Thursday, December 31, 2009

Check Out: Girls "Album"

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    I heard so much buzz about this album that I finally just had to snag it. From several good reviews/rating and lead vocalist Christopher Owens back story, which is an article on its own, I gave it a shot. I'll be honest, my first listen deemed this album that of another overrated indie album. Not to mention its lethargic and beachy feel amongst this current "beach sound" craze (which I have taken quite an interest in as of late, I will say) that gives births to new bands frequently. I just wasn't feeling it, I guess.... But as I gave it one more shot, I found myself enjoying it much more. Of course "Lust for Life", being their golden "hit", springs into action with a pingy guitar and Owens' whiny but oddly enjoyable voice begins the song with, "Oh, I wish I had a boyfriend, I wish I had a loving man in my life". Then the whole band jumps to life with far off drums and shakers. Once "Lust for Life" ends it jumps straight into "Laura", a catchy up-beat yet apologetic song with one of my favorite bass-lines in a song ever. But "Laura" doesn't just offer a dismal story about a girl and a gnarly bassline in the chorus, it finishes off with a, what I'd like to call, "jam", which I am a sucker for (eg: M.Ward).
    Despite, "Big Bad Mean Mother Fucker" a straight up beach-rock song that reminisces the Beach Boys, the rest of the album retains roughly the same sound, but in a good way. However, the highlight (for me that is) of "Album" is "Curl's"/"Darling", a kind of two part song at the very end of the album that holds on to the same melody throughout. "Curls" starts of with a gnarly and very lazy but catchy guitar riff (that I always think of seeing in a western where the camera introduces the "hero" of the movie walking in.....I digress)then fades into a relaxing summer day tune. As "Curls" finishes it transitions into the rockin' "Darling" and continues on to become a suitable and delivering album finisher.
    My only beef with this album is the similarity of songs "Ghost Mouth" and "Hellhole Ratrace". Both are very good and enjoyable songs but sound quite the same. Despite that tiny problem, this is a very good album that definitely deserves the ratings it has achieved. I highly recommend this album to everyone and hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

"Lust For Life"-Free MP3

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Too Roads End Of 2009 Contest Winner(s)

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     That's right! 2 contest winners instead of just one. Why? Well, simply because they were the only 2 who participated. They both will receive a $10 iTunes giftcard courtesy of Too Roads and will be featured with their responses. So, Too Roads would like to thank the two who participated and congratulate you on your win! Keep your eyes open, readers, because there will be many more of these contests and opportunities to win iTunes cards.

The first to respond is Jesse, who has respectfully asked not to display his full name or e-mail, and here is his entry:

Stumbled on your blog via Last.FM and figured I should try for the gift card, and if nothing else, share some good music.

Like you, "Hold Time" by M. Ward is my favorite from 2009. At it's heart, "Hold Time" is still just a singer-songwriter album, but the thing that puts it over the top for me is the way its produced. I love the lead acoustic guitar played over the top and that big drum sound really adds a lot to the otherwise mellow songs. And M. Ward has the way of sounding like his softly screaming. It's hard to explain it. He puts lots of emotion in his voice but it seems as if it rarely goes above a whisper.

Top 5 songs of 09 (I'm limiting this to one per artist):

1) "The Ills" by Mayer Hawthorne
2) "Bricks" by American War
3) "For Beginners" by M. Ward
4) "Nightowl" by Communication Redlight
5) "Two Weeks" by Grizzly Bear (although I really couldn't get into this album but love this song)

I couldn't have agreed with him more. A big thanks to you Jesse and an ever BIGGER thanks for suggesting the incredibly uplifting and catchy song by Mayer Hawthorne, "The Ills".

The second entry comes from Jeremy Stevens, who put in his entry right at the last moment:

Hey, first off - nice blog! It's refreshing to see an Albums Of The Year list without Animal Collective at number 1. I liked your Hospice review too, that's how I found your blog. But anyway:

My favorite album of 2009 is Sound Awake by Karnivool. It's an experimental step forward for them from their debut, and even though it took a while to get used to their new style, it was just amazing once it began to grow on me. It's one of those growing albums that somehow sounds better with each listen.

