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Tuesday, 28 September 2010



Jimmy & friends invent more food for the world.

IRVINE, CA - MAY 16: Jim Adkins (R) and Zach Lind (L) of Jimmy Eat World perform at the KROQ Weenie Roast Y Fiesta 2009 at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater on May 16, 2009 in Irvine, California. (Photo by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images)

It's been three years since Jimmy Eat World 'Chased The Light' but with the release of their seventh studio album 'Invented', the band show that their familiar sound has been missed. The groups signature inspirational, college esque rock sound is again further re-invented and re-defined on this album.

The disc's lead single 'My Best Theory' is classic Jimmy and a great reminder and anticipation grinder for fans who may have forgot what they've been missing. With the opening lyrics "It's been a long time, so long/There's only one life I know" over building guitar it's clear however Jimmy hasn't forgotten. Before Jimmy imparts his greatest theory the album opens with the track 'Heart Is Hard To Find' complete with emphatic clapping and acoustic strumming. As the track builds so does the interest in this album. Showing that the spirit of this band is not hard to find after all these years.

The album was produced by Mark Trombino who helmed the boards of Jimmy classics 'Static Prevails', 'Clarity' and 'Bleed American' this direction produces yet another great record with everything you could want from the band. There's spine tingling rock ballads like 'Cut' and those harder rock cuts like 'Action Needs An Audience'. 'Invented's' title track features the backing vocals of folk singer and band tour mate Courtney Marie Andrews who totals 5 contributions on this album. The presence of Andrews beautiful vocals to these tracks give the records that haunting sound that made classic Jimmy Eat World tracks like 'Hear You Me' and 'Gotta Be Somebody's Blues' that much potent.

Tracks like 'Movielike' definitely feel cinematic and the other Musiq Soulchild grammatically named track 'Littlethings' is a standout. The gem 'Coffee & Cigarettes' is addictive but good for you, it sounds anything but tired. The album also features the leaked 'Stop' which was meant for 'Chase This Light'. Although 'Stop' was halted from their last project it starts over and finds a place perfectly on this album. The bands new set closes with the track 'Mixtape' which would be prefect for any tracklist for a couples collection of songs. Especially if this couple are trying to make things work as lyrics like "Maybe we could put your tape back on/Rewind until the moment we went wrong" really bring everything together.

Overall this is one of those great Jimmy Eat World records that you can just let play on the perfect Summers day and while the last days of Summer are escaping us 'Invented' might just be the record you need to savour right now. The album blends together seamlessly and although that means that a lot of these tracks sound similar that's not necessarily a bad thing. Sure we've heard it all before but Jimmy give their fans that familiar, tested sound that reminds them of old times and as the band and their fans grow together there's nothing quite like a good piece of nostalgia. TIM DAVID HARVEY



Between his 'Rebirth' and his release 'Tha Carter' goes out this world.

UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - MARCH 29: Rapper Lil Wayne performs onstage during his 'I Am Music' Tour featuring T-Pain at the Gibson Amphitheater on March 29, 2009 in Universal City, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Despite being locked down Lil' Wayne is still the hardest working man in hip-hop hands down. With more records out on the street than on his rap sheet the Lil rapper is further cementing his status as a heavyweight in the hip-hop game. Right now Wayne is nearing the end of his bid in prison and is channeling 2Pac with his output of material. To coincide with his release from prison Dwayne Carter will release 'Tha Carter IV' to his series of legendary albums but right not to tide us over on his birthday 'The Carter' releases, 'I'm Not A Human Being'.

If you doubt for a second that Weezy is running out of material in a minute than your just 'Dontgetit'. After showing his versatility with his impressive rock album at the top of his year and his crew collective'We Are Young Money' Wayne returns to his solo rap routes with an LP that was originally meant to be an EP. Also with more to come and some potential collaborative albums with T-Pain, Lloyd and Juelz Santana on deck Wayne is playing his ace card despite being in the hole.

