Live Blogging Album Leak

Live Blogging The Leak Of Alex Turner’s Submarine EP

By Will Oliver, March 9th 2011 — with 8 comments

Alex Turner’s Submarine EP has hit the net, and I couldn’t be happier to finally hear what he has come up with on his own. I’ve already pre-ordered it on Vinyl from Domino, and I hope that you have done the same. I’m about to take my first listen, and I invite you to join my thoughts/first impressions on my first listen.

Here we go:

1. Stuck On The Puzzle (Intro) – A truly delightful little opening. Turner’s voice sounds gentler and soothing as ever. It’s less than a minute long, but it sets the tone just right. 8:13 p.m.

2. Hiding Tonight – If you liked songs like “The Bakery” from Arctic Monkeys, song like this are going to make you swoon. This would be a perfect song to slow dance to with your significant other, under the stars. After all, Submarine is all about young romance. The last 30 seconds are classic Turner in the making. Lovely stuff. 8:17 p.m.

3. Glass In The Park – Turner’s got the star gazing vocals down to pact her. Girls must be falling harder and harder for the guy. The light acoustic guitar strumming creates a dreamy glazey sound that’s truly easy on the ears. More great lyrics from Turner. He’s still got it. 8:20 p.m.

4. It’s Hard To Get Around The Wind – Vivid storytelling from the mind of Turner. There are some really pretty vocal parts from Turner. I love the part right after he mentions keeping pepper in the pill. This is perfect example of what makes Turner so special. He arranges great lyrics creating a solid vignette in your mind. If there had to be a song for a journey to heaven, this wouldn’t be a bad pick. 8:25

5. Stuck On The Puzzle – Wow the combination of the drums and the keys really add something. This one starts of magically and finishes beautifully. This may be the standout of the EP. It sounds like James Ford helped him out a bit on this one. Hate to sound like a puzzle, but the lyrics are once again the true champion. Turner has developed so much over the years. No one can deny that after listening to this. 8:29 p.m.

6. Piledriver Waltz – What a melody. This one probably sounds the closest to something that would be tagged with Arctic Monkeys name. Very catchy with a simple but effective bassline. Turner sounds confident and it’s effective. This one gives “Stuck On The Puzzle” a good run for it’s money. What a way to finish the EP. 8:32 p.m.

Anyone who worried that Turner lost his lyrical touch on “Brick By Brick” really needs to listen to this EP. He hasn’t lost a step folks. It was nice to hear him dive into the acoustic singer-songwriting form here. We’ve always known he could do it, but this is our first full fledged taste. This is an incredibly strong EP that will not only please Arctic Monkeys as well as many others. Not many people have heard Turner in this light, and I think people will gain a lot of respect for him after a listen to the Submarine EP.

I couldn’t be happier with the EP. Turner keeps proving to me that he is one of the best songwriters of our generation. You better believe it too.

Live Blogging The Leak Of Cut Copy’s Zonoscope

By Will Oliver, January 15th 2011 — with 13 comments

Woke up today and saw that Cut Copy’s new album Zonoscope had leaked. I absolutely love the dance rock that Cut Copy bring to the table, and am really looking forward to the new album. I figured what better album to live blog the leak of. With that said, I’m going to buy it on vinyl when it comes out, and I will try and make their next NYC show. You can pre-order it from itunes right here.

So let’s see how the first listen is:

1. Need You Now – This is a sexy start. Dan’s vocals sound very 80s. This sounds like a trip through a dreamy club while on e. Dreamy is the best way to describe this. This just glorious sounding dance rock. Some timely female vocals to add to it’s wonderful climax. What a way to kick off an album. I have a good feeling about the rest of Zonoscope, if this is any indication how the rest of the album is. Magical start. 2:06 p.m.

2. Take Me Over – I’ve been playing this non-stop ever since it came out. This song is everything I love about Cut Copy. Amazing bassline, lush vocals, big fat chorus. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think they changed the song a bit from it’s first release. I think the part before the chorus was altered a bit. Either way, this song holds up just as well, if not better, than it did when we first heard it. Absolute gold. 2:13 p.m.

3. Where I’m Going – Nice transition into this from “Take Me Over”. The band is always good at doing that. This sounds a bit different too, but the changes in the mix help. This one still finds ways to continue to grow on me. Don’t tell me you don’t feel the same? 2:21 p.m.

