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The CHIRP Blog

Entries categorized as “Album Reviews” 34 results

Craig Reptile: Your Sunday Sonic Sundowner writesThe Final World From Ultimate Painting

by Craig Bechtel

Someone (not me!) should do a study on the commonalities in bands that break up before releasing their final album, and now we can add to that pool of relevant research subjects Ultimate Painting, the London-based duo comprised of Jack Cooper (Mazes) and James Hoare (Veronica Falls).

Originally, UP! was scheduled for an April release, but Cooper announced on February 12 that the group was breaking up and he had asked their current label, Bella Union (run by Simon Raymonde of Cocteau Twins fame) to not release it. 

When announcing their “irreconcilable breakdown,” Cooper indicated that his partnership with Hoare (both of whom are songwriters, vocalists and guitarists), was always “a very fragile thing” and even on their three original releases, that delicate sense of fragility was an intangible, ineffable through-line that made all of their music something wonderful to hear.

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Categorized: Album Reviews


Sophie Holtzmann writesAlbum Review: “Tough Times on Oakwood Demos” by Grumble

James Chunga, who you may know as the bassist from another Chicago band, So Pretty, has released a solo album under the name Grumble.  Tough Times on Oakwood Demos, released this month, is funky, folk punk that warrants your full attention, because the songs are just so damn pleasant to listen to both in the musical quality and witty lyricism.

Ironically, one reason his sound is so unique is that it revitalizes older components of folk punk. A lot of the themes of introspection, battling demons, and finding meaning in an unraveling life are themes that gave folk punk so much traction as a rallying point for the disenfranchised from The Pogues to Johnny Hobo and the Freight Trains.

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Categorized: Album Reviews


Sophie Holtzmann writesAlbum Review: “Cut” by No Men

If you have not heard of the Chicago band No Men, truly I weep for you. This band relocated from Texas and has done a lot in the years since they’ve been on the scene.

This three-piece act is angry, femme-fronted, vocal supporters of LGBTQ, and are just fantastic artists with a unique sound. Preferably you’ll pause reading this, and listen up on their discography so that you can fully appreciate the importance of their new release, Cut, with Let’s Pretend Records.

This newest release is right on trajectory for our hopes and expectations. Consistent with the sound we know and love, Cut is characterized by a driving percussive pace and diverse melodies. It’s a two track cut and both songs hit that happy balance between aggression, tongue-in-cheek, and empowerment.

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Share November 15, 2017 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Album Reviews


Josh Friedberg: Music Historian's Corner writesMichael Jackson Review Extravaganza, Part 2 of 2: Bad, Dangerous, and HIStory

by Josh Friedberg

[Read Part One]

After releasing the best-selling album ever, Thriller, in 1982, the expectations for Michael Jackson’s success were understandably high. So by lots of different measures, 1987’s Bad was inevitably a disappointment, but it also showed Jackson’s growth as a songwriter and an artist.

On Thriller, Jackson wrote four songs out of nine, whereas on Bad, he wrote nine songs out of eleven. And despite the clunky and very dated production, Jackson’s voice, though more strained than on Thriller, performs well throughout, especially on ballads like “Man in the Mirror” and “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” a duet with Siedah Garrett. He sounds rougher from the get-go, bragging about his edginess on the opening title track and sounding hellbent on obtaining his object of desire on “The Way You Make Me Feel,” a standout hit from the album.

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Share November 14, 2017 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Album Reviews


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