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1. Guero
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2. Hot Fuss
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3. Garden State
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4. Gimme Fiction [Bonus CD]
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5. Funeral
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6. I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning
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7. A Rush of Blood to the Head
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8. Picaresque
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9. Silent Alarm
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10. Oh, Inverted World
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11. The Woods [Bonus DVD]
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12. Franz Ferdinand
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13. Employment
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14. Final Straw
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15. Good News For People Who Love
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16. The Bravery
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17. Our Endless Numbered Days
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18. Chutes Too Narrow
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19. Music From The O.C. Mix 4
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20. Antics

1. Guero
list price: $13.98
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Asin: B0007SL1LW
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 19
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Now that Beck has effectively exorcised his personal demons with 2002's hyper-confessional Sea Change, he can get back to the business of being a total fruit loop. We all know what that involves: video game sound effects, random shouting in Spanish, and rhymes about popsicles and vegetable vans. And that's just the second track. Guero is like every Beck album condensed into one, a no-holds-barred collision of two-turntables and a microphone with the added bonus of guitars, bossa nova beats, Jack White, lyrics about spaceships and dump truck full of ideas all fighting to get heard about the ruckus. It's an exhausting and exhilarating listen with lots of peaks, such as the digitized power ballad "Broken Drum" and handclap drench folk freak-out "Farewell Ride," and more than enough to restore anyone's faith in Beck as one of the most chaotically inspired songwriters of our time. -- Aidin Vaziri ... Read more

Reviews (155)

4-0 out of 5 stars Phenomenal
Beck is truly one of a kind, and that is what makes his music always enjoyable.You never know what Beck is going to do and that unpredictability factor always makes a Beck album engaging. Too many musicians today are too cliche and you can always predict what direction they are going to take.With Beck, you're in for a surprise ride everytime.

What is unique about GUERO is that it doesn't just appeal to one audience.While Beck may be rocking out with hard guitars on his first single (and notable track) "E-Pro",he doesn't just use a standard drum set.With the Dust Brothers (Beastie Boys) producing he uses drum programming that hints at a very catchy hip-hop edge. Beck goes full fledge alternative hip-hop on "Que Onda Guero" while he chooses a conservative beach rock sound with synth and all on "Girl".

After an engaging three hit track start, Beck disappoints somewhat on "Missing".His follow-up track "Black Tambourine" again uses a Dust Brothers hip-hop beat.While it is a good and fun track, it isn't the caliber of "E-Pro", "Que Onda Guero", or "Girl".

Beck comes back strong with the hip-hop synth arrangement on "Earthquake Weather" where Beck sings with his typical folk/indie-rock style over a genius arrangement."Hell Yes" is another stellar track.Who couldn't say hell yes to that?

While all the tracks on the album are enjoyable listens, the first few and the above mentioned are the best.Beck should definitely be recognized by the Grammys for this. It is an artistic masterpiece.It is a breath of fresh air when an artist doesn't conform to the commercial aspects of music and goes for the independent approach in producing whatever they want to.You keep on doing your thing Beck and hell yes your album is cool!

5-0 out of 5 stars The Resurrection of Beck
Beck returns in full force and great musical shape with a Cd that runs the gamut from psychedelic Jimi Hendrixlike rock to Jobimish bossa nova travelling through Pinkfloydesque ventures.
True talent exudes from this offering from the first funky single E-Pro,the ethnic QUE ONDA GUERO,the definite next single GIRL and the dark yet inspiring BROKEN DRUM.The presence of BECK in the music world is an inspiring element and reassuring thought that talent lives on,be it hailing from East L.A. or from Topeka

4-0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good 4 a Guero
EASolinas has the perfect description : Distortion Rock a la Latin Hip-Hop . I made my fantastic edit of Odelay , Midnite Voltures and Guero called : Mixd Emotions ... Six of each ... This Guero is pretty inventive and keeps life a fresh ... Sea of Change I like all of It as it Is ... I guess I am a real at heart 70's child ... Keep it comming ...

Alright, alright. We can all get over ourselves now. After months of pointing the Salem-witch-hunt-like finger at Beck and enceremoniously saying that his career has come to a dead stop, I think we need to listen to this album. Because the fact is that if any other upstart band or artist came out of nowhere and produced Guero, we would be hailing them as surefire Messiahs. They would be plastered all over every magazine, poster, t-shirt and record store and would win the Mercury and/or Shortlist prizes before the award ceremony could be put on.

This isn't Beck's best album. But does that really matter? That's like criticizing Abbey Road for not being as good as Sergeant Pepper's. The fact of the matter is we have a truly genious artist (Beck) producing a really great, fun, listenable-yet-challenging and completely original album (Guero) that can only be classified in one genre: "Beck music".

But, "Gasp!" you say. "He isn't creating a wildly new aesthetic and changing the music scene singlehandedly!". "Oh no!" you cry, "Some songs teeter on, dare I proclaim, Minimalism! THE SKY IS FALLING!"

Get off it. This record is just one of the myriad of exciting, buzz-worthy, and unique albums to be released so far this year, so for god sakes, stop debating and BUY THIS ALBUM! And then do me a favour. Sing along to the "na na na" chorus. All three of them. Bask in their carefree glory, and hear them almost speak to you. Do you know what they're saying?

"Forget expectations. Put on some Beck. Be happy."

5-0 out of 5 stars Best album since Odelay
Beck's mishmash of sound and genre is a wonder to behold, and at times hard to listen to.It requires a patient, open mind and an ability to appreciate artists who are the musical equivalent of Picasso.Guero is not quite as all over the place as Mutations, but it still varies widely from Latin hip-hop to a quasi Country/R&B.Add in some video game sampling and distortion mic and you have Beck.

My favorite tracks on the album are Epro, Que Onda Guero, and Earthquake Weather, but all of them are great.This is one of those rare albums I can listen to from start to finish, and as such, it earns all five of its stars. ... Read more

2. Hot Fuss
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Asin: B0002858YS
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 40
Average Customer Review: 4.34 out of 5 stars
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The Killers match postpunk guitars with an overlay of synthesizer that recalls '80s New Wave without burying their sound in nostalgia. On their debut, Hot Fuss, frontman Brandon Flowers plumbs his imagination for tales of murdered lovers ("Jenny Was a Friend of Mine," "Midnight Show"), voyeurism ("Mr. Brightside") and sexual confusion (the single "Somebody Told Me") Flowers and his mates are obviously canny students; the total effect is of a playacted obsession, but one made irresistible by their skillful, catchy songs. If there's an occasional misstep (the painfully earnest line "I got soul but I'm not a soldier" from "All These Things That I've Done"), it seems of a piece with the Killers' influences. As it is, Hot Fuss is one of several recent releases that bring a diverting faux glamour to the mainstream rock scene.--Rickey Wright ... Read more

Reviews (50)

4-0 out of 5 stars Possibly the Freshest Sound Around Right Now
On their new album, The Killers put out a great album filled with 80's influences. From David Bowie to Duran Duran and Depeche Mode, The Killers blend all of their influences with just the lighest sprinkle of indie-pop the make one of the freshest sounding albums of the year. Full of synth-laden hooks and pulsing dance beats, the album breathes like no other current CD. There's feel good songs like the current single, "Somebody Told Me," as well as displays of real songwriting in "Mr. Brightside" and "All These Things That I've Done." The album does have some slower-moving parts, such as "Andy You're a Star" and "Indie Rock and Roll," but they don't seem to bog down the flow of the album too much. The production quality is great, with open guitars, slamming drums, and echoey vocals. Its something you'd expect from the British underground music scene, not the Las Vegas desert. However, when The Killers come out to play, they won't leave anyone alive.

4-0 out of 5 stars Quality retro continues, this time 80s style...
To the list of bands in the last few years that sound blatantly retro and are quite good at it (the Strokes, Interpol, the Darkness, Franz Ferdinand, etc), add the Killers to the list...

Hot Fuss is a fantastic debut cd that updates 80s music and toughens it up for modern times. The first single, Somebody told Me, reminds me a lot (at least lyrically if nothing else) of the catchiness of Blur's Boys and Girls. In a lot of ways this band is like a more-fun version of the Stills (who I also love), even though lyrically the music can often be quite dark.

There are a ton of stand-out tracks here, beginning with the first one, which is one of the best. My other favorites are two, three, four, and seven, although honestly even the worst tracks here are worth listening to.

One interesting note... a lot of people I have played this for assume that this band is British. Not so... with the Darkness and Franz Ferdinand stealing some thunder from the Strokes and the Stripes, score this as a win in USA's column.

A debut album thats catchy, lyrically meaningful, musically dense, and non-cheesily retro (even with synths involved)... what can I say, except that I can't wait for the follow-up album.

1-0 out of 5 stars No Excuse In This Day and Age
I bought this album based on the catchy first single "Somebody Told Me." While this song is good, and some of the others have potential, there is no excuse for the piss poor recording quality of this album! The songs are all mid-range, with bass that cuts in and out sporadically. Not even a show-quality car stereo with MB Quarts and a manual equalizer could adjust the poor sound quality. It annoys me even to listen to it. Def Jam and Universal should be much more aware of what their label is producing, and filter out crap like this. The band is good, but I don't want to listen to this album. If listening to warped 8 tracks in monotone is your thing, then you'll enjoy this album. Otherwise, save your money until the producers can be bothered to spend more than 5 minutes on a song.

5-0 out of 5 stars I'm so addicted!
I first heard the single "Somebody Told Me" on FUSE, and I thought it was ultra-catchy. I decided that I'd buy their album immediately upon it's release. So, I pre-ordered it here and waited patiently. When I first listened to it, I was immediately struck by how much I liked *every song.* I'm normally the type of person who needs to listen to a new album a few times before I like it, but not this time.

My top three songs of the album are "Andy, You're a Star," "Jenny Was a Friend of Mine" and "Smile Like You Mean It." I'm not one to normally gush over bands, but Hot Fuss is a purchase that won't let you down.

1-0 out of 5 stars Hot Fuss is generic pap
This was a major dissapointment, especially after reading the Rolling Stone review which compared the Killers to the Psychedelic Furs, New Order, and Joy Division. The fact is the Killers have nothing in common with those bands, and Brandon Flowers' lyrics and vocals don't hold a candle to Richard Butler or Ian Curtis. The fact is this band sounds like they could be on the Warped Tour opening for one of the million tenth generation Blink 182s. This is rubbish. ... Read more

3. Garden State
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Asin: B0002J58LK
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 29
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Writer and director Zach Braff does a masterful job matching the charming, heartfelt tone of classic films like The Graduate and Rushmore in his motion picture debut, Garden State, so it only makes sense that the music he personally compiled for the soundtrack plays just as big a part here as it did in those films. Simon & Garfunkel's languorous "The Only Living Boy in New York" is an obvious thread, but aside from Nick Drake's "One of These Things First," Braff is able to carry the mood without getting tripped up in the past. Frou Frou's "Let Go" and Zero 7's "In the Waiting Line" supply soft techno touches, while Iron & Wine's "Such Great Heights" and former Men at Work singer Colin Hay's "I Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You" offer understated angst. It's a pair of emotionally racked contributions from the Shins ("Caring is Creepy," "New Slang"), however, that really make this compilation a must-have. --Aidin Vaziri ... Read more

4. Gimme Fiction [Bonus CD]
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Asin: B00082ZRN0
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 81
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Gimme Fiction is Spoon's loosest, most eclectic effort yet. While still sounding like themselves, the Austin-based band manages to evoke a number of other artists on their fifth full-length. (It's a neat trick.) On proto-glam opener "The Beast and Dragon, Adored," Britt Daniels channels the David Bowie of The Man Who Sold the World. Then there's slinky jam "I Turn My Camera On," where he conjures up Prince or Mick Jagger, circa "Miss You," by singing in a higher register. As indicated by the title, "Sister Jack" sounds like early Who (i.e. "Happy Jack"), while "They Never Got You" sounds like Plastic Ono Band-era John Lennon. Do all these different styles hang together? For the most part: yes. After the triumph of Kill the Moonlight, Spoon could have easily rested on their laurels and issued another album just like it, but Gimme Fiction proves they would rather evolve than stagnate. --Kathleen C. Fennessy ... Read more

Reviews (21)

4-0 out of 5 stars gimme truth
Somebody doesn't like this cd because it clocks in at around 43 minutes?Jesus give me break...thank god this band...any band makes music for themselves first and foremost and not for some whiny fans--that decide after one listen that they give up on one of their "favorite groups" this worth it?umm Yea it is.

