Drake’s Take: New Releases 07.24.07

Hey everybody, Drake’s back this week and he’s a new dad! Feel free to wish him Mazel Tov in the comments.

It’s been a few weeks and I’m still not caught up on all the releases that happened while I was away playing daddy with my latest addition (baby Zane) so we’re just going to start fresh this week, which has plenty of fine albums to squawk about. This week features the latest from Tegan & Sara, Bishop Allen, Prince and Alamo Race Track, along with a slew of reissues including Sebadoh’s classic The Freed Man.

Playlist: New Releases 07.24.07

Album: Tegan and Sara – The Con

Tegan and Sara - The ConThese Canadian identical twin sisters have improved their songwriting and sound with every album, and The Con builds on that. This time out they hone their sound with producer and Death Cabber Chris Walla twiddling the knobs, boiling it down in the manner that Britt Daniel and Jim Eno have done so well with their Spoon albums, endlessly tinkering with a song’s rhythm and instrumentation. Take the first single “Back in Your Head,” which starts with the simple Spoon-like tinkling piano over a driving rhythm. The subject matter has the twins sounding both more mature and more quirky then on So Jealous, building upon that last album’s upward momentum.

Free album stream from AOL

Album: Alamo Race Track – Black Cat John Brown

Alamo Race Track - Black Cat John BrownThe quiet buzz surrounding this Amsterdam band may not be deafening, but it’s there just the same. A living room live performance of the bluesy acoustic title track made it’s way on to YouTube exactly a year ago, and slowly spread via word of mouth. The song even (oddly) made it’s way into an episode of Grey’s Anatomy (episode 319, “My Favorite Mistake.”) They’re kind of a more louder, dirtier Peter, Bjorn & John, with the classic reverb’d vocals and indiscriminate accent – it’s sometimes hard to tell just what they’re singing about. Take the wonderfully titled “Lee J. Cobb Is Screaming a Lot,” which has a great Gang Of Four feel to it. It’s infectious and you rise to meet the band’s energy, but what it’s all about remains a mystery. If it’s this much fun being in the dark, I’ll just hang out here with my headphones on.

Album: Bishop Allen – The Broken String

Bishop Allen - The Broken StringLast year the Brooklyn band had the ambition to release and EP for every month, releasing a total of 56 songs for the project. The ambition was met with awe and praise from the blogosphere, and here finally is the full-length fruition of that endeavor. For The Broken String, Bishop Allen re-recorded 10 of the 58 and added two new compositions to fill out only their second album. As a result, there’s an added variance to the songs, yet the tracks work together. A little Shins-like pop here (“Butterfly Net,”) some Mountain Goats-like lyrical turns here (“The Chinatown Bus”) and even Bonnie Prince Billy like bareness (“Shrinking Violet.”) “Click, Click, Click, Click” was a mix-tape staple for me last year, and surely has a camera/HP Printer commercial in it’s future, it’s that catchy and appropriate. Take a picture now, though, before they blur into their next ambitious project.

Album: Sebadoh – The Freed Man

Sebadoh - The Freed ManIf you still have the original cassette, you’re cooler then me. I got an edited version of it, a mixtape that cherry-picked the favored songs of a good friend after I’d fallen for Sebadoh’s III.

Listening to it again makes me feel creepy, like I’m looking through the window into my old college room – seeing me stoned, in my underwear, trying to penetrate the tape’s mystery. I find myself wanting to either lecture or join this sorry sap. The longer I listen, the more I forget what the lecture would be about though.
Screw it… let’s bake some cookies!

Wished I could talk about, haven’t heard (not in Rhapsody:)
Prince – Planet Earth
John Vanderslice – Emerald City (Free album stream)

More going (or already in) the Sansa
Robbers On High Street – Grand Animals
Portugal.The Man- Church Mouth (Free album stream from AOL)
UNKLE – War Stories (Free album stream from AOL)
MF Doom – Mm…Food (Reissue)
Harvey Milk – A Small Turn of Human Kindness
Harvey Milk – The Pleaser
Chromeo – Fancy Footwork
Jacob Olausson – Moonlight Farm
Peter Himmelman – The Pigeons Couldn’t Sleep
Against Me – Up the Cut
Silverchair – Young Modern
Tiny Vipers – Hands Across the Void
The Dilettantes – 101 Tambourines
The Lonely H – Hair
Manic Street Preachers – Send Away the Tigers
Bobby Bare – Bobby Dare Sings Lullabys, Legends and Lies (And More) (Reissue)