We're rapidly approaching the point of no return for releases this year, but mid-October always seems to toss a couple wrenches in folks' year end list plans. The latest from The Flaming Lips fall in that category - you think Pitchfork might want an amendment to their 'Best Albums of the 2000s'? Toss the new one from Neon Indian in as well, in that regard. Elswewhere, there are fine/interesting/worthy releases from Har Mar Superstar, Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, The Heavy, Erin McKeown, Fanfarlo (US release), Grant-Lee Phillips, Nellie McKay, The Temper Trap, a box set of goodies from Hall & Oates and a Christmas album from Bob Dylan (that's right, Christmas).
Playlist: New Releases 10.13.09
The Flaming Lips - Embryonic
Stream / Purchase [mp3]
Something happened to the Flaming Lips right after releasing The Soft Bulletin and the four-CD experiment Zareeka, as the band turned from wondrous experimentation to exhibiting an unnatural need to be loved. Bunny costumes, confetti bombs, singer Wayne Coyne inside a ball practically begging for our applause. Yes, it's very entertaining, but it all felt like it was making up for some paint-by-number recordings. Was the lengthy Christmas on Mars project siphoning off all of the band's creative juices, or was the band just done. Well, with an album like Embryonic, the point is moot, as it's the Lips at their most deliciously experimental (and least accessible). Full of odd sounds and brimming with paranoia, it's great to have the old Lips back. There's not a hit on the album, and that's fine with me. Opener "Convinced Of The Hex" sets the tone and masterfully moves into the second track, "The Sparrow Looks Up At The Machine," and from there, you just have to surrender to it's (un)charms. Other highlights include the similarly pounding "See The Leaves", the endearing "I Can Be A Frog", and the space-y "Watching The Planets."
Profile in Ear on TV post
Stream album from flaminglips.com
Har Mar Superstar - Dark Touches
Stream / Purchase [mp3]
Review coming... here's discussion of the single and video for "Tall Boy."
Free AOL Album Stream
Download: "Tall Boy" [mp3]
More on the radar (and in the mp3 player) this week:
Neon Indian - Psychic Chasms / Free AOL Album Stream / "Terminally Chill" [mp3]
Thao and the Get Down Stay Down - Know Better, Learn Faster / Free Album Stream / "Know Better, Learn Faster" [mp3]
The Heavy - The House That Dirt Built / "Short Change Hero" [mp3]
Erin McKeown - Hundreds of Lions / Free AOL Album Stream / "The Foxes", "Santa Cruz" [mp3]
Fanfarlo - Reservoir
Bob Dylan - Christmas in the Heart
Grant-Lee Phillips - Little Moon
The Temper Trap - Conditions / Free AOL Album Stream / "Down River"
Nellie McKay - Normal As Blueberry Pie: A Tribute to Doris Day
Shelley Short - A Cave, A Canoo / "Time Machine/Submarine" [mp3]
Beaten Awake - Thunder$troke / Free AOL Album Stream / "Coming Home"
Lightning Bolt - Earthly Delights
MV & EE - Barn Nova / "Summer Magic" [mp3]
Lackthereof - A Lackthereof Retrospective 1998-2009 / "Summer Magic" [mp3]
The Units - History of the Units: The Early Years 1977-1983
The Blakes - Souvenir(AOL Album Stream)
Hall & Oates - Do What You Want, Be What You Are:The Music of Daryl Hall & John Oates (4-CD box set) / Free AOL Album Stream
tags: music, album review, flaming lips, har mar superstar, indie rock, new releases, rhapsody