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Andrew Vice RSS Feed (Plano, TX)

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Monin Pure Cane Sugar Syrup, 750 Ml
Monin Pure Cane Sugar Syrup, 750 Ml
Offered by Charlie Bean Company
Price: $15.80
4 used & new from $6.87

5 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Save yourself some money, June 5, 2012
Save yourself $10 and make this at home. You can make your own syrup by combining two parts (i.e. 2 cups) table sugar to one part (i.e. 1 cup) fresh water and boiling in a pot on the stove for a couple minutes. This will keep in the fridge FOREVER. If it crystallizes just reheat to dissolve. Any higher sugar-to-water ratio will likely crystallize too easily, and less will dilute your drinks/recipes.

Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
Price: $14.88
46 used & new from $9.50

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming, October 18, 2011
In creating "Hurry Up, We're Dreaming," Anthony Gonzalez most certainly swung for the bleachers. Unafraid of a potential whiff, Gonzalez stuffed the record with everything he could dream up, and in so-doing created a record most comparable with other double "everything but the kitchen sink" albums like the White Album, the Wall, and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. In sequencing the album, Gonzalez is largely successful, never generating a feeling that the record could have drastically benefitted from a more serious editing eye.

Ultimately, what you hear on this record is the influence of the '80s. Gonzalez has always pulled his emotional direction from the bubblegum neon lights of classic teen films like the Breakfast Club, but on this record his sounds are far more diverse, bringing back his long love for shoegaze but pairing it with the tribal sounds of Peter Gabriel's best work and a pop sensibility worthy of the decade's greatest hooks.

Glowing reviews from the blogosphere will certainly bring in a number of new fans, and with the diversity and creativity on display, anybody should be able to find something to like about M83's latest. As with most double albums, the record tends to fade a bit towards the end, with some of the best tracks padding out the very beginning. "Intro" features a stellar vocal take from Zola Jesus, who brings a yearning and depth that is sometimes missing from Gonzalez's thinner voice. Lead single "Midnight City" is a stellar jam and sure to fall on virtually every year-end best list, and it really nails home the explosive aesthetic of the album.

Though none of the tracks on this album really stand out to me in the way that "Kim & Jessie" or "Graveyard Girl" did on Saturdays = Youth, this record stands as the more consistent of the two. My biggest gripe falls more on the technical aspect of this record: clocking in at around 70 minutes, this album hardly calls for a 2 CD release that will require people to switch out CDs in their car or home stereo to listen to the entire record.

On the Water
On the Water
Price: $12.99
37 used & new from $10.64

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Future Islands - On The Water, October 11, 2011
This review is from: On the Water (Audio CD)
Let me preface this review by saying that 2010's "In Evening Air" was my favorite album of the year, so naturally I came into "On The Water" expecting something really exceptional. Fortunately for myself and all Future Islands fans, the band has delivered on high expectations and created an album that may have even more to offer than their exceptional 2010 breakout record.

"In Evening Air" was a sprawling and propulsive breakup jam, spilling over with hurt and visceral energy that belied the simplicity of lead singer Sam Herring's pain. As a man betrayed, Herring ran the gamut of negative emotion on that album, but there was no transformation: he finished that album as bleak as he started it, the buoying synths no match for his howl. "On The Water" is the aftermath, the realization that you can't stay hurt forever, and that "if you want it to heal/it just takes time."

"On The Water" is a fairly small stylistic step forward for the band. The arrangements have been fleshed out with more instrumentation, including strings, live drums, and some very edgy guitars. These new instruments add some additional depth to the mixes, but the core of their music remains the watery synthesizers and driving, high-register bass. For songwriting, the band is in top-form, putting together arrangements with more depth than the simplistic verse-chorus structures of "In Evening Air." The emotional expressions in Herring's lyrics are also in peak form, with Herring taking on more the role of poet than lyricist. One of my favorite verses goes as follows: "We set out to find something to hold/when seeking truth the answer is the road/when seeking wisdom the journey is your home/fight through the wind, fight through the rain, fight through the cold." Herring has a penchant for symbolism and metaphor on this record in place of the heart-wrenching honesty of "In Evening Air"s songs.

