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I know this album is only an EP, but I’m going to bend the
rules and include this album on my list because this album is really deep and
extraordinary from start to finish. To me, this is the way acoustic music
should sound. Both bands beautifully crafted their original fast paced tunes
into stunning acoustic renditions. Stripping down their songs really allowed
both bands to shine musically and lyrically. I never thought these original
songs would have sounded so much more honest and improved acoustically, but
they really do.
I was expecting more and more of the piano powered pop rock
tracks of their first release with the lyrics stemming from those morbid high
school days of when jocks and cheerleaders ruled the world. Like I said, I was
tricked. Something Corporate managed to evolve lyrically on North and get even a tad ominous, which
really managed to take the band to a new level. This album is full of spirit,
character and growth.
This album was really nostalgic for me as it brought back
the memories and melodies that my local Philly favorites, Kid Dynamite used to
deliver. This album is full of fury, rage and tenacity and they never let up on
the gas pedal as they shred through 17 songs in less than 19 minutes. The
vocals are delivered in such a pungent and harsh dynamic that the listener can
really feel the anger and emotion. One of the most powerful records these ears
have ever heard.
This album definitely lives up to its title, Evolution of Energy. You undeniably get
energy and then some. The lyrics are what really set apart S.T.U.N. from their
peers. You get a taste of some fine politically charged lyrics that offer a
pleasant change of pace to the dribble words of heartbreak that are so watered
down. The music can feed off that Rage Against the Machine vibe mixed
satisfactorily with some Sex Pistols and Jane’s Addiction. This album really
jumped out at me.
An album that jumps on the new age electro rock bandwagon.
But not only do they just jump on, they take over the drivers seat. One of the
most inventive albums of the year hands down. Like a Moth Before a Flame
develops several up-beat tracks that are filled with encrusted vocals with
melodic synthesizers guiding everything along. A very unique style of music
that is definitely able to lead a new genre of sorts into the lime light. A
pleasantly surprising album that really delivered skillfully.
Well sometimes you just have to take someone’s advice to
find a jewel in the muddy, murky waters of music. I don’t think I would be
stretching anything if I placed this album as the jewel of the year. It is
definitely a fun one in that the melodies and harmonies are plentiful and
tasteful. This album left me with nothing but a huge smile.
The Bandits are one of those uncommon and rare bands that
let their energized music lead the way. This band is full of musical talent and
The Resignation proudly displays it.
This album combines a rare mix of laid back reggae-like vibes with ska and rock
crashing through it. A strange combination of music that is perfected on The
Resignation in 12 tracks that are so jam friendly, topped off with lyrics that
dig pretty deep into social issues around us; this album is distinctive and
Thursday managed to deliver yet again with an album that
dropped most of the catchy like vocals and riffs in exchange for an even darker
side of the band. This album is largely centered on the anguish and hate that
exists in this world today. Thursday isn’t happy about the negative world they
live in and with their music they pour this sentiment out. A really profound
and emotional album that definitely cries for change.
This is the type of hardcore album I have craved for a long
time. The vocals are energetic while tender in passion; the type of hardcore
album that does not give you a headache. Damn straightforward and sincere, this
album is probably years ahead of its time, but that’s what makes it work for
Originality and freshness are the keys to this album. This
album really defines what creativity is all about with its temperate and
pleasant sounding guitars, powerful and commanding bass and drums, and vocals
that snuggle into sound perfection. The music is heavy at times but in such a
non-metal way, it makes it even more moving.
There was a lot of build-up and hoopla that came with this
album and it lived up to all of it. Filled with brisk electronic indie pop
sounds reminiscent of those keyboard, synthesizer filled 80’s songs I love and
grew up on, it oozes passion, melody and dance-like beats. Best relates and
captures the spirit of this electro-indie rock phase that is slowly creeping
its way to the forefront of music.
This album shows the true talent of Yellowcard and the
charisma they hold. Ocean Avenue also
marks the maturity and growth of the band as lyrically they have developed for
the better. The album delivers a more optimistic and positive spin on life.
