New Album Review

88.1 WKNC Pick of the Week 2/3

Animal Collective releases best album yet
Seth White

Named after the famous Maryland venue, Merriweather Post Pavilion is Animal Collective’s ninth record and its finest one to date.

It’s hard to describe the sound of AC to someone who has never heard them. Their songs have only a thin layer of typical structure and enough melodic repetition that may turn away your average listener at first. But much like Radiohead’s Kid A or Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot after a few listens your mind reaches past the barriers of traditional music and discovers the real genius ahead.

On its latest album, the band continues to experiment with all possible sounds blending psychedelic, electronic and progressive rock into new sounds all their own. “In the Flowers” but the turn it takes after that is what makes this album so special.

The vocals of Avey Tare (David Portner) and Panda Bear (Noah Lennox) then become reminiscent of The Beach Boys and The Beatles and combined with the high pitch synthesizer and the pulse beat drum welcome you to their own style.

The following track, “My Girls,” captures of the essence of the album as a whole. It builds a slow start that rises to a peak that isn’t there. Instead you are left drifting pleasantly from one note to the next until they slowly disappear. The lyrics, “There isn’t much that I feel I need / A solid soul and the blood I bleed,” retract to innocent childish ideas and routines, the overall theme.

“Summertime Clothes” starts out with a militaristic stomp which then glides to a catchy verse–chorus–verse outfit and back again. At the center of the song, the varied and competing vocals will cater to any of AC’s former fans needs and will attract the attention of first time listeners.

The album ends on one of their best, “Brother Sport,” a phenomenal upbeat closer about moving forward.

Animal Collective has continually changed their sound from one album to the next. Even though each album has been wonderful in it’s own way, Merriweather Post Pavilion takes the cake by combining all the best previous elements together to find a perfect niche for the band.

Merriweather Post Pavilion won’t catch everybody. Listeners who hear bits and pieces will be lost in confusion, but those who truly take the time to let this album run it’s course will be left nothing short of inspired. And if nothing else at least take a look at the cool album artwork.

88.1 WKNC DJ Pick of the Week is published in every Tuesday print edition of the Technician, as well as online at and

New Album Review

88.1 WKNC Pick of the Week 1/27

Colourmusic’s eccentric new album is a hit
Chris Cioffi

Innovation and creativity are two of the elements to look for when listening to a new band, and the new Colourmusic album has both in spades. The ear candy that one can expect while listening to Colourmusic’s first full length album is almost overwhelming at times.

Whimsical, charming music is a guilty pleasure of mine, and f, monday, orange, february, venus, lunatic, 1 or 13 is as whimsical and charming as they come. Their poppy sounds and beautiful song-craft make listening to this album an exciting experience. Conceptually, the band has tried to fashion songs that evoke feelings specific to an individual color.

On previous EPs, for instance, they have tried to evoke the color red, but this time around, orange is the focal point. This eccentric fact wasn’t immediately obvious and came from researching the album, but on subsequent listens the orange vibe in their songs does in fact seem to come through.

One could believe that picking a single color would be limiting a band’s sound, but Colourmusic is able to transcend those limitations and puts forth thirteen beautiful tracks that not only stand individually as extremely catchy tunes, but flow as a complete and solid album. When listening to this album, you will catch yourself involuntarily singing along to the catchy songs such as “Put in a Little Gas,” and my personal favorite, “Winter Song.”

Eccentricity is their trademark, and Colourmusic has built an engaging mythology around their blend of performance art and publicity stunts. On many occasions, the band has been known to stage the death and subsequent resuscitation of band member Nick Turner onstage.

They have also been known to hypnotize particularly appealing members of the audience in failed attempts to con them into sleeping with them.

Sometimes all four band members dress alike, grow similar beards, and even date the same girl merging themselves into one stage personality, whom they call Roy G. Biv. According to Wikipedia, another publicly-known interest of the band is going to local malls while on tour and pulling the old “dollar on the end of a string” trick.

