It's art. Deal with it.

Concept: Dan Bejar rides the fame he gained beside The New Pornographers into the longest track of his career, punctuated with cosmopolitan anecdotes and poeticisms which are apparently supposed to describe the invasion, although most of the narrative occurs long after.

Sound: The self-diagnosis of ‘ambient disco’ is more or less appropriate. I’d call it one of the most boring things I’ve ever listened to. Occasional guitar strums and bare beats are spread so sparsely you can tell Bejar wants desperately for you to listen to whatever he half-sings.

Lyrics: Bejar may cement himself in a painful stereotypical French atmosphere, but he’s still from Vancouver and he’s still catastrophically interested in listening to himself talk. He spends his ‘epic’ piece breaking straw men and recalling personal events which are left to stand on their own, uninspired and uninteresting:

So now I live well. I live in the mine. I’m still slinging mud at the towers all the time. I took a walk and threw up in an English garden.”

“Love is a political beast with jaws for a mouth. I don’t care.”

“A crumbling beauty trapped in a river of ice. A crumbling beauty trapped in paradise. Oh, it was paradise.”

“I was 20 years old in 1992. I was bathed in golden sunlight, alright!! I was ripped on dope.”

Quick And Dirty: A parade of outdated pretension. (♦♦)

...continuing their tradition of the worst cover art in music history...

Concept: Mew tries to make alienation pleasant.

Sound: The similarity to mainstream pop is undeniable — airy, boyish vocalists, synth stew, moseying surf guitar progressions. What Mew does differently is make its songs almost linear. There is very little reprise; the songs never seem to stop changing into something else. This takes its toll, however. There is never a sense of climax or resolution. At its best the band is a lesser Radiohead, with unconventional organization in familiar instrumentation and meter, but their sound remains fixed in a combination of Enya and Dashboard Confessional.

Lyrics: Still lost in an impressionist adolescence. Incomplete sentences with yearning content speak like a broken cellphone blinking on the floor of a high school hallway after hours.

Quick And Dirty: Articulate but unambitious post-rock with lyrics. (♦♦♦)

Artist: Conelrad
Album: Sure Is The Risk Made
Released: 2009
Sure Is The Risk Made

Conelrad, an electronic musician whose sound is heavily influenced by the Cold War, has been busy the past 2 years since the release of his first LP “Function Creep.” He has really refined his sound, making more sophisticated music, sometimes much darker than his earlier releases.

The album is quite diverse in its sounds, from the somewhat pop “Up Periscope” to the dark and boding “Paternoster.” Some songs use voice samples, such as “Samantha Smith” and “Sure Is The Risk Made.” Unfortunately, Conelrad brings in vocoder lyrics much less than in “Function Creep,” though they made some of those songs fantastic.

And while the songs may be diverse, they really do work together as an artistic whole, that is, as an album. Which is really one of the most important things for me. If an album is just a collection of songs, with no bearing on each other, why did you release them together? Apathy? Laziness? As a vehicle for the hit single? Conelrad however has made a fine ALBUM, with a theme that is communicated through each song. Considering his name comes from the precursor to the Emergency Broadcast System, CONELRAD, you should be able to kind of figure out what it is.

Great beats, fantastic guitars, and interesting use of electronics. Pick this one up!

You can download the full album for free here, and you can also download the rest of Conelrad’s discography at the same site.

Apology.

Concept: It is not confirmed yet whether the story comes from experience…a man reminiscing on his life while sitting beside a child dying of bone cancer in the MSKCC.

Sound: It really depends. You aren’t listening to antlers as much as streamers. Long, quiet, and often dull passages are tethered to immense emotional weight, flowing and cutting in its wake. Whammy effects put forward a music box discontent, and songs develop very slowly if at all. This becomes tedious at many points, but regarding the album in its entirety the slow burn is put to excellent use as it gradually stops hiding from the listener.

Lyrics: While the writing on the album is lyrically quite mediocre, a few well chosen details gather as time goes by, and in closing the melodies perfectly match the emotions of the subject matter. It is no fault that the material takes so long to collect itself, as that all the more evokes the resulting naked terror and regret. The last two tracks could draw tears from a stone.

Quick And Dirty: Its staying power is debatable, lacking subtlety or songcraft, but the excruciating sensitivity displayed makes an indelible impression. (♦♦♦♦)