Posts Tagged ‘album review


Album Review – Arctic Monkeys: AM

Arctic-Monkeys-AMThe Down Lizzo:

This is normally the part of my reviews where I give some background and context of who and what the band I’m reviewing is.

I feel like a bit of an idiot in this instance though because are you seriously telling me you don’t know who the Arctic Monkeys are?

Who are you man?! Seriously, what the fuck are you doing on this site? You take a wrong turn on the way to 2OceansVibe? Get out from under that rock man! Christ, you’re missing all the good stuff!

Now that that’s sorted, let’s get into the meat and bones of this album, shall we?

Those of us who are familiar with the Arctic Monkeys will also be familiar with the fact that this band is incapable of releasing a dud album.

Don’t take my word for it though, read this article which says that the band have made Official UK Album Chart history as the only indie-released act to release five consecutive albums at Number One on the UK Albums Chart.



More impressive than that however is the musical journey that this band has gone through. Few bands come to mind that are as doggedly determined to surge forward in terms of the evolution of their sound as the Arctic Monkeys.

As I’ve noted in previous reviews, they could have comfortably continued releasing borderline bubblegum-pop indie albums like their first two, started loping off into the sunset around album number five and disappeared from the music altogether and that would have been just fine.

Instead they pretty much overhauled their entire sound with their 3rd album, the Josh Homme (Queens Of The Stone Age) produced Humbug in 2009. Overnight they changed from sarcastic indie kids to dark, brooding desert rockers, a change that lost them a big portion of their original fanbase and lead to a lot of people saying Josh Homme had “ruined” the Arctic Monkeys.



I love Humbug, but even I’ll admit that Homme’s influence was a bit too strong on that album. He has a way of seeping into every project he’s involved in and leaving an unmistakeable mark on everything he touches.

In contrast, 2011’s Suck It And See felt like the band was trying to reconcile who they’d become with who they were. The results were a record that showed a lot of promise – lighter in tone than Humbug, it still had some pretty psychedelic moments and saw the band letting rip with a couple of monster, 70s era riffs in tracks like “Brick By Brick” and “Don’t Look Down Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair”.

It’s that direction that the Arctic Monkeys have explored fully on AM and in doing so have found a sound that, while it borrows heavily on 70s rock is still so distinctly theirs that it’s no wonder the new album is topping charts the world over.



Sick Tracks

It starts slow, deliberate, hand-clapping, bass drum thumping beats, there is space, fucking football fields of the stuff, they let it breathe, they are in absolutely no rush to blow your fucking mind. That’s “Do I Wanna Know?”

And sure, why not drop everything except the bass, drums and vocals for half of the second verse? It fucking works because Alex Turner is one of the best crooners in rock music today – fact.

“So have you got the guts? / Been wondering if your heart’s still open and if so I wanna know what time it shuts / Simmer down and pucker up / I’m sorry to interrupt it’s just I’m constantly on the cusp of trying to kiss you…”



From there they land “R U Mine?” like a fucking sucker-punch right to the teeth. Matt Helders lands drum beats and fills like H-bombs, Jamie Cook and Turner wield their axes with brutal precision and don’t get me started Nick O’Malley’s menacing bass guitar, it’ll give you goosebumps brother. It’ll haunt you in your favourite worst nightmares.

But again, that fucking space, galaxies of it. So much room in the track, they don’t give a fuck about trying hard, they aren’t out there to ram 160bpm monstrosities down your throat. They play the right notes at the right times. It’s simple and it fucking works.

But it’s when the song reaches the 2:30 mark that it finally hits home that Turner and pals aren’t here to fuck around. Everything cuts out except Turner’s vocals. Everything. How many rock bands are doing that in the second fucking track on the album?! NONE of them have the fucking stones to even think it, let alone make it so.



The payoff when the band drops back in is so goddamn beautiful it’ll leave you grinning from ear to ear, nodding your head, tapping your feet and saying “Fuck yeah…”

“One For The Road” (one of two tracks that the band collaborates with Josh Homme on) creeps, slinks and haunts at every bend. The subtle guitar-picking melody in the second verse will come back to you the next time you’re out late, headlights burning through the darkness, nothing but broken thoughts for company.

