Quarters for the Jukebox

In the Jukebox — June 10

In the Jukebox for this week (based off what’s new to me and listed alphabetically by artist; lots to check out):

  • Adele—19: The second coming (and soberer?) version of Amy Winehouse?
  • Alanis Morissette—Flavors of Entanglement: Alanis goes back to a harder sound with pounding rock and heavy electronic sounds topped off with appropriately placed curse words.
  • Bangkok Five—We Love What Kills Us: Album of growling, manic rock with just enough of a dose of music sensibility to keep it cleverly all together—mucho potential to shine.
  • Ben Sollee—Learning to Bend: Earnest and beautiful music that touches into folk, soul, blues and pop.
  • Dr. John—City That Care Forgot: Big band blues rock with guest appearances by Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson, Ani DiFranco and Terence Blanchard.
  • Emmylou Harris—All I Intended to Be: A little country, a little folk, a little adult contemporary pop … .
  • The Fratellis: Melodic indie rock from across the pond, this trio has been on the cusp of making it in the U.S. for awhile but haven’t quite taken root. This sophomore album only strengthens their case.
  • Jakob Dylan—Seeing Things: The Wallflowers’ front man debuts his solo career with an offering of simply arranged, yet moving songs.
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Album — Kensington Heights by The Constantines

The Constantines

The Constantines produce a range of sounds on their fourth full length album, Kensington Heights. The group’s vocals are gravelly, but later soften to a tender tone in the album. The instrumentation is a hybrid rock—with hints of backcountry, traditional, dub-punk, blues and experimental. The first single, “Hard Feelings,” probably isn’t the most accessible track available, but the album offers a surprising range of sounds within its rock confines. Speaking of accessible, this album is definitely not as hard as their previous Shine a Light album, but nonetheless, is full of solid songs. Check for yourself.

Quarters for the songs: Do What You Can Do; Hard Feelings; I Will Not Sing a Song; Life or Death; New King; Our Age; Time Can Be Overcome.

Worth listening, if you like: Dinosaur Jr.; Klaxons; The Dears; Spoon; The Arcade Fire; The Walkmen; TV on the Radio; Modest Mouse; Built to Spill; Bruce Springsteen.

Album — The Black Swan by Story of the Year

The Black Swan Cometh
Story of the Year makes a run at staying socially relevant after slumping with their sophomore album, In the Wake of Determination. The anthemic emo-ish-post-grunge group keeps an edgier sound to a point, but adds a bit more melody and pop influences than their last album. The lyrics are also more politically focused, along with some dissertations on humans’ “delusions” of “a privileged position” in the universe.

Several of the songs are structured similarly with the “opening big riff, drop-off for singing, back to loud chords, scream a bit, get quiet, big finish” format. The album is constantly moving from screaming to piano solos to pounding drums to wind blowing to reverb to emo to power chords (often all within a three minute span). This balancing of differences (rock/pop, sing/scream, loud/soft) should attract fans of Page Avenue back to the band, with the potential of a return to radio play garnering some new attention as well. We will just have to wait and see if this particular breed of the genre has any legs left to it in mainstream play. One thing is for certain though—when they head out on tour—bring back New Empire! Also, props for the marketing and graphic design. Check for yourself.

Quarters for the songs: Wake Up; The Antidote; We’re Not Gonna Make It.

Worth listening, if you like: Rise Against; Hell is For Heroes; Fightstar; Lostprophets; New Empire; One Minute Silence; Coheed & Cambria; Deftones; Thrice; Used; AFI; Saves the Day.

Album — Antidotes by Foals

Advantage, Putman ...

Foals are a twitch party band from Oxford, England. The music is poppy electric dance-punk (with roots in math rock) that moves from murky to move-inducing to mixing the two together. The album was recorded in June 2007, but had to be remixed to fit the band’s desired sound. The American version has two extra tracks — “Hummer” and “Mathletics” — compared to the earlier U.K album. Check for yourself.

Quarters for the songs: Heavy Water; Big Big Love; Mathletics;

Worth listening, if you like: Bloc Party; The Rapture; Youthmovies; TV on the Radio; Baby Shambles; Razorlight; The Futureheads; Wolf Parade; The Long Blondes; Kenna.

Single — Something Good This Way Comes by Jakob Dylan

Jakob Dylan

Jakob Dylan releases a simple, soulful single for his first solo album, “Seeing Things” (available June 10). It’s an interesting choice for a first single as it’s pretty standard folk-pop … not to say that it’s not enjoyable—it is—but it probably won’t be scaling the radio-play charts. It does make me curious if this is a sign of what to expect from the upcoming album—a softer, simpler take on what sounds like Wallflowers’ songs (and I’m ok with that). Check for yourself.

If it were in a movie: montage of old couple doing nice things for each other.

Worth listening, if you like: The Wallflowers; Norah Jones; Amos Lee; Ryan Adams; Sheryl Crow; Michael McDermott; The Jayhawks.

Album — Count to Ten by Tina Dico

Tina Dico

Tina Dico is a Danish indie pop singer, and Count to Ten is her second international album (which has been nominated for “Best Album” by the 2008 Danish Music Awards). Her voice is a clear alto, but the focus is more on the songwriting, opposed to her voice (though it shines in “Cruel to the Sensitive Kind”). The songs are low on hooks, but if you like somewhat-somber, introspective female singer-songwriters with meaningful lyrics, you should find something to like. Check for yourself.

Quarters for the songs: Night Cab; Count to Ten; You Know Better; Craftsmanship; My Business; Cruel to the Sensitive Kind; Magic (a bit Damien Rice-esque); Sacre Coeur.

Worth listening, if you like: Brandi Carlile; Neko Case; Beth Orton; Feist; Imogen Heap; Jewel; Missy Higgins; Tori Amos; Kathleen Edwards.