4. Pharaohs & Pyramids – Turn the bass up loud for this one. This is one of the most club ready songs that they’ve ever created. This needs to be blasted with the lights off and the strobe lights/fog machines turned on. The production is the shining star here. Ah take in the glorious breakdown around 3:40. 2:26 p.m.

5. Blink And You’ll Miss A Revolution – I remember hearing this one live, and absolutely loving it. It sounds even better recorded, and that’s saying a lot, trust me. I think this has a chance of being the standout track for a lot of people, myself included. From the dirty, throbbing bassline, to the high soaring chorus, this one’s a winner. 2:30 p.m.

6. Strange Nostalgia For The Future – A slow instrumental track that allows us to breath a little. Stretch your legs, and get ready to dance some more. 2:32 p.m.

7. This Is All We’ve Got – Druggy vocals lead the way for this one. This is one of the more psychedelic rock tracks that we’ve heard from them. Trippy stuff. I think I’m gonna need to spend more time with this one and let it grow. It has plenty of bright spots but I need to absorb it all. Cool song, though. 2:37 p.m.

8. Alisa – I think we heard previews of this in the studio videos that they posted. First thought: Tight, tight, bassline. You come to expect them from Cut Copy, and they keep delivering them in style. Lots of interesting parts. Recognize that scream of “Alisa” through the guitar from the videos. 2:41 p.m.

9. Hanging Onto Every Heartbeat – Best way to describe this so far is very chill. The synths sound magical. Pretty nice. 2:47 p.m.

10. Corner Of The Sky – Funky bass, tribal sounding percussion, with some smooth vocals that sounds lost and haunted. Like this one quite a bit. The vocals are the hero of this track. I think this one could see a lot of cool remixes if done right. 2:51 p.m.

11. Sun God – Here we are at the last track, an intimidating 15 minutes long. Let’s see where this one takes us.. Well its long and there’s a lot of instrumental to take in. It does have legs though, and I think this was a bold move. Does it pay off? I don’t know if I can say yet. Only time will tell. 3:07 p.m.

Alright, so there you have it. After one listen I can safely say Cut Copy are back. Stop right now if your asking if it’s as good as In Ghost Colours, because there’s no point. This is a good album in it’s own right. They experiment with some now sounds here and it pays off. There are some songs that are better than others, and some that need to grow on me. It was a very solid first listen. I’m excited to listen some more so I can peel some more layers and see the album for what it really is.

If you’ve listened to it as well, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear what you think.

Live Blogging The Leak Of Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

By Will Oliver, November 9th 2010 — with 11 comments

Alright so My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy finally leaked. It leaked in clean, but you get the idea. I have only live blogged indie acts, so I figured I would try my hand at live blogging my first rap album. I’m gonna snag this bad boy on vinyl once it comes out and if you haven’t done so already, be sure to pre-order the album.

1. Dark Fantasy – Alright so the album kicks off with “Dark Fantasy”, the same track that kicked off his Runaway film. This one is just ridiculously hot. The opening is grand and epic, and once the beat kicks in, oh man. Kanye is just radiating good vibes out of every single pore. This is the way you start a fucking album. I want to just drive around all day to this one. 1:16 p.m.

2. Gorgeous (Feat. Kid Cudi & Raekwon) – This is one of the songs that leaked that I tried my best to hold off on. It had a dark moody vibe on it that perfectly suites Cudi. The line about choking a South Park writer with a fish stick is absolutely classic. You knew he wouldn’t let that one go. This is a solid track. Enjoyed Raekwon’s verse. That guitar has a lot of bite and sort-of makes the song for me. 1:22 p.m.

3. Power (Feat. Dwele) – We all know this one by now, but it still sounds just as epic and fresh as it first did. Smart placement, keeps the momentum going strong. 1:26 p.m.

4. All of the Lights (Interlude) – Pretty cool interlude of “All Of The Lights”. Beautiful strings. Who knew ‘Ye had it in him..oh wait…everyone. 1:28 p.m.

5. All of the Lights – Totally kickass transition from the interlude to the full song. Rihanna is totally a perfect fit, can’t imagine anyone else but her singing it. Here come all the guest features (for real, this time) and it’s pretty powerful. You know the saying “Too many chefs in the kitchen”? Well, that doesn’t apply here. Kanye has them all cooking up excellence.

