michael wright
ben tang

the email poster

back to lastdayofsummer.com


past contributors:
brian keuski
shawn heacock
ryan dey

write for last day of summer


guestbook: view/sign
help the site:


(reviewed by the email poster unless otherwise noted)
In Your Honor - The Foo Fighters. The story goes that Dave Grohl wanted to undertake a side-project, and release an acoustic album as the soundtrack to a movie. Somewhere along the way, the plan changed, and so the double album In Your Honour was spawned, one side a “typically loud” Foo Fighters record, and the second disc a more mellow acoustic offering. The first track on disc one seems to me to be something of an overly long introduction, and didn’t leave me with a good first impression. However, once you get past this drawn out beginning, the album really begins to soar. It seems like the Foos are back at their bittersweet best, and I found myself with an album that I just want to listen to over and over again. You can’t do this yet though, as there is a ‘by this point much anticipated’ second disc to treat yourself to. The only problem is, I didn’t think it was that great. A couple of the tracks, Miracle and Cold Day In The Sun bear repeated listening, but as you plod through, see if you don’t really just wish you were listening to the loud cd. It’s OK, and worth it as a bonus disc, but I don’t think they took the opportunity to show us what they are capable of musically. Worth it for the first half alone though.

Favourite Song: Best of You
In Between Dreams - Jack Johnson. If I had to indulge in the cliché of choosing records to take to a desert island, this album would be a high priority. Jack Johnson’s music has the ability to whisk the listener away to any palm-covered beach that our imaginations can desire; as such it would seem as comfortable as being at home one April evening as the rain hammers on your window. Johnson started out playing music over surfing videos he had created, then decided to concentrate on the music itself. His songs come in a form that tell you straight away he has lived the songs - his melodies swirl around you like an imaginary breeze, while his music sways and rustles like the trees you feel are surrounding you. I can already hear the carefree “Banana Pancakes” being played ad nauseum as we welcome the sun, maybe for a few minutes we can all just “pretend like it’s the weekend”. As Johnson suggests on “Breakdown”, maybe we just need a little time to stop and enjoy where we are. I can barely help ignoring his advice as I picture myself watching the sun descend over the horizon, the waves lapping at the shore, as the afternoon fades into a starlit night.

Favourite Song: Breakdown

A Worm's Life - Crash Test Dummies. Let's get one thing straight, the Crash Test Dummies don't "rock". At least not in the conventional sense, that is. Having been somewhat captivated by their best-known and previous record "God Shuffled His Feet", I decided to try out one or two recordings from the rest of their collection. In "A Worm's Life", there remains the same melancholic feelings with a bizarre twist of black humour that originally attracted me to the band, but I have to say that the tunes just aren't as catchy. And yet the songs still manage to drag you into the world of Brad Roberts, to experience his pain with his soothing baritone voice ever present to wrap you up and make the experience more comfortable. There is also reflection on everyday events that really have no deep meaning, such as those described in “Our Driver Gestures”, a tale of meaningless non-anecdotes about advice offered by what I assume is a previous tour driver with a healthy amount of local knowledge. However, listening is more of an uplifting occurrence than a depressing one as Roberts often manages to shrug off his unfortunate thoughts by looking on the bright side “And if I try hard I think that I will see some good behind all of this ugly”. It’s like a light at the end of the tunnel for those of us who all too often tread on the black squares in life.

Favourite Song: An Old Scab
Overall Rating: 7/10
American Idiot - Green Day. Well, I’ve got to admit, the first time I saw this I thought it was going to be just another whinge at the supposed terrible state of affairs in America.
  There’s nothing wrong with that really, punk music is supposed to be about things like that, but I’m just growing a little tired of it now. It was then something of a relief that after sounding incredibly like a Bad Religion song at times, there is a bit more to this album. It really seems to be centered around the two 9 minute, 5 part songs “Jesus of Suburbia” and “Homecoming”, with numerous references being made to them in other songs. I haven’t quite established what these songs are supposed to mean yet, but that could be either because I haven’t bothered looking into it, or I find it difficult to pay full attention for such a long time. They’re not bad songs, and each “part” has differing beats and rhythms, but they just aren’t easy listening. There are however more slow tempo songs here that have received a bit more attention at the production stage such as “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”, which is a refreshing change and in my opinion works quite well on this album. There are sufficient “standard” Green Day songs on there to keep fans interested, but I think a lot of thought has gone into this album, and we are supposed to know it.

Favourite Song: Wake Me Up When September Ends
Overall Rating: 7/10

Lit - Lit. Well, it seems like the summer’s finally arrived, and what better soundtrack than a new Lit album. Those who sat through endless teen movies will no doubt be familiar with the infectious power-pop output of the California quartet, but as the first song pounded from the speakers I couldn’t help but notice a slightly heavier, darker tone more reminiscent of their first record “Tripping the Light Fantastic”. There are sufficient catchy riffs, clever lyrics and hooklines to keep most fans interested, but other than the odd “bouncy” interlude, as the album progressed I noticed an overall tendency towards the darker sound. “Times Like These” seemed to stand out in particular; “It’s times like these I need a friend…” but that may just have been that the two previous songs were somewhat upbeat. Maybe the almost pitch black cover is a clue to its content. It’s not that they don’t do it well, or that I think they should continue with the old until it becomes tired, but I think this album fails to give off the energy of its predecessors and Lit’s live performances – it just didn’t live up to my expectations.

Favourite Track: Hard to Find
Overall Rating: 6/10

Love Is Hell - Ryan Adams. His record company said that this collection of songs would not be suitable for a commercial release, but after two successful EPs here it is in all its glory. Having enjoyed Love is Hell Pt 2 (lent to me by a friend) I found out about the full length and got it straight away, gambling on enjoying the other songs. The gamble paid off big time. On first listen through my Discman, I thought it was a little bit moody/gloomy, not really my sort of thing. I got it home to listen to it properly on a hi-fi, and Adams’ talent blew me away. I think it must be the amount of reverb (echo) used that gives all of these songs a misty, rich, almost haunting ambience – the cover of Oasis’ Wonderwall in particular, but it’s far from a slow tempo, constant whine. The title track, for example, shows more of a sense of enjoying the complicated nature of love than hating the world for it "I could be serious, but I am just kidding around, I could be anything, Nothing, Whatever oh well". The songs are all fairly simple in terms of arrangements and production, and I think that this is where the key to their beauty lies. If you can take the time to sit down and listen to this album without distraction, it’s incredibly rewarding. To treat it as wallpaper music would not do this artist, or your money, justice.

Favourite Track: Anybody Wanna Take Me Home
Overall Rating: 8.5/10