My top 5 songs of 2009 were (geez this is tough):
Hilltop Hoods - Chase That Feeling
Karnivool - Set Fire To The Hive
Manchester Orchestra - I've Got Friends
Middle East, The - Blood
Phoenix - 1901

And a big thanks to you Jeremy! Really enjoyed the song "Blood" by The Middle East!


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Check Out: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

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    I am very pleased and pretty excited to bring you, Edward Sharpe ad the Magnetic Zeros. Pretty sweet name, huh? Well, check this out.....The name actually derives from a story created by lead vocalist Alex Ebert, the recent frontman of Ima Robot, about a figure who, according to Ebert, Sharpe "was sent down to Earth to kinda heal and save mankind...but he kept getting distracted by girls and falling in love". Ebert eventually met Jade Castrinos, who backs Ebert in vocals as well as shaker and keyboard. Ed and the Zeros are a 10-piece band consisting of many different instruments, and they definitely make it evident in their music. They bring to the table a solid gypsy-folk sound with plenty to indulge in. They recently released their debut LP entitled, "Up From Below", off of Vagrant Records and have gained very positive reviews and exposure since. The album is great and is easily accessible. However, their live performances are, more than likely, what have popularized them. Their shows are care-free and sporadic, with dancing, jumping and just plain ol' fun. So check them out and if you can go see them live. Let me know what you think of them and drop a comment!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Too Roads Contest (update)

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 Time is running out and I've had a couple of E-mails in regards to the contest. If you want the iTunes card you better get on it!

Too Roads End Of 2009 Contest.

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 Want a $10 iTunes gift card?? huh? HUH? Heres what you gotta do to win it!

        As a comment or direct email to me...

-State your favorite album of 2009 and tell WHY it was your favorite.
-State your top 5 favorite songs of 2009
-State your email address (this is not to barrage you with emails all of the time, just to send you the iTunes card code if you win)

Just comment on this post and input all of your information OR send me an email with it all at 

The music does not have to be of any genre just of your taste or interest. So ANY ALBUMS will work, and ANY SONGS will work. Whoever gives the best and most heartfelt reasons why, will win and be featured on TooRoads.

I'm only giving one away.
And its only going for 3 days.
So get ready.....get set..................GO!

In celebration for their upcoming 2nd LP, we have the single "Ambling Alp" from Brooklyn band Yeasayer.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry CHRISTmas!!

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    Just wanted to wish all of you a very merry CHRISTmas and, ya of course, a happy new year. I cant leave you guys hanging though......I do have a Christmas present for all of you, although I'm not sure how many of you will like it. Like Sufjan Stevens??? Like hip-hop, Aesop Rock or Outkast? Well, if you answered yes to one of those, today is your lucky day. If you answered yes to more than one then your in for quite a surprise!!
    A mixer/dj by the name of Tor has mixed songs from some of Sufjans' albums with songs from prominent hip-hop artists like the ones mentioned above. Want to know the best part?? Tor is giving the EP, "Come On Feel the Illinoize", away for free! GET IT HERE! Merry CHRISTmas!!

Top 10 Albums Of 2009

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Well here they are! Click the album picture to read the review.











Thursday, December 24, 2009

#1 M. Ward - "Hold Time

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   I can already imagine some of you shaking your heads or giving the WTF? look. There are a slew of other choices that could have granted themselves this spot, but this album made an impression on me much more than any other album this year. I will never forget that summer night driving home listening to this for the first time. With "Rave On" and "Never Had Nobody Like You" being the only songs I had heard prior, each song instantly hooked me and drove an overwhelming urge to start bobbing my head to the up-beat music. Try it out, seriously, and if the first song "For Beginners" doesn't hook you, then maybe this album isnt for you. BUT, if it does, then you pretty much have a good idea of how the rest of the album plays out.
     Do you have that one song, or any songs for the matter, that just give you the chills? You can't really explain why, but it just does. Well, for me, songs like this are rare and I rather enjoy them for this reason. There are SEVERAL songs on this album that deliver those skin-crawling, chilling moments. For example, at the very end of "Rave On", the Buddy Holly cover, when the band just plays out for about a minute to this immense, arena-sized sounding jam. Or take the song "Stars Of Leo", possibly one of the most solid songs on this album, that starts off with a chill, lazy intro that eventually transitions to one of the most gnarly crescendos I've ever heard.
    I can't tell you the number of times I've listened to this album, from start to finish. Hell, Mr. Ward himself even collabs with Zooey Deschanel and Jason Lytle on a couple of songs. I highly recommend this album and ask, nay, beg you to give this cd a listen. And so there we have it, my #1 album of 2009.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Top 25 Tracks Of 2009

