City of Sound

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

CD Review: The Cure

The Cure are Back with Power!

"We are trying to get a heavier sound than we've been associated with in the past," Smith says. "We convinced him [Ross Robinson] that the doom and gloom of London is more conducive to making our music than sunny California."

The Cure have been around since 1979/80 when Robert Smith and two of his friends recorded the Cure's first two albums, Three Imaginary Boys and Boy's Don't Cry, now almost 25 years later, Robert Smith has released another album... the Cure are still alive. The Cure's latest album, which is self titled is probably the band's most adventurous album ever, with a more evolved sound. The major changes in this album is that the guitars are loud and there are no 80's sounding synth's. Another difference is Smith's voice, back in 2000, when the Cure released The Bloodflowers, Smith's voice on that album was softer and erratic while on this album he's more direct and louder.

The lyrics in this album are smart and ofcourse you have the romantic love songs the Cure are known for. I can't find myself/In the head of this stranger in love/Holding on given up/To another under faded setting sun/And I wonder where I am.../ Sings Robert Smith as the album begins to unfold, and once those words are sung, you are sucked into his realm of depression, sadness and love. You could listen to this album driving to work in the morning, or while hanging out with your friends or even burn it onto your Xbox and listen to it while playing Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. It's an interesting, fun and smart album and very well done.

Produced by Ross Robinson [whose known for working with Korn and Slipknot] and Robert Smith.

Beastie Boys Release First Album Since 1998

Album: To the 5 Boroughs

These are some things that have changed since the Beastie Boys' last studio album, Hello Nasty, was released in 1998: There is no Grand Royal Records; the trio shut down its eccentric custom label in 2001. Adam "MCA" Yauch's deep, rough growl is now an even deeper, stranger weapon of taunt; he now fires boasts and insults like a hip-hop Tom Waits, in a smoker's-cough harangue scoured free of melody.

And there is no World Trade Center. This may seem like a weird time -- wartime, everywhere you look -- for Yauch, Adam "AdRock" Horovitz and Michael "Mike D" Diamond, all on the cusp of forty, to make a record that in its gibes and hyperspeed is the closest they have come to their old-school fight and comedy on 1986's Licensed to Ill. Actually, it is the perfect time. To the 5 Boroughs is an exciting, astonishing balancing act: fast, funny and sobering. "I bring the shit that's beyond bizarre," Horovitz asserts against the quick hop and spears of sampled brass in "Ch-Check It Out." "Like Miss Piggy," he adds, apropos of nothing, to which all three respond in idiot falsetto, "Who moi?" In "Right Right Now Now," the Beasties lament Columbine and call for "more gun controlling" over tense rolls of Muzak harpsichord, then twist the chorus of their biggest hit into a free-speech cheer, retrieving Public Enemy's inversion from 1988: "We're gonna party for the right to fight." The Beasties pour the Pink Champale and Riunite here, but they're not drinking to forget. They turn the dis on "a president we didn't elect" in "It Takes Time to Build": "Is the U.S. gonna keep breaking necks/ Maybe it's time that we impeach Tex."

It's risky business -- odd, at first, to hear social protest in Horovitz's cutting nyah-nyah-nyah or, in "All Lifestyles," Diamond's high, shrill yelp: "Walking down the block, you say, 'Yo, D! When you coming out with the new CD that spreads love in society?'" But To the 5 Boroughs is a full-service gas. The Beasties produced the album themselves, spiking stark, muscular beats with incongruous cool, like the Brazilian rain-forest buzz of the berimbau in "Hey Fuck You." You also get an encyclopedic torrent of cheesy-TV citations, as if the Beasties have spent the last six years sucking up nothing but Nick at Nite. And two decades after turning from hardcore punk to homeboy jollies, the Beasties are still the best rap band in the biz -- three voices swinging like a jazz trio, racing like Bad Brains -- and they don't have big patience for the gold-plated phooey currently passing for gangsta. "I know you're sitting pretty in the Hampty-Hamps/Posing like you're rolling with the camp," Yauch croaks in "Shazam!" That photo of P. Diddy on a jet ski, in his polar-bear beach robe, comes to mind.

More than anything, To the 5 Boroughs is the Beasties' valentine to the city where they, and rap, were born. It is a brash, passionate toast to what we lost on 9/11 (in the cover illustration, the Twin Towers are still standing) and what survives: in memory, on the ground. The raps are packed with local cuisine (Blimpies, Murray's Cheese Shop on Bleecker Street) and nostalgia (Yauch: "Used to ride the D to beat the morning bell at Edward R. Murrow [High School] out on Avenue L"). And in "An Open Letter to NYC," the Beasties celebrate the city "that blends and mends and tests," mixing prayer and pride with sampled shots of 50 Cent, RZA and Nas over the killer riff from the Dead Boys' "Sonic Reducer." It's a dark whirl, but never maudlin: "2 towers down but you're still in the game," Diamond crows, a line that also has everything to do with the state and fate of the nation. The Beasties are New York from head to heel, but they've made To the 5 Boroughs for the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and Staten Island in all of us. (DAVID FRICKE)

Taken from Rollingstone

A Hidden Gem

A Review:
Most of you have not heard of Flaw and their first album entitled Through the Eyes was an album that was overlooked and was a 'hidden jem' in the music industry. You might have heard the song Only the Strong because it was featured on the Scorpion King soundtrack. Now some people will relate this band to Adema, Drowning Pool, or Ill Nino and the difference between all these bands is that Flaw is actually entertaining to listen too with great rhymes and alluring melodies and the music doesn't sound like a million distorted guitars banging against each other. It's not like listening to Slipknot or Cradle of Filth. It's easy on the ears.

Compared to the first album Flaw's new album, called Endangered Species seems more evolved. Most of the guitar riff's are pretty simple and they're not too complex, but it still sounds good when it's mixed with the vocals, bass and the drum beats. The vocals, done by CHRIS VOLZ, are quite amazing. There isn't much to say about this vocals other than that, this band is mostly driven by it's vocal's and not many band's have a singer like this. The album starts with an amazing song called Medicate which resembles the first track on the first album (Only the Strong) but Medicate is more powerful, there isn't much else to say about this album and band. Who would've expect a band like this to emerge from Kentucky state?

I highly recommand this album to music lovers in general.