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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.

Take Our New Poll!

Everyone at Nutshell Music Group is interested to know how you are finding us. Please answer the poll below and forward it to all Nutshell readers you know. Also, follow us on Twitter @NSMusicGroup (, shoot us an email at and keep spreading the word. Because of you guys, are stats are at an all-time high so thank you very much for your support!

Nutshell Album Review: Freelance Whales – Diluvia

Back in June we reported that Freelance Whales was working on an album set for a late Summer release, and lo and behold, we are blessed with the group’s second LP Diluvia, the follow-up to 2010’s Weathervanes. The writing of this album was approached from a different level, with all band members contributing to writing and an overall new sound. There is some “Generator”-ey feel thrown in to fill in the blanks, but Freelance Whales steps into a new setting, like when Kurt Angle left the WWE and went to TNA (what?). Diluvia turns out as something interesting, and it’s definitely one that will catch your attention.

The album opens up with “Aeolus”, a song that is unpronounceable,  and has a large taste of the interlude-like dream sequence songs heard on Weathervanes. It instantly gives the album an inappropriately Summery sound with music-festival-hill-sitting potential. The next song is “Land Features”, a peppy one with stuttery drum beats and skillful harmonies. This one also puts a large emphasis on synthy keyboards and a horn section that will make more than one appearance on the album. “Follow Through” is what follows, a much slower song with almost club-like bass beats and a pop ballad refrain. Even though this one strays from the usual Freelance Whales sound, it’s definitely a nice one to check out.

When we’re on the subject of the usual Freelance Whales sound, it’s only fitting that the next song, “Spitting Image” is almost definitely a rewrite of a song that didn’t make their 2010 debut. The song puts forth more energy than usual, and features the “ooo”s and “ahh”s fans are used to, along with lead vocals from Doris Cellar. “Locked Out” is another far cry from what was expected of Diluvia, but it is also another one that is a must for listeners of this album. It is followed by “Dig Into Waves”, a song reminiscent of The Temper Trap and the poppier side of AWOLNATION. It brings back the synths from earlier and tosses in a very upbeat drum part to fill it with energy. “Red Star” is the next track, a five minute, quiet opening build-up that climaxes with the return of the horn section (more like the best band name ever).

“Winter Seeds” brings in a large assortment of instruments to help the five-piece return to that taunting sitting-on-a-hill-at-a-music-festival sound. This is one of the best mediums between the general sounds of their two albums to date, and the medium is beautiful. And don’t worry, festival season will be here soon enough. Next up is “The Nothing”, an overall wonderful vocal performance by Judah Dadone, along with spot on, note-for-note keyboard overdubbing. The album then comes to a close with the almost eight minute “DNA Bank”, a very relaxing, generally pretty, and well-prepared sandwich of everything on this album, and “Emergence Exit”, another slow starter that caps off on an energetic note.

Freelance Whales is not a name that currently rings bells with many people, but they are definitely a band that has done their fair share of the whole “having your music be on everything you can possibly get it on” thing. On top of that, they are one of the solid, new indie folk bands that would privilege the music world by sticking around for a few more albums. Their change of sound from Weathervanes to Diluvia was plain ballsy, but they made it work for themselves and everyone involved by creating a weird, pseudo techno folk thing. The unique approach to the modern folk sound not only earns their drummer, Jacob Hyman, Nutshell’s “Awesomely Creative Drum Beat Award” that was just now made up, but it also gets Freelance Whales an 87/100 for Diluvia. Now stop reading and go get it. I mean honestly, who reads?

Diluvia Tracklisting:

  1. Aeolus
  2. Land Features
  3. Follow Through
  4. Spitting Image
  5. Locked Out
  6. Dig Into Waves
  7. Red Star
  8. Winter Seeds
  9. The Nothing
  10. DNA Bank
  11. Emergence Exit

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