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click to enlarge Albert Hammond, Jr.   - Yours to Keep  -  -  - New Line / U.S release date: March - 6  -  - Sounds like: What The Strokes' second album - should have been -  - Short take: Get your indie pop-rock fix here -  - Considering the one-dimensional guitar sound - associated with Big Apple hipsters The Strokes, a solo - album from the band's guitarist, Albert Hammond, Jr., - sounds exactly like what you'd expect. However, where - Yours to Keep shines is with its more - adventurous, pop-based material. It by no means - escapes the mothership band's shadow, but still offers - enough different colors to, in some way, sound like The - Strokes album that we've been waiting for since 2001. - The familiar guitar lead-in, "In Transit," is buoyed by - Hammond's falsetto vocals, while the mid-tempo - "Everyone Gets a Star" is engaging in its simplicity. - Considering the continued redundancy experienced on - the three Strokes efforts and the safe experimentation - found on Yours to Keep, you're left feeling - cheated that Hammond's main band hasn't ventured - farther outside of itself.  John Benson -
  • Albert Hammond, Jr.

    Yours to Keep

    New Line / U.S release date: March 6

    Sounds like: What The Strokes' second album should have been

    Short take: Get your indie pop-rock fix here

    Considering the one-dimensional guitar sound associated with Big Apple hipsters The Strokes, a solo album from the band's guitarist, Albert Hammond, Jr., sounds exactly like what you'd expect. However, where Yours to Keep shines is with its more adventurous, pop-based material. It by no means escapes the mothership band's shadow, but still offers enough different colors to, in some way, sound like The Strokes album that we've been waiting for since 2001. The familiar guitar lead-in, "In Transit," is buoyed by Hammond's falsetto vocals, while the mid-tempo "Everyone Gets a Star" is engaging in its simplicity. Considering the continued redundancy experienced on the three Strokes efforts and the safe experimentation found on Yours to Keep, you're left feeling cheated that Hammond's main band hasn't ventured farther outside of itself. John Benson

click to enlarge Aesop Rock   - All Day: Nike + Original Run -  -  -  - iTunes  -  - Sounds like: Every song you'd want to hear on - a run -  - Short take: Another dope beat to step to -  - If nobody else has yet coined the genre "step-hop," allow - me to propose it and cite Aesop Rock's work as evidence - of its worthiness. With this 45-minute continuous mix, - designed for runners in conjunction with Nike and - available on iTunes, the rap artist segues to different, - imaginary landscapes and city settings through fluid - beats. It's largely an instrumental disc, with sparse, but - fitting, rhymes. Even cubicle-bound non-runners can - picture themselves bouncing along happily down a - sidewalk just by mental suggestion, though there's - plenty of other activities the music fits  even writing. - This is the third installment of the runner's series, which - previously featured LCD Soundsystem and The Crystal - Method. Just remember, you can't get this in stores, so - don't go running to the mall.  Matthew - Schniper
  • Aesop Rock

    All Day: Nike + Original Run

    iTunes

    Sounds like: Every song you'd want to hear on a run

    Short take: Another dope beat to step to

    If nobody else has yet coined the genre "step-hop," allow me to propose it and cite Aesop Rock's work as evidence of its worthiness. With this 45-minute continuous mix, designed for runners in conjunction with Nike and available on iTunes, the rap artist segues to different, imaginary landscapes and city settings through fluid beats. It's largely an instrumental disc, with sparse, but fitting, rhymes. Even cubicle-bound non-runners can picture themselves bouncing along happily down a sidewalk just by mental suggestion, though there's plenty of other activities the music fits even writing. This is the third installment of the runner's series, which previously featured LCD Soundsystem and The Crystal Method. Just remember, you can't get this in stores, so don't go running to the mall. Matthew Schniper

click to enlarge The Frames   - The Cost  -  -  - Anti  -  - Sounds like: The Frames, only more obscure -  - Short take: Underachieving and stark (read: - boring) adult rock -  - The window of opportunity for mass success closes with - each new album by The Frames. Justifiably critical - darlings for years based on their stunning, anthem-filled - live sets, the Irish act is continuing to distance itself - from its former energetic self, instead opting to release - stark, tortured tales of failed romance. The results are - mixed (at best), with The Cost succinctly - capturing the dilemma. In particular, "Sad Songs" is - musically alluring with a guitar hook that could (and - should) find its way on the charts, but singer-songwriter - Glen Hansard's uneventful and trite lyrics ("Too many sad - words with a sad song") destroy any momentum. So what - happens when anthems are anti-anthemic? Unfortunately - the cost for such carelessness is bankruptcy, with The - Frames toiling in shallow and empty waters.  - John Benson
  • The Frames

    The Cost

    Anti

    Sounds like: The Frames, only more obscure

    Short take: Underachieving and stark (read: boring) adult rock

    The window of opportunity for mass success closes with each new album by The Frames. Justifiably critical darlings for years based on their stunning, anthem-filled live sets, the Irish act is continuing to distance itself from its former energetic self, instead opting to release stark, tortured tales of failed romance. The results are mixed (at best), with The Cost succinctly capturing the dilemma. In particular, "Sad Songs" is musically alluring with a guitar hook that could (and should) find its way on the charts, but singer-songwriter Glen Hansard's uneventful and trite lyrics ("Too many sad words with a sad song") destroy any momentum. So what happens when anthems are anti-anthemic? Unfortunately the cost for such carelessness is bankruptcy, with The Frames toiling in shallow and empty waters. John Benson

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