Generally, one member will act as string-puller while the others crouch behind a potted tropical plant with their Fisher-Price PXL-2000 video camera, attempting to acquire footage for the video of one of their latest songs titled, “Don’t Hollah fo That Dollah You Di-int Get”.

Colourmusic has put out one of the better albums released recently. The experience is definitely worth a trip down to the local record store to check out this eccentric entry. Who knows, you might find your new favorite band!

88.1 WKNC DJ Pick of the Week is published in every Tuesday print edition of the Technician, as well as online at and

New Album Review

88.1 WKNC Pick of the Week 1/20

‘Onmyradio’ Fails to Disappoint

When Musiq Soulchild stepped on the scene in 2000 with his classic debut album Aijustwanaseing, he carried on the tradition of Neo-Soul music started by artist including Erykah Badu and D’angelo. From “Just Friends” and “Love” to “Don’t Change” and “B.U.D.D.Y.”, Musiq has remained a consistent force in the realm of Neo-Soul for almost a decade. With his latest release “Onmyradio”, the 30 year old Philly native fails to disappoint.

For Musiq fans, the release of the first single from “Onmyradio”, “Radio” was a confusing. The crunk track does nothing to compliment Musiq as an artist or appease his fan base and failed to chart. With the state of R&B as it is, the watered down production, uninspired vocals and no originally, one would wonder why Musiq, would try and conform. Thankfully, the poor choice of a lead single is in no way indicative of the remainder of the album.

“OnMyRadio” opens with the up-tempo, hard hitting, bass driven “Backagain”, where Musiq explains how he thought he was over a break-up, until they came back.

“Until”, reminiscent lyrically of Stevie Wonder’s classic “Always”, tells of how he’ll love his significant other until the end of time. It is one of the albums stand-out tracks.

The second single, “IfULeave”, a duet with the Queen of Hip/Hop R&B Soul, Mary J. Blige is a well balanced duet of back and forth banter between a couple on the verge of a break-up. Production-wise, it is similar to”Teachme”, a gem released from Musiq’s last album, “Luvanmusiq”.

Momentum comes to a stand still with “Special” and “Deserveyoumore” On “Special” the melody and beat are competing with each other and “Deserveyoumore” sounds like a 70’s bland love song by an all male vocal quartet.

The piano driven “Dearjohn” is a letter explaining how Musiq, lacking the courage to break up in person instead opts for a pen and piece of paper. The sadness in Musiq’s voice, remorseful lyrics, vocal arrangement, harmonies and production make this the best track on the album.

Next, “Loveofmylife”, is equally endearing and gross as Musiq sings how he “can loose a car, even body parts”, but could never live without the love of his life. Feeling the recession, “Moneyright”, an up-tempo electro-pop groove has Musiq pledging to give his love all they desire once he gets his funds together. In terms of production, where as John Legend has “Green Light”, Musiq has “Moneyright”, minus Andre 3000.

On “Someone” Musiq delivers what he does best. Love ballads. The dulcet melody and beautiful words express how we all want someone to love us despite our imperfections.

The only other feature on the album, “Iwannabe” featuring Damian Marley infuses a bit of Reggae and Caribbean vibe on a song surely to make you want to move.

“Sobeautiful” is another moving love ballad where Musiq displays how his vocal prowess has matured in the past 8 years trying out his falsetto.

Albums are often judged by their first single, but there are exceptions to every rule, “Onmyradio” being one. Musiq, although with a few missteps, has stayed true to who he is as an artist while remaining relevant. Although “Onmyradio” may not be Musiq’s best, it is a solid effort and a solid effort from Musiq is still better than what’s currently playing—on the radio.

