Arctic Monkeys – “AM”

It has been only two years since we saw the release of “Suck it and See,” which demonstrated that Arctic Monkeys are not just some band from Sheffield that can be replicated. Their sound was louder than the indie band from “Favourite Worst Nightmare,” and lacked that Josh Homme vibe from “Humbug” keeping true to themselves but still advancing their music. During last year’s Record Store Day, the band released “R U Mine,” on a purple 7” which showcased the direction that they would take on their next album, “AM.” This album was also recorded in the US which can be seen through the album, as was seen in “Suck it and See.”

Although we said that the Arctic Monkeys “Humbug” was the bands own downfall and it was something that was what made us more excited for “Suck It and See,” it did change the band and their sound allowing them to grow slowly and give us this album.

As unfortunate as it may be to some people there is no equivalency of their first two albums in “AM,” which although a travesty, is something that makes the band grow and not exploit their hits, allowing them to venture into new sounds and work with different bands and producers. With “Suck it and See” being their first album recorded in the US, it opened their style to a more American audience, which is once again reflected here.  This is to say that the band has lost the indie title it once so proudly held and moved on to be undefined, which allows the band to changes it sound as it grows without truly disappointing genre specific audiences.

DrummerTechnically “R U Mine,” was the first unofficial single from their latest album which gave us a louder more grown up version of the boys we knew from “Florescent Adolescent.” The song came out on YouTube February 2012 and was a sample of the new look and attitude of the band. After recording in Sage and Sound Recording Studios in Los Angeles the band entrusted James Ford once again with their fifth full length studio album adding to the list of variety in their sound.

It can be seen in “Arabella” which starts of a bit mystifying with soft vocal by Alex Turner and a calm vibe that builds perfectly with the perfect amount of guitar and rock in the chorus, not deviating from the atmosphere created by the verses with lines such as “And when she needs to shelter from reality she takes a dip in my daydreams.”  Although these lyrics are endearing and powerful, there is usually a track from the band that is psychedelic and surreal, which is fulfilled by every other line of this song.

This time the band added the simplistic rock elements and exploited them while adding Turner’s vocals to make a perfect rhythm track which was the first official single from the album “Do I Wanna Know?”  The simple drum beat and guitar creates the perfect emersion which is only complimented by lyrics that enhance the simplistic plucking of the bass through the verse, “Been wondering if your hearts still open and if so I want to know what time it shuts.” This track is sexual seduction, a gritty old school sound with the ambiguity of lust and frustration which is why the tempo is structured starting calm and ending intensely and suddenly.

Arctic MonkeysThere are still a few more traces of “Humbug,” in the album with more melancholy tracks such as “I Wanna Be Yours,” that is soothing, giving the right backup vocals matching the rhythm of Turner’s voice while still holding a bit of an old school rock with it being one of the more moderately calm tracks in the album as well as in the bands discography. The synth gives the track a great touch with the guitar still remaining true to the sounds of Arctic Monkeys. This can also be seen on the track, “One for the Road,” which is the perfect combination of a verse that sounds a bit dark and has the classic build up instrumentally to end the song suddenly claiming that, “The mixture hits you hard. Don’t get that sinking feeling, don’t fall apart”

After having toured with The Black Keys for a few months there are a few influences of the guitar Dan Auerbach offers in this album. “Knee Socks,” if heard only instrumentally is almost identical to the style of The Black Keys with the guitar and drums resembling a bit of the track, “Sister.” Although it does have that style, there are still element which make it an Arctic Monkeys track such as the backing vocals and reverb that makes the track a bit different, but only slightly as to avoid duplication of an already popular band.

Humbug“Mad Sounds,” also has The Black Keys synth in the background but still holding a west coast vibe to it and lyrically a track from “Humbug,” saying, “Love buckles under the strain of those wild nights.” Contrary to this, we have “No. 1 Party Anthem,” which is a memory of the soundtrack Alex Turner did for the film Submarine or and equivalence to “Love is a Lazerquest,” from “Suck it and See.”