6. Monster (Feat. Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj & Bon Iver) – A G.O.O.D. Friday track that has pretty much become classic already. I’m hearing some changes from that version and think that they’re definitely working to the songs advantage. This one just hits so hard, I love it. Nicki Minaj’s verse will never, ever, get old. 1:40 p.m.

7. So Appalled (Feat. Jay-Z, Pusha T, Cyhi Da Prynce, Swizz Beatz & The RZA) – Truth be told, this was one of the few G.O.O.D. Friday songs I didn’t spin enough. Really dark and moody, not sure how I really feel about it being placed where it is on the tracklist. Sort of long and disrupted the flow for me. Time will tell, I guess. 1:46 p.m.

8. Devil In A New Dress (Feat. Rick Ross) – One of my personal favorite G.O.O.D. Fridays. This new refined version is just smooth and classy. Yes, I said it. Classy. A potential sleeper classic. 1:52 p.m.

9. Runaway (Feat. Pusha T) – Take a deep breath, we got our hands on the 9 minute “Runaway”. Even the intro piano is extended. Building anticipation….wait for it…Bam. Kanye has thrown in some new things only making this song that much more epic. This song grabbed me from his VMA performance, but somehow I have grown to love it more and more with every listen. This song is growing to be not only one of my favorites from this album, but one of my favorite Kanye songs in general.

Now for this extended bit…It starts with some jumbled autotune thrown together with the songs instrumental piece. This may just be Kanye’s most polarizing moment on the album, by far. Need to see how this one settles. 2:02 p.m.

10. Hell Of A Life – Absolutely insane instrumental and beat combo here. You just feel cool listening to this. Could be the new driving anthem of the year. Love how he implemented “Iron Man” into the song. Only Kanye….Kanye hit this one way out of the park. Very solid song, I may have to put this and “Dark Fantasy” on repeat for the rest of the day. 2:08 p.m.

11. Blame Game (Feat. John Legend) – Rogo told me he thought this was one of Kanye’s best songs, ever! So I’m hyped to see what it’s all about. Lovely ballad of sorts with John Legend, who compliments things nicely. This is one of the most thoughtful, honest, tracks for Kanye yet. I think this is another contender for most likely to grow into a fan favorite. 2:16 p.m.

12. Lost In The World (Feat. Bon Iver) – I’m probably the most excited to see how the album version of this shaped up. It was already a phenomenal song when the original leaked, and it’s gained a whole new life with the little fixing Kanye did hear and there. Who knew that in 2010 Bon Iver & Kanye would combine to create a song like this? If you told me that a few years ago I would have laughed at you. Who knew. 2:22 p.m.

13. Who Will Survive In America – It’s pretty much a spoken word outro for “Lost In The World”. Interesting way to end the album. 2:24

Final thoughts: So this is an album already. Kanye West has created something fresh and honest. This album sits well as a whole and I think it’s totally going to place well in a lot of end of the year lists. I’m really pleased with. I think it has a similar vision that 808’s did, but it’s more of a comeback to Kanye’s original sound. So I think we got the best of both world with My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. I can’t wait to play the shit out of this for the rest of the year.

Call me satisfied.

Live Blogging The Leak Of: Avey Tare’s Down There

By Will Oliver, October 10th 2010 — with 1 comment

Avey Tare is one of the members of our much beloved Animal Collective. He finally joins the club with his first official solo release with Down There. The album doesn’t officially drop until October 26th (via Paw Tracks), but it leaked this weekend and I’m about to give it my first listen. I decided to bring you all along with me once again with a live blog of my first listen.

Once again, if you download the leak try and support Avey in some way. Pre-Order the album or buy it when it comes out, buy Animal Collective gear, or even just spread the word about Avey’s music. Leak’s are emerging as a part of the music listening process and if we find a way to adapt to it, and even embrace it, then we may be able to make it work.