88.1 WKNC DJ Pick of the Week is published in every Tuesday print edition of the Technician, as well as online at and

New Album Review

88.1 WKNC Pick of the Week 1/13

Ladyhawke makes excellent debut with retro-flavored pop
Jon Gomes

A lot of things came out of the 80s. Some were good and some were terrible. As a distinct and influential genre, new wave music falls in the former category. Synthesizers and drum machines will forever be associated with the 80s, but they have found their way into modern pop music. Singer/songwriter Phillipa Brown, professionally known as Ladyhawke, has incorporated the best elements of new wave into her self-titled debut album. Fresh yet familiar-sounding, the album instantly makes an impression with its retro feel.

The first track, “Magic,” starts off with bubbling synthesizers and a dance beat on electronic drums—two quintessential new wave elements. Ladyhawke demonstrates her vocal prowess during the stripped-down verses. Her ability in writing pop hooks shows in the next track, “Manipulating Woman,” with its infectious chorus and subdued guitar riffs.

The most recently released single, “My Delirium,” is one of several addictive tracks on the album. The pounding beats and anxious vocals escalate into a shimmering, synth-heavy chorus. The end result is a powerful dance floor anthem with a hook that lingers in your head for days. The same effect occurs with “Another Runaway.” Though sugary, it is the perfect marriage of pop melodies and classic new wave tones. Rich synths and a lively rhythm section underscore Ladyhawke’s yearning lyrics.

A bit rawer in sound, “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore” stands out with its crunchy guitar riffs and smooth vocal harmonies. It is followed by another upbeat number entitled “Back Of The Van.” Again, Ladyhawke takes the formula for a great pop song and improves upon it with beautiful, inspired synth and guitar parts.

The 80s influence is most apparent on “Paris Is Burning.” The main hook is reminiscent of “Cars” by Gary Numan—definitive new wave. The next track, “Professional Suicide,” almost sounds like it could be an old Depeche Mode song.

The album returns to a more modern sound for the next few songs. Another dance floor track, “Dusk Til Dawn” features sultry vocals and fat synths layered on a prominent four-on-the-floor rhythm. It contrasts with the airy mood of “Crazy World,” easily the most pop-oriented track. Things come to a close with “Morning Dreams,” a calm and swirling ballad.

In the end, Ladyhawke makes an impressive debut with this album. Her songwriting is solid and the production makes for a great listening experience. She also plays all the instruments on the album, and she plays them well. However, Ladyhawke’s true skill lies in her ability to weave retro elements into modern pop songs. Imagine if Cut Copy or Goldfrapp did an audio version of “I Love the 80s.” Add in a healthy dose of energy and the result is this album.

88.1 WKNC DJ Pick of the Week is published in every Tuesday print edition of the Technician, as well as online at and

New Album Review

Ladyhawke = Official Back to School Jam

Ladyhawke’s self titled debut album is the cure for rainy day and/or back-to-school depression. Her sound is like something straight out of the eighties: spunky, upbeat pop that I highly recommend putting on your Ipod for the walk to class. It will put some dance in your step.

New Album Review

88.1 WKNC Pick of the Week 12/2/08

New album ‘Heart On’ lacks electricity
Kyle Robb
General Manager, WKNC 88.1 FM

Hailing from Palm Springs, Calif., Eagles of Death Metal is masterminded by high school friends Jesse Hughes and Josh Homme. Though Homme’s other band, Queens of the Stone Age, had already achieved widespread success prior to Eagles’ debut release of Peace, Love, and Death Metal in 2004, he has maintained a musical partnership with Hughes since 1998.

First and foremost: Eagles of Death Metal are not a death metal band. Perhaps best summarized as garage rock, Homme once described the band’s sound as “bluegrass slide guitar mixed with stripper drum beats and Canned Heat vocals.”

Their debut received favorable reviews and several tracks were featured on commercial spots and in the movie Thank You For Smoking. Their follow-up, Death by Sexy, was released in 2006 and featured contributions from Jack Black, Liam Lynch and Dave Grohl among others.