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 Before I reveal my #1 album of 2009, allow me to share my top 25 tracks of 2009. Enjoy! Comment and let me know what you think.

       (In No Particular Order)
  • Generationals - "When They Fight, They Fight"                     
  • Animal Collective - "My Girls"
  • Best Coast -  "When I'm With You"
  • Neon Indian - "Deadbeat Summer"
  • Millionyoung - "Hammock"
  • The Veils - "The Letter"
  • The Antlers - "Bear"
  • The Antlers - "Kettering"
  • Bowerbirds - "Northern Lights"
  • Neko Case - "I'm An Animal"
  • Jack Penate - "Pull My Hear Away"
  • Real Estate - "Snow Days"
  • The Thermals - "Now We Can See"
  • HEALTH - "Die Slow"
  • Acrylics - "All Of The Fire"
  • Big Spider's Back - "Perfect Machine"
  • Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros - "40 Day Dream"
  • Cass McCombs - "Dreams Come True Girl"
  • Part Chimp - "Trad"
  • Fool's Gold - "Nadine"
  • Dead Man's Bones - "Werewolf Heart"
  • Them Crooked Vultures - "Scumbag Blues"
  • No Age - "Your A Target"
  • Atlas Sound and Panda Bear - "Walkabout"
  • Grizzly Bear - "Two Weeks"
And there you have it. Comment and let me know what yours is!

Monday, December 21, 2009

#2 The Antlers "Hospice"

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 Where to begin.....
Let me start by saying that this is probably the most immense and emotionally gripping concept album of 2009, and in my opinion, of all time. With recently added members, The Antlers is basically the project of front-man and, well, creator, Peter Silberman. The album is clear and foggy story-wise, with the story consisting of Silberman's year and a half isolation and introverted behavior after a tragic occurrence. There have been many similar yet varying interpretations of this album. In fact, in a recent interview with, Silberman states, “I don’t want to decide for anyone what it’s about," and so I am going to respect that. However, Silberman leaks, in that same interview, "Basically, what I would say the album is about, I would say this for the sake of anyone who would listen to it, it’s about an experience I had in a very emotionally abusive relationship and the pulling myself out of that, and the effect that it had on my life at the time." So with that in mind, using it in context with the music, The Antlers have created a magnificent and emotionally draining album.  Each and every song are poignant and beautifully created, with crescendos the size of mountains and lyrics that will undoubtedly deliver chills. I must warn you, however, that this album is not a "pick-up-listen-like album", maybe for some, but for most it will take many listens and time to enjoy....."Hundreds of thousands of hospital beds, and all of them empty but mine"............

Saturday, December 19, 2009

#3 Dead Man's Bones

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Although this is at #3, this is probably my favorite discovery of the year. Oscar nominee Ryan Gosling...........yes, RYAN GOSLING (Half Nelson, Notebook, Fracture..etc) and Zach Shields, a friend of Gosling, make up Dead Man's Bones. However, as you can tell with all those other faces accompanying the duo, this is not just a two-man band. In addition, the Silverlake Conservatory of Music choir of kids aging from 5-17, back up and sing right there alongside the duo. Wild, huh? That's what I thought when I first heard about them. But you must admit, its intriguing nonetheless. And I know what your thinking...."Oh gosh, another celebrity-gone-music scenario", because that's EXACTLY what I was thinking too. But allow me to proclaim....this is a damn good album. Gosling's voice reminisces that of old 50's style gospel. The music is goth-like and spooky, and is the perfect album in context with Halloween. But don't be misled, the cd is very accessible outside of Halloween. The music is somewhat sloppy and disheveled, but given the style of music and sound, its perfect. And of course, the choir of kids is the topping of this homemade cake, backing Gosling and Shields adding eeriness to the whole scenario. Definitely looking forward to more stuff from these guys!