This is the latest incarnation of Spoon, and I'm pleased to go along for the ride.There's a warmth to this recording that I really like and Britt's voice come shining thru...and the songs are catch as hell to boot.

To me,this just extends "Kill The Moonlight" and "Girls Can Tell".I know how it is, when you deeply like/care about a band and think that you've been betrayed by them...because oh oh...other people now like them and know about them...and there not your "personal" band anymore....well thats progress folks..and if this means that Spoon gets known, well better them than all the Franz Ferdinand wannabees coming down the pike.

If you give this time, this will join the last 2 excellant efforts and you'll be rewarded.

5-0 out of 5 stars Spoon, adored
Less angular, but more -- what? insular? -- than "Kill the Moonlight", but no less compelling.Certainly no misguided bid for new converts.Brilliant.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Since The Beatles
Spoon is a great band and all the songs show how much Spoon has improved over the years. The Beast And Dragon Adored shows Pink Floyd and Sonic Youth Influences,this is clearly the best song on the album. Two Sides of Monsieur valentine makes an ode to punk legend Elvis Costello, Britt Daniels voice is so good on this one. I turn my camera on is a post-punk sound that is similar to the Medium and Gang of Four. In Sister Jack, Daniels does his best Pete Townshend impression and there is a really great guitar attack on this song. Spoon reminds of how much the British Invasion really matters.

2-0 out of 5 stars A shocking twist for the worse
I love Spoon. They have written several of my favorite songs and their last three albums before this one have all been favorites of mine as well. This album does not come close.

Spoon was exciting because they were able to pack catchy offbeat melodies with minimalistic instrumentation. No one overplayed, but they were still able to generate some of the most interesting songs in the last 10 years. Britt Daniel's voice is incomprable just in sound. Indeed, their earlier work just had such a sleekness to it.

There was a time when Spoon valued brevity. "A Series of Sneaks" was filled with 14 tracks, only 2 of which were longer than 3 minutes. A standout song on that cd, "Car Radio", was a mere minute and a half. This disc is filled with long tedious uninteresting songs. Somehow Spoon has managed to rob themselves of one of their greatest assets.

The album clearly isn't quite beyond redemption, but I see it as a clear lowpoint in Spoon's carreer and can only hope that their follow-up will be better.

5-0 out of 5 stars The best get better (and deeper, and more mature, and...)
The strong, sustained flashes of brilliance that were shown on "Kill the Moonlight" and "Girls Can Tell" becomes a near given on "Gimme Fiction."While those albums tended to sound similar from track to track, "Gimme Fiction" roves expertly over a much wider range of sounds, and in doing so gives us an album that we can listen to over and over and over without ever growing tired.In fact, this is one of those rare albums that seems to draw greater appreciation every time you hear it, thanks to the nuanced track choices and diverse sounds, not to mention the smart, if some times esoteric, lyrics.

But Spoon fanatics, take heart, because the best of what we've grown to know and love remains, mainly a driving, funky sound and still enough vocal and sonic experimentation to keep you guessing.

This is easily one of the top albums of 2005 so far, and could very well grow into a classic with time.For now, it deserves top billing in your iPod or CD player.Just don't forget to put it on repeat... ... Read more

5. Funeral
list price: $14.98
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Asin: B0002IVN9W
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 188
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Album Description

Montreal's Arcade Fire brings a theatricality, an intensity, an insanity, and a penchant for amazing hooks to their debut full-length. You've never heard such energy, beauty, and emotion from such a young band. Fans of Neutral Milk Hotel, Broken Social Scene, and Roxy Music's first two albums will have a new favorite band. ... Read more

6. I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning
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Asin: B00070FV0M
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 96
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Conor Oberst is running on dangerous ground: getting his first Dylan comparisons at age 12, frolicking with Winona Ryder, releasing two separate albums at once. Didn't he learn anything from Ryan Adams's mistakes? It's a good thing he can write such haunting, intimate songs. I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning (released simultaneously with Digital Ash in a Digital Urn) is the album the Omaha native has always threatened to make, channeling his country rock influences into articulate, witty ballads that come to life with gorgeous harmonies supplied by Emmylou Harris. The tumbling "We Are Nowhere and It's Now" might be his first actual masterpiece, while the words of album closer "Road to Joy" ("I could've been a famous singer if I had someone else's voice/ But failure's always sounded better") indicate that Oberst might have his head screwed on right after all. -- Aidin Vaziri ... Read more

Reviews (113)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Great CD, but not Bright Eyes' best
I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning is a refreshing change from a lot of the same kind of music that's being put on the market right now, it's lyrically splendid, like poetry. Although Conor's voice isn't great, it starts to grow on you after a while.

I was actually first introduced to Bright Eyes through this album a couple of months ago. I think it's a fabulous album, and I really don't have a complaint about any of the tracks, I wouldn't say you would be out anything by buying this CD, but just as far as the band is concerned, it's not Bright Eyes' best. I would suggest investing in the Fevers and Mirrors album instead, or at least in combination with this one.

1-0 out of 5 stars More hype, more bad music
Bright Eyes joins bands such as The Decemberists and Bloc Party as contenders for most overhyped indie outfit. All Bright Eyes seems to display is an acousitc guitar awash with boredom.

5-0 out of 5 stars just AWESOME
this cd is wonderful, the raspy, REAL voice of bright eyes is beautiful!

1-0 out of 5 stars Yecccchhhhh!
If you like self-important garbage with a simplistic, childish view of the world, this is the cd for you.
I would have given it zero stars if I could have.
He can't even sing!

5-0 out of 5 stars Best CD of the Year!!!!
This is Conor Oberst's best work yet.We get his beautiful, abstract poetic lyrics and also get haunting, simple melodies that will not leave your head. It's primarily an acoustic album with a country/folk/rock sound, featuring guest vocals by Emmylou Harris and Jim James of My Morning Jacket. Both harmonize and sound excellent with Oberst's trembling tenor voice (which evokes innocence and passion).The entire CD sounds like he is sitting across the table from you, beer in hand, telling you a story in song. A very cohesive work, somewhat reminiscent of Sixties folk rock, from one of the best songwriters I have heard since then.It got me hooked on Bright Eyes and finding all his earlier works, and wondering why I just discovered him! Definitely the best CD of the year! No wonder they call him the King of Indie Rock! Great job, Your Royal Indieness! ... Read more

7. A Rush of Blood to the Head
list price: $18.98
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Asin: B000069AUI
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 167
Average Customer Review: 4.44 out of 5 stars
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Coldplay required a lifetime to make their wonderfully assured debut,Parachutes. But it tookless than two years for the moody British quartet to deliver a masterful follow-up. As a band Coldplay have advanced to a stage where they outshine nearly every oneof their rivals in terms of imagination and emotional pull. A Rush of Bloodto the Head is a soulful, exhilarating journey, moving from the catharticrock of "Politik" to the hushed tones of "Green Eyes" without once breaking itsmesmerizing spell. Singer Chris Martin takes his voice on soaring flights,reaching places only JeffBuckley previously dared to go. And the music is nearly flawless, apersuasive cross between PinkFloyd and the Verve.Even if they haven't come up with another "Yellow," you would be hard-pressed tocare. This is exquisite stuff. --Aidin Vaziri ... Read more

Reviews (854)

4-0 out of 5 stars What more can you say?
This sophomore effort by Coldplay shows the music development of the band. They still talk about heartache and hope. These lyrics are complimented with infectious bass hooks and guitar riffs, interspersed with soft or loud piano and drum harmonies. "Parachutes" gave a glimpse of what the band can do, much like "Pablo Honey" did with Radiohead. And like Radiohead's "The Bends," "A Rush of Blood to the Head" shows Will, Gerry, Jon and Chris, with their different music stylings and influences, come together as four strong individuals with much to say while proving they have amazing talent.

From the loud and somewhat dischorded harmony of "Politik" progressing to the quiet and subtle "Amsterdam," "A Rush of Blood to the Head" shows Coldplay's musical range--we see the eastern influence in "Daylight" and the folk-country inspired "Green Eyes"--all the while maintaing their signature lyric ballad ("Scientist," "In My Place," "Warning Sign").

Why 4 stars? Even with the strength of all of the songs, the album still gives a hint of their potential. I'll leave the five stars until then.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Rush of Blood to My Head
After winning one Grammy award (Best Alternative Music Album), two Brit awards (Best Group and Best Album), two VH1 awards (Best Kept Secret and "Big in Japan") and selling 1.2 million copies of their debut album Parachutes, Coldplay would have to do something miraculous to overcome the sophomore slump. With their newest release A Rush of Blood to the Head, they show the world that they aren't going down without a fight. When the album opens, with the heavy and resounding drums and guitars of "Politik", you notice the change that has occurred between albums. Coldplay abandons much of the love and loss theme that was prevalent in their early work and its place is a slightly more joyful and upbeat sound. The radio single "In My Place" follows this with equal strength, as does the entire album. Not one ounce of energy is lost as the album takes you on its spiraling journey through the mind of a musical genius. In a pop-culture music scene that is dominated by artists like Nelly, Eminem, and Linkin Park, a rock record emerges that gives hope to those of us who long for more. The standout track is definitely "Scientist", where Chris sings in earnest, "Nobody said it was easy, No one ever said it would be this hard." The raw emotion that he puts into his music gives Coldplay that unique edge over most musicians in the genre. My only complaint about this album is the tendency of some songs to sound similar. However, with the caliber of songs that are on this record, monotony can sometimes be welcome and even intensify the musical power. Finally the CD closes with "Amsterdam", where you are confuident that Chris Martin's vocals and energy have retained their strength and that Coldplay has once again delivered a near-masterpiece.

4-0 out of 5 stars They are still kicking it!
The sophomore effort from Coldplay is in no way a "sophomore jynx". It is not an extension from Parachutes either. It is totally different; not so much as a radiohead record but never-the-less different. Instead of coming off as indieish and a complete band effort, it sounds more mature and like a showcase for Chris Martin. This is due to the seemingly more emphasis put on the lyrics and vocals. Both of which are improved from their last outting. Also, their seems to be more keyboard used here especially on the two hit singles "clocks" and "scientist". It is difernet also in that it is much longer than thier debut; by over twelve minutes.

