This week Drake gets all hot and bothered about the new one from Brooklyn’s TVOTR (who gave a rare outdoor performance on David Letterman Monday night) and swoons for charming UK folk rockers, Noah and The Whale (who I really should have seen when they were in town last week). -ed.
Drake’s Take: New Releases 09.16.08
An otherwise thin week got fat with the addition of Drake fave TV on the Radio, getting an early digital release and staking it’s claim for album of the year. Other artists with new releases include Noah and the Whale, Lindsey Buckingham, Dressy Bessy, Jessica Lea Mayfield, Tindersticks, Portugal.The Man and Passion Pit.
Playlist: New Releases 09.16.08
As Wall Street is being crushed under it’s own karmic weight, Dear Science is turning out the be the perfect soundtrack to fiddle while Rome burns. From top to bottom, Dear Science is the most focused and consistently great album that TVOTR has released yet, which is saying a lot. And it’s funky, as evidenced on the lead single “Golden Age,” (coptastic video!) which beautifully apes Jacko’s “Wanna Be Starting Something.” The album opens with the ba-ba-ba’s of “Halfway Home,” a song that acts as the perfect bridge from Cookie Mountain, sounding very much in that mold of artistry, but then also adding some subtle orchestration. By the next song, “Crying,” it’s apparent that we’re in for even more than expectations set us up for. Kyp Malone’s falsetto has always been there, but by turning up the funk and adding horns (courtesy of Antibalas,) the effect is a different experience entirely. “Dancing Choose” has Tunde Adebimpe sounding like Saul Williams, and those horns continue to kill me. Following “Golden Age,” the ballad “Family Tree” builds from a slow and sparse oddity into the beautifully orchestrated ending that’s like Sigur Ros, with the histrionic dial turned down a notch. I could easily wax on about each and every track, but I’ll just single out two more, “Red Dress” and the closer “Lover’s Day,” as absolute stunners. I can already hear a few outlier voices crying that TVOTR has lost a bit of their art, but that’s really just haughty hooey. It’s a nearly perfect album, and, like previous TVOTR releases, rewards upon repeat listenings. Album. Of. The. Year.
Noah and the Whale‘s debut is a pleasurable serving of twee pop. You’ve more than likely already heard the first single “5 Years Time” from a recent Saturn television commercial. The Twickenham five piece cobbled their name together from American director Noah Baumbach’s film The Squid and the Whale, and their sound from American folk acts Magnetic Fields, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Sufjan Stevens. There’s always a danger in sounding derivative given the obvious references in their sound, as even when it’s done as well as this, you know that it’s been done before. Still, it’s a great collection of maudlin love songs where even a line as sappy as “let my love surround you like an ether in everything that you do,” is delivered in a way that a cringe turns into a smile.
More on the radar (and in the mp3 player) this week:
Lindsey Buckingham – Gift of Screws
Dressy Bessy – Hollerandstomp / Free album stream from AOL
Jessica Lea Mayfield – With Blasphemy, So Heartfelt
Tindersticks – The Hungry Saw
Portugal.The Man – Censored Colors
Amanda Palmer – Who Killed Amanda Palmer
I’m Not Jim – You Are All My People
The Girls – Yes, No, Yes, No, Yes, No / “Transfer Station” [mp3]
Leona Naess – Thirteens
The Break And Repair Method – Milk the Bee / Free AOL album stream
Psykup – We Love you All / Free album stream from AOL
The Rhinos – In Rhi-Fi
The Physics of Meaning – Snake Charmer and Destiny at the Stroke of Midnight / “Aeroplanes and Hurricanes” [mp3]
Jem – Down to Earth / Free album stream from AOL / “It’s Amazing” [mp3]
War Tapes – War Tapes / “Dreaming of You” [mp3]
Passion Pit – Chunk Of Change / Free album stream from AOL
James – Hey Ma
Raphael Saadiq – The Way I See It / Free album stream from AOL