The Shins-Oh, Inverted World (2001)

My Rating: 77% (B)

Pitchfork Rating: 80%

Rolling Stone Rating: 70%

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 76%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Caring Is Creepy
  2. One By One All Day
  3. Weird Divide
  4. Know Your Onion!
  5. Girl Inform Me
  6. New Slang
  7. The Celibate Life
  8. Girl On The Wing
  9. Your Algebra
  10. Pressed In A Book
  11. The Past And Pending

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for a really different/unique sounding alt album.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Super unique, I like.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not this Shin’s release.

Final Thoughts:

The Shins were one of the first alt bands that I got into, I must’ve listened to Caring Is Creepy over 100 times now. This album has a nostalgic hold on me, the artwork will always remind me of my teen years, walking through the high school feeling like nobody understood me (the real me, y’know?) The album itself has a few highlights (New Slang being the other big standout for me) but is kind of boring overall. I don’t know if it was a pioneering album that didn’t age well or if it was just one of those albums I always assumed I loved until I listened from start to finish. At any rate, this is a well regarded album that is not lazy or grating by any sense, just not as wonderful as I remember it being.

Maxïmo Park-Quicken The Heart (2009)

My Rating: 96% (A+)

Pitchfork Rating: 55%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 61%

Average Rating: 70%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Wraithlike
  2. The Penultimate Clinch
  3. The Kids Are Sick Again
  4. A Cloud Of Mystery
  5. Calm
  6. In Another World (You Would’ve Found Yourself By Now)
  7. Let’s Get Clinical
  8. Roller Disco Dreams
  9. Tanned
  10. Questing, Not Coasting
  11. Overland, West Of Suez
  12. I Haven’t Seen Her In Ages

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting an album to tune out to.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Pretty not great.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yeah even though that cover will look stupid.

Final Thoughts:

Maxïmo Park is one of those bands who have found their sound and are content to make albums that kinda all sound the same, for them it works because I like their style and I don’t find it too boring, but I could see why some would be sick of the formula. It sounds like an early 80’s band this time, something like The Smiths or even The Clash at times. Is it groundbreaking? Hell no, it’s really simple, but it’s in its simplicity that it shines. 12 tracks, nothing overly experimental that could rub fans the wrong way, just an album played to plan that I find super easy to mellow out to.

The Raconteurs-Consolers Of The Lonely (2008)

My Rating: 96% (A+)

Pitchfork Rating: 74%

Rolling Stone Rating: 70%

Metacritic Rating: 75%

Average Rating: 79%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Consoler Of The Lonely
  2. Salute Your Solution
  3. You Don’t Understand Me
  4. Old Enough
  5. The Switch And The Spur
  6. Hold Up
  7. Top Yourself
  8. Many Shades Of Black Featuring Adele
  9. Five On The Five
  10. Attention
  11. Pull This Blanket Off
  12. Rich Kid Blues
  13. These Stones Will Shout
  14. Carolina Drama

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Out in the woods.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Creepy and classic, it’s rad.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Oh so friggin’ much.

Final Thoughts:

Controversial statement time: The Raconteurs is the best project Jack White has ever done (White Stripers calm yourselves). Consolers Of The Lonely is an album with so much going on for it: garage rock, ballad, hip hop like vocals, it’s a blender of genres and styles coming together to make one delicious listen. I love love love this album and I wish more people were into it because it’s so damn good. Jack White is complimented nicely by the backup band while still being able to showcase his amazing vocals. The lyrics are really solid and fable like at times. This album deserves your attention and Jack White fans should be ashamed if this isn’t in their library.

Eels-End Times (2010)

My Rating: 86% (B++)

Pitchfork Rating: 39%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 71%

Average Rating: 65%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. The Beginning
  2. Gone Man
  3. Mansions Of Los Feliz
  4. In My Younger Days
  5. A Line In The Dirt
  6. End Times
  7. Apple Trees
  8. Paradise Blues
  9. Nowadays
  10. Unhinged
  11. High And Lonesome
  12. I Need A Mother
  13. Little Bird
  14. On My Feet

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Sad and/or lonely.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It must be from a graphic novelist that I know but I’m too lazy to look it up, it’s aces though.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yeah it’d be beautiful on vinyl.

Final Thoughts:

Okay, I’m a little pissy at Pitchfork at this moment so let me get that out of the way, we sometimes really disagree with each other, but never has it been so apparent than this album, 3.9? 3.9? Are you high? You can not like the lyrics, but I mean it’s still well made music. 3.9 should be reserved for something extra bad, not a routine album from a reliable artist. Anywhozits. End Times is a really chill album from Eels, it’s a great album to listen to before bed or while winding down. I’ve always enjoyed the way Eels can get at the heart of loneliness and I think this is one of the most lonely sounding albums he’s made yet. There are a few up-beat tracks that I think a wide audience can enjoy (Gone Man, Paradise Blues), but they’ll always be at their best at the really mellow tunes (Line in the Dirt, On My Feet, I Need A Mother).

