showcase) | unofficial show, $10 with or without badge

Drowners

~s/t debut album comes January 2014 via Frenchkiss Records

playing:
Thursday 10/17 @ Pianos showroom (Frenchkiss Records showcase)
Saturday 10/19 @ Pianos showroom (Bowery Presents CMJ show)

the band in Heaven

dreampop shoegaze from West Palm Beach, FL
debut album Caught in a Summer Swell out September 2013 on Decades Records

thumbs down for no free shows:
Thursday 10/17 @ Parkside Lounge (S/T Management)
Thursday 10/17 @ Pianos (Frenchkiss Records / Label Group)
Friday 10/18 @ (Decades & Timberwolf Showcase)
Continue reading CMJ 2013: A Preview