Tag Archives: S/T

Album Reviews: Cloud Nothings, Real Estate, St. Vincent

CoverCloud Nothings- Here and Nowhere Else

Release Date: 04/01/2014

Grade: A

The last time that we heard from this Cleveland based noise-rock band they gave us one of the best albums of 2012 in Attack on Memory. That album captured the attention of many critics because of it’s consistent energy from song to song while shifting between pop-punk and garage, and a lot of the followup after this release said that future sounds from the band were going to lean more towards the garage-rock sound since they felt that was more of a strength and natural noise for frontman Dylan Baldi to sing in. This is what makes the accessibility of Here and Nowhere Else a bit of a shock. You knew that the energy was going to be there, but the band has made a point of not sacrificing their hooks in the process along with a pleasantly surprising amount of vocals being present. It’s a Cloud Nothings album which you could mosh to, the probable preferred method if you were to ask the band, but it’s also a fun and energetic album which the listener can enjoy passively. I highly recommend giving Here and Nowhere Else a listen as this is the album which I’d call my favorite album of 2014 to this point.

Favorite tracks: “No Hear In”, “I’m Not Part of Me”


Real Estate- Atlas

Release Date: 03/04/2014

Grade: B+

Real Estate is one of the premiere easy listening bands that you can turn to today, but there were some reasons to be cautious about what approach the band would take with it’s third studio album. As the band becomes more established they will continue to find themselves in situations where they could understandably flirt with the idea of changing their style for a more vocalized approach, but there hasn’t been much of an indication that this is something which the band is looking for. On the surface that seems disappointing because nobody wants to hear a band release the same album under a different name, but Atlas is better described as being an album with the same sound in new ways.

Real Estate stuck to their strengths here by making a soft-pop album which makes the room feel like a suburban escape, and they try out some new approaches to the sub-genre in the process to show that the band is still further exploring the style which they fit into so naturally. “Talking Backwards” is a surprisingly upbeat and pretty tune to prepare you for the upcoming spring, while “Crime” has an interesting duality to it with progression existing alongside passivity. “How Might I Live” is the most unique track on the album featuring guest vocalist Dean Wareham and sounding similar to one of the softer tracks by Noah and the Whale.

Track Picks: “Talking Backwards”, “April’s Song”

St VIncent

St. Vincent- St. Vincent

Release Date: 02/24/2014

Grade: B-

Annie Clark’s released a difficult product to review for her self-titled fourth album, as it can be a frustrating experience where the music is focused more upon variation of noise sources rather than creativity in rhythm. The music could improve in that aspect substantially, but there’s also a lot of techniques here which St. Vincent does impressively which deserve to be praised. For starters, Annie Clark has a terrific sense how to sing pop with her pitch and phrasing fitting seamlessly into her tracks, and she deserves a large amount of credit for releasing an album which is very detailed in how it’s layered and well-produced (An important accomplishment since a wide array of instruments and a full background choir are added to the final product cleanly). Annie Clark is a very confident musician who’s had the incredible fortune of being able to work with talented artists such as David Byrne and Sufjan Stevens among others up to this point in her career and she has taken advantage of these circumstances to become a well articulated songwriter in the process. St. Vincent isn’t a showing of the genius which her music seems to hint she has the potential of reaching though, instead it’s another tease to place some terrific musical qualities into an album which is good but never great.

Track Picks: “Prince Johnny”, “Regret”

The Smiths Fame

The Smiths

The Smiths formed in 1982 fronted by their lead vocalist Morrissey, who before the formation of the Smiths fronted a project named The Nosebleeds for a short period of time. The rest of the Smiths lineup consisted of drummer Mike Joyce, guitarist Johnny Marr, and bassist Andy Rourke. With this lineup The Smiths went on to compose four studio albums in addition to many singles, and The Smiths became a surprise success story. Morrissey describes himself at this stage of his life by saying:

I never had a social life, I never left the house, I just simply sat in and read and watched television, and done all the things that in life are generally considered to be quite negative and quite soul-destroying. The only way that I could find any mental realisation was to simply go out and walk, and to walk around these streets. Which can seem quite depressing to most people and seem quite laughable simplistic. But for me it was perfect fuel, because then I would go home and I would write furiously. And I found that for me it was brilliant, it was the thing that helped, but also you have to have a grain of hope which is a very difficult thing to have.” (source)

That hope gave rise to the fame which The Smiths would later go on to achieve, first releasing a few singles before going on to release their albums with the first of which being “Hand in Glove” which received a fair amount of praise upon its release.