Fans and critics who may have thought that 'The Rebirth' was a bit premature will be pleased with 'The Human Being' that Wayne has birthed. This album is straight rap, except for the title track which rocks so hard it would of been a standout delivery on 'Rebirth'. The album starts with the track 'Gonorrhea', with Wayne and protegee turned star Drake trading lines. From the jump this track is devilishly infectious. With lyrics that cant really be printed here. One of the best and cleanest from Wayne again shows that despite being in prison he's still in tune to what's going on in entertainment and sports "What y’all wanna do I’m all ears/smoking on that head band call that s**** Paul Pearce/I’m just so ahead of my time like dog years/ball like Solange, India Arie, Britney Spears". When Drake comes in he furthers the excitement of the hottest duo in hip-hop and the anticipation of Weezy's dual release spitting, "Wayne got a Bugatti that he steady putting mileage on/and we about to kill em C4 Mr Carters home".

Drake appears on half of these albums tracks and although he has Waynes back he isn't carrying him during Weezy's incarceration. His presence however further shows that this duo are head and shoulders above the rest. There are tracks that go hard and then there are smooth, R&B sounding tracks like 'I'm Single' and 'With You' that are Drake inspired but also feature Wayne's alter-ego trademark slow flow. A rhyme style which has served him well on the guest spot of countless R&B remixes over the years. The pair of 'Young Money' cash cows are so good together they should release a collaborative album together. Jay-Z and Kanye definitely better 'Watch The Throne'.

It's Waynes versatility that enable him to release so much material that is diverse and constantly refreshing. He holds court even when he passes the ball to his star label mates Jay Sean and Nicki Minaj. He continues to push the envelope with his out of this world style but he knows when to come back to earth and back to those hard rhymes that made him famous in the first place. This is evident in the track 'Bill Gates' where Weezy proves that through all the music space he has created he's still a hip-hop geek at heart. Overall with 'I'm Not A Human Being' Weezy makes it a good birthday and ensures that when his release comes 'Tha Carter IV' will be a party everyone will want to continue. TIM DAVID HARVEY

Sunday, 19 September 2010



This combination cuts a disc that awakes the soul roots of music legends.

NEW YORK - APRIL 18: Musicians John Legend (C) and The Roots perform onstage at the Dow Live Earth Run for Water at Prospect Park on April 18, 2010 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Live Earth Events)

One of the greatest soul singers of our generation teams up with one of the most original hip-hop acts around to produce a collaborative album that is more Cee-Lo and Dangermouse than Jay-Z & R. Kelly. John Legend, who last moved away from the piano for the successful 'Evolver' pushes the envelope even further with The Roots who are on fire this year already having dropped two other long players including the great album 'How I Got Over' and the incredible J Dilla instrumental tribute mixtape 'Dilla Joints'.

Speaking of fire John Legend appeared on the 'How I Got Over' track 'The Fire' and was sampled on the cut 'Doin' It Again' for more heat and if Legend has it, this second and first major collaboration with the Philly 'Hip-Hop/Soul band' is warming up to be a classic. The album is short, sweet and is so full of soulful soul. On this record Legend and his new house band (watch out Jimmy Fallon) cover some of the lesser known soul classics from the past, but classics all the same. Songs that sound as good as today as when the needle first dropped on them all those years back.

The pair put there own twist on things with this duet album but still keep the sound 'Instant Vintage' like the Raapheal Sadiq classic 'The Way I See It' which redefined modern soul last year. Too many R&B acts these days try to channel the greats only to leave listeners turning off but on 'Wake Up!' just like Saadiq, Legend and The Roots make this record sound more than just something your pops used to listen to, or your mom used to have on in the background. The music is so convincing you'll feel like your back in the 60's or listening to a classic record. As a matter of fact you are listening to a classic. This is more than just a throwback, it's a testament.