This album is stunning poetry that has cleverly transpired
and packaged neatly into folk-like rock songs. The lyrics combine everyday life
with a historical political agenda that handily tags along. The music is
clearly a backdrop to this lyrical gem of an album, but it’s not to be
overlooked. The mild and soft guitars and relaxed bass lines pull everything
Thrice managed to out do themselves and created an album
that was really dark and powerfully intoxicating. The Artist in the Ambulance pulls Thrice away from those freakish
time changes that filled their past releases and pushes them toward songs that
are clearly more organized and structured to form a tight cohesiveness. The
method to their madness pays off as the focus on the music makes the tracks so
much more vibrant. They still incorporate the breakdown dynamic but at a much
slower pace with heavier music. The metal riffs are very much alive and kicking
and Thrice really surprised me with how great this album turned out.
I can best describe this album as a beautiful mess. A
concept album based on the life of a friend of Omar Rodriguez and Cedric Bixler
that committed suicide, it really does an amazing job of painting a life story
using music as the tool. You can definitely hear the At The Drive In roots and
when you add in that Zeppelin and Floyd weirdness, you get what I call a
The singer/songwriter phrase is over used but there is an
artist who not only writes dazzling, lovely lyrics and music, but , he produces
it as well. He is only 19 years of age too. Talk about talent, this album is
full of youthful honesty and sincerity that really comes from within one’s
spirit. It’s hard not to listen to this album and not feel something deep. Some
may even be moved so much, tears might fill their eyes. One of the most
emotionally charged albums I have ever heard.
This was an album that I searched out high and low to
acquire, and with good reason. The lyrics of this album take those chilly
feelings we keep inside and turn them out to musical works of art. Those times
when we don’t know the right words to say or can’t find them long gone, Blair
Shehan knows where they are and he delightfully sings them for us.
To say this album was highly anticipated, would be a
tremendous understatement. To say Brand New created a new style of music on
Deja Entendu that is their very own would not. This album also served as my
summer soundtrack so it brings me back to those warm nights and that’s what
it’s all about.
This album is a scrapbook of photographs from that long road
trip out west. This alt-country pop album delivers each and every song in its
own unique way. Every track can stand on its own and yet still form a
continuity that creates a certain rarity of sorts. The music bounces between
acoustic and electric guitars with a little bit of the in-between thrown into
the mix. The lyrics are laid back and simple, but very nostalgic. This album
offers a little bit of everything in each and every song. Truly an album I’ll
This album is an evolution. An evolution that includes creativity and expressionism in a way that one can relate to and appreciate. Every song holds deep sensation and emotion and integrity that make every minute on this album glow in the deep orange sun. An album that is simply beautiful in all aspects and one that really hit me hard.
A variety of directions and influences culminates in an
album that is interesting, eclectic, and FUN! Note: This album does not sound
as ‘Duran Duran-ish’ as many have insisted it does.
09. Death Cab for Cutie – Transatlanticism (Barsuk)
08. Hot Hot Heat – Make Up the Breakdown (Sub Pop)
07. The Shins – Chutes Too Narrow (Sub Pop)
Just some good rock n’ roll. This album is too good to be
left behind in 2003 without being looked at by those who still have an interest
in solid rock music. Damn good, fast paced, and energetic.
05. Brand New – Deja Entendu (Razor & Tie)
04. The Stills – Logic Will Break Your Heart (Vice)
03. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros – Streetcore (Hellcat)
02. Radiohead – Hail to the Thief (Capitol)
I saw these guys open for Idlewild earlier this year and
before the first few songs were over I was a fan. That is all there is to it
really. I ran over to the merchandise area and bought the album without any
doubt in my mind that I would like it. I loved it and I think many of you will
love it too. The vocals provided by the Tepper brothers are lovely as well. The
guitar riffs are delightfully different, the riffs verge on choppy, though do
not quite creep into the territory of choppy. Also, the drummer is adorable.
When I saw their set they were drinking beer instead of water in between songs,
if that says anything. Like I said before, this is the COOLEST. I know I sound
like a two year old but that is kind of the point. Awesome album … listen to
Sure, Mest aren’t doing anything groundbreaking or even
musically mediocre, but this album was the soundtrack to the best summer of my
life. Songs like “Burning Bridges,” “Rooftops,” and
“Paradise” are undeniably catchy and fun, making this one of the
quintessential albums of the summer of ’03.
