This week Drake sees if Yeasayer can avoid the dreaded sophomore slump and if Hot Chip can “crack it wide open” on their fourth full length. – ed.
Drake’s Take: New Releases 02.09.10
February can be the cruelest of months, even with its brevity. One week you’d swear it was Spring, the next week, you’re spitting icicles. The release schedule kind of feels like that as well. To wit, we’re (mostly) blessed this week with new releases from Hot Chip, Yeasayer and the influential Gil Scott-Heron‘s first in 28 years. There’s also notable new joints from The Watson Twins, Panthu Du Prince, Kath Bloom, Massive Attack and also staging a comeback, Sade.
Playlist: New Releases 02.09.10
With their fourth release, Hot Chip seem to have matured and realized they’re romantics at heart. One Life Stand is an awfully serious album in comparison to prior releases, its fuller, richer and their most consistent affair. If it doesn’t attract as much attention, it’s only because they don’t have a killer track like “Over and Over,” or “Ready For the Floor.” Instead, it’s a collection of great songs that are closely related to each other, a thematic collection. The title track is the closest thing to a hit here, while the rest are content to just be good-to-great, a contentment that washes over the album lyrically as well. If Hot Chip are indeed content, at least they’re resting their laurels at a nice peak.
When Brooklyn’s Yeasayer came out of nowhere in 2007 with their Eastern-tinged debut All Hour Cymbals, they didn’t seem so much polarizing as just part of the scene with fellow artists Animal Collective and Dirty Projectors. After hearing their follow-up Odd Blood, that debut almost seems like an elaborate set up now. Even the opening track here, “Children,” sets us off in all kinds of wrong directions, with its industrial edge and weird vocal treatment, as the rest of the album really aims to please far more than freak us out. Between the pugilistic fantasy of “Ambling Alp,” the bouncy “Rome” and an oddly romantic “O.N.E.,” Yeasayer manage to please as well as remain as just strange enough in it’s embrace of world rhythms to avoid a saccharin existence. As I mentioned in a previous post, Security-era Peter Gabriel is a good comparison here, mixing romanticism, pop