Each track is smooth, understated but potent at the same time. The tracks are slow burners but they let the light of the songs life shine at it's brightest. Legends distinct voice over The Roots array of instruments and versatile talent sounds vintage and timeless all at the same time. Whether it be slow guitar licks, laid back bass or Questlove drums, the ensemble hits every time with this homage piece. The last time The Roots backed a performer on an album is when they went 'Unplugged' with Jay-Z for MTV. They gave Mr. Carter a distinct, chilled live sound back then and now they give Mr. Legend the type of backing that makes for music that feels like this ensemble is live in living color in your living room.

Even when Black Thought raps it doesn't take anything away from this old soul. His always sharp and meaningful lyrics actually compliment the tracks he's on, almost poetic or Gil-Scott Heron-esque. Thought takes his mindset back to the way of nostalgia on this one too. As for the other guest stars, the before his time raps of Common, and soulful beauty of Toronto's Melanie Fiona evoke even more spirit on the lead single 'Wake Up Now' which features socially conscious verses about education, health care and the environment. Which are still relevant today with as Legend puts it 'No editing needed'. Also throughout the LP the poetic genius and interludes of Malik Yusef ties the album up in a perfect rhythm.

The record almost belongs to another era but is more than welcome today. Legend even updates the Bill Withers classic about the Vietnam war 'I Can't Write Left Handed' to draw comparisons to today's war in Iraq. Which again proves that soul music has always had so much more to say than just what's deep inside alone. Talking about having more to say, on this 11 minute number John gives a Sam Cooke esque long spoken introduction which both engages the audience and does justice to his subject matter. This record works so well as a soul album because this album is both musically and socially conscious.

This collaboration between two of the finest acts out today has provided us with something we can only dream isn't just a one off. Overall even after the first listen this album sounds instantly recognisable. Before it even hits the shelves it feels like something that's been around for a good while. It's kind of the same feeling when Legend's 'Ordinary People' first hit, but this piece is far from regular. G.O.O.D. music is back in the building so it's time to 'Get out on your dreams' once again. So when you wake up tomorrow morning and head out shopping trust me, you aint going to wanna sleep on one of the albums of the year. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010



After spending some more time with Rick Rubin after midnight, Linkin Park see the sun.

LOS ANGELES - MARCH 4:  Musician Mike Shinoda (L) and singer Chester Bennington of Linkin Park perform at the Staples Center on March 4, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

It's hard to believe that it's been over three years since the release of Linkin Park's multi-platinum selling 'Minutes to Midnight' but now deep into 2010 they release 'A Thousand Suns'. With 'Suns' Chester, Mike and co once again record with Rick Rubin. The legendary producer who's worked with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Beastie Boys and onetime Linkin Park collaborator Jay-Z. Well on the more mature, atmospheric sounding 'A Thousand Suns' Linkin Park prove that even if they have '99 Problems' a hit record aint one.

This record has so much depth of sound and is so atmospheric that it might be the most audibly gratifying record the band has done. The set is introduced with 'The Requiem' and 'The Radiance' a haunting intro with vocals from Mike Shinoda (if you can believe that) and a radiant opening track that is classic (new) Linkin Park.

LP's new LP sounds futuristic and also varies with tone, all whilst maintaining the same pace. At times it's compellingly dark and at others it's beautifully light. Also at times it's calm and then it's almost rageful, but listen to this album in the background and it would be hard to tell as the production is so tight that everything comes together perfectly. It's an easy but satisfying listen. It almost sounds like a score or a soundtrack to a computer game. It's probably no coincidence that one of the best examples of this is the track 'Fallout'. Even the ballad 'Robot Boy' is so out of this world, but yet so beautiful that you would think it was written for a sci-fi movie. This whole album in fact is one science experiment that yields incredible results

The last two LP albums have seemed to move away from the younger, angst-ridden and more commercial sound of the first two records. Now although 'Hybrid Theory' and 'Meteroa' are brilliant and defining albums, it's good that Linkin Park can move with the times and grow as a band. Maybe this 'new' sound isn't for everyone, but even though there's a shift in the way the band do things their original integrity and style remains throughout. This is a mark of a truly great band for the ages. This is what happens when people work with a guy like Rick Rubin. He brings the best out of an artist and shows them new ways to paint a picture, but he always ensures that the artist still uses the same brush.