“Why’d You Only Call Me When Your High?” is a track that sounds and has a different style than when they started, but lyrically it could have been on their first album giving explicit detail about certain events such as in, “Still Take You Home,” and “From the Ritz to the Rubble.”

Although they do not return to their original sound, the band does have a few English sounding tracks such as, “Snap Out Of It,” which is a reminder of Babyshambles (Pete Doherty), Beady Eye, or Miles Kane. “Fireside,” is a long lost brother of a track from The Last Shadow Puppets (Miles Kane, Alex Turner, and James Ford), which is a bit surprising to see it take this many years to see that project influence the band. It has an orchestral piece in it that was arranged perfectly with the band, reenacting the musical composition that Turner and Ford had before working with Arctic Monkeys.

Now that the band has taken its self from a specific genre and style, it is finally able to bring in influences from their experiences over the past years, finally giving the flexibility they needed to evolve.

“I don’t think we have any worries you know about people staying with us as we sort of evolve. I don’t think anyone wants us to continue or return to the approach we had seven years ago or whatever,” Alex Turner told NME and we cannot agree more.



Coming Soon (Albums)

Glasvegas – Later When the TV Turns To Static (September 3rd)

This Scottish indie band from Glasgow has been alive since 2003 and has had amazing albums. Erasing the memory of the first album, their second, “A Snowflake Fell (And It Felt Like A Kiss)” was astounding and put them on the list of bands to watch out for. “Euphoric Outbreak” their third album also added to their indie style and made them on the “Must See,” list.

Factory Floor – Factory Floor (September 9th)

This duo is the excuse you need to listen to synth based indie tracks. Their Soundcloud has many of the tracks from their album and you will be taken back to cocaine ridden, strobe light masked dark nightclub from the late 80’s.

Arctic Monkeys – AM (September 9th)

After blowing up on Myspace for their first album, and being the most purchased album in the UK defeating Oasis, these young lads from Sheffield have been rocking out a lot lately with tracks like “Don’t Sit Down Cause I’ve Moved your Chair,” and “R U Mine.” Their first single from “AM” rocked intensely and reflected the producing of none other than Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age). This will be the second time he produced an album for them, but I guarantee it will not be at all like “Humbug.”

Babyshambles – Sequel to the Prequel (September 10th)

Peter Doherty has returned, you may remember him from The Libertines, has returned to release their third album. It has been six years since their last album but they want to continue were they left off rather than say they were away from the scene. Let us see if the album is a continuation or all new material.

Holy Ghost! – Dynamics (September 10th)

This duo from Brooklyn has gotten the hang of owning the synth in their albums and will finally release their second album following their self-titled album which was released in 2011. Many of their singles were remixes of other artists, so it is good to see them being back to creating their own music. This album will be for all of the synth lovers out there.

The Naked and Famous – In Rolling Waves (September 17th)

Their second single, “Hearts Like Ours,” sounds similar to their previous tracks, and that is not something that is worth complaining. Their first album established their own sound and they have grown it throughout these three years. A tour accompanies the release of this album, so look for them coming to a city near you.

Crystal Stilts – Nature Noir (September 17th)

This psychedelic noise-pop band also from Brooklyn has the sound that reflects the dark era of post-punk music from the late 70’s. With their first album mainly being passed around in indie record stores, this albums promises a bit of a different direction but still true to the band.

MGMT – MGMT (September 17th)

Although their second album was not as popular as “Oracular Spectacular” this one was made in a house far from a studio with synth and drum machines in every room. Earlier this year their single, “Alien Days” was released on Record Store Day in the form of a cassette.

Mazzy Star – Season of Your Day (September 24th)

Queen of the Shoe Gazer’s has returned for her fourth album. Her previous one, “Among My Swan” was released in 1996, which adds to the anticipation of this forthcoming album. Since there is a huge span off time between albums, there might be a bit more of an expectation for this album, but in the end, letting her do what she does best, play and acoustic guitar and sing, is all everyone really wants. We are just excited to see if a tour follows.

