Feb 10, 2010

Alien Father - Sunday at the Speedway

The members of New Jersey’s “avant-garage” threesome Alien Father have been noodling away since they were in high school and the first few years of their partnership produced some exceptional tracks. But it’s hard to argue that they hit their stride with the Summer ’08 release of Knives with Journalism. The excellent 10-track album was anchored by their classic synth/bass garage pop sound, while ranging the spectrum from up-tempo video game-esque keyboard sprees to dark, proggy epics.

If you’re like me and you have had Knives on constant rotation while waiting anxiously to see what these guys will do next, then rejoice: their follow-up, Sunday at the Speedway, has been released for free download by Ourselves Collective (with a suggested donation of course!).

Sunday at the Speedway finds the band covering diverse territory as before, but they have used the album’s rather genius production to truly create a signature sound. With the songs steeped in a Spector-like wall of sound and tied together with entertaining transitions of dialogue and feedback, it’s an effect that allows a dance song (“Chinga Tu Madre”), an evil metal anthem (“Hellbound Homo”) and a fuzzy, punky pop gem (“He’s a Fader”) to all exist on the same album and still sound like they were recorded by the same band. The songwriting is as good if not better than that on Knives, and the production really adds to it.

This is not to say that the band does not cross into new songwriting territory on this album. There are several slower songs, almost ballads (“Incest People,” “Cloudsong”) that, while gentler than their normal fare, still manage to sound sinister and awesome. What’s more, the musicianship has been beefed up a few notches—the keyboards sound more intricate, the drums sound tighter, the guitars wail and shred to epic levels, and the bass is deeper and more resonating than ever.

Long story short – Sunday at the Speedway continues the upward trajectory that Knives set in motion and treads some new ground while it’s at it. Highly recommended if you like DIY music and your tastes fall anywhere on the spectrum from punk to metal to indie rock. This album will end and you will instantly want to start it again.

Recommended trax: It’s only 26 and a half minutes long! Listen to them all!

Click here to download Sunday at the Speedway from Ourselves Collective, and check out the other awesome bands when you're there!

Feb 9, 2010

The Strokes - 2nd Impressions of Earth

The Strokes' Third album "First Impressions of Earth" was definitely their worst. It was 20 minutes longer than their previous two records and felt self indulgent, with intros and extended instrumental segments throughout. Little did most people know, myself included, that it's a pretty good record buried underneath a mound of rough edges.

For some reason the longest songs on the record are also the weakest. I trimmed those the most significantly, weighed bridges and outros against the flow of the album and edited it down as if it were a mixtape. So what we're left with is a Strokes album that runs 32 minutes instead of 52 minutes with the best parts kept and the worst parts in such a different context that they feel fresh. "2nd Impressions of Earth" is exactly as the name sounds. It might be my favorite Strokes record now.

This is an album re-cut for the thousands of people that skipped the original.


Feb 3, 2010

Dave Davies - The Album That Never Was

Last week I posted a thing on Beach House and was asked to take it down by Blogger. They even asked me to take it down again after it was already down. So I'm back tracking. Here is an unreleased album that I am guessing no one is going to give a shit about it being for free online.

It's a collection Dave Davies songs. He is the guitarist and occasional singer for "The Kinks" and a damn good song writer. This collection is worth a download for "Mindless Child of Motherhood" alone. It is one of my favorite songs of all time. "This Man He Weeps Tonight," is also really solid as are a bunch of the others.
For the completionists out there I must apologize that "Death of a Clown" is missing on this comp, but isn't too hard to track down. For the rest of you, get on it. It's very good.