Quick Review (LP): Gemini by Wild Nothing

wild-nothing Wild Nothing
Gemini
Captured Tracks; 2010

My Rating: B

Best Tracks: “Live In Dreams”, “Summer Holiday”, “O Lilac”, “Confirmation”

There’s a huge amount of potential here. The opener “Live In Dreams” is truly great, and the guitar work is frequently excellent. Aesthetically, it borrows heavily from older alterna-greats like The Cure, The Smiths, and My Bloody Valentine without ripping any of them off. So far so good. However, the biggest drawback is the vocal quality. It’s not that Jack Tatum’s voice is bad, it’s that he’s barely audible and not all that exciting. Perhaps that’s the sort of feel he’s going for, yet I can’t help but think that this band would benefit from a great singer. The music’s awful dreamy, and in need of a bridge to reality. Without that, these tracks come off a little bit too much like bedroom demos. I think Tatum needs a Morrissey for his Marr.

Band Myspace site
Pitchfork review

Worth Shouting About: Free EP from Follow The Train!

The Great Disturbance EP

Well that’s just too cool — the apparently re-united Louisville space-rock powerhouse Follow The Train is giving their 2005 (out-of-print) EP The Great Disturbance away for free on their newly re-vamped website. So give the second track, “Wake Up”, a listen below, and then head on over and download some costless goodness. And while you’re there, you may as well pick up Mercury or A Breath of Sigh, excellent releases in their own right…

If you’ve never heard Follow The Train, you’re in for a dose of anthemic, dreamy rock that is part-U2, part-Pixies, part-Afghan Whigs, and part-Cure. That is to say, there is a late-80’s indie throwback feel to their work, a sound I’m happy to hear making a resurgence in their little corner of the music world. Enjoy!

Download Follow The Train’s Great Disturbance EP for free.

Listen to “Wake Up” by Follow The Train:

Death Cab for Cutie: Transatlanticism (2003)

Death Cab for Cutie
Transatlanticism; 2003
Barsuk Records
My Rating: 85/100
I’m a pretty late comer to the DCFC-wagon, and I’m far more familiar with their later work than early. However, I’m conversant enough with the band’s first three full-lengths to recognize that TRANSATLANTICISM is pivotal. Achieving the sort of sonic magic that warrants classic status, the band combines the rain-soaked majesty of Seattle forebears like Sunny Day Real Estate and the overcast atmospherism of The Cure to create a masterpiece. Seriously, no record has achieved such lovely and resplendent mope-aggression since Sunny Day’s own DIARY nine years prior. There are a handful of absolute classics, such as “Title and Registration”, “The Sound of Settling”, even the glacial “Transatlanticism,” while several other tracks come close to achieving classic status (“The New Year”, “We Looked Like Giants”). Yet the overarching thematic structure, the sense that the record is a seamless work of art, sets TRANSATLANTICISM above the fray of second and third generation emo-albums. The only fault I can find is that some of the tracks can arrive at their ends feeling unfinished, such as the otherwise fantastic “The New Year.” Overall, though, Death Cab proves with TRANSATLANTICISM that they are entirely capable of transcending their emo roots in much the same way that Radiohead left Brit Rock in its wake or Wilco big adieu to Alt Country. Like any great album, TRANSATLANTICISM pulls you into its world. It’s a beautiful waking dream and a fantastic listen.
Cohesion (5/5)
Concept (5/5)
Consequence (5/5)
Consistency (4/5)
Tracks:
1. The New Year (4.5/5)
2. Lightness (4.5/5)
3. Title and Registration (5/5)
4. Expo ’86 (4.5/5)
5. The Sound of Settling (5/5)
6. Tiny Vessels (4/5)
7. Transatlanticism (5/5)
8. Passenger Seat (4/5)
9. Death of an Interior Decorator (4/5)
10. We Looked Like Giants (4.5/5)
11. A Lack of Color (4/5)
My Top 5 Moments:
5. all of “The Sound of Settling”
4. the lyrical passage beginning “Well everybody put your best suit or dress on” in “The New Year”
3. the angulo-elliptical acoustic guitar riff that creates “Title and Registration”
2. the DISINTEGRATION-esque atmospherics
1. the climactic “Come on!!!” chorus of “Transatlanticism”

TransatlanticismDeath Cab for Cutie
Transatlanticism; 2003
Barsuk Records

My Rating: 85/100

I’m a pretty late comer to the DCFC-wagon, and I’m far more familiar with their later work than early. However, I’m conversant enough with the band’s first three full-lengths to recognize that TRANSATLANTICISM is pivotal. Achieving the sort of sonic magic that warrants classic status, the band combines the rain-soaked majesty of Seattle forebears like Sunny Day Real Estate and the overcast atmospherism of The Cure to create a masterpiece. Seriously, no record has achieved such lovely and resplendent mope-aggression since Sunny Day’s own DIARY nine years prior. There are a handful of absolute classics, such as “Title and Registration”, “The Sound of Settling”, even the glacial “Transatlanticism,” while several other tracks come close to achieving classic status (“The New Year”, “We Looked Like Giants”). Yet the overarching thematic structure, the sense that the record is a seamless work of art, sets TRANSATLANTICISM above the fray of second and third generation emo-albums. The only fault I can find is that some of the tracks can arrive at their ends feeling unfinished, such as the otherwise fantastic “The New Year.” Overall, though, Death Cab proves with TRANSATLANTICISM that they are entirely capable of transcending their emo roots in much the same way that Radiohead left Brit Rock in its wake or Wilco big adieu to Alt Country. Like any great album, TRANSATLANTICISM pulls you into its world. It’s a beautiful waking dream and a fantastic listen.

