The Walkmen | Taking a Look At Heaven

The Walkmen have been making music for over a decade now, so you can’t really say they are newcomers to the indie music scene. In fact, their style of alternative rock is somewhat of a musical staple in many circles. If you haven’t heard of The Walkmen though, they mostly hail from New York and have a relaxed punk-rock style that some have compared to The Cure.  As for Heaven, the band’s latest album, it sounds a lot more like Roy Orbison than The Cure in tone and content.
If you think back to when The Walkmen were just becoming popular and being featured on The OC (god, when was the last time you heard that show’s name dropped) with songs like The Rat, their sound was much harder and had a pronounced punk style. They are not those irritated boys anymore and really haven’t been for a few albums now.  What we are getting with the seventh studio album is matured style that reflects where the band has been with plenty of punk guitar riffs, but also where the band is going, in the way they have incorporated an almost roots rock style.  For an album titled Heaven there are a number of songs about heartbreak and longing, but the reason for such an elevated title may have more of an earthly rationale. The title track Heaven is by far the album’s best. It stands out as due to its unarguable charm, the lyrics tell the simple story of love and the unbearable thought of losing it, all set to a driven drum rhythm and topped off with a strong chorus that is best described as a stylistic mix of Bruce Springsteen and Billy Idol.  The Walkmen’s style of music has become a subtle one, once heard it will creep into the back of your mind, waiting to play on its own when you least expect it. In other words, you may find yourself humming a song off of Heaven a few days after you listened to it, which is almost always a sign of a successful album.


Best Coast | A Review of The Only Place

Best Coast is the product of a duo who has decided to profess a deep love for their home State of California with a new album The Only Place. Yes as the album cover/band name might lead you to believe the Best Coast have no problem telling the word that the other sunshine state is the best in the union. Actually, the sentiment surrounding California doesn’t last past the first track on the album, The Only Place. However, The Only Place does set a playful tone to start the album off, touting the medical benefits of living near sea and sunshine.  This may infuriate some people who spend a good eight months out of the year under a perpetual sky of grey clouds, filled with sharp spitting rain. But we all know that you need both sunshine and rain in order to grow, don’t we.

The band came out with their first full length album back in 2010 called Crazy for You and featured a song that has touched the lives of many would-be living room musicians playing Rocksmith with the track When I’m With You.  This first album featured more of a distortion heavy garage rock sound which stands quite different from most of the tracks on The Only Place. The new album has great pop hooks and is accompanied at times by an almost country musical flare, though it is at its heart an indie rock album. The lead singer Bethany Cosentino’s voice, as with most very song, is the main attraction on this album. Falling somewhere between Neko Case (New Pornographers) and Tegan/Sara Quin (Tegan and Sara), Cosentino lets loose with a series of short lived ballads and well assembled light rock melodies.  

The album has a number of highlights other than the opening track such as Why I Cry, My life, Better Girl and Up All Night.  The style stays fairly consistent throughout the album, maintaining a tone that will attracted most fans of Best Coast.