Drake’s Take: New Releases 06.24.008
Busy week, both at the day job and this moonlighting blogger gig. This week is full of all kinds of tastiness, between the US release of critics darling Hercules and Love Affair self-titled release to the latest from Sigur Ros, Love as Laughter, The Watson Twins, Cineplexx, The Wombats, the first single from Beck‘s much anticipated Modern Guilt, and a collection of reworked Camper Van Beethoven classics. What might just be my favorite, though, is the full length debut from local feel good band The Saturday Knights, who combine Seattle’s strengths — guitar-based rock and the surprising hip-hop scene — in a manner that doesn’t make you think of Rap rock.
Playlist: New Releases 06.24.08
Nobody does grand histrionics like Sigur Ros, who’s album ÃgÃ¦tis Byrjun (1999) set the bar for pandering to our emotions in a way that you don’t feel ‘played.’ A song like “Svefn-G-Englar,” used to great effect in the films The Life Aquatic and Vanilla Sky, still makes me stop in my tracks when I hear it. Unfortunately, the band has gone back to the well many times since in the past (near) decade, creating a sort of emotional fatigue. Credit the band for picking up on this, as meÃ° suÃ° Ã eyrum viÃ° spilum endalaust (which translates to “With a buzz in our ears we play endlessly”) attempts to stray from their established formula. To that end, the first two songs on the album (the amazing “Gobbledigook” and “InnÃ mér syngur vitleysingur”) put some distance to their past recordings by removing reverb and going for a more ‘primitive’ sound. The third song, “Gódan daginn”, is stripped down featuring singer Jonsi Birgisson’s voice nearly naked, continuing the move away from their grand sound. At some point after that, though, the Sigur Ros reverts back to the epic, and as a result I have a hard time distinguishing the whole middle section of the album and the past couple albums, let alone pick out songs in my mind. I still seem to keep coming back to the album, though, even if much of it just disappears into the background.
Seattle’s premiere party band, The Saturday Knights finally release a full length album, and the good news is that it realizes the promise of their great live performances. Not to be confused with the unfortunate Rap Rock genre, TSK fuse rap and classic rock in a way that keeps the party going, without resorting to stupidity. Just look at the guest list of artists lending a hand: Soundgarden‘s Kim Thayil, The Dap-Kings, The Presidents Of The United States Of America‘s Chris Ballew, The Muscle Shoals Horns and legendary producer Jack Endino (playing drums on the already classic “45”). Like S.F. cousin-in-vibe Lyrics Born, The Knights aren’t going to change the world with their party jams, but they might just get you to finally loosen up.
Finally getting it’s proper US release, Hercules and Love Affair is this year’s crossover dance album (dance music for people who hate dance music – think JUSTICE, LCD Soundsystem, The Knife, etc.). DJ Andrew Butler may be the man behind the beats, but the star here is really Antony Hegarty (Antony and the Johnstons,) who’s expressive voice sounds even more at home in this updated disco setting than the band he fronts. The albums’ centerpiece is the single “Blind,” which demonstrates perfectly the oddly beautiful juxtaposition of Hegarty’s sad vocals and the joyous disco-funk that backs him. It’s the joy behind the sadness, the tears of a clown, the need to shake your thing to forget about how life can be so damn depressing.
More on the radar this week:
Love as Laughter – Holy
Beck – Chemtrails (Single)
Camper Van Beethoven – Popular Songs of Enduring Strength and Beauty
The Watson Twins – Fire Songs
Joseph Arthur – Vagabond Skies
Cineplexx – Picnic / “Espiral” “Droga Paliativa” [mp3]
The Wombats – A Guide To Love, Loss & Desperation
Alejandro Escovedo – Real Animal
Ry Cooder – I, Flathead
G. Love & Special Sauce – Superhero Brother / Free album stream from AOL
Three 6 Mafia – Last 2 Walk
Scarlett Johansson – Rhapsody Originals (Exclusive live in studio EP)
Crooked Still – Still Crooked
Safari So Good – Every Fight is a Food Fight When Your A Cannibal
Ride the Boogie – Ride the Boogie
Superchick – Rock What You Got
Calico Horse – Mirror
Iamx – Kiss + Swallow
Amos Lee – Last Days at the Lodge / Free album stream from AOL
Sam Sparro – Sam Sparro / Free album stream from AOL
Edwin McCain – Nobody’s Fault But Mine
Motley Crue – Saints of Los Angeles
the Wackness – Music from the Motion Picture
Liz Phair – Exile in Guyville / Free album stream from AOL
Blondie – Parallel Lines: Deluxe Collector’s Edition
Motley Crue – Shout at the Devil