This record excels on many levels along with the aforementioned. It works more as a pop record and therefore seems more appealing to the casual listener. It also contains the groups strongest songs to date. However, despite its brillience, it is not perfect by any means. Among its flaws lie within lyrics. The greater emphasis draws people in. And on a couple songs, like the title track, the lyrics try to be way too philisophical and fail to accomplish their goal. Also, the record contains a couple straight forward rock songs. They are not bad but not what Coldplay excels at.

All of the flaws seem to make this record feel less complete, inviting track skipping and quick boredom. These are not qualities that Parachutes had and therefore AROBTTH is a slightly inferior record. I must urge people to pick this up though since it is still very very good. Don't expect the utter brillience from the first album to carry over however.

Politik- good opener despite werey lyrics.
In my place- pure pop
God put a smile upon my face- best rock song on the record
The scientist- sweet piano and lyrics
Clocks- captivatingly brilliant piano play
Daylight- worst track but listenable
Green eyes- good range of vocals and lyrics
Warning sign- beautiful
A wisper- driving guitar
A rush of blood to the head- too philisophical but still good/great
Amsterdam- best track

3-0 out of 5 stars Hmmm...
I bought this album after it won a Grammy for record of the year for "Clocks," a song that I loved. I was hoping that the Cd would measure up as well, as I had heard "The Scientist" and liked that too, but I was a little disappointed. I thought a few of the songs were dull and mediocre, but maybe because this isn't my favorite style of music?
Overall, its an alright CD... I wish I had borrowed it from a friend before I bought it though, not sure I would have bought it.

4-0 out of 5 stars alright you got me...
this band is pretty awesome. Ordinarily you'll find me listening to music genres like grunge, punk, metal and all that but this is the one band I cross into the mainstream/emo vibe. I first heard the song Yellow and was hooked, then after I heard clocks thats when I really started liking the band more and more and now as much as I hate mainstream stuff usually I find myself a fan of coldplay, the guys are great musicians and have a simplistic vibe about them that makes this just calm, sorta chill out music. So to finish; good album, worth picking up. ... Read more

8. Picaresque
list price: $16.98
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Asin: B0007M22S4
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 171
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Picaresque is yet more proof that the Decemberists' Colin Meloy is the songwriter who loves love—especially when it ends in death, ("We Both Go Down Together," "Of Angels and Angles"), disease ("The Mariner's Revenge Song") or in some other tragic way. This CD spends some time in the band's familiar old Europe setting, although Meloy also touches on politics, espionage, and even soccer. (Proving he knows his fan base, Meloy's "The Sporting Life," is the perfect shout-out to the kids who preferred the library to the gym.) Long-time fans will know what to expect from this album, which compares favorably to the other LPs on their catalog, and withDeath Cab for Cutie's Chris Walla on board as producer, the band seems poised to reach the greater audience they deserve. If you're not already a listener, don't wait another second to become one. With their remarkable vocabulary and bawdy-yet-literary imagery, the Decemberists are guaranteed to make you smarter even as they make you weep. Pop this in your CD player, grab a dictionary, rock and learn.--Leah Weathersby ... Read more

Reviews (34)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Flair for the Dramatic
The cover of the Decemberists' new release is the first hint of what to expect: a literate yet melodramatic set of songs, done with an unusual musical blend of British folk-rock and old-style musical theater.Colin Meloy hasn't shaken his penchant for writing songs about doomed and tortured souls."We Both Go Down Together," for instance, is a rather upbeat tune about two lovers' suicide.And then there's "The Mariner's Revenge Song", a sea-shanty epic that reminds us in a colorful way how revenge is a dish best served cold.No one has really done music like this since Steeleye Span, and The Decemberists have definitely created a unique sound in carrying on this kind of musical tradition.They're obviously not for everyone, but anyone who enjoys rich, dramatic storytelling in the style of the old English ballads, will enjoy this CD.

2-0 out of 5 stars Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before...
Hmmm...the kids sure love this.Third time's a charm, huh?Pretty simialr to the first two.

Really, this sounds like Jethro Tull's, "Songs From the Wood," which is to say, like "Aqualung" without the rockin', heavy bits.That's no good!

After recently cranking the ass-ripping, scrumtrulescent wonder-phantasy that is "Bittersweet" from Roxy Music's, "Country Life," it's an absolute wonder to me that Bertolt Brecht-esque vaudvillian showtunes and sea shantys are such the rage and so "new-fangled" with all the younguns...

Good but just extremely overrated...

5-0 out of 5 stars rapturous pop music
I bought Picaresque after downloading The Engine Driver from this website and was hooked.This CD is one of the finer acoutic-folk records ever recorded.The vocals are nearly pitch-perfect and the lyrics are immaculately conceived.From We Both Go Down Together to On the Bus Mall and on through Of Angels & Angles, this CD had me hooked with Colin Meloy gryocentrically spinning lyrical hurricanes between my ears all culminating in a record that is instantly one of the best I've heard all year.I haven't heard any of their other stuff, I must confess, but the Decemberists are easily one of the best bands out there right now and this is a must-have.Having been a fan of Bright Eyes and the Arcade Fire, to hear the two merged almost seamlessly into one became a listening experience unlike any other.This CD has led me to begin to explore music like Neutral Milk Hotel and Sufjan Stevens, both of which I hope to purchase soon (maybe even from this website).Above all, this CD is marvelous pop music, with influences from R.E.M. to the New Pornographers (see 16 Military Wives).If you own the new Weezer CD, when you're not crying, try listening to this, it'll make you happy.If you are looking forward to the new Audioslave CD, try this out and maybe you won't be disappointed as much when you buy the new Audioslave CD because you've got this to fall back on.Any fan of pop music should love this CD.Flaming Lips, Arcade Fire, Bright Eyes, and Decemberists all belong in the same company of modern musicians expanding upon pop music and creating sublime pop masterpieces that will one day be viewed as landmarks in an era that will one day, I am convinced, be viewed as one of the most, if not the most, musically vital period in the history of pop music.Again, just buy this CD, it awakens ambition.

4-0 out of 5 stars Picaresque
If I was rating this in comparrison to the other cd's in my collection, I would give this a three, but here on Amazon, it deserves at least a 4. I have known of the Decemberists for about a year and a half or so, and was looking forward to this release. For the most part, they come through, but they record is just a little to dreary. Great production and all, but this is my least favorite just because the record is consistanly two dark. These songs are great, but even when you "vibe" with the spooky/rainy feelings, out of knowhere comes "17 militrary Wives" which is awesome, but just so out of place at this point in the cd. Worthy of purchase,

3-0 out of 5 stars Picaresque by The Decemberists paints stories
If there was ever such a thing as 'theatrical folk pop', Picaresque would certainly fall into that category. There are the comparisons to Neutral Milk Hotel, but I would also place The Decemberists somewhere in between that and psych-folk artists like Mull Historical Society and Badly Drawn Boy. The main storyteller/vocalist/songwriter is Colin Melloy, a balladeer who weaves his tales amidst a backdrop of strings, acoustic guitars, and organs. Melloy's nasal-type vocals straddle Lee Mavers and Colin McIntyre, but that's almost secondary to the story he wants to tell, the picture he wants to paint. 'Picaresque' is catchy, safe, middle of the road pop/rock, and although it doesn't exactly push the envelope of music experimentation, music is also about telling stories, which is what 'Picaresque' and The Decemberists are, inheriting the tradition of story tellers, a folk-rock escapade guaranteed to brighten up your day. ... Read more

9. Silent Alarm
list price: $12.98
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Asin: B0007NFMDK
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 102
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Styled more along the lines of a revolutionary cell than a band, Bloc Party approach the medium of rock'n'roll with the sort of high seriousness usually reserved for philosophy lectures. Yet on Silent Alarm, this "autonomous unit" of smart, wiry London youth don't just succeed in reinvigorating the artform--they come pretty close to reinventing it from the ground up.Whereas early singles like "She's Hearing Voices" found the band still attempting to chisel their own image out of familiar post-punk reference points--The Fall, Joy Division, and Gang Of Four, to name but three--newer tracks such as "Like Eating Glass" and the prickly "Price Of Gas" find Bloc Party pioneering a freshly-minted template of staccato percussion, expansive soundscapes, and cryptic lyrics that artfully straddle the political and the personal. Russell Lissack has forsaken that overdone hallmark of post-punk, brittle tortured-fretboard skronk, in favor of an effects-laden guitar sound that adds genuine prettiness to Bloc Party's edgy rush. But it's Kele Okereke's vocal that's the band's most flexible facet, morphing from frothing anger to breathless desperation. "Are you hoping for a miracle?" he bays, on "Helicopter". Yes? Well Silent Alarm ably fits the bill. --Louis Pattison ... Read more

Reviews (53)

5-0 out of 5 stars Don't let the cheesy name scare you away-These guys RULE
This band is great and the album is a must have.Every single track is excellent.The songs are very well written, the vocals are from the heart, and the musicianship is tight and very interesting.Great drummer too.He reminds me of Stuart Copeland from the Police...Very inventive, intense, and precise.This vocalist has great range, and he hits notes that will make the hair on your arms stand up. Much of the vocals remind me of H.R. from Bad Brains.Listen to Bad Brains "The Omega Sessions" and tell me there's not a similarity there.There are alot of bands currently trying to capture that raw British,70's and 80's alternative rock sound; Bloc Party is the only group that has successfully gotten it right....And they nailed it!They are so authentic that you'd swear this album is from the past, not recorded in 2005.Give it a try, it's worth your time and money.

5-0 out of 5 stars Top 10 album of the year!
Ill get to the point, bloc party is the surprise of the year and they dont dissapoint. For all you killers and franz ferdinand fans your simply wasting your time with those bands not to take anything away from them but there album just seems boring compared to bloc party. Banquet ofcourse is the flagship of this album but offers so much more than just banquet, positive tensions awesome, helicopter great, she hearing voices just awesome, pioneers brilliant, i can go on but this is as far as im going. To all you looking for an album that will be worth your 13 bucks i say take a chance you wont be dissapointed. This album clearly should be atleast in the top ten album of the year its that good.

4-0 out of 5 stars Interpol? Are you kidding me?
You know, I'm getting really tired of reading these amateur reviews of new albums using such repeated names as Interpol, Franz Ferdinand, and the GODFATHER of the most overused... Joy Division. Really, kids.. just stop it. First of all, the first two are recent bands, and this group obviously pulls more aged and matured influences into the mix. We're talking about Bloc Party here, not the Bravery. No need to bring recent names into the list.

I will tell you that this album has it's cup runneth over with bass lines that will move you, verses that will hook you, and guitar riffs that will taunt you. I know that sounds horribly cheesy, but it's the only way I can think to describe it. To me, I hear a bit of Public Image Limited (pre "Compact Disc"), a tad of Gang of Four (yes, I know that's overused too), and a touch of Wire. There are many other influences I could add as well, but I really don't have that kind of time.

Listen, I know it's the elitist way to put down any band that makes it "mainstream," but this album is definitely worth all the fuss it's getting. And this is coming from someone who spends hours browsing various audioblogs and record stores each day trying to find something different and unheard of for next week's bar crowd to enjoy.

But don't listen to me. Listen for yourself. Stop caring about what other people think and love music for what it's meant to be. An escape from reality and a jolt of emotion. It's NOT a popularity contest.