Then there’s “Arabella”, sexy as hell, everything beautiful and dangerous in the world rolled tightly into a  psychedelic ballad, brought to life by Turner’s exceptionally fucking brilliant lyrics.

“My days end best when the sunset gets itself behind / That little lady sitting in the passenger side / It’s much less picturesque without her catching the light / The horizon tries but it’s just not as kind on the eyes.”



“I Want It All” is a track The Black Keys wish they’d written. Turner trades his baritone for a falsetto and knocks it out the fucking park. The solo in this song rips through the ether like a comet, leaving a trail of fiery debris streaked across the night sky.

They innovate with “Fireside”, they trip out on “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?”, they throw a piano into “Snap Out Of It” for an instant timeless classic rock song with a hundred times more swag than the legal limit and they tie it all back together with the slow, sultry “I Wanna Be Yours” – a perfect closer to an album that is like nothing you will hear this year, or the year after that, or the year after that.

Should You Give A Shit?

For the love of all that is holy, buy this album. It’s the OK Computer of the ‘10s.

Here’s “I Want It All”:



Final Verdict: 9/10



Treefiddy Review: Look Out Kid – Collide

Look Out KidThe Down Lizzo:

For starters, how long has it been since I last did an album review?!?! Useless!

To be frank, 2012 wasn’t a great year for music for me, I didn’t get properly stuck in and missed a lot of great albums that I’m scrambling to get my hands on as I write this. In the meantime, one of my readers sent me this one.

He’s more than just a reader though, Andrew Orkin is the guitarist for SA Band Look Out Kid and their debut album Collide is pretty much just what the doctor ordered for dreamy summer-day listening.

Collide is a melting pot of all the best elements folk, country, jazz, gospel and blues has to offer which makes for an album of polished, sultry jams that’s effortless to get into.


Sick Tracks:

“Collide” was the first track on the album that really spoke to me. A paradox of simple melodies woven together in complex arrangements, it calls to mind some of The Decemberists’ calmer, gentler tracks before building to a lush, Arcade Fire-styled bridge that showcases this band’s dextrous songwriting.

Like its name, “Safe House” provides comfort in the perfect synthesis of Orkin’s bluesey steel strings, jazz maestro Thembinkosi Mavibela’s amiable double bass and acclaimed jazz and gospel singer Zarcia Zacheus’s gorgeous, lilting vocals.



“Fish To Find” is also a winner. It’s a break-up song without all the cliched over-sentimentality that plagues similar tracks backed by melodies that sound like what Jack Johnson might write if he ever decided to release a Jazz album.

Should You Give A Shit:

Look, make no mistake this is not the kind of music I normally go for, which is a compliment in itself. There is only so much destructive stoner / desert / psychedelic / indie / folk / rock one man can listen to before something drastic happens.

Sometimes you gotta take it down a notch and that’s when I’ll spin an album like this. Something calmer, something classier, something you can chill out to that doesn’t bludgeon your eardrums to hell and back.



So kick back and dig “Collide” below and if that sounds like something you could dig, check out the band’s Bandcamp site here to download the album.



Final verdict: 7/10



Treefiddy Review: Pepe Deluxe – Queen Of The Wave

220px-PepeDeluxe_WikiThe Down Lizzo:

Regular readers of this site will know that once in awhile I delve into some truly weird, obscure shit when it comes to music.

I do this because when you listen to truck loads of new music constantly, sooner or later it all starts to sound the same and you need something to act as a defibrillator for your brain.

Enter Pepe Deluxe who I found courtesy of the killer music app I mentioned this morning – “Band Of The Day” (get it now, thank me later).

This Finnish band dropped their fourth studio album Queen Of The Wave at the end of January and it’s more eccentric than your buddy’s weirdo uncle who wore foil hats and got arrested every other week for painting his balls green and running naked through the zoo.