Heart On opens with the rhythmic clapping of “Anything ‘cept the Truth,” which quickly descends into the treble drenched riffs of Hughes’ guitar. In addition to the opener, Eagles are at their high powered rocking best with upbeat tracks like “Wannabe in LA,” “High Voltage,” and “Secret Plans.”

Of course, as with any other Eagles of Death Metal album, the release is latent with hilarious quips on the nuances of sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll. Tracks like ‘(I Used to Couldn’t Dance) Tight Pants’ and ‘Cheap Thrills’ highlight the band’s authentic brand of rock humor, but neither compare to the majestic ode to self abuse that is ‘Solo Flights.’

Ultimately, the album makes for a fun listen and contains solid tracks from top to bottom, but if you’re looking for that infectious toe-tapping crunchy rock anthem that stays in your head for days, then look elsewhere. There is not a single track on the album that can be identified as a weakened link to the album’s fluidity, but conversely, there is not a single track which differentiates itself as spectacular. This lack of electricity is what ultimately places Heart On behind its predecessors.

88.1 WKNC DJ Pick of the Week is published in every Tuesday print edition of the Technician, as well as online at and

New Album Review

Cynic-Traced In Air: A review which should be traced in air

Cynic has been around for many, many years. Fifteen years to be exact, and they have not lost a single ounce of musicianship with their aging. They are still as technical as their early nineties counterparts, Death and Atheist, yet they somehow found a way to break out of that death metal mold and become something quite unique. Their second cd, Traced In Air, has turned alot of heads due to its departure from Focus in terms of brutality. Yet what they have dropped in brutality, they more than make up for with melodic and amazingly brilliant song-writing. The songs have so many layers to them, that you cannot wish to comprehend them with only one listen. With this release, Cynic have shown the world what it truly means to be a progressive metal band. All the songs on the album pick you up off your feet and carry you where you can be lost in the music, only to thrown into a tornado of organized chaos which leaves you breathless just set you back down on your feet a few moments later. This sensation may sound displeasing, but it will have you wanting to go back and listen to it over and over again. It is a short cd, which is very agonizing due to nature of the songs which just leave you wanting more. Cynic is truly a one-of-a-kind band and you should definitely pick this cd up just so it will never leave your iPod, cd player, or whatever music player you use. It is that brilliant of an album, and I hope they don’t wait another fifteen years to release another cd.

Cd Score:


New Album Review

88.1 WKNC Pick of the Week 11/18/08

‘Dear Science’ another triumph for TV On The Radio
Jon Gomes
DJ, WKNC 88.1 FM

TV On The Radio is a musical force to be reckoned with. Since the release of Young Liars EP in 2003, the experimental Brooklyn-based group has made three highly lauded albums. Their latest effort, Dear Science, follows up on 2006’s Return to Cookie Mountain, which topped several critics’ lists. The new album sheds the density of its predecessor in favor of a more flavored, balanced sound.

The music on Dear Science is a confluence of funky synth hooks, visceral Afrobeat rhythms and sexy horns—all presented in a well-produced package. Atop this amalgamation, vocalist Tunde Adebimpe lays down impassioned lyrics, adding swagger to heavier tracks and depth to the slower ones. Falsetto accents and an infectious vocal melody underlie the opener “Halfway Home,” a smoldering surf-rock-inspired number that climaxes into chaos towards the coda. The album quickly shifts gears with the laid-back groove of “Crying,” and again with the frenetic “Dancing Choose.” In the latter, purring synths bolster insistent rap verses and brazen, horn-laden choruses.

Dear Science reverts to a more relaxed sound for the next few tracks. A swaying beat and layered strings lend themselves to the sublime mood of “Stork and Owl.” Rhythms tense up for “Golden Age,” which showcases TV On The Radio’s skill in weaving horns and strings into songs. However, the album’s true highlight lies in the next track, a poignant, string-driven ballad entitled “Family Tree.” Adebimpe’s layered vocals and poetic lyrics add to the song’s beauty—ethereal, but not in the typical ambient post-rock sense.

