Drake’s Take: New Releases 04.29.08

The Drake had his hands full this past week, so we get a slightly abridged version of the “‘Take” this week focusing on the eagerly awaited new album from trip hop pioneers Portishead and genre jumping soul singer, Jamie Lidell. -ed.

Drake’s Take: New Releases 04.29.08

I spent my weekend and Monday taking care of my two small boys, and since that’s usually the time I spend absorbing the new releases for the week (and pumping out the weekly Ear on TV bit) I find myself impossibly behind, so I’m going to keep commentary on this week’s haul short and semi-sweet. Highlights this week include the latest from Portishead, Jamie Lidell, Robert Forster, Santogold, Constantines, 65daysofstatic and the stateside release from Sweden’s Robyn, which took three years to cross the pond.

Playlist: New Releases 04.29.08

Album: Portishead – Third

Portishead - ThirdSince I didn’t get to hear this until release day, I don’t feel qualified to comment too much on it, other than to say it shocked the hell out of me, based on my prior experience with the Bristol trip-hop pioneers. Third is more than a departure, as other than Beth Gibbons’ voice, there’s little at all that’s recognizable from their prior releases of over a decade ago. Instead of trip-hop, it’s a (very) dissonant rock album, one that’s as hard to categorize as a latter day Scott Walker release (come to think of it, his releases also have decade long gaps). Musicians Adrian Utley and Geoff Barrow have said that they wouldn’t fall back on any instruments or sounds that appeared on prior albums, and that alone pushes the album to a different place. But the pacing here is also new, with the opening track (“Silence”) seeming twice as fast as anything song prior. Opening single “Machine Gun” openly defies radio to play it, with it’s industrial staccato and dissonant atmospherics. Where Dummy and Portishead might’ve lied like place settings at a dinner party, it seems that Third is more content to throw said dinner plates into the hearth. It’s guaranteed to make many best of lists at year end, but for me it’s too early to say… such a dense and sinister sound demands more time, but after only two days in my ears, it already feels important. (NME, Village Voice, Pop Matters and many more know it to be true.)

Stream “Machine Gun” from band’s MySpace page

Album: Jamie Lidell – Jim

Jamie Lidell - JimJamie Lidell’s switch from electro/raver to soul singer was one of the more radical style shifts in years, and his latest, Jim, perfectly captures the 60’s/70’s soul of Stax and Motown. His soulful voice evokes Sam Cooke, Stevie Wonder and even Otis Redding at times, which would be just vocal calisthenics if it weren’t for the songwriting to back it up. From the opening handclaps of “Another Day” all the way to the feel good funk of “Hurricane,” Jim is the perfect tonic for those ears grown tired of the depressing guitar squall of indie rock (it happens). It’s certainly nothing groundbreaking about it (like Portishead’s Third,) but it sure feels gooooood.

Free album stream from AOL

More on the radar this week:
Hayden – In Field & Town
Les Savy Fav – After The Balls Drop: 3 AM 1-1-08 NYC
Robert Forster – The Evangelist / “Pandanus” [mp3]
Santogold – Santogold
Constantines – Kensington Heights
Robyn – Robyn
65daysofstatic – The Distant And Mechanised Glow Of Eastern European Dance Parties
Langhorne Slim – Langhorne Slim / “Rebel Side of Heaven” [mp3]
Make Believe – Going to the Bone Church
Estelle – Shine / Free album stream from AOL
The Roots – Rising Down
Dizee Rascal – Maths + English / “Where’s Da G’s” [mp3]
South – You Are Here / Free album stream from AOL / “Better Things” [mp3]
Firewater – The Golden Hour
Boris – Smile
Madonna – Hard Candy
Awesome Color – Electric Aborigines
Bearsuit – Oh:io
Y-Love – This is Babylon
Lil Mama – VYP – Voice of the Young People / Free album stream from AOL
David Karsten Daniels – Fear of Flying
Nerf Herder – IV
Eli “Paperboy” Reed – Roll With You
Joy Division – The Best Of
Steve Earle – Copper Road