Think the old Linkin Park are gone? Than listen to the standout track 'Wretches & Kings' and think again. Throw this record on at a party and people could be mistaken for thinking it's classic Linkin Park and you know what? After a couple of listens it is classic Linkin Park. The lyrics go to battle with the powers that be and the chorus is the perfect rally cry "Feel alone, final blow/We, the animals, take control/Hear us now, clear and tall/Wretches and kings, we come for you." The track also pays homage to Public Enemy's Chuck D and with the track 'Wisdom, Justice, and Love' featuring a speech from Martin Luther King it's clear that Linkin Park don't just have something new to hear. They've got something more to say and it's time for them to act out. This album acts as a vehicle for the band speaking out about nuclear issues and they do this by striking the core with full force.

Throughout this record the band go through a real evolution of sound. The creativity on this album pushes the envelope but is so controlled that it still delivers. With 'A Thousand Sons' Linkin Park and Rick Rubin's talents burst together in a might splendor and what were left with is pure radiance, but look up the Indian Sanskrit Text, "Bhagvad Gita" (which this album was named after), because that puts it better. TIM DAVID HARVEY


It's been 14 years since we saw 'Better Days' , 'R U Still Down'?


Rap artist Tupac Shakur.  (Photo by Time Life Pictures/DMI/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

On September 13th, 1996 Tupac Shakur tragically died as the result of his injuries after being shot on the Las Vegas strip after a Mike Tyson fight. 14 years later on the 13th of the 9th in 2010 we mourn once again the loss of the greatest rapper/poet/prophet/activist of our generation, which today still feels as raw as the moment the unbelievable news broke . A day later on the 14th, after mourning and blasting 'Staring Through My Rearview' as loud as we can out our cars (I see you), we look back and celebrate the man's life because even after 14 years we can't and won't forget.

14 years, 14 more and forever more won't make us forget about the greatest rapper of all time. Sure when your asked 'Who's the greatest MC'? You may reply 'Biggie, Jay-Z or Nas' but you know in the history of hip-hop there's been no one quite like 'Pac and there will never be another like him. As iconic in African-American culture as Michael Jordan. As iconic in music as Kurt Cobain or Marvin Gaye. From recited lyrics to tattoo's, T-shirts, posters, murals and the most evocative of memories. From every fan, the real G.O.A.T, Tupac lives.

14 years, 14 more and forever more won't make us forget about the music. The sound from '2Pacalypse Now' to right now. From the old school to the new. From Digital Underground's to time on Death Row. The 14 studio albums, 6 recorded before his death, 8 posthumous. How could we even miss a beat? From the club to the church and from the streets to the graves, Shakur lamented it all. He inspired, he showed love for his mama and he fought with the best and came out on top. Tupac could give it to anybody in so many ways, 'How Do You Want It?'

14 years, 14 more and forever more won't make us forget about 'All Eyez On Me'. An instant and timeless classic. Most artists these days would fall short on recording a double album (even Jay and Nas have found it tough) but obviously Tupac had a lot to say over two books after coming out of prison. You wouldn't be blamed if you confused 'All Eyez On Me' with his 'Greatest Hits'. What other rap album could boast as many diverse and prominent rap classics as 'Ambitionz Az A Ridah', 'All About You', 'How Do You Want It', '2 Of Amerikaz Most Wanted', 'Life Goes on', 'California Love (Remix)', 'I Aint Mad At Cha', 'Picture Me Rollin', 'All Eyez On Me' and so much more. No wonder 'Pac had everyone's ears as well as eyes.

