Drake’s Take: New Releases 06.10.08

Drake goes gaga for the new MMJ, thinks Pollard has more or less sold out, and is ever so diplomatic in his assessment of the “new” My Brightest Diamond Record (who, for the record, I have never understood the appeal of).

Drake’s Take: New Releases 06.10.08

This week is all abuzz with the polarizing new release from My Morning Jacket, timed, in part, to coincide with the Bonaroo Festival starting this week. Elsewhere, there’s new ones from Sloan, Robert Pollard, Adele, Lil’ Wayne, Solomon Burke, Haley Bonar, Martha Wainwright and the amazing new one from My Brightest Diamond (in Rhapsody a week early).

Playlist: New Releases 06.03.08

Album: My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges

My Morning Jacket - Evil UrgesThe album that launched a thousand gasps when it leaked is finally here. Specifically, you have to point a finger at the song “Highly Suspicious” — which sounds like Cameo with flying V’s — as the main source confusion. Did someone lace their sticky icky? Taking the album as a whole, the song is a bit of a red herring, but the band doesn’t do themselves any favors by making it the third track, when it really needed to be a ‘fun’ b-side — a bearded lady to be exposed only on tour — and this is coming from a fan of Prince… or rather, bearded ladies. Getting around that paranoid “peanut butter pudding surprise,” much of the rest of the album harkens back to the AM radio sounds of At Dawn, but with a bit more studio wonkery. Cue producer Joe Chiccarelli, the very same nob-twiddler who’s work on last year’s Shins album (Wincing the Night Away) also raised some eyebrows of fans. First thing you’ll notice that’s gone is the airy reverb that soaked previous albums, which is understandable given that acts like Band of Horses and Fleet Foxes have already stepped into those reverb shoes. But there’s nothing in it’s place to give Jim James’ vocals a podium to project, and as a result, many of the songs suffer without that engine powering it. One thing the album has going for it is a diversity of sound which, aside from “H.S.,” plays well together in the sandbox MMJ has constructed here. Bookending many great (albeit syrupy orchestrated) AM radio style songs are the tracks “Touch Me I’m Going to Scream, Pt. 1” and “Pt. 2,” which are the best example of expanding their sound without overreach. Meanwhile, for me, “Librarian,” is musically a highlight — lyrically, however, it’s a bit questionable, stalking this poor four-eyed librarian… I half expected to hear Kevin from The Office to chime in with a “can you say ‘these are due back Thursday?'”

Free album stream from AOL
Download: “Evil Urges” [mp3]

Album: Robert Pollard – Robert Pollard is off to Business

Robert Pollard is off to BusinessWhile there isn’t a suit and tie involved, the title of Robert Pollard is off to Business signals a change in the tunesmith’s approach, with a very workman like ten song clocking in close to 35 minutes. Add to that the fact that this will be his only release this year, and you get the most conventional release that Pollard has ever done. Enter the ballad “The Blondes” into evidence, as item A. Then cue “Gratification to Concrete” with it’s Frampton-like talk box guitar line, and the album’s in danger of approaching MOR territory. Disjointed rockers like opener “The Original Heart” and “1 Years Old” remind us of old Bob, and “Weatherman And Skin Goddess” comes close to his best pop. He may be off to business, but he’s still not taking himself too seriously (“Confessions of a Teenage Jerk”,) which is reassuring.

Download: “Gratification To Concrete”

Album: My Brightest Diamond – A Thousand Shark’s Teeth

My Brightest Diamond - A Thousand Shark's TeethMulti-instrumentalist Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) has been working on parts of this release for six years, predating her debut, Bring Me The Workhorse and even her work with Sufjan Stevens. Lush in arrangement like Joanna Newsom’s Ys, Worden is similarly expanding her sound here. Since it’s in Rhapsody a week early, and I’m just hearing it for the first time, I may have to get back to you on it later.

Download: “Inside a Boy”

More on the radar this week:
Sloan – Parallel Play / Full album stream from YepRoc / “I’m Not a Kid Anymore” [mp3]
Lil’ Wayne – Tha Carter III
Solomon Burke – Like A Fire / Free album stream from AOL
The Thermals – LIVE [at the Echoplex – December 7th, 2007]
Haley Bonar – Big Star / “Big Star” [mp3]
Adele – 19 / Free album stream from AOL
Priscilla Ahn – A Good Day
Peter von Poehl – Going to Where the Tea Trees Are / Free album stream from AOL
Martha Wainwright – I Know You’re Married But I’ve Got Feelings Too / Free album stream from AOL
Ben Sollee – Learning To Bend / “A Change Is Gonna Come” [mp3]
Supergrass – Diamond Hoo Ha / Free album stream from AOL
The Orb – The Dream
N.E.R.D. – Seeing Sounds
The Fratellis – Here We Stand
Joan as Police Woman – To be Loved / “To Be Loved” [mp3]
James Hunter – The Hard Way / Free album stream from AOL
Walter Becker – Circus Money
Emmylou Harris – All I Intended to Be
Wooden Shjips – Vol. 1
Ponies In The Surf – See You Happy
Lexie Mountain Boys – Sacred Vacation
Styrofoam – A Thousand Words
Plies – Definition Of Real
Love – Four Sail (w/ bonus tracks)