This week Drake laps up the latest releases from Cold War Kids BFF’s, The Delta Spirit, (an album that might also make my top ten list), and Peter Brewis’ The Week That Was. While in the same breath, he expresses some bitter disappointment with the latest from pop tunesmith Matthew Sweet (hey, let’s just say what we’re all thinking, it started and ended with Girlfriend). -ed
Drake’s Take: New Releases 08.26.08
It’s indie pop lovers’ delight this week, with new releases from power pop legend Matthew Sweet, XTC-ish The Week That Was (ex Field Music) and a wider release for Delta Spirit‘s debut, which was originally released late last year.
Playlist: New Releases 08.26.08
This album quickly shoots to the top of my ‘Best Albums from 2008 (that were really from 2007)’ year end list, as it was originally released (limited) in November of last year. Fittingly enough, Delta Spirit fits nicely in your alphabetically ordered CD collection between Cold War Kids and Dr. Dog, as Ode To Sunshine seems to take what I like about both those bands. It’s the kind of album I wish Cold War Kids would’ve made, full of strong melodies and focused energy. Or it’s like Dr. Dog both cleaned and woke up, still weaving classic pop sounds of the past, but utilizing better production and… well… a bit more energy. Perhaps this is a lazy observation, but it’s pretty spot on to my ears. The song “Trashcan” illustrates the similarities and improvements on the aforementioned bands perfectly. I don’t harp on this to say that the San Diego quintet is overly derivative, because even though they’ve toured with both bands in the past, improving upon an existing product is always welcomed. It’s the pale imitation that rightly draws the tomato.
It’s Matthew Sweet here we’re talking about, so I so wanted to like Sunshine Lies more than I actually do. I always will welcome Sweet’s songs couple with Richard Lloyd (Television) guitar outbursts (“Let’s Love,”) but this album is pretty uneven. There’s enough meat here to sound like hardest hitting album Sweet’s done since is breakout Girlfriend, but there’s a lot of moments that seem lost, just biding time for the harmonies (like with Susanna Hoffs on “Sunshine Lies”) or guitar solo to kick in. “Byrdgirl” pays homage to Roger McGuinn with it’s driving 12-string and Byrds‘ (and Hollies‘) harmonies, and there’s a lot of other 60’s appreciation throughout. But in the end, all the pieces don’t add up to a sum large enough to pay to Sweet’s legacy as a power-pop pioneer.
The great Field Music may have dissolved last year, but projects that have come from out of that union have been just as much an XTC love fest as their predecessor. The Week That Was marks the second such project to emerge from Field Music, following in the heels of the excellent School of Language debut, Sea From Shore, which featured David Brewis playing all the instruments. Brother Peter is up to bat here, and he brings his brother David (ex-Futureheads) and Andrew Moore into the mix this time, making this, in makeup at least, the closest thing to Field Music since they’ve gone on hiatus. Inspired in part by the intricate storytelling of novelist Paul Auster, The Week That Was is a high concept album of crime and media as if delivered by XTC. It’s smart, sharp, beautiful and incredibly short in it’s 32 minutes. And while part of me still aches for the return of Field Music, it’s nice to know that along with School of Language, the amount of smart pop has doubled in it’s wake.
More on the radar this week:
The Verve – Forth / Free album stream from AOL
Motorhead – Motorizer
Raine Maida – The Hunter’s Lullaby
System and Station – A Nation of Actors / Full Album Stream (Fanatic Promotion)
Rocket from the Crypt – All Systems Go, Vol. 3
The Gabe Dixon Band – The Gabe Dixon Band / Free album stream from AOL
Backyard Tire Fire – The Places We Lived / Free album stream from AOL / “The Places We Lived” [mp3]
Pop Levi – Never Never Love
The Game – LAX
Duchess Says – Anthologie des 3 Perchoirs
Jupiter One – Jupiter One
Dragonforce – Ultra Beatdown
JJ Grey & Mofro – Orange Blossoms
The Silent Years – The Globe / Free album stream from AOL / “The Black Hole” [mp3]
Solange Knowles – Sol-Angel and The Hadley Street Dreams
Little Feat – Join the Band
B.B. King – One Kind Favor
Cordero – De Donde Eres / “Guardasecretos” [mp3]
Electric Touch – Electric Touch / “Who Put the Fire Out” [mp3]
Hindu Love Gods – Hindu Love Gods