Friday, April 24, 2009

The Thermals Got It Right

While The Thermals's third album, The Body, the Blood, the Machine, condemned listeners to Hell with its Christian-fascist theme, Now We Can See promises them nirvana, or at least some sort of hope. The Thermals's fourth full-length, Now We Can See, was released on April 4th, introducing more rollicking sing-alongs into the band's discography. With an overall joyous sound, despite the occasionally somber subject matter, The Thermals now tackle the topics of life, death, and the acceptance of life and death. With lyrics such as "We were high! We were alive! We were sick!" being joyfully yelled on the album's second track, you can kind of get a sense of the optimistic, glass-half full message Now We Can See is moralizing. The signature sound of lead singer, Hutch Harris's distinctive shouts and the charged guitar Kathy Foster wields to assail listeners with wild riffs also contribute toward the creation of an album the band says is "totally post-power-pop." Surprisingly, this information only proved to me that The Thermals's latest is very similar to their last album, The Body, the Blood, the Machine. Without the "locust tornadoes, crosses, and Nazi halos" and other prophecies of doom that is. 

The few differences between Now We Can See and past albums are that it is less punk, more uplifting, and contains "At the Bottom of the Sea," a nearly six minute track that turns out to be the only pacifying song by The Thermals I have ever heard. This definitely does not help make their latest release the greatest or most distinctive album to date, but I am not sure whether or not I criticize or encourage that fact. Now We Can See is perfect for Thermals fans who have enjoyed the last albums, but it merely gives them thirteen brand new songs that sound strangely familiar. I enjoy this raucous band's catchy tunes but I am drawing the line after this record. No more of the same after this, Thermals...

Nevertheless, I do commend the band for proving that consistently good music will trump the competition. This is a refreshing thought, considering the fact that the latest fads in the music industry, including synthesizers and lo-fi production, are being adopted by many bands and usually are not improving their music. The Thermals, with their new album Now We Can See, taught me that bands do not always need new tricks up their sleeves to keep the music entertaining.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Such A Tease

Pixies fans were ecstatic when they opened the alt rock band's home page earlier this month. When they viewed the web site, they were greeted by what appeared to be cover art for an album entitled Minotaur. Blogs and fans were quick to speculate that Minotaur is the Boston band's brand new album. Instead, it is merely a $175 box set containing the four Pixies albums, the EP, expanded artwork, a DVD of a 1991 concert, all of the band's music videos and a book. Although this is fantastic for hard-core Pixies fans, I am more than slightly disappointed. I do not want memorabilia, I want a new album!

Bombay Bicycle Club, a catchy indie rock band from Crouch End, London, also decided to lead me on when I learned that their latest EP, Always Like This, was released on April 13th... in the UK. 

I am fed up with these Brits withholding music from me. I love them to death, but they have to stop torturing me like this. There are so many fantastic bands across the pond I cannot listen to, and even if I were able to hear them, I would have to wait at least a day to be able to because albums in the UK usually drop earlier than in the US. If I were British I could have these advantages... and Now That's What I Call Music! 72. How incredible is that?

Nonetheless, I am excited for the debut of I Had the Blues But I Shook Them Loose, Bombay Bicycle Club's first album scheduled to release on July 6th. I just hope that I will not have to wait long for the album to reach the East Coast.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Captain Planet Approved

Today is Earth Day, so go out into the gorgeous, green world and recycle, plant a tree, smell the flowers, take a walk, sunbathe, sing in the rain, or do anything else that will show your appreciation for the planet. And why don't you listen to these eco-friendly tunes while you celebrate?

Mother Nature's Son - The Beatles
That kid is such a hippie.

Filthy Water - Fruit Bats
This song was a collaboration with Panda Bear, Pedro the Lion and other Super Furry Animals, proving that the Animal Collective cares about the earth much more than The Human League. Hehe.

A Collection of Poems About Water - of Montreal
Or "A Collection of Rain Dance Incantations." Just listen to the lyrics.

Look into the Air - Explosions In The Sky
This song was meant to be listened to while stargazing.

Here Comes The Sun - The Beatles
Brightening your day every Earth Day.

Monday, April 20, 2009


Since I am a slave to social networking you can now follow BONA FIDE on Twitter. There will be many updates concerning BONA FIDE WITH HEADPHONES and you can now read the profound thoughts of yours truly. Well, they are not always profound but they will surely entertain.

Happy 4/20 everybody! Although I am not taking part in the festivities, I respect any day that revels in good times with friends and I am celebrating my own way with some dope tracks and stoner classics. Join me and "Hold It Now, Hit It" with Beastie Boys, get high like planes alongside M.I.A. and let Hendrix surround you in a "Purple Haze." I also recommend grabbing your favorite munchies and watching GrassPineapple Express, Dazed and ConfusedHalf Baked or Cheech and Chong's Up in Smoke. Or some of this trippy goodness. No matter what you decide to do during this counterculture holiday, today is the day to turn on, tune in and drop out. 

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Cold War Kids Heat Up Terminal 5

There was a click, and suddenly a studio light placed in the far corner of the stage switched on, momentarily blinding the crowd. The golden glow poorly lit the venue, but revealed four silhouettes walking toward the simple set-up of instruments scattered about. The crowd, once humming with the dull murmur of conversation, erupted into yells and cheers. Then one of the figures stepped toward the microphone. Lead singer Nathan Willett grabbed the mike and began to sing, signaling the beginning of the Cold War Kids show.

On April 3rd, California quartet Cold War Kids took over Terminal 5. Entertaining the throng of young adults with songs from both Robbers & Cowards, the band’s debut album preferred by the audience, and their sophomore album, Loyalty to Loyalty, Cold War Kids’s bluesy rock music kept the crowd in high spirits. After a performance from the energetic opening band, Amazing Baby, Cold War Kids took the stage and remained silhouettes in front of multiple stage lights, while they changed the atmosphere from restlessness to excitement. The combination of Willett’s unique crooning voice, drummer Matt Aveiro's solid percussion and the occasional tinkling, or battering, of piano keys had every person in the crowd singing along to every song, even if they did not know the words. People swayed and nodded their heads to the throbbing beat of songs such as “I’ve Seen Enough” and “Hospital Beds” and danced and sang even louder to the upbeat tracks, with somber lyrics, “Hang Me Up To Dry” and “Something Is Not Right With Me.”

Catchy choruses were not the only things that made Cold War Kids at Terminal 5 a great show to attend. The union of what seemed to be all of the voices in the crowd made the experience even more enjoyable. The crowd slowly became louder and louder as the night went on, with everyone’s voices forming a musical harmony that overpowered Cold War Kids themselves at least once.

The night ended quietly. There was an encore but it was not extravagant and the last song did not inspire more dancing. The band simply thanked the crowd and exited the stage, leaving their fans content with Cold War Kids’s music stuck in their heads.