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 4: Tupac Shakur (R) and Snoop Dog at the 1996 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, 9/4/1996. Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images.

14 years, 14 more and forever more won't make us forget about 'California Love'. A club banger so classic the love for the West Coast dedication never dies. Hate it now if you dare but what other hip-hop club classic stands the test of time? Even these days with ipod's, myspace, music downloads and throw away rap club bangers that saturate the music market 'California Love' still makes noise. To all the DJ's out there, you could throw this record on at any point in the night and people will go as crazy as the first time it dropped. What other record does that these days?

14 years, 14 more and forever more won't make us forget that when 2Pac was 'Against The Odds' and everybody he made one of his best albums in 'Me Against The World'. From 'If I Die Tonight' to 'Outlaw' Shakur showed everyone that he found his own. With timeless rap records like the title track, 'So Many Tears', 'Temptations', 'Dear Mama' and 'Death Around The Corner'. Tupac proved that if anybody in hip-hop had a songbook a impressive and as big as Bob Dylan's it was him.

14 years, 14 more and forever more won't make us forget about Makaveli and 'The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory'. Tupac's album under the name Makaveli was released just months after his death and is his most compelling and haunting set. We heard him 'Bomb First' and then after saying a 'Hail Mary' we learned how 'To Live & Die in LA', 'Against All Olds'. All throughout this we learned how passionate and determined this young man really was and ultimately we learned how tragic a time this was.

14 years, 14 more and forever more won't make us forget that not only was Tupac a brilliant rapper but a brilliant poet also. The lyricist and artist was 'The Rose That Grew From Concrete'. Even though Tupac came from dark times his words where still a thing of beauty giving light to ugly truths. We could see the 'Pride Of A Panther' and the blues of a thug. Most importantly though we read between the lines and saw the man himself as he put himself out there on paper. Resulting in something truly inspirational. Real 'Poetic Justice'.

279419 13: Singer Tupac Shakur stands backstage at the MTV Video Music Awards September 4, 1996 in New York City. The awards honored music videos produced by popular artists such as Smashing Pumpkins, Metallica and Alanis Morissette. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)

14 years, 14 more and forever more won't make us forget about the acting. Whether 'Above The Rim', 'Gridlock'd' or with a little 'Juice' the always genuine and intense Shakur proved he could be a legend in two games like Pee Wee Kirkland. Even when 'Pac shared the screen with talent at the level of Tim Roth, Omar Epps and Janet Jackson he was still the films silver lining. Most rappers appear in movies because they can. Tupac was a bonafide actor however, he appeared in movies because he could.

14 years, 14 more and forever more won't make us forget the great life of one the most influential and inspirational figures of the 90's. 14 years, 14 more and forever more won't make us forget about the tragic death of this man. Taken way before his time, I guess the good really do die young. 14 years, 14 more and forever more won't make us forget however that resurrected through his music Tupac Shakur lives on in our memories and through speakers, every time we bang out 'Can't C Me' and every time we knock 'Rebel Of The Underground'.

14 years, 14 more and forever more won't make us forget about the lessons learned. What he taught us through his music and what we learned after his death. We'll never forget what we learned after his and The Notorious B.I.G.'s murders. We'll never forget how he 'Let The Knowledge Drop' and how he told us that 'Life Goes On', but we will still, always remember.

14 years, 14 more and forever more won't make us forget about the inspiration that this man brought. He spoke to everyone from the projects to the high-rises. He spoke about everyone, every injustice he saw, telling us "unless we're shootin, no one notices the youth". Through everything though 'Pac recognised the forgotten youth, telling us that 'Brenda's Got A Baby' and being there for everyone when no one else was. Telling us to 'Hold On, Be Strong' and to 'Keep Ya Head Up'. Even with our backs against the wall Tupac told us "Through every dark night; theres a bright day after that. So no matter how hard it get; stick your chest out; keep ya head up.. . and handle it". Even if we were against the world Shakur was right there with us.

