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Ok so as you guys know I have been a lazy ass and haven’t made any posts in April ’cause of final exams, graduation, celebrating, and yada yada yada. I’ll be doing super super quick reviews (like seriously under 100 words probsies) on Yeah Yeah Yeah’s It’s Blitz!, Boy Least Likely To’s Law of the Playground, Camera Obscura’s My Maudlin Career, and Phoenix’s Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. Short and sweet just ’cause these bands have been blogged about like crazy for the past little while already and I’d rather cover albums that have had less attention more specifically. Plus, there’ll be a quick recap of two shows I went to, Mother Mother and Junior Boys. All after the jump!

Wait, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, They Don’t Love You Like I Love You

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Yeah Yeah YeahsIt’s Blitz! (2009): Karen O and crew performed on SNL a few weeks back and it’s clear their chemistry is as strong as ever. Never failing to impress the crowd with her bedazzled outfits, unrelenting smile, and cute step by steps, you can’t help but love this band. Their third LP replaces Nick’s guitar with synths and I love it. When I first heard “Zero”, I had huge expectations, thinking that maybe YYY’s are transforming their garage punk sound of their earlier works such as Fever to Tell, Show Your Bones, and Is Is EP into a Depeche Mode, PSB, Duchess Says, batshit crazy inspired electrosynth punk pop. Unforts “Zero” is the only song on IB that ’causes such footwork craziness. The rest of the album is fast paced and does somewhat feel like older songs except poppier. Karen’s voice is still beautifully captured. She is magnificent in showing off the vulnerability of the lyrics and the confidence of YYY’s altered sound. No song does this better than “Skeletons”, a song that truly defines the album. IB is a great listen but it just didn’t compare to their older releases. But one thing’s for sure, YYY’s still know how to effin’ rock out and remain rock stars, true rock stars. And that’s pretty awesome. Buy their albums here!

MP3: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Skeletons

Camera Obscura, I’m Ready to be Heartbroken

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Camera ObscuraMy Maudlin Career (2009): This Glasgow band won my heart back with their 2003 release Underachievers Please Try Harder. Tracyanne Campbell does most of the vocals for Camera Obscura and her voice alone is a reason for people to become drawn to this indie folk band. If you like the Concretes and Victoria Bergsman’s leading voice, you’ll love Camera Obscura. My Maudlin Career is the bands third studio album and sticks to the Camera Obscura formula, heartwarming and heartbreaking lyrics layered with soft instrumentation and topped with the saccharine voice of Campbell. It’s definitely poppier than all their other albums, happier almost. Less heartbreak this time around, I think. “French Navy” is their danciest number yet and after hearing it you can’t help but LOVE Campbell’s genuine and soulful voice, and like sugar, Camera Obscura will leave you wanting more.Buy their albums here!

MP3: Camera Obscura – French Navy

Be Gentle With Me, Boy.

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the Boy Least Likely ToLaw of the Playground (2009): Composer Pete Hobbs and lyricist/vocalist Jof Owen grew up together in England and eventually started writing pop songs together. They formed Boy Least Likely To and released their first studio album Best Party Ever (and when you listen to it, it actually IS the best party ever. Funny, eh?) back in 2005. They pretty much sound like, and they’ve said this themselves as well, what music would sound like if all your stuffed animal pets got together and started a band. It’s SO TRUE. Owen’s voice coos out childhood elementary decency. Feeling like a kid again is so awesome. Law of the Playground, like their previous LP, sticks to cuteness but at the same time the lyrics are witty and universally relevant which fully compliment the light hearted instrumentation. BLLT returns our innocence from the deep depths of our adulthood, our worrisome core. No more 9-5, bills to pay, kids to worry about, or making sure that cheque clears! Let’s make lemonade with lemons people! The fundamentals of BLLT brings us back and reminds us to have fun, relax, and that every Goliath has a David. Not to mention, their artwork, drawn by Owen’s brother, is pretty amazing. Super simple and super…cute! You know how if you’re having a bad day and you just smile, you won’t feel so bad anymore? The Boy Least Likely To is that smile. It is joyous in every way and I guarantee it will be one of the best parties ever, just respect the rules of the playground. =) Buy their albums here!

