Category Archives: Album News

New Music!

Hey guys! Here’s our first round of new music from the CD Review Committee [Caity, Kent, Andrew, Nate (and sometimes Kate)] this semester!


Interesting in being on the CD Review Committee? Email Caity Valley at


Big Harp- White Hat

Mix with: My Morning Jacket, Tallahassee
Andrew says: “Country folk/indie. Guy sings throughout pretty low and liltingly. Some really cool tunes and great guitar work.”

White Hat:


CSS- La Liberaciòn
Mix with: My Morning Jacket, Tallahassee
Andrew says: “Poppy techno-ish, indie/alt. Lots of female vocals. Dry talking parts throughout. Fun and catchy.”

City Grrl:


Etta James- The Dreamer
Mix with: Gary Clark Jr., Aretha Franklin
Andrew says: “Very blues-centered sound. Low female vocals with soul. Some interesting takes on old songs. Her last album before she passed away.”

In The Evening:


Jim Keller- Soul Candy
Mix with: Elvis Costello, Tom Petty
Andrew says: “Deep male vocals, kind of viscous and growly. Makes some nice catchy tunes, nothing too serious.”


Tallahassee- Jealous Hands
Mix with: Big Harp, Fleet Foxes
Andrew says: “Blue grass type indie rock. Some nice textures.”

Winter Trees:

New Music Thursday: New Sigur Rós, Real Estate, Phantogram

New music this week from the WUSO CD Review Committee (Kent, Andrew, Nate, Caity, Joe, and Rory).

Interested in joining the WUSO CD Review Committee? Email Kent at


The track ‘Cardinal Rules’ includes the lines “I’m going downtown/ Springfield, alright!/Oh, tonight.” Like anything alluding to any given Springfield, we’ll just pretend it’s about our own. And we even have a link to a free MP3 of that song from their label for you, too.


No review yet, but Sigur Rós released a new live album, Inni, recorded during a two night London performance by only the original four members, with two free tracks avaliable for download on their web site: Ný Batterí and Festival.


The Dø-Both Ways Open Jaws
Mix with: Moriarty, Cocoon, Asteroids Galaxy Tour, White Rabbits
Nate says: “Really catchy indie’folk album spearheaded by some superb vocals. Some electronic and pop touches thrown in to good effect.”


The Jigsaw Seen
Mix with: XTC, The Kinks, Squeeze
Nate says: “A really fun and original-sounding Christmas/winter-themed album with folk rock and classic rock influences.”


*Joy Kills Sorrow- This Unknown Science*
Mix with: Nickel Creek, Wailin’ Jennys
Caity says: “Combines the virtuoso skill of traditional bluegrass with contemporary songwriting.”

One More Night, live at Halkaer Kro in Aalborg, Denmark:


Last Charge of the Light Horse- Curve
Mix with: Movies with Heros, Dreamers of the Ghetto
Andrew says: “An interesting and very well done mix of low-key dark rock and traditional indie-pop song structure. Very melodic with some great song writing.”


Loney, Dear- Hall Music
Mix with: Patrick Watson, Portugal.The Man
Caity says: “The album is essentially an attempt to communicate love. Harmonious laying of orchestral instrumentation and sentimental synths.”


Pajama Club- Pajama Club
Mix with: MGMT, The xx, Modest Mouse
Caity says: “Low key typical indie pop. Low key vocals and repetitive synth beats with drums with lots of reverb guitar and heavy bass. Very chill, almost psychedelic tunes.”


*Phantogram- Nightlife*
Mix with: Yacht, Cults, Pheonix
Andrew says: “Techno/indie vocals and sound. Lots of catchy rhythms and melodies. Predominately female vocals (girl sings in the duo). Lots of synth and repetitive drums. Would appeal to college kids.”

Make a Fist, studio performance:


*Real Estate- Days*
Mix with: My Morning Jacket, The Shins, Death Cab for Cutie
Andrew says: “Light indie rock, some Shins-like guitar sounds. On the whole fairly catchy stuff.”

It’s Real, studio performance:


*Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin- Tape Club*
Mix with: Kaiser Chiefs, Toyko Police Club, Throw Me The Statue
Andrew says: “High and light male vocals. Many of the songs are classic indie mellow guitars and carefree major melodies. On the whole and interesting band. ”

Cardinal Rules (MP3 download, from their original record label):


9Tomorrows- Gravity in Love
Mix with: Fountains of Wayne
Nate says: “Combines the very best elements of blues, indie rock, and reggae to create an enjoyable record. Plus, the vocals are outstanding.”


*Wishes and Thieves- Lighthouse EP*
Mix with: Phantogram, Phoenix, Jeff Buckley
Andrew says: “Ethereal techno indie. Sultry female vocals. Catchy drum beats and synth sounds over light indie rock guitars.”


Coldplay, “Mylo Xyloto”

"Mylo Xyloto" (Parlophone, 2011)

A week after the release of their fifth studio album, “Mylo Xyloto” (pronounced “MY-lo ZY-letoe”), Coldplay’s official Twitter feed read the following: “Worldwide highest first week iTunes sales ever—of any artist. #1 album in 21 countries so far.” At this point, it would not be an exaggeration to say that Coldplay might just be the biggest band in the world today. And they know it. For better or for worse, this year’s “Mylo Xylolto” sounds exactly like the kind of album that Earth’s most popular band might create.

