From the campus of Michigan State University

Marina and the Diamonds: The Family Jewels album review

She is (if we must make a comparison) Regina Spektor meets Lady Gaga, maybe a little bit YACHT. Marina Lambrini Diamandis (Marina and the Diamonds) on her first album, The Family Jewels, offers an addicting take of social commentary with poppy hooks and a stunningly bold and orchestral voice. Maybe you're familiar with tracks like "I Am Not A Robot" and "Hollywood," but these don't do the album justice. Because, while these songs give a fair synopsis of what Marina seems to be about (I have a big dream, I'm true to myself), they don't cut in the way "Oh No" does or explore the enveloping quality of her art as in "Numb."

And it's not just her range that's incredible, but how somehow, in her own effortless way, she manages to evoke this energy that literally gives me goose bumps. There are lyricists who struggle to sing convincingly about self-awareness or any sort of Rajasic power because, well, they don't sound strong or uninhibited. Not the case in this work. She could have used less instrumentation and mixing because, honestly, she doesn't need it. But I'm still going to be listening to her in the car for the next month at least.

In sum, The Family Jewels beckons the listener to question, to scream, to simultaneously be here while flying there. "Better to be hated than love, love, loved for what you're not." And is it not almost too sexy to hear a woman say, "I know exactly what I want and who I want to be? Keep your ears open for this one. She's in your face and she knows what she is talking about. But Welsh-Greek soon-to-be star is going to "take over the world" without selling sex. Let's applaud that, at least!

Courtney Morra

Impact Presents... THE APPLES IN STEREO!

Robert Schneider: I have a son who's 9 years old, and we always act futuristic on the phone… I'll be like, "I'll see you in the future, future, future" (voice fades), and he'll be like "Okay Daddy, daddy, daddy". My wife said I should use it on stage.

On Wednesday, April 28th the Impact presented the Apples In Stereo's live show at the Pike Room in Pontiac.

We talked to Robert Schneider, frontman of Apples in Stereo, and the only remaining original member. He started the Elephant 6 music collective, with members like Jeff Mangum (Neutral Milk Hotel), and Will Cullen Hart (Olivia Tremor Control).

The show started with psychedelic rock band Laminated Cat, from Athens Georgia. The members are young and the band even includes twin brothers. Next was the Generationals from New Orleans.

Finally, the Apples in Stereo came on in matching silver space outfits. The band played a phenomenal show with tons of energy. After the show we asked Robert about them and he said they were designed by Rebecca Turbow, who also designs outfits for Of Montreal. Robert explained, "We're a spaceship crew. We're supposed to be in uniform. I'm kind of like the guru, that's my role in the crew. We all have our characters."

Here's the set list:

Hey Elevator

Dignified Dignitary




Dance Floor

Told You Once

Sun Is Out


Seven Stars

Next Year

No One In The World

Same Old Drag

Can You Feel It


The band came out for a couple encores including "Strawberryfire." Check the Impact YouTube channel for video of the show. See more photos on our flickr stream here.

A big thanks to the Apples in Stereo and the Crofoot/Pike Room and Yep Roc records for making this all happen!

Elise Yoon

The Black Keys: Brothers album review

A few months back I played one of my favorite songs of the year, "Rockabilly Party" off of the newest Quasi album on Sit or Spin. The song, a Neil Young style guitar rave up, is nothing revelatory or new but it's a great SIMPLE rock song.

Impact Chats With... LOCAL NATIVES

5/10/2010 at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor

Nick Van Huis: I know Gorilla Manor was named after the house you guys lived in. How did the experience of living in that house influence the album?

Ryan: I think it definitely shaped the way that we write songs together. I’ve come to find that we are very weird, in that we are so collaborative. I think a lot of bands are centered around one guy who just writes all of the songs and tells everyone what to do. But we would wake up on Saturday morning or whatever and literally just get together in the main room of the house and just write songs together around a piano and two acoustic guitars and we did a lot of the songs that way just hours and hours on end of everyone just putting in their ideas and shaping the song that way.