“Glasseater have come a long way on their latest,
proving that these underrated rockers are worthy of the praise and attention
that has unfortunately overlooked them in the past. With melodic intensity…
and hooks that draw the listener in, Everything
is Beautiful When You Don’t Look Down will keep your fickle ears entertained
for a solid 34 minutes.”
Easily the best real punk album I’ve heard this year, Sing the Sorrow caused a very unique
situation for AFI. These punk veterans, led by the talented voice of Davey
Havok, managed to develop their sound and expand their appeal without having to
dodge cries of “sellout!” How did they do this? Simple: the music is
Emo pop and Nintendo clash on this collaboration between
Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello, resulting in songs like
“Such Great Heights” that sad kids, punks, and indie snobs alike can
bop around to.
While this compilation does hit some rough spots (actually,
the last 7 songs could be considered one long rough spot), exceptional acoustic
tracks from Thrice, Yellowcard, Taking Back Sunday, Piebald, and Finch make
this CD worthwhile.
North is a huge
leap from 2001’s drab single “If U C Jordan” with mature lyrics and a
more defined individual style. “Me And The Moon” and closing track
“Miss America” showcase the band’s serious side, while “21 And
Invincible” and “Space” are catchy, youthful, and will have you
singing along after only a couple listens.
Strays is a rarity, a pure rock album drenched with
adrenaline and enriched with killer guitar solos. Dave Navarro is undisputably
one of modern rock’s greatest guitarists and Perry Farrell is still as
charismatic and outrageous as ever.
They were striving to be “bohemian like you” a few
years ago, but nowadays the Dandy Warhols are feeling kind of funky. Welcome to
The Monkey House is an explosion of ’80s dance beats, irresistable grooves, and
all-star cameos by ex-Lemonhead Evan Dando, funk legend Nile Rodgers, and
various members of Duran Duran. This new direction suits alt-rock’s outsiders
well as they continue to record material that is stylishly ahead of its time.
In Keeping Secrets Of
Silent Earth: 3 is an epic, multidimensional, and ambitious album that
eagerly treads the line between ordinary rock and a vibrant science fiction
fantasy. Singer Claudio Sanchez’ unique voice and odd lyricism make Coheed
& Cambria a great escape from redundant songs of break-ups and make-ups.
Whether you’re trapped on a late night flight, driving home
in the dark, or cramming for exams, The Rapture can liven up the most tedious
and unpleasant of nights. Most tracks are backed against party friendly beats,
but its the slowed and lovely “Open Up Your Heart” that really makes
this record stand out.
“Each song on Ocean
Avenue stands out from the others and the album as a whole shows the band
living up to their full potential. The end result is fresh and relatable
sing-along rock with violin accompaniments and an understanding of what
Yellowcard is about.”
On their sixth studio album, the zany pop punk trio of Mark
Hoppus, Tom Delonge, and Travis Barker finally mature, sometimes to the point
of no recognition. The finest moment of this unpredictable disc is “All Of
This,” a collaboration with none other than Robert Smith of The Cure.
Who Will Survive, And
What Will Be Left Of Them?, an eerily moody and atmospheric record
recommended for adventurous fans of Cursive, My Chemical Romance, and Thursday,
plays out like an incredible movie. Incorporating old style influences with
amazing piano and cello pieces, this album is unlike anything you’ve heard
Through their lyrics and vocal delivery, Matt Skiba and Dan
Andriano create great songs that grow into intriguing tales rich with morbidly
dark imagery. Alkaline Trio is the antithesis of pop punk, taking its peppy
optimism and burying it six feet under ground.
Chutes Too Narrow
is a perfect example of pop rock done right: catchy, fun, and as colorful as
the album’s cover art. Only this band can experiment with country and walk away
unscathed. Simply, The Shins will brighten up your day.
Songs like “Laughing City,” “Memories,”
and “I Wasn’t Prepared” are among the best of 2003 and will leave you
salivating for the release of Eisley’s first full-length next year. This young
Texas quintet, which draws influences from Radiohead and Coldplay and have
toured with Brand New, is dripping in unbelievable talent. Discover them now
before the masses catch on.
Although Straylight Run’s songs are only available online,
I’ve found myself listening to these six demos more than most full length
albums released this year. These songs are beautiful, raw, and emotional,
proving Straylight Run has much more to contribute in 2004.
