Dec 16, 2009
Panda Bear's House: (The giant mansion pictured above)
An adobe set for your girls huh? Those extravagant big-spenders from Animal Collective have released an EP to follow up that other one they did with the face-melting cover. Here they put their money where their mouths are and clear the first legal sample from a Grateful Dead song. Rest in peace Jerry. It's a good thing they took a break from 5 course meals long enough to lay down some new trax.
When they were in Detroit last summer they totally showed up at Ronin, an upscale sushi place and they weren't even wearing cologne. It was all classical music playing and then when they walked in the record went screech and everyone turned and looked at these rich hippie guys in the doorway. Classic AC.
Nov 29, 2009
This girl with an amazing range, and unique sound opened for funnyman Dave Longstreth and his Dirty Projector's on their most recent tour. Their name was Tune-Yards (though everywhere you see it spelled it has random capitol letters throughout the name).
This album has bursts of genius, and bursts of reggae. Burn. The real standout is "Hatari" which makes a download worth it by itself. When the songs come together as they do infrequently on "Bird Brains" they are real good. Reeeaaal goood.
So even though the album overstays it's welcome, it is worth it for the good parts. A rarity.
Nov 16, 2009
Miraculously Detroit's war horse has the wisdom of age and none of the back/hip problems that come with it. The 5 members of the Dirtbombs play as tight, and no-bullshit a show as can be played. 8 songs into their last set at Detroit's Majestic Cafe the only stage banter was "could someone please pass me a towel." No pause for tuning, no set-list double checks, scarcely even a pause between songs. Once the set ended the drummers played on, while the band took their equipment and set up for another entire set playing on a wood plank stage above the alleys in the adjoining bowling complex.
They have immediacy, and professionalism, but they also wear a large amount of hats. The chameleon cliche is pretty appropriate (as is the amount of hats cliche above). "Ultraglide in Black," is most clearly a soul record, hammered in by the inclusion of hits from Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, yet, it sounds like pure garage. Since it is inconsequential and music classification is annoying, let's leave it at "a good album." If you like the Detroit sound (done better) or that Gories album I posted a little while ago, most definitely check this out.
Nov 2, 2009
Newsom took a break from pruning her booty to record a teeny, boss-joke EP. Listen to the round, booty pound of "Colleen" and the old-ass, new-shape posterity of the other two. Nowhere has Newsom sounded like she has a bigger butt. All that harp playing must have taken it's toll.
Oct 23, 2009
For anyone who likes their modern indie-rock with an overflowing spoonful of balls. Constantines are well regarded, but it seems that a large amount of people haven't invested the time to follow up. Which is too bad. They do so many things well, and Shine A Light is a great showcase. Based on the opener you'd think these guys would be all about tearing shit up, but instant left-turn title-track #2 is a palette cleanser for a solid mix of execution. Check it out. They tour all the time, and play a great show too.
Oct 17, 2009
A tropicalia record called Tropicalia. This album is a combined effort from all the heavy hitters, such as Gal Costa, Caetano Veloso, Os Mutantes, Gilberto Gil, Tom Ze, and others. They are all on the cover, hanging out, holding random shit. Recommended tracks include the half-title track by Os Mutantes, and Caetano Veloso's Baby. It is crazy to think that most of these people were exiled from Brazil because of what they represent, and played. If you like Brazilian pop, you'll like this, and if you've never heard any, this is probably the best starting place.
Oct 12, 2009
Latest release from "A Passing Feeling" front man is a six song EP, under the "Ourselves" name. The sound ranges from clean to lo-fi across the six but all retain the same anthemic immediacy. This was released last week on ourselvescollective.com (check that site out for future free releases from solid bands).
Listen to the timeless melody of "nineties," and the energy of "knees" and "tuned," and the rawness of "revised," and oh hell, just listen to the whole thing. If you like The Thermals, and Guided By Voices, and anything good, check this out. Highly highly recommended.
Oct 8, 2009
After Q and Not U split the drummer formed this band, Georgie James, named to sound like a crooner from long ago. The definitely not-crooner sounding album is more "pure pop for now people," even though sometimes it sounds like Billy Joel influenced pop, and by influenced I mean sounds exactly like "Piano man" (sorry "Long Week"). Regardless, some of the melodies here are pretty good. "Need Your Needs," and "More Lights," might be the best. Check this out if you like "The New Pornographers."
