Tuesday, April 03, 2007

New Releases 04.03.07: The Southern U2

This week, I'm giving a bit more ink to the highly anticipated third release from those sons of Tennessee, Kings of Leon. Also out this week worth mentioning is the latest from Ozomatli and the debut from the Portland noise-rock trio Ferocious Eagle.

Playlist: New Releases 04.03.07

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Album: Kings of Leon - Because of the Times

I have to admit, when I first heard the latest from Kings of Leon (Because of the Times,) my first reaction was one of disappointed. Aha Shake Heartbreak was such a creative leap from Youth and Young Manhood that it seemed they were poised for a massive breakthrough. But I'm realizing it's my problem... my expectations were following what I'd calculated for them based on their first couple albums, and that's faulty thinking on my part. Now that it's sat with me awhile, it's making a lot more sense, listening to it on it's own accord.

With Because of the Times, KOL distance themselves from the moniker The Southern Strokes, expanding their sound immensely.... in fact, one might be tempted, to now call them The Southern U2, which I suppose wouldn't be a bad career move, financially speaking. When U2 tapped KOL to open for them on their tour in 2005, it seemed like an odd pairing, but it appears the brothers Followill absorbed some of The Edge's guitar sounds - or perhaps just stole a few pedals while know one was looking looking. The opening track "Knocked Up" is a 7-minute exercise in Edge-like guitar soundscape, and sets the tone for the whole release. The next song, "Charmer," channels another U2 supporting act The Pixies, and "Black Thumbnail" rocks harder then U2 ever could, but the guitar still sounds exactly like "Vertigo" (try them side by side and tell me I'm not wrong.) Not all the songs are effects-laden, as "My Party," "Ragoo," and "Fans" all wouldn't sound all that out of place on Aha Shake Heartbreak. And the lyrics remain often nonsensicle and repetitive, but after frontman Caleb is through kicking the sh*t out of 'em, it really doesn't matter.

What still remains in all the songs are singer Caleb's unique vocal delivery and their ability to form songs outside of traditional formulas, and working outward from this base KOL have crafted themselves a pretty good (if not great) third album.

Free album stream via AOL

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Album: Ozomatli - Don't Mess with the Dragon

Ozomatli - Don't Mess with the DragonFor Ozo's latest, they called upon pop producter KC Porter, who's sculpted hits for latino stars Santana and Ricky Martin, but the end result ends up being harder to pin down. Don't Mess With the Dragon finds the band trying on different hats R&B ("After Party,") the jazz of New Orleans ("Magnolia Soul,") ska/reggae ("Don't Mess with the Dragon" and "Here We Go,") and punk-ska ("When I Close My Eyes" which makes you feel like you're back in the 90s.) They're incredibly adept at playing all these styles, but it feels like they're not hitting their groove until they fall back on their Latin background ("La Gallina,") and they rock the funk-infused Latin sound they pioneered on their self-titled debut. On the whole, they're pretty adept at whatever they try, so I gotta give them credit for that.

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Album: Ferocious Eagle - The Sea Anemone Inside Of Me Is Mighty

Ferocious Eagle - The Sea Anemone Inside Of Me Is MightyThis Polvo-influenced Portland trio weave angular guitar gems around disjointed rhythms and crazy chord changes. The band has no bass, and at times my ear begs for one to ground the math rock equations to a more solid structure, but then I give in and just let my head spin off and fly where they take me.

Warning: This music can make working, reading, walking, chewing gum and even breathing difficult to concentrate on while listening.

Download: "The Sea Anemone Inside of Me is Mighty" (Ferociouseagle.com)

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More going (or already in) the Sansa (via Rhapsody):
Idlewild - Make Another World (Free album stream)
Fountains of Wayne - Traffic and Weather (Free album stream)
Paper Airplanes - Boyhood
Brandi Carlile - The Story
Chris Whitley and Jeff Lang - Dislocation Blues

One I wish was in Rhapsody:
Jarvis Cocker - Jarvis Free album stream via AOL

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3 comments:

drake leLane said...

New Releases 04.03.07

1. McFearless - Kings Of Leon
2. '92 Subaru - Fountains of Wayne
3. Everything (As It Moves) - Idlewild
4. The Sea Anemone Inside of Me is Mighty - Ferocious Eagle
5. Don't Mess With The Dragon - Ozomatli
6. The Story - Brandi Carlile
7. Give It To Me - Timbaland
8. Twelve Thousand Miles - Chris Whitley and Jeff Lang
9. Born Of Fire - My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult
10. PDA - Paper Airplanes
11. Pictures - SiA
12. Bright Lights, Big City - Umphrey's McGee
13. Gang Of Boys (from Vida Y Color) - Matthew Herbert
14. Thought I Knew Ya - Martin Sexton
15. Lady Evil - Black Sabbath
16. Careful What You Wish For - Jonatha Brooke
17. Stop the Show - The Shake
18. Dungtitled (in A major) - Stars of the Lid
19. Separated - Throbbing Gristle
20. Walking On Thin Ice (Felix Da Housecat Tribute Mix) - Yoko Ono

~~~hechter said...

I'm still piece-mealing Kings of Leon Because of the Times - liking individual songs, still not enjoy the whole meal. I do certainly expect I will. One thing I miss is the lead's distinguished vox per their previous spins.

drake leLane said...

Yeah... it hasn't stuck with me like the last one did.