Archive for the Reviews Category

I and Love and The Avett Brothers

Posted in music, Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2009 by JD

avetts_1_2I know, I know, it has taken me way too long to sit down and finally write a review of the Avett’s newest release. After 8 albums or so (not including live ones), the Avetts were “discovered” by producer extraordinaire Rick Rubin, who threw them in the studio and put his magic touch on their punk-grass sound.  A 3 song EP was released a few months back and gave fans their first taste of new Avett’s in about 2 years, and  of what was to come when the full album is released.  I think it is safe to say that many fans had the same reaction as I to the new Rick Rubinized Avetts…… “Track 1 – I and Love and You: okay, some piano,  the cello a bit more pronounced, overall a great mellow opening song.  On to the next tune – Kickdrum Heart: “Uhhhhhh……ummmmm…..what the hell is this? Did iTunes mess up and download the wrong band? No, these voices definitely belong to the brothers.”  Track 3 – Laundry Room:  “Okay, we’re getting back to the Avett’s I know, even a good old fashioned ho-down right at the end of the track.”   So the hooping and hollering aren’t really there and some other band’s song got downloaded by accident, but I’m looking forward to the full-length.

Judging by what I was reading online and by the 3 song EP, many fans were apprehensive as to what they would hear when I and Love and You finally came out.  I have to admit that I did not download the album the day it came out.  I was about a week late and was getting bummed out, as one of the terms I was hearing used quite a bit about this new album is “sell-outs”.  I was imagining and entire album of Kick Drum Heart.   A week after it’s release, I finally added it to my iPod and listened to it completely through several times to get a good feel for it and really hear it…and all I have to say is, “Are you f*cking kidding me?!?!” I and Love and You is nothing short of amazing!! This album shows even more what truly gifted musicians the Avett’s are.  Sure it’s more produced and more polished, but how in the hell does that mean sell-out?  If there is any band out there who deserves getting “discovered” by a mega-producer, getting major distribution and becoming huge, it is the Avetts!! They have stayed true to who they are and their music is still amazing.  It might not be the knee slapping, jug band, stomping on the porch music that the annoying fans refer to when they scream out “play some old stuff” at their live shows, but it shows an amazing progression and true growth as musicians, and the heart of what they have always been is  still there.  The banjo is a bit less prevalent but still there, and the piano has definitely come out a bit more in many songs.

Three highlights from this album for me:

  • I and Love and You
  • Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise (this is one of 2 goosebump, tear to my eye songs on this album)
  • The Perfect Space (this is the other)

I and Love and the Avett Brothers! Nothing disappointing about this album in the least bit.
And as I’ve said before, if you ever get the chance to see these boys live…..DO NOT MISS IT!!!
One of the most amazing and crazy live shows you will ever see. My wife had never been to a show until this past summer, never really even listened to them much….the show (one of the mellower ones even) is now “the best show she has ever seen” and she hasn’t stopped listening to them since.

Make Noise!!

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Fantasizing About Metric

Posted in music, Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2009 by JD

metricAnyone who follows me on Twitter will probably just want to stop reading right now…as I have been tweeting my love for this new Metric album since the day I purchased it (yes, I paid $7.99 for this awesome peice of work).

I have been a metric fan for quite some time, but I wasn’t crazy excited about the last album they put out, so I wasn’t expecting much from this effort; however, I saw it on sale in the iTunes store and figured…why the hell not?!

I have to say that from the intro of the very first song “Help I’m Alive”, to the final beat of the last song “Stadium Love”, there is nothing about this album I did not enjoy.  Anyone who knows me and my relationship with music knows that an album is lucky to get more than a couple listens from me unless it is damn good.  I am not the type who buys a new album and listens to it for a month straight.  Well……it has been a week and I have listened to Fantasies at least once a day, sometimes twice.  I actually pushed that rarely used repeat button on the old iPod the first day I listened.

What makes this album so damn good? it might just be the time of year honestly….it is a bit more upbeat and “sunny” (so to speak) than past efforts, and for me it is the perfect soundtrack to life right now, the perfect soundtrack to the spring I wish would soon arrive.

