Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

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The Dudes – Blood, Guts, Bruises, Cuts

07/02/2009

Blood, Guts, Bruises, Cuts

With Blood, Guts, Bruises, Cuts, Dan Vacon of The Dudes has released some best rock/pop lyrics ever laid down to pad, completely overthrowing Cheap Trick, Weezer or anyone else claiming eligibility to be a candidate for that list. Whether you are in the perfect relationship, in love with another girl, a miserable bachelor or anything in between, Vacon has managed to write a song for every level of the love game you might find yourself in. The references to the greats of the past like the Blues Brothers and the Beach Boys, as well as the heartwarming track examining the origins of Vacon’s soul (“Ghosts We’re Buried On”), result in the album feeling incredibly familiar and the band feeling like your lifelong friends.

Even though not enough praise could be given to Vacon, the rest of the band is worthy of equal amounts, if not more. Keeping with their self-description of their music: “the album you should have put on for your all night kegger bbq party”, The Dudes as a whole have crafted some seriously beautifully sounding guitar tones and too many catchy guitar hooks to count on the fingers of a single person. When combined with the perfect blend of simple, rhythmic patterns and more intricate stylings by drummer Scott Ross, the music of Blood, Guts, Bruises, Cuts is the perfect accompaniment to Vacon’s tales of lost or unattainable love.

To borrow a phrase form Mike Bell of the Calgary Herald, the guitar solo on “Mr Somebody Else” is one “that would slay Rivers Cuomo” and is placed as the outro of the best song on the album and one on par with the pop gems from previous Dude’s release Brain Heart Guitar. Addressed to the lucky boyfriend of a girl who is “that unreal”, “Mr Somebody Else” is Vacon’s attempt at replacing his own girlfriend with a girl who gives “loving that I bet is better than I get”. Backed by some of the catchiest riffs on the album, perfectly placed background vocals and of course, the aforementioned solo, “Mr Somebody Else” is almost the unrivaled contender for highlight of the album.

While there are absolutely no bad songs on the album (not even close), “Connected” is the only other one that attempts to rival “Mr Somebody Else”. Coming off as an autobiographical song of sorts, “Connected” could be the anthem for any middle aged musician struggling with the issues surrounding aging. Together with the catchy as hell guitar riffs and sped-up outro to keep things interesting, the many parts of “Connected” come together to create a pretty rippin’ song.

Unfortunately, like many of the greatest bands, The Dudes are placed in the bittersweet situation of having to surpass the quality of their landmark album. In the case of the Dudes, the fact that their last album, Brain Heart Guitar, has been doused so much acclaim from critics, colleagues and friends alike combined with the simple truth that it has become a piece of pure nostalgia in my mind has propelled that albums to a position unattainable by any subsequent releases. However good Blood, Guts, Bruises, Cuts may be (and damn, is it ever good), it can never surpass Brain Heart Guitar in my eyes simply because of the memories I have that are associated with that album and the thirteen perfect rock/pop songs that occupy it.

A tragedy really, because the fourteen beautiful tracks that are Blood, Guts, Bruises, Cuts deserve to be held in the same regard as those that preceded them. Similarly constructed, equally as catchy and as much fun and careless as they are thought provoking and inspiring, the songs of Blood, Guts, Bruises, Cuts are written straight from the heart and succeed in their attempt to jostle yours from its slumber.

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Review Updates

06/05/2009

A large batch of my In Your Speakers reviews have been published recently. Check em out:

OK BearJeremy Engik – OK Bear

RelapseEminem – Relapse

FasterDept of Energy – Faster

Tragic Boogie

The Life and Times – Tragic Boogie

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The Decemberists – The Hazards of Love

03/27/2009

hazards-of-love

Got my signed Hazards LP in the mail this morning. My In Your Speakers editor also decided to post my review of the album today, give it a read.

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From Monument to Masses – On Little Known Frequencies

03/10/2009

on-little-known-frequencies

Yet another review posted at In Your Speakers. Any post-rock fans should not miss From Monument to Masses’ latest album On Little Known Frequencies.

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Point Juncture, WA – Heart to Elk

03/04/2009

heart-to-elk

Another one of my reviews has been published at In Your Speakers. This time, it is Point Juncture, WA’s Heart to Elk. Pretty damn good album.

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Clem Snide – Hungry Bird

03/02/2009

hungry-bird

My review of Clem Snide’s Hungry Bird has been published at In Your Speakers. Check it out.

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The Appleseed Cast – Sagarmatha

02/20/2009

sagarmatha

My review of The Appleseed Cast’s latest album, Sagarmatha is now up on In Your Speakers.