Queen Of The Wave is a concept album that blends psychedelic funk, 50s surf rock, soul, trip-hop and opera with a couple of Victorian harpsichords, Tesla Coil synths and Mellotron waterphones thrown in there for good measure.

“Refreshingly batshit” is the term that comes to mind…

Sick Tracks:

“A Day And A Night” was the song that got me into Pepe Deluxe. The bassline is sicker than a TB-ridden vagrant and, with the possible exception of the uncalled for arpeggio bridge halfway through the song, it’s kept pretty lean and mean throughout.

“Go Supersonic” is also pretty easily accessible and moves dextrously from a somewhat frantic Victorian-era verse into full-on Austin Powers 70s Tokyo girl-group, catchy-as-hell chorous.



The album opener “Queenswave” is also a great track. Faux synth bird calls are layered over a meaty bassline which is backed up with some nice, punchy drums. It’s atmospheric stuff and sets the tone nicely for the sheer musical indulgence to follow.

I also liked the slimey opening riffs of “Grave Prophecy” and the haunting sparsity of “In The Cave”, which is played on the largest instrument known to man, the Great Stalacpipe Organ. Built across 3.5 acres of Virginia’s Luray Caverns in the early ‘50s, this instrument delayed the release of the album by two years because the organ had to renovated.



They wanted to play it on the album that badly.

How batshit is that?

Should You Give A Shit?

At the risk of having my credibility as a music reviewer utterly destroyed, I’m going to say yes, you should give a shit.

They might be a bit bonkers when it comes to the way they arrange the tracks on Queen Of The Wave and they do have a tendency to go balls-to-the wall when it comes to dialling up the theatricality of their music, but there’s no denying that the production of this album is on a level I’ve seldom, if ever, heard before.

It’s ambitious, it’s gaudy, it’s complex, it’s bizarre and it isn’t for everyone, but it’s also a lot of fun and, because it’s so complex, it offers something different with every listen.

Here’s “A Day And A Night” to give you a little taste:



Final Verdict: 7/10



Treefiddy Review: Blood Red Shoes – In Time To Voices

BloodRedShoesInTimeToVoices600Gb150312The Down Lizzo:

Blood Red Shoes’ first two albums, 2008’s Box Of Secrets and 2010’s Fire Like This were packed with huge, aggressive punk-pop hooks that surged with energy and kicked like a mule.

Now this Brighton-based duo are branching out with In Time To Voices on which, singer/guitarist Laura-Mary Carter and drummer/vocalist Steve Ansell tone things down considerably.

It takes some getting used to, and fans of their acerbic brand of punk-pop will find the album lacking the punch-to-the-gut force of Box Of Secrets and Fire Like This, but to be perfectly frank another album like the first two would have buried this band as surely as Billy Talent’s last effort buried them.



It’s the golden rule of writing albums. Find a sound that works with the first one, hone that sound on the second and change it on the third. In Time To Voices follows this formula and in doing so, breathes new life into this band.

Killer Tracks:

The first single off In Time With Voices, “Cold” is definitely one of the finest tracks on the album. From Ansell’s throbbing double bass pedal drumming to Carter’s lurching power chords, it’s a track that smacks of grungey goodness with a healthy dose of anthemic pop-punk thrown in for good measure.

The tension in the verse of “Lost Kids” builds quickly, exploding in the chorous with Carter and Ansell singing “Let it all come undone / cut it down, down to none”.



“Night Light” wanders into full on Smashing Pumpkins Ava Adore territory. It’s a track rich with acoustic melodies interwoven with melancholy piano parts that really drive home the chorous line “It’s the ghost you made of me…”

“Stop Kicking” and “Slip Into The Blue” are both tight, deceptively infectious tracks that Carter and Ansell play like hidden aces near the end of the album.

Their vocal interplay has never sounded sweeter than it does on In Time With Voices. Ansell in particular has taken on more of the vocal duties which, considering how intense his style of drumming is, might not have been the best call for their live performances, but I’ll reserve judgement on that one until some kind benefactor and reader of this site sponsors a flight to the UK so I can watch them live.


Should You Give A Shit?

