Archive for the ‘ Music ’ Category

HexDefense lights up the Android Market

by Dave Loft

HexDefense (Gotow.net)

HexDefense is currently my favorite tower defense game on Android. The game is very intuitive and easy to get in and play, but takes a while to master. You have just four towers to defend your base and each tower has three upgrades available. The key like any good tower defense is to make your enemy take a longer route to get to your base and HexDefense does this well.

The graphics have a very retro feel, but with smooth animation and gorgeous particle effects, easily making it the best looking game in it’s class. The game comes with 20 levels and I am hopeful more will come down the line. This game has been one of my main go to games lately. Even if I don’t have much time to play, I can start a game and if I can’t finish, it will automatically save it for later. The game is playable on most Android devices, high end or not. While not as smooth, the game played beautifully on an HTC Legend. But for the best visuals a Galaxy S class device is recommended.

Hit up the Android Market to purchase the game or grab the free version with 3 levels to get a feel for the game first.

Score: 8.0

Android Market Link: HexDefense
Official Website: HexDefense.com


Favorite Albums of 2010

by Dave Loft


15. Wild Smiles (Suckers)

Amazon / eMusic / iTunes / Rdio / Zune


14. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Kanye West)

AmazoneMusic / iTunesRdio / Zune


13. Broken Bells (Broken Bells)

AmazoneMusic / iTunesRdio / Zune


12. There is Love in You (Four Tet)

Amazon / eMusic / iTunesRdio / Zune


11. High Violet (The National)

Amazon / eMusic / iTunesRdio / Zune


10. Lisbon (The Walkmen)

AmazoneMusic / iTunesRdio / Zune


9. Brothers (The Black Keys)

AmazoneMusiciTunesRdio / Zune


8. Odd Blood (Yeasayer)

AmazoneMusiciTunesRdio / Zune


7. Astro Coast (Surfer Blood)

AmazoneMusiciTunesRdio / Zune


6. This is Happening (LCD Soundsystem)

Amazon / eMusic / iTunesRdio / Zune


5. Contra (Vampire Weekend)

Amazon / eMusic / iTunesRdio / Zune


4. Gorilla Manor (Local Natives)

AmazoneMusiciTunesRdio / Zune


3. The Suburbs (Arcade Fire)

AmazoneMusiciTunesRdio / Zune


2. Come Around Sundown (Kings of Leon)

AmazoneMusiciTunesRdio / Zune


1. Teen Dream (Beach House)

AmazoneMusiciTunesRdioZune


Favorite Albums of 2009

Wolf Parade At Mount Zoomer Review

Originally written in 2008

With almost three years since the release of Apologies to Queen Mary, this new album was a long time coming. With the many side projects sprouting from both Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner I feared this day would never come. The long wait has done its toll for some who seem dismissive of the album even before giving it a listen. It appears for them, Wolf Parade is no longer relevant to indie music. Some fans are fickle I suppose, but if that’s how you feel, than I think fan isn’t the right choice of word to describe you. Whether or not Wolf Parade is relevant today depends entirely on At Mount Zoomer. I think I will give it a listen before coming to any conclusions.

Just like Apologies to Queen Mary, their new album is a grower. It took a while before I fully appreciated their first album and At Mount Zoomer seems to follow suit. While it definitely sounds like Wolf Parade, it also sounds heavily influenced by their side projects, Sunset Rubdown and Handsome Furs. They have grown in the last few years and they bring this to the new album. Even though my appreciation for At Mount Zoomer grew more quickly, my initial reaction was that Apologies was the better album. It was interesting going back to listen to their old record after spending so much time with Zoomer. I actually started to appreciate their new one even more. Gone is that push, pull feeling one gets from listening to Apologies. It appears a side project was what the two needed to do before they could work together as cohesively as they do on Zoomer.

At Mount Zoomer has a more polished subdued sound and lacks that bold rough sound their first had. What it does have is a good flow; the changes between Dan’s and Spencer’s tracks are less jarring and distinct. Wolf Parade’s sound has never been more focused and fine tuned than it is on their new album. Much like their first this is yet another album that’s best consumed as a whole with each track lacking punch when separated from the pack. But even so there are some stand out songs on the record, none more brilliant than Kissing the Beehive. This final track on the album is more than 10 minutes long and really captures what Wolf Parade is capable of. Their most single friendly track wound be Fine Young Cannibals, much more so than Call It a Ritual, which was made available online prior to the release of the album. An Animal In Your Care is Spencer’s best writing moment on the album. Spencer is a fantastic writer but he takes a backseat to the brilliant writing done throughout the album by Dan. Going back to cohesiveness, in the final minute of The Great Estates they really showcase this brilliantly.

Kissing the Beehive was initially chosen as the title for the record before finding out it was also the name of a Jonathan Caroll novel. The new title was taken from drummer Arlen Thompson’s studio where the album was recorded with care and precision. This is an album that only gets better as it progresses, building well to the grand finale. If you’re a fan of any of Dan and Spencer’s previous work, you will definitely enjoy this album. If you aren’t a fan, there’s nothing really new here that’s going to change your mind. But I would recommend you give it a serious listen and try to put past any preconceptions you may have. At Mount Zoomer is a brilliant album and will surely keep the name Wolf Parade relevant for at least another three years.