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 03:  Rapper Nas performs during a tribute to Tupac at the VH1 Hip Hop Honors October 3, 2004 in New York City.  (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)

(Nas Representing For 'Pac in 2004)

14 years, 14 more and forever more won't make us forget about the influences this man has had on music and youth. Whether they look like it or not every rapper in one way or another has taken a page out of Tupac's rhyme book for inspiration. From Ja Rule to Kanye West, East, West and Dirty South . Half of these rappers wouldn't even be around without the influence and inspiration of Tupac, he paved the way. Sure one day one of these new up and coming rappers will join Eminem and outsell this West Coast icons 75 million albums but believe me know one will touch as many people as Tupac Amaru Shakur.

This is because 14 years, 14 more and forever more won't make us forget about the legacy left by this larger than life figure. The legacy that lives through his mother Afeni Shakur, through the 'Tupac Foundation', through his statues and countless murals and through his music. The music that grows day by day as new generations pick up copies of 'All Eyez On Me', or as the hundreds of remaining 'Pac lyrics are released. Through the music we'll always picture Tupac 'rollin' and 'As The World Turns' we'll never move on without him.

14 years, 14 more and forever more won't make us forget it's 'All About You' 2Pac, Rest In Peace.

Sunday, 12 September 2010



The 5 go steady on their latest effort, but could be missing a little Jane.

NEW YORK - JULY 01: Musicians Jesse Carmichael, James Valentine, Adam Levine, Matt Flynn and Michael Madden of the band Maroon 5 attend the VEVO Summer Sets Concert Series at the Empire Hotel on July 1, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for VEVO)

Adam Levine's muse Jane, (Who was the inspiration for Maroon 5's classic pop/rock album 'Songs About Jane') may just be his gift and his curse. Sure Maroon 5's first album after their previous effort as Kara's Flowers may have propelled them to international stardom but it also set the bar high for the young band. What resulted was an almost guaranteed sophomore slump. 'It Won't Be Soon Before Long' wasn't a bad album it just didn't live up nearly as much to it's predecessor. It had hits like 'Makes Me Wonder' and 'Wake Up Call' but as Adam channeled Prince and The Police he also learned that the only ones who could really do that are 'The Artist' and Sting themselves. Over recent years as artists Maroon 5 and Adam Levine have felt the sting being the butt of jokes on Family Guy and having Levine compared to John Mayer for all the wrong reasons (In regards to them being more Lotharios than singers).

The trouble for Maroon 5 is how do they write another 'This Love', 'Sunday Morning' or 'She Will Be Loved' (to mention just a few of 'Jane's' best moments) well they know the answer, they don't. A band just has to carry on and try something different and at least that's what Levine et al have tried to do. Because like it or not 'Hands All Over' sounds more like their last album than their first, but the difference is it sounds a lot more complete and a lot more polished.

'Hands All Over' is consistent all over and doesn't lose weight towards the end like 'It Won't Be Soon (Before We Hear Some Filler)'. It's as poppy ('How'), as funky, ('Runaway') as soulful ('I Can't Lie') and as rocky ('Hands All Over') as the band has ever been and although this sound may be like change rattling on metal for some people the difference will pay off for others. The single and album opener 'Misery' is classic Maroon 5 and although we may have heard it all before it still serves as a welcome return. The bands second album cut and single 'Give A Little More' written by Levine, Jesse Carmichael and James Valentine bests the first single by being a more well rounded, well written pop song. Featuring a catchy bridge and hook that will carry the song over to the pop charts, sinking the competition.