As a great admirer of Coldplay’s early work on releases like 2000’s “Parachutes” (including international hits like “Yellow,”) or 2002’s “A Rush of Blood to the Head,” with tracks like “Clocks” and “The Scientist,” seeing the bands development through the course of the last decade has been more than a little bit worrying. The band’s third release “X&Y” (2005) began a gradual departure from the personal and intimate, guitar and piano based, slightly rough-around-the-edges alternative rock of their earlier creations, toward more heavily studio-produced, mass market music, in the style of radio friendly hit singles like “Speed of Sound” and “Fix You.”

The massively commercially successful “Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends” from 2008 saw the band adapt “French revolutionary” costumes on their world tour and the album’s single “Viva la Vida” thoroughly monopolized the radio waves all summer long. With “Mylo Xyloto,” the Coldplay boys have arrived, musically, at a strikingly different place than when they were strumming their guitars in little pubs around Liverpool ten years ago. Coldplay’s development over the years has felt as if they were a gang of blue-eyed country boys breaking out of their molds, and small town quiet comfort, running off to see the world. In this way, the band’s albums have subsequently gotten bigger, more expansive and appealing to increasing scores of audiences. With “Mylo Xyloto,” Coldplay has come full circle, reaching the Big City, with no sign of turning back.

Influenced by “old school American graffiti and the White Rose Movement,” as the band itself claims, “Mylo Xyloto” has largely faded the acoustic guitars and piano—which were so prominent in earlier times—to the background, behind layers of synths and drum beats, making it easily Coldplay’s most danceable, club-friendly album. It also presents itself as a concept album, with the album’s lyrics following a love story taking place within the context of a kind of oppressive, Orwellian society, complete with the paranoia and fear of surveillance described in songs like “Major Minus” (“They’ve got one eye watching you/One eye on what you do/So be careful who it is you’re talking to”), and a portrait of youthful naïvité and hopes of a blissful living being crushed in the face of reality, on the single “Paradise” (“When she was just a girl/She expected the world/But it flew away from her reach/And the bullets catch in her teeth.”) The concept album feel is driven home with the inclusion of three under-a-minute instrumental vignettes, in the spirit of classic concept albums like Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” or “The Wall.”

The album opens with the airy and gentle 42-second instrumental title track, launching seamlessly into the soaring and aerodynamic “Hurts Like Heaven,” which has a way of sweeping the listener off her or her feet, serving as a very potent album opener, leading into the more laid back “Paradise” and the hard-hitting and melodic “Peanuts”-inspired “Charlie Brown.” “Us Against the World” is a simple acoustic guitar tune that slows things down, being the first obviously romantic song on the album, furthering the album’s conceptual plot. Brian Eno’s influence (an innovator in ambient electronic music and one the album’s producers) is heard on tracks like the brief “M.M.I.X,” which moves into “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall,” the gradual festival-pleaser, released as a single earlier in the summer.

Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin’s flirtations with hip hop and R’n’B—beginning with Martin contributing vocals to Kanye West’s 2008 single “Homecoming” and continuing with Jay-Z being featured on an EP from the “Viva la Vida” era—have finally resulted in a first date on “Mylo Xyloto.” A definite outlier in Coldplay’s songwriting history, “Princess of China” is a noise-filled, dance-friendly duet featuring Rihanna. If “Mylo Xyloto” is a gritty movie on urban life, “Princess of China” is the turbulent club scene.

A definite standout from “Mylo Xyloto” is the guitar-driven “Major Minor,” harkening back to tracks like “Shiver,” from Coldplay’s earliest albums. Tracks like the acoustic “U.F.O” provide more quiet intermissions between louder songs, while tracks like “Up in Flames” and “Up with the Birds” glean moments from the band’s piano-influenced past.

The lyrics on “Mylo Xyloto” are also worth mentioning. It would almost seem as if Coldplay’s lyrical variety and vocabulary have gotten smaller as their variety of instrumentation has gotten more experimental and diverse. For someone who, in 2002, sang verses like “Come up to meet you/Tell you I’m sorry/You don’t know how lovely you are” in the intensely heartfelt way they appear on the single “The Scientist,” uttering something like “I turn the music up/I got my records on” in the way they are on “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall” just does not seem characteristic of Chris Martin or the rest of the band. It feels less honest, somehow cheaper, less evocative. Whether or not it is simply a reflection of the band’s musical phase at the moment, the words do not seem to be coming from the same place they did on earlier works.

The lyrics on “Mylo Xyloto” range from occasional genuinely thoughtful metaphorical writing, with lines like “Like a river to a raindrop I lost a friend” on “Up with the Birds” to articulations like “Come on baby, don’t let it break your heart.” Or take the opener “Hurts Like Heaven,” with the chorus “You use your heart as a weapon/And it hurts like heaven.” It is, of course, up to the listener to decide whether pop music truly has something to contribute to biblical exegesis, or if Chris Martin simply chose his words for the sake of alliteration and an admittedly catchy chorus sildenafil citrate 100mg.

While Coldplay’s latest offering might come as a disappointment to those expecting a return to their earlier work, “Mylo Xyloto” is far from being a bad album. Although Coldplay have certainly adopted a more mainstream, pop sound—being better suited for radio airplay and dance parties than evenings by candlelight—what they do, they do very well. Even after analyzing the album under a critical microscope, one cannot help but admit that the tunes of “Mylo Xyloto” are endlessly infectious, catchy and fun. And while their lyrical message might not inspire social change, the narrative it weaves is definitely enjoyable, overall making the album a worthy, though markedly different, addition to the Coldplay canon.

(Martin Lukk is a Staff Writer for the The Wittenberg Torch. He can be reached at