Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Trendy Monolith Appears in Mailbox! Family Stunned!

So yeah... today I came home and my wife told me there was some huge package in the mail. I wasn't expecting anything huge - yet there it was. It was this...

For those who don't know, this is the deluxe edition of Panic! At the Disco's new album Vices & Virtues. Panic! is one of those few bands that both my wife and I really enjoy so we went all out for the new album and picked up this monstrosity (special thanks to Uncle Sam). I will not mince words... this thing is HUGE. I took a picture next to some other albums for comparison.

Here you see Ayreon's Timeline - one of the bigger deluxe editions and Crashdog's The Pursuit of Happiness! (review soon!). The Panic! album dwarfs them both. It's about an inch and a half thick as well. It opens up with two compartments, one named "Vices" which houses the album (with bonus tracks) several photo cards and a poster. The "Virtues" side holds a DVD, more photo cards, and the lyric book/liner notes. Overall a really nice package for the money.

Oh... and I'm sure Spike Nard and Andrew Mandell would be just thrilled to see one of their albums beside Panic! At the Disco. Sorry, guys, it was the first CD I grabbed off the shelf.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Petra - "Jekyll & Hyde"

Petra - Jekyll & Hyde
2003, Inpop

1. Jekyll & Hyde
2. It's All About Who You Know
3. Stand
4. Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda
5. Perfect World
6. Test of Time
7. I Will Seek You
8. Life As We Know It
9. 'Til Everything I Do
10. Sacred Trust

I've never been much of a Petra person. I liked Beyond Belief and Wake-Up Call okay. I had that Beyond Belief video about the kid that goes on a mission trip and it's OMIGOSHTHEBESTSUMMEREVER!!!!!11! As the years wore on I pretty much forgot about Petra, until Jekyll & Hyde. If you'll forgive my profanity - Petra is whooping some major ass here. In fact, I would say this is the heaviest I've ever heard. It's a lot keyboardy too. There's a lot of tasty riffs and big hooks. Along with Jon Schlitt's powerhouse vocals make this one of the band's finest albums. The songs are short and tight without any flowery brik-a-brak or church-friendly ballads. I've heard this was the band's last official studio album. If that's the case then way to end on a high note guys! Great album!

Useless Fact: Jon Schlitt and Bob Hartman are the only remaining members of the band. No Louie Weaver makes me a little sad inside.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hindalong, Steve - "Skinny"

Hindalong, Steve - Skinny
1998, Cadence

1. Color Wheel
2. To the Wind
3. Candy
4. Winnipesaukee
5. Away With Me
6. Diggin' Your Style
7. Woe is Skinny
8. Skin is Smooth
9. Seven Colors
10. Hey Killer
11. To Be a Blessing
12. Eclipse
13. Love Sanctifies

I've always wondered what this album sounded like. I've seen it in stores before (usually on clearance) but have never been quite curious enough. I listened to samples on Itunes and kinda liked what I heard so I gave it a chance. For the most part I like it when Steve sings on Choir songs even though his voice is, to put it politely, not as good as Derri's. There are some rough spots here vocally, I won't lie, but I still like the songs. I especially like the oddball "Hey Killer" and the groove of "Color Wheel." Some songs are acoustic jams and some are fuzzed up a bit courtesy of Chrissy Colbert. Tim Chandler plays bass as well. I'm surprised Derri is nowhere to be found - not on one single song. All in all - your mileage may very here depending on how much you can deal with Steve's voice. As long as you can give him a little grace in the vocal department you'll probably find something to like on Skinny.

Useless Fact: This album is filled with references to other Choir tunes. "Like a Cloud" is the most noticeable as a lot of the lyrics from that song show up in "Seven Colors."

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Mustard Seeds - "III"

The Mustard Seeds - III
2008, Independant

1. Lost in Flight
2. Complicated World
3. Die to Meet You
4. Dorian Gray
5. Oxygen
6. Hunting With Cheney
7. Move On
8. Maybe Next Year
9. Man Overboard
10. Billy Buckner
11. Love Takes You Home
12. Outer Space

The Mustard Seeds are quickly becoming one of my new favorite bands. They fuse soaring harmonies, Drop D riffs, and pop hooks into an album that is infectious and catchy. Upon first listen one might think of Sam Taylor-era King's X. Indeed, the band is kind of a pop version of King's X or maybe a heavier, progressive version of PFR. Either way the harmonies here are amazing and the songs themselves are immediately likeable. From the opening acapella tune, "Lost in Flight" you know you're going to hear some compelling music. When I was finished I wanted to start right over again so as to digest everything that's going on here. I admit that "Move On" and "Maybe Next Year" are a little too Jars-of-Clay-Christian-radio for me, but I still don't skip these tracks. They're not bad... they just sound like radio songs. Still an awesome album despite my personal quirks. Thanks Uvulapie for suggesting them!

Useless Fact: "Hunting With Cheney" name drops Hillary Clinton, Obama, and McCain. It's an interesting political song without the tired cliches.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Flyleaf - "Remember to Live"

Flyleaf - Remember To Live
2010, Octone

1. Justice & Mercy (Violent Love Version)
2. Okay
3. Amy Says
4. Dear My Closest Friend
5. Light in Your Eyes
6. Believe in Dreams
7. Arise (Ben Moody Mix)

Well, well, well... what do we have here? My wife and I were getting groceries at Walmart and I saw this little EP that had apparently been released without telling anybody. New songs too! Well... old songs actually. From what I hear a majority of these tunes were from the band's catalogue back when they were known as Passerby. I was surprised at how mellow this is. It's nowhere near as intense as Memento Mori. Also, I hate to say it, but it's kind of boring. I like "Justice & Mercy," "Okay," and "Amy Says." I also dig the techno-industrial pop version of "Arise" that Ben Moody did. The other three tracks just lack spark for me. They also sound very similar so they kind of run together. I don't necessarily regret buying it, but it's definitely for hardcore fans only. I would suggest casual fans download the tracks they like.

Useless Fact: The liner notes feature the musings of the daughter of the commander whose notes were in Memento Mori. No lyrics either. My wife and I would like to have both please.