Atlas Genius: A review

Do you remember that band Metro Station that came out a couple years ago, maybe it was 2007? They only got famous because one of them was Miley Cyrus’ brother and sang the annoying teeny bopper ear worm “Shake It”. Okay take the catchy addictive easy going sound of Metro Station, and the chest slamming originality of the Killers, add a little bit of the solo indie-rock “I’m a rockstar on my piano that I can record funny noises on” attitude of Aqueduct, Sufjian Stevens, and Owl City and presto you have Atlas Genius.

I stumbled upon this band randomly one day while I was browsing covers and updating my own channel on youtube. I was waiting for the advertisement to continue on to my video when all of the sudden I stopped my self and thought “hey I like this, whatever this is thats playing right now.” I succumbed to the mind-tricks of advertising psychology and proceeded to click the “buy now on itunes” button. I knew I needed new music for a review story, I found them superficially appealing, I am generally supportive of the projects of the self-made artists (being one myself) and frankly, they weren’t half bad.

The opening track which I’m assuming was the one that brainwashed me into buying the album is Titled “Electric” which has one of the most interesting openings in an indie-alternative track that I’ve heard. Openings can be tricky though because on the one hand it is going to be the thing that causes people to either hit next or skip when their music is shuffling but on the other hand we have the potential for what we in the music industry refer to as “one hit wonder syndrome”.

Now that being said I think AG drifts a little in their creativity but the opening track is definitely not a giveaway for the rest of the album. You can tell the Artist has really added at least one of touch of uniqueness to each song. This expresses experienced musicianship and careful attention to detail which is what is missing in so many of the popular albums of today.

You kind of get lost in the second and third tracks as you are lulled to sleep by a sweet, semi-perfect blending of major chords in the vocalists tenor range. Then you get to a track entitled “Back Seat” and the same unique impressions that the opening track contributed are revived.

But it was track #4 that really sold me on this band. Maybe a more accurate statement would be the placement of tracks three and four on the Album. You barely have time to recover from the mesmerizing vocals in “Back Seat” before you are swooned back in by the sweet nectar of the acoustic guitar in “Trojans”, a suggestive title given the target market age but most of the track titles sound like chapter titles in a novel about sappy teenage universes. “Electric”, “Back Seat”, “Trojans”, “All These Girls” just to name a few, but its tracks like these that really express the anxiety of teenage pubescence. This High School anxiety that we are all still longing for.

The first band I thought of when I heard them was The Killers but I also find myself reminiscent for bands like MGMT, the Spinto Band and Of Montreal. But I can also hear tiny supplements of Aqueduct, Owl City and the newer version of Sufjian Stevens. The reason I brought up Metro Station before was because their track “All these girls” has an intro that almost sounds Identical to the intro in “Shake-it” but it revives itself in the pre-chorus and chorus especially with the snare drum sequence and acoustic backgrounds. I like this band they have the ability to take me to a place where I am actually nostalgic for high school.

Would You Recommend this to Your Best Friend? Yes.

How much would you pay for a concert ticket? $30-$40

Overall Stars: 4 out of 5

I Was Reviewing Movies

Craigslist Joe: A review

By: Caroline Paxton

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Joseph Garner is a 29-year-old Jewish man living in Recession-era Ame[1] rica. The documentary opens with Garner in a state of dwindling faith as more and more people fall on hard times and the end of a bleak economic trench seems nowhere in sight. To counter act the brewing cynicism he decides to embark on an unprecedented trans-American journey searching for the answers to life’s hard questions. The only catch to his journey of existential quandary is that he can only use one resource to survive: craigslist.

 

Along his journey Garner meets handfuls of lively, brightly-lit characters, all of whom seem to be spiritual refuges in their own rite. He meets several baby-boomer hippies, still very much in contact with the spirit of Woodstock, and a handful of young transcendental types all searching for the same meaningful connections.

 

Garner is surprisingly successful in his endeavor and makes it across the country and back in 31 days and even manages to tag along on an excursion across the Mexican border and back. Throughout the entire month of travel, he never goes a day without eating and never sleeps a night on the streets. He is able to live, quite comfortably, off of the kindness and goodwill of strangers and the random quirkiness of craigslist.

 

This film really tries to be emotional and inspiring and succeeds somewhat in generating lukewarm emotions in the viewer. There were a few stirring moments in the film where the scenario is heart wrenching and deeply moving but is marred when the shot pans to Garner crying and one word pops in to your head “overkill”. The legitimacy of the emotion comes into question and the viewer is left feeling somewhat emotionally tender,[5]  and in need of a an hour at the gym pumping iron and listening to Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train”.

 

However, the entire conceptual design of the film is remarkable both in its originality and universality. Producer Zach Galifinakis succeeds with his trademark eminence in dark humor and creativity. Ironically after I finished the film I found myself browsing on craigslist for the one ad that was going to change my life.