Yes, Nada Surf, the band best known for the 1996 novelty hit
“Popular,” are still making records! The band has since evolved to a
level of greatness, sinking back into the underground to produce two stellar
albums, 2000’s The Proximity Effect
and this year’s Let Go, a mellow and
With War All The Time,
Thursday has created the touchstone for the mainstreamo (formerly known as
“screamo” or “melodic hardcore”) movement. Vocalist Geoff
Rickly has fully grown into his voice, and the band has matured and added
layers to create a powerful modern rock masterpiece.
“Long Island’s Brand New successfully… create a sound
precisely their own, a style that promises to support the unyielding buzz that
has surrounded this band since 2001’s Your
Favorite Weapon. From beginning to end, Deja
Entendu captivates the listener with carefully layered guitars, perfectly
complementary drumming, and lead vocalist Jesse Lacey’s powerful and honest
10. The Rapture – Echoes (Strummer / Universal)
09. The Postal Service – Give Up (Sub Pop)
08. Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – Hearts of Oak (Lookout)
07. Calla – Televise (Arena Rock)
06. Sufjan Stevens – Greetings from Michigan (Asthmatic
05. Grandaddy – Sumday (V2)
04. The Shins – Chutes Too Narrow (Sub Pop)
03. Death Cab for Cutie – Transatlanticism (Barsuk)
02. Rufus Wainwright – Want One (Dreamworks)
01. The Unicorns – Who Will Cut Our Hair When You’re Gone?
Everyone needs a record that they can put into their CD
player and then dance around to as they are cleaning their living room. This CD
is one good rock song after another with toe-tapping beats and catchy choruses.
It motivates me to get out of bed, clean my room, or maybe just shake it like a
Justin Timberlake back-up dancer.
Chock full of sensitive and emotional lyrics, and equally as
moving musical parts, the Early November manage to make a record that could
actually be proud to be called “emotional.” Ace Enders professes love in one
song, and wails in frustration on the next. This album easily fulfills all the
possible sentiments a person could feel. Happy, depressed, introspective, The
Room’s Too Cold has it all
I will admit something very embarrassing. My dad has
actually attended a Ryan Adams concert. It was a couple of years ago, and ever since
then I’ve equated Ryan Adams with my dad. Considering that my dad thinks Dwight
Yoakam is an amazing musician, and used to torture me with twenty minute long
Bob Dylan songs, I steered clear of Mr. Adams. I begrudgingly bought this
record and found a vamped up Ryan Adams, who rocked this entire album like no
folk artist ever has. After this realization I may even reconsider my dad’s
taste in music in 2004.
“Some people call him a tattooed love boy. Some call him the
‘wanksta of love’, but the rest of us just call him Dashboard Confessional.”
Okay, I don’t have a lot of respect for Rolling Stone, but the magazine hit it
right with that statement. Chris Carrabba shines even more than ever now that
he’s veered from “Wanksta of love” toward a broader range of subjects to write
about. The music is a little faster and the lyrics are a little less lovelorn,
but it sounds like Dashboard is at the top of their game.
For some reason I always equate the feel of an album with a season. Eisley’s Laughing City EP is definitely a summer record. It’s one that should be listened to on a lazy summer day while you are sitting in a hammock sipping lemonade and reading a Jane Austen book. This record is a soft, sweet commodity that will leave you overflowing with a feeling of simplicity.
Haunting. Depressing. Sad. Park’s new album is also
amazingly good. The lyrics are intense, the music is powerful and in the end it
all fits together flawlessly. It mystifies me how Park has already released two
albums and doesn’t have near the success they should.
This Australian band sounds more like AC/DC than the Vines.
A definite must if you want any sort of credibility in this world. Get Born
gives a reason to actually like the garage band sound that so many try to
perfect and fail miserably at. All I want to do when I listen to this CD is put
on my vintage Ramones tee, and pick up that dusty guitar lying in my garage.
This record took a completely different perspective than
former Saves the Day CDs, and therefore left it open to rash judgments from
many. With a closer look In Reverie inculcates the same lyrical quality that is
has come to be expected from Saves the Day. Musically it matches the upbeat
tone of an early Weezer record. Together it makes a great album.
