Showing posts with label american authors. Show all posts
Showing posts with label american authors. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

video review: 'what we live for' by american authors

Well, this happened. Overall a decent record, but I can't help feeling they could have done a fair bit more. Eh, it happens.

Next up... well, Billboard BREAKDOWN for one, but then I want to get to this Weval record, as well as Grace and maybe Bat For Lashes too... stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

album review: 'what we live for' by american authors

So let's talk about surprises.

It's a sad fact of being a critic is that it's rare that you get surprised by an album. Sure, sometimes you'll get something insane coming out of the woodwork that blows your mind - which is why critics tend to shower praise on oddball records that are unlike anything they've ever heard before, and I'll admit I can succumb to this as well. But more often than not, it can be tough to go into every single record with the expectation that every album is someone's first, to try and capture that emotion of genuine awe.

And that's probably why I've got a fond spot in my heart for American Authors, something that'll probably surprise most of you if you only remember them for their sort-of hit 'Best Day Of My Life' that rapidly became a commercial product more than an actual song. And from that single it was widely thought that they were just another soulless rip-off of Imagine Dragons before that band fell off the deep end. Hell, that's what I expected when I covered their debut album Oh, What A Life - and it wasn't anything close to what I got. They were far closer to the power pop of acts like Semisonic or Fountains Of Wayne, just pressed through modern genre sounds of the time. It all lead to a weirdly likable record that didn't quite manage to work all the way through, mostly courtesy of some by-the-numbers songwriting and a frustrating inability for anyone to know what they were doing behind the production boards, but was still better than most would expect. And thus I had an interest in digging into their sophomore follow-up, which promised to continue and expand upon many of the same sounds - and hell, it's been a while since anyone cared about Imagine Dragons, so maybe American Authors might sound more fresh. So how did What We Live For turn out?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

video review: 'oh, what a life' by american authors

Wow, this was a fun surprise. A good palette cleanser, especially considering what might be coming up in coming weeks.

Next up... shit, I've got no idea. Stay tuned, anyhow, it'll be coming soon!

album review: 'oh, what a life' by american authors

Well, we knew this was going to happen eventually. We knew that someday, some major label executive was going to notice the smash chart success of The Lumineers and The Neighbourhood and Bastille and think, "Oh god, indie rock has actually scored a foothold on the charts, how the hell are we going to capitalize on this without signing an act that's actually challenging or hard to market?"

Well, the funny thing is that there really are a lot of bands in this vein, just indie-sounding enough to avoid the pop brush but not so indie that Pitchfork gives a damn about them. Acts that you might know and like for 'that one song' but would be hard-pressed to call yourself a hardcore fan. In other words, we're looking at a silent majority act, or, to be a little more snide, the indie rock that gets popular thanks to commercial jingles or showing up on sitcoms. And while you have acts like Bloc Party, Vampire Weekend, and Deafheaven who have shaken the silent majority label by actually being critical smash hits, most critics don't tend to care much about bands in this vein.

Enter American Authors, formerly called The Blue Pages when they were still trying to build buzz on Bandcamp. After two independently-released EPs, they landed a major label contract with Mercury in early 2013 and have since then seen their songs feature in mainstream ads around the world. And like with Alex Clare's 'Too Close' from 2012, this has led their big hit single 'Best Day Of My Life' to gain some major traction on mainstream radio. My initial judgement of them based on that single were as a cross between The Lumineers and Imagine Dragons (in other words, the marketer's wet dream), but I've been surprised by bands in this vein before and I didn't want to brand them as derivative without giving them a fair chance, so I gave their debut album a few spins. How did it turn out?