Wednesday, May 30, 2007

New Music Roundup - Late Spring / Early Summer Edition

100 posts. Big deal.

San Fran was great, I will keep everyone updated on my job search as it begins to solidify.

But until then, here is what's been blowing my skirt up lately!

Lucky Soul - Great Unwanted

Ah, more girl group sounds. There is no better time than summer to hear sultry female vocals layered over sunny pop melodies. I have talked about my weakness before, but Lucky Soul is a little bit different. They blend a little bit of Belle & Sebastian twee sensibility in with their music, which normally I would despise, but Belle's last album really tickled my fancy. There's nothing really deep here, just music to have a good time to.
Best Tracks: One Kiss Don't Make a Summer, My Brittle Heart

Grant-Lee Phillips - Strangelet

Mr. Phillips has never gotten the respect he deserves. It is very rare in indie rock these days to find a male singer who can actually sing. Mostly it's whiny, nasal, and slightly off. See Conor Oberst and Ben Gibbard. Grant-Lee Phillips can really sing. Not only can he really sing, he can really write too. After a slightly weak opener, he gets right down to business on Strangelet. His songs are beautiful and understated without being forgettable, a rare feat. And now that the Gilmore Girls is off the air, he's got a lot more time on his hands. To read physics books I guess.
Best tracks: Soft Asylum (No Way Out), Fountain of Youth, Dream in Color

Battles - Mirrored

I know what you're saying right now. "But Cliff, a group made up of members of Helmet and Don Caballero is just way too out there for me. Right?" WRONG! This album makes neo-prog rock accessible that no one has been able to do before, including At the Drive-In and Mars Volta. The melodies on this album are amazingly upbeat and almost Disney-ish, and putting them in the context of dark prog lightens up the music rather than darkening the melodies. It's a really fun album in a genre not known for fun. All the virtuoso playing is here as well, but it's weaved through simple electronic beats that wink at listeners and lets them know that it's okay to enjoy themselves.
Best tracks: Atlas, Rainbow, Race:Out

The National - Boxer

Ever since Interpol I've been skeptical of singers with deep voices. They all tend to sound alike, and Turn On The Bright Lights was such a good album for me that I've become unable to listen to albums by other bands with singers who sound like Paul Banks without automatically bringing Interpol into my head. It happened with the Editors' The Back Room (and is now happening with their new one), and at first it happened with The National's new one. But I quickly realized that Matt Berninger, while he sounds a bit like Paul Banks, has nuance in his voice that makes it uniquely his, more so than any singer I've heard in a long while. This album is dark and joyous, a fantastic journey. It hangs together like a unit while also being outstanding as a collection of individual songs in the tradition of recent great albums like Chutes Too Narrow and The Crane Wife. Do yourself a favor and give a listen.
Best tracks: Fake Empire, Mistaken For Strangers, Slow Show, Start a War

I'm digesting the new Editors album, and I'm still forming my opinion of the new Wilco. I can't remember the last time I worked so hard to like an album. Also, the few tracks that I've heard off of the new Ryan Adams album are pretty good. Word.


Anonymous Brad said...

Wilco's dead to me.

Well, not really, but fuck me that album is weak, uninspiring, jam-bandy bullshit. I get enough of that when in pops up in Ryan Adams and his boner for the Dead, I don't fucking need it in Wilco.

8:53 PM  

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