Andrew Bird: “Break it Yourself” – Andrew Bird is a local boy having graduated from Lake Forest HS and then getting an undergrad degree in violin performance from Northwestern (pretty much the same as my degree). I tried him out after noticing “Break it Yourself” on iTunes’ Top 10. He has a unique sound, combining more mainstream vocals with some different sounding instruments (plucky violin sounds, something that sounds like a xylophone, whistling). I liked it, not just because it’s so different than what you would normally hear on the radio, but because the songs are catchy and engaging.
Tracks to try: “Near Death Experience Experience” and “Give it Away”
One Direction: “Up All Night” – The boy bands are back! If you have a ‘tween in your house you probably already know all of what I’m about to tell you about the British/Irish band One Direction. The five band members originally tried out individually for The X Factor but failed to qualify. Guest judge Nicole Scherzinger suggested they combine forces, and One Direction was born. Their songs are very poppy and pleasant. I’m definitely not the right person to be evaluating them, but I would say they’re a nice alternative to some of the songs with suggestive or downright raunchy lyrics (I'm talking to you Rihanna and Katy Perry).
Tracks to try: They all sound a little similar to me, but “You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful” is big right now
The Shins: “Port of Morrow” – I was only peripherally familiar with The Shins prior to listening to this album, but I read a couple favorable reviews and decided to try "Port of Morrow." It ended up being great- definitely my favorite of this group. They’re described as an indie band, and while they’re originally from Albuquerque, they now are based in Portland. They definitely have an alternative sound, but not in a crazy screamy way- I wouldn’t stand for that. Winner!
Tracks to try: “Simple Song,” “For A Fool” and “Fall of ‘82”
The Ting Tings: “Sounds from Nowheresville” – I listened to this album a couple times through and just wasn’t feeling it. I loved the fun sound of “That’s Not My Name,” but that sound was absent on this album (and I'm not just saying that because of the creepy album cover). Sorry, Ting Tings.
Filed under: Album Reviews