Thursday, August 10


If I'd had a blog back in 2004 and had compiled a Top 10 album list for that year, Guster's Keep It Together would have likely made my top five. So it was with much anticipation that I popped their new record, Ganging Up on the Sun, into my CD player and punched PLAY. Alas, beware great expectations....

Way back in 1999, I wrote a review of Guster's then most recent release, Goldfly. At the time, I referred to them as a "bongo-pop band," as they did seem to have an affinity for that particular instrument back in the day. I also made the point that the trio had made whatever reputation it had at the time through its tireless touring and eagerly-received live performances. In reviewing the album, however, I found their sound to be somewhat generic. I compared them to everyone from Counting Crows to Gin Blossoms; Rusted Root to Ben Folds Five. Well, what goes around comes around, I guess, as the Ben Folds reference seems fresh and fitting again on Ganging Up's piano-poppy "Manifest Destiny." And "One Man Wrecking Machine" - one of the new album's true highlights - nonetheless veers uncomfortably close to mid-tempo Fountains of Wayne.

The last point I made in my Goldfly review of yesteryear was that it sometimes takes time for performance-oriented bands to find their feet in the recording studio. Hell, some never do.

But Guster proved with Keep It Together that they could master the recorded form by expanding their sound and slickening it up without selling out to the suits. Production-wise, Ganging Up on the Sun continues in the same expansive, layered vein, but the tunes just aren't as sharp as the ones that appeared on its predecessor. The melodies just aren't as memorable. And the second half of the record drags a bit, pace-wise.

Still, Guster has made great strides in their 14 or so years of existence, and there's every reason to believe that their next album could be an absolute masterpiece. In the meantime, I'll pull Keep It Together off the shelf, shake off the dust, pop it into my CD player, and punch PLAY.

Guster's MySpace page.

[Guster will be performing with members of the Boston Pops on Late Night with Conan O'Brien tonight. Check your local listings.]

From the LP Ganging Up on the Sun, 2006 >>>
[MP3] "Satellite"
[MP3] "The New Underground"

From the LP Keep It Together, 2004 >>>
[MP3] "Careful"
[MP3] "Amsterdam"

From the LP Goldfly, 1997 >>>
[MP3] "Rocketship"


natalia said...

Hello from Uruguay!!!

Anonymous said...

