Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Now Downloading: New Releases 03.20.07

While LCD Soundsystem's Sound of Silver is clearly the cream of this week's (year's) releases (see yesterday's post,) there are more then enough other albums to go ga-ga over. Modest Mouse, Andrew Bird, The Ponys, Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, Panda Bear, Low and I'm From Barcelona top my 'must hear' list.

Playlist: New Releases 03.20.2007


Album: Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha

I was getting my teeth scraped last week when the song "Plasticities" (from Andrew Bird's latest Armchair Apocrypha) blared through the bland radio station playing in my Dentist's office. It burned brighter then the overhead light illuminating my mouth (which required big-ass sunglasses) and it reminded me of how bad radio is. It's liking taking a step outside a sewer you've been trapped in for an hour, and discovering the power of air. After the song ended, one of the on-air hosts called it quirky, and a bit too complicated for his liking, which probably says more about radio today then anything I can come up with.

Much like 2005's And the Mysterious Production of Eggs, his latest is a collection of intellectual musings backed by smart arrangements and catchy hooks that radio should hunger for. He's upped the ante on the orchestration, and the ambition of songs like the 7-minute opus "Armchair" and the long time live staple "Dark Matter." And don't forget the whistling...


Album: Panda Bear - Person Pitch

Like Pet Sounds only with even more drugs. This is the third release from the Animal Collective co-founder (real name Noah Lennox,) and it's the smoothest, most accessible release of anything associated with AC (actual pop structures?) I recommend you plop in this sucker right now and put it on repeat (ad-infinity) and dream through your day. Or at least check out the 12-minutes of "Bros," which channels the Mamas and the Papas and makes it all sound much more then you'd think. Between this and the latest from the Besnard Lakes (reviewed 2/21/07,) Pet Sounds is back in again (was it ever 'out'?)


Album: I'm From Barcelona - Let Me Introduce My Friends

Released last year, this gem from Sweden finally makes it's way to our shores. The 29-member group is like a sunnier Sufjan Stevens, or The Boy Least Likely To (must be the glockenspiel) - definitely as twee as a bucket of kittens. Another reference is fellow Swede Loney, Dear, who actually appears on the track "This Boy". It's awfully precious at times, but the high you get from it is certainly more lasting then sugar.


Album: Low - Drums and Guns

The Minneapolis slowcore veterans are back with Dave Fridmann at the helm again, and while the guitars aren't as brash as on The Great Destroyer, but they're still moving further from their signature sound. Looped and multi-tracked vocals, drum machines, sampling, hand claps (? !) ... it's a lot of new tricks for it being their eighth album, but it works amazingly well. The bands' promo stickers say "I'm sick to death of Low" and perhaps that's a sentiment the band is wrestling with themselves (see frontman Alan Sparhawks wildly different solo album and side project - Retribution Gospel Choir.) Longtime fans who derided the last album are probably further on the outs with this one, but I, for one, will be singing it's praises.


Album: Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank

It's truly weird to think about how far these plucky lads from Issaquah have come... you would've never even guessed they'd get a major label deal, let alone go platinum (as Good News for People Who Love Bad News did thanks to "Float On," which got slaughtered last week on American Idol.) Now Johnny frickin' Marr's in the group? This album will probably do just as well as the last thanks to the strength of two songs - "Dashboard" and "Florida" - with the latter being one of the better ones they've ever written (and one of the only ones that fully utilizes Marr's guitar strengths.) Portland neighbor James Mercer (The Shins) lends his vocals to three tracks (the aforementioned "Florida" and two of the weaker tracks "We've Got Everything" and probable single "Missed the Boat.") It's an album that has it's moments ("Fly Trapped in a Jar") which make it worth checking out, but on the whole, it's a sprawling mess (and not the charming mess of early releases.)

Free AOL album stream


Album: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - Living with the Living

I have to confess I've never been much of a Ted Leo fan. Can't quite put my finger on it... perhaps it's that I was introduced to him from vegan friends who are into ultimate frisbee and love Ani DiFranco and Dar Williams - you can see my suspicion. Listening to Living with the Living, however, is turning that association on it's head. If you smell deep enough, you can still taste the gluten-free granola, but the songs are great... protests in the tradition of Springsteen and Strummer. Rock and roll soldiers on, and in Leo, we have a fine field general to lead us to (but really out of) war.

Free AOL album stream


More downloaded to the Sansa:
LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver
The Ponys - Turn the Lights Out (check out appearance on Daytrotter this week.)
Tracey Thorn (of Everything But the Girl) - Out of the Woods
J Dilla - Ruff Draft

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Shawn Anderson said...

New Releases 03.20.07

1. Watch The Tapes - LCD Soundsystem
2. Heretics - Andrew Bird
3. Comfy In Nautica - Panda Bear
4. Collection Of Stamps - I'm From Barcelona
5. Double Vision - The Ponys
6. The Sons Of Cain - Ted Leo
7. Florida - Modest Mouse
8. Breaker - Low
9. A-Z - Tracey Thorn
10. Let's Take It Back - J Dilla
11. Smithereens - El-P
12. Buck The World - Young Buck
13. Don't Let Them Take You Down (Beautiful Day) - Jesse Malin
14. Girl They Won't Believe It - Joss Stone

Anonymous said...

Yeah Vegans!
Yeah Ultimate!

Yeah Ted Leo & the Rx!!!


Shawn Anderson said...

you hardly seem the Dar Williams type, Hechter ;)