Oct 7, 2009
Lou Barlow and a bunch of others including the Minders played a special tribute set at All Tomorrow's Parties 2003 in honor of Elliott Smith who had recently passed away. It is a short set but pretty cool to hear the quiet-voiced Smith songs being belted out by the deep confidence of Barlow. "Happiness" is a particularly good one.
Oct 2, 2009
Music from the film "Masculin Feminin," all sung by actress and real-life French pop star Chantal Goya. The six short songs contained on the album reek of the 60s but all are delivered in a semi-confident whirl that is endearing if not infectious. The shyness all over "D'Abord Dis-Moi Ton Nom" and the cash-register and fills on "Si Tu Gagnes au Flipper" make this baby-album worth revisiting.
Sep 29, 2009
A trio of black Detroit brothers recorded 7 songs in the early seventies of rock/soul/prog/proto-punk and then moved to Vermont and changed scenes. Thankfully now they are getting some due and are even touring again. I caught them in Chicago on Saturday for a wild set. The crowd went ballz-out crazy for the punk stuff and swayed side to side for the peace-n-love reggae shit. One soul song started with a shout-out to Marvin Gaye and the first few lines were a cover of his "God is Love." The variety was intesreting but I can say that the Death songs that were played were everyone's favorites. These old-ass men can still play the shit out of these songs.
Also interesting is that the rock influence from the original album, guitarist David, died in 2000 of lung cancer which almost assuredly ended all hopes of a live show reunion. They put a life size black and white poster of David on stage with them. Dave decked out in a white karate gi, afro, his hands on a black guitar balanced on the ground. Death playin acting as a proper memorial.
Also, also interesting is that the 7 songs they recorded so long ago are real good. While the live show had clear divisions between their post-Death soul and reggae material, the album effortlessly jumps genres and is never jarring. I can hear the "Yes" influence in the proggy "As the World Turns," and the early punk trappings of "Freakin Out."
This is the type of album that music blogs were created for.
Sep 28, 2009
I have seen Tyvek play a billion times around Detroit. They are fucking awesome. Just look at the poster above from their latest record release show! It's incredible. The album they released a few years ago, "Fast Metabolism" contains some punchy, catchy, lo-fi/lo-maintenance, punk. This album rips some shit apart. Play "Give it up," "Frustration Rock," and "Mary Ellen Claims," on repeat and try to get "Honda" out of your head. I'll post the latest one some time. Check em out live if you get the chance.
Sep 26, 2009
Some of my friends saw Screaming Females play in a basement in their hometown of New Brunswick, NJ this spring. I couldn’t make it and really regret it, not only because this band rocks, but also because with each write-up in Rolling Stone and performance on MTV, the likelihood of seeing them in a basement again rapidly dwindles. But if their increasing popularity means that something not totally shitty is piercing the mainstream music consciousness, I guess I can’t complain too much.
Screaming Females is a bit of a misnomer—there is only one female in the band, and she doesn’t scream that much. Still, this isn’t one of those bands that has gotten attention simply for having a girl at the forefront. This is no obnoxious boot-wearing, tambourine thigh-tapping waif. You may as well forget about lead singer/guitarist Marissa Paternoster’s gender; the point is that she can shred, sing and songwrite with the best of them.
Power Move, the band’s third album, channels the 60s with the occasional sunny surf-rock lick; the 70s with crunchy Sabbath metal riffs; the 80s with Paternoster’s Siouxsie-esque death yowl; and the 90s with plenty of fuzzed-out Pumpkins-y guitars. Tied together with lots of glorious feedback and dime-a-dozen shredding guitar solos, all of these elements combine to create a distinct sound without becoming a derivative reference-fest. My only complaint is that by starting the album with the strongest track, there is nowhere for it to go but downhill. That’s not to say that the rest of the album is disappointing—there are several strong moments, like the epic, echo-y anthem “Adult Army”—but opener “Bell” has the best of it all: a concise, catchy, rocking nugget of pure punk goodness. The album is worth a listen for that track alone.
