Albums

Track by Track: Take That – The Progress [2010, Polydor]

Posted on by Ricky in Albums | Leave a comment

1x1.trans Track by Track: Take That   The Progress [2010, Polydor]

Toronto – Maybe it was because I was in England last month, but I felt compelled to do a track by track “review” of the new Take That album, which was everywhere in London the week we were there. The big news with Take That was that Robbie Williams was now back in the band. Having said that, even though they were the British equivalent of New Kids on the Block, I think the only song I’ve actually heard of theirs was Back For Good, which everyone growing up in the 90s has heard of.

Here is my track by track read on the new album, which well, has done really well sales wise.

The Flood – The lead single and track off the new Take That album, it’s what you would expect. Rousing chorus and quite a catchy pop tune.

SOS – Wasn’t there a Rihanna song called SOS? This one has a frenetic pace to it, but I think I’ve heard a few songs with the title SOS before, so this pop song sounds a bit tired. There’s some audio sample of some person talking about administration during the song, so maybe it’s a political song? I can’t quite tell. I can see this song making the rounds in the clubs though, it’s got quite the pulsating beat. I don’t know who the other dude singing in this song is, but he probably shouldn’t.

Wait – To start off this track, Robbie William does his semi rap thing to a dj beat that sounds a lot like the beats he used on Sing When You’re Winning album. He needs to stop doing the semi rap thing. I guess this track has a catchy chorus.

Kidz – I’m pretty sure Robbie Williams has a single out already with Kylie Minogue entitled Kids, so this is pretty unoriginal and lazy track naming. “There’ll be trouble when the Kids come out” Gary Barlow says, nice to know he’s one of those old geezers who shakes his fists at young people already. They borrow from the Brett Anderson ‘La La La La’ playbook to end the song, but this song seems to try a bit hard to sound like a hard electro-tinged cautionary pop song for my liking.

Pretty Things – I struggle to find one good thing to say about this song. It’s not catchy, the lyrics are stupid, and the singing isn’t the greatest. If I was a 14 year old girl attending a Take That concert, this is my bathroom break.

Happy Now – Pretty generic track with an electro dance beat. Doesn’t make me happy or sad.

Underground Machine – My mind drifted off while listening to this track, starting looking up flights online for some reason. Maybe I want to escape this album, maybe it’s inspiring me to do what I want, maybe I have ADD. I don’t know.

What Do You Want From Me – I just don’t like Mark Owens voice, even if this song has a nice epic buildup and sounds like a what a Black Eye Peas song would sound like if they weren’t complete douchebags.

Affirmation – meh

Eight Letters – I like the drums on this song, it’s a calm little ditty to end off a pretty listenable album.

Having no prior experience with any Take That album, I would say that the band has definitely progress from typical boy band material, especially lyric wise. I am glad they didn’t do the whole ‘lets party in the club thing’, because c’mon man, these guys are in their 40s and the only club they go to is a bridge club. I guess this is what a mature boy band should sound like but they really shouldn’t let the weaker singers contribute much, I mean, I’m pretty sure all the bsb/nysnc/nkotb bands had members that didn’t even sing any song.

Take That – The Flood by UniversalMusicPublishing

Best of 2010: Sarah F’n Wilbore’s Fave Albums and Shows

Posted on by sarahw in Albums, Concerts, Everything, Music | Leave a comment

1x1.trans Best of 2010: Sarah Fn Wilbores Fave Albums and Shows

2010 has been a pretty epic year musically.  It was difficult to narrow down my favourites.  But, without further ado, here are the top 5 albums and top 5 shows according to Sarah.

Top 5 Albums

Black Keys – Brothers

I was introduced to the Black Keys through this album, I subsequently acquired their entire substantial discography and have been in love ever since.  These guys have finally reached the proverbial pop culture tipping point with their tunes being featured in Gossip Girl, various commercials and even the theme song to Hung.  Go ahead, listen and try not to bop your head.  This album is infectious.

Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Nightmare

There was so much hype behind this album I felt certain it would be a let-down.  To my surprise it is actually phenomenal.  This album is genre-bending, has superb musical guests (Jay-Z and Bon Iver) and samples music spanning multiple decades.  Kanye really knows how to please a crowd.

LCD Soundsystem – This is Happening

James Murphy has done it again.  I love this whole album but two stand-out tracks for me were Dance Yrself Clean and You Wanted a Hit. Oh and these guys ROCK live.

Four Tet – There is Love in You

Experimental electronic perfection.  My biggest regret is not seeing the Toronto leg of his tour.  Love Cry has got to my one of my top tracks of the year, so beautiful.

Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

I think I listened to this album from start to finish more than any other album this year.  That is all.

Top 5 Shows

Holy Fuck

These Canadians released their sophomore album Latin this year and followed up with amazing live show.  You have to see them live to experience all the unconventional ways these guys make music.

Yeasayer

Apparently Yeasayer wrote their latest album in Australia high on LSD.  Well keep it up boys.  Not only is their sound original, but their live show is pretty hypnotizing.

Thom Yorke

Having never seen Radiohead live I was pretty stoked to see the frontman at Coachella.  Thom does not disappoint, playing The Eraser in full plus a few Radiohead tracks he was definitely my favourite of the festival.  One of the best live voices I’ve heard.

The Wilderness

One of the most entertaining, energetic live performances I’ve seen.  Sparkly, dancey, theatrical oh and great music.  I would highly recommend their new album .272 and catching these guys live.

Mayer Hawthorne

Swoon.  I saw this motown crooner twice this year but his Wrongbar performance was by far the best.  Mayer has bounds of energy with an amazing falsetto to match.  I cannot wait for his next album, oh and check him out on Twitter…very entertaining!