One of the few complaints I have with this album is that I feel in a few places they fail to flesh out a song to its full potential. The greatest example of this is on the fifth track "Where I Found You." Throughout the song, the band continues to layer in additional instrumentation, first with the addition of a slinking bass followed by a very tight, punchy drum, but just when you think the song is going to erupt into a gorgeous cacophony, it simply keeps flowing in place until a fade-out at the 6-minute mark. For me, this song is the most disappointing moment on the record, if only because I feel like this could have been their greatest song if it had been built up to the rafters and blown apart.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 6, 2011 12:24 PM PST

Offered by SONY Music Entertainment Downloads LLC.
Price: $7.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cults - Cults, June 27, 2011
This review is from: Cults (MP3 Music)
Fun, noisy, raucous. Cults are in your face, but they do it politely because they want to be loved. Sounding like a noise pop take on the Jackson 5, they mine the emotional space of classic Phil Spector, right down to the `girl group' ooh's and aah's. Front woman Madeline Follin's vocals are mixed aggressively, sounding as if they're ready to break apart at a moment's notice, but never quite finishing the push, which gives the songs an urgent, immediate presence. Standout gems such as "Go Outside" and "Oh My God" demonstrate serious songwriting prowess, but the record is a bit of a mixed bag, and there are certainly some more forgettable tracks here and there. Instrumentally, the album lives within the conventional indie pop sound, built with guitars, synths, bass, and drums. While not the most original set of sounds you can get, the band use them well to create songs that are catchy, fun, and ultimately, unassuming. The perfect album for a pool party, Cults will be getting a lot of love this summer.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 23, 2011 9:05 AM PDT

Bon Iver
Bon Iver
Price: $9.99
77 used & new from $3.90

127 of 140 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bon Iver - Bon Iver, Bon Iver, June 27, 2011
This review is from: Bon Iver (Audio CD)
Well damn, this is a changeup. Vernon has taken a huge (and very ballsy) step in releasing this record under the same name as 2008's brilliant For Emma, Forever Ago, which is more or less the polar opposite of this year's self-titled record. Where For Emma was a hushed set of crystalline dirges, Bon Iver is absolutely exploding with sounds and instrumentation and ideas. For Emma was the sound of a man and his guitar, pouring out his heart and purging the demons that haunt him, but Bon Iver is the logical follow-up: the purge was successful and now Vernon has a fresh heart and soul to express more than just the idea of pain and hurt. I get why For Emma fans are not necessarily huge fans of this record, but just as Burst Apart was the logical step forward from Hospice, so too is Bon Iver the progression from the cocoon of For Emma. You absolutely have to come into this record with an open mind and not expect for it to sound like For Emma, but if you can do that, you'll find Vernon's aggressive use of instrumentation and melody to be compelling and, ultimately, stellar. On Bon Iver, Vernon has shown us that he can do far more than make us cry, and he does it all so well it's almost hard to believe.
Comment Comments (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 8, 2014 7:01 AM PDT

It's All True
It's All True
Price: $10.99
38 used & new from $2.83

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Junior Boys - It's All True, June 27, 2011
This review is from: It's All True (Audio CD)
I'm convinced that there is not a band cooler and more calculated than Junior Boys. Channeling and synthesizing decades of electronic music and pop, they craft pitch-perfect dance pop songs and do it all while sounding like they could care less about dancing. With each record, the Boys have continued to hone their style and perfect their perfection, and on It's All True, they're firing on all cylinders and once again making immaculate pop music. Taking a darker turn than 2009's poppy Begone Dull Care, tracks like "Playtime" slink and coo while building up to a rich and full emotional climax. On other places, the rich synthesizer textures of the epic closer "Banana Ripple" show the band transitioning through moods and styles within a single nine minute track. The synthesizers on It's All True and round and full, and every track feels bursting at the seams with textures and ideas. Jeremy Greenspan's voice is as evocative and beautiful as always, and he's using it with the confidence of someone that has been recording for almost a decade. The hooks are excellent on every track, allowing the songs to really build and work their way into your brain. As a carefully constructed album, It's All True doesn't give up the goods all at once, but as you listen to it, it gets stronger and stronger until the full impact hits you and you find yourself unable to sit still.

Forever Today
Forever Today
Price: $12.99
49 used & new from $0.46

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm From Barcelona - Forever Today, June 27, 2011
This review is from: Forever Today (Audio CD)
I'm From Barcelona is a twee pop group hailing from Sweden and consisting of, at times, 29 members. Despite the critical sound-bite, the band seldom sounds like 29 people playing in a room together, but rather their music typically showcases a focused but ebullient pop style. They fill their songs with the sounds of strings and horns and woodwinds, but at the heart of every song is a catchy pop hook and wistful lyrical musings. I'm From Barcelona write music to be young or young-at-heart to, which is probably part of the reason they've had a falling out with critics. There's nothing worse for critical reception in the music world than staying the same, and I'm From Barcelona have staunchly refused to change their sound in the face of more aggressive and experimental sounds from upcoming groups like Cults and Tennis, who share some of that twee space with the band.

