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All the Stars and Boulevards

58 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 6, 2005
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All the Stars and Boulevards + Can't Love, Can't Hurt + Augustana
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Sometimes a young band comes along, perhaps they haven't even been a band that long, and they just have it. Augustana, a brand-new four piece, are one of those bands. Fronted by a charismatic, deeply thoughtful songwriter with a powerfully expressive voice and effortlessly backed by natural musicians, Augustana is taking the rock music scene by force. This is their much-anticipated major label debut that includes 11 amazing tracks including the smashing single 'Stars And Boulevards'. Epic. 2005.

Amazon.com

Augustana's finely burnished debut again points up the contrast between contemporary American rock's persistent navel-gazing and the vibrant, back-to-the-future vibe of resurgent Britpop. The angst-ridden lyrical pleas of mainstay Dan Layus are often informed by the band's restless westward travels from its Midwestern roots on tracks like the spare "Roosevelt" and lush, mid-tempo gem of a ballad, "Boston." Yet one can almost count the modern rock influences on the album's opening wall-of-guitar conceits, "Mayfield" and "Bullets," and elsewhere, the likely residue of Train and Wallflowers producer Brendan O'Brien's aggressive studio slickery. It's to Layus' and the band's credit that the album's best moments are usually its most emotionally and musically direct, as witnessed by the moody title track, "Boston" and folk-tinged closer, "Coffee and Cigarettes." The soaring drama of "California Burning" throws all those elements firmly against the wall and damned near makes ‘em stick, ample evidence that the band has the potential to rise above the comfortably safe familiarity that sometimes seems to constrain them here. --Jerry McCulley


Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 6, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Epic / Sony BMG Music Entertainment
  • ASIN: B000AA300M
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,724 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By D. Doughty on December 6, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Let me first qualify this review by saying that I am the proud owner of over 1500 CDs and am also a 5-instrument musician, so music has been a staple in my life for almost 25 years.

This is one of those rare CDs that you can hit play and just "let it ride". I haven't heard anyone capture that middle America vibe like this since Counting Crows debut ("Omaha" comes to mind) or the "Recovering the Satellites" album ("Have You Seen Me Lately?" and others). They take this vibe, meld it with solid arrangements, clean-as-a-whistle production (courtesy of Brendan O'Brien), and themes of hopeFULness over hopeLESSness. On top of that, I hung out with these guys in October when they opened for Our Lady Peace in St Pete, FL and Jared and Dan are very cool guys (with GREAT musical taste, by the way...all hail Oasis). Do yourself a favor, buy the CD, pop it in, and LET IT PLAY. Don't just get hung up on listening to "Stars" or "Boston", though they are both great tunes. Search deeper and you'll likely be thrilled at what you find.

By the way, the ONLY reason I held back a star is because I'm saving the 5-star rating for the follow-up. Here's betting they'll avoid that sophomore album slump that unravels so many great bands.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Brandan Madson on August 8, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I heard "Boston" long before it became popular. Honestly, if I hadn't listened to it on XM radio, I wouldn't have known who performed it, and would never have found Augustana when I did. I got the CD shortly after, but didn't really listen to it (I admit, I was sort of caught up in listening to "The Fray.") But I soon came around to taking a good listen to this CD, and let me tell you, it is awesome! There is not a single song that sounds like another, yet it all sounds warmly familiar. Great CD! Go buy it! You won't be sorry.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Damian Gunn on January 15, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Like James Blunt and Corrine Bailey Rae, I stumbled on Augustana thanks to a `check these guys out' spot on VH1 and had to immediately grab their album and give them a listen. Like the aforementioned, I was pleasantly rewarded upon tearing off the protective plastic and sliding this shiny disc into my car stereo. I'm a sucker for dramatic rock, the ballads with heart and soul that give me shivers and place me on the verge of tears, so it's safe to say that upon hearing `Boston' I was immediately smitten with this band, for with the piano work and soft lyrics it serves as one of the most powerful ballads I've heard in a long time, evoking emotions in me that only music can find and expose.

Along the lines of `Boston' is the equally impressive `Sunday Best' which mixes melodic music with soft and subtle lyrics that draw you in and stay with you. Songs like `Lonely People' and `Bullets' have that straight rock feeling that will get you moving and are perfect for in-car sing-a-longs. But, like I always say, a true testament to an albums worth is found in the strength of the opening and closing track, and this album both opens and closes very strong. Starting with `Mayfield', which showcases not only the soft and delicate side but also the catchy side of this band, and then closing with the Beatlesesque `Coffee & Cigarettes', which reminds me of Finger Elevens `One Thing', Augustana delivers track-for-track perfection and proves to be one of the better debut albums released recently.

So, in reply to the question raised in `Mayfield', the question I chose for the title of this review... "Are we gonna make it?"...well, if you turn out music as deep, moving and genuine as this then not only will you make it, but you'll deserve to make it, and that is rarely the case.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By T. R. Freitag on August 5, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I dislike albums where every song sounds just like the last one - this is definitely NOT one of those albums. This album is a true treat for the ears as well as the soul. I heard these guys for the first time as the opening act for The Fray and was so completely impressed by their live performance that I became a fan that very night. This is not my usual MO. The night I saw them Dan claimed to be feeling ill, but he still sounded incredible and put his heart and soul into the perfomance. Their musicality, their energy, and their lyrics are beyond compare. When was the last time you heard a mandolin in your favorite rock song? This album is worth a listen (and a purchase). It is on repeat on my ipod (over and over and over again).
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By oh yes sir on March 1, 2006
Format: Audio CD
One of the best albums of 2005. One of very few albums I've purchased in years that I can play from start to finish, over and over, and never get tired of a single track. The melodies are beautiful, the lyrics are poignant, and the cd is perfect for listening while soaring down the road with the trees flying past. mainly: the cd is loaded with good, solid tracks. if you like Boston and merely want other radio-friendly pop melodies ONLY, then perhaps this cd isn't for you (see an earlier review for reference). But if you're looking for something deeper, more contemplative and soul-searching without being opressive, with soaring guitars and achingly beautiful vocals... then this cd is for you. I highly, highly recommend this album.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Courtney Russell on July 29, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I found Augustana by way of The Fray about 6 months ago and just saw them in concert. They were not the headliners but put on the best performance of the night without a doubt. They performed songs that are not found on their cd but are great and worth a listen. I am already anticipating their next album and I have a ticket to their show in Austin Tuesday night. Buy the album you won't be sorry.
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