Are the Kennedys gun-shy? Of course you should give a shit! It’s a crying shame how many people don’t give a shit about this band.

My advice is buy all three of their albums so you can track just how much this band has blossomed on In Time To Voices and then let’s have this conversation again.

In the meantime, here’s “Slip Into The Blue” to get you in the mood.



Final verdict: 8/10



Treefiddy Review: Incubus – If Not Now, When?

The Down Lizzo:

After a FIVE YEAR hiatus, alternative rock / funk metal / nu metal band Incubus are BACK! That’s right! Incubus! Y’know, the guys who wrote “Drive” back when we were all in highschool and then released a slew of critically and commercially successful albums?

Hello? (Is this thing on…?)


Sick Tracks

They’re all pretty sick if you’re talking about the traditional interpretation of the word, like that pale kid at school with the dark circles under his eyes who looked like he might ralph at any given moment. Oh wait, I think I’m confusing my life with the Simpsons…



Where was I? Oh yeah, new Incubus album review (*sigh).

Look, it’s not a bad album, it’s just a little limp noodley and lacking the oompf that made their previous albums great.

“Promises, Promises” is a really likeable song, totally non-threatening, radio-friendly and reminiscent of “Southern Girl” from A Crow Left Of The Murder. The dominant instrument on the track is the piano played by DJ Kilmore (the dude who used to rock the decks in previous incarnations of this band).

“Isadore” is also a solid track, carefully written and arranged it’s hard to fault it except it’s basically the same chord progression from “Talk Shows On Mute” (also from A Crow Left Of The Murder), only picked instead of strummed and frontman Brandon Boyd’s vocal melody is also strikingly similar.



The album changes pace abruptly near the end, like the band has suddenly woken up from a nice afternoon nap and remembered they’re fucking Incubus dude!

Halfway through “In The Company Of Wolves” things take an awesome turn for the darker and the mood of the album changes from happy-go-lucky summer picnic to, quick get the kids in the car! An asylum escapee is coming at us with a weird grin and a threatening erection.

“Switchblade” follows soon after, a throw-back to the powerful album that was Light Grenades and right after that, “Adolescents” (the first single off the album) kicks in to remind us that there was a time when this band used to rock out, unashamedly, and they were great at it.


Should You Give A Shit?

I guess so, I’m not sure. It could be that this album is a “grower”, it’s certainly gotten better with every listen that I’ve given it, but like I said at the beginning, it’s very tame for Incubus which I found disappointing.

Just take it for what it is, a collection of mostly easy-breezy, mature and thoughtful songs and you’ll probably enjoy it. I just don’t feel like I’m ready to get this old yet, but maybe once I have children of my own and I’m looking for something to put them to sleep to, I’ll revaluate my opinion of If Not Now, When?


Here’s “Patience, Patience” in the meantime.



Final verdict: 6/10



Album Review: Cake – Showroom Of Compassion

Some bands find a sound that works for an album, some find a sound that works for five and very rarely, some find a sound that works for every album.

Was I disappointed that Cake’s new album Showroom Of Compassion sounds strikingly similar to their previous five albums? No. In fact to be quite honest, I was relieved because I’m a pretty firm believer that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.



Frontman John McCrea’s vocals are just as full of the esoteric ennui that captivated listeners back in the late 90s, Xan McCurdy’s guitar tone still sounds stolen from a jangly country and western song and he still works his fretboard like he’s reinventing musical scales by ditching all the crap notes.

Get the rest of the review here…


The Tiger’s Top 10 Albums of 2010

Yeah! Music stuffs! I used to post music stuffs all the time and the thing is I still post music stuffs, just not on this site, on If you go there right now you’ll see that I pretty much OWN that site content wise and it’s awesome!

If you want awesome content on your site too why the hell don’t you just mail me at, pay me a modest fee and prepare for your site views to hit the mother flippin’ ceiling yo!

I’m a gun for hire these days, which is the badass way of saying I’ll lick your balls for $5.