I am using a pair of headphones for my first listen. Like many AC releases, I have a hunch it will do well with a nice pair of headphones. I’m excited to see what Avey has instore for us. Let’s go Down There:

1. Laughing Hieroglyphic – Things kick off with a murky satanic feel due to underwater sounds and some creepy spoken word. I’m being hit with various layers of sound, including an accordion. Didn’t see that coming. Avey’s ever so familiar vocals come in and sound crisp and clear. Guiding us through what sounds like a murky wave of sound. It’s a long track – almost at seven minutes long, but you won’t be checking your watch. Things move along nicely. There’s a lot of emotion in his voice, and it goes pretty well with everything. I’m pretty impressed with what Avey has going on here. Very interested to see where else the album goes. 4:55 p.m.

2. 3 Umbrellas – Steady music that is upbeat and cheerful. A little bit of Animal Collective’s presence is certainly heard here. I’m all over Avey’s Beach Boys influenced vocals. Sounds really nice. Song flew by pretty fast. I really liked this one. 5:05 p.m.

3. Oliver Twist – A lot of people have been praising this one, so I’m excited to hear it. Starts off with some more murky vocals over a slow but steady beat. Slowly the beat is picking up along with the rest of the song. A lot of cool effects tucked away behind his voice. Absolutely adored the little “hmm hmm” part that appeared midway through. This one is an absolute winner, I’m digging this a lot. Everyone was right, this is most certainly a stand out. Lots of cool ideas spread throughout it’s 4:19 runtime. 5:11 p.m.

4. Glass Bottom Boat – The whole album has these quick spoken word dialogues that are weaving in out of a water inspired story. Not sure what to make of it yet. Glass Bottom Boat starts with one and then becomes a quick instrumental that gave off feelings of sadness. 5:14 p.m.

5. Ghost Of Books – This one sounds like a creepy experience within the water, as you drown faster and faster. An amazing looping beat that sounds every bit as trippy as Avey’s vocals. Once everything comes together like a puzzle piece, it just clicks. I can’t explain it, but I’m feeling totally blissed out and immersed. 5:18 p.m.

6. Cemeteries – “Cemeteries” is aptly titled. It’s a sad, lonely song that could be a fitting soundtrack for sad ghost’s journey. This is a really beautiful moment from Avey. Around the 2:16 moment it almost sounds like Panda Bear is calling out to Avey. It makes good use of samples and effects putting the listener in an abandoned cemetery, with nothing to hold onto but their thoughts. 5:22 p.m.

7. Heads Hammock – Avey’s vocals sound very AC at first, before he alters it more and more as the song ends. Not too blown away by this. 5:26 p.m.

8. Heather In The Hospital – The beginning gives me a “Bluish” feel. It doesn’t maintain this feel but it takes off nicely. Nice vocal harmonies through spread evenly over the background. Nice. 5:29 p.m.

9. Lucky 1 – Interesting choice to use the album closer as the first single. It makes sense once you wrap your head around the song and get lost it it’s greatness. This is like Avey’s triumphant step into the spotlight, proving his worth to the collective. 5:33 p.m.

Overall, a solid first listen. I think that this album certainly sees benefits from a listen on headphones. A lot of sparse details and effects that sound better packed tight over your ears. The album as a whole is pretty cohesive. The songs move smoothly to one another providing flawless transitions. There are a lot of nice moments but there really aren’t any heavy handed favorites which doesn’t surprise me. This is an album that your going to listen to as an album. The songs will probably benefit from the others, sounding better as a whole than individual pieces. Some songs did stand out more than others but it’s certainly a well balanced album.

The album is a perfect fall album. It’s dark and it sounds like a journey through gray waters. Avey wanted it to sound appropriate for the Halloween season, and he certainly succeeded.

Like all Animal Collective releases, we’re going to need multiple listens to truly appreciate what’s going on. Overall, I’m pretty satisfied with Down There upon one listen. Avey Tare certainly proved his worth. I was able to detect what qualities he brings to Animal Collective.

Live Blogging The Leak Of: Sufjan Steven’s :: The Age Of Adz

By Will Oliver, September 25th 2010 — with 8 comments

My live blogging of Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs got a good reaction, so I figured I’d give it another go with another big album leak. I was watching the Yankees pretty pathetic display against the Red Sox today when my buddy Brent from One Thirty BPM told me that The Age Of Adz leaked. Couldn’t believe it. I’m about to give it my first listen, and I figured I’d take you guys along with me.