The standouts?
“Help I’m Alive”, “Sick Muse”, “Gold Guns Girls” & “Stadium Love” (which also makes it onto my list of top 10 best songs so far this year)

* Anyone else hear hints of the chorus of “Everlasting Love” in Stadium Love, or is it just me?

Make Noise!!

Tweetie’s Not a Bird

Posted in Products, Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 12, 2009 by JD

tweetsI found it, the hands down best Twitter application for the iPhone (in my opionion anyway).

Tweetie does it all and more; I am still finding features that I didn’t know were there.  Honestly, I have not seen a Twitter app yet for the iPhone that does as much as this one; plus, it never crashes and runs as smooth as my baby’s butt. The only problem I’ve had was whiel trying to take a photo to add to my tweet. The camera froze for some reason; but honestly, I am not sure if that was my camera being weird or the app.

Some of my favorite features are (taken from the link above):

  • Ability to handle multiple twitter accounts (although I only have 1 now).
  • View your timeline, replies, direct messages and favorites.
  • Browse your friends and followers.
  • Follow and unfollow people via buttons.
  • Mark tweets as favorites.
  • Inline web browser (this rocks, no flicking back and forth between Safari and the app itself).
  • Post links with automatic link shrinking via bit.ly.
  • Upload pictures to twitpic.com.
  • Update your twitter location.
  • View twitter trends and perform custom searches.
  • Save your favorite searches.
  • Implements the full twitter API.
  • Go to User shortcut
  • Nearby search

If you Tweet and have an iPhone, the $2.99 you pay for this app is the best $2.99 you will ever spend. Pick it up soon and be amazed.

Make Noise!

If I Wasn’t an Apple Junkie

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2009 by JD

creativeI wasn’t always an Apple junkie….okay I kind of was; but before I jumped on the iPod band-wagon I was in love with the MP3 players Creative was putting out.  Creative is known more for their superb sound and video cards, so you can only imagine what sound and video they get into  a pocket-size device.  The sound was always especially amazing and blew away anything my iPod produces.

I figured I would look into what Creative has been up to lately, since it’s been quite some time since we last “spoke”.

Their new Zen X-Fi looks pretty damn awesome to me. Video, X-Fi sound, Wireless LAN…the works, but the feature I am most impressed with has to be the X-Fi Audio. Anyone who knows a little something about computer audio knows that Creative’s X-Fi system was created to help restore what compression does to your music in MP3 format.  It makes the music on your MP3 player or home computer sound good again, and believe me it works.  After listening to nothing but MP3’s for so long, you forget what you are missing.  Listen to your favorite song in MP3 form and then go find it on the CD you ripped it from…..now do you realize how much you have been missing?

Being an audio junkie, I’d actually be afraid to get my hands on one of these bad boys.  Creative might just be able to convert me back.  If you aren’t an iPod/iPhone zombie like myself, you really should look into this little piece of equipment that I am sure creates musical bliss.

Make Noise!

Rockabye Baby…..Really??

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 18, 2008 by JD

radio2

Before our baby was born, I was on the hunt for music to play to the tiny lady while still swimming around inside my wife’s stomach (yes, I know babies don’t really grow in stomachs).  I found an article somewhere about the Rockabye Baby series of discs, which consists of some of the more popular songs from mainly alternative and/or rock bands re-recorded as lullabies.

I downloaded a couple songs from each of a few albums to give them a listen, not knowing exactly what to expect.  What did I find?? These albums are crazy good. …and not just for kids.  I find myself listening to them even when my daughter is not around. Whoever came up with this idea is a damned genius. They are basically just lo-fi instrumental versions of hits from some of the best bands out there now and from back in music history.  You can choose from Metallica, Coldplay, Tool, The Cure, Smashing Pumpkins, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Bjork….etc, etc.  Click on the link above to see all 25 albums available.  My favorite by far is the Radiohead album.  It’s almost as if these songs were originally written with the intent to be lullabies.

Don’t have a baby? It doesn’t matter, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Make Noise,

VoN