The Pulpmag gig helps me to pay the rent, but the diehard fans of this site get pissed off when I post my Pulpmag stuff here because I usually give the opening few paragraphs of a review and then make them hit Pulpmag for the rest.



But seriously. I think it’s time we moved past such petty grievances. This is 2011, clicking on a little link to take you to another page for content isn’t going to kill you.

Man up fer chrissake!

So check, check, check it out yo, here are my top ten albums for 2010 so you can laugh at my girly taste in music…


The Tiger’s Top 10 Albums of 2010




Album Review: Philip Selway – Familial

There’s no two ways about it, drummers are a special bunch. Quiet and stoic, they have a gentle way about them not unlike idiot savants or people with severe autism.

This is, of course, a gross over-generalisation. There are at least three drummers that come to mind who are exceptionally gifted with both intelligence and musical ability, and one of those three is Philip Selway.



Selway was well on his way to becoming a full-time academic back in the early 90s, studying English and History in Liverpool, before he joined arguably the best alternative / indie / experimental rock band of all time, Radiohead.

There are only a few drummers in the world that boast the chops and muscle that Selway does behind a kit and can still pull off the shuffling, syncopated twists and turns that gave Radiohead classics like “Idioteque” and “There There” the bones to stand tall and strong.

Question is, is Selway worth a damn as a solo musician, or does his material sound like watered-down Radiohead B-sides?

Huh. Not an easy question.

Click here for the whole enchilada…



Album Review: The Black Keys – Brothers

I can’t tell you how badly I’ve been itching over the past two months to write this review. Usually if an album’s older than a month I won’t touch it because this is the internet goddamnit! If you miss something by even a week, it’s dead and buried.

I’m making an exception in this case though for one simple reason: this is an album that will go down as one of rock music’s finest and as such, it doesn’t matter if I post this review now or two years from now, this album is timeless and will sound just as good then as it does now.



There’s a universal formula that you can apply to most bands almost without fail. The first album comes out rough and ready, gets a few people talking, has one or two singles but otherwise doesn’t make much of a splash. A decent producer gets a hold of the band and turns the second album multi-platinum and suddenly they’re everyone’s favourite overnight.

By album number three, the pressure’s on. The band changes its sound, loses half its fans and spirals into a dark period of drug-fuelled loathing and embarrassing moments at awards ceremonies.

Then a few years later they bang out a couple more albums that deal largely with how they kicked the drugs, how much they love their long-suffering wives and what being a dad is like, by which stage no one really gives a rat’s ass anymore.

The Black Keys are not that band. Since their debut The Big Come Up back in 2002, they have steadily gotten better and better with each successive album, continually exploring and pushing the boundaries of the blues rock genre, picking up from where legends like Robert Johnson, Junior Kimbrough, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and Hendrix himself left off, fine-tuning that sound and making it their own.



Right from the first few seconds of the opening track “Everlasting Love”, the foot-tappingly infectious grooves that define this album strut confidently to the fore and make it known that what you’re listening to is fucking cool, plain and simple.

The tone throughout the album is so mind-blowingly warm and authentic, it almost sounds like you’re listening to vinyl. Not only is it blues rock the way it was meant to be played but, more importantly, it’s blues rock the way it was meant to be heard.

“Next Girl” comes on big and bold, strapping its fists like a prizefighter going into a bare-knuckle brawl which, considering the song’s written about an ex-girlfriend, speaks volumes about how expertly the duo understand and handle their material.

If you’re going through a nasty break-up, there’s a good chance “Next Girl” will instantly become the best song you’ve ever heard in your life. Auerbach’s riffs tear through the rhythm section with the kind of subtle menace every man’s felt at some stage in his life when contemplating what a bitch his ex was.



It’s poetic in its simplicity “My next girl / Will be nothing like my ex girl / I made mistakes back then / I’ll never do it again.”

It’s an album that shifts gears fluidly between upbeat, big drum, fuzzy guitar riff-laden monsters like “Howlin’ For You” to slower, more sincere blues-driven tracks like “Unknown Brother” and the awesome cover of Jerry Butler’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” (not to be confused with the Rick Astley song of the same name that’s only cool because it’s crap) and somehow manages to stay solid as a rock throughout all 15 tracks.