Now before I start, let me start off by saying that I already pre-ordered the double vinyl release and bought tickets to see him in NYC. So if you do download the leaked album, be sure to support Sufjan, because he deserves your support. You can do that by pre-ordering the album right now from Asthmatic Kitty.

1. Futile Devices – After hearing all of the new electronic based Sufjan off this album, this is a reminder of the old familar Sufjan that we all know and love. Beautifully constructed with depth and precision. His voice sounds otherwordly. While listening to this, I really do get the sense that Sufjan really is back. This was a good way to ease us into the new Sufjan that seems to be emerging. 6:16 p.m.

2. Too Much – Second song we got from the leaked songs, and it’s interesting hearing this right behind the old-era Sufjan that kicked things off. This one has continued to get better and better with every listen, and I expect this to sound perfect with the rest of the album as it’s supporting cast. 6:20 p.m.

3. Age Of Adz – Here’s the title track. Woah what a start. There is so much going on. It sounds like his old orchestration mashed up against his new electronic stuff. It sounds like a completely new world, in general. It’s a heavy, heavy, track to absorb upon one listen. Sufjan has crafted some beautifully complex vocals harmonies and melodies here. This is pretty intense folks. Hmm it does calm down at the end. Quite pretty. 6:33 p.m.

4. I Walked – Just like with “Too Much”, “I Walked” has only gotten better with every listen. It’s revealed itself as a heartbreaking tale of love and hurt, but done in such a beautiful manner. It’s chorus gets me everytime. 6:36 p.m.

5. Now That I’m Older – Trickles in with haunted vocals filled with despair. A sad piano conjures these spirits together to form a ghostly track that, for some reason, is giving me intense imagery of a dark depressing winter filled with snow and loss. Don’t ask. I’m literally typing the first things that are popping into my head.

This one is showered with vocal harmonies and choppy vocals. Once again, there’s a lot to wrap your head around upon first listens. I’m not too sure how I feel about this yet. 6:42 p.m.

6. Get Real Get Right – Woah. It starts with an electronic effect that reminded me of MGMT for some reason. This may be the most experimental of any of the tracks we’ve heard yet. He tinkers around with his vocals, which is quite…interesting. There’s a lot going on it the background. Brass instruments are coming in and out, causing a dizzying effect. This almost sounds like a drug trip. Now is it a good trip, or a bad trip? That’s for you to decide. 6:47 p.m.

7. Bad Communication – It’s only 2 minutes long, but it has spaceship sounds and more haunted vocal harmonies. In other words, it’s a short trek into the bizarre. Not feeling it too much. 6:50 p.m.

8. Vesuvius – Sufjan’s voice starts off sounding really smooth. It’s one of the closest things to bare bones Sufjan track so far, with a pretty calm electronic beat backing him up. Really feeling this one. The harmonies are right up my ally. The vocals co-align with everything quite well. Something tells me this one will be an early favorite of a lot of Sufjan fans because it’s one of the more accessible ones on the album, by far. 6:54 p.m.

9. All for Myself – Damn, this one hits hard with the vocals. The orchestration sounds like a wave of sound taking Sufjan far and wide across your room, hitting deep within your soul. It’s a bit choppy in parts but it’s enjoyable. 6:59 p.m.

10. I Want To Be Well – Oh hello. This is one of the most fast paced Sufjan songs – ever. Kicks in with a pounding drum and takes off full flight. Don’t drift off or you may get lost. This is a heavy hitter that shifts to different speeds and sounds. It calmed down midway through, but that doesn’t last long. It kicks back into full gear with a ferocious chorus that speeds and speeds into a huge climax. This is a triumphant moment. Now comes Sufjan singing with what sounds like auto-tuned vocals. Somehow, it seems like this all works…too well.

This song was just a whole different level of nuts. 7:06 p.m.

11. Impossible Soul – Alright, here we go, the last song. We are jumping into the 25 minute track, and I’m a bit intimidated. Nice calm start guided into place by a light drum beat, that has some interesting fills. Sufjan is singing in a voice that sounds like it’s his final goodbye.

In comes the guitar, and it’s fuzzed out and distorted. It feels like the tracks coming to an end, but there’s still 16 minutes left. Now Sufjan busts out full fledged auto-tune, and choppy electronics. Out of no where comes a chorus that sounds like the Sufjan of old. This is a magnificent moment.

