It’s New Music Tuesday! I’m spinning the new records by A Fine Frenzy, Ben Gibbard, and Anberlin! Come check them out at!

(via New Music Tuesday 10.16.12)

New Music Tuesday 10.16.12

"Pines" by A Fine Frenzy
“Pines” by A Fine Frenzy

Pines is a record that I can get behind. The latest record by A Fine Frenzy not only tells a story, but celebrates it. The album contains 13 tracks that aren’t afraid to paint a picture as well as entertain. This is definitely a headphone record. Whispered vocals, subtle arrangements, and delicate ambiance combine to make Pines an extremely theatrical aural experience. The story of the album is about a tree that has free will bestowed upon it. I know how that may sound to some, but trust me, its not as ‘precious’ as you may think. Much of the album features quiet, light acoustic instrumentation that sets up perfect contrast heavier moments. Dynamic production is the highlight of this album, and though I have placed a track from the record below (‘Avalanches’) I’m not going to recommend any other. You should take the time with this record as a whole. Let it win you over. And when it does, be sure to check out the interactive eStorybook that was created in order to help tell the album’s story. It is available in the iTunes store, and there is a link to it at A Fine Frenzy’s website. Put the record on, relax, and enjoy the experience of falling in love with truly fantastic art.

PLAYLIST COMPANIONS: Andrew Bird, Lisa Hannigan, Florence + The Machine, storytelling in general.

"Former Lives" by Ben Gibbard
“Former Lives” by Ben Gibbard

Ben Gibbard makes his solo debut with Former Lives, a collection of tunes written over an eight year span. If you’re a fan of any of Gibbard’s other projects (Death Cab For Cutie, The Postal Service, All-Time Quarterback!) you will be very pleased with this record. Gibbard has a gift for crafting warm melodies that seem familiar to the listener. Not because he is ripping anyone off, but because his delivery is so inviting that the tunes feel like they have always been a part of you. ‘Bigger Than Love’ is a duet with Aimee Mann that marches along a driving tempo and bright melody. ‘Teardrop Windows’ (below) is a nostalgic ode to a bygone era. Its clean riffs and melodic structure brings to mind mid sixties pop, and you can almost hear Roy Orbison singing along. Former Lives proves that Gibbard is not afraid to experiment, featuring an a cappella tune (‘Shepherd’s Bush Lullaby’), as well as a mariachi influenced track (‘Something’s Rattling (Cowpoke)’). The reverb soaked vocals and production on ‘Duncan, Where Have You Gone?’ make the track sound like a long lost John Lennon tune. Former Lives is a delightful selection of tunes by one of this generations top songwriters, and is very worth your time. This week only, you can get the album for just $5 over at Amazon MP3.

PLAYLIST COMPANIONS: Elliot Smiith, John Lennon, Two Door Cinema Club

"Vital" by Anberlin
“Vital” by Anberlin

Within ten seconds of Vital, fans of Anberlin should have a big smile on their face. By the final punch of the aptly named lead off track ‘Self-Starter’, your neck should be sore from aggressive head nods. Anberlin has always been best when they explore the passionate side of aggression, the light within the darkness, and that is exactly what Vital is all about. The blistering guitar solo in ‘Little Tyrants’ screams along the track’s fist pumping backdrop, punctuating what was an already triumphant track. First single ‘Someone Anyone’ (below) is a great snapshot of what the rest of the album has to offer, crushing guitars, energetic rhythms, and some of Stephen Christian’s best vocal work to date. The layered ‘Type Three’ is one of the albums strongest tracks, a gentler number with tinges of acoustic guitar and piano that will help you get lost in the melody. ‘Orpheum’ is another highlight, an exciting mix of big synths and powerful riffs. Vital is an extremely strong record, one that demands your attention.

