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Listen Back 09-16-10

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Ah Fall. The beginnings of a chill in the air, darkness falling early, school, creeping death. Oh! And lots of new music. Seems like ever Fall and Winter we get the real cream of the crop releasing new stuff. Yay! A reason to live!

This week, we Jtor editors take a listen back to what's been burning up our music players for the past week.

Check it all out after the jump, and make sure to share your own playlists in the comments!

Zac Bentz

[email protected]






Even though I may have a coal-black heart that pumps ash and sawdust, there occasionally comes a time when I must admit that a song is pure and innocent and super-great. That is the music of [email protected], aka Takano Kenichi. Well, at least some of it (oh yeah, that ash is returning...) I always liked "Welcome Morning" on the Chappie album, so I was really excited to recently find out that he's been doing a lot more since then. There's just something about the style of singer he works with, along with the bright-eyed electro pop tunes that just works for me despite my more dour instincts. I've been listening to his [email protected] releases almost non-stop, skipping about half but really loving the other half.

Underworld
Barking






I mentioned on Twitter that I figured a lot of reviews of the new Underworld album Barking would try to work in some sort of play on "all bark and no bite." But that really is how I feel about it. The three opening tracks "Bird 1," "Always Loved A Film" and "Scribble" are catchy and fun. Both "Between Stars" and "Moon on Water" have their moments. Yet it's all very laid-back and relaxed compared to their material in the Darren Emerson days. Ah well. We will always have "Cowgirl," "Born Slippy" and "Moaner" to remember the good times.

Colette Bennett

Tanaka Roma




Tanaka Roma. Not even gonna apologize. It's unapologetically poppy music.

I swear I listen to good music too. Just not lately.

Mike LeChevallier

Weezer
"Across the Sea"




So. Hurley officially came out this week, yet I've been trying to digest my promo copy for almost a fortnight now. I just can't get into it. Ever since The Green Album, things have been steadily declining for one of the most seminal bands of the mid-90s. Pinkerton will always be my favorite Weezer record. Every moment that I lay eyes upon the cover art (a slightly tweaked version of Hiroshige's "Night Snow at Kambara") I take on that specific feeling you get when you're reunited with an old friend; it's a hug, a peck on the cheek, a brofist, respek knuckles...whatever you want to call it. It feels right. I toggle back and forth between my choices for best song on the album, and more often than not this distinction goes to "Across the Sea". Nope, not "The Good Life". Not "Tired of Sex". Not "El Scorcho". Although, those are great tracks in themselves.

Why am I bringing up "Across the Sea"? If you've heard it before, you'll know. Cuomo begins: You are 18 year old girl who live in small city in Japan. He goes on to detail his very distant, yet quite emotional relationship with a foreign admirer. She heard one of Weezer's songs on the radio, so she sends him a letter asking him standard questions (hobbies, favorite food, birthday). Rivers is instantly taken. He admires the stationary (so fragile, so refined), he wonders what clothes she wears to school, how she decorates her room and how she, yes, pleasures herself before he explodes into the magnificent chorus: Why are you so far away from me? / I need help and you're way across the sea / I could never touch you / I think it would be wrong / I've got your letter / you've got my song. This is nothing like a "true" long distance relationship, as the girl is simply a fan and Rivers is a lonely rock star. If you know the history of Weezer, you know there was a period of time where Rivers gave up sex because he was having too much of it and it stressed him out. He found a quiet solace in this girl's words. This song understands confusing isolation scenarios. It understands me and my love for the women under the Rising Sun. It understands all of us. God damn you half-Japanese girls. You do it to me every time.

Josh Tolentino

Megumi Nakajima/Ranka Lee
"Seikan Hikou (Interstellar Flight)"


Actually, I just listened to this song (from Macross Frontier) because H.J. Freaks covered it on bass. There's a video. I'm really bad at this "listening to music unattached to some other IP" business. My sister would be ashamed.

Jeff Chuang

Faylan
Polaris






Anison rookie Faylan's debut album packs as much heat as you'd expect. She has done mostly rocking pieces lately, focused on tie-ins to media franchises, so it's hard to expect much for her first album. It is as if the execs thought about it and decided to jam it pack full of extras, like an entire concert on DVD. The value proposition is pretty good if you like to see idol types rock out, and the music is definitely fine too, if you like her style. Sadly that's all the positive things I can say about it. The album feels like someone took all the top anison chart artists' fast pieces and put it together. Faylan herself renders them well enough, but her wispy voice doesn't make a big impact unlike the arrangements she worked with, creating a hollow feel. It really shows on the last track, "Kibou no Tobira" when she's suppose to let it all out, and it falls short of that. Then again, it's her first album, so that's probably par for the course.

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