Smashing Pumpkins- Oceania

Billy Corgans’ latest entry into the world of modern rock music is one of excellent pacing and songwriting, as well as more experimenting with what gives the Smashing Pumpkins their signature sound.

After the last album, which became a critical punching bag (with good reason, in my opinion), Corgan seems to have worked hard to expand his sound and take more risks. At times during my listen-through, I was reminded of more recent groups that have entered the scene later than the 80’s-born Pumpkins, especially alternative rockers Circa Survive. A lot of reverb and delay can be heard in the guitar work, and an occasional synth layer on a few of the tracks is refreshing to hear compared to the Pumpkins past work. What really makes this album shine though is the pacing. Corgan organized this title with flawless flow, from the slower acoustic songs to the more experimental tracks to the slick and distorted rock and roll that brought his band to prominence. Lyrically, Corgan retains his fluxuating dark and bright tone, and the more electronic aspects really click with his voice.

Overall, this record has earned itself a solid 8/10 with me. Although it isn’t as ambitious as Mellon Collie, or as experimental as Adore, it still has what I want to hear in a pumpkins album (good lyrics, crooning vocals, and both articulate and heavy instrumentals) while also adding something new. Corgan strove to start a movement back to album oriented rock with this record, and I think for the most part, he achieved his goal.

Check out The Chimera below!

The Summer of Albums

I apologize for my recent absence to those eagerly awaiting an update (all 1 of you, hi mom), and I l be forcing myself to abide by a strict Tuesday/Thursday schedule upon my return from a wonderful week-long road trip to New Orleans. But enough about me; here are the albums I’m excited for this summer, and why you should be on the look-out for them.

Smashing Pumpkins -Oceania

This name should not be new to you. The Smashing Pumpkins, lead by bald-and-brilliant Billy Corgan, have inspired a generation of alternative rock that embraces a darker side of grunge without sacrificing beauty. Each of their releases barring their most recent, Zeitgeist, have pushed the envelope in alternative music and delivered some of the best singles in the history of the genre. My respect for Corgan’s longevity merits at least one listen-through.

Dirty Projectors- Swing Lo Magellan

Bitte Orca was one cool breeze of an album, and the bands’ unique vocal arrangements made them fun to listen to. They had established quite a discography before  I jumped on that I unfortunately have yet to fully explore, but Bitte Orca and their joint project with Bjork has me wanting for more.

Passion Pit- Gossamer

This may or may not be the highlight of my list. Michael Angelakos has encapsulated me with his music since his EP he wrote for his girlfriend in 2008. The full length, Manners, that followed blew me away and I have been digging in the desert for another drop of this groups’ sweet songwriting ever since. On July 24th, I will reach the oasis. If you have never listened to them, and enjoy bright synth-soaked joy, do yourself a favor and listen to Manners, and this.

Niki & The Dove- Instinct

Recently signed onto Sub-Pop Records, this duo has provided some promising singles, and from the little I’ve heard, the full length should be impressive. As far as style goes, they remind me of a mix between The Knife and Ellie Goulding; they have a very electronic sound with a strong lead vocalist.

Animal Collective- Centipede Hz

Deakin promised that it would be weird, and I hope it is. Animal Collective hooked me with their most recent outing Merriweather Post Pavilion, and I fell in love with earlier albums Feels and Sung Tongs. For those of you unfamiliar with them, imagine four friends making animal sounds and singing harmonies over a variety of loops and melodies while playing live drums. Then imagine them passing all the energy and joy that they took making this music into you. If you’re still wary, try this out.

Well that’s my say for now. Looking forward, expect honest reviews for each of these albums, as well as insight into what is looking like a wonderful fall of new releases. Peace.

Concert Review: Radiohead

So, I spent almost a Benjamin to head up to Newark with a few of my friends to watch this weird British character named Thom Yorke “dance” around the stage to some obscure music.

It was the best show I’ve ever been to.

Every single song they played was magnificent, and the entire band was very together, played well, and expressed clearly that they were having the time of their lives; that expression carried around the entire stadium in every fans face, intoxicated or sober. Even the newer songs released after their most recent album The King of Limbs entranced the audience, but the true magic happened when the group touched on their past endeavors. An entire stadium singing Karma Police, Everything In It’s Right Place, The National Anthem, and Weird Fishes was nothing short of breathtaking to witness and take part in.The light show was absolutely phenomenal , and the engineers behind it obviously knew the music and how to communicate the intensity and varying moods to the audience visually.

All in all, Radiohead is one group who has not only excelled in the art of performance; they have perfected it. They can entertain an entire stadium full of people for without a break for two hours, and perform two encores. I would pay to have that experience again and again.

And who knows, maybe I’ll get something better than nosebleed seats next time.