He just threw us a curveball. The last 3 minutes return to the folky Sufjan, out of no where. Complete contrast to the other 22 minutes. Perfect way to end it.

I called the 5-8 minute songs a lot to handle, but this one clearly takes the cake. It changes gears so much, while still staying true to the song. It’s hard to explain, but when you listen, you’ll know what I mean. I am impressed, but I just need some time to digest. 7:30 p.m.

Alright so my first listen is complete, and wow. It was a lot to absorb. This is not your average album. This is extremely experimental and ahead of it’s time (should I break out the avant garde?). The songs are heavy and intense. It’s going to take many listens to really absorb all the details and layers upon layers of music that Sufjan has crammed in there. The Age Of Adz is beautiful, complex, heartbreaking, upbeat, and most importantly: rewarding.

Let’s face it. Sufjan knows what he’d doing. This isn’t an album that people are going to love and first, and something tells me he knows that. However, I feel that slowly but surely, layers of this album will reveal itself to us, and once they do, we will be happy we spent so much time trying to get to them.

Sufjan, you’re amazing.

Live Blogging The Leak Of The Suburbs

By Will Oliver, July 23rd 2010 — with 11 comments

So I haven’t done a live blog of an albums leak since The National’s High Violet leaked. It’s a fun thing to do because it shows you all of my first impressions of these songs. These are only my raw first impressions of the songs remember, so don’t consider this a review or my final judgement of this album. It’s far from it. Rather this is just my fun way of giving my first impressions.

I should preface this live blogging with the fact that I have bought two tickets to see the band at MSG, and am going to buy the vinyl of The Suburbs. I have seen the band live before, have a t-shirt, and all their albums. So I’m not trying to say just grab the leak and be done with it. Be sure to support Arcade Fire. They deserve it if anyone. You can pre-order the album from them right here.

Ok so lets do it.

1. The Suburbs: Well it may just be because I am so damn excited about finally hearing this album, but “The Suburbs” sounds even better than I remember it. I gave it a few weeks off after abusing it a little bit. It really is a nice opening, paving the way for the glory that is sure on the way. 1:07 PM

2. Ready To Start: Loved the transition that “The Suburbs” took into “Ready To Start”. Don’t remember this song sounding like such a rocker. This song sounds like it gained 10x more energy and urgency since I last heard it. I’m probably just getting ahead of myself, but this sounds a lot better right now. This songs going to be epic live. 1:10pm

3. Modern Man: Now we are getting to the “new” songs. Modern starts off nicely with acoustic guitars and Win Butler singing it a very sad, lonely voice. Wow these guitars are slaying me hard. Some beautiful work.  This is a pure anthem. The band sure does sound more focused, putting together multiple layers of sounds that really work to their favor. Enjoyed this one a lot. 1:16 pm

4. Rococo – Ok, I’ve been dying to hear this after the MSG trailer. Stars out with some swirling string effects and more acoustics…you can tell this ones gonna be an emotional epic. Oh man, the guitar and effects after the first Rococo….slaying me. God damn, this is some heavy stuff. I am blown away right now. This song is everything that I could want from an Arcade Fire song. Call me very, very, impressed. Best song out of the first 4 easily. If any song on the album beats this, we have an instant classic on our hands folks. 1:21 pm

5. Empty Room – Starts out with some Disney-esque effects but then slides into a thunderous collision of instruments. Sounds like anything but a “empty room”. Good to hear Régine back near the front end of the vocals. These guys have decided to go towards a more upbeat direction making the most of their guitars…and I’m all for it. They are masters pf combining thunderous sounds and emotion.  1:25

6. City With No Children – Been talking to a friend about the album, and he feels like it’s very Springsteen-esque as well. I can totally see that on this song. The song didn’t quite take off as much as I hoped but the guitars were really great. Seems to be a trend on this album. I feel like this one will need to grow on me a bit. 1:30 pm

7. Half Light I – Ooooh loving the soft vocals from Régine…and the strings…the strings!!!! Beautiful stuff. Looks like they slowed down the pace somewhat, and what better timing. These strings are just wonderful, they are totally making the song for me right now. Nice..on to part 2! 1:34 pm

