Track by Track CD Review: Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto [2011, Parlophone]

Posted on by Ricky in Albums | Leave a comment

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a full eleven years since Chris Martin walked through the rain on the beach and delighted everyone with his simple ode to a women not named Gwyneth. That track of course, was Yellow and started the English band Coldplay on a steady rise to the top of the charts. Arguably one of the biggest bands in the world, Coldplay are now back with their fifth album, Mylo Xyloto. Having not really paid attention to the band since A Rush of Blood to the Head, I decided to have a good listen to see what the 2011 version of Coldplay has to offer.

Mylo Xyloto
Must be the oddest title ever, but I’m not going to bother looking what this song title means. Probably something Gwyneth Paltrow discovered on the way to finding herself. How did some actress go from such a sweetheart to such an annoying figure in a span of ten years?

Hurts Like Heaven
I’m enjoying the quick pacing, soaring guitar and synthesizers on this song. If this song was released by a bunch of kids from Brooklyn (or someone in Toronto/Montreal), I’m pretty sure all the bloggers would be all over it. It’s one of the weird states of blogging today, once a band has been dismissed as a mainstream act, I feel like they have almost a disadvantage on the internet. Rolling in the millions of dollars they have helps I guess.

The strings section that starts off this track seems to be directly ripped off from some medieval adventure movie where a bunch of rag tag characters discover either a really attractive princess or a temple. Also, sounds a lot like “pair of dice” instead of “paradise”

Charlie Brown
The opening parts of this track (some high pitch rewind effect first used in Bigmouth Strikes Again) reminds me of a Passion Pit song. Where are they now? The guitars are soaring in this one though, seems tailor made for an epic arena concert moment where Walmart moms are wetting their Lululemon pants as Chris Martin pretends like he’s going to go into a crowd but then runs back on stage just to play the piano for it song’s “tender” closing moments.

Us Against the World
Tender acoustic number that evokes memories of starry nights. The whole ‘us against the world’ theme sounds like something Bono would have written in the 80s.

Every Teardrop is a Waterfall
I can’t help but feel like I’ve heard this track before, but it’s pretty catchy in the beginning but descends into your normal Coldplay yearning and long pronounciation of each word choruses.

Major Minus
I listened to this track twice because I wasn’t really paying attention the first time. Not the most memorable track although the line “us against the world” is once again used.

Nothing to really say here

Princess of China
Not sure what Rihanna has to do with China but I guess when Coldplay comes a’callin, you don’t say no. She doesn’t really add much to it though. The dual vocal part of “you really hurt me” adds a nice bit of drama to an otherwise unmemorable song, I guess. If Coldplay really wanted to go with an edgier track, they probably should have enlisted Nicky Minaj.

Up in Flames
Slow piano falsetto number that is probably quite swoonable to a certain demographic. It’s easy to dismiss this as another Coldplay slow track but fact is most bands would give an arm and a leg to write a song like this, but since it’s Coldplay, let’s dismiss this as another slow Coldplay track for you to hold your smartphone in the air.

Don’t Let it Break Your Heart
The title reminds me of the Backstreet Boys song “I’ll never break your heart” which isn’t the best way to start off a song. In this track, pounding pianos are accomanpied by a rousing guitar riff that given other lyrics could probably pass as a song played by born again Christians in a church or something. It’s quite soaring, the church people would close their eyes, put both their hands in the air and then get down on their knees or something. Some might even faint from all the glory.

Up With the Birds

Overall, it seems pleasant enough. Despite the band claiming this is a concept album with a more industrial rock direction, Coldplay will always just sound like Coldplay. I don’t really think that’s a big problem for them since their sound has made them millions of fans worldwide. Would I listen to this regularly? Probably not. Would I be annoyed if someone I was in a car with decided to play this on a road trip somewhere? Probably not.

Dan Mangan: Nice Nice Very Nice Liner Note Review

Posted on by Wade in Albums, Everything | 1 Comment

I did something stupid this summer. I bought a CD. I know, crazy shit.

I picked up Dan Mangans’, now almost immortalized album, Nice Nice Very Nice (2008) at Backstreet Records in Fredericton. Since my parents’ car didn’t have a USB hub, I had to buy a CD to fill my hour long car trips to my grandparents house. I had heard most of the tracks on NNVN over the past three years and quite liked most of them, so I figured this was a safe way to spend $20.

The thing about CD’s is that they have liner notes and unless you actually buy one, you are missing out on this part of the musical experience that the artist intends you to have. Inside the CD jacket of Dan Mangans’ album, right above the lyrics, is a brief statement about each song. These comments, although short, are very charming and personal statements about the songwriter, the song, or life in general. I enjoyed reading them so much, I feel compelled to share some of them with you, my downloading mp3 friends.

Road Regrets – In March of 2007, driving from El Paso to Austin, I drank 64 ounces of cheap gas-station coffee in a day; it was disgusting.

Robots – My cell phone died and I went for five days without a mobile before a new one arrived in the mail. The first day was terrifying – the other four were glorious.