In fact the album continues to showcase Levine's incredible ability to write catchy hooks and rhythms. This is especially evident on tracks like 'Stutter' (which features a clever use of the phrase) and the title track, which feels like an 80's throwback (and that's a good thing). Also the duet with Lady Antebellum 'Out of Goodbyes' shows yet again that Levine can hold his own going toe to toe as the leading man with the best female singers around (See, Alicia Keys, Rihanna and Mary J. Blige). 'Just A Feeling' however is the track that stands out the most. If 'Misery' is classic Maroon 5 than 'Feeling' is vintage. It's right up there with 'Sweetest Goodbye' and 'Goodnight, Goodnight'. The ballad is definitely a song you will repeat and not skip on your ipod shuffle even months after this album is synced.

So even though Maroon 5 may never have it as good as they did when they used to mess with a girl called Jane on their latest they prove that it will be long before their soon done. They still have the ability to write catchy pop/rock songs with soul and funk like no other band today. Both Levine and his 5 will still have 'Hands All Over' them for some time to come. TIM DAVID HARVEY



With their third album in as many years, Weezer don't run out of breath.

INDIO, CA - APRIL 30: Weezer performs at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Fields on April 30, 2005 in Indio, California. (Photo by Karl Walter/Getty Images)

Weezer may just be the alternative rock version of Lil' Wayne. They may have taken an extended hiatus after the release of their album 'Make Believe' in 2008 but over the last three years they have become one of the hardest working bands around with a relentless and rapid output. Since 2008 they have released three albums. First came the third 'Weezer' colored album known as 'The Red Album' which showed a varied mix of styles and spawned the hit single 'Pork & Beans'. Then last year they released 'Raditude', a perfect summer album (which even featured Lil' Wayne) that was almost a throwback to their classic 'Blue' and 'Green' albums. 'Raditude' however was not as critically and commercially successful as other Weezer albums. So hot on it's heels comes their latest 'Hurley', an album which cover features the 'Lost' character of the same name but was actually named after the clothing company 'Hurley International'.

Confusion aside there is no doubt that this album is another hit from Weezer despite it falling short a little bit from the previous two albums. With that being said however this is only after it's first listen and if this album is anything to go by in relation to the bands other work 'Hurley' should be a grower. The fact that it's released at the tail end of summer might do it some harm as Weezer are typically a band for that season but it may just in fact serve as the perfect escape from those post Winter blues.

Weezer are growing more and more with each album. This album is more Hollywood Hills than 'Beverly Hills'. Especially on the cut 'Hang On' which features backing vocals from another geek hero actor Michael Cera. On this standout track the 'Scott Pilgrim' star is also handy on the hurdy gurdy. Now tell me you don't want to hear this? Cera isn't the only star to appear on this album as the cast of 'Jackass' provide backing vocals for the lead single 'Memories'. Which again is a curious choice of guest feature, but a curiosity that kills everything including the cat. A type of reckless guilty pleasure you'll want to see in the new 'Jackass 3D' film when it hits the screens.

The album may not be as complete as other Weezer gems and the track 'Where's My Sex?' may have fit better on their sophomore set, 'Pinkerton' but as the album comes to a close it isn't nearly as astray as it's cover stars hit TV show. The band promised a more raw sound and they don't disappoint. Especially with the albums closer 'Time Flies' which has been described as Zeppelin-esque and is among the bands best and most introspective recordings ever. From Rivers Cuomo's lyrics the song hints at the idea that the band knows they aren't as young as they used to be as he laments "Had another birthday/Could have been the worst day/I ever had/Got a little drunk/And I feel into a funk/And I woke up sad/Looked into the mirror, there were lines around my eyes".