1-0 out of 5 stars Crash and burn
Another great British post-punk/pop hope crashes and burns on account of mediocrity.There's just nothing that works here except for youthful energy and misplaced outrage.There's nothing clever or accomplished about the songwriting or musicianship, and the politically pretentious and adolescent lyrics make this perfect for anyone under 21 . . . and boring for anyone over.One thing is for certain:one can always count on the British music press and industry powers-that-be to pick out the most temporary, of-the-moment pieces of crap and sell the hell out of them to the undiscerning, dumbed-down masses . . . and succeed!If this cracks America, I'll be seriously disappointed.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great CD
I rarely write reviews,but I'm absolutely dumbfounded by a lot of the user reviews - this is absolutely a great CD, from start to finish.Comparisons to Franz Ferdinand?"Take me out" was an amazing song, but the rest of the Franz CD was less than mediocre.Silent Alarm is rare in that it's good from start to finish, not just front loaded.These guys are very talented - there are hooks in most of the songs, and the harmonizing is both complex and subtle, with the many of the melodies staying in your head.Each song also has enough variation to truly unique - in comparing to 80's bands, I just purchased the latest New Order CD, and Silent Alarm blows that one away.This is a must own, and the only fair comparisons are to Kaiser Chiefs, another really great CD (start to finish) and british pop band. ... Read more

10. Oh, Inverted World
list price: $14.98
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Asin: B00005JSHW
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 150
Average Customer Review: 4.41 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan's Best of 2001

Something extraordinary is afoot in Albuquerque. The Shins' first big-timerecord, Oh, Inverted World combines mysterious narratives with golden songstructures, resulting in lavish and opulent indie pop. Touches of Neutral Milk Hotel's lyricalmajesty and the nostalgic swirl of Echo and the Bunnymen abound.But the Shins' music--rich with acoustic guitars, flickering rhythms, and Casio-tonekeyboards--is distinct and peculiar. Worry mixes with abstraction throughout, and whileJames Mercer sings, "You led no celibate life / No skirt while chemicals danced on yourhead / You stole the keys to this ride / And your fables are falling tonight," you maywonder if he's been routing through your fondest, most troubling memories. This vitalalbum is easily among 2001's most distinguished recordings and one of the best Sub Popreleases to date. --Thom Arno ... Read more

Reviews (174)

4-0 out of 5 stars Amazing, but too short!
Well, let me begin this otherwise stellar review with my largest gripe: at 33 minutes, this album is just too short! Of course, that's more a compliment than anything else, but seriously, it takes somewhat of an investment of time to get into the "world" of this album, and the ride seems to be over a little abruptly. On the other hand, the short playing time may encourage listeners to do the two things they must to fully enjoy this dense and complex work: listen carefuly to the whole thing in one sitting AND listen repaetedly.

You see, this is thinking-feller's pop-music. The vocals are, at first listen, difficult to hear--- and once you can hear them, you'll need to make some personal sense out of the lyrics, which can lean toward the solopsistic and opaque. In fact, what might grab your attention first is the brilliant arrangements of fairly standard instruments--- in "One by One all Day" the interplay between nyoln-strung accoustic and burbling keyboard sounds fresh and compelling--- the dreamy intro to the single "new slang", equally ear-opening--- check out the gloomy french horn behind "the past and pending". This record inhabits sonic territory somewhere between "Smiley Smile" and "Belle and Sebastian", yet manages to sound utterly original. The lyrics and fractured narratives have more to do with Pavement or Will Oldham, yet are equally unique. No one sounds or writes songs quite like The Shins.

That said, I would have appreciated the vocals a little more front-and-center and clear in the mix. It's a trick Stipe managed with REM without compromising his hipster-cred. What's the point of writing great lyrics if no one can hear them? These songs deserve better--- the "lost in the mix" vocals smack of a gimmick and there is nothing, I repeat NOTHING gimmicky about this music.

It is indeed and album that pulls you into a world of sound an images, but you'll need to bring your imagination and (at times) patience along for the ride.

Great, cerebral music for intrepid aural travelers...

4-0 out of 5 stars The ghost of Brian Wilson
One of the suprising alternative releases of the summer thus far. How do you describe their sound? The echo-heavy vocals from James Mercer sound errily like Brian Wilson and almost as inhuman and difficult to decifer as Michael Stipe. "Oh Inverted World" is like the Beach Boys "Pet Sounds" sessions meets Syd Barrett.

The psychedelic acoustic guitars and cascading harmony of overlapping vocalization is reminiscent of a scratchy Simon & Garfunkel album that you might remember listening just before you passed out after a long night smoking too many J's.

The highlight of the album is "New Slang", a resigned ballad where Mercer sounds as if he were the voice of Brian Wilsons ghost while the band overlaps in a melody that will remind some of the Cocteau Twins.

However, the Shins missed a big opportunity to include the hypnotic and adictive song "Sphagnum Esplanade" from their 7" limited record release. In doing so, "Oh Inverted World" falls just short of one of the best releases of the summer and we lose out on enjoying the best song they've cut in their brief career. Its hard to figure what they were thinking?

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Pop Album!
This is one of the best albums I've heard in a very very long time. I heard of the Shins from all the hype they had created due to this album and its follow up Chutes too Narrow. Well, I had some money to blow and I went on down to my local record store to hear the next best thing to sliced bread and I found this one lone copy of Oh Inverted World and paid my money and left, not really expecting much. Boy, was I wrong, this album is like Syd Barrett(my most favorite artist ever), The Byrds and The Beach Boys all blended together into one blissful psychedelic mix. These songs are happy, friendly, subdued and of course a little drug induced. The lyrics are cryptic but lush on imagery and have a frank honest tone to them and their delivery by Mercer even futhers the impact. But the best thing about this album is the actual music in my opinion. Its like a warm cascading waterfall or a lazy summer day spent in the shade. It is definitley an odd ball on Sub Pop's catalog along side the grungy likes of Nirvana, Soundgarden and Mudhoney but I give Sub Pop a thumbs up for change and for finding one of the best modern rock-pop acts ever. If you enjoyed this album I reccomend Chutes too Narrow and Syd Barrett's The Madcap Laughs.

3-0 out of 5 stars good but...
this cd is better than Chutes too Narrow. Creative, and the lead singer has a cool voice. But it only gets three stars. All the songs sound a bit too much the same. Not enough variety. No amazing songs.

5-0 out of 5 stars Where am I? a acid-induced dream?
No, I'm listening to The Shins stunning debut "Oh, Inverted World"

Each song is a masterpiece of its own right, but I prefer the seemingly different 'Past and The Pending' because of its interesting horn work and downtrodden feel. This band took the indie world by storm when this album came out. It was entirely out of left-field: A psychedilic (sp) rock band out of New Mexico? How does that happen? and what's that? They sound good? sign me up.

Its interesting to note that the track 'Celibate Life' not about abstinence in its traditional sense, but rather keeping away from drugs, which can be seen as satrical given the era they are borrowing from.

The imagery is what really sells this album. Nowhere else will you find emotional imagery as vivid as The Shins (ex. Her lips when she speaks are the valleys and peaks of a mountain range on fire) Its incredible to visualize and to just ponder.

Definitely one of the best albums of 2001 even with all the other great debuts of the year. ... Read more

11. The Woods [Bonus DVD]
list price: $14.98
our price: $11.99
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Asin: B0008FPIO0
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 35
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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After its most prolonged absence from the recording studio, Sleater-Kinney has reloaded with a smoldering rock and roll record that rivals John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band and Nirvana’s In Utero in terms of unexpectedness. It is a 180-degree proclamation to the album which came before it. Producer David Fridmann (Weezer, Flaming Lips) coaxed the Portland, OR trio to retool its approach to making music. The results are startling and far and away the most collaborative, experimental and risky in the band’s seven-record career. Corin Tucker’s supreme guttural form is on display from the lead-off track "The Fox"--a would-be children’s tale overridden by crunching power chords and drummer Janet Weiss’s battering percussion. The Woods tugs on your ear musically and stabs at your heart lyrically on riff-wielding jaunts "Wilderness," "Modern Girl" and "Rollercoaster." The live-in-one-take, 11-minute blockbuster "Let’s Call It Love" unleashes Carrie Brownstein’s foray into guitar-solo psychedelic. Haven’t heard Sleater-Kinney yet? Try Dig Me Out and work your way forward. Already on board? Find a steady chair, feel your ears bleed and watch your speakers disintegrate. --Scott Holter ... Read more

Reviews (22)



5-0 out of 5 stars A new and improved (in ways!) Sleater-Kinney
My initial reaction to the first few seconds of the album was, "How can this fit in Sleater-Kinney's arsenal?" These seconds are filled with raw, grungy, distorted guitars and pounding, bass-heavy drums. This helps me, a devoted fan even in self-titled days, understand why after four relatively successful albums on Kill Rock Stars they would switch to Sub Pop, the label that put out some of the early Soundgarden and Nirvana albums.

When the vocals entered in the first track, "Fox," I was taken back to Sleater-Kinney's world. Corin's vocals are just as simultaneously wild and controlled as ever. As she sang the words, "land-ho!" I imagined she must have been sitting on a vibrating chair in the recording studio.

The second track, "Wilderness," is typical Sleater-Kinney with Hot Rock guitars and Carrie and Corin doing what seems like vocal impressions of each other. "Jumpers" has the classic-to-Sleater-Kinney desperate feel. "Modern Girl" is cheesy at best. "Rollercoaster" has a fun, almost go-go feel to it. "Let's Call it Love," in its eleven minutes, reminds me of the type of humor in which the joke gets so monotonous and annoying that you hate it, and just then, it gets hilarious again. Track placement should have called for "Let's Call it Love" as an ender instead of "Everything," which would be a better song if they weren't putting the album-ender pressure on it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very good. 4.5 stars
My impressions: Sleater Kinney listeners will be taken by the freshness of the sound, the different mix. I was wowed! It sounds like the songs were recorded on one track -- it's very organic, yet mature. Underneath all the excitement surrounding a new album though, I'd say this album's quality is about the same as One Beat. I LOVE One Beat; there's not really a weak song on it. The Woods has moments of sheer brilliance and Mrs. Carrie Brownstein's six string investigates new territory not explored by SK previously. The drums are savage and complex. And I got chills once or twice at Corin's wail (love that passionate voice). "Laaaand ho!" Overall, SK remain head and shoulders above most acts today. Definitely worth the money.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Woods
Mostly very good, though in many places the guitars are mixed way above the vocals, maybe too much. "Modern Girl" is a production disaster, though--a distorted harmonica track? Ugh. "Entertain" falls into that marching-band-drummer thing that Janet Weiss sometimes seems to get stuck in. The bonus DVD was rockin', though the last track could have been recorded better.

5-0 out of 5 stars Seven albums strong.....
This album is a must-have for any music lover who chooses to see past the blights of American Idol and Britney Spears. For new fans, the band often takes a couple listens but they are worth it. For old fans, get ready to rock with Carrie's stellar guitar and a Sonic Youth-esque jam on "Let's Call it Love".