Recommended trax: Bell, Lights Out, Adult Armyhttp://www.screamingfemales.com/
Sep 22, 2009
Everyone's favorite big booty harp player Joanna Newsom shattered all expectations with this 5 song epic LP. Or EP according to Rolling Stone's 2 star review. "Hey I should really listen to this Ys record, but instead I think I'll write another Led Zeppelin retrospective." Not only the is album structurally daring but the arrangements within are as well. Van Dyke Parks (who also arranged one of my very favorite songs, Phil Oche's "The Crucifixion") deserves much of the credit as do Steve Albini and Jim O'Rourke, the other two members of the Ys dream team. It's about time for a follow up.
Sep 19, 2009
Taking a breather from pop/rock/lo-fi, here is a collection of odds and ends from Italian film score master Ennio Morricone. In my film review of "What have you done to Solange?" last week I mentioned that I would post the soundtrack album where you can find the gorgeous theme song. That and many many other catchy, interesting, and often weird and dated songs are contained within. Basically, Ennio Morricone is a huge badass. Not only did he score giant influential films, but he also did slasher pics, and on occasion, pop songs. Check out the video below to see what I mean.
Sep 16, 2009
Euros Childs (ex-frontman of Gorky's Zygotic Mynci) self-released a new album last week but because it is off the walls crazy (there is a section where he sings "do you like mayonaise? I like mayonaise. La la la mayonaise.) I am choosing to post this one instead. Things start off extremely well with "Over You" a bouncy sweet pop song. The album similarly bounces along, straight through the wtf moments of "Horse Riding" and "Ali Day" and into the melancholy set. The real star of the show here is 7th track, "The Miracle Inn," a sprawling multiple part mini-opera epic. If you like Gorky's this is by far the best solo album from the group.
Sep 14, 2009
The Gories' album "I Know You Fine, But How You Doin'?" is a collection of singles and album cuts that was produced by Alex Chilton. The sound of Eighties Detroit was thrown into a bucket and recorded. Listen to the taken-for-granted-confidence of "Nitroglicerin," and "View From Here." Imagine if Love's Arthur Lee fronted a punk band. Garage rock from Detroit's ex-reigning kings.
Sep 13, 2009
This B-movie title screen should have been the album cover to Destroyer's best album, Streethawk: A Seduction. As it stands, the current one is pretty boring and features decidedly less wheely-ing. As an album though, it is really solid. Every song is good, which is much rarer than it should be. Pop songs with unique song structures, melodies and arrangements. He has never been this good again. If you haven't heard it, or any Destroyer, then now is the time. A fucking basic.
Here is Destroyer's Bay of Pigs EP that came out not too long ago. Same Destroyer ingredients with ambient electronics and disco thrown in. Still sounds like everything Dan Bejar has every written, which is a good thing. The description may sound off putting to some but this EP is not likely to alienate any fans. Oh, I forgot to mention that the first song is 12 minutes long. The ole boy still has some tricks up his sleeve. More artists should be this adventurous.
Sep 10, 2009
A very 90s sounding shoegaze pop record from Lilys. A few of the songs have extended minimalist sound collage style passages, which get a little tedious, especially a seemingly endless passage of silence to end the record. Nitpicking aside the other 90% of the album is a dream-pop shoegazey classic. "The Hermit Crab" in particular is a pleasure. Sure the buildups take a while to build, but once they do it's hard to say they aren't worth it.
Sep 8, 2009
Scotland's Twilight Sad have released a new album that sounds pretty similar to their last. Singer James Graham belts out his lyrics with a strong Scottish accent while Sonic Youth guitars fuzz and feed in the background. It's honestly a nice sound, I just kind of wish they had evolved somewhat. Still a great record. If you've never heard them before this will sound amazing, if you have then it will just be another album.
