OH MY GOD. SERIOUSLY? MY GOD. THIS IS GREAT.
That is the normal response upon listening to the new album Latitudes and Longitudes by Cleveland four-piece indie-punk outfit Signals Midwest. This is their second full length, a follow up to 2009's Burn the Blueprints. I did an interview with Signals' frontman Max Stern not too long ago, which you can find here. If anything, the interview just served as added force behind the nonstop parade of excitement and anticipation for this release. All the excitement has definitely paid off, because this album is perfect.
Through all 10 tracks on Latitudes, there is nothing but raw energy and excellent musicianship. I didn't even know punk could sound this hard and powerful. As stated in the review for Blueprints, Signals Midwest are like a blend of Ted Leo and Latterman, but with their own spin on it. Or a bunch of their own spins on it. There's a lot of spins, not unlike a tilt-a-whirl. This album feels like it's THE album that gets the band even further out into the scene. I mean, it's kind of a combination of Blueprints and this one that really seems to solidify Signals Midwest as an important band. Both albums definitely NEED to be pressed to vinyl at some point, and since this album sounds like it will garner some definite punk-scene popularity, this might at some point come to fruition. But until this day comes, there's always bandcamp and CDs.
I don't even think I'm able to list my favorite songs...it's just too damn difficult. Every song feels necessary and awesome, and it's hard to sift through all of it and find ones that stand out even more. Plus, since you can just stream all the songs for free, you can easily pick your own favorite songs in such a short amount of time. Which is awesome for me, because I suffer from chronic laziness.
Here's something cool, though. There's a music video for the song "Monarchs" off this release, and a video of the band playing "In Tensions" live at the recording studio. So, you can enjoy the shit out of these two videos, and everything will be hunky dory.
So yeah. Best album of the year? Too early too say. Plus, there's that Vacation album by Bomb the Music Industry...and Suburbia by The Wonder Years. 2011 is definitely one of the best years ever made.
Idle and the Bear.