The Albums of August

The Albums of August

  • Article by: Wells Adams and Dan Buckley
  • Posted: 08/31/2011

August might be almost over, but we couldn’t let it slip away without looking back on four albums that took the edge off the scorching summer heat.

Kyle Andrews: Robot Learn Love
Even the liner notes are intriguing.
Stars: 4 of 5

Kyle Andrews is one of those cats who can’t help but construct pop songs ... and he doesn’t need to bring in Rick Rubin to do it. Try and get through 15 minutes of television without hearing some older KA. Robot Learn Love shows Andrews a bit more grown up – his funky synths and dance beats have that studio polished sound more than his older stuff.

“Lazer Tag With Imaginary Friends” is a hit in title alone, and “Bombs Away” sounded sublime on Lightning 100 recently. Good records get you a Facebook ‘like’; great records make you dance whilst reading the liner notes. Robot Learn Love is the latter.

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Beirut: The Rip Tide
This band also goes by the name “Beer Pong”
Stars: 3 of 5
 
Zach Condon’s self-released new record, The Rip Tide, is short – 33 minutes to be exact. Trust me, I did the math. I don’t say that in a bad way; it’s just evident. Almost as obvious is the fact that this record is definitely the most non-European album he’s done, all while packing the most pop.

It has plenty of weeping horns and lamenting strings, but they’re not as complex as most of his older stuff. Condon’s vocals shine brightest on songs like “Port of Call” and “Goshen.” The Rip Tide still sounds like something you would listen to at a garden party on Lake Como … but this party has a bunch of Americans on the guest list.

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Trevor Hall: Everything Everytime Everywhere
Embrace the reggae, mon.
Stars: 3 of 5
 
Trevor Hall’s new album, Everything Everytime Everywhere, is a well-produced, solid sounding record. From the single “Brand New Day,” which we’ve been spinning on Lightning 100, to the Citizen Cope-inspired, reggae-fueled “The Return,” I had a hard time not listening to every track for influences. I heard hints of Dave Matthews, Sublime, 311 and Chris Martin.

With the millions of songs being released, I get that it’s tough to land on something wholly original, but I think Hall could stand to ease a bit more into his own reggae sound. Be sure to check out “Fire,” which features flaming vocals courtesy of Cherine Anderson.

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Red Hot Chili Peppers: I’m With You
Someone give the Chili Peppers a habanero!
Stars: 2 of 5   
 
For the past decade, I’ve felt like RHCP were missing something. Their previous effort, Stadium Arcadium (2006), seemed like a self-indulgent double release, as if they had grown strong in their egos and no one had the guts to tell them to keep it to one disc.

So, as I listened to the new record for the first time, I entered with rather low expectations (Rick Rubin or not), and I prepared for another song about California. Do they deliver on the new album? Well, I do like the cowbell on the title track, but this is no Blood Sugar Sex Magik. It might be unfair to compare this to their masterpiece, but I give it two stars.

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