8. Half Light II (No Celebration) – This one has a number of various sounds and influences spitting out of it. Funky percussion that I dare call…tribal influenced? More glorious strings floating around creating a magical atmosphere. They are using some electronic effects as percussion, which is certainly different..but it does work. This song is one of the more heavier produced songs from the band. I gotta listen some more to this one for sure…Will surely have to run through it again to listen closer to the lyrics. They definitely have nostalgic value to Win. 1:40 pm

9. Suburban War – Ooh this stars out nice. Mesmerizing guitar riff, and some diverse percussion. There is something very attractive about the sound of this one…Oh man, the last minute came out of no where. I can only imagine what these guys will do with this one live. This has a lot of potential to grow on me. There is a lot to take in, but I am really favorable to this song. 1:45 pm

10. Month Of May – Month Of May falls in the good old “sounds better in context of the album” category. They shouldn’t have released this one as a “single”. I think its an odd cat alone. However it certainly fits nicely right behind the rest of the album. 1:50 pm

11. Wasted Hours – This is an appropriate title because this song has this lazy, chilling at the porch feel to it. Picture Win and co. playing this one in your living room over some nice cold beers. Yeah…perfect! This one is totally dripping with regret and remembrance. 1:53 pm

12. Deep Blue – Pretty pretty stuff. From Win’s voice to the disjointed piano, its all well formed. Arcade Fire a band that is known for the way they create emotions through their voice & music. This is one of the songs where they let the music do the talking for them. The last bit of instrumentals is excellent. 1:58 pm

13. We Used To Wait – This sounds a lot more dramatic and thematic than I remember it being. This was my favorite song out of the first 4 songs we received, and it still remains one of my favorites. This is a true Arcade Fire moment. 2:03 pm

14. Sprawl (Flatland) – Can already tell this is a sad song. The opening sound of empty open air was a clear indication of where this one was headed. This is a ballad of sorts with Win. Lets see where part 2 takes us… 2:06 pm

15. Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) – If part 1 was the flatlands, part 2 certainly does sound like a journey to the mountains that are beyond mountains. This is a magical song that sounds like Régine’s opposite to Haiti. If anything, its like a recording of her escape from Haiti to the glory that has become this band. It’s somewhat danceable thanks to some New Order synth effects that are well executed. This truly sounds like nothing that the band has ever done before. I am genuinely impressed. 2:11 pm

16. The Suburbs (continued) – Here we are, the final lap. It acts as a reprise for The Suburbs using its chorus. It’s a pretty appropriate way to end it all. 2:14 pm

Alright so there you have it. I just completed my first run of the album, and I am very pleased. The album lived up to my expectations, and it may have even surpased it. The songs took new directions and showed that Arcade Fire truly are one of a kind. There is no denying that they are one of the best bands of our generation. This is three near classic albums in a row. I still need to listen to this plenty of more times, and cannot wait to get this baby on vinyl. It’s going to sound magical.

The Suburbs was everything I could have asked for.

Be sure to pre-order the album now. It officially drops on August 3rd.

Live Blogging The Leak of High Violet

By Will Oliver, April 19th 2010 — with 9 comments

So The Nationals highly anticipated new album High Violet leaked. It’s far from good quality. Firstly, I want to say I pre-ordered High Violet on vinyl from insound. I bought tickets to see The National twice over the summer. I just bought a t-shirt. I am 100% fully supporting the band. Figured I should get that out of the way, before I did this.

I’ve never done this before, so forgive me if it is a mess.

Terrible Love: If you did your homework on High Violet, you know that the band used a raw almost demo-like version of “Terrible Love” on the album. I loved the song right from the get go when the band played it on Fallon, so I wasn’t too worried – but I was curious as to why the band would do such a thing. After my first solid listen, I understand why. This song strives on the mood & atmosphere creates. The background of ooh’s is straight up haunting. This is a major, major, song. I’m already in love with it. I’ve replayed it three times. It’s fucking powerful. Time to move on… 1:47 PM

Sorrow: This one is an emotional piece. This is more of a Matt song that anything else. It showcases his incredible natural ability to write everyday man lyrics. The band backs him up with a beautiful piece full of orchestration, haunting background vocals, and light strumming of an acoustic guitar. It’s a night follow up to Terrible Love. Lets see what we got next 1:51 PM

