Drake’s Take: New Releases 10.23.07

After an almost two week long hiatus, (possibly accounting for us no longer being the No.1 “Drake’s Take” result on Google), Mr. The Lane is back with a special pre-halloween edition of the new releases column, including some well chosen words on Ween and Phosphorescent. -ed.

As the number of shopping days before X-mas dwindle down, so do the new releases. Pretty soon we’ll only be left with compilations, remixes and repackaged releases trying to draw your hard earned dollar. Truth be told, there’s rarely a release that comes past October that’s worth a damn, and even late October is usually a wasteland, which is why so have already started wrapping up their year-end lists. There’s still a couple fine releases this week to throw off an early listmaker, though, and they would also make great stocking stuffers (hint, hint). Ween returns to form with their party album La Cucaracha and Phosphorescent continues a nice streak with another fine release as well.

Playlist: New Releases 10.23.07

Album: Ween – La Cucaracha

Ween - La CucarachaThe comedy of a Ween song has always been in it appearing to be completely sincere, with Gene and Dean climbing inside a song and letting the absurdity of it’s narrator speak for itself. So when La Cucaracha closes with the perfectly executed Yacht rock song “Your Party” (including sax courtesy of David Sanborn,) it’s funny not because of any joke (as funny as “tri-colored pastas” can sometimes be,) but instead because they play the upper class thank you note completely straight. “We had the best time at your party, the wife and I thank you very much.” The dead-on Al Stewart vocal impresssion, of course, helps immensely. Save for the disturbing serial killer in “Object,” this album is the funniest Ween have been since Chocolate and Cheese, and that may be due to the fact they recorded this in a rented farmhouse back in their old home town of New Hope, PA, getting back to their roots, so to speak. While the past few releases have been overly concerned with Ween’s expert musicanship and songwriting, La Cuaracha uses these as a means to advance the comedy, for the most part. The beautifully lazy “Blue Baloon” uses a synth affect to propel it’s object through the sky, while the prog epic “Woman and Man” features some of Gene’s most primal guitar work to date. Meanwhile, there’s an amount of self-help/therapy going on throughout, possibly thanks to a rumored rehab visit. “Learnin’ To Love” is a Roger Miller barn-burner about a one-day at a time approach, “Shamemaker” uses Emo-Punk-Pop vocals as a way into what seems like a therapy session, and “Spirit Walker” takes on an absurdist new age approach to finding ones self.

But getting back to the funny business, the song “With My Own Bare Hands” might just be funniest they’ve been in sometime:

She’s gonna be my cock professor / studying my dick
She’s gonna get her masters degree in f*cking me

Free album stream from AOL

Album: Phosphorescent – Pride

Phosphorescent - PrideWith Pride the comparisons to Will Oldham are bound to continue, but to be fair, Matthew Houck’s Phosphorescent has always had a more ethereal presence to his recordings then Oldham’s projects, sounding more like Brooklyn’s Akron/Family (or a southern Spiritualized) at times. Take for instance “Be Dark Night,” which sounds more like a product of Houk’s recently vacated Brooklyn residence, with it’s Animal Collective-like crazy vocal orchestra turn. Meanwhile, “My Dove, My Lamb” and “Cocaine Nights” betray an appreciation Kris Kristofferson, even if the delivery is still Oldham-like. But it’s the simplicity of songs like “Wolves” and “At Death a Proclomation” where Pride is at it’s best — the heartbreaking repetition of a few simple chords and rhythms.

“Picture of Our Torn up Praise” [mp3]
Dead Oceans

More going (or already in) the Sansa
Saturday Looks Good to Me – Fill Up the Room
Neil Young – Chrome Dreams II
Ryan Adams – Follow The Lights EP
Black Dice – Load Blown (“Paw Tracks” [mp3])
The Besnard Lakes – Volume I
West Indian Girl – 4th & Wall (Free album stream from AOL)
Robert Plant and Allison Krauss – Raising Sand
Tullycraft – Every Scene Needs a Center
Shooter Jennings – The Wolf
Siberian – With Me
Babyshambles – Shotter’s Nation
The Thrills – Teenager
Say Anything – In Defense of the Genre
USSA – The Spoils
Cobra Starship – ¡Viva La Cobra!
Dave Gahan – Hourglass
Across the Universe Soundtrack