I know I’m a little late with Drake‘s Take this week, (but then again, so was he). Ah, President’s Day, how I long to celebrate thee. -ed.
Drake’s Take: New Releases 02.19.08
Like most folks, I love getting days off, but when they happen on a Monday, my week kind of gets messed up — the first casualty usually being the weekly new release post. Turns out Rhapsody had a delay in getting some of this week’s new releases into the library as well, so it all works out in the end. I can see why it took so awhile, though, as there’s so many good releases — it’s a deep pool to dive into. New ones from The Mountain Goats, American Music Club, Throw Me The Statue, the Raveonettes, Headlights and the much anticipated debut full-lengths from Atlas Sound and Grand Archives head the list, along with a new single from Gnarls Barkley.
Playlist: New Releases 02.19.08
Knowing that John Darnielle is a fan of death metal, I’m always looking for it in his music. Finally, he throws a bone with the title, Heretic Pride, which is taken from metal band Aura Noir’s song “Black Deluge Night.” While the latest from The Mountain Goats isn’t likely to draw any death metal fans, the inclusion of Superchunk (and Robert Pollard tourmate) drummer Jon Wurster into the mix nudges Darnielle ever closer to the rock sound. Wurster’s presence is immediately felt, with his driving hard hitting on opener “Sax Rohmer #1.” Fittingly, his four-stick count is the first sounds on the album, and he’s in lock step with Darnielle’s sense of rhythm on “Autoclave” and the imaginateive “Lovecraft in Brooklyn,” and the production of John Vanderslice and Scott Solter fully realize what he Wurster brings to the party. When Wurster isn’t playing, the anchor falls to composer Eric Friedlander on cello. This is the first album in a long time that doesn’t have a unifying concept, but it still feels as a collective work, and thanks to the tag and trade of Wurster and Friedlander, it’s Darnielle at his most vibrant.
Download: “Sax Rohmer #1” [mp3]
Bradford Cox steps outside the post-punk experiments of his fronted Deerhunter here to conquer pop atmospherics. Deerhunter always seemed to me to hold the listener back at arms length, but with Atlas Sound, Cox invites us in to see the springs and gears behind his craft, which fits more with Cox’s love of ‘lifting the curtain.’ impressively, save one small sample on “Cold as Ice,” Cox is behind nearly every single sound on the album. The shoegazer ballad “Bite Marks” has me mesmerized and the slow build of “Quarantined” continues to stop my in my tracks. While I hope Deerhunter isn’t done, Atlas Sound sure makes that painful possibility a lot easier to bear.
Mark Eitzel and guitarist Vudi recently picked up and moved to LA, ending AMC’s 25 years of being in SF. As a result, The Golden Age is the first album without bassist Dan Pearson, but with Mark Eitzel at the helm, it’s still vintage AMC. Songs like “The Decibels And The Little Pills” and “Windows on the World” are some of Eitzel’s best work, while the angry waltz of “I Know That’s Not Really You” guarantees some variety. While the war in Iraq, in a sense, brought AMC back together for 2004’s angry Love Songs for Patriots, our boys are still overseas nearly four years later, and as a result, Eitzel may sound a little more weary and resigned. Luckily, he’s one of the few artists out there who can make weary sound so visceral and necessary.
I heard someone recently describe this album as one big hug in album form, and it’s a pretty apt phrase to use. Matt Brooke, formerly of Band of Horses and Carissa’s Wierd, helms this totally agreeable Sup Pop act. It’s far more pop-oriented than Band of Horses, with a restrained vocals complete with sweet harmonies. Aside from the couple times it lapses into sugary sentimentality, it’s an alright record, but I’m holding out to see where Brooke and co. take this thing. If Brooke manages to stick around, that is.
Not in Rhapsody but streaming for free on AOL:
Mike Doughty – Golden Delicious
More on the radar this week
Headlights – Some Racing, Some Stopping / Free album stream from AOL – just arrived… have high hopes for
Throw Me The Statue – Moonbeams
Gnarls Barkley – Run (Single)
The Raveonettes – Lust Lust Lust / Free album stream from AOL
Gary Louris – Vagabond / Free album stream from AOL
The Big Sleep – Sleep Forever / Free album stream from AOL
Panther – 14kt God
Allison Moorer – Mockingbird
Apes – Ghost Games
Cryptacize – Dig That Treasure
Kula Shaker – Strangefolk
Megafaun – Bury the Square
A Cursive Memory – Changes
Crushed Stars – Gossamer Days
Ray Davies – Working Man’s Cafe (Deluxe edition)
Monade – Monstre Cosmic
Morcheeba – Dive Deep
Flowers Forever – Flowers Forever
The Epochs – The Epochs / Free album stream from AOL
Paul Thorn – A Long Way From Tupelo
Republic of Tigers – EP
Growing – Lateral
Nick Lowe – Jesus of Cool (REISSUE)