Noise 101: CD reviews for March 21
We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
Enter into sweet psychedelia with Foxygen’s second album. It’s like Sam France, half of Foxygen, materialized through a time-space continuum, grabbed your hand, and stated “Don’t ask questions, we need you to come.” And you decide to follow into that luminous vortex, because his voice is so fitting and welcoming, yet also inspiring and preachy. When you emerge through the vortex you are standing in California in the 60s – the place where the band seems to draw most of their inspiration. Jonathan Rado, the other member, is keeping you constantly in-check to make sure you are ingesting the amazing experience but not tripping over the edge. The only complaint is that there isn’t more music. Still, it’s barely a criticism to say “we need more of your sweet musical nectar, Foxygen.”
— Logan Pollon
Chiddy Bang seems to have a pretty big following in the United States, and I’m unsure why. The album art — at first glance — is repulsive. The photo on the back sleeve is poorly-lit, making “Chiddy” look very dark, and “Xaphoon Jones” looks extra white. Like a white kid gangster from Shawnessy who drives his mom’s ’98 Honda Accord white. Is that what they were going for? I feel like I’m listening to music that YTV is going to edit so there can be kid-friendly versions to sell to 8-year-olds with moms who regard themselves as cool.
The music has a very late-nineties feel to it. It’s bad and they should feel bad. It’s pop-y, sugar-coated and reminds me of drinking one too many Slurpees in my teenage years — great for the first sip, but unavoidable regret once you get halfway through. By the end, the album Slurpee is so watered-down you just give up and throw it out.
— Samara Hawkins
By My Side
Sometimes when you write an album review, you want to hate it before you even listen to it. That’s how I felt about Ben Harper’s 2012 new album. To my surprise, I just couldn’t bring myself to not like this wonderfully put together album that veers away from Harper’s usual angst-filled wails. Expecting the usual teenage love-lost cry fits, I instead was treated to a positive look on life that led me to uncorking a bottle of wine and lying on the floor.
“Diamonds on the Inside” is a beautiful track that perfectly lays out what it is like to love someone while the title track “By My Side” — while targeted for vanilla music fans — is an excellent lead-in to this brilliant album. Each track is layered with subtly wonderful sound that left me wishing I had the vinyl track rather then the clunky, dated technology of the compact disc.
— Todd Colin Vaughan