And finally, in case you were wondering.  The single worst show of the year was Tame Impala.  Awesome record, terrible live.

Album Review: Joy To The World, Pink Martini [Heinz Records, 2010]

Posted on by Mark in Albums, Music | 4 Comments

1x1.trans Album Review: Joy To The World, Pink Martini [Heinz Records, 2010]

TorontoI love Christmas music and listen to it whenever fancy strikes. I’ve never let the socially acceptable but strict November to December timeframe straightjacket me into when it gets rotation through my playlist. I’m also a fan of Pink Martini. So when I discovered that the band was releasing a Christmas album entitled Joy To the World, I was excited to check it out.

Thankfully, Joy To The World represents a return to the cosmopolitan and worldly elegance of yore. The fuzzy dice in the BMW have been hidden in the glove compartment for this round, only to come out on Sundays for some reason.

Portland-based Pink Martini produces some easily digestible and eclectic international pop music. They are more or less a jazz band with strong classical and pop music influences. They also effortlessly blend themes from all around the world. You may start your journey with some tried and true Americana. Then, all of a sudden, you are transported to a music hall in France as lead singer China Forbes delivers an extremely endearing and anglo-tinged French accent with poise and gumption.

“Pink Martini is a rollicking around-the-world musical adventure … if the United Nations had a house band in 1962, hopefully we’d be that band.” – Thomas Lauderdale, bandleader/pianist

The breakout 1997 album Sympathique was an elegant and worldly coup d’état. Take some musical influences from the world over, stir in some competent and multi-cultural musicians, and then dial back on the foreign to make it just safe enough for the American palate. The result is tasty, inoffensive, but nevertheless classy music.

Unfortunately, as time has progressed and success has commercialized, the band kept dialling back on the elegant world-fusion knob and dialling up on the safe adult contemporary cheese-pop knob. Their last album, Splendor In The Grass is largely a disappointment when standing beside the work that preceded it. It’s hard to imagine that the same band that recorded the most amazing and grandiose of Italian tributes in Una Notte A Napoli could then turn around six years later and record the kitschiest of bubblegum in Bitty Boppy Betty. It’s like hanging huge fuzzy polka-dotted dice on the dash of your brand-new BMW 3-series. (Note: you can find the first song linked directly below, and the second one on Soundcloud. My personal ethics has prevented me from putting a direct link to such a horrible song from a band I so admire.)

Thankfully, Joy To The World represents a return to the cosmopolitan and worldly elegance of yore. The fuzzy dice in the BMW have been hidden in the glove compartment for this round, only to come out on Sundays for some reason. The album includes a rendition of White Christmas sung by Saori Yuki, a famous Japanese songstress described as the “Barbara Streisand of Japan.” Elohai N’Tzor is a tastefully done Hebrew prayer sung by, among others, NPR White House correspondent Ari Shapiro. This is exactly the kind of weird and eclectic stunts I expect from Pink Martini, and it works. This is fun music; it adds a dab of international eclectic to your traditional holiday rotation, and does so safely without a fuss.

Joy To The World releases in music stores tomorrow, November 16. Pink Martini play Toronto’s Massey Hall on Friday, November 19.

1x1.trans Album Review: Joy To The World, Pink Martini [Heinz Records, 2010]

Classic Song Review: Move Any Mountain – The Shamen [1990, One Little Indian]

Posted on by Allison in Albums, Article Series, Classic Albums, Everything, Music, Reviews | 3 Comments

1x1.trans Classic Song Review: Move Any Mountain – The Shamen [1990, One Little Indian]

Every once in awhile, some unidentifiable thing will trigger a sudden memory for me. Whether it be a smell, sound, image, or whatever, it is always completely random, and usually something from childhood. I had one such backflash late on Monday evening as I was perusing YouTube videos and was struck by the following chorus: “I can move, move, move any mountain”. It was kind of like the “burnt toast, I smell burnt toast” Canadian Heritage Minute.

A quick Google search later, and the autocomplete function reveals a whole lot of other people have been remembering this song, too. What was it, and who was it by, anyway? Besides the incredibly catchy chorus, I couldn’t remember much else.

But then I watched this video 

…and it all came flooding back to me.

The song is Move Any Mountain, and the group is a techno-infused-acid-house outfit out of the Aberdeen Scotland (Groundskeeper Willie’s hotly disputed place of origin) called The Shamen that spanned throughout the 80′s and 90′s.  Josh informs me that they were one of his favorite bands from back in the day, openly admitting that he has 10+ copies of the En-Tact album (in case of natural disaster, we might presume he would strategically place these in different residences and locations).  As wonderfully cheesy as the video may be (it has it all–a twirling descent of bodies on a dated graphic, kareoke-video-like ocean footage, an appropriately poofy looking duo against scenic mountain backdrops), and as painful as the short rap run-ons might get, Move Any Mountain is still a fantastic song reminding me of the schitzophrenic ranges of highs and lows a song can take you to.

Unfortunately, one half of the creative duo met an untimely demise after heading to Tenerlife Spain to tape the video for Move Any Mountain. I believe it was the guy with the dreads, but am not really sure. They enjoyed some modest success in the U.K., and irregardless of their tragic end, have managed to record some other good tunes in their time and I really enjoyed Possible Worlds. There’s a little Primal Scream, a little bit of Soup Dragons, predating that flash in the pan rock/dance thing with EMF and Jesus Jones. There’s some guilty pleasure in enjoying this stuff I suppose, but despite what some folks may think, I am not a music snob.

the shamen – move any mountain (progen ’91) by urano808-2