I have been a fan for about 6 years now and I can honestly say "The Woods" blows everything else out of the water. The lyrics have changed drastically from "One Beat's" overt (though justified) finger-flipping towards Bush. Instead, they come back with nuanced poetry that is far more venomous and subtle.
"The Woods" proves that Sleater-Kinney has that rare ability (ala Sonic Youth and Beck) to always sound like themselves whilst releasing dynamic new albums. Definitely worthy of the title "Rock Album". ... Read more

12. Franz Ferdinand
list price: $18.98
our price: $9.99
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Asin: B0001ZMWQO
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 54
Average Customer Review: 3.94 out of 5 stars
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Franz Ferdinand is an unrelentingly smart, fluffy, and fun debut. This Scottish four-piece plays vaguely angular, guitar-heavy post-pop that makes you want to dance around the room while playing air guitar. It's the ideal hipster guilty-pleasure music for 2004. This is what the Rapture and Interpol would sound like if they wrote songs half as good as those they rip off, or the Strokes if their parents had sent them to art school instead of the fashion academy. Every song on here is so blatantly derivative it sounds almost original, like a modern Blur without the gloomy hangover. It's too early yet to tell if this is just a band for the moment or one for the ages--but who really cares with pop music, anyway? Songs like "Darts of Pleasure," "Come on Home," "Take Me Out," and "Cheating on You" are so good they will surely appeal to those without slanty, messy haircuts. --Mike McGonigal ... Read more

Reviews (126)

4-0 out of 5 stars ok this album is pretty damn ok...
franz ferdinand are like this year's britney spears of "indie" rock. last year was yeah yeah yeahs, and the year before was the strokes. i love all these bands and own all the music they have put out, but these bands are far too derivative to be "saving" rock n roll, or making any real mark in music other than the fact that they are all pretty ok and are somewhat popular (shock! decent music selling records?!?)and they are being hailed as rock messiahs in a britney-ruled music world. which i guess is a bit of a feat. hmmmmm. ok im rambling. this album is pretty great, they sound like stripped-down, less distorted vocals strokes. its good stuff. "michael" is f***ing great. so i guess buy it. these guys deserve your money more than britney or sum 41. and hey, they get indie cred by being great friends with belle and sebastian. and one last thing... how come "take me out" starts out AWESOME, then gets really lame?

4-0 out of 5 stars Rock Out
Length - 38:45
Let me start off by saying that this album doesn't really present any exceptional new sound, groundbreaking material or brilliant rehashings of The Beatles. Nonetheless, it's a damn good album, and I'm quite glad that I bought it. As far as the music goes, I think The Strokes comparisons that are being made are valid to some extent. The vocals are strikingly similar on some tracks, the chords and bass sound alike, and the overall energy and exuberance of Franz is comparable to The Strokes. Contrastingly, I think Franz is more exciting, easier to dance to, and the songs are a bit more variegated (I have a hard time distinguishing between most of the tracks on Room On Fire). Another great part about this album is that there aren't any bad songs. There are at least two songs I skip on both Strokes records each time I listen to them. But Franz, solid straight through. In a word, if you're into The Strokes, Franz Ferdinand will be a fine purchase for you. If you care, my favorite tracks include the jaunty Tell Her Tonight, the manic Take Me Out and the brilliant, hypnotic closer, 40'.

5-0 out of 5 stars wooo---ROCK!
All the songs in this album are fantastic!! Franz Ferdinand is an incredibly talented band that creates fearless music! They respect many different genres of music and they aren't (...) enough to say so. So, you see, you dimwitted metal rock punktards, you don't have to publicly hate pop music to be successful. No fear!!! wooo! music! wooo! WOOO!!! WOOOOOOO!!!

1-0 out of 5 stars Franz Ferdinand kicks ass!!
okay where do i start this is the greastest alt rock alblum ever enough said

5-0 out of 5 stars If I could only have one CD for the rest of my life...
Okay, well, who knows what my taste will be like when I'm an old person? But, I know what I like at this phase in my life, and it is precisely what Franz Ferdinand dishes out: unabashed, fun, get-up-and-dance rock music. From start to finish, this album is highly listenable. It's one of those discs that you can have on in the background and not get sick of it on repeat for a few hours, AND you can sit and listen to the lyrics and still appreciate it. People who say they dislike FF seem to have lost all ability to laugh and have fun without pretension. While music elitists seem rather disappointed that this band has achieved a wide fan base in a short time, the rest of us will be enjoying ourselves on the dance floor. ... Read more

13. Employment
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Asin: B0007TKH1Q
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 172
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Is it too early for a Britpop revival? Not on the watch of Leeds quintet Kaiser Chiefs, who just a decade after the release of Blur's scene-making 1994 album, Parklife, offer a striking follow-up. They've hired the same producer--Stephen Street. They've studied the same influences--the Buzzcocks, the Jam, the Kinks. They've even picked up the same English slice-of-life themes--"I wanna wear my clothes tight/Matching jackets and a fistful of notes/New sneakers and a fresh pack of smokes," goes "Saturday Night." The resulting album, Employment, is just as catchy and captivating as you might expect, swinging from the stormy social commentary of "I Predict A Riot" to the shouty insouciance of "Oh My God." A Trainspotting sequel can't be far off. --Aidin Vaziri ... Read more

Reviews (54)

3-0 out of 5 stars "Modernized" old-school pop/punk?
Rarely will I buy an album based on one song, but after hearing "I Predict a Riot" on the radio, and hearing good things about the band, I chanced it - glad I did too.

You can definitely tell the guys have a great sense of humor (also something kinda missing in mainstream rock for much of the 90's and very early 2000's) right down to the CD booklet itself -- where it says, "How to play EMPLOYMENT. Some of the songs go a little like this", then the lyrics begin.

In general, I'd describe their sound as mainstream punk, but not AT ALL on the level of Simple Plan/Good Charlotte/Blink 182, etc. Like those guys, they do use alot of humor in their songs, as stated above, but have much more of a classic punk influence. Imagine the punk of the late 70's, in a more "accessible" pop direction, updated for 2005 and somewhat in the vein of 80's new wave-inspired bands like the Killers. That's a general idea of this album's sound.

"Everyday I Love You Less and Less" starts out with electric, video game-type sound effects. A very humorous "falling out of love" song - Ricky Wilson's British accent only adds to the old-school punk charm, IMO.

The current big hit "I Predict a Riot", is an upbeat, satirical story of big city violence and chaos going on. Almost sounds like vintage 1977-era Clash or Ramones.

After that, though, the album takes a turn into more of a slow direction - say, along the lines of a less synthezied, slower version of HOT FUSS. A couple highlights include "Born to Be a Dancer", which starts with a piano and, despite the typical humor, has a certain dark element to it, and "What did I ever Give You", which is also in that vein, but slow all the way through. However, not really a ballad, per se.

In short, while the opening two songs are clearly the best (and worth the price for alone!), this is still a band to watch in the future! Maybe the other songs will grow on me more after repeated listens. :)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fun fresh album!
Well this is the debut album by the New Brit-Pop group Kaiser Chiefs, filled with fun tracks to bop along with. Now let me start by saying you shouldn't take this group too seriously. From their mindless random yelling in every other song, to their ridiculous lyrics (It makes me sick to think of you undressed), it's not a very deep album. Still it is very good, suny by Ricky Wilson! What's great is that there are original, inco-orporating electro synthesisers into their rock
1. Everyday I love you less and less (3.37)- This is my favourite track with very cool electro-rock in there, funny lyrics and a great song to dance to. One of those where they randomly start yelling 11/10
2. I predict a riot (3.53) - Another silly yelling song, the chorus is sung in an oldies style, and has a rather spooky bridge 9/10
3. Modern Way (4.03)- Quite a serious song for a change, quite gentle singing. It's slow tempoed but I love it 10/10
4. Na na na na naa (3.01) - Um this one is interesting. The most silliest song, where they basically half chant/sing "Na na na na naa!" It kinda doesn't make sense but it's still funny! A faced paced song, almost like a beach-style song 8/10
5. You Can Have It All (4.35) - Another gentle song, sung almost like an oldies slow rock song. It's so cute this song! Practially no guitars but bass, pianos, gentle drumming and a high techno instrument 9/10
6. Oh My God (3.35) - Yay, what a great song! Not as fast as the first track, but half-way gentle, and half-way silly. Ricky Wilson yells in this one, just before the chorus. The music is pretty funky, like a heavy chanting guitar riffs. 10/10
7. Born To Be A Dancer (3.30) - Another half gentle, half-silly song, but venturing to more silly. Strong guitar electro-rock in this song. A really cool spooky bridge in included in this, where the band members join in chorus going "ahhh, ahhh" 9/10
8. Saturday Night (3.27) - Very heavy in the electro bass line. This is almost as funny as Na na na na naa, where Ricky is practically shouting the words. 8/10
9. What Did I ever give you? (4.09) - Not such a good song, but tolerable. It's a bit silly, with a pretty cool chorus. Quite a 'lazy' song. 7/10
10. Time Honoured Tradition (2.45) - Although it has been placed at number 10, I think it's a pretty good song. Quite funny when he sings "and that is the end of that", but the best part is the chorus where it goes quite rocky and chanty "oh oh oh oh, ho-oh" repeated several times in quite a pyschotic chant! 9/10
11. Caroline, Yes (4.12) - Quite a slow sleepy one, a nice song to listen to if you're in a mellow mood. This sound like a Dandy Warhols song, so if you like them, you love this. Cool sleepy guitars 8/10
12. Team Mate (3.24) - The slowest track, with miminal music, just a tambourine here and then, and pianos, and strings. Not such a strong way to end the album, but it's ok 7/10
The album is very good to get to get into a feel good mood. The songs are sufficiently long enough (The Hives songs are like 2 minutes!), and worth buying :)

1-0 out of 5 stars The scale only goes from 1 to 5 stars but I want to give a 0
yeah I really don't like this CD, it wasn't at all what I was expecting. After the first listen of the cd I tried to give the cd away but no one wants it. I mean this cd is so bad my girlfriend dumped me because I own it; my friends don't talk to me any more, and my family is kicking me out of the house and changing their last name - no one wants any association with me since learning I own this cd. I even tried to give the cd away to a homeless man but he took one look at the cd and started to throw cats at me.

4-0 out of 5 stars benefits
an invigorating and fresh dose of rock that gives hope to the legions of new rockers who wear their influences on their sleeves. Just like Placebo reveals such influences as Pixies and Smiths with every breath - while maintaining a constant flair for originality and unique brilliance - Kaiser Chiefs give new life to old sounds; draw inspiration from familiar chords; and more importantly, bring back all the raw, unbridled energy that once defined the pop music world but is now so freakin' rare.

3-0 out of 5 stars Scot Rock: Again?
I picked up Employment with some other new releases after getting a glimpse of "I Predict A Riot."What I got was a few catchy singles and, good, rock songs that were all filler no killer.Talented musicians, yes, but the music on the record wasn't a branch away from albums that have already been done.

It seems that with the new year we lacked the new Franz Ferdinand album-insert the Kaiser Chiefs here.The songs are enjoyable, but lacking the depth that make more than a hit but a classic.I'll admit the band has the sketchy, upbeat, blatant rock down, but what was so unique last year is not as catchy the second time around.It is to be expected when a new sound hits the scene, good bands ride on the coat tail of the originals' success.

Don't get me wrong, the Kaiser Chiefs have potential, a few nice songs, and a good deal of talent.If they can perfect their sound on their next record they could have a fine career on their hands.On the Rolling Stones "Top 10 to Watch for 2005" I'd have to for once agree, though not one of my favorite records this year definitely a band you need to keep your eye on, I feel they have more up their sleeve.