Score: 8.3

Dave Loft

Islands Arm’s Way Review

Originally written in 2008

I’m still trying to decide how I feel about Islands new album in comparison to their first, Return to the Sea. Maybe that’s a mistake and I should just forget their debut album and focus solely on Arm’s Way; but that’s proving difficult to do. On the positive side, I find it to be more consistent and less scattered than their first. Another not so positive way to look at it would be to say it lacks spontaneity and follows a more rigid structure. As it is, Arm’s Way doesn’t take the band in any new direction, it just fine tunes what they started with on Return to the Sea.

The instrument play at work here is just as fun but unfortunately less frequent than their first record. Their African influenced breakdown half way through J’aime Vous Voire Quitter is Islands at their best. Unfortunately no bursts of hip hop or country influence in Arm’s Way, Islands stick to their tried and true indie pop sound. A big part of Islands sound comes from their use of non traditional rock instruments such as the violin. On Return to the Sea they used this string accompaniment more sparingly and as a result the effect was more prominent. At times on Arm’s Way, the heavy use of accompanying instruments tended to over saturate their sound.

Islands Nick Thorburn’s vocals and lyrics have always been strong, and Arm’s Way is no exception. Lyrically the album is darker than it sounds especially Life in Jail, which still takes time for a fun calypso jam almost three minutes in. I’ve always enjoyed Islands change of pace mid song and this continues with their new album. This is a dramatic album, not just in lyrics but in sound and scope as well. Arm’s Way is not an album that can be appreciated within a single sitting. Their layering of instruments and sound is so dense and thick, it takes a while to work your way through it. At times it seems as if it’s too much, then it all comes together with a sound that can only be described as beautiful.

Arm’s Way is a long album and only a handful of songs are under five minutes. People looking for the latest three minute insta-hit should look elsewhere, there’s nothing to hear here. But for people looking for a sincere sprawling progressive album to spend time with, Arm’s Way may be just the ticket. I know the cool indie thing to do is put down this sophomore record for its lack of innovation. But I’m not going to do that, I’m enjoying this album too much. If this is your first experience with Islands, or you can look past this minor fault, I’m certain you will find joy in this album as well. They genuinely know how to write good pop songs and just like Return to the Sea it’s a lot of fun to listen too.

Score: 7.0

Dave Loft

Getting Back Into The Grove

I haven’t put any posts up in a while and so much has happened during that time. The G20 causing havoc in my city, an earthquake, a trip home, my birthday and a few new games to keep me occupied.

Transformers: War for Cybertron is far better than I was expecting. I enjoy that the campaign can also be played in Co-op and they definitely spent some time on the multi-player. It borrows the Call of Duty formula with the leveling up, perks and kill streaks. It doesn’t break any new ground but what it does it does quite well.

Lot’s of interesting stuff in the mobile space to discuss with new phones from Motorola, Samsung and Apple. My wife wants to get a Nexus One and I’m considering giving her mine and getting the Samsung Galaxy S. It’s actually coming to Canada on Bell sometime in July. I’ve heard from Gameloft that their new DRM policy has been implemented in their latest Android games. I’m just waiting for more clarification before creating a post dedicated to that.

I had another great NxNE and have become fans of a few new bands. I have gotten as many albums in the last month as I’ve gotten in the previous four. Wolf Parade released a great new album last week, it’s no Apologies but it’s still a great listen.

Have a good one

Dave Loft

NxNE Saturday June 19th

Here is my schedule for tonight

9:00 – Library Voices – The Horseshoe (368 Queen St West)

10:00 – Hannah Georgas – The Horseshoe (368 Queen St West)

11:00 – Mannequin Men –  Wrongbar (1279 Queen St West)

12:00 – Surfer Blood – Wrongbar (1279 Queen St West)

Other recommendations

9:00 – AA Bondy – Dakota Tavern (249 Ossington Avenue)

10:00 – The Morgansterns – Dakota Tavern (249 Ossington Avenue)

11:00 – Bruce Peninsula – The Horseshoe (368 Queen St West)

11:00 – Pink Moth – The Painted Lady (218 Ossington Ave)

11:00 – Winhara – Bread and Circus (299 Augusta Ave)

12:00 – The Black Atlantic – The Painted Lady (218 Ossington Ave)

12:00 – Airheart – Bread and Circus (299 Augusta Ave)

1:00 – The Gin Riots – El Mocambo Down (486 Spadina Ave)

1:00 – Huron – The Horseshoe (368 Queen St West)

1:00 – Parks & Rec – The Painted Lady (218 Ossington Ave)

2:00– The Stanfields – The Horseshoe (368 Queen St West)

Dave Loft

NxNE Friday June 18th

Here is my schedule for tonight

9:00 – Stop Die – Comfort Zone (486 Spadina Ave)

10:00 – Boys Who Say No – The Silver Dollar (486 Spadina Ave)

11:00 – Code Pie – Bread and Circus (299 Augusta Ave)

12:00 – Rah Rah – Bread and Circus (299 Augusta Ave)

1:00 – The Strange Boys – The Silver Dollar (486 Spadina Ave)

Other recommendations

9:00 – Trust – Wrongbar (1279 Queen St West)

10:00 – Katie Stelmanis – Wrongbar (1279 Queen St West)

11:00 – Boxer The Horse – Drake Hotel (1150 Queen St West)

11:00 – Best Coast – The Garrison (1197 Dundas St West)

11:00 – Wussy – The Horseshoe (368 Queen St West)

12:00 – Rival Boys – The Painted lady (218 Ossington Ave)

1:00 – Boats – The Painted Lady (218 Ossington Ave)

1:00 – Gramercy Riffs – Bread and Circus (299 Augusta Ave)

2:00 – The Schomberg Fair – Rancho Relaxo (300 College St)

Dave Loft

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