Broken Social Scene-You Forgot It In People (2002)

Record Review Recommended By: Richard Sandlin

My Rating: 62% (C-)

Pitchfork Rating: 92%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 86%

Average Rating: 80%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Capture The Flag
  2. KC Accidental
  3. Stars And Sons
  4. Almost Crimes
  5. Looks Just Like The Sun
  6. Pacific Theme
  7. Anthems For A Seventeen-Year-Old Girl
  8. Cause = Time
  9. Late Night Bedroom Rock For The Missionaries
  10. Shampoo Suicide
  11. Lover’s Spit
  12. I’m Still Your Fag
  13. Pitter Patter Goes My Heart

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Tired and kinda sad.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Meh, doesn’t do a whole lot of anything for me.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

No.

Final Thoughts:

Broken Social Scene is one of those bands that has a huge following, and they consist of dedicated fans who would take a face full of Lovers Spit in defense of them. The problem is they should be better. I mean you have Stars, Metric, and Feist in one band, of course my expectations are going to be high, but it doesn’t quite sound experimental enough, nor does it truly find its voice. The album was altogether a let down for me, there a few really solid tracks, but it doesn’t make up for the pure amount of filler or the fact that it just seems totally misguided. I’m not saying I dislike this band, I’m saying I expected more.

Arcade Fire-Funeral (2004)

Record Review Requested By: Richard Sandlin

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 97%

Rolling Stone Rating: 80%

Metacritic Rating: 90%

Average Rating: 92%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)
  2. Neighborhood #2 (Laïka)
  3. Une Année Sans Lumiere
  4. Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)
  5. Neighborhood #4 (7 Kettles)
  6. Crown Of Love
  7. Wake Up
  8. Haiti
  9. Rebellion (Lies)
  10. In The Backseat

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for something epic.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s an okay cover, not my favourite of theirs but it’s not bad or anything.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Hellllllllllllllllll yeah!

Final Thoughts:

Arcade Fire is, in short, incredible. Their music has been used in so many ways and they are one of the few household name groups that truly deserve their acclaim. I mean damn, this is their first album, and they are already this accomplished? It’s mystifying, considering other artists I love take an album or two to find themselves. Funeral is epic and simple, high energy and mellow. It’s an album that demands to be listened to multiple times. It’s an album many other artists have been trying to replicate for years but can’t get the mix right. It’s painful how good it is for a first release and it makes me mad that they can be this talented…bastards.

Father John Misty-Fear Fun (2012)

My Rating: 71% (C++)

Pitchfork Rating: 73

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 83

Average Rating: 76%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Funtimes in Babylon
  2. Nancy From Now On
  3. Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings
  4. I’m Writing a Novel
  5. O I Long to Feel Your Arms Around Me
  6. Misty’s Nightmares 1 & 2
  7. Only Son of the Ladiesman
  8. This Is Sally Hatchet
  9. Well, You Can Do It Without Me
  10. Now I’m Learning to Love the War
  11. Tee Pees 1-12
  12. Everyman Needs a Companion

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting a laid back album to turn your brain off to.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s incredible, best part of this album.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Just want it for the cover, but no I won’t actually own it.

Final Thoughts:

Father John Misty’s been on a mental block for me for some time now. Mostly it’s one of those things where a ton of my friends wouldn’t shut up about it and I got weird and stubborn and just didn’t listen to him. I’d be lying if I didn’t find it a little over-hyped, I mean there are a few good tracks on this album, but was it something completely unique that caught me off guard? Not really. While he shines on a few tracks I can’t see myself going out of my way to listen to another one of his album (unless my friends get oddly aggressive and force me to).

Built To Spill-Keep It Like A Secret (1999)

My Rating: 90% (A)

Pitchfork Rating: 93%

Rolling Stone Rating: 70%

Metacritic Rating: 79%

Average Rating: 83%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. The Plan
  2. Center Of The Universe
  3. Carry The Zero
  4. Sidewalk
  5. Bad Light
  6. Time Trap
  7. Else
  8. You Were Right
  9. Temporarily Blind
  10. Broken Chairs

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for some laid back summertime/skateboarding tunes.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s great, super unique, love the background colour.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yep!

Final Thoughts:

It took me a long time to figure out who Built To Spill reminded me of, but I finally put my finger on it: Pinback. It’s an album I wish Pinback could produce, consistently jammy, really fun, just really solid music. It seems to be regarded well critically and I can understand that, there’s nothing on this album to piss you off, only stuff to tune out to while you go about your daily life. Built To Spill probably won’t become one of my favourite bands, but I’ll be happy to hear from them from time to time. I doubt I’ll find another album of theirs that is this good.

Bloc Party-Hymns (2016)

My Rating: 63% (C)

Pitchfork Rating: 50%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 55%

Average Rating: 56%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. The Love Within
  2. Only He Can Heal Me
  3. So Real
  4. The Good News
  5. Fortress
  6. Different Drugs
  7. Into The Earth
  8. My True Name
  9. Virtue
  10. Exes
  11. Living Lux
  12. Eden
  13. Paraнso
  14. New Blood
  15. Evening Song

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Needing a chill UK album.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Not doing a whole lot for me.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Nope.

Final Thoughts:

Bloc Party has been one of those bands that makes great songs, but not amazing albums. Hymns is just the next evolution of the band falling from grace more and more. It’s just a boring album, there’s really not a whole lot happening, I can’t imagine the band being all that proud of this contribution, it’s just a big bland mess of sound that offers a couple semi-catchy tunes, but is more disappointing than anything.

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