The Smiths released their first album titled The Smiths in 1984, and backlash followed the release due to several songs touching upon the subject of the Moor murders. The Moor murders took place over a few years and ended with five children being murdered, and when one of the victim’s grandfather happened to hear one of these tracks chaos ensued. However, once the grandfather was able to meet Morrissey the conflict was able to be smoothed over fortunately.

“Over the moor, take me to the moor/ Dig a shallow grave / And I’ll lay me down / Lesley-Anne, with your pretty white beads / Oh John, you’ll never be a man/ And you’ll never see your home again/ Oh Manchester, so much to answer for/ Edward, see those alluring lights?/ Tonight will be your very last night”- The Smiths- “Suffer Little Children”

In the following year of 1985, The Smiths went on to release their second album titled Meat is Murder. The opening lines of the first track “The Headmaster Ritual” sparked controversy once again for The Smiths as Morrissey sings “Belligerent ghouls run Manchester schools”. In an interview after the album was released Morrissey discussed his problems with Manchester education by saying, “they’re there to be attacked really if they’re not really serving their pupils well” (source). The first track was just the beginning of the controversies which would become presented in the album as The Smiths used Meat is Murder in many ways to spread their political and social messages to the public. For instance, Morrissey, an animal activist and vegetarian, proudly declares “And the calf that you carve with a smile/ Is MURDER/ And the turkey you festively slice/ Is MURDER” on the album’s title track. The album also went on to challenge the English monarchy, and this topic along with animal rights activism are still major issues which Morrissey remains very opinionated on

Here is Morrissey’s Interview with Steven Colbert

1986 would prove to be a big year for The Smiths as they had another new album out, The Queen is Dead, and a change in members. Rourke left The Smiths due to drug use and was replaced by Craig Gannon, however this would prove to be a temporary change as Rourke soon rejoined The Smiths and Gannon would switch to guitar, and the group had also changed record labels from Rough Trade to EMI. The Smiths didn’t switch labels before leaving Rough Trade with a clear message however, as they sang Frankly, Mr. Shankly, this position I’ve held / It pays my way, and it corrodes my soul/ I want to leave, you will not miss me / I want to go down in musical history” on their track “Frankly, Mr. Shankly”. The Smiths included a few tracks within The Queen is Dead which slandered their old label, and the new album peaked at number two on the UK albums chart.    

Unfortunately though it appeared that the end of The Smiths was coming, as in 1987 The Smiths continued to release singles including “The World Won’t Listen” which showed that Morrissey was growing listless at the rest of the world’s indifference to The Smiths’ messages. Morrissey and Marr had an ongoing riff about clashing musical styles which lead Marr to leave The Smiths and attempts to replace Marr proved unsuccessful, meaning that The Smiths were essentially over. Strangeways, Here We Come was released the September after the band had gone their separate ways, and the album peaked at number fifty five on the US chart and number two on the UK albums chart before going platinum in the UK.

The Smiths music remains popular, and despite rumors there has been no reunion yet and it’s unlikely that there will be one in the near future. They’ve left their influence on the music scene undoubtedly though and are one of the most played artists in the history WCDB.

Written by Alexis Towler

Artists Who Are Due For Their Next Release in 2014

I hope that everybody had an excellent holiday season and received gifts which caused them joy, and I would like to remind you that these gifts don’t stop coming once the holidays are over. We receive gifts in the form of hope for the future constantly, and these less tangible items help us to make it through our daily lives because something beautiful may be on the horizon. Being as this is a music blog and I am a man who love speculating on future music releases, here are some artists who are probably due to release their new album at some point in 2014.
Avi Buffalo
Avi Buffalo
I wasn’t a fan of his when I saw him play live at our Birthday show back in 2011, but Avi Zahner-Isenberg’s ability to put together a terrific studio album shouldn’t be doubted. His self-titled debut album from 2010 holds some fantastic songs on it, such as “Summer Cum” and “What’s In It For?“. I can’t find an official page on the promise of an album from him in 2014, but his wikipedia article does suggest that the sophomore album was being constructed in 2013 and therefore can be hoped for in the upcoming year.
The Antlers
Purely speculation on my part, but the band has last released an album in 2011 and have only released the EP Undersea since then in 2012. For a band that’s still actively touring and writing music, I have to speculate that 2014 could reveal the fifth studio album for this talented band to display their version of soft and experimental folk-rock.
Consistently interesting and well established to the point that he’ll be able to do basically whatever he’d like, Beck is at an ideal place for a musician to be. His last studio album was done back in 2008 and was widely praised in Modern Guilt but that won’t be true for much longer as we are about to hear Beck’s twelfth studio album in February of upcoming year named Morning Phase, supposedly with a ‘Sea Change’ vibe to it.

