It’s only been two years since the last Stars album, but it feels like it’s been much longer. Maybe that’s because their last album, the gorgeous Set Yourself On Fire, was a career defining moment for them. While their previous work was beautiful low-key pop (a good thing), SYOF stepped beyond the bounds of what pop music can be, with it’s grandiose compositions, bittersweet lyrics, and most importantly, the interplay between Campbell ‘s and Millan’s vocals. Now, a few weeks after they announced their new album, In Our Bedroom After The War, the first song from that album has been sent out. Based purely on first impressions, it sounds like Stars are returning to a more electronic style, such as that on their debut, Nightsongs. However, they haven’t forgotten the lessons they learned with SYOF. The grand compositions remain, as do the sincerity and crystalline-like smoothness of the vocals. In Our Bedroom After The War is due out September 25th, on Arts & Crafts.
It’s beginning to look like Italo disco is the next big blog obsession. First, Sally Shapiro put out her stunning debut, Disco Romance, late last year. Then, Glass Candy started appearing on various blogs. The latest artist to emerge from this burgeoning scene is Cloetta Paris. As seems to be the trend with these artists, very little information is evident beyond their names. It’s not even clear if Cloetta Paris is a single person or a duo. However, it’s clear that she/they will be going places. With a Pitchfork mention beneath her/their belt(s) and some very beautiful music to back that up, it shouldn’t be long before you’re hearing more from Ms. Paris.
-In my recent interweb wanderings, I ran across Virb, which in turn brought me to Rocky Votolato’s page there. Think Ryan Adams plus Sufjan Stevens, with a little Tom Waits thrown in for good measure. (mp3)
-Dirty Projectors have released a new track from their upcoming album, which is either infuriatingly pretentious, or pretentiously genius. (mp3)
I’m sure most of you spent today familiaizing yourself with Okkervil River’s latest album, Stage Names. I just finished my first listen, and the word ‘charming’ came to mind several times during the album. The standouts seemed to be Savannah Smiles, A Girl In Port, Title Track, and John Allyn Smith Sails. Savannah Smiles hit me particularly hard, though I can see it as a point of contention among fans. It’s sappy and sentimental, but for me, that’s working just fine. Still, it’s not as great as the albums finale.
Remember a few months ago, when Frank Black announced that a new Pixies album was in the works? Well, it’s starting to look like that’s not gonna happen anytime soon; triple j music news caught up with the man a few days ago, and asked him about the new record:
When Kingsmill caught up with Frank on the phone this week he had to ask if we’re even gonna get any new music from the Pixies.
“No, I don’t think that that Pixie’s record’s gonna happen. I mean I could be wrong I don’t know…. Just raffling the personalities all in to a recording studio is a problem you know. [RK] Still that seems to be the issue? [FB] Oh yeah, always will be with certain bands you know.”
[via triple j music news]
Most fans have probably got mixed feeling over this. On one hand, it’s too bad we’re not going to get to hear any new material from one of the best bands ever, but at the same time, it’s a relief to know that they’re not going to ruin their legacy with something like the The Weirdness. Plus, you’ve gotta admit that Kim Deal and Frank Black getting along was just wrong to begin with.
Today I came across this cool little Panda Bear quote, concerning the Strawberry Jam leaks:
Did you hear that Domino is pretty pissed about the new songs leaking?
I heard they sent out a thing; I know they’re stressed about it. It’s a complicated issue. I know, from our side, after a second of them being upset about it, we were like, “Forget about it. Don’t make a big deal about it.” I know they traced back the leak to one person and he was going to get fired, and we don’t want to do that to anybody. We don’t want anybody to get fired…I don’t think he’s going to get fired anymore. I’m happy about that.
At the same time, you trust these people with these things and, you know, the leak was really good for my record…and we had to send the promos out really early because of travel schedules and other things. But, I think the label will mellow out about it. The only thing we’re really upset about with the leak is that it’s only parts of it. I think there are six songs out there now. People aren’t even able to get the full experience of the album, which bums us all out quite a bit. So if you’re listening leakers [speaking directly into the tape recorder], put up those other three songs, man, pronto.
For me, this pretty much cements Noah Lennox as the coolest person in modern music. The rest of the interview is pretty interesting, too, especially Noah’s opinions on how leaks effect album sales, so be sure to give it a read. Oh, and here are the Strawberry Jams I’ve been digging the most lately (which just happen to be the Panda jams . . .)
Sonic Youth + The Ramones = No Age? Apparently so. L.A. lo-fi noise/punk duo, No Age, composed of Randy Randall and Dean Spunt have been releasing great 12″‘s for a while now, but it wasn’t until June 11 (in Europe, at least) that they released their debut LP, Weirdo Rippers. Most of the tunes on Rippers are culled from previous releases, but you’d never guess by the flow of the album. It doesn’t sound nearly as copy-pasted as you might think, instead sounding like a great collection of songs. The continuity is a little off, sure, but it’s hard to complain with tracks as great as these are.
-New tracks from Liars and New Pornographers here.
-Lifesavas are finally going to get some hard-earned attention, it would seem. (mp3)
-Cristian Vogel’s new band, Night Of The Brain, just released their new album Wear This World Out. (mp3)
Once again, I apologize for the silence around here as of late. I’ve been a little off lately, thinking too much and barely listening to any new music. I suppose you can only listen to so many next-big-thing albums before you become disgusted with the commercialization of music that’s occurred over the past few years. Given my state of mind these past few days, it’s probably not surprising that the one new album to catch my attention is distinctly “un-commercial”; Sir Richard Bishops While My Guitar Violently Bleeds. Now, as you read that title, your mind probably jumped to all sorts conclusions about Bishop piggybacking another album in hopes of success. While I certainly had similar thoughts when I first read it, I assure you that you couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, the title fits the album better than anything else I’ve ever heard; Bishop coaxes some of the most stunning and unlikely sounds you’ll ever hear from a guitar. Two parts acoustic, one part psychedelic, and one part noise, While My Guitar Violently Bleeds is a multicultural trek through beautiful simplicity. Alternating between relaxing, gentle strums, and tense, quick picks of the guitar, Bishop reaches truly transcendental heights; the final moments of the last track are the perfect ending to an album, as cathartic and climactic as you would hope. While My Guitar Violently Bleeds is out now on Locust Music.
I loved Yeah Yeah Yeah’s sophomore effort, Show Your Bones, but like most fans, I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed over the lack of any really hard rock tracks. It was a fine album, but too mellow for a band known for being over-the-top rockers. Now, a year after SYB’s release, it looks like we’re finally going to get the old YYY’s back, with their new EP, Is Is, due out on July 24th, on Dress Up/Fiction. The tracklist is as follows:
01. Rockers To Swallow
02. Down Boy
03. Kiss Kiss
These are all older tracks, written around the time of Fever To Tell, so they’re sure to please fans of YYY’s debut. Also, most of these tracks have been available previously, on live DVD’s or rare splits, so I’ve head most of them; let me assure you, they rock. We got our crazy art rockers back!
Two new pieces of cover art crossed my path today.
M.I.A.’s Kala (Interscope/8-12)
Liars Liars (Mute 8/28)
Also, the video for M.I.A.’s ‘Boyz’:
Also, Queens Of The Stone Age’s new album, Era Vulgaris, is out today. It’s been getting some pretty mixed reviews, but personally, I love it. I’ll admit that I’ve never been that into the Queens before, so I can’t really compare it to their previous efforts, but EV stands as a great album all on its own.