HAIM – Days Are Gone (September 30th)

This group has been covered by almost every major indie news outlet and for a good reason. Their sound differs from other groups out there and has been hitting the indie airwaves. Let us just hope that the singles that have been released live up to the actual album. This is another Lana Del Rey situation, where the hype over a few songs will either hurt or strengthen the album. Finally, people already either like them or do not, another polarized artist just because of speculation, dammit indie media. The band’s name is the last name of the three sisters who play in the band, Este, Danielle, and Alana Haim.

Blitzen Trapper – VII (October 1st)

With this being their seventh album (See name of album) this is one of those albums that should be purchased if you are in a good mood and love the sounds of indie. Since this album will not be done with Sub Pop, there might be a change of their sound to a more West Coast sound since their new label is based in California.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – The Speed of Things (October 8th)

This bands indie roots were seen in their first album which was released in 2011, “It’s a Corporate World.” A synth, and danceable beats make up the key elements to the tracks of their latest album. This duo from Detroit will not let you down and give the sound that every party with Pabst Blue Ribbon needs.

Cults – Static (October 15th)

Friend of It Sounds Better Live, Cults comes to us with a more established sound than their first album, finally adding to their already faithful fan base. This group from New York has had great success with their single “Abducted” from their first alum which was self-titled. Let us hope there is another successful track on this album and enjoy the summer sounds during the fall of this year.

The Head and the Heart – Let’s Be Still (October 15th)

Since the release of their first album in 2010, this band from Seattle and friend of It Sounds Better Live, has finally come to release their second album. The band has toured with many artists such as The Walkmen, Vampire Weekend, and Death Cab For Cutie, which all could have influenced their latest album. Their first single “Shake,” sounds a bit like their first album, but with a bit more rock in it, resembling a bit of the evolution of The Avett Brothers.

Polica – Shulamith (October 22nd)

With some help from Bon Iver, this album is an Indie Lovers dream. This single “Tiff” was released in April of this year which features Justin Vernon. Hopefully the album has more collaborations with artist like we have seen in the meantime. With this being their second album and it being release just a year after their first, it is difficult to know what to expect.

The Arcade Fire – (Title Not Yet Announced) ( October 29th)

It must be nearly impossible to top “The Suburbs” but there is much hope for this new album. Working with James Murphy must have added some motivation to the group since they moved to many different studios, including DFA Records (Murphy’s) in New York. There has yet to be a release of a single from this album but maybe the score they did on the film, “Her” by Spike Jonze could be a bit of an insight on what is to come.

M.I.A. – Matangi (November 5th)

Her fourth full length album is one which will have many collaborators from across the world. Although we have all by now heard “Bad Girls” which was release in February of last year, Interscope decided to push the album back many times and finally has hopefully given us a set date for this release. “Bring the Noize” was released in June of this year and is said to reflect the album more in its entirety. Although there have been many stunts done by M.I.A. she threatened to release the album if it is not released, which leads us to this date.

The Melting Pot – Podcast

This week the show is called the melting pot with respect to having a variety of music and awesome insight on artists. Make sure to listen to this podcast, a vocal version of this amazing blog that is all about music.

The Vaccines – Melody Calling
Released today(6/25) and has been played at concerts

The Cure – The Only One

New Order – Ceremony

Peace – Lovesick

Palma Violets – Rattlesnake Highway
(Red 7 – Austin) September 17th

The Maccabees – X-ray

Haim – Forever (4:09)

Grimes – Vowels = Space and Time (4:21)

Crystal Castles (4:18) – Vanished
(House of Blues April 20th)

Die Antwoord – Cookie Thumper

MIA – Bring the Noize

Beam Me Up vs Clash vs Reload (Remix by It Sounds Better Live)




“MGMT are back with their self-titled third studio album – MGMT – set to be released on September 17. The successor to 2008’s Oracular Spectacular and 2010’s Congratulations, MGMT finds Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser continuing to push themselves to expand the boundaries of modern pop music.”

On Record Store Day the band released a single on cassette entitled, “Alien Days,” which is the first single from this album.

The full track listing for MGMT is as follows:

Alien Days
Cool Song No. 2
Mystery Disease
Your Life Is a Lie
A Good Sadness
I Love You Too, Death
Plenty Of Girls In the Sea
An Orphan Of Fortune

You can read more information at the bands site or click here.