PLAYLIST COMPANIONS: Foo Fighters, Sevendust, Boys Night Out, Linkin Park

Come To My (i)Pod #2

Hey anyone who reads this! Here’s what I’ve been rocking this week:

“Maximum Balloon” by Maximum Balloon
“Terrible Things” by Terrible Things
“Invented” by Jimmy Eat World
“Hands All Over” by Maroon 5
“See You On The Other Side” by Mercury Rev
“Dark Is The Way, Light Is The Place” by Anberlin

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse

Batman: Streets Of Gotham
Green Arrow

As you can see, its been a slow week for comics and flicks. BSOG is a carry over from next week and you will probably see it for a bit as I’m catching up on it. With all the titles I read I let that one fall by the wayside for some crazy reason. I heart Paul Dini in a big way, so I can’t believe I let that fall by the wayside for so long, but its been great so far. I’m also a big fan of the Manhunter Co-Features. Its been a great series so far and I can’t wait to see how it fits in with the return of Bruce Wayne (so soon!). In keeping with the DC Comics trend, The only movie I watched this week was SUPERMAN/BATMAN: APOCALYPSE, the new release in DC’s line of direct to DVD movies. The film is based on the second arc of Jeph Loeb’s run of Superman/Batman (with art by Michael Turner) collected in the trades as “Supergirl”. This arc reintroduced the character of  Superman’s cousin, Kara Zor-El, to the DCU. I was a big fan of the comic, so I was amped when I heard that it would be coming to the small screen. After viewing, it did not disappoint. I would rank it among my other favorite DC Animated movies, SUPERMAN/BATMAN: PUBLIC ENEMIES and JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS.

Musically, its been a pop/rock kind of week. “Maximum Balloon” is a great record, the side project of TV On The Radio’s Dave Sitek. I love TVOTR, and this disc is certainly going to keep their fans happy. Funky enough to groove on, artsy enough to satisfy even the most scowling hipster, Sitek’s first solo effort is a must grab for any TVOTR fan. It is closest to the bands last release “Dear Science” genre wise, but the comparisons stop there. This is a strong solo effort that will stand on its own. In the same funky vein, I’ve been enjoying Maroon 5’s new album “Hands All Over”. Adam Levine and co. have produced another solid pop effort, weaving seamlessly between ballad and sexy funk. If you liked their last album, though not a direct copy, it’s very similar in nature. Worth the listen.

My heavy rock moods this week were satisfied by “Terrible Things” and “Dark Is The Way, Light Is The Place”. Anberin gets back to their riff heavy roots this time around. Personally, I was not as in love with their album “New Surrender”. It seemed uneven to me, the band trying to find a balance between their hard rocking roots and a softer sound. A perfectly fine album, but it didn’t hit me as hard as their previous efforts. DITWLITP finds the band on even footing, harnessing the balance they had sought previously. If you’re not a fan or felt as I did about “New Surrender”, check out tracks ‘We Owe This To Ourselves’ and ‘Down’. You should also check out Terrible Things. A “supergroup” of sorts featuring Andy Jackson (Hot Rod circuit), Fred Mascherino (Breaking Pangaea, Taking back Sunday), and Josh Eppard (Coheed and Cambria), the trio has put together a stellar debut. Crunchy riffs, powerful choruses, and a thundering rhythm section make for a record full of dips and turns. Rock at its most pure.

Everyone should love Jimmy Eat World. They’ll rock you, make you think, and always please your ears. Of course that’s just my opinion, but I love these guys. “Invented” is a welcome addition to their catalogue, equal parts rock (“My Best Theory”, “Evidence”) and contemplative pop (“Coffee and cigarettes”, “Heart Is Hard To Find”). Also see the highs and lows of the title track, a trademark strength of the band’s.

Finally this week I’ve been really enjoying much of the catalogue of Mercury Rev, but “See You On The Other Side” has really struck me. Perhaps because it is the newest addition to my collection, but also because it’s a fascinating record. Mercury Rev have always existed between the light and the dark, the hard and soft, with each disc a new and more exciting journey than the last. Orchestral swells, heavy guitars, playful wind instruments, and great storytelling make this album a must listen. My only regret is that it took me so long to get into this band.

Well that’s it for me! Have you heard any of these records?