Bombay Bicycle Club

Bombay Bicycle Club
A much anticipated album by me because A Different Kind of Fix was such a stellar release by the group. How will they follow it up and how much will the sound change? I guess we’ll find out on February 3rd
Brand New
Honestly I  don’t care to much about the release of the next Brand New album because I think I’m out of the age range where they should be relevant to me. I would agree that they are a legitimate band though, and they’re loved by a lot of my friends who know their stuff about music so it’s worth covering here that they’ve been touring a lot recently and supposedly said at a show that they have been recording new material.
Cloud Nothings
Attack on Memory was one of the finest releases out there in 2012, but it seems promising that they’re hinted 2014 release will be a different sound from the Cleveland noise-rockers. They’ve promised a sound which is more true to their playing style and thus the upcoming album should be expected to be more similar to the track “Wasted Days” and not-so-much like “Fall In“. Either way I’m interested in seeing how quality of a release it is and how close they come to crossing over to punk or grunge in the process.

Death Cab for Cutie

Death Cab For Cutie
We’re definitely out of the golden-age for this band, but I’m hard pressed to say that I won’t give a listen to anything that Gibbard releases out of respect for his voice and past writing experience. The group posted a photo on Instagram three months ago to announce the beginning the band’s work on their eighth studio album.
Death From Above 1979
It’s hard to not imagine the ‘what if’ for this band and their potential re-emergence into the music scene, filled with energy packed guitar rock hopefully. The album could be coming out in 2014 and I’m hopeful for it being awesome as this could make Canada the place to be for modern noise-rock as it could claim Japandroids and Death From Above 1979 (and Metz too if you want to throw them in that category).
The Drums
The fact that this album is coming three years after Portamento is actually a blessing because it will say a lot about how good the band actually is. Their music is incredibly fun to listen to, catchy and funny, but I’m of the opinion that a lot of artists can write about their failed past relationships in a pop song. I’m interested in hearing the band’s third studio album because I believe it will be a defining point for what kind of band The Drums will be in the future.
Fleet Foxes
Fleet Foxes
I really hope that Jonathan Tillman’s departure from the band is as insignificant as the phrase ‘The Drummer from Fleet Foxes left the band’ suggests, but I don’t think that’s a fair viewpoint because Tillman went on to release a fine solo album in Fear Fun under the moniker of Father John Misty. Still, you should be excited for the future of this band because the last time they released an album it was 2011 and they out-shined Bon Iver’s Bon Iver ,Bon Iver that year in my eyes with Helplessness Blues. The band has indicated via photos on their Facebook page that they are currently working on album number three.
Guided By Voices
A safe bet in any year to release an album or two so long as they’re active, Robert Pollard must be writing constantly.
The Hold Steady
I love Craig Finn as a lead singer, and I’m very much so anticipating hearing what lines he gets on the upcoming album (can it be much better than “She said the theme of this party’s the Industrial Age/ And you came in dressed like a train-wreck”?). Hopefully they do a national tour in support of the release because this is a band who I would absolutely love to see play live.


Haven’t seen any news that this one’s being worked on but the band has never taken more than three years to release an album, even for their most recent double album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming back in 2011. Their next release will say a lot about how much of a premiere alternative electronic artist the band is because their last two albums have been spectacular in the aforementioned Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming as well as Saturdays=Youth in 2008.
I don’t know to much about the band, but I do know that their last album release in 2011 was The English Riviera and that one is viewed as a classic by WCDB DJ Luuk. The follow-up to that album is going to be named Love Letters and is scheduled to come out on March 10 according to their website.
Modest Mouse
Isaac Brock did decide to name his label Glacial Pace for a reason, though even with that in mind it’s difficult to imagine 2014 passing without hearing the new Modest Mouse album. They’ve been testing out new songs at their live shows for about the past year now, including songs being played at major festival shows, and it was well reported that they went into the studio with Big Boi of all people back in 2011 to work on new songs. I’m excited obviously as this is my favorite band, but it’s also going to be really interesting to see what a Modest Mouse album sounds like when Brock takes five years to actually put the thing together. It’s hard to imagine a potential product that has a lot of holes in it.