Friday, December 18, 2009

#4 Animal Collective "Merriweather Post Pavilion"/"Fall Be Kind EP"

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   Ya, you probably could have could have guessed Animal Collective would wind up on this list, and I will possibly be chastised for not placing them as #1 . But hey? what do you expect? With two of the years best tracks "My Girls" and "What Would I Want? Sky?" you just cant NOT give these guys credit. These guys have stuck to one thing and one thing only: change. Since "Strawberry Jam" dropped, yes, they have seemed to acquire I more noticeable sound, but they still have the ability to incorporate the most bizarre and least expectant things in their music. From the wild didgeridoo in "Lion In A Coma" to the catchy and lovely flute melody in "Graze" these guys seem to make just about anything work. And with harnessed vocals of Panda Bear and Avey Tare swapping back in forth and behind each other, these guys seem to do no wrong. "Am I really all the things that are outside of me...." they ask on "Taste", whatever it is that surround them, lets hope it stays and inspires these guys to dish out more and more and more and more................

Thursday, December 17, 2009

#5 Foreign Born "Person To Person"

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 I am rather excited about this one.... I discovered this San Francisco band through Pitchfork (like many of the bands I've heard of this year) and am very glad I stumbled upon them. I still don't really know what drove me to obtaining this cd....Maybe it was the simple yet kick-ass album-art or the pingy guitar intro of opening song "Blood Oranges". Whatever the stimulus may be, I'm glad it intrigued me enough to snag this album. This is the ultimate summer cd of 2009 and quite possibly of all-time. Each and every song advocate and metaphorically instill a sense of a perfect summer day: driving at 5pm on a long highway with no obligations, while the sun, engulfed in nothing but blue sky, shines directly down on you as you approach you destination. Or even those vacationing nights in some tropical area at night, with all those lights and parties going on at the beach as people relax and laugh with each other..... WHEW! Gives me the chills and makes me super excited for summer haha! But that's just me.....give this cd a listen and see how it appeals to YOU!

Check Out: Millionyoung

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 Just a quick suggestion......Millionyoung

Like It? Get his EP "Sunndreamm" HERE for FREE!! Just click on the giant picture and ENJOY!

#6 Camera Obscura "My Maudlin Career"

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 DUN DUN!...."Spent A Week In A Dusty Library"....DUN DUN!..... "Waiting For Some Words To Jump At Me". So begins the first song on Camera Obscura's, "My Maudlin Career". Dropping earlier this year around April, this cd earned a spot in my cd player on those evening drives as the sun was descending and clouds were few. Ahhh nostalgia....I still think they record all their music in a castle or deep halls. One of my favorite things about this cd and band from Stockholm in general, is there immense far-off sound fronted by Tracyanne Campbell's tender and soothing voice. Although this sound is heard throughout the whole cd, and yes, takes a couple listens to appreciate, it will grow on you. Its not difficult to notice what this cd's theme is about, and with track titles like, "Sweetest Thing", "James" and "Careless Love", it should be obvious, but I'll let you be the judge of that. "This Maudlin Career Has Come To An End, I Dont Want To Be Sad Again" help cheer ole' Cambell up and GET.THIS.CD!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

#7 Times New Viking "Born Again Revisited"

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 I feel like I'm going out on a limb on this one but it's just too damn good to pass up. Times New Viking's "Born Again Revisited" is a lo-fi, garage band, noise-rock fan's paradise. Each and every song, with a little relief on "No Time, No Hope", is fuzzy and distorted with barely distinguishable vocals. However, the melodies and anthemesque choruses, in context with the sound TNV have developed, in my opinion, are what make this cd unique. Despite "2/11 Dont Forget" (probably my favorite song on the album), every song is under three minutes. Definitely one of my favorite discoveries of 2009.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

#8 Fruit Bats "Ruminant Band"

