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Month: October 2009

Bittersweet fiction from TGL

There’s nothing more disappointing then coming across a new album that you love, only to find out the band is no longer “together” only a year after the release of their first album.  So goes the story for the pop-rock band from DePauw University, TGL.

Released September 23, 2008, the band’s debut album Sweeter As Fiction has the same appeal as bands such as Boys Like Girls, The Starting Line, and Cute is What We Aim For.  With upbeat, catchy tunes, you’ll for sure want to dance to this solid ten-track record.

Favorites on the record include the opener “Beauty School Dropout” and the following song “Valleys.”  With lyrics like, “Don’t worry baby I’ll leave the light on/Just so you know/It was burned out long before you got home,” the band is a sure to draw in youthful listeners.  A pleasant surprise is the tendency of the lyrics to be fun and catchy, yet devoid of the overly “emo” feeling of many similar bands.

Despite the likability of Sweeter As Fiction, the failure of the band to remain together seems to serve as just another example of the cruelty of the industry.  After nearly six years of playing together, TGL officially parted ways in April of 2009, despite having been one of MTVU’S picks for “Artist of the Week.”

TGL seems to have fallen into the category of groups that cannot fully cross the “bump of originality” in the road to success.  Too often talented groups seem to fall apart, not because they don’t have quality songs but because they lack a uniquely original, overall sound.

A quote from the “About the Band” section on TGL’S Myspace states, “”No matter how great things can get….you always have to remember that things change, nothing is forever, except, death. However.​.​.​ with death…comes new beginnings. A resurrection, if you will.”

Maybe we haven’t heard the last from these guys after all.

Happy First Day of ACL!

As a significant portion of the staff is at Austin City Limits, with the most of our other members pining to be there, a list is in order.

Bands Stephen Carradini is Most Excited to See at ACL

5. Daniel Johnston. I am not so much interested in his music as I am in actually witnessing him. Read my post here for more details. In fact, reading that essay again, I really recommend you do read it.

4. The Low Anthem. I really, really can’t wait to hear “Charlie Darwin” live. It’s a heart-breakingly beautiful song. The fact that the Low Anthem will be the first band I see at ACL makes it all the more desirable.

3. K’Naan. I have never been to a rap show where I actually knew the material. This, paired with the fact that K’Naan seems effortlessly effervescent, should prove to make an out-of-this-world show.

2. Bon Iver. The only folk artist who has intrigued and excited me more in the past year is Joe Pug. And I listen to lots of folk. I hope there’s a full band, because “For Emma” without the trumpets would make me sad, and defeat some of the joy of that song. Maybe he can jack the brass section from Los Amigos Invisibles.?

1. The Avett Brothers. This is more of a pilgrimage than a dedication to their music. “Ballad of Love and Hate” and “Murder in the City” (neither of which will get played, I think) are two of my most favorite songs in the world, and because there’s a slim glimmer of a chance that one or both may be played, I’m hustling on over for the entirety of their set. Also, I hear they rip it up live, which will be fun.

Honorable Mentions: Flogging Molly, Andrew Bird, The Walkmen.

From Pillar to Post to Review

Logan Lynn is an interesting artist. He falls solidly within electro-pop, but the overall tone is darker than average, with sexual innuendo practically screaming at you within every song. The musical style reminds me a little of Mae or Joy Electric, but other than that I’ve really got no point of reference to help you out with. From Pillar to Post is his newest album, and today I’ve got the pleasure of talking about it on the interwebs.

The album opens strongly with “Feed Me To The Wolves,” a track that’s heavy on the electronic and light on pop. The sound is full and thick, with lots of synth (the good kind) layered under his vocals. The song is a little simple lyrically, but the overall polish more than makes up for it.

Further in, “Write It On My Left Arm” breaks up the rhythm Lynn builds up for himself with faster tempo and some great percussion. It’s one of the standout songs of the album, with great energy and snarky lyrics like, “When the going gets tough / The tough quit going to work.” As the album progresses, you’ll hear little word plays and witty turns of expression that add a lot of personality to the songs.

“Burning Your Glory” is another of the better songs on the album, with talented instrumental composition at the beginning of the track. It has a great beat, though it would have been even better had he included even more variation on the opening theme. Unfortunately, the song is hurt by what feels like an overly-long rendition; it could have been trimmed without losing any strength.

Logan Lynn closes out with “The Dotted Line,” an off-the-wall change to his sound that aptly wraps up everything else. It’s more hip-hop or club than anything before it, with a section of harmonic conflict that only reaches resolution when he enters on vocals. Lyrics are a bit dark, ending with things like, “No one to hold you / no one to sign / no one to sign on the dotted line / …. you’ll have to save yourself this time.”

From Pillar to Post makes for an entertaining listen. Logan Lynn blends his electronic styling perfectly with his vocals, and has created an album that is very clean, adding in nice touches here and there like his verbal wordplay. In later works, I’d love to see him further develop his lyrics – expanding and increasing those touches would make a good artist even better.