Pillbox

Albums and concerts: Music to look forward to

Alex Turner, the lead guitarist of Arctic Monkeys, performs at a concert in Stockholm. (credit: Courtesy of Frida Borjeson Photography) Alex Turner, the lead guitarist of Arctic Monkeys, performs at a concert in Stockholm. (credit: Courtesy of Frida Borjeson Photography) Japandroids guitarist Brian King plays energetically at a performance in Ottawa. (credit: Courtesy of Ming Wu) Japandroids guitarist Brian King plays energetically at a performance in Ottawa. (credit: Courtesy of Ming Wu)

The summer marks the separation of students at Carnegie Mellon as many go back to their hometowns and to a different culture, both musically and socially. However, as the student population returns to college, the reuniting of musical interests offers the ability for students to further their appreciation for music.

Apart from this intriguing reintegration into the Carnegie Mellon student population, there are several upcoming musical events that are equally interesting. Be it new albums or concerts in Pittsburgh, the fall semester has several appealing events.

Watch out before these hit stores

Arctic Monkeys — Humbug

After a nearly two-year-long hiatus, the Arctic Monkeys have returned with their new album, Humbug. Expect an album filled with vigorous energy and over-stylized British accents as Humbug hits stores Tuesday. This new album might be the perfect back-to-school affair, giving students some upbeat shoetapping as they begin to buckle down for the upcoming semester. The band’s debut, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, was a high-energy album full of dance tunes, so good that it was the fastest-selling debut album in British history. Although they hit the so-called sophomore slump with Favorite Worst Nightmare, expect the Arctic Monkeys to make a statement with Humbug.

While Humbug has me interested, there are some aspects that have me worried. The Arctic Monkeys have not attempted to truly augment portions of their sound to breathe new air into their music. This is worrisome, as The Strokes were great with their debut but quickly died due to their constant recycling of the same signature sound.

Weezer — Raditude

Weezer’s rumored LP 7 is no longer a rumor and has entered the realm of reality, as the band releases its new album called Raditude. Weezer’s return to the mainstream last summer seems to have resulted in the return of Rivers Coumo’s writing passion. While Raditude is certainly a silly name, it definitely perpetuates Coumo’s trope, painting him as a nerdy, hopeless romantic. What is exciting about Raditude is that the new single “I Want You To” is one of the catchiest songs of Weezer’s career. “I Want You To” brings back the airier aspects of last year’s self-titled (red) album. Expect Raditude to land on Oct. 27.

The main troubling aspect about the new album is whether the other members of the band sing. The worst songs on last year’s Weezer LP were those sung by anyone not named Rivers Coumo. As much as Weezer is a band, Coumo is the definite leader and should be the sole voice of the band. The other troubling aspect of Raditude is whether Weezer is able to put enough creative songs into the album. The very fact that other people sang on last year’s LP showed that Coumo wasn’t able to write enough great songs to fill the album. “I Want You To” is a great single, though not as good as last year’s “Pork and Beans.”

Get down to buying these tickets

The Gaslight Anthem

Playing their last few shows before heading into the studio to record their next album due early 2010, The Gaslight Anthem is returning to Pittsburgh merely months after its previous performance here. The band is scheduled to play once again at Mr. Small’s Theatre & Funhouse on Sept. 8, and they usually put on a great show. Having seen them live, The Gaslight Anthem does not disappoint. The headman, Brian Fallon, is a very entertaining host as he tells stories and jokes with a very humble attitude.

The only worry with seeing The Gaslight Anthem is that the band’s songs do not vary widely, though this is only a problem if the signature sound is not appealing to the listener.

Otherwise, there is no worry in seeing the group live, as their sound is much sharper and more energetic than in the studio. Fallon’s between-song banter can sometimes flesh out aspects of the songs, giving some of the more downtrodden songs much more emotion.

Japandroids

Japandroids is supporting its debut LP, Post-Nothing, by coming to Pittsburgh’s Garfield Artworks on Oct. 7. Japandroids is made up of Brian King on guitar and David Prowse on drums.

Their sound is an interesting mix of fuzzed-out guitar, attacking drums, and laid-back voice. While Japandroids takes cues from various areas in the indie music scene, the band’s sound seems heavily similar to the garage punk of No Age’s Nouns. Japandroids doesn’t have an extensive foray into the music world. Because Post-Nothing is its first full LP, expect the band’s set to be relatively small. However, the relative newness of the band also makes its live sets oddly foretelling of its future sound.

As bands evolve, the stage offers a place to see how the audience reacts to inner struggles with their musical style. They might cover other bands’ songs using their style, perhaps introduce new songs that they are working on for their sophomore LP, or possibly struggle on stage as they begin to receive more popularity. New bands always offer an interesting live show.