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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    CD Reviews

    Vagrant Records is known for harboring some pretty phenomenal bands on their label, like Alkaline Trio, Murder By Death and Saves the Day. That said, A Cursive Memory has some pretty big shoes to fill with the release of their first major album, Changes.

    It’s hard to overlook the fact that A Cursive Memory has the case of the chameleon band: They sound like everyone else in different ways at different times. In fact, one doesn’t really need to exert much effort to come to the conclusion that their first track, “”South,”” sounds like Something Corporate, but with Taking Back Sunday’s Adam Lazzara as a replacement front man. Once you get over the striking similarities, the driving piano melodies and typical emo/pop/punk lyrics please.

    A Cursive Memory – Vagrant
    2 stars

    A Cursive Memory’s single, “”Everything,”” is a little too cutesy as the chorus merely spells out the name of the track, but the overall production is solid and the song is catchy enough.

    “”Changes”” bounces in with distorted, high-pitched piano, but following track “”Perfect Company”” rings chameleon again as the lead vocals sound a lot like The Rocket Summer.

    The best and most diverse song on Changes is “”Lions,”” which has unique composition and vocals, and closes out with fancy guitar and drums, interlacing through the lyrics “”I just want to move on/I just want to belong/I just want to get along.””

    Tracks like “”The Piano Song”” and “”Tonight Lites”” compel me to send the band a thesaurus, and the remaining tracks on the album fizzle out.

    It is evident that A Cursive Memory is trying to emulate highly successful bands of the genre, but in the process of achieving that sound they just blend into their surroundings.

    – Kelli Hart

    Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon was trying to run away to a life of pastoral simplicity when he ended up recording For Emma, Forever Ago. Released on JAGJAGUWAR Records, Bon Iver’s pure sound draws from the environment that gave it birth.

    “”Bon Iver”” is French for “”good winter”” and surely this one-man band endured worthy weather while hibernating in his hometown of Northwestern Wisconsin.

    For Emma, Forever Ago
    Bon Iver – JAGJAGUWAR
    4 stars

    For Emma, Forever Ago emulates his lonely mood with folk-rock songs that calm like a softly burning fire. “”Skinny Love”” is reminiscent of Minus the Bear’s slow guitar-strumming songs and campfire melodies.

    The songs clearly lead from one to another, telling Vernon’s intimate story with all of its highs and lows. Each song builds up tension and slowly releases it, like a clenched fist, until you’re ready to exhale with relief.

    The album is the quintessential folk-rock experience. Totaling 37 minutes, Bon Iver leaves you wanting more of his natural acoustic sounds. Luckily we won’t have to wait long: He’s coming out of hiding and gracing the stage at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., March 18 with Phosphorescent.

    – Alexandria Kassman

    While Radiohead’s In Rainbows transfigured the entire music scene by showing that free Internet downloads can lead to success in the charts, the album itself has just been transfigured as well. The Oakland, Calif.-based producer Amplive’s re-imaginings of the successful Radiohead album also came under fire by record executives, stalling its release. Representatives contacted Amplive when he announced the release of Rainy Dayz Remixes, complaining that Amplive had failed to notify Radiohead about the material and citing confusion that the band was somehow involved in the project.

    Fortunately, they came to an agreement and the album is now available for free and legal download through a zip file. The eight track compilation features remixes by Del the funkee homosapien from Gorillaz, Oakland rapper Too $hort and Chali 2na from Jurassic 5.

    Rainy Dayz Remixes
    4 stars

    While most remix albums seem tired and dismissive as afterthoughts to art, this collection is smart and original. Thom Yorke’s original vocals remain intact through much of the album, although interspersed with rapping and singing from the collaborators.

    Standout tracks include, “”Video Tapez”” – with a blistering beat that adds tension to Yorke’s powerful piano ballad and Del’s inciteful lyrics – and “”15 Stepz,”” which sees a rhythm and blues guitar riff and crooning to the formerly up-tempo dance song.

    At its best, the album recreates and expands on a concept that Radiohead popularized: This music belongs to everyone, and therefore it’s open to endless interpretations.

    – Andi Berlin

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