The warmth quickly melts away with the biting and angular “Red Dress.” Featuring incredibly funky chicken-scratch guitar and syncopated African-flavored beats, it is easily the most aggressive song on the album. The brassy, in-your-face chorus complements the snarled lyrics. Yet another musical transition occurs with the swoopy and airy “Love Dog.” The next song, “Shout Me Out,” is one of the most dynamic tracks on the album. Brooding, guitar-driven verses smolder before erupting into a triumphant, percussive movement halfway into the song.

Smooth and relaxed, “DLZ” stands out for its excellent lyrics. Adebimpe’s talent for writing is evident with lines, such as “This is beginning to feel like the long-winded blues of the never / Barely controlled locomotive consuming the picture and blowing the crows, the smoke.” Dear Science comes to a pleasant close with “Lover’s Day,” a galloping track that epitomizes the group’s composite sound. The song tapers to stripped vocals and horns over a driving drum beat, a contrast from the opening track.

As a whole, Dear Science has the hallmarks of a five-star album. Every track is distinct but consistent in quality. The lyrical work is novel and exploratory. And it simply sounds good—the production by band member Dave Sitek is stellar. The album’s only questionable aspect is flow and the frequent changes in mood between songs. Regardless, there is not a solid reason why Dear Science isn’t worthwhile. To understand the buzz about TV On The Radio, just listen to their latest release.

88.1 WKNC DJ Pick of the Week is published in every Tuesday print edition of the Technician, as well as online at and

New Album Review

88.1 WKNC Pick of the Week 11/10/08

Miniature Tigers’ debut provides quick, yet infectious experience
Kyle Robb
General Manager, WKNC 88.1 FM

Despite being named as “one of the 25 best bands on Myspace” in December 2006 by Rolling Stone magazine, Miniature Tigers remain largely anonymous. But this Pheonix, Ariz., band, masterminded by singer/guitarist Charlie Brand and drummer Rick Schaier, have released an album of harmonious, catchy, indie-pop songs which threaten to permeate throughout the popular music scene much like Vampire Weekend and MGMT did earlier this year.

Miniature Tigers’ debut, Tell it to the Volcano, was released this September, and the band embarked on its first ever national tour in October.

Volcano opens with a track called “Cannibal Queen” which is reminiscent of Ben Kweller in style and delivery, maintaining a straight road towards a state of light, breezy, indie pop. Other standouts like the title track, “The Wolf,” “Annie Oakley” and “Tchaikovsky & Solitude” represent a continuation of the style the album builds from its opener, and each track is as catchy as the Bubonic Plague.

Listening to Tell it to the Volcano in its entirety, Miniature Tigers sounds like a seasoned band, not one that’s just beginning to tour. All the pieces of the complex pop songs fit together just right, making them stick in your head after only one listen. The major flaw of the album lies not within the content, but with the sheer lack of quantity. The album has 11 tracks, none of which exceed three minutes and 31 seconds, bringing the total album length to a paltry 29:05. A short collection of two minute songs can serve to curb the musical ADHD which listeners can oftentimes suffer, but ultimately the brevity of the album leaves the consumer craving more content.

An excerpt from their website perhaps sums them up best: “Miniature Tigers combine influences ranging from The Beatles to The Beach Boys, from Pinkerton to Indiana Jones, creating infectious, pitch perfect indie-pop that boldly wears its heart on its sleeve. In the world of Miniature Tigers, songs of unrequited love and relationship anxiety are transformed with animal metaphors and translated into gripping adventure narratives populated by Vikings, swashbucklers, gunfighters, cannibals, undersea creatures and dinosaurs.”

88.1 WKNC DJ Pick of the Week is published in every Tuesday print edition of the Technician, as well as online at and