I usually take great joy in slating the songs that piss me off on an album, even the albums that I really love, but the honest truth here is that on Brothers there are none. Auerbach and Carney keep Brothers lean and mean, which makes for a refreshing change from albums that have three great tracks and nine shit ones thrown in as pure filler.

My expectations were set high right from the start with Brothers, and it still managed to surpass them which basically never happens.


Brothers is a sure-fire winner in my books and definitely gets my vote as the best album I’ve heard this year so far. I’m leaving you with “Next Girl” for you to decide for yourself whether this album is everything I’ve hyped it up to be.

Enjoy 😉



Final Verdict: 9/10



Album Review: The National – High Violet

Call me old school, but I have a profound respect for hard-working bands. I’m talking about the kind that take a decade or more to fine-tune their sound and get a little better with every album they release.

The National released their first album in 2001 and have since released another four studio albums, the last of which, 2007’s Boxer, received widespread critical acclaim, so much so that their song ‘Fake Empire” was used by the Obama campaign at many high-profile events during the last election.



And so the pressure was on for the band to deliver the goods for their new album, High Violet, and they sure as hell didn’t disappoint.

As with their previous albums, singer Matt Berninger’s vocals are a major attraction on High Violet. He keeps his distinctive baritone calm and steady throughout, choosing to steer clear of the wilder vocal territory of tracks like “Mr November” and “Murder Me Rachel” off previous albums, and it works like a charm.



Imagine Nick Cave’s vocals stripped of all their hatred and fury and you’d have something close to Berninger who chooses subtle irony and pathos and his weapons of choice and wields them with great effect.

“All our lonely kicks are getting harder to find” Berninger sings on “Little Faith”, “We’ll play nuns versus priests until somebody cries / All our lonely kicks that make us saintly and thin / We’ll play nuns versus priests until somebody wins.”

The somber musical landscape of High Violet depicts a kind of sleeping pill society that hangs permanently in the space between waking and sleeping in a hazy reality where in a track like the Interpol-ish “Conversation 16” Berninger swings from confessing to feelings of inadequacy and regret to quietly and calmly singing the verse “I was afraid I’d eat your brains / Cause I’m evil”.



The track “Anyone’s Ghost” stands out as one of the best on High Violet and picks up from where Boxer left off in terms of the band’s experiments in blending orchestral swells into their music. Drummer Brian Devendorf does an excellent job of giving songs like “Anyone’s Ghost” a clean and punchy beat which his brother Scott follows like a bloodhound on his bass guitar.

“Afraid Of Everyone” is another killer track that Devendorf’s percussion stands out on. He’s the kind of drummer that knows exactly what to do when, and focuses on doing exactly that to the best of his ability rather than stacking songs full of complicated fills and showy drum rolls. There’s a sparsity in the way he plays on High Violet that suits the album perfectly.

The National has a second pair of siblings in the brothers Aaron and Bryce Dessner who match each other riff for riff on rhythm and lead guitar with Aaron sometimes handling the bass and piano sections of their songs. For the most part their instruments take a backseat to Berninger’s vocals on High Violet except in tracks like “Runaway” where Bryce’s acoustic picking takes centre stage and “England”, which would be nothing without Aaron’s lilting piano melodies.



Of course, High Violet won’t suit everyone’s tastes. It’s a lot more somber than previous albums, and the individual tracks are difficult to tell apart from one another on the first few listens, but their idiosyncrasies do start shining through if you give them the time they deserve.

The best way to describe High Violet would be to imagine taking a track like Bruce Springsteen’s “Streets Of Philadelphia” and turning it into an entire album. For this reason, sadly, it can’t top their 2007 masterpiece when it comes to the complexity and range they showed themselves capable of, but it comes pretty damn close.

Still though, High Violet is an album that will satisfy fans and possibly even turn first time listeners on to The National and so I would recommend buying this album and giving it a spin or two, because if nothing else, it should make for some welcome company on a rainy day.

Final Verdict: 7/10