By George Kielty, tb-two* music critic
Unfortunately, my trip to England this summer was not graced with a glorious concert experience. No, this was a summer of musical discovery; a chance to sample new things that were good, and quite a few old things that were even better. As our vacations fly by and we slowly prepare for our return back to school, I present to you a list of albums and singles that defined MY summer. I'd love to hear about the music that defined your summer months; share some love in the comments section below.
Tyler, The Creator, Goblin, album, 2011
Now this was scary. I don't mean bad music scary, I mean I might die scary. This is a rap album that borders on horrorcore, with violent and vulgar lyrics. Despite his apparent no-drug attitude, Tyler, The Creator (and indeed all of his group, Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All) have a decisively violent outlook. Regardless of the death threats to Hayley Williams and Bruno Mars, the music is actually quite good. Unconventional beats and nightmare-ish voice altering make for a unique listening experience. His proclamation that he's "stabbing any blogging hipster with a pitchfork" is equal parts scary and hilarious. Don't worry, there's a disclaimer, he won't touch you kids. Having said that, I doubt I'd ever be brave enough to go to one of these concerts. If you want to try this guy out, look up Yonkers, both the most well known and well produced song here. Not for the light of heart.
3 out of 5 ***
*If you're into this sort of thing, check out Tyler's group Odd Future when it comes to the Ritz Ybor in Tampa. Click here for more info.
Maxïmo Park, Our Earthly Pleasures, album, 2007
An old favorite of mine, Maxïmo Park are a cool group from England (as most English groups are) that teeter between pop and rock. For those who have heard hits from other albums such as Apply Some Pressure, this one is a lot lighter than they usually are, like a diet soda album. For those who haven't, I recommend it. Songs like Our Velocity and Girls Who Play Guitars practically take your legs and dance for you, and are made all the better by picturing a skinny man with a floppy haircut in a suit doing scissor kicks to them (look up footage of a concert and you'll understand). If you want to try them out, listen to Books From Boxes, a truly beautiful song with touching vocals and an interesting blend of styles. I promise you'll like.
4 out of 5 ****
Trent Reznor ft. Karen O. Immigrant Song (cover), single from The Girl Who Played With Fire soundtrack, 2011
Trent Reznor seems really to be getting into this whole soundtrack thing since The Social Network. True, he's been making music for movies since before the days of the film Se7en, but The Social Network was his first work as a composer for the entire soundtrack, and now it's apparent that he's done the same for the upcoming movie of Stieg Larsson's
best-selling book, The Girl Who Played With Fire
. Normally, I am opposed to anyone touching classics to make covers, unless the artist remixes it in some new interesting way. Luckily, Reznor
took this beautiful Led Zeppelin song and made it something that's just as cool. With his classic electric sound and Karen O's beautifully haunting vocals, they've actually made a really beautiful cover. I'll be looking out for this soundtrack in the future. This single is available on YouTube.
4 out of 5****
Bon Iver, Bon Iver , album, 2011
This album is probably the most relaxing thing anyone can listen to, ever, in the history of forever ever. There is nothing I did not like about this folky journey; the voice is beautiful, the music is at the same time intense and chilled out, with the notes intertwining and looping around in your head for hours after you listen to it. For those few who are familiar with the Swedish talent Loney, Dear, Bon Iver sounds like him, with a more interesting musical sense. Incredibly intricate, and real art. To sample, look up Michicant.
5 out of 5 *****
Supergrass, Alright, single, 1995
A true classic from before my youth, this is young life captured in a song. Upbeat and instantly catchy, the bouncy guitar and boyish voice of Gaz Coombes make it a real joy to listen to. Also, a fact I only recently learned: they made music from the '90s until just recently when they split. It's a true show of love for the art when you can go that long without getting tired of it. Try this single out, and then browse around other classics like Caught By the Fuzz, I Should Coco and I'd Like to Know. Alright is a song for those who are down with English punk music, which, in my opinion, should be everyone.
3 out of 5 ***