Employment earns
A Bliss of 6 ... Read more

14. Final Straw
list price: $9.98
our price: $9.98
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Asin: B0001MZ7ZK
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 171
Average Customer Review: 4.49 out of 5 stars
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The warm melancholy of Gary Lightbody's voice makes for a versatile instrument on Snow Patrol's Final Straw, artfully balancing bright anthemic rock with disparate reference points like Belle and Sebastianand My Bloody Valentine. Aching with loves both lost and leaving, it's a voice that producer Garrett Lee uses as a jumping off point, dropping fat guitars, electronic noise, and eclectic instrumentation in with Lightbody's breathy, moody depth. The band plays around with wild shifts of texture; "Gleaming Auction" veers in seconds from a relaxed shuffle to a shoegazing crunch, while a blanket of fuzzbox swagger calls forth the ghost of T. Rexon "Tiny Little Fractures." But just when you're ready to throw the record on random shuffle with Electric Warrior or maybe Heaven Tonight, the band lays down a pastoral ballad like "Same." Somehow it holds together beautifully, stuffed with songs that reward repeat listens and ear candy that keeps you full for days. --Matthew Cooke ... Read more

Reviews (41)

5-0 out of 5 stars Most unique sound in years!
Snow patrol's third effort final straw just completely blows the previous two out of the water! Every song is wonderful and has its own sound. I first heard snow patrol when their single Run was featured on the season finale of one tree hill on the WB, and then I was hooked I bought the album about a week ago and now I can say that this is the best album yet this year. From the amazing opening How to be dead, to the fantastic Same, this album has something for everyone. Wow continues the album and throws everything at you. The next two tracks gleaming auction and whatevers left get better with each listen, and then comes the slam. Spitting games, chocolate, and Run best every other song on the album, and are some of the best in recent memory. The beautful Run, however, rises above everything else. Then comes grazed knees, the albums low point. It's a good song, but after the three big hits, it's just kind of a letdown. However, way's and means delivers to bring the album back up and then comes the fantastic tiny little fractures and the absorbing Somewhere a clock is ticking, and then finally the amazing same caps off the album in a excellent piece of music that reminds me of matchbox 20. All the songs are wonderful, however, there is one flaw. The order of the songs. The first four are exactly where they should be, but then comes the problem. After that should have followed Grazed knees, ways and means, tiny little fractures, and somewhere a clock is ticking,not Spitting games, chocolate, and run. Run should have been the final track. The rest hardly matters as long as the first track is how to be dead. Run gets you up into this emotional spot and then drops you back to the harder stuff.If grazed knees had been track five, played before the three best, the album would be without a low point. Oh well, great album just the same.

3-0 out of 5 stars Snow Patrol's bittersweet sound
'Final Straw' basically combines catchy melodic Britpop with the fuzzy-guitar sounds of a My Bloody Valentine or Six By Seven. Not necessarily white-noise, rather leaning towards the chunky riffs of Blur's self-titled album with a bit more rhythm. The vocals almost seem like a more muted Chris Martin, spacey and brooding. Occasionally you'll hear a more delicate touch, typical of countrymen Belle And Sebastian and Reindeer Section, but overall Snow Patrol has a energetic, catchy, brash sound. The CD basically infuses elements of fuzz-rock with UK indie-pop creating something a little different. Although 'Final Straw' won't exactly score points for musical innovation, it's not bad, and should capture the attention of listeners/media...for a little while anyways.

4-0 out of 5 stars Anti-Climactic Greatness
I just graduated college and I'm looking for jobs, so you know what that means... I'm broke. Who am I kidding, I don't buy half the music I used to simply because I can't afford it and I know my way around a computer better than most. But I bought this cd, and thank God I did. It's the only cd I've purchased in months, and well worth it.
Their single "Spitting Games" is definitely the most radio friendly track, but by no means their best song on the album. Songs like "Run" and "Somewhere a Clock is Ticking" have raw emotion that's soft but very soulful. The songs express feelings through the great lyrics and music. You'll find no teenage angst screaming or whaling guitars on this album; just honest well done music. When I first heard the album it brought me back to a lot of the soul searching and alternative bands of the 90's like collective soul, gin blossoms, nada surf, but with a new twist. Kind of like Jimmy Eats World meets Collective Soul.
Overall it's a refreshing and relaxing rock album that's full of good lyrics, vocals and music. It's an album that grows more and more on you as you listen to it.

5-0 out of 5 stars one of the best cds i've ever bought
perfectly thought out sums it up. there is not a song i don't like. every one is as good as the next. i get so sick and tired of listening to bands that sound the same but snow patrol differs. their sound is calming and at the same time you can still rock out to it (if that makes any sense). i heard like 5 seconds of the first couple of songs and bought the cd and there has not been a day where i didn't play it at least once. anyway i highly recommend this cd to everyone even the rednecks i live around.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wow, Run to the store and get this album..
or rather, "add to cart" on

I first heard about Snow Patrol in an article about possible summer 2004 anthems. I listened to the recommended song "Run", and was immediately struck by the chords and vocals. The song's sound is reminiscent of Coldplay's Yellow, but Snow Patrol are definitely not copycats; for one, they're catchier and brighter. In fact, the whole album is very very catchy. Don't be surprised to discover new favorites on every listen!

Well, summer's almost halfway over and it appears less talented acts like Avril are still somehow dominating the airwaves. Do yourself a favor and check out this gem of an album. ... Read more

15. Good News For People Who Love Bad News
list price: $18.98
our price: $9.99
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Asin: B0001M7P78
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 47
Average Customer Review: 3.79 out of 5 stars
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It's hard to pinpoint the exact moment Modest Mouse started sounding like a real band. For the longest time, singer-songwriter Isaac Brock seemed to exist solely to defy the established rules, forging forward on sheer momentum and ingenuity. Even Pavement looked relatively ordinary in comparison to the band's early releases like 1996's This Is A Long Drive For Someone With Nothing To Think About and 1997's The Lonesome Crowded West. But on Good News For People Who Love Bad News, the front man sounds like he's finally touching the earth, and the band--minus founding member and drummer Jeremiah Green--follows suit. A relaxed mood prevails, not so much in volume but in attitude. On the follow-up to the group's 2000 major label debut, The Moon & Antarctica, big sloppy melodies battle it out with brass on punky epics like "Float On" and "The Ocean Breathes Salty." The lyrics are simpler, the arrangements tamer, but the vitality remains. The prevailing mood is that Modest Mouse has pulled off something extraordinary here: a well-rounded, lovable record that doesn't sound anything like David Gray. --Aidin Vaziri ... Read more

Reviews (317)

3-0 out of 5 stars Good News is a Mediocre Album
If you were hoping to a return to roots for Modest Mouse, this isn't the album. This album builds on the direction they were heading with the marginal "Moon and Antarctica" without moving quite far enough away from it. The album doesn't sound formulaic but at the same time, there are no surprises.

"Good News..." starts with a whimper but manages to work it's way into a block of good songs before the album closes out with the flute laden "The Good Times are Killing Me." "Float On" was the obvious up tempo single and the sole bright spot on the first quarter of the album. "Dance Hall" and "Bukowski" start to turn it around but things don't really get going until "The View." Longtime Modest Mouse fans will probably enjoy the last few tracks of the album more than anything else.

The engineering also leaves a lot to be desired. Drum sounds are occasionally tinny, vocals are mixed loud and just like "Moon..." there's an overkill of annoying overdubs and effects. Modest Mouse seems to have lost or abandoned the expansiveness of their earlier work and with it a good portion of their soul. Compared to "Moon" though, "Good News" is warm and highly enjoyable.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good news...
Good news for people who love Modest Mouse: their new album is a thumbs-up disc. Though the tone isn't really changed from their 2000 hit, "Good News For People Who Love Bad News" is a fluid, haunting branch-out, with wonderful instrumentation and a sort of vaguely mellow feel.

The subtle "World At Large" opens "Good News...", soaked with restlessness and resignation, followed by the magnificent "Float On" and solid "Ocean Breathes Salty." The album stumbles a bit with the frenetic "Dance Hall," but picks itself up with literate lament "Bukowski," wall-smashing rocker "Black Cadillacs," and bouncing "Bury Me With It."

When a band's lineup changes, fans have a right to be nervous. But despite changes in the guitar and percussion sections (they switched drummers in mid-album), Modest Mouse keeps its unique, sweeping sound more or less intact without getting stagnant. It doesn't really move too far in a new direction (except being happier), but it's not a rehash of "Moon and Antarctica" either.

Death and pondering what's next are still the centerpieces of Modest Mouse's creations, from the very catchy "The View" to the searing "Satin In A Coffin." "Are you dead or are you sleeping?" Isaac Brock asks repeatedly in his very quirky (and very fitting) voice. Oddly enough, it's more upbeat than some of their past releases -- which is not very upbeat, but there's a sort of lighter undercurrent to the music.

"Good News..." also benefits from a bit of new blood: drummer Benjamind Weikel is new to the group. He doesn't try to imitate ex-band-member Jeremiah Green, but instead uses his own strong drumming to good effect. Synthesizers, versatile guitars and strong bass are backed up by atmospheric additions like banjos, violins, horns and organs.

Poetry-rock group Modest Mouse is still going strong in "Good News For People Who Love Bad News." While it's not the strongest they've done, it keeps the mood pensive and melancholy without turning it into a pose. Good news!

5-0 out of 5 stars And it took me this long to buy this CD?
It takes a lot for me to BUY music. I tend to borrow and dl more than anything else, but Good News For People Who Like Bad News is one of the rare CDs that I thought was good enough to spend 10 bucks on. The music is addictive. The World At Large is a lot of fun; Float On, as much as it's the song that introduced me to Modest Mouse, is somewhat eclipsed by other tracks; Ocean Breathless Salty is by FAR my favorite on the album; Bury Me With It reminds me of some other song that I can't put my name on, which is nice; Dance Hall is, surprisingly, the only song that actually got me dancing when I first heard it; Bukowski is my second favorite song... lots of fun, tres memorable; This Devil's Workday is SUCH a good song, it seems like an old old song that hasn't lost it's meaning; The View, I don't particularly care for... it just doesn't fit; Satin In A Coffin is a good enough song, but it doesn't stay with me; Blame It On The Tetons is a very close #3 for me, very relaxing and is closer to most of the other music I usually listen to; Black Cadillacs is eh, sort of iffy; One Chance is something I would expect to be in a sappy teen movie or something; The Good Times Are Killing Me was an excellent end to an excellent CD. Overall, well worth your time and well worth your money.

2-0 out of 5 stars tragedy strikes
Modest Mouse is one of my all time favorite bands. It was Isaac's raw sound on earlier albums like Lonesome Crowded West and Sad Sappy Sucker that made the band unique and to me and pulsating with energy. Yes, this album is polished, but it is also watered down and much more boring compared to their older, jagged melodies that were throbbing with pain and electric. One would hope that when a band makes it big they're not selling out, but I feel like Modest Mouse just got dumb with their melodies. I for one shed a tear :(

3-0 out of 5 stars ALRIGHT!
After being let down by Modest Mouse's prior independent releases, I decided to give Good News a shot. I was not let down this time around. Mouse finds the perfect blend of weird and catchiness. Although the weirdness takes the cd off track here and there, as a whole it is pretty good. Standouts for me are the hit "Float On" and "The World at Large" and the rest is slowly growing on me. If you're looking for something fresh in the alternative rock scene, look no further. It's fun and slightly bizarre. Their best album yet. ... Read more

16. The Bravery
list price: $13.98
our price: $11.99
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Asin: B0007QJ1LQ
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 181
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Forget for a moment the rumors that suggest the lead singer of this New York five-piece used to play in a ska outfit called, yes, Skabba the Hut. It's a given that a band that so brazenly apes the Strokes' scratchy vocals, Interpol's deep bass grooves and the Killers' shimmering new wave melodies is hardly concerned about being written off as unfashionably fashionable. In two years time the Bravery could very well be making robotic Afro-Cuban funk albums, or whatever other hipster style happens to be troubling the charts at the time, and it would suit them just fine. Right now, the group has the neo-post-punk thing nailed, complete with warm-fuzzy tunes like "An Honest Mistake" and "Unconditional," that, if nothing else, should at least manage lure a few more bodies onto the dance-floor. -- Aidin Vaziri ... Read more

Reviews (71)

4-0 out of 5 stars good stuff
when i first heard this cd, i seriously thought the killers had changed their name and released their second album already.i think the art work's basic layout on each album is kind of similar especially the back cover.both cds have 11 tracks and were released on the same label.ibelieve if the bravery had released their album before the killers people would be on the killers case for ripping the bravery off. it is ridiculous to be on the bravery for ripping off the killers because both bands rip off many 80s bands.neither are doing anything very original but both have made very enjoyable albums.i am a fan of both.i probably like the killers better but i've only had the bravery for 2 hours or so, so that could change."an honest mistake" and "tyrant" are very good songs.if you are a killers fan and don't like the bravery then there is something wrong with you.the albums sound very not like the bravery because they copy the killers is just stupid. if you enjoyed "hot fuss" you should most likely enjoy "the bravery" unless you're a "holier then thou music fan" a.k.a "idiot."

