This week Drake waxes poetic on the debut from Vancouver, BC’s Japandroids (just in case you thought we were talking about Vancouver, WA), Sub Pop’s new “Great Pop Hope”, Fruit Bats, and the appropriator of his literary catchphrase, Mr. Joe Pernice. -ed.
Drake’s Take: New Releases 08.04.09
While the past few weeks have been hot, the releases have been all smoke but no fire. This week, there’s plenty of flames between the full length debut from Vancouver, BC’s Japandroids finally getting released on this side of the border and new releases from Fruit Bats, Modest Mouse, YACHT, Throw Me the Statue and Joe Pernice releasing a Novel Soundtrack (perhaps I should’ve trademarked the name!). Also, two releases from frontmen going solo in disguise (sort of). My Morning Jacket‘s Jim James releases an EP under the name Yim Yames while Interpol‘s Paul Banks releases a full length under the moniker Julian Plenti.
Playlist: New Releases 08.04.09
Finally, the throwback guitar and drums duo from Vancouver sees their full length debut released in the states after buildig plenty of ‘next big thing’ buzz upon it’s release North of the border. Japandroids trade in the kind of teen angst that I can still get behind, and perhaps that’s because they rely on late 80’s (Husker Du) and early-to-mid 90’s (Superchunk) crunchy guitar pop sounds. It’s tempting to lump them into the lo-fi No Age/Wavves noise rock movement, but there’s a lot more epic pop at it’s base. And while the youthful exuberance, especially demonstrated at their recent Capitol Hill Block party gig, might seem distant to an aging (yes, aging!) rocker like myself, but Brian King & David Prowse aren’t just young, dumb and full of cum. Witness the album’s highlight “Young Hearts Spark Fire,” with the lyric ‘We used to dream/ Now we worry about dying/ I don’t want to worry about dying, I just want to worry about those sunshine girls.’ That’s some forward thinking from lads who are barely into their twenties. The other highlight, “Sovereignty”, tells of distance from one’s home, a mature theme, but sprinkled with enough timely f-words to illustrate the youth/experience juxtaposition that Post-Nothing has in spades.
Sub Pop may have lost The Shins, but Fruit Bats’ latest, while guaranteed not to sell nearly as much, makes for a nice consolation prize. The band had plenty in common with the former S/P big sellers even before singer/songwriter/guitarist Eric Johnson became a member of The Shins. The Ruminant Band is the fourth (third w/ Sub Pop) album that Johnson & co. have been delivered, and it’s a continuation of what I could only call ‘elegant pop,’ this time helped out by Califone‘s Tim Rutili and Jim Becker. There’s nothing exhilarating about a FB release, but you don’t always need that. Just some fine song craftsmanship and execution for another solid Fruit Bats release.
Highlights: the title track and the twang-y “Hobo Girl.”
Of course I’d be remiss if I didn’t address this execution of a former staple of this site, the Novel Soundtrack*. Joe Pernice (Pernice Brothers, Scud Mountain Boys) has always seemed like a novelist dabbling in pop music, and now the tables are turned. His first novel, It Feels So Good When I Stop, is released this week, and so is this album, meant as companion. Instead of just compiling the songs mentioned in the novel, Pernice puts his on spin on several of them, ranging from Del Shannon’s “I Go to Pieces” to Todd Rundgren’s “Hello, It’s Me”. Also sprinkled in is Pernice reading passages from the book. As you might already guess, the album doesn’t work as well without the novel, but that’s not its purpose. But Pernice fans who buy it are sure to want to pick up the novel, and vice-versa, I’m sure, and that’s something, right?
*thus spake drake used to be the number one search result, but my NS posts have been few and far between of late.
More on the radar (and in the mp3 player) this week:
Modest Mouse – No One’s First, and You’re Next EP / Free AOL Album Stream
YACHT – See Mystery Lights / HD Video for “Pyschic City”
Julian Plenti – Julian Plenti Is…Skyscraper / “The Fun That We Have” [mp3]
Yim Yames – Tribute To EP / Free AOL Album Stream
Throw Me The Statue – Creaturesque / Free AOL Album Stream / “Ancestors” [mp3] / “Hi-fi Goon” [mp3]
Sian Alice Group – Troubled, Shaken etc.
Plastiscines – About Love
Nurses – Apple’s Acre / Free AOL Album Stream / “Caterpillar Playground” [mp3]
Greymachine – Disconnected
The Duke And The King – Nothing Gold Can Stay / Free AOL Album Stream
Medeski, Martin and Wood – Radiolarians III / Free AOL Album Stream / “Amber Gris” [mp3]
Watermelon Slip – Escape From The Chicken Coop
Soul-Junk – 1096
Brian Bonz & The Dot Hongs – From Sumi to Japan / Free AOL Album Stream
Amanda Blank – I Love You / Free AOL Album Stream
Helado Negro – Awe Owe (AOL Album Stream) / “Deja” [mp3]
Holiday Shores – Columbus’d The Whim (AOL Album Stream)