This record felt like I was reading the journal of someone’s
life. It gave a personal feel that is so often lost in most of music today. Who
cares if this band signed to a major label, this release touched parts of
Thursday that should be reaching people every where.
The Format has some of the catchiest rock songs I have ever heard. Even more amazing is that, although they are catchy the songs are also really good. Interventions and Lullabies boasts a boat load of appealing songs that are well-written and delivered with the confidence of a rock star.
They formed, went on tour, got signed, and recorded an EP
all within the confines of 2003. The EP boasts catchy choruses and melodies,
with heart wrenching lyrics that leave a person waiting in desperation for
their full length release.
This band was my gateway into the punk and indie scene. I
admit somewhat begrudgingly that I would probably like anything they put out
just because of what their earlier releases have meant to me in my teenage
years. Imagine my surprise when I buy their new self-titled disc and find that
even my cynical musical self would enjoy this regardless of if it were Blink or
not. Travis yet again proves he is one of the best drummers in music right now.
Tom and Mark have finally exercised some of the songwriting capabilities that
they suppressed on their last couple of records. They slipped into new
territory and it sounds great.
This record makes me proud to be from Seattle. Transatlantacism is filled to the brim with clever and insightful lyrics that get inside your head and seize your very essence. This album has more heart and personality than any of Death Cab’s previous releases. In all seriousness a band earns my respect for all eternity when they can write a good song about a glove compartment.
It’s hard to describe why you like a band when the lead
singer looks like a motorcycle gang member and sings like a girl. Somehow it
all comes together to make one awesome band, and an even better album. Between
Claudio’s voice fluctuations and the rocking songs this CD keeps finding its
way back into my stereo.
As I embarked from high school to what is considered to be the “real world” I found great solace in Ocean Avenue. This album highlights life as a young adult and all the tribulations emerge from growing up. The opening track is filled with the sentiment to follow your dreams, no matter how big they are. As the album develops it takes on issues that as a young adult you face continually: losing friends and lovers, seeing your parents in a new light, death, and leaving things behind. The album closes with a track that really says it all, change can be painful but in the end you decide whether it’s worth the pain or not.
Modern Artillery shines with the best work of the Living End. It stays true to the snarling, attitude filled punk that the Living End is famous for, but steps into new territory. The lyrics are better than ever, and the band even opts for some slowed down tunes. This album was made to be blared out the windows of your car as you scream along with the words. It is utter punk rock bliss.
This record was aptly titled. From the lyrics to the music the entire record could be summed up in one word, beautiful. Destination Beautiful is tinged with serene undertones and a voice that is soft, subtle, and surprisingly optimistic for this genre of music. This record is mellow, emotional rock at its best.
Worse for the Wear feels like a cold fall day. It reads much like a book full of short stories that you want to curl up with in front of the fire place, and read over and over again. This mellow and relaxed record reminds us why music doesn’t have to be loud and fast to be good.
It’s hard not to love something that reflects your life so well. Something Corporate’s latest album North has managed to aptly chronicle the current state of my posse’s position in life. One of us is falling in love, one is turning twenty-one, and all of us are searching for that happy medium between space and intimacy. This record will prove to be one of those memory albums that in the future I will put in my stereo and remember that “one time when…”
Everyone and their mother, brother, sister, and best friend heard about this record. The truth is, it is one of the few hyped albums that is probably better that the hype. This record managed to fill all my musical voids. Jesse Lacey is clever enough to write lyrics that are arrogant, poignant, jaded, and extremely cynical without seeming pretentious. From beginning to end this CD grabs you and retains your attention without faltering. Each song holds an artistic vibe that is vastly different from all the other songs on the album. Amazingly enough none of the songs seem the least bit alike. This year I probably listened to Deja Entendu more than every other CD combined, and in turn so many of my memories are cemented to this album. Every time I hear the opening riffs to “Sic Transit Gloria…Glory Fades” I shiver with anticipation. Here it goes again.
1. “Sic Transit Gloria…Glory Fades” – Brand New2. “Swing, Swing” – All American Rejects3. “Mistakes we Knew we Were Making” – Straylight Run4. “It’s My Life” – No Doubt5. “Are you Gonna be my Girl” – Jet