3-0 out of 5 stars Good to Excellent
Since they don't have 3 1/2 stars, I'll just say it is Good to Great. First off, yes. This is not a band that has unconvered anything new. This is not Sonic Youth circa Daydream Nation. Second, yes, there are times that it sounds like a band produced by Duran Duran, but, NO, it does not sound like The Killers. As a matter of fact, after listening to both albums, The Bravery is far better than the Killers. Listen to this album for what it is, a great rock synth moody album.

3-0 out of 5 stars Fun & Fabulous Neo-Retro Dance Music (3.5 stars)
Wow, I really hate 90% of the reviewers out there! It's fine to criticize (I do it constantly) but at least have some legitimacy or perhaps logic. It's really tiresome and disappointing to see so many people say "these guys copy The Killers, duh." What? The Killers haven't exactly been around for years. By the time 'Hot Fuss' came out The Bravery had long ago written their album and were already in the studio. It doesn't even make sense that they are copying The Killers. Many say that they sound like The Killers but with a lot more synths and dancier beats. OK so just say they sound like The Faint and not like The Killers. That even makes some chronological sense too given that The Faint had actually released their albums prior to The Bravery recording theirs. The deeper point is that if you're so worried about a band being original then The Killers stink too; They sound like a bunch of 80's bands just like the rest of these outfits. In short, why pick on The Bravery so much?

If you come in with reasonable expectations, I think you'll really have fun with this. It's bouncy and upbeat filled with throbbing basslines, catchy synth hooks and pouty vocals from Sam Endicott. Actually I find that the he sounds more like a young Bono than any of the comparisons being made here. You will find a few melodies that are cloned from past hits like Duran Duran's "Planet Earth" or U2's "New Year's Day" but it's forgiveable. My faves are "An Honest Mistake", "No Brakes", "Tyrant" and "Unconditional".

In short, just have some fun with this. It isn't a major artistic coup, but here's a newflash for the uptight among you, neither is "Hot Fuss". All of these groups have a sound that's been done before and none of it is going to be remembered as a landmark. These folks are just rekindling a great sound from a past era. As another reviewer noted, I'll take this over Limp Diksuk and britney any day.

1-0 out of 5 stars Really unworth your money or your time.
The Bravery sounds more like The Crappery. They try to emulate The Killers in every aspect by using synthesisers and emulting the voice of Brandon Flowers. This CD has only one good song and it's the first title on the CD : An Honest Mistake. The rest is pure ****. The songs become very repetitive and they are really, really not catchy or substantial. I will give them some points for using different sound arrangements or instruments on their CD, but that's about it. The songs and the CD are not worth your time or your money believe me.

The Bravery are a poor attempt to capitalise on the fury that is new age rock. They do not deserve a second CD, that's how bad their first is.

5-0 out of 5 stars The most awsome cd ever played!
this whole cd is GREAT! its Fantastic...two thumbs up, way up!
... Read more

17. Our Endless Numbered Days
list price: $14.98
our price: $13.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0001ENX54
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 338
Average Customer Review: 4.54 out of 5 stars
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Florida’s brilliant singer-songwriter Sam Beam expands Iron & Wine from solo project to a gaggle of friends and family on slide guitar, percussion, and backing vocals on his second album. Fans need not worry--the hushed immediacy and rich melodies remain the focus--but new flavors abound. For instance, the strange "Cinder And Smoke" sounds like a collaboration (with banjos of course) between America, Robert Wyatt and Low. Meanwhile, "On Your Wings," "Free Until They Cut Me Down," and "Teeth in the Grass" showcase a brooding, earthy, Southern-rock-on-laudanum side that the band had previously only demonstrated in concert. It's rare when an artist who's become known for bedroom recordings makes the transition to the studio to produce work that's better--Daniel Johnston, Lou Barlow, and Liz Phair all made their defining moments crouched above a cassette recorder at home. But Beam is the exception to the rule, as he has easily bested himself on the second Iron & Wine album. --Mike McGonigal ... Read more

Reviews (48)

4-0 out of 5 stars Different and Brilliant
2002's 'The Creek Drank the Cradle' was my favorite album of the year. Brilliant, hushed, personal music. Wonderful lyrics, beautiful, understated guitar work. 2003's EP 'The Sea and the Rhythm' was more of the same. 'Our Endless Numbered Days', finds Miami native Sam Beam expanding his repertoire. It's different this time around. It's less spectral, less muted. Most of the songs feature sparse accompaniment (drums, banjo, background vox). Prior releases were composed solely of layered guitar and voice. This recording is cleaner and much more professional sounding. However, part of the appeal of the first two albums was the murky, basement-style recording quality. Sam's voice is more pronounced this time around. His sister provides beautiful harmonization on several tracks. It's not all new territory though. 'Naked as we Came' and 'Sunset Soon Forgotten' bear that trademark Iron and Wine sound. And, consequently, are two of my favorites on the album. All in all, I'm more than satisified. The recording quality is excellent, the lyrics are, of course, brilliant and touching, and the instrumentation is superb.

5-0 out of 5 stars Soul Searching with Sam Beam
When I read that Iron and Wine's new CD "Our Endless Numbered Days" was recorded in a studio with instrumentals, I wasn't sure whether I liked that idea or not. I was afraid it would lack that certain intimacy we all know Sam's first effort, "The Creek Drank the Cradle," layered on due to it having been recorded in his home on a four-track, with no backing band. However, my fears were quelled after my first listen and, I can gladly say, I might even like this album more than "The Creek." What the studio enabled Sam to do was to make a cleaner, sharper sounding album, without sacrificing the personal qualities we all love. His voice/lyrics and guitar are still the focus of all the songs; the sound of the record remains to be very intimate and simple, with only light instrumental arrangements in the background along with beautiful harmonies which help to add some variety to the album, including chants at the end of "Cinder and Smoke" and drums and tambourine on the bluesy "Free Until They Cut Me Down." All the songs are as beautiful and memorable as ever, with some standouts including: "Naked As We Came" with backing vocals by his sister; the beautiful "Each Coming Night"; the acoustic ballad "Fever Dream"; along with many others. "Our Endless Numbered Days" is a beautiful, thought-provoking album that lives up to the Iron and Wine name with a new sound that seems to be just a natural progression rather than a sudden shift in values. The bonus CD also features a few really nice tracks that have a lo-fi sound which should make fans of "Creek" very happy. Strongly recommended for established fans and newcomers alike.

5-0 out of 5 stars My kind of music
not much that hasn't already been said about this- without a doubt one of the top albums of the year. Sam is amazing in so many ways. Practically every song is terrific... what a follow up to another album that was a revalation.

See Sam and co. in concert if possible, such a good show.

5-0 out of 5 stars come on, harold
quiet is the new loud, don't you know.

1-0 out of 5 stars A chunk of pre-plunged vomit lodged in the throat of God
I don't know who this guy is. I don't care. What I do know is that he's trendy, that trendy people listen to him even though they might not like him, and that his hip, trendy music has apparently made a great impression on the dozen or so fanzines and indie-rock websites that are written by, read by, and purchased by the same 200 or so people who go to his concerts, buy his records, and shop for clothing and other material goods while listening to his trendy music play. That makes him a cult band. If he is a band at all.

I don't think he's a band, I think he's a talentless joke. He strums obtuse chords on a guitar, breathes deeply into the microphone, ripping off Mojave 3 at every turn, praying they either think this is flattering or don't have a lawyer, and looks depressed and ugly in all of his press photo shoots, each of which basically shows him in the same pose, clothing, background scenario, and facial expression. His music tries pretty hard to be important, but ends up being supremely annoying and irrelevant. Unfortunately, this guy and his army of imitators (we're talking fifth-generation Nick Drake wanna-bees by now) have hijacked the entire moribund "singer-songwriter" genre and turned it into a sad theatrical display, a boiling cauldron of musical diarrhea with trite and oh-so-forlorn lyrics to match.

If you have purchased this album and actually like it, then I do not ever want anything to do with you for the rest of my life, and I sincerely home I never have to encounter you in any way for eternity. ... Read more

18. Chutes Too Narrow
list price: $14.98
our price: $13.49
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Asin: B00009LVXT
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 196
Average Customer Review: 4.23 out of 5 stars
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The Shins' sophomore album is a joy from start to finish, though it's rather different from their 2001 leftfield pop genius stunner Oh, Inverted World. That album was like a warm embrace from a long-lost pal. True to its title, all of the songs were of a piece, seeming to inhabit one landscape, with an invitingly similar sound throughout. Chutes is more far-reaching and decidedly eclectic. Each song is essentially its own genre exercise. There's singer-songwriter James Mercer's surprisingly Perry Farrell-ish wail on the almost indie-metal opener, "Kissing the Lipless"; the lovely pedal steel lilt to "Gone for Good"; the moody folktronica of "Those to Come"; and the Cars-gone-rockabilly riffing on "Turn a Square." The strongest song, the acoustic "Young Pilgrims," is stripped-down and brilliant. On every tune, Mercer packs more hooks and melodic invention than most bands do on one album. As a whole, it's an even better record than Inverted World. --Mike McGonigal ... Read more

Reviews (198)

5-0 out of 5 stars Surpasses their debut "Inverted World"
I am a big fan of the debut Shins album "Oh, Inverted World." It's got a warm, fuzzy feel and the lyrics are leaps and bounds above many indie bands on the scene today. The follow up, "Chutes Too Narrow", is a nice step forward for the band. James Mercer's vocals are on full display, no longer hidden inside reverb and multiple backing tracks. It's just him, singing his heart out, and he does a great job. This album is about the same length as their first, barely surpassing the thirty minute mark. Ten tightly focused tracks take you on a joyous ride through Mercer's remarkable lyrics. The standout tracks, "Kissing The Lipless", "Saint Simon", and "Gone For Good" are spread evenly across the album. Genres are across the board. Gently strummed acoustics are traded often for walloping guitars. "Turn A Sqaure" sounds uncannily like a Beatles tune. The only real let down is the album closer, which is a little bland in my opinion. Overall, an impressive sophmore effort from one of the best band's around. If you want the exact same sound as their debut, you'd best look elsewhere. These guys are growing by leaps and bounds.