Cohesion (5/5)
Concept (5/5)
Consequence (5/5)
Consistency (4/5)

Tracks:

1. The New Year (4.5/5)
2. Lightness (4.5/5)
3. Title and Registration (5/5)
4. Expo ’86 (4.5/5)
5. The Sound of Settling (5/5)
6. Tiny Vessels (4/5)
7. Transatlanticism (5/5)
8. Passenger Seat (4/5)
9. Death of an Interior Decorator (4/5)
10. We Looked Like Giants (4.5/5)
11. A Lack of Color (4/5)

My Top 5 Moments:

5. all of “The Sound of Settling”
4. the lyrical passage beginning “Well everybody put your best suit or dress on” in “The New Year”
3. the angulo-elliptical acoustic guitar riff that creates “Title and Registration”
2. the DISINTEGRATION-esque atmospherics
1. the climactic “Come on!!!” chorus of “Transatlanticism”

Follow the Train: A Breath of Sigh (2006)

Follow the Train
A Breath of Sigh
Darla Records
My Rating: 79/100
Akwardly enchanting lullabyes…
After one listen to Follow the Train’s A BREATH OF SIGH, there’s no denying their influences: Afghan Whigs, The Cure, Joy Division, The Replacements, and, in general I’d say, the overall aesthetic of John Hughes. They are not unique in this regard. Plenty of bands continue to tread the familiar ground of the early indie greats, but it’s in the angle and the execution that Follow the Train manages to stand out from the pack. You won’t find sheening, over-produced hipster-bait here. Follow the Train write endearingly simple, stumbling odes to the finer things in life. The lovely “Endless Summer” sets things off on a nostalgic breeze, while “Flower” blooms into a striking love song. Tracks like “I’m Not Sorry” and “Thin in the Skin” demonstrate an inherent starkness to the overall sound of the album, as if each song was inspired from a black-and-white photo. Sometimes, there seem to be ghosts herein, benevolent beings for sure, but spooks nonetheless. My only complaint would be that the album is front-loaded – the first three tracks are just fantastic, and then it trends ever so slight downhill. Otherwise, a great record, one that has me thirsting for their (unfortunately posthumous) follow-up.
Cohesion (5/5)
Concept (5/5)
Consequence (4/5)
Consistency (4/5)
Tracks
1. Endless Summer (5/5)
2. Flower (5/5)
3. I’m Not Sorry (5/5)
4. Thin in the Skin (4/5)
5. Up in Flames (4/5)
6. Kentucky (4/5)
7. Original Disconnect (5/5)
8. Afraid (3.5/5)
9. An Akward Lullaby (4/5)
10. Remember (4.5/5)

followthetrainFollow the Train
A Breath of Sigh; 2006
Darla Records

My Rating: 79/100

A breath of fresh air…

After one listen to Follow the Train’s A BREATH OF SIGH, there’s no denying their influences: Afghan Whigs, The Cure, Joy Division, The Replacements, and, in general I’d say, the overall aesthetic of John Hughes. They are not unique in this regard. Plenty of bands continue to tread the familiar ground of the early indie greats, but it’s in the angle and the execution that Follow the Train manages to stand out from the pack. You won’t find sheening, over-produced hipster-bait here. Follow the Train write endearingly simple, stumbling odes to the finer things in life. The lovely “Endless Summer” sets things off on a nostalgic breeze, while “Flower” blooms into a striking love song. Tracks like “I’m Not Sorry” and “Thin in the Skin” demonstrate an inherent starkness to the overall sound of the album, as if each song was inspired from a black-and-white photo. Sometimes, there seem to be ghosts herein, benevolent beings for sure, but spooks nonetheless. My only complaint would be that the album is front-loaded – the first three tracks are just fantastic, and then it trends ever so slight downhill. Otherwise, a great record, one that has me thirsting for their (unfortunately posthumous) follow-up.

Cohesion (5/5)
Concept (5/5)
Consequence (4/5)
Consistency (4/5)

Tracks

1. Endless Summer (5/5)
2. Flower (5/5)
3. I’m Not Sorry (5/5)
4. Thin in the Skin (4/5)
5. Up in Flames (4/5)
6. Kentucky (4/5)
7. Original Disconnect (5/5)
8. Afraid (3.5/5)
9. An Akward Lullaby (4/5)
10. Remember (4.5/5)