Drake‘s back from the House of Mouse just in time for a post SXSW release week wrap up and some NCAA madness.
Drake’s Take: New Releases 03.18.08
Last week was a good one to skip, but my vacation has me terribly behind in everything related to media consumption. This traditionally good week for releases (post SXSW) got an added boost when Gnarls Barkley unexpectedly pushed the release of their latest to this week (digitally). Similarly, look for The Raconteurs to push their latest up to next week. What’s all the rush about? Leaks, my friend. Folks are more likely to steal it if it’s the only option — at least having the real product out there gives the impatient a more just option. Also this week is the latest from Dan Bejar’s Destroyer, Be Your Own Pet, The Dodos, She & Him (Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward,) and Adam Green, striking the coal while it’s hot (thank you Juno).
Playlist: New Releases 03.18.08
The common expectation with each new Destroyer release is the promises a quick left-turn from whatever preceded it. Perhaps that’s why Trouble in Dreams, Dan Bejar’s eighth long player under the moniker Destroyer, is initially kind of disappointing. It sounds like the perfect extension of his last, Destroyer’s Rubies, and that’s mostly due to the fact that, for the first time, he’s kept the same band around for two straight releases. But where Rubies walked an exhilerating tightrope, Trouble feels more polished, in part, I imagine, because Destroyer sounds like a real band now. The songs are still mostly there, so maybe it’s just that with following a stellar release like Rubies there’s bound to be a let down – especially if it’s cut from the same cloth, as Trouble sounds. The lyrical couplets still abound, though, and I’m still excited as hell to see him perform in the upcoming Sasquatch festival, so I’ll stop with the kvetching and say forget about what I said and just buy the sucker.
The release that has reviewers scrambling this week. Bumped up three weeks from it’s scheduled April drop, The Odd Couple is Gnarls Barkley as a fully realized duo, instead of the curiosity that the experiment St Elsewhere seemed like. I imagine a lot of folks will be disappointed initially, as there’s no “Crazy” to be found, but a second lightning in a bottle is both unrealistic and unnecessary when talking about the strength of an album. Where St Elsewhere was paranoid, The Odd Couple fully realizes the perils (hey, they’re not actually crazy) and is finding ways to deal with the aftermath. Tracks like “Who’s Gonna Save My Soul” (“How will my story ever be told now?”) “Going On” (“But I’m going on, And I’m prepared to go it alone”) and “Open Book” feel almost post-apocalyptic in their nature. As a result of all this, the mood is more somber, more dense and less likely to pull anyone to the dance floor. But the album works better as a whole entity, and that’s what draws in this listener.
Album: She & Him – Volume One
She is Zooey Deschanel, everyone’s favorite undervalued ‘actress that could’ who showed off her dreamy voice in the movie Elf. Him, presumably, is M. Ward, the indie folk force from Portland. Aside from a couple covers, Deschanel writes the songs, and thus gets the objective pronoun, while Ward’s subjective status presumably means he received the songs and did worked his magic. Deschanel’s songwriting is right in Ward’s wheelhouse, tin pan alley as sung by Loretta Lynn or Patsy Cline, and the combo works wonders for what the title suggests is the first in a series. There are some lows, granted, but as a first attempt, it’s a pretty strong indication that this could be the beginning of a great partnership.
Album: Adam Green – Sixes & Sevens
Fresh on the heels of that Juno phenomenon, Adam Green reminds us that there more to The Moldy Peaches than just Kimya Dawson. Green has been trying to perfect his crooning voice, becoming more like Jens Lekman in delivery every day. Unfortunately, he pales in comparison, and while there are a few highlights (“Tropical Island” is a Jonathan Richmond-like toe-tapper – “Morning After Midnight” even name drops the Modern Lovers – in case we missed the connection,) there’s just too many (20 songs) to dredge through. Not bad, but perhaps Kimya can recommend an editor.
More on the radar this week
The Dodos – Visiter / Free album stream from AOL
Be Your Own Pet – Get Awkward
Joseph Arthur – Could We Survive
The Kills – Midnight Boom
Sera Cahoone – Only As The Day Is Long
Yael Naïm – Yael Naïm / Free album stream from AOL
Devotchka – A Mad And Faithful Telling / Free album stream from AOL
Tall Firs – Too Old To Die Young
Witch – Paralyzed
The A.K.A.s (Are Everywhere) – Everybody Make Some Noise!
The Teenagers – Reality Check
Switches – Lay Down The Law
Groove Armada – Soundboy Rock / Free album stream from AOL
Shirley Bassey – Get The Party Started
Daniel Lanois – Here Is What Is
The Matches – A Band In Hope / Free album stream from AOL
The Hush Sound – Goodbye Blues
The Chapin Sisters – The Chapin Sisters
John Zorn – The Dreamers
Neon Neon – Stainless Style
Birds of Avalon – The Outer Upper Inner EP
Helvetia – The Acrobats
PlayRadioPlay! – Texas
Virginia Coalition – Home This Year
Music From the Motion Picture ’21’
Heroes – Original Soundtrack
Mission of Burma – Signals, Calls and Marches [Remastered]
Mission of Burma – The Horrible Truth About Burma [Remastered]