I’m on vacation this week, so we’re running a little behind here at the ‘shine. If you’re a regular Drakehead, you might have seen this stuff already, if not, enjoy the delayed weekly roundup! -ed.
What this week lacks in depth, it makes up in density, as two artists this week are notorious for challenging releases. The latest from both Liars and Aesop Rock see them peeling back some of their willfully difficult veneers, while from across the pond, the debut from Wimbledon-born Jamie T also challenges ears in deciphering just what this drunk Brit is talking about.
Playlist: New Releases 08.28.07
Album: Aesop Rock – None Shall Pass
Ian Matthias Bavitz (aka Aesop Rock) comes from the school of eccentricity (headmaster Del tha Funkee Homosapien,) squeezing syllables in his songs like goldfish in a discount pet store feeder aquarium. Bending, squirming, diving, darting… sometimes it’s hard to catch a certain phrase, but if you just hold the net in one place, it falls into place. This time out, he’s a little less dark and paranoid, utilizing rock and funk beats for an organic sound to back his free-form novellas. And with guests like EL-P (“39 Thieves,”) Cage (“Getaway Car”) and The Mountain Goats‘ John Darnielle (“Coffee,”) there’s even more to feed your hip-hop fish with.
Album: Liars – Liars
Liars have always been creative with their album titles. From their danceable debut (2001’s They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument On Top) to the last two concept albums, They Were Wrong, So We Drowned (about witch hunts) and Drum’s Not Dead (about the creative process,) their titles have been inspired. So it’s odd to see their fourth release going in the opposite direction. Stripped away of any concept other then songwriting, they choose Liars, as if it’s really about the band this time out. It’s their first album where they wear their influences on their sleeve, so I picture the concept to be the band room with the posters of Sonic Youth (“Leather Prowler,”) Beck (“Houseclouds,”) and The Jesus & Mary Chain (“Freak Out”) hanging on the wall. While Drum’s Not Dead was recorded in Berlin, they’ve moved to L.A. for this one and have said it’s their attempt to write “songs.” Sounds like another way of confounding their fans expectations (and somehow still great to this fan’s ears.)
Album: Jamie T – Panic Prevention
The two easiest points of reference for what Jamie T (Treays) sounds like would be The Libertines and Mike Skinner’s The Streets. Just because their both English and hard to decipher just what they’re singing sometimes may have something to do with it, but there’s more to it then just that. Like Skinner, Jamie T writes about what he sees, and the backing music is the perfect amalgamation of all his influences – punk, reggae, hip-hop, and… well pop. His first single “Salvador” made the rounds a couple years ago and this release came out earlier this year in the U.K., but the tracks still sound as fresh as they did when he first plucked them down on his crapped out piece of shit called the bass guitar (“Brand New Bass Guitar”. “Calm Down Dearest” is a fine example of his work, with a drunken intro that starts to get annoying but then is saved by the arrangement and chorus with: “Heavy it’s on my mind / say you feel just fine / racking staking lines / I said calm down dearest.” This US version has a couple so-so bonus tracks, one of which (“Rawhide”) includes his good friend Lily Allen.
I ain’t no abacus, but you can count on me – “Operation”
More going (or already in) the Sansa
VHS or Beta – Bring on the Comets (Free album stream from AOL)
New Young Pony Club – Fantastic Playroom (Free album stream from AOL)
Northern State – Can I Keep This Pen (Free album stream from AOL)
Pash – Kingwood
Odd Nosdam – Level Live Wires
Blue States – First Steps Into…
Ben Harper – Lifeline (Free album stream from AOL)
Lyle Lovett – It’s Not Big It’s Large
Michael McDermott – Noise From Words
Atreyu – Lead Sails Paper Anchor