Staff Picks: What We’re Listening To II

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By Jocelyn Cote
Staff Writer

I’m not afraid to admit it – I’m a music nerd. Many of my favorite bands have been huge influences on my life for years, and writing about music is a passion of mine. However, my music taste is quite the opposite of many girls here at WA: I much prefer a crazy guitar solo to a catchy dance beat. My choices on this list vary in age – some albums were released this year, while a few are a bit older. Although my taste is varied, many of my choices may not be for you. After all, everyone has their own unique music taste.

‘Tourist History’ by Two Door Cinema Club

© Kitsune Music

Ever since this Irish trio stepped onto the indie music scene with the release of this debut album in 2010, they’ve been taking the world by storm. Their self-declared “alt-tronic” genre is a unique blend of electronic riffs and fast paced guitar-driven songcraft. Tourist History is filled to the brim with catchy lyrics, hooks, and beats. If you’re looking for a fun, upbeat record, give this one a spin. I attended a show of theirs this past Wednesday and it was one of the best concerts I’ve been to!

Go listen to: “Cigarettes In the Theatre” and “I Can Talk”

‘The Big Roar’ by The Joy Formidable

© Canvasback Music

While I am usually not a fan of bands with female vocalists, The Joy Formidable blow me away. This debut album was released in January of this year. Hailing from Wales, The Joy Formidable released various singles and an EP in 2009 through 2010, creating a growing fanbase. Since the release of The Big Roar, the band has been touring across Europe and the United States, even opening up for the Foo Fighters at a few shows. For someone looking for a unique indie album, be sure to give it a listen. The album is characterized by a dynamic female vocalist and exceptional guitar work.

Go listen to: “Whirring” and “The Greatest Light is the Greatest Shade”

‘Neighborhoods’ by blink-182

© DGC Records

One of the biggest modern punk bands in the world, blink-182 recently reformed in 2009 after a 5 year hiatus. Their newest effort, Neighborhoods, was released with an 8 year gap between their previous self-titled album. Obviously, the band has changed in this span of time, and Neighborhoods is definitely different from any of the band’s previous albums. First and foremost, the record has a much more mature sound to it, which some fans were not happy with. Personally, I think this sound is a step in the right direction. While I love the old school “potty jokes” blink as much as the next person, a band can only go so far before a change would be healthy. The album also features more experimental additions to the band’s sound such as the addition of subtle synthesizers. I was lucky enough to get a preview of some songs from the album when I saw blink-182 at the Honda Civic Tour this year, and I can assure that for a fan with an open mind, Neighborhoods will not disappoint.

Go listen to: “Ghost On the Dancefloor” and “After Midnight”

‘Send Away the Tigers’ by Manic Street Preachers

© Columbia Records

In the 1990’s, the Manic Street Preachers were one of the bands fronting the Britpop movement. Released in 2007, Send Away the Tigers is quite an upbeat album for the Manics, but nonetheless an excellent one. With exhilarating guitar riffs, strong vocals, and unique basslines, the band does not disappoint with this recent effort. The addition of synthesizers to certain songs also adds to the album as a whole. If you’re looking for a strong, guitar-driven band, the Manics would be an excellent choice.

Go listen to: “Send Away the Tigers” and “Autumnsong”

‘Goo’ by Sonic Youth

© DGC Records

Sonic Youth were one of the first bands to dive into the previously undiscovered world of experimental rock. Using endless amounts of effects pedals and distortion, they create a mind-blowing sound coveted by many but achieved by few. Released in 1990, Goo is my personal favorite Sonic Youth album.  Riff after riff, the album creates an unrivaled wall of sound. However, some may dismiss this as simply noise. Sonic Youth are definitely an acquired taste, but once you grow to love them, there’s no turning back.

Go listen to: “Kool Thing” and “Titanium Expose”