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The Airborne Toxic Event

The Airborne Toxic Event Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
Price: 5.99
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“When I write a song,” says Mikel Jollett, co-founder and creative driver of the Californian five-piece The Airborne Toxic Event, “I’m trying to get down an emotion, a scene or a setting. Everything important that happens after that happens between the music and the listener; the rest of it is all mythology. The collective interpretation of it is way more important than ... Read more in Amazon's The Airborne Toxic Event Store

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Frequently Bought Together

The Airborne Toxic Event + All At Once + Such Hot Blood (European Edition incl. Bonus Material)
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Product details

  • Audio CD (9 Feb 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Major Domo
  • ASIN: B001MTW22C
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 63,748 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Wishing Well
2. Papillon
3. Gasoline
4. Happiness Is Overrated
5. Does This Mean Your Moving On?
6. This Is Nowhere
7. Sometime Around Midnight
8. Something New
9. Missy
10. Innocence
11. The Winning Side *
12. This Losing *
13. The Girls In Their Summer Dresses*

Product Description


Taking their name from a chapter in Don DeLillo’s classic post-modern campus novel White Noise, resolutely independent Los Angeles quintet The Airborne Toxic Event (hereafter referred to as TATE) had a unexpected and unlikely US hit when the gloriously self-conscious "Sometime Around Midnight" was picked up for a television soundtrack. A sloppy epic of self-abnegation, criticised by some for lyrics little deeper than a greeting card verse, it sure sounds like the late-night thoughts of a man feeling unworthy of himself let alone the girl who keeps treading all over him. No wonder the public identified with it. Mikel Jollett, the former journalist who leads TATE, started writing this album as a novel before changing format and his songs are little vignettes and character sketches not dissimilar to fellow Angelenos Rilo Kiley. They work too. Tunes like "Wishing Well" and the single aspire to The Arcade Fire’s widescreen indie sound, while "Papillon", the pop-punk of "Gasoline", the cute and tinny "Something New" and the delightful self-pity of "Does This Mean You’re Moving On?" are as convincingly reductive as the Strokes’ early efforts. But they are all extremely catchy, and at times unexpectedly wise. The Airborne Toxic Event is hardly an event, but it will certainly stick with you. --Steve Jelbert

BBC Review

They spent 2008 as the darlings of American chat show culture, and now Airborne Toxic Event are launching their soul-bearing pop at the UK. With a debut so definitively a homage to Britpop, that could prove akin to selling ice to the proverbial Eskimo.

Having served his own time as a member of the music journalism fraternity, frontman Mikel Jollett will no doubt be all too familiar with that curse of the fledgling band: the simultaneous praise and condemnation of comparison.

Choosing to release the album's most string-heavy track as the debut single has done nothing to deter comparisons with Montreal's Arcade Fire: controversy flared in TATE's native America when one critic panned the album and declared Sometime Around Midnight a carbon copy of Neighbourhood #1 (Tunnels). The singles' similarity is evident and undeniable, but untypical of the tone of the tracklist as a whole.

The epic orchestration and poetic lyricism we'd been lead to expect by numerous plaudits never surface, and instead Jollett presents us with Britpop style tales of relationship woe, delivered vocally with that same forced rasp overused by Razorlight's Johnny Borrell.

There is a certain amount of attempted creativity; Happiness opens with something of the Badalamenti Twin Peaks soundtrack about it, but the originally a capella vocal descends into the predictable, with lines including, "I'm such a bore, I don't do anything anymore." Jollett clearly spent as much time as the rest of us in his teenage bedroom despairing along to Morrissey.

Missy is all country guitar and tinny drum; very pleasant but hopelessly mindful of something written and performed by Friends' brilliantly observed, cliched musician Phoebe Buffay. Sadly, the ad hoc nature of the band's formation runs straight through the heart of the material. "Why not form a band?" Why not, indeed? The album is too much shaped by fandom and too little driven by long-held ideas and embedded passion.

Innocence ends the record with flashes of inspiration: gentle guitar picking and strings grow pacy with a disco bassline. Unfortunately the repetition of lyrics, "oh my God!" here, and throughout the album, is irritating to say the least.

