Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The motherlode returns

Play it: 09.13.2005 New Release Highlights

This might just be hyperbole, but I don't think there's ever been so many great releases come out the same day before. Sure, there's been long time classics released the same day, but there's never been over 20 albums vying for my ear time like this. Yesterday I spoke of the exciting new Devendra Banhart album, so let's move on from there...

First off, the new Paul McCartney album, Chaos & Creation In The Backyard is damn good. No joke. He went and got indie rock producer god Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, Pavement's Terror Twilight, Beck's Mutations) to twist the knobs on this one, and hats' off to McCartney for giving up the reins, as this is the best production on an album he's had in all his solo career. McCartney's allowed to concentrate on the songs - and on playing every instrument ('cept the occasional string or horn that occasionally blows in and out.) Gone are the silly and sentimental Paulisms, as the album is more somber and introspective, befitting the clear and focused production. The quieter tone may make for casual listeners to pass this one by after one listen, but give it a chance... it's the best we've gotten from a Beatle in a long time.

Another highly anticipated release this week is Sigur Ros' Takk... The Icelandic bands sprawling compositions of mood and beauty are sung in both Icelandic, and a made-up language they call Hopelandic. This time around, in place of drones is a warmer, and dare I say, more accessible fare, but it's DEFINITELY still Sigur Ros, as it feels like a minor sounding change in the full scope. That being said, there is a child-like lullabye end to one of their songs ("Se Lest") which I would've never expected from them. Like all Sigur Ros albums, this one will take a while to fully sink in (and I'm chomping at the bit to start the sinking,) but at first listen, it's an interesting minor move from their usual fare, and I'd probably still recommend Agaetis Byrjun (not in Rhapsody) for the uninitiated.

The Dandy Warhols' Odditorium or the Warlords of Mars sees the light of day today as well, and in it there's a great release trying to get out. They start off with what sounds like an inside joke, but really is just an annoying minute to skip through, and then meander for 9+ minutes with "Love is the New Feel Awful." It'd feel better, or at least just as good at even 6 minutes if you ask me. This is followed by a 7+ minute dance-groove oriented number ("Easy," and it's not until the 4th track ("All the Money or the Simple Life Honey") that we get what we really want from the Dandys - some infectious pop rock. It's almost as if their drive to be famous is always derailed at the last minute by their drive to not seem like a sell-out, so they make a good song fair by dragging it out uneccessarily and then fu*k around with the track order for good measure to make sure that it won't seem too much like a proper album. Anyway, that's my little rant, as the album is a great Dandys album (even rivaling Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia) once you get past the first three tracks. Put it on repeat and start on #4 (after removing track 1)... you'll thank me for it.

Stellastar*'s sophomore release, Harmonies for the Haunted , doesn't suffer the slump, but it does feel a little bent over under the weight of it's lofty ambitions. Says the press release accompanying it's advance copies: "a grandiose, limitless expression of the array of emotions that can occur within one moment." If that weren't enough, listeners will be "awestruck, engrossed, and lost in time." All in all, it's a worthy extension of the 80's rework they performed on their self-titled debut - while it's less pop-oriented (no "My Coco" here,) it's certainly more willing to reach for those hard to get emotional releases (and reaches it, musically at least, a few times.) It might just be me, but this album is just missing something, and I'm not sure what it is. RCA might have had the same problem as Harmonies for the Haunted's release date was repeatedly pushed back, essentially burying it in a sea of great releases this week.

There are so many significant releases, hopefully I'll get to all of them by eod or eow... but who knows. Here's the ones I'm looking forward to drowning myself in: CocoRosie's Noah's Ark, Nada Surf's The Weight Is A Gift, Apollo Sunshine's self-titled release, The Rosebuds' The Birds Make Great Neighbors, The Double's Loose in the Air, Catherine Wheel frontman Rob Dickinson's debut Fresh Wine for the Horses, Tim Fite's Gone Ain't Gone, The Like's Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking, Giant Drag's Hearts and Unicorns, Brakes' Give Blood and Annie Hayden's The Enemy of Love.

Devendra Banhart Cripple Crow
Sped up and miniaturized (Dandy Warhols)

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drake leLane said...

09.13.2005 New Release Highlights

* "Heard Somebody Say" - Devendra Banhart
* "Fine Line" - Paul Mccartney
* "Gong" - Sigur Ros
* "Where To Begin" - My Morning Jacket
* "Do It Again" - Nada Surf
* "Idiocy" - The Double
* "I Hope Yer There" - Tim Fite
* "Phoney Marony" - Apollo Sunshine
* "What I Say And What I Mean" - The Like
* "Hold Hands And Fight" - The Rosebuds
* "My Name Is Love" - Rob Dickinson
* "Down Like Disco" - The Dandy Warhols
* "The Bed I Made" - Bonnie Raitt
* "The Diver" - Stellastarr
* "Hip Hurray" - Annie Hayden
* "Homme (Live from KCRW)" - Brazilian Girls
* "Let It Be Me" - Rosie Thomas
* "This Isn't It" - Giant Drag
* "Let's Throw Knives" - Desert City Soundtrack
* "Heard About Your Band" - Brakes

Amanda said...

Thank you for the roundup. I have been listening to ill-gotten new Nada Surf for a while...glad it's on Rhapsody so I can love it and not feel guilty anymore.

drake leLane said...

me lika the nada surf so far... I guess I missed the leak.