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Nutshell Music Group’s 2012: The Year (Or…Seven Months) In Review

Everyone here at Nutshell has been taking some time off in response to the holiday season being upon us, just as we hope you did the same. But before the streamers and fireworks get released and the beginning of a new work calendar is upon us, it’s only fitting that we put together a best of list for those of you that are new to the site (or are already nostalgic). So here are some fun facts about our last seven months as an official publication. But before we get the ball rolling, here’s to wishing you a wonderful 2013.

Nutshell Music Group is born!

With the June 14th review of Walk The Moon’s self-titled LP, Nutshell Music Group officially became a publication.
Album Rating: 89/100
Album Highlights: “Anna Sun”, “Shiver Shiver”, “I Can Lift A Car”

NUTSHELLNutshell: The Logo and The Twitter

On June 18th, we unveiled our new logo, created by John Spiller. Then three days later we officially hit social media, with our Twitter that you can follow @NSMusicGroup.

Nutshell’s First Concert

The site became so much more than an album review site on July 16th, with our first concert review being published on Vampire Weekend’s Pitchfork Performance.
Concert Rating: A
Concert Highlights: Opening with the one two punch of “Cousins” and “White Sky”, an untitled new song now known as “Unbelievers”.

Making Friends

On October 15th Nutshell Music Group officially announced the addition of our newest writer, Bianca Smith. Her first review was posted less than two weeks later.

Opening the Discussion

On December 1st, we started our first full-on discussion topic as we posted our first round of Lollapalooza 2013 lineup predictions. Since then, a large amount of responses have come in and we opened up our Lollapalooza 2013 page.

Bests, Worsts, and Other Notable Things

Highest Rated Album: Matt & Kim – Lightning
Album Rating: 98/100
Album Highlights: “Let’s Go”, “Now”, “I Said”

Highest Rated EP: Go Tell The Eskimo – Smoke Signals EP
Album Rating: 95/100
Album Highlights: “When The Lights Go Out”

Lowest Rated Album: Animal Kingdom – The Looking Away
Album Rating: 73/100
Album Highlights: “Get Away With It”, “Skipping Disc”

Top Viewed Post: Lollapalooza 2013 Lineup Predictions

Most written about artist: Green Day (with a total of three album reviews)

Album We Wish We Reviewed Better: The Tallest Man On Earth – There’s No Leaving Now
Original Rating: 84/100

IMG_0445Nutshell Music Group’s total geek-out favorite band of the year: Stepdad

This one deserves some explaining. This goes to the band that Nutshell Music Group feels is the band that was most enjoyable to deal with. After reviewing Wildlife Pop back in June and then their Beat Kitchen Concert in October, the group has always been fun to watch, listen to, and even talk to in small doses. So a big thank you goes out to the guys in Stepdad for giving us a memorable band to talk about time and time again.

There you have it folks! Have a great time ringing in the new year, and we will be back on schedule with normal reviews after 2013 begins.

Nutshell Album Review: Animal Kingdom – The Looking Away

 

This Summer is quickly shaping up to be one packed full of indie music, so packed that it may actually take away the oh-so unique sound of today’s musical innovators. A strand of the sounds of Summer 2012 is Animal Kingdom, a British trio who’s second LP The Looking Away (released back in May) gives us a taste of more than a handful of bands trying to make it in the era of digital music.

The album opens with “The Wave”, complete with dreamy, MGMT-style vocals layered on top of powerful (and sometimes tribal sounding) drum beats and keyboards. It sounds like a song to back up the opening credits of a movie, so it appropriately opens the album. “Get Away With It” is what follows, a higher paced, danceable song that is really a gem of this album. Another high point is the the third track “Strange Attractor”, a strong emphasis on vocal talent and songwriting alike.

A step back from the energy being built up is “Straw Man”, a slow piano song with alien-like accompaniment and the often heard droney vocals. “Skipping Disc” has a solid opening drum beat that leads you through an all-out journey. Animal Kingdom hits their stride and utilizes everything in their possession for this one. “Glass House” is the most energy put out on this album, but it is quickly marred by distracting sound effects and vocal mixings that make it seem like the British trio is trying a bit too hard to be an indie band.

“The Art of Tuning Out” brings back the sound effects and powerful drums, and add a sense of urgency that is all encased in the “start, stop” structure. “White Sparks” is a slower song of the album, and features some of the interesting instrumental sounds heard from Gotye’s most recent work. “Everything At Once” pulls out a strong guitar emphasis, which is continued on album closer “Alone Together”. This slowed down, beach rock sound is a great way to put a cap on this album and end it strongly.

Animal Kingdom is only two albums into their young music careers, and they are quite the promising trio. The Looking Away had many ups and downs, but was kept interesting. The inconsistencies were noticeable, and the push to have an unachieved sound was felt. But there were diamonds in the rough, most notably the rhythm section and songs like “Skipping Disc” and “Get Away With It”. Nutshell gives The Looking Away a 73/100, and it is available now.

The Looking Away Tracklisting:

1. The Wave
2. Get Away With It
3. Strange Attractor
4. Straw Man
5. Skipping Disc
6. Glass House
7. The Art of Tuning Out
8. White Sparks
9. Everything At Once
10. Alone Together

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