Sep 7, 2009
"The Monkeys have made their mature album." Yeah, those critics can shut the fuck up. It's like when Supergrass made "Road to Rouen," and everyone was like, "what happened to the young whippersnappers who made 'caught by the fuzz?'" They made a sweet album. Same goes here. Yeah the sound is more restrained, but that doesn't mean these guys are ready for the final chapter of "A Clockwork Orange." Basically
Sep 6, 2009
Sep 5, 2009
Normally I don't post album covers with the reviews. I had to here. Caetano Veloso's self titled second album looks like one of those carnival boards with a hole for heads. So that everyone can capture their favorite memories of a topless babe petting a dragon. And apparently we have Phillips to thanks for the illustration. Thanks Phillips.
Album-wise we have a proto-tropicalia record filled with bravado. Veloso seemingly smirks throughout the entire thing which makes the set have a breezy effortlessness. If you like 60s Brazilian music this is as fine a record as I've heard from the era.
Sep 4, 2009
Hey, Sorry about the lack of updates. I will try to put up a new post at least once every two days for the next month. You know, get the sauce rolling.
This album sounds like what I wished "Muswell Hillbillies" by the Kinks sounded like. A sort of country, classic pop record with interesting vocals, arrangements and instrumentation. Filled with great pop hooks and parasitic melodies. I haven't checked or anything but I bet Rolling Stone is popping huge boners all over "The Ruminant Band" right about now. If they aren't then Spin certainly is. Probably a good thing.
A well written Album from start to finish.
Jul 28, 2009
A new buzz band. It went from, "I don't see what all the fuss is about," to "okay, I kinda like it," to "yeah, is good." And in typical buzz band fashion next month I'll say, "those guys, they suck." Clap Your Hands Say Yeah all over again. But for now the songs are undeniably infectious, and immediate.
They even have the requisite indie girl who plays tambourine and sings back-ups on a couple of songs. And their drummer is awesome (but he shows off too much). Sounds like I'm complaining but give it a listen and let it grow.
Jun 25, 2009
A diamond. Alex Chilton went insane and recorded this taboo sort of record where people sing off key, guitars are out of tune and the drums are fuzzy as shit. He starts early on a few tracks and the drums finish late on a couple, and other mistakes abound that only add to the charm.
It's like I went over to Alex Chilton's house when he wasn't home and found a box of tapes under his bed. Even though there are write-ups about this record all over the internet I still feel like its a secret. A warm, lo-fi epic that drank too much.
Listen to the title track and the first five seconds to "My Rival" to get right in.
Jun 1, 2009
They sure took their sweet ass time. 2001 was the year the previous album was released. What were they doing in all that time? Clearly they were endlessly recording catchy melodies and layers upon layers of instrumentation. So much so that this album almost explodes at the seams with so much going in and out constantly. Almost being the key word. There is a fine line between overload and ecstasy and Signal Morning is the poster child for garbled perfection.
From listen to listen each song sounded completely different to me. Was the drum intro what hooked me the first time, or was is the chanted chorus? There is a lot going on, and enough good ideas to fill 5 albums, but something this dense yet easily listenable doesn't come along very often at all. The sweet, chaotic pop record of 2009.
May 22, 2009
I really should have posted this weeks ago but I wanted the hyperbole I was sure to spout to wear off a little more. Well its been almost a month and I feel the same way. Best album of the year.
I pretty much listen to this on repeat. The song structures, melodies and vocals are so interesting and catchy in equal doses that it almost seems unfair. Other bands wish they had an entire album with as many good ideas as one song here, most notably "Useful Chamber." Listen to the vocals, both male and dual female, and prepare for your brain to melt. It's that good. Do yourself a favor and DL that sheeeeit.
May 2, 2009
22 lo-fi tracks in under 34 minutes. A random mess of genres and sounds played entirely by two people, featuring a Sleeping Beauty record in slow motion, and one song of public domain lyrics. A record for the kids, but with enough variety for Mom to listen too.
check out the entire website : www.buttbabiesband.com which has the album,
or just download it directly below.
Jan 4, 2009
A minor classic. Anyone who has seen Blitzen Trapper live, or has followed their trail of genre pillage will attest to the power of the band. They can do many sounds, and many sounds well. Here is their second album. Not as schitzophrenic as Wild Mt. Nation or the more recent Sub Pop release, Furr, but hints at the variety to come. The two song set of "40 Stripes" and "Asleep for Days" holds the whole thing together, and various nuggets throughout sustain multiple listens.