On Forever Today, I'm From Barcelona stay well within their comfort zone, putting together a collection of catchy pop songs that will virtually never surprise, but will also likely please from start to finish. Certainly not an adventurous album, Forever Today is a comfortable record, like a warm wool sweater on a cold Swedish winter day. Lyrically, the front man Lundgren is feeling referential, with tracks like "Charlie Parker" and (potentially) "Can See Miles" referencing the jazz greats. On "Dr. Landy," Lundgren sings from the perspective of Brian Wilson, struggling with the challenge of one-upping the Beatles' Rubber Soul. Though Lundgren doesn't have much of great emotional truth to say, his lyrics are honest and straightforward, and they fit the music well, making for what is ultimately an enjoyable pop record.

Pala(Friendly Fires)
Pala(Friendly Fires)
Price: $10.99
34 used & new from $3.33

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Friendly Fires - Pala, May 26, 2011
This review is from: Pala(Friendly Fires) (Audio CD)
Friendly Fires is a electronic dance rock band from cloudy old England, but you wouldn't know it from the way they shake their asses. Indeed, they have far more in common with dance pop contemporaries like Cut Copy than their regional fellows such as the Big Pink. Like Cut Copy's brilliant "Zonoscope" or Passion Pit's "Manners," "Pala" explores dance pop and rock with a strong tropical vibe, hearkened to by the saturated cover art, but they do so without the art and intrigue that Cut Copy are known for or the immediate pop satisfaction that Passion Pit provides. "Pala" is a decidedly "dance" album, and wisely so, as the band sticks to doing what it did best on their self-titled debut: big hooks, memorable beats, and unassuming summer-fun lyrics. There is not a lot to get lost in with this record, but there is a lot to hear, with every track completely bursting with sound and texture from scratchy, bright guitars, vintage synths, and echoing drum hits. "Pala" plays in very familiar territory for Friendly Fires, but it's fun territory and exactly the kind of music we need as we head into a long hot summer full of beer, sangria, and pool parties. Spin this record and people will a) dance and b) want to know where they can pick it up, and for a band like Friendly Fires, there is no greater compliment.

Burst Apart
Burst Apart
Price: $10.79
32 used & new from $4.97

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Antlers - Burst Apart, May 10, 2011
This review is from: Burst Apart (Audio CD)
I don't envy the Antlers the position they are in to follow up 2009's landmark Hospice. Coming completely out of left field, Hospice was a brilliantly orchestrated album about the literal and figurative death of a relationship, chronicalling the abuse, the isolation, and the small glimmers of hope in between the sorrow. The risk of cliche in discussing follow-up Burst Apart is immense: "it isn't as good as Hospice," "it sounds like Radiohead," or "it's even better than Hospice." The reality for me is that two of these ring fairly true.

Burst Apart mines some of the same emotional space as Hospice, but it pushes past the pervasive sorrow of that album and trends into warmer waters. Opener "I Don't Want Love" is a lush, looping pop gem whose warm sounds bely the cold message. Elsewhere, living up to the Radiohead comparisons, "Parantheses" and "Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out" work within some of that band's atonal pop universe, pairing chiming guitars with breathy falsetto for a sort of patented sound. Burst Apart is ten very solid songs with some strange pacing. The jump from "Parantheses" to "No Widows" is jarring and poorly conceived, given the flawless listing and pacing of Hospice.

All in all, Burst Apart is a very solid effort from a band struggling to live up to the massive hype generated by its breakout album, and it is largely successful at meeting the expectations of a hungry fanbase. Not every that loved Hospice will love this record, but many more that didn't dig Hospice all that hard should be heavy into Burst Apart.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 16, 2011 8:11 PM PDT

Nine Types Of Light
Nine Types Of Light
Price: $11.99
63 used & new from $2.70

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TV On The Radio - Nine Types of Light, April 12, 2011
This review is from: Nine Types Of Light (Audio CD)
TV On The Radio is a band that has consistently captured the universal ennui of the American people, a mix of confusion, doubt, and hopefulness. Each record has been an exploration on the themes of being an American losing faith in "America," and often an exploration of what it means to be human and to desperately try to have faith in humanity. On their fourth official LP, TV On The Radio seem to have finally found some things to be happy about. Where their previous work was punctuated by an urgent sense of paranoia, fear, and distrust, Nine Types of Light seems to find the band in a more relaxed state of mind, putting out a refreshingly upbeat set of songs. Following in the vein of the great love songs on Dear Science, Nine Types is heavily groovy, full of sexy falsetto chorus', brass jams, and slinky bass. Certainly more accessible than their denser back catalogue, Nine Types is a fun and funky outing, but it lacks some of the depth and experimentation of the more obtuse Return to Cookie Mountain. Ultimately, TV On The Radio have put together an incredibly solid set of songs here, with highlights including the impossibly catchy opener, "Second Song," the dark and undulating "Will Do," and the blown out, melodic jam of "Caffeinated Consciousness." Bottom line is this is another great record from the indie funk pioneers, and certain to please fans.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 6, 2013 12:20 PM PST

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