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 Moving right along to my 8th favorite cd of 2009, we have Fruit Bats with their hilariously titled cd, "Ruminant Band". My friend Max had mentioned this band a couple of times but for some reason I never paid them much attention. I was missing out, thats for sure. Oddly enough, over Thanksgiving week my family went to Tulsa,Ok for some family get Anyways, while I was there I snagged my parents' car for a night and drove to a nearby skatepark. While I was driving, due to the lack of cd's in my parents' car, I started flipping through channels with little of hope anything worth listening, wait...whats this?? sounds pretty cool, chill, catchy.. So I pulled my iPhone out and used what is possibly the BEST app ever, Shazam, to find out who it was. As you probably have already guessed it was indeed Fruit Bats with their song "Being On Your Own", a catchy, up-beat and warming song. Once I got home I immediately downloaded the song and repeatedly played the hell out of it. So eventually I just got the cd......and it delivered. Eric Johnson (who is also a part of the Shins, I might add) has a gift for capturing the listener with his melodies and slightly-falsetto voice. What I enjoy most about this cd is its ability to deliver in just about any possible scenario: late at night, early in the morning, mid summer day, hell, even on gloomy days. Very good cd...

#9 Real Estate "Self Titled"

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There has been a popular genre of music rising in the year of 2009: a summer provoked, sunlit and carefree style of music. Whatever you want to call it, I'm just going to label it simply as "Beach Music", music that sparks that familiar desire to be baking in the sun with sand in you hair. Real Estate was introduced to me earlier this year with a single entitled "Black Lake", a lazy, muffled and nostalgic song about, in my belief, a lazy sunny day in the summer. I fell in love with the song and continued to keep my eye on them taking advantage of every single they put out for free (there were quite a few). Months after their first single was introduced, rumors of a full length were being thrown around and I could'nt have been more stoked. Finally a set date was established, in the polar opposite month of chilly November their cd that undeniably anticipates you for summer was dropped and found its way into my cd player very quickly. Just as their first single promised, the full-length stayed true to their style and not once is averted from the beachy feel they have formed. I am very excited and stoked to hear more from these guys.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Top 10 Albums Of 2009: #10 Cymbals Eat Guitars "Why There Are Mountatins"

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Has there ever been something that you WANTED to like? Either you wind up not liking it or you warm up to it and it eventually grants itself a spot in your cd player multiple times. For some reason, maybe their appearance, I've always wanted to like Deviled Eggs, but everytime I try one it grosses me out.....hmm. I digress. There have been a slew of cd's that I've felt this very way about that just never caught my attention (Phoenix: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix). But Cymbals Eat Guitars must of had some serious positive reinforcement or somekind of subliminal message in their music because this cd took me 3-4 listens to get interested in. To be honest the first time I listened I guess I was a bit disoriented or had something else on my mind because I just could not connect or "get" it at all. In fact I was a bit confused. But I kept seeing that big brown face on the cd cover and all the people ranting about them. I finally put the cd in and focused on it and became very intruiged. From the first and one of my favorite songs on the cd "And The Hazy Sea" to "Like Blood Does", this cd runs in and out of conscious awareness. The songs are sloppy yet structured abnormally. I am very glad that I gave this cd multiple listens and persisted in liking it.......because unlike deviled eggs, this one grew on me.

This has been quite the year in music and probably one of my favorites. There have been expected excellence, surprises and dissapointments. I think this year has expanded my taste and interest in music immenseley. From bands that I didn't want to like but eventually did for whatever reason (No Age) to bands that I've loved for so long that I've grown out of (Cursive), this year has reformed music in its entirity. So with that said I will start my Top 10 list of my favorite albums of the year...

S.O.T.D: The XX "Crystalised"

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I know, I know...... these guys put this cd out like 3 months ago and honestly I gave them a brief listen and shunned them. I've heard site after site rave about this London trio and how great their new self-titled album is. SOOO I gave them one more shot and listened to their song "Crystalised", a sexy, dark and gripping song and, instantly was hooked. So here is the S.O.T.D. The XX-"Crystalised. Enjoy.

A Fresh Start

Going to give this one more try and do my best to keep this updated atleast every weekday.
Some changes have been made: instead of Band of the Day, I'm just going to post Song of the Day/or Single of the Day, either way you like it haha. So with that.........lets give this one more try.