08 July, 2006

O'Leary's Sounds of the Summer

So while driving and thinking, listening to some of my most recent favorite albums, the thought came across my mind to write about one of them here. Rather than do that, I thought it would be less work on my part and more enjoyable for anyone who's interested in reading short write ups for several different albums. Here's my thoughts on a few recent ones a all of which have been, and will be taking up my audial energies this summer.

Pearl Jam's Pearl Jam: This newest release from grunge's other breakout act has really turned me on to the group. This album is enjoyable through and through without a previous liking for Pearl Jam, as I was a very casual fan before picking up this one, but still managed to really enjoy it. The album has it's political overtunes, as would be expected by a band who played the Rock the Vote tour not two years ago, especially on one of the singles, "World Wide Suicide." This album will no doubt deliver the goods for rock fans, but has plenty of heart and thought put into it that any music fan should be able to enjoy it.

Arctic Monkey's Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not: Claiming the title for longest album name of the list is the debut album of this British rock band, which has already been hailed as a contemporary classic in the band's homeland, and has seen a good amount of success on this side of the pond. The sound of this album is vaguely reminiscent of JET, Oasis and Franz Ferdinand, however, the album is a little bit more raw than any of those bands' works, especially in regard to the vocals. This album is a very pleasant surprise from a band I had never heard of until very recently and will see its fair share of playing through my speakers over the summer. Thanks to Chris Stopiello for if not giving me a complete recomendation (in fact I believe he told me I probably wouldn't like this band), at least implanting this band in my head.

Gnarls Barkely's St. Elsewhere: Perhaps this one may seem a bit of an atypical pick coming from me, but I really like this pseudo-hip hop/rock duo's debut. I suppose this album does fall into the realm of hip hop, however, it has alternative influences, reminsicent of Outkast, another hip hop duo I enjoy. The first single, "Crazy," is seeing heavy rotation on college radio and elsewhere, but the rest of the album is just as great as the single that drew me to the album. Some of the other songs on the album are a bit less accsesible than "Crazy" but should be no less enjoyable to listeners.

The Raconteurs' Broken Boy Soldiers: I would be lying to you if I told you that this album was just like the three already mentioned, and on first listen I loved it. This new band features Jack White on lead vocals, and I suppose I should have expected my initial reaction, as that is how I first reacted to the White Stripes' masterpiece, Elephant (now one of my favorite bands and albums). However, through a few listens, the album really grew on me and I find it to be a very formidable side project for the White Stripes front man. I would say anyone who likes the White Stripes, and I'm well aware that not everyone does, should find this one to be a good listen.

Red Hot Chili Peppers' Stadium Arcadium: This new double album from these modern rock pioneers turned me back on to them after a very long apathy towards the band. I was relatively unimpressed with the last studio album, By the Way, when it came out some three years ago, and didn't find any solace in the one or two new singles released as part of the band's greatest hits compilation a year or so ago. However, this album featuring 28 very different tracks has not only got me to go back and listen to By the Way again and enjoy it this time through, but finally pick up two of the band's most revered albums, Californication and Blood Sugar Sex Magik, and purchase concert tickets to see the band in the fall. This two disc set can be found for about the same price as most single albums and is well worth it, even if it does end up costing a few more bucks.

Wolfmother's Wolfmother: I picked up this album and listened to it all the way through just in time for inclusion on this list. On most tracks, this new band presents tracks that are reminiscent of 70s hard rock and aren't afraid to (allow me to feel the rock and roll flow through me for a moment) kick ass and take no prisoners. Of the albums on this list, this one, without any doubt, has the coolest cover art, in which a Medusa-esque woman floats in the night sky above a thrashing sea through which some sort of sea serpent swims below. With one album out and already a devoted fan base from extensive touring, it will be very interesting to see what comes of this Australian trio in the years to come. The televised performances I've seen of this band are full of energy and I hope to see them live as soon as possible, while their venues are still small and tickets are still cheap. Thanks to Chris Stopiello once again for giving me a whole hearted recommendation this time around, clearly telling me, "you will like this one."