Anyone’s Ghost: The rhythm section finally at the forefront. Bryan Devendorf shows why he is one of the best modern drummers out there. Anyone’s Ghost meanders around a distinctive voice, just like a lost ghost. There is an underlying feeling of loss here. Less is usually more, and The National pull it off better than anyone out there. 1:55 PM

A Little Faith: Liked it after one listen, but I need to replay it. Ok, now I’m ready. It starts out with frantic electronic efforts before transitioning to the light strum of an acoustic guitar with a  gentle piano playing behind it. I like it, but I honestly feel like it is a song that will grow on me more once it is in better quality. I will withhold judgment until Friday (New York Times is gonna stream it!) 2:05 PM

Afraid Of Everyone: This song is still finding ways to grow and grow on me, testing out the length of my love. The song certainly sounds better in the context of the album. I just realized most of the songs have this dark, haunted vibe, created by the fuzzy production, and dreary backing vocals. Sufjan’s backing vocals are timely and efficient. 2:10 PM

Bloodbuzz Ohio: Just like “Afraid”, “Bloodbuzz” benefits by being surrounded by the rest of High Violet. It was a smart choice to put it in the middle of the tracklisting, utilizing it as almost the centerpiece of the album, holding everything together. It has traces of all of The Nationals albums, giving fans a sense of familiarity after surprising us with a pretty raw studio album. 2:14 PM

Lemon World: So far, my favorite song off the album. I am going to guess that this is going to be the case for a majority of listeners. The National are just at the top of their game on this. The song grabbed me from the start, not letting go. Matt and co. sound smooth, assured, and confident. The feeling of loose wool & hot tar that the band mentioned is definitely felt with the rough guitar riff. This song is probably the only one that I would say is instantly gratifying. What a tune. Hate to move on, but I really should…. 2:21 PM

Runaway: Runaway is meticulously played & produced to a certain degree where every part becomes as important as the last. This leak certainly isn’t doing it enough justice. This is the type of song that you read the lyrics as you are listening. Details are key. The band invested a lot of emotions into this one, and it paid of. What a song. I can’t wait to listen to it on a good pair of headphones once the high quality version comes out. This is most likely that one song that grows incredibly over time as we listen to High Violet more and more. Even with that said, “Runaway” is sounding magnificent right now. 2:31 PM

Conversation 16: Damn, my ears are really liking what they are hearing. Wow, I am floored right now. It has a powerful dramatic ending chorus that I can’t get over right now. The band utilizes some cool studio effects that only help. The end sounds like a trip towards heavenly gates. 2:41 PM

England: Starts with a lovely piano piece and expands into a widescreen piece that transports the listener to another world. I’m liking this one a lot. It is a prime example of The National’s ability to slowly build and build to epic heights. Lovely. 2:51 PM

Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks: Lovely ending. A perfect closer. 3:05 PM

Album Summary:

The National have not lost it at all. High Violet is a different animal than Alligator or Boxer. There are certianly elements of those records in these new songs, but they are very different as well. The songs are moodier and darker than anything that the band has ever done. However, there are also plenty of beautiful jaw droppers that you will develop strong relationships over time. The National took bold risks by creating such raw, rough, cuts of songs like “Terrible Love”, but somehow it seems to be the only version of the song appropriate.

The National are premier musicians who should be dominating the world by now. I don’t know how many bands out there takes so much time and effort to give us such a complete album. The songs have layers of melodies and arrangements that flip flop, float, and retreat, creating a furry of sounds that you can’t quite wrap your head around at first. But you grab a good pair of headphones, dim the lights, and give it another go. That is my plan for tonight.

High Violet certainly lived up to my expectations, and this is thread after listening to a pretty poor quality leak. I can’t wait for the real thing!!

Be sure to pre-order High Violet from insound. You can get a pretty awesome bundle package if you pre-order it now.

UPDATE: The National announced they are streaming High Violet in full quality this Friday via The New York Times (weird choice?). The band announced it via their tumblr and through a mailing list email. Here is the exact quote from the band:

Hi everyone!

As you may have heard, there is a low quality leak of our new album, High Violet, spreading across the Internet as we speak. We wanted to let you know the New York Times – http://www.nytimes.com – will be streaming the real thing starting Friday April 23rd. We hope you’ll take the time to hear the album at its intended level of quality.

High Violet will be released by 4AD worldwide on May 10th/11th.


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