Civil Twilight – Letters from the Sky
The way Andrew McKellar’s voice strains recalls classic Bono, just with a touch of Chris Martin. It is ambitious, beginning with a punctuated piano just dolling out heavy note after note weighed down by a driving-yet not overwhelming-drumming towards the end. Restrained, and talented. Keep an ear open for these Cape Town-to-United States folks.

Coheed & Cambria – Here We Are Juggernaut
Lead single for Year of the Black Rainbow. The fuzzed guitars over wavering, watered vocals has weighed down Coheed & Cambria’s overt orchestrated epic nature. It is refreshing, though not as much as early In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth singles.

Green Day – Last of the American Girls
I think the public can all agree that the second magnum opus from Green Day was…well American Idiot was still needing to sink in. 21st Century Breakdown lacked much of the backstory, and thus many of the singles didn’t hold aside from “21 Guns.” Thankfully they chose “Last of the American Girls,” one of the few standouts with a guitar riff that rivals pop choruses.

Korn – Oildale (Leave Me Alone)
At this weekend’s NARM 2010, metal was overheard to be at the strongest it has ever been. Deftones’ Diamond Eyes will have a serious contender if “Oildale” is any indication of what’s to come from Jonathan Davis and Co. Fieldy is finally front and center with Ray Luzier. Ross Robinson (e.g., Life is Peachy is all over the production, reverting this listener back to the late 90s and loving every split second of this jungle thrashing. Makes you want to pick up those guitars and destroy your Guitar Hero.

MGMT – Flash Delirium
With all the hatred flowing towards MGMT surrounding Congratulations, “Flash Delirium” is nearly as disjointing as “Stylo.” “Kids” was overhyped and expectations of such a follow-up were never well founded. Nevertheless, the ’70s family bus chorus over keys and sax is subliminally catchy. I’m sure we’ll understand what was going on…in a few years.

Paper Tongues – Trinity
Randy Jackson’s all over this band, which gives me a disposition not to like it. If it was pure pop, it’d be different-but I am a firm believer that people in pop should stay there and sit on their hands. Vocally and lyrically it’s the head of the nail flush against the wall; soulful but a shell. Musically it retains that pop tightness, trying to feign veering out of control (à la Muse)…but it’s too calculated to be believable. Soundtrack.

Founder, Editor, Writer, Photographer. (Austin, Texas)

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