It was Drake‘s Birthday this week (HBD DLL!) and though the record companies came bearing gifts of new releases, apparently all he really wanted this year was TV On The Radio. Instead he got a luke warm Blitzer Trapper, an irritating Jenny Lewis, and an irrelevant David Byrne and Brian Eno. -ed.
Drake’s Take: New Release 09.23.08
My birthday week has historically been kind with great new releases, and this year it’s certainly the case. TV on the Radio is the release of the week (year!), but I poached it for last week’s post. But there are still plenty of releases to focus on, including a poach or two from next week’s releases. New releases this week include albums from Jenny Lewis, Blitzen Trapper, Brightblack Morning Light, Mogwai, Cold War Kids, All Girl Summer Fun Band, KatJonBand, Kings of Leon and the soundtrack to Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. In Rhapsody a week early is the latest collaboration between David Byrne & Brian Eno, Swedish Psych Rocker Dungen, and the 82-track collection of B-Sides, singles demos and alt takes of songs from The Jesus and Mary Chain.
Playlist: New Releases 09.23.08
Blitzen Trapper‘s Sub Pop debut continues some of the restless mixtapery found on their prior release Wild Mountain Nation, creating perhaps sharper collages of 70’s hippyish rock. Neil, Dylan and the Dead are all present, and when they turn it up a notch, I even hear some mid-70’s Robert Palmer, another branch of the long haired boogie rock of the 70’s. Furr, while not as good as Delta Spirit‘s debut (Ode to Sunshine,) builds on the hippie indie rock sound of Cold War Kids and Dr. Dog, with BT sounding a bit like an Americana version of the retro paisley 90’s band Jellyfish. Lots of 70’s pop and rock mishmashed together in a manner that’s quite pleasing, even if you’ve heard it all before. When the steel guitar and other alt country leanings creep in is when BT really shines, like on the highlight title track and beautifully lazy “Stolen Shoes and a Rifle.”
Splitting the difference between her gospel-tinged solo debut (Rabbit Fur Coat, with the Watson Twins) and her latest 70’s AM radio-like offering with Rilo Kiley (Under the Blacklight,) Acid Tongue ultimately fails to capture the attraction of either. There are plenty of highlights that suggest that this could’ve been a great album, like the gospel of the title track, the rocking fun of “Fernando,” and epic “The Next Messiah.” The strangest thing for me is that “Carpetbaggers” actually suffers from having Elvis Costello lending vocals, sounding more like stunt casting than collaboration. It might be that my expectations were unrealistic, but I still can’t even make it all the way through the opening track (“Black Sand”) without grinding my teeth, and that’s never a good thing. It’s an album that’s sure to have plenty of fans (just not me).
1981’s My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, the previous collaboration between David Byrne and Brian Eno, was a landmark recording for many reasons, including it’s pioneering use of sampling. It was released with little fanfare, slowly building an appreciation over the years for it’s fusion of African rhythms, paranoid funk and voices echoing a cult of personality. 27 years later, they’re back, but Everything That Happens will Happen Today shares almost nothing in common with their cult classic. In fact, with the prevalence of an acoustic guitar throughout, it resembles more in mood the innocence and laid back qualities of Talking Heads’ Little Creatures. Songs like “Life is Long” and “Strange Overtones” are immediate, feeling effortless and oozing positivity, a far cry from the paranoia of previous collaborations. The few times the duo stray back into the experimental sounds of their previous effort, it doesn’t seem to work. The trip-hop of “I Feel My Stuff” feels like an unwelcome left turn when it arrives, and “Poor Boy” just feels wrong for some reason in the context of the album. It is still Eno and Byrne, though, so even the misteps are more interesting than most can offer these days.
More on the radar (and in the mp3 player) this week:
TV on the Radio – Dear Science (Review last week)
Dungen – 4 (in Rhapsody a week early)
Jack White w/ Alicia Keys – Another Way To Die (single, theme to Quantum of Solace)
Brightblack Morning Light – Motion to Rejoin / “Oppressions Each” [mp3]
All-Girl Summer Fun Band – Looking Into it
The Jesus and Mary Chain – The Power Of Negative Thinking: B-Sides And Rarities (in Rhapsody a week early)
Mogwai – The Hawk is Howling
KatJonBand – KatJonBand / “Bad Apples” / “Do You” [mp3]
Kings of Leon – Only by the Night
Cold War Kids – Loyalty to LoyaltyFree album stream from AOL
Koufax – Strugglers (AOL Stream)
Charlie Haden – Rambling Boy
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
Thievery Corporation – Radio Retaliation / Free album stream from AOL
Tracy Shedd – Cigarettes & Smoking Machines / “Whatever it Takes” [mp3]
The Pica Beats – Beating Back the Claws of the Cold
Old Crow Medicine Show – Tennessee Pusher / Free album stream from AOL
Ten Kens – Ten Kens
Max Richter – 24 Postcards in Full Color
Laura Warshauer – Laura Warshauer / Free album stream from AOL
Lights – Lights EP
These United States – Crimes (AOL limited stream)
Starfucker – Starfucker (AOL limited stream)
Ed Laurie – Meanwhile in the Park / Free album stream from AOL