I’m not entirely sure how, but somehow I missed Art Brut’s debut, Bang Bang Rock & Roll last year. That’s pretty odd considering that they have a lot of things I look for in a band; they’re arty, witty, and more than anything else, they produce genuinely enjoyable music. At least I’ll know better than to let the same thing happen with their sophomore album, It’s A Bit Complicated, which is due for release in June. In the meantime, I guess I’ll just have to make do with these un-mastered advance tracks.
Art Brut – Pump Up The Volume.mp3 (Removed Upon Request)
Art Brut – Direct Hit.mp3 (Removed Upon Request)
Art Brut – Nag Nag Nag Nag.mp3 (Removed Upon Request)
When I first heard about Coconut Records, Jason Schwartzman’s new band, I’ll admit I was a little apprehensive about listening to their album. As a general rule, I believe actors should stay actors, and musicians should stay musicians; the mixing of the two rarely turns out well. Then I did a little research on Schwartzman, and learned that this is far from his first musical endeavor; he used to be the drummer for Phantom Planet, and has composed the scores for several films.
While Coconut Records debut album, Nighttiming, certainly displays his talent, it’s also far too scattered a record to be properly enjoyed. One moment you’re listening to a sand-washed ballad, the next to a disjointed rock number. At times, Nighttiming sounds less like an album than a collection of demos placed in random sequence. Luckily for Schwartzman, the album as a whole doesn’t detract from the single tracks too badly. There are some Weezer-worthy pop/rock gems here, especially in the first half. Nighttiming was released this past Tuesday digitally, and will be released in CD form in June.
It took long enough, but someone has finally taken advantage of the buzz surrounding Sonic Youth’s performance of Daydream Nation at select venues this summer. Ruby Isle (Mark Mallman & Dan Geller) have taken the Daydream classic, and wrapped in elctro goodness. It retains everything that made it great, but adds a nice 21st century touch, blending surprisingly well with the nostalgia that the track holds for so many of us. Enjoy the track, and take a listen to the original while you’re at it.
I know you’re all waiting for more on Cassadaga, and I’m sorry that I haven’t posted more yet. I just don’t want to post it’s piece until I’m sure of my opinion. In that respect, the piece probably won’t be ready until mid-next week. But since this is, essentially, an mp3 blog, I’ll make a deal with you. I’ll give you this mp3 if you wait patiently and promise to check out my review next week. ‘Susan Miller Rag’ is a b-side from Cassadaga, which you should receive a 3″ CD of if you pre-ordered. It’s quite different from anything I’ve ever heard Bright Eyes do. It’s an upbeat rock track, with some very nice mellow instrumentation. After a few listens, it’s fairly easy to hear why it’s a b-side; it just doesn’t fit in with the overall tone of Cassadaga.
There are a lot of words that are overused when describing music; today, I’ll be taking a look at ‘beautiful’. Critics use ‘beautiful’ to describe just about anything nowadays, and as a result, the word is now a bit meaningless. The upside to this is that when you hear something that actually is beautiful, you can’t help but be amazed. At least that’s how I felt this past weekend, when I heard Hurtbreak Wonderland for the first time.
Hurtbreak Wonderland is the sixth full-length from Japanese band World’s End Girlfriend, the musical project of Katsuhiko Maeda. Their sound is hard to describe; you have to hear it to really understand it. Maeda specializes in mixing classical, lush soundscapes with moments of utter insanity. The description does WEG no justice, but I hope this mp3 will. Hurtbreak Wonderland was released last Friday on Human Highway Records, and is currently only available as a pricey Japanese import.
I’ve only listened to this twice, as I just woke up, but I already like it more than La Blogotheque’s video version. That version had a certain low-key charm to it, but the official album one has a bit more of an edge to it. You can look for a full piece on The National’s Boxer sometime next week, after the Cassadaga one. Which, by the way, is coming along quite nicely.
The National – Ada.mp3 (Removed Upon Request)
I’ve got a few questions: first, why do so many great artists come from Iceland? Secondly, why are so many of them interrelated? For example, one of my most anticipated releases of ’07 is Bjork’s Volta. Another release I’m looking forward to is Sigur Ros’ new album. Now, Bjork worked with Sigur Ros at one point, who worked with Amiina (who I’ve already raved about), who worked with Efterklang. I just received ‘Towards The Bare Hill’, the fourth song off of Efterklang’s upcoming EP, Under Giant Trees, and it already sounds like Efterklang fit in with Iceland’s finest. With it’s haunting vocals, and massive instrumentation, ‘Towards The Bare Hill’ is a hard track to forget. Highly recommended.
With each album he releases, Devin The Dude seems less and less likely figure for mainstream success. It’s not that the quality of his records have slipped over time; he’s been able to maintain a fairly high standard through each of his four albums. It’s simply that after four albums, and an appearance on on Dr. Dre’s 2001, you begin think that if the public hasn’t picked up on him by now, they likely never will. That’s a shame, since Devin is one of the most unique rappers currently performing.
While his underground brethren, such as Busdriver and El-P, focus on highly abrasive rap, Devin does just the opposite. His rapping is easy on the ears, with a laid-back Texas drawl, and humorous observational lyrics, like “Hobos used to ask you for a dollar, now the motherfuckers ask you for three” on ‘Almighty Dollar’. He sticks to light-hearted rhymes like this throughout most of the album. He sounds like a genuinely fun guy.
In case you hadn’t already heard, Modest Mouse have officially taken the #1 spot on the Billboard charts, selling just under 130,000 copies. That’s around 50,000 more than the last major indie release, Neon Bible. However, don’t think those two figures mean indie has finally permeated the mainstream. Two other big hitters, LCD Soundsystem and Ted Leo, slid into the 46th and 109th positions, respectively. I haven’t been able to find the figures for Person Pitch, but I’m sure they won’t make me smile. Things like these are the reasons we need to support the artists we like. I know most of us say ‘x band won’t miss my fifteen bucks’; the truth is, they probably won’t, but they will miss your support. Not all of us can spare the cash to buy every record that comes along, but if you really love an album, the purchase is worth it. A nicely packaged CD is so much more satisfying than So, while you try to fix that, enjoy the (strangefully enough) fittingly-titled King Rat, a vinyl only b-side from We Were Dead. Thanks goes once again to I Guess I’m Floating for digging up this gem.
I’m not even going to deny I’ve had this song for less than two minutes, that I’ve barely even listened to it, or that I’m rushing to put up this post. All I’m going to say is that you need to hear this. If you hadn’t already gathered this, it’s from Bright Eyes new album, Cassadaga, which I absolutely recommend you purchase as soon as it hit’s store shelves on April 10th. Enjoy, and expect a more in-depth post in the next few days.