The Indie Queens Are Waiting – I don’t think I’m the only person who feels that waking at 10AM to the promise of eggs over-easy and a newspaper, good company and a general sense of wellbeing sounds like a good start to the workday.

Sold – I played a gig for an advertisement agency awards gala – they asked me to play some upbeat material, and this was all I had. It was a laugh/cry moment.

Fair Verona – ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is about many things, I think. Sure it’s about romance and love, but it’s also about the impending influence of history in the present, reputations, grudges and fear. People who ostracize those who wander outside the status quo often do so because they don’t have the cahones to be so bold.

Tina’s Glorious Comeback – One day, they tore down all the old rain-worn wooden bus shelters that visually defined, for me at least, the way Vancouver felt when I was a kid. It occurred to me that those bus stops, place every two blocks along every thoroughfare in the city, were like strategically scattered reminders of life on the west coast. They replaced them with futuristic looking metal bus stops with handles built into the benches so homeless people couldn’t use them to sleep on.

Et Les Mots Croises – There are many things my friends make fun of me for. One of them was the time I got screwed by Ebay – another is this song.

Set The Sails – Eventually, we’ll all turn off the televisions and hide in the woods.

For a listen to the new Dan Mangan album, Oh Fortune, head over to CBC3 for the podcast where Grant Lawrence talks to Dan about the album and plays it track for track.

Interview: Ringo Deathstarr, January 18, 2011

Posted on by Allison in Albums, Everything, interviews, Music | 3 Comments

Ringo Deathstarr

Austin-based Ringo Deathstarr is one of the best things to come out of Austin since Ricky decided SXSW is the greatest event in the universe.

While touring the U.K. with David Gedge’s the Wedding Present, two of my friends on the tour could not stop raving about how fantastically legendary Ringo Deathstarr were, live. Given the number of opening acts they have seen, I took this to heart and checked out their debut EP, then moved onto Sparkler to find amazing collections of toe-tapping ambiance.

Frontman Elliott Frazier recently sat down with us to answer a few questions.

PM: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us. I want to start things off by fully admitting that we didn’t know a whole lot about you prior to 2010. But after hearing so much buzz from the Wedding Present’s 2010 tour, we checked out your excellently noisy self-title debut, that I was surprised to learn was released back in 2007.

Why are we just hearing about you now?

RD: Who knows…we never really had proper labels or distribution in the United States of America*.
*(The band is on the U.K.’s SVC label now)

PM: Tell us a bit about your first full-length LP, Colour Trip,  that has already been generating a fair bit of talk. Maybe you can also let us know why you went with the British (which we in Canada are so fond of) spelling, the recording process and you know, if you ate anything particularly memorable during recording (I just had a nectarine).

RD: The British spelling is because the record label behind this whole thing is British and you know, that’s just how the Queen would spell it.

We recorded it a year ago, and we had never really been in the studio for a month straight before, so we took advantage of all the nice toys they have.  Some songs were written in the studio, some we had been working on off and on since the previous summer…A studio date here, a studio date there. But once Club AC30 got behind us they put us up for a month and we got busy.  The most memorable thing for me was just working with Jason “Computer Boy” Buntz, ‘cuz he was not too afraid to try crazy ideas, and let me tell you, we both had plenty.

PM: How do you feel about all of the Pitchfork publicity? Yay, nay, indifference because publicity is publicity?

RD: Pitchfork gave us a good review once a long time ago, and it did help. but one can’t be too concerned with Pitchfork….we do our thing, they do theirs.

PM: A lot of listeners have decided you channel  a lot of JAMC, MBV, and the other usual shoegaze suspects. But I’ve often found that when listeners peg all sorts of influences on a band, the band doesn’t even have them on the
mental list. Do you have a mental list, and if so who are they?

RD: Every time I hear a really shitty band, it inspires me to make something better. So there’s all that…plus you know, there’s plenty of music that influences us besides “shoegaze”: Black Flag, Fugazi, Ramones, Devo, Dance House Children, Descendents, Nirvana, Nirvana, Nirvana, Beat Happening, Guitar Wolf…

PM: For our SXSW attendees, where is the best place to get the best burger in Austin?

RD: P. Terry’s, ‘cuz they have vegetarian burgers, as well as a great meat burger (so I’m told). Hut’s is consistently kick ass.

PM: A lot of your recent tour dates have been in Europe, one of them with the legendary Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips (what a bill..G500 fans must be peeing their pants, as I think those that don’t already like you will after the show). It must be weird to play with folks who have been doing this for decades, like David Gedge and Dean, in an intimidating way. Have you noticed a difference between the veterans and the newbies?

RD: Not really, just age I guess.  Some people are party animals, and some are not, no matter how long theyve been playing…So we just like meeting the living legends. So far they’ve all been cool to us.

PM: Finally, when are you coming to Toronto!?

RD: In the springtime, when the flowers are in bloom.

You can pick up Ringo Deathstarr’s Colour Trip that is set for release on March 8th.

Ringo Deathstarr – So High by johnout

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

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

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.


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.