As you may, or may not, have noticed I’ve been a little derelict in my “Drake’s Take” updates lately, so I’m devoting this weekend to playing a little catchup. Here’s the first of a few backlogged entries. -ed.
Drake’s Take: New Releases 05.26.09
For a holiday-shortened week, there’s no lack of quality in the releases department. This week, in fact, features my two most listened to albums from the past two months, in Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimest and Phoenix’s Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. But it doesn’t stop there, as new releases from Viva Voce, A Hawk and a Hacksaw, Black Moth Super Rainbow, Jenny Owen Young, Sunn 0))), The Bats and some kick ass soul from Naomi Shelton.
Playlist: New Releases 05.26.09
First thing’s first: Go and delete any crappy leak you may (or may not have) “aquired” and obtain the real thing, as this is one album that requires full fidelity in order to appreciate it’s majesty. Veckatimest follows through on what 2006’s stellar Yellow House merely promised. A nearly perfect album from start to finish, with it’s only flaw being it’s perfection, an envious paradox to have, for sure. Named after a tiny island near Martha’s Vineyard (the band recorded the album in Cape Cod,) Veckatimest is teeming with precision and bursting with moments of harmonizing glory, as if alternating between lakeside surgery and wondrous visitations from the Lord (the album was finished in a church in NY). From the start, the band dares us to follow them through on the journey (“You’ll never find me now” – “Southern Point,”) but follow we must, bouncing through their most accessible song yet (“Two Weeks,”) and joined in by disembodied choirs (“Cheerleader,”) they lead us to some dizzying heights. If we were looking for someone to challenge Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion for album of the year, I think we have our challenger (and eventual winner). Other recommended tracks, “Ready, Able” and… heck, who am I kidding, the whole shebang. Pick it up, NOW.
Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, like GB’s Veckatimest is a giant leap forward for the band, combining the promise of their debut (2000’s United,) with the uneven brilliance of their third album (2006’s It’s Never Been Like That,) into an effortless pop gem. If many of the songs seem to be cut from the same cloth as their 2006 hit “Long Distance Call,” it can be forgiven, as that song is the perfect blueprint for the band. “Lisztomania,” “1901,” “Lasso,” and “Girlfriend” all fall into that effortless synth-driven indie rock pop feel, and with the advancement of singer (and Sofia Coppolla squeeze) Thomas Mars lyrical play, it’s hard to beat. Almost like a lyrical tweet, Mars’ bite size couplets are intriguing, take the opening salvo: “So sentimental, not sentimental, no!/ Romantic, not disgusting yet,” it’s a back and forth of contrasts and paradoxes that occur throughout the album. Even the mostly instrumental “Love is a Sunset,” follows the paradox, taking musical cues from their countrymen Air (and some Tangerine Dream circa Risky Business, thrown in for good measure). There’s beauty in an ending (“When did we start the end?”) and the song accomplishes the feat in spades (Part II – can’t say I’m a fan of them breaking up the song into two parts for US release).
More on the radar (and in the mp3 player) this week:
Viva Voce – Rose City / “Devotion” [mp3]
A Hawk and a Hacksaw – Deliverance
Black Moth Super Rainbow – Eating Us / Free AOL Album Stream
Jenny Owen Youngs – Transmitter Failure
Sunn 0))) – Monoliths and Dimensions
The Bats – The Guilty Office
The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Smoking Acid
Naomi Shelton – What Have You Done, My Brother? / “What Have You Done” [mp3]
Tiga – Ciao / Free AOL Album Stream / “Mind Dimension” [mp3]
The Paper Chase – Someday This Could All Be Yours Vol. 1