Three albums you can’t live without

Jeff Buckley: GraceI am a huge fan of streaming services, especially Spotify, and I’ve been using that to listen to music at work and at home for a while now. But in my car I am still relying on the old school ways for my listening needs, CDs! (Is it too early to call CDs old school? Maybe not.) And one thing I noticed is that, I seem to need to have a few of my CDs close by. These are the albums that have made a huge impact on me. So much that I can’t imagine not listening to them for long periods of time. Below, I picked the top 3 albums that I desperately “need” at all times.

  1. Jeff Buckley: Grace
  2. Dredg: El Cielo
  3. Jeff Buckley: Sketches for my Sweetheart the Drunk

I’m really wondering what you would pick as “the three albums you can’t live without”? Please leave a comment below with your list!

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Manchester Orchestra: Simple Math

If you are wondering why I haven’t posted a new review for a while (I don’t know why you would do that) it’s because I’ve been listening to this album. I listen to it in my car, at work, again in my car while coming back home and finally I listen to it at home. I just became attached to it, something in it just got me. I think with the release of their 3rd album, this American (Yup, not British) indie rock quintet found out how to make a record that can fracture your ability to listen to other bands for a while.

Defining the genre of the music is tricky since it feels like the band doesn’t want to stick to a genre, but, just to give you an idea of what to expect, the album Simple Math has traces of Alternative, Progressive, Pop and Indie Rock (and many more actually). For one song they sound like the next Porcupine Tree record and then enters an Arcade Fire-like song followed by a guitar riff that reminds of some Led Zeppelin record ending with a Beatles chorus with Panic at the Disco vocals. And at one point you stop counting the bands and just say: “OK, how does all of this fit in one disc?”. The amount of ideas in this album is crazy. Instruments you can expect to hear range from overdriven guitars to hammond organs, string orchestras to children’s choir (?!). If you are interested in alternative rock music at all, you shouldn’t miss this great album.

Release date: May 10, 2011

What I loved about this album: Crazy amount of material, attention to detail, good sounding record with various (modern, vintage) excellent guitar sounds, strings arrangements, the excitement of not knowing what to expect with the next song and, most important of all, the sincerity in the lyrics and the music. Also the singer looks a little bit like Zach Galifianakis with the beard.

What I didn’t like about it: That it has an end.

Check these tracks:

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First Single From Upcoming Red Hot Chili Peppers Album

The upcoming album titled “I’m With You” will be released on August 30, 2011 and features Josh Klinghoffer on guitars since John Frusciante quit the band (again). Band made the first single “The Adventures Of Rain Dance Maggie” publicly available online. It seems the change of guitarist had a lot of effect on the RHCP sound and I’m not sure if I liked it or not. It feels familiar but “different”. Judge it for yourself:

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Incubus: If Not Now, When?

Incubus: If Not Now, When?Can you believe Incubus has just released their 7th studio album? Time is slipping fast but these guys are slowly carving their names deeper and deeper into rock hall-of-fame. It’s been 16 years since their first album “Fungus Amongus” was released and time seems to have played an important role in shaping their sound of today as it is much calmer, slower, darker and serious.

If all of the Incubus songs are put on a spectrum and the overdriven high-tempo hits like “Megalomaniac” and “Anna Moly” are on one side of it, then this whole album would be far on the other side along with songs such as “Drive” or “Talk Shows on Mute”. It is a big change considering all of their songs to date. The groovy drum/bass riffs we got used to are gone, replaced by simpler, low-tempo chord progressions pushing the vocals more into the spotlight. I didn’t think of it to be a terrible choice, though. Mainly because I like calm and dark songs, and also because Brandon Boyd delivers some of his best performances with this album.

 Release Date: July 12, 2011

 What I loved about this album: All the songs are written, produced and recorded extremely professionally with excellence. No lemons! Nothing ever feels out of place, nothing feels overlooked. Insert the disc into the tray and you will not feel how fast time goes by listening to this album. Also, Brandon Boyd is extremely talented and is getting better and better with each album. I don’t like some of the previous albums where the vocal melodies keep repeating themselves, but this album is not like that.

What I didn’t like about it: Most of the tracks (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) don’t introduce many new ideas. I am not saying these songs aren’t great, they are, but when you break down and analyze them you will see that all of them mainly consist of things you have heard before either in a previous Incubus album or some album from a random band. I would expect much more from Incubus, as, over the years, I got used to buying/downloading their albums as soon as they come out and being overwhelmed by the tremendous amount of creative ideas on each track. Also, I would love to hear more of Mike Einziger’s mildly overdriven and complex riffs which in my opinion made the Incubus the band it is today.

Check these tracks:

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Quicksand: Slip

Quicksand: Slip Album Cover

Generally categorized as Hardcore/Punk this album is Metal/Alternative to my ears. Actually if you like Tool’s Opiate – Undertow era you will LOVE this album. If you don’t, well, you should.  “Slip”, which is the first album by Quicksand dates back to February 1993. (Side Note: 1993 was a magical time for alternative metal bands with Alice in Chains – Dirt @ September 1992, Faith No More – Angel Dust @ June 1992, Tool – Undertow @ April 1993).

I came across this while shopping for the new album by Rival Schools, which also has Walter Schreifels on vocals. Although not as neurotic and whispery as Maynard, his shouting voice that spans the entire album resembles the hatred and energy in some parts of the early Tool songs. By the way, the resemblance in vocals is just the beginning, just wait until you hear the guitar riffs! Dark, heavily distorted and yet, patient. If you are a Tool fan, you will be smiling like a happy chimpanzee by the end of the disc.

 Release date: February 9, 1993

 What I loved about this album: Screaming vocals. Calm, distorted guitar riffs. Endless energy. Pessimistic mood. Best rock albums were made in 90s, this is one of them.

 What I didn’t like about it: The BPM and the mood doesn’t change at all. I like listening to albums from start to end which makes this one a hard listen. But, it is totally worth it.

 Check these tracks:

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Limp Bizkit: Gold Cobra

Gold Cobra Album Cover

This one really surprised me. Limp Bizkit seems to have returned to their roots to rediscover what their “original idea” was and create an album that sounds really like (wait for it…) Limp Bizkit!

I always thought all the Limp Bizkit albums were above average but none seemed to stick out for me (except Unquestionable Truth which satisfied my RATM urges for a while). This one did. Be sure to buy/download the album and listen to it at full volume in your car/stereo. This is a heavy rock/rap/alternative album.

Release date: June 28, 2011

What I loved about this album: The heaviness and the smiling factor (you will understand what I’m talking about as you listen to the lyrics) never stops. Wes Borland’s riffs are heavy and complex, bass is groovy and the DRUMS!!! The sweet sound of Limp Bizkit kick drum!!! It’s unbelievable. I believe the kick drum sounds on this album will be a reference for many sound engineers working on rock music. And Fred Durst is back to his good ol’ days (Definitely a good progress considering how far off he wandered to find a new vocal style with the last album)

What I didn’t like about it: Not much. It’s original, heavy and full of ideas. Whatever sub-genre you go for these are the elements that I think are essential to any rock album. This album has plenty.

Check these tracks:

  • Bring It Back
  • 90.2.10
  • Loser

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What This Is About

Here’s the deal:

I like reading album reviews.
I don’t like reading long, artsy, literary reviews.
I am not a fan of objectivity. I value opinions.
I listen a lot and most of the time I think about what I listen.

So I wanted to share my thoughts…

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