The Mountain Goats
‘Due’ is a funny word to use hear because we just heard from this album in 2012 with Transcendental Youth, but John Darnielle’s history shows that this band has never had a three year gap between albums. They’re one of those bands who excel by working and writing constantly, and because of this we may very well be treated to their next album in the upcoming year.
The New Pornographers
This Canadian super-group is the most consistent modern pop group out there in my opinion, and they’ve been in the studio to record new material in the middle of last year. That article seems to suggest that the album may already be done, and I’m not sure about the validity of that statement, but I would place a monetary bet on the fact that there will be a new New Pornographers LP out  within the next year.
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
It’s not speculation to say that they plan on releasing an album in 2014, but it is speculation to say that I think it will end up being one of the defining albums of the year. The band has had an absolutely stellar first two albums in S/T and Belong, and the timing seems right for this band to step into the spotlight.

the Raveonettes

The Raveonettes
No news on a new album by this group, but ‘an album every two years’ seems to be a relevant statement with this band’s discography, and their last release was in 2012 with Observator.
Real Estate
The band announced via Youtube videos (#1 and #2) that their third studio album will be released in 2014. I’m excited for it because I enjoyed Days a lot in 2011 and find their music to be relaxing, but this album should mean something significant about how legitimate of an artist the group is. Third releases mean a lot, and we’ll see if the band has progressed the sound for their third release or not rather soon it appears.
Robert Pollard
See: Guided By Voices
Ryan Adams
Ryan Adams
His Wikipedia page states that he did a live show in 2013 where the venue stated he was playing new songs from his forthcoming album, so that’s what we have to work with here. It makes sense since his last album release came out in 2011, and it’s the better alternative to just drifting out of music which it seemed like he may have been heading towards before I heard this news, so this is a good thing.
You talk about ‘cool’ bands in the music scene, I will contend that Britt Daniel is the coolest man in the music scene, and I can not freaking wait to hear the next album by this band which will supposedly get released in 2014. The band has been very consistent with their quality so I’m liking the chances of Spoon putting out one of the better albums of the year once it does actually get released.
Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks
Wig Out at Jagbags is set to be released on January 7 2014, thus making it the earliest release to be excited about that I’m aware of. Malkmus is a terrific front-man, and if they consistently give hysterical social commentary like they did on “Senator” off of Mirror Traffic in 2011 then I will be one happy man.
Sufjan Stevens
Sufjan Stevens
The time seems right to start hoping for a new release from Sufjan. He did release his second Christmas Songs box set in 2012 with Silver & Gold: Vols. 6-10 but the last true album which we’ve received from him was the widely experimental and interesting Age of Adz back in 2010. It should be very interesting to hear what direction Stevens chooses to take for his next album as the last one was so unprecedented that it’s difficult to know if it is a permanent sound shift or an artistic experiment in the same way that Arcade Fire’s Reflektor is making me ask the same question about that band. Guess we’ll just have to wait to find out in both cases.
Tame Impala
The band’s got a lot of attention on it after the success of Lonerism in 2012, so if 2014 does hold the follow-up to that album then there will be a lot of coverage on Tame Impala in the upcoming year. For most band’s that rise to national recognition is a wonderful thing and justification for the effort, but I’ve got to speculate on how well they would handle the actual role considering the recurring song themes, and even the actual album name of their last release. A band that has the talent to be a premiere group, but a band who likely don’t feel comfortable with the modern social demand that fans give to their favorite artists, and the truth is that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that if that’s how they prefer to work.
Titus Andronicus
A motivated Patrick Stickles is a wonderful thing to hear as The Monitor has shown us, and the upcoming release is getting billed as a 30-track modern rock opera with the theme of Manic Depression. In other words, this release is probably going to be mind-blowingly good while also being completely different from anything else that they’ve released before. There’s a lot of reason for excitement about this release.


No announcement of studio work for the group, but that doesn’t seem all that strange since Tweedy does all of that stuff internally now anyways. The last time we got a Wilco album was the solid The Whole Love back in 2011 so it would make sense to hope that 2014 will be the landing point for studio album number nine from the group.
Anybody else? Likely. Realize that while it’s incredibly fun to speculate on what albums are going to define the upcoming year, it’s a difficult thing to be completely accurate on because years will often get best represented by albums which nobody saw coming. Still, these are all releases which are going to demand a listen from me and carry the hope that 2014 could be an excellent year for music where many talented artists are due for their latest release.

WCDB’s Top Albums of 2013


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.


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.



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.


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.


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. 


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.


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