Airborne Toxic Event are a band you want to like, but based on this sketchy offering it's hard to see the point. --Keira Burgess

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
What a refreshing sound this band have produced. It's hard to categorise their style or place in a conventional 'box' and perhaps that's what makes it different. There is no doubt that the lyrics are very poetic, with a singer who certainly expresses himself - sounding vaguely like an American version of Shane MacGowan (of Pogues fame) - if on speed! I've been playing this disc pretty much non stop since I got it and it just grows and grows on you. "Sometime around Midnight" is without doubt the most radio friendly track on the disc and will doubtless be popular on a lot of dance floors throughout the country. Great to hear something different and I can't recommend this outfit highly enough.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best that 2009 will have to offer... 13 Feb 2009
Format:Audio CD
It's only early February and it's going to take a very, very special album to make my favourite two albums for the year change, second is The Boxer Rebellion with their fantastic return Union and first is the self-titled album by TATE.

I only discovered them in October last year when they played Camden's Dublin Castle for consecutive Tuesday gigs, the UK rumblings could be seen in the big cities, a gig at the 100 club a few weeks ago (which was amazing) sold out quickly, as has the future tour at Kings College and also a Manchester date. The airplay for Somewhere Around Midnight got as far as BBC radio, this time the hype is deserved.

Gasoline, a fantastic guitar pop/rock song was the first song I heard and it's still great today. Somewhere Around Midnight has rightly propelled them towards commercial success. The sweeping violin, the slow-burning build up to a spectacularly frantic finish. Perfection.
The pinnacle of this album is the last song of the US release, Innocence a Jim Steinman-esque intro, and as with the whole album a tour-de-force of lyrical story-telling.

I've seen a lot of bad reviews for this album, but what do these critical 'expert' reviews mean precisely? I mean Queen II got critically smashed on it's arrival and that is one of Rocks classic pioneering albums and everyone know what followed from the minds of Mr Mercury and co. I'd rather bands go for something to please their fans, then the critics. I am sure they'd love an experimental shin-dig if it was done for the first ever time but a band with a violinist the isn't Win Butler and entourage - oh my, oh no.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Potent post-punk mix 20 Jun 2009
Format:Audio CD
The Airborne Toxic Event hale from Los Angeles and comprise singer/guitarist Mikel Jollett, guitarist/keyboardist Steven Chen, bassist Noah Harmon, drummer Daren Taylor, and keyboardist/violist Anna Bulbrook. This début album contains 10 numbers which demonstrate the band's versatility and skill at taking the post-punk aesthetic to new highs with a range of styles varying from the high energy 'Papillon' and 'Gasoline' to folksy ballad style of 'Sometime Around Midnight', and with a fair mix of hybrid not-sure-what-they-want to be tracks, like 'Missy' and 'Innocence'.

One constant throughout is Jollett's vocal contribution which most will either love or hate immediately but which I found lends a distinct and yet varied feel to most of the songs here. Most of the time he maintains a rawness to the delivery which slots perfectly into the angst-ridden punk-inspired subject matter but when he needs to he can turn on the syrup and switch to a lyrical sweetness so that you never know entirely where you stand with this album.

All in all a great début album with a promise of interesting things to come.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great band, terrible name 16 Jan 2014
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Even though the name is taken from a Milan Kundera story and therefore officially arty, it's still a terrible name for a band - except perhaps a death metal band, and this lot are nothing of the sort. Luckily their music more than makes up for the name - very good indie, references would be Arcade Fire and that sort of business. Recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars well worth it 29 Oct 2009
Format:Audio CD
I like this CD. I decided to buy it after seeing the band on Letterman. The songs are strong. Sometimes the music seems a bit basic or cliched or something but generally it works well. The lead singer has a pretty distinctive, whiskey soaked voice. There's a bit of Arcade Fire about the band - but also some Pogues and possibly some Franz Ferdinand. I'd like to see them live as I suspect they'd have some good energy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant album 4 Jun 2009
Format:Audio CD
I have to say this is one of the best albums in my collection.. Each song is very different.. Buy it, you won't be disappointed
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good debut 11 Jun 2011
By iPlod
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This a really good debut album with some really great songs mixed with some OK tunes. Room for improvement? Yes! And they did with the second album, which is even better.
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