Many people know the importance of self confidence and try to boost their own by using many different personal development models. Self confidence to most people is the ability to feel at ease in most situations but low self confidence in many areas may be due to a lack of self esteem. Low self esteem takes a more subtle form that low self confidence. So if you are tired of feeling not good enough, afraid of moving towards your desires and goals, feel that no matter what you do it is just never good enough, then your self esteem could do with a boost.
Every day we make decisions based on our level of self-esteem. We also exhibit that level of self esteem to those around us through our behaviour. 90% of all communication is non-verbal - it is not what you say but ho you say it that matters! Your body language, tonality and facial gestures can all tell a completely different story to your words. It is our behaviour which influences others and people react to us by reading our non-verbal communications. Have you ever met someone you just didn't like although on the surface they seemed polite and courteous, or you met someone who seemed to speak confidently yet you knew they were really frightened underneath and just displaying bravado?
Parental and peer influences play a major part in moulding our level of self-esteem when we are children and in our early years of adolescence. The opinions of the people closest to us and how they reacted to us as individuals or part of the group was a dominant factor in the processes involved in forming our self esteem.
As adults we tend to perpetuate these beliefs about ourselves and in the vast majority of cases they are ridiculously erroneous. It is time to re-evaluate our opinion of ourselves and come to some new conclusions about these old belief patterns.
Ask yourself some serious question:
Is your long-held view about yourself accurate? Do we respect the sources from which we derived these beliefs? Most of the negative feedback we bought into as we were growing up actually came from people we have little or no respect for and as adults we would probably laugh their comments away! Yet the damage to your self esteem was done when you were very young and you still carry it with you to this day.
Is it possible that even those people you respected, who influenced your self-worth, were wrong? Perhaps they had low self esteem also.
As adults we have the opportunity to reshape our self-esteem. Try to judge accurately the feedback you receive from people you respect. This process will allow you to deepen your understanding of yourself and expand your self-image. It will also show you were you actually need to change things about yourself and were you don't. Many people are striving to better themselves in areas where they are just fine or actually excelling and it is only because they have an inaccurate picture of themselves in their minds due to low self esteem!
Setting small goals and achieving them will greatly boost your self-esteem. Identify your real weakness and strengths and begin a training program to better your inter-personal or professional skills. This will support you in your future big life goals and boost your self-esteem and self confidence to high levels you didn't existed!
Learn to recognise what makes you feel good about yourself and do more of it. Everyone has certain things that they do which makes them feel worthwhile but people with low self esteem tend to belittle these feelings or ignore them.
Take inventory of all the things that you have already accomplished in your life no matter how small they may seem. Recognise that you have made achievements in your life and remember all the positive things that you have done for yourself and others. Take a note of your failures and don't make excuses like "I'm just not good enough" or "I just knew that would happen to me", analyse the situation and prepare yourself better for the next time. If someone else created success, regardless of the obstacles, then you are capable of doing the same! Remember everyone has different strengths and weakness so do not judge your own performance against that of another just use them as inspiration and know that what one human being has achieved so can another!
Surround yourself with people who respect you and want what is best for you - people who are honest about your strengths and will help you work through your weakness. Give the same level of support to them!
Avoid people who continually undermine you or make you feel small. These people are just displaying very low self esteem. As your own self esteem grows you will find that you are no longer intimidated by another's self confidence or success and you can actually be joyful for them! Do things you love to do and that make you happy. A truly happy person never has low self esteem they are too busy enjoying life! By getting busy living your life with passion and joy you will not be able to be self-consciousness.
If you find yourself feeling self-conscious in any situation focus on the fact that others can tell and many of them will be feeling the same. Be honest. People respond to someone better if they openly say "To tell you the truth I'm a bit nervous" rather than displaying bravo or fake confidence that they can see right through. Their reactions to you, will show your mind at a deep level, that there was actually nothing to be frightened of and everything is great. If someone reacts to this negatively they are just displaying low self esteem and very quickly you will find others noticing this! Really listen to people when they talk to you instead of running through all the negative things that could happen in your head or focusing on your lack of confidence. People respond to someone who is truly with them in the moment..
Breath deeply and slow down. Don't rush to do things.
Stop the negative talk! 'I'm no good at that' or "I couldn't possibly do that" are affirmations that support your lack of self esteem. Instead say "I have never done that before but I am willing to try" or "how best can I do that?". Which leads us to the last point - the quality of the questions you ask yourself s very important.
When you ask a question it almost always has a preposition in it. For example, "How did I mess that up?" presumes that something was messed up, a better way of phrasing the question would be "what way can I fix this quickly?", as this presumes you can and will fix it. Or "How am I ever going to reach my goal?" could be rephrased as "what way will lead me to my goal quicker" presumes that you are going to reach your goal! Get the picture? Change the quality of your questions and your results will change!
Practise these techniques and watch your self esteem rise day by day. lucid dreaming

Anonymous said...


Wanted to send you a note about Guster and Jeff Garlin doing a podcast together. Hopefully it is something you might enjoy.

Here's is what the band had to say about it:

Here's the deal with the "collaboration" between Curb Your Enthusiasm and Guster. It's not a Season Six band cameo on the show. I wish. But it's the next best thing, a five-episode podcast of a long, winding conversation between two Guster members (the singer and the drummer) and our friend Jeff Garlin, who plays Larry's agent on the show.

If you have people in your life who like Curb Your Enthusiasm but don't know Guster, or vise versa, this is your chance to get them hooked on our.... conversational... skills? Having befriended Jeff at our Central Park show two years ago, we thought a mutual podcast would be interesting since we like his comedy and he likes our music. Around the time we were finishing up "Ganging Up on the Sun" we actually went into the studio with Jeff and recorded it. A lot of topics get covered since it's almost an hour long. This might be the deepest Guster interview to date. Don't fear the podcast.

Now for the technical stuff…

A ten-minute episode will become available, for free, every Monday in October, with the first podcast being released on October 2. If you are interested in hosting these Podcasts (which we really hope you are) you can download them each week here:

Thanks for your consideration. Both Guster and Jeff would really appreciate your support on these podcasts. We can guarantee they will be a good listen!

Please email regarding any questions or opportunities.

Team Guster

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Guster is an American alternative rock, so I think that they are a good band, I would like to buy some of their albums, I think that Adam Gardner is a spectacular musician! 22dd