Again with the quality of music of 'Hurley' (Even with the deluxe edition which features a cool live take of Coldplay's 'Viva La Vida') Weezer prove that even though they are ageing their typical college rock sound can still move with the times. Even though it sounds a bit strange coming from the now 40 Year old Rivers Cuomo. Weezer and Cuomo however take a page more out of Jay-Z's than Lil' Wayne's rhyme book and prove that good music really does stand the test of time. With this niche they've carved Rivers and Weezer prove that at least in their fans eyes they can stay 'Forever Young'. TIM DAVID HARVEY

Monday, 6 September 2010



A 'Killer' debut from a singer in full bloom.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 21: Ronnie Vannucci Jr (R) and Brandon Flowers of The Killers perform on stage at the Melbourne leg of the Good Vibrations music festival at Flemington Racecourse on February 21, 2010 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

'The Killers' front man Brandon Flowers uses his hometown of Las Vegas as the perfect backdrop and metaphorical inspiration for his debut solo set. Now although solo albums from lead singers of bands often times seems unnecessary, (especially as the singers will need a backing band anyway) with a personality and a name like Brandon Flowers it was only a matter of time before this front man bloomed into a star on his own. Now after four brilliant albums with his band, Mr. Flowers time to grow is now and his devlopment leads off with the incredibly catchy, first single 'Crossfire'. An undeniable song that hits everything in it's path like the incredible Charlize Theron in the songs video.

The album is 'Killer' both in it's sound and in it's quality. There may be other elements of classic rock thrown in and inspirations from other artists taken but above all this is Brandon Flowers' album. The LP starts with the atmospheric cut 'Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas' which is Springsteen-esque in it's all or nothing spirit that is mixed into a cautionary cocktail that goes down smoothly. Flowers on the chorus tells it like it is, "Give us your dreamers, your harlots and your sin, Las Vegas, Didn't nobody tell you the house will always win?" It's a perfect 'welcoming' to the album and a sign of things to come on a disc that highlights the love but also the loneliness of a city that makes or breaks.

The album feels as vintage and as stylish as it's cover which feature Flowers in an old-deco hotel room overlooking the neon lights of Nevada's most famous town. There's something about these neon lights that are both welcoming and isolating, a subtle sign that even entertainers get lonely. It all seems to stand up just the way Flowers does in deserted solitude on the cover of his first album where he goes it alone. The feeling of introspection in this 'Cold Desert' is as crisp and haunting as the Kings of Leon song of the same name. Take a look at the way Flowers is sat on the cover for the deluxe version of 'Flamingo' (Which features standout tracks like 'Jacksonville' and 'I Came Here To Get Over You') to see this form of expression reflected further.

One of the best atmospheric and introspective tracks on the album is the gem 'Playing With Fire' which may just be a classic for Flowers' discography. The six minute number features evocative lyrics over haunting guitars including lines that stay with you like 'Those charcoal veins that hold this chosen land together/May twist & turn but somewhere deep there is a heart' and 'Ten thousand/Demons hammer down with every footstep/Ten thousand Angels rush the wind against my back/The church of mine may not be recognised by steeple/That doesn't mean that I will walk without a God.'

The album is named 'Flamingo' after a road in Vegas, which laid venue to Flowers first job (at a golf course), a casino that inspired the name of 'The Killers' second album ('Sam's Town') and a clothing store where Brandon met his wife. Again just like Bruce Springsteen Flowers uses his inspirations from the area around him to tell us everything about his experiences,which thus make the perfect songs. Songs like next single 'Only The Young' the introspective number 'Jilted Lovers & Broken Hearts' and the epic sounding 'On The Floor' , complete with it's sequel for those deluxe listeners. Brandon's narrative brings the songs a detailed background and content while his abilities to write and craft the perfect pop chorus bring the songs to life. Which. in turn will enable them to breathe in the charts while still holding significant enough depth.

Of course while 'The Killers' are on 'hiatus' this album serves as a decent filler but alas there is nothing like an album with his fellow band mates. On his own on this one Flowers had described the recording process as being 'lonely' and although it'll be a welcome reunion when the band rejoin him in their studio, this lonesome feeling has resulted in some of Brandon Flowers most honest work to date. Brandon may have taken a gamble on this one, but without a full deck he still plays his cards right. TIM DAVID HARVEY