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The opening track on an album is intended to get the listener’s attention, and to make them want to listen more. The closing track should insure they finish satisfied, although, as many albums this year showed, artists often cop out when it comes to delivering the finale. Satisfying opening and closing tracks never seem to be celebrated enough, so here are the best of 2012.
I appreciate album covers in an artistic manner, almost as much as the plastic inside of them. From the minimalism of “Beatles for Sale” to the complexity of Talking Heads’ “More Songs About Buildings and Food,” album covers give every album its own identity before you even put it on. This year has brought many good album covers. Here are my five favorites.
Here are my top 10 albums of 2012. The full list of 50 albums will be up on my blog, Matt on More Music, at www.easternecho.com in the coming weeks.
Here are my top 10 songs of 2012. The full top 100 will be appearing on my Echo blog soon.
The first and most memorable hook on the new Dropkick Murphys album, “Signed and Sealed in Blood,” goes, “The boys are back, and they’re looking for trouble.” That says it all, really. The album’s only hook that you might be able to remember when the music’s shut off is a cliché line that may or may not be ripping off Thin Lizzy.
“Sometimes the bad guys come out on top/Sometimes the good guys lose” is the line that opens “Fade,” the new album from Hoboken-based indie-rockers Yo La Tengo. The line that ends the same song, “Ohm,” is “It’s been fun.”
What are the implications of the materialistic lyrics found in today’s hottest hip-hop hits? Eastern Michigan University student Ivory Harris Jr., one of the minds behind “Knowledge, Power, Respect: Hip-Hop Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” was eager to find out. After conducting a study in November 2011, Harris discovered that 48 out of 50 songs on the Billboard hip-hop and rhythm and blues charts glorified alcohol or substance abuse, crime and violence and other negative themes.
Listening to “Lady from Shanghai,” the new album from Pere Ubu, one might come to the conclusion that band leader David Thomas doesn’t read a lot of _Pitchfork_. We should all be this lucky, but if you’re going to try to record weird music, it might be helpful to know what is considered the norm these days.
The Blind Pig, located at 208 S. First St. in downtown Ann Arbor, is hosting a dual CD release party Saturday for two southeast Michigan emcees, who will be performing their new albums in their entirety. Doors open at 9:30 p.m. and cover is $7 for ages 21 and up and $10 for ages 18-20.
I make no secret about Wussy being my favorite band, possibly of all time and definitely right now. Every new release increases my admiration of them, even if it’s something as simple as an acoustic re-recording of their first album or a cover of Dusty Springfield’s “Breakfast in Bed.” They’re just fantastic, and have an almost inhuman ability to make magic happen during every performance.
It's not hard to spot the immense talent here at Eastern Michigan University, but Kristianna Bell stands out among the crowd.
About four years ago, Jon Whaley attended Eastern Michigan University, studying arts management. Today, he is the leader of Metro Worship, a collective effort of all of the worship bands at Metro South Church in Taylor, Mich.
Post-punk revival is a genre that should have worked well. Bands influenced by Wire, Gang of Four and The Psychedelic Furs? How could you go wrong?
Spreading a message might be a bit of a far stretch for some people, but for Eastern Michigan University sophomore Lydia Seale it’s only a matter of time before the world hears her message.
In 2009, I became a Tegan and Sara fan after being introduced to them through a friend. They stand alongside TV on the Radio and Vampire Weekend as one of the bands most responsible for my fascination with indie-rock after being exclusively classic rock-oriented for so many years.
Last year’s “Armor On” EP wasn’t Dawn Richard’s first release. It wasn’t even her first solo LP. In 2005, before she was ever a member of Danity Kane (whose hit “Damaged” is among the greatest pop songs of 2008) or Diddy-Dirty Money, she released “Been a While,” an album that has been almost completely forgotten.
For their current tour, Yo La Tengo is splitting shows into two parts. The first part is mainly acoustic, and the second is electric. Knowing this, I was pleased when they opened their show at the Michigan Theater on Feb. 8 with an acoustic version of “Ohm,” the opening track from their new album “Fade.” I was even more pleased when they played the song again for their electric set.
Through the ages, many artists expressed their love for their respective hunnies through song. Being one of those universal feelings and all that, love songs are something most people can relate to, so understandably, there is a metric crapton of them swimming about out there. Music writer Carmen Bojanowski, music critic Matt Rice (of Matt on Music) and life editor/resident music major Jess Salisbury weighed in on their personal favorites.
It’s Valentine’s Day, and you’ve probably seen enough images of topless cherubs and rootless flowers with three-day shelf lives to last a lifetime. Why not enjoy your Valentine’s Day this year by spending it with Electric Six at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor?
If you were to look at a list of my favorite instruments, you would see a lot of diversity. Saxophone and steel drum are my top two, and also high up on the list are the bass guitar, combo organ, violin and ukulele. What you won’t see on my list, however, is the flute. On Christopher Owens’ solo debut, “Lysandre,” the first sound heard is that of a flute. And I have never heard the instrument sound as horrendous as it does, opening this record.