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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    CD Reviews

    Always a band to take its music seriously, Diamond Hoo Ha is the latest release from English pop-rock quartet Supergrass.

    Like its other albums, Diamond Hoo Ha is a cohesive mixture of fun-loving rock ‘n’ roll with the occasionally serious subject matter. Its last album Road to Rouen was a melancholy departure but Supergrass has returned sunnier than ever.

    Immediately the track “”Diamond Hoo Ha Man”” brings you into this album with a funky stomp style and grooving rock energy to let you know the kind of joyride you’re in for. And if you weren’t quite convinced, the throwback to classic Supergrass on the second track “”Bad Blood,”” with its persistent beat, back-and-forth melody and rock-out chorus should inspire that long hair to whip into a frenzy of head-banging ecstasy.

    Diamond Hoo Ha
    Supergrass – Parlophone
    4 stars

    Diamond Hoo Ha, while being an obvious return to some older motifs, doesn’t fail at pushing the envelope either. “”Whiskey and Green Tea,”” despite occasionally tasting like the foul mixture with weird dissonant solos, does all sorts of interesting stuff with keyboard, horns and a marching snare. But like old Supergrass, there is no question that guitar is the grand daddy supreme of this album.

    Bluesy riffs matched with funk struts and a touch of glam are what dominate this album. “”When I Needed You”” shows superb balance while “”345″” is a guitar slap to the face much appreciated. “”Rebel in You”” is the track where influence (David Bowie is all over this song) is most obvious but tributes are strewn throughout to the likes of The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds and The Zombies.

    Breaking out in 1995, Supergrass pays tribute to those before it, but it deserves a nod as well. Its influence can be seen all over today’s rock (especially indie) and for whatever reason (commercialism) it hasn’t been given due credit in the States. Without Supergrass we wouldn’t see bands like Jet, The Strokes and Franz Ferdinand. Without Diamond Hoo Ha I wouldn’t have my new favorite rock album of the year.

    – Mitch Levine


    Did you enjoy your teenage years enough to compose an ’80s-themed album representing your feelings? M83’s Anthony Gonzalez did, thus the birth of Saturdays=Youth.

    The adolescence-inspired album kicks off subtly with “”You, Appearing,”” which leads in with a solitary piano, and builds in intensity with effervescent, wispy string distortions and hushed vocals.

    “”Kim & Jessie”” starts off with drums popping in and twangy riffs. The track is rather reminiscent of the ’80s and the synth beats make one feel jaded.

    “”Graveyard Girl,”” quite possibly Gonzalez’s flagship song for his teenage concept, is high energy but has a spoken sequence by the supposed “”graveyard girl”” which makes the song feel a bit cheesy.

    Saturdays=Youth
    M83 – EMI
    3 stars

    Beginning with a static intro and bass beats, “”Couleurs”” builds gradually and becomes a multi-layered track. After several minutes have passed, the song continues to grow in intricacy as the vocals creep into the song in such a subtle way you don’t realize when they start.

    “”Highway of Endless Dreams”” leads in with the spoken words: “”7 a.m., dusty road/ I’m gonna drive until it burns my bones.”” The song carries on with vocals that strobe in through breaths and incessantly beating drums.

    The last notable track on the album is “”Too Late”” with its periodic break from the ’80s, thanks to a somber piano and airy vocals.

    Though the ’80s or teen years may not be times that many aim to remember, M83 conjures up the feeling of nostalgia and seemingly endless youth through these distinctive tracks, because you can’t hold on forever.

    – Kelli Hart


    Humble beginnings mark every bands start, but for the L.A. based band Princeton, the goal is to make interesting records.

    In its LP, A Case of the Emperor’s Clothes, Princeton, a band consisting of twin brothers, Jesse and Matt Kivel and Ben Usen will have you clapping your hands.

    The band called themselves Princeton after the street that the Kivel’s grew up on. So far, the band’s biggest struggle as 22-year-olds isn’t convincing listeners of it’s music abilities but of their true age. “”It would be much easier if we were able to grow full beards, but it hasn’t happened yet,”” Usen said.

    The LP begins with a slowed and soft singing voice to the melody of piano and tambourine in the song “”The Indifference Curve,”” but quickly takes speed with a catchy beat and fast lyrics.

    The beginning of “”Tokyo, Japan”” starts with a different sound than what is passionately echoed by the singing in the background. The change in sounds transitions smoothly throughout the LP.

    Most of the LP’s songs are catchy and resemble that of The Kinks, but with folk elements present. This is especially evident in “”Two Hands,”” with its gracefully strummed guitar and what could be a harmonica playing between breaks in lyrics.

    The pirate inspiration in the song “”Blackbeard”” is obvious with moments of soft strumming guitar followed by beautifully sung lyrics and an edgier strumming of guitar..

    The vocals in “”The Red Sweater”” are somber, with reinforcement from background vocals that collide with an upbeat harmonica.

    “”They Sing in Her Heart”” lacks the cheerfulness found in the rest of the LP. The sadness needed to carry this song lyrically is met by the haunting keys of the piano and powerful tune carried by the guitar.

    In what might be their most softly articulated song, “”By the Bear (Sleeping Souls),”” resembles the criteria for singing a lullaby. The vocals coo to the yielding keys of the piano and organ. The music slowly fades away leaving the flowing vocals to stand on their own.

    – Kelsey Ahlmark

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