MP3: The Boy Least Likely To – When Life Gives Me Lemons I Make Lemonade

For Phoenix, Everything is Everything

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PhoenixWolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (2009): I was going to get this about over two months ago because I felt pressured as the hits on my last Phoenix post were rising higher and higher, a sign that the album had leaked and like all other bands that get a revolving fifteen minute supremacy every time new LPs are out, people wanted reviews on this. I’ve been a huge fan of Phoenix since I heard “Too Young” off their first LP United. I think I heard it in a movie somewhere…I can’t remember. Can someone remind me? Jaja anyways, WAP changes up the sound a bit. Let’s go back in time for a bit. United and Alphabetical truly show Phoenix as a soft core indie rock group, where beautiful rhythms intertwine and oscillate with love and warmth bathed in the essential vocals of Thomas Mars. It’s Never Been Like That takes a more polar turn and moves the band into more of a rock infused sound. Then we get into Wolfgang, an album that eschews the polarities that separated the former two from the latter album. Phoenix’s maturity as musicians and as an ensemble are clearer than ever with WAP. It feels as though they’ve melded all their previous efforts into one wopping 37 minute tracklist that delves into electronic, pop, indie, soul, and even a bit of funk at times. My first opinion of this album after two/three listens was pure disappointment. After hearing “1901” I just hyped up this album way too much and IMO, nothing can beat Alphabetical and United. I felt like nothing truly new was brought to the table and more times than not, the tracks lost my attention. But as this is a great summer album, I’ve had more listens and I think it’s definitely one of the years best, but like I said, United and Alphabetical remain my top Phoenix seeds. Buy their albums here!

MP3: Phoenix – Fences

Live in Concert: Junior Boys
@ the Starlite Room (Edmonton)

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Aaah Junior Boys. They came at the worst time. Right before my 40 page paper was handed in. But I suck it up for shows that are tots worth it. And I do not regret my decision in the slightest. Jeremy Greenspan oozes awesomeness and Matt Didemus, well, he is–in the perfectly said words of my friend–effortlessly pretentious. Throughout the entire show, his hair half covered his eyes like those goth South Park kids and he looked as if he didn’t even WANT to be there. Occassionally pressing a button here. From time to time, shuffling to the other side of the sound board. Flick of the hair. Droning eyes. Laconic. I’m sure whatever Didemus was doing was important but he sure didn’t act like it.

On the other hand, I had my front row eyes on Greenspan the entire time. So passionate and that voice!!! OOOOOOO that voice makes my heart melt! With a mic stand placed in front and keyboards to the side, Greenspan started the night off with “Hazel”! HOW AMAZING! The best song, IMO, started first! Junior Boys worked their way through their newest album Begone Dull Care, following up “Hazel” with gems like “Parallel Lines”, “The Animator”, and “Bits and Pieces”. I think one of their best performed songs is a song I completely overlooked on BDC, “Work”. Oh god those synths drove the crowd into a mesmorized frenzy. Obv JB played their hits like “Birthday”, and “In the Morning”. The latter was part of the encore and doesn’t sound as good live as I would have thought. The closed off their set with “Under the Sun”, the most perfect encore I’ve this year in concerts and IMO, one of JB’s greatest songs. Undulating beats and electronic waves that rise and fall at the most perfect moments, building us up like audio foreplay, climaxing half way through the seven minute heaven (seven minutes is better than one minute) leaving the crowd pleased and content while the remaining seconds cuddled our open spirits, awarding us for lasting through such an intense musical endeavor. Hearing “Under the Sun” live is like nothing else. It is so amazing. Junior Boys on record, are a band that don’t make you dance per se, but they make you jostle your feet and rock your body to the BPM. It’s music for late nights.

What I love most about JB is that they are able to perfectly transcribe their talents onto the stage. Everyone was dancing even though JB isn’t technically “danceable” music. At least I don’t think it fits in that category. And this is what is so great about Junior Boys. Such a well rounded band, making three amazing records, performing their hearts out–at least Greenspan was!–and making the Starlite room that night super special and a night all of us, I’m sure, will remember. Buy their albums here!

MP3: Junior Boys – Under the Sun

Live in Concert: Mother Mother
@ the Starlite Room (Edmonton)

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Aaaah Mother Mother. They also came at a bad time. The night before my last last final exam of my life! But like Junior Boys, it was totally worth it. Their latest album, O! My Heart has been on repeat consistently on my player ever since it’s release early last year. Mother Mother started in Vancouver four years ago with the main band member being Ryan Guldemond (in the pic, he’s on the right). He has the most awesome quaff. His hair that night was a mix between Conan O Brien’s quaff and Gwen Stefani’s tubular hair style. It was so great! Anyways, many more members joined shortly, including accompanying vocals Debra-Jean Creelman who left the band December 2008 and was replaced by a new singer/keyboardist Jasmin Parkin. I think this replacement definitely affected the integrity of OMH live because many songs sounded…off. But maybe that was just me. Either way, they put on a fantastic show, mainly going through their newer stuff and appeased fans with old hits like ‘Polynesia”, “Dirty Town”, and “Verbatim”. They played the show in spurts, where each spurt consisted of three songs. It was great for keeping up the energy and all the songs made great transitions in and out of each other. As my media player will prove to you, I’ve literally listened to OHM over 25 times jjaaja yes it’s that amazing, and the songs I was dying to hear were “Body of Years”, “Hayloft”, and “Burning Pile”. I was rockin’ so hard when they executed these songs so well. Mother Mother are such a diverse band, switching genres like it’s nobody’s business. From folk to punk, pop to indie, rock to funk! It’s all there! Buy their albums here!

MP3: Mother Mother – Body Of Years

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