5-0 out of 5 stars How do the Shins do it?
I love the Shins, so this review may be a little biased, but I don't care. Everyone should listen to this band. Their sound is like nothing I've ever experienced before. "Chutes too Narrow" is different from their debut, "Oh, Inverted World," but in a good, no great, way. If you liked that cd, then you will definitely like this one also. It's almost impossible to find anything wrong with it! The songs on this album are great from start to finish and after listening to it, you can't help but feel that much happier about anything.

The chords and melodies are so beautiful (i.e. Saint Simon, Pink Bullets). So, Says I is my favorite track and I can honestly say that it is one of my favorite songs of the last few years. And believe me, that is saying something. It's just that good, jeez...this album renders me speechless. I go to bed to it every night, I just cannot get enough of James Mercer's magical vocals and the riffs. Oh, the riffs. This is an example of great music that is completely creative and unique.

If you consider yourself a fan of good music, then you need to get this cd and "Oh, Inverted World." If you've never heard of the Shins, then it's time to be awakened. Your life will be changed for the better, trust me. Get ready to be amazed by the originality and perfect display of music that you are about to be graced with.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is really, really good
Ok, when I picked this cd up, I knew absolutely nothing about it. It's possible that I'd read a review for it in Rolling Stone, but the point is that I bought this cd on vague curiosity alone. If vague curiosity has ever been rewarded, it was that day.
If I had to choose a genre in which to place this album, I'd have to think about it for a long time and then throw up my hands and say "the really good music genre." Each song seems to have some kind of formula -- there's always an acoustic guitar, and almost always some drums, and every once in a while a new instrument will make a cameo. Other than that, every song is easily discernable from the others on the album, somewhat of a rarity in my experience.
The real treat here is James Mercer's lyricism, which does a brilliant job of not only providing each song with its own mood and story, but also serving the song as an instrument in itself -- the sounds of the words he sings are just important to the song as the pitch of Mercer's voice.
All in all, Chutes Too Narrow is an excellent cd that exceeds all expectations -- it did for me, anyway.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best album i've bought since Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
I can't even describe how great this album is. You just have to buy it, put it in your CD player, and be blown away - just like I was.

5-0 out of 5 stars My new favorite
I was skeptical about this band at first but have grown to love this album. There is not a single song that I don't like. The lyrics are excellent and the tunes are very catchy, yet not too popish. I can't understand where people are coming from who write bad reviews for this CD, and usually when I buy a CD I can see the jist of both the good and bad.

Sure these type of songs have been done before, but the way that they're done make the best set of tracks I've heard in a while, and it still sounds fresh even if it sounds familiar. It is a very fun album to listen to, especially after the second or third time. Like I said there is not a single bad track on the album. I would give it 4-1/2 stars though for being so short (which disappointed me the first time). What is better though, short and sweet or long and boring?

I won't name any bands but I have bought a series of bad CDs in 2004 from major artists and then this one from a previously unknown band (at least to me) finally broke the string. It's refreshing, to say the least, and has renewed my faith in modern music. Maybe that's saying too much but I honestly think it deserves it and is not overhyped.

Who should avoid buying this album? People who don't like independent bands that explore different genres, don't like catchy tunes, or people who simply hate the SUB-POP label and everything it stands for. ... Read more

19. Music From The O.C. Mix 4
list price: $13.98
our price: $11.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0007QMS20
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 297
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Album Description

"A showcase for new music that’s fallen under the mainstream radar." ("All Things Considered," NPR, April 24, 2004) Musically the hippest show on TV, "The O.C." spawns the edgiest album yet from the unprecedented Music From The O.C. series. Headlining Mix 4 is a new song from alt-rock superstar Beck, "Scarecrow," co-written and co-produced with The Dust Brothers, and "Decent Days And Nights" from post-punk pop’s The Futureheads. Two other tracks also debut—chamber-pop quintet Matt Pond PA unveils its cover of "Champagne Supernova," the mid-’90s #1 Modern Rocker from Oasis, and ethereal alt-rocker Imogen Heap (half of the band Frou Frou) offers "Goodnight And Go." Music From The O.C.: Mix 4 is as sharp as Marissa and as cool as Seth. ... Read more

Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars The perfect cure for the Obsessive Compulsive!
"Mix 4" is the latest soundtrack from the FOX television sensation "The OC". Once again, this great collection of songs blends soothing mellow rock, with pop, dance, rock and ballad to create a beautifully diverse and enjoyable listen.

The music of "The OC" has gained considorable respect over the short couple of years, acting as the main launching pad for great artists including Death Cab, Jem and The Killers. Because of this show, and its terrific soundtracks, Mellow Rock and Alternative have certainly become two of my favourite musical genres.

So once again, producer (and creator of the show) Josh Schwartz has intoduced more fantastic artists, along with their wonderful songs. I know everyone has their tastes, but for me, my Top 3 songs would have to be:

1) "Cartwheels" - by The Reindeer Section: This is a soothing mellow rock song. It has beautiful musical arrangement, as it includes string instruments, which add a great melodic stength to the song.

2) "Eve, the Apple of My Eye" - by Bell XY: this is a moving ballad which has gorgeous piano chords the whole way through. The lyrics are also very metaphorical.

3) "Champagne Supernova" - by Matt Pond PA: this is a cover song of Oasis' original rock classic. This version is very well done, with energetic electric guitar and a string arrangement at the end, which adds real depth to the song.

Other great songs include Sufjan Stevens' "To be alone with you" a calm, and relaxing mellow song. It's beautiful! To lighten things up, it features a "dancier" track, "Play" by Flunk.

So as you can see, there is terrific range in the songs, from very slow all the way to very up-tempo, "The OC: Mix 4" is yet another brilliant soundtrack from the equally fantastic show! This is the perfect cure for an "OC" Obsessive Compulsive, such as myself! I can't wait for the next installment!

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I am a large fan of The OC and every Thursday night I am watching the show. I used to think it was stupid until my girlfriend got me watching it and my friend let me borrow Season 1 on DVD and I was obsessed. The same friend also purchased this CD and let me borrow it and it is awesome! I love the music in The OC because I am into this type of music, like indie and emo, etc.

1. "Decent Days and Nights" by The Futureheads- 2.5/5
An alright start to the album, but nah, it's not the greatest song. Still decent though.
2. "Goodnight and Go" by Imogen Heap- 3.5/5
At first listen I thought it was too "pop" music sounding but now I like it a lot, it's catchy and nice to listen to.
3. "Fortress" by Pinback- 5/5
Probably my favourite on the album. It's an excellent song and I listen to it often, Pinback is a band worth looking at.
4. "On The Table" by A.C. Newman- 4/5
Good song, catchy, and one you can sing along to even on your first listen to it.
5. "To Be Alone With You" by Surfjan Stevens- 4/5
Soft, nice, and beautiful. A good OC song featured on a romance scene.
6. "Play" by Flunk- 3/5
Okay, the woman's voice is sort've drony, but worth a listen.
7. "Scarecrow" by Beck- 4.5/5
Excellent song, Beck is the man. I am a large fan of Beck and was happy to see a contribution by him on this album.
8. "The View" by Modest Mouse- 5/5
Another great song. Again, I am a large Modest Mouse fan and after seeing them live at the club on The OC, I was happy they received a spot on the album. A faster sort of a song.
9. "Hardcore Days and Softcore Nights" by Aqueduct- 3/5
A good song, but not a fan of the vocals on the song. Maybe after a few listens I might like this song more, because when it seems like a song that could take a few listens to enjoy.
10. "Cartwheels" by The Reindeer Section- 4/5
A happy, peaceful, relaxing song. Nice to sit back and listen to.
11. "Eve, The Apple of My Eye" by Bell X1- 5/5
Excellent song! At first I thought the vocals were that of Thom Yorke from Radiohead. Amazing job done on this song.
12. "Champagne Supernova" by matt pond PA- 4/5
An excellent cover of the Oasis masterpiece, although I like Oasis' version one million times better. matt pond PA did an excellent job.

All in all, a great album, it has it's ups and downs. If your a fan of indie/emo music, get this album. If your a g-unit rap-fan who likes The OC, don't get this album.

Seth would be proud.

4-0 out of 5 stars Anyone For Angst?
The fourth installment in a great series of indie-flavoured soundtracks, the OC: Mix 4 strongly reflects the way the show itself has been lately - a bit more sombre and mellowed out, where the parties don't seem to be quite as frequent, and when they are - they're disasters.While there are a number of excellent tracks on this album, I found it didn't quite live up to the other soundtracks, but still, its a great buy.

What I mentioned about the mellowness is true.Very few of the tracks channel any sort of get up and party emotion - although Futureheads "Decent Days and Nights" gets the album off to a rocking start, and Modest Mouse's "The View" is a bit more on the upbeat side.

Truth be told, what really stands out on this album are the slower, angst-ridden songs - of which there are plenty."To Be Alone With You" is a very soft guitar number, "Cartwheels" is all about the dreamy harmonies, and "Eve, The Apple of My Eye" is a sweet Brit-pop esque rock ballad."Play" by Flunk ups the count of women vocalists on this album to two, in a sorta psychadelic style.Matt Pond PA lends a somewhat uninspired but altogether enjoyable cover of Oasis' "Champagne Supernova" as the closing track, which fans of the show will remember played as Summer & Seth reunited.

The rest of the album is mostly mid-tempo rock/emo/alternative/indie tracks - with two particular shiners.Imogen Heap's "Say Goodnight and Go" is a nice electronica turn that hasn't been explored much yet on the OC soundtracks - and rivals her excellent track on the Garden State album as part of Frou Frou."Fortress" by Pinback is also excellent, to the point where these guys have crossover options if they want.

All in all, this album is much more subdued, and doesn't offer quite as many 'gems' as the previous soundtracks - however, it is still a great addition to the OC collection, and even better, your music collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars more indie gems from TV's coolest soap
I would have bought this CD just for the song by Imogen Heap (of Frou Frou, and by the way when the heck are they going to put out a new disc?). Fortunately, as with the rest of the "Music From the O.C." series, this one is filled with gems from popular as well as semi-obsucre indie artists, and will introduce fans of the show to musicians who deserve a wider audience.

I'm not entirely sure who's responsible for selecting the songs for this series, but whoever it is has an ear for talent, and the entire series of CDs has helped me discover artists such as Jem, the Doves, South, the Album Leaf, and now with this latest release Pinchback and a genius named Matt Pond PA, who delivers a sparkling cover of Oasis' "Champagne Supernova."

Whether you're a die-hard fan of the show or you can't tell the Coopers from the Cohens, do yourself a favor and buy this CD today. And then do yourself another favor and buy the CDs of the artists it features.

4-0 out of 5 stars Nearly As Good As Mixes 1 & 2
Mix 4 offers much of the same terrific music as the first two OC mixes.The songs are great for listening to while doing just about anything (entertaining, driving, working out, relaxing, etc.).I gave this CD four stars -- as opposed to the five stars I gave Mixes 1 & 2 -- only because I didn't find as many "WOW" tracks on this disc as I found on previous albums.Still, it certainly beats most commercial pop/alternative music that is available these days, and it will fill out your "OC" iPod playlist quite nicely. ... Read more

20. Antics
list price: $16.98
our price: $13.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0002PD3HU
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 217
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Album Description

The follow-up to their mega-successful debut is no less brooding and intense, but charged with flashes of color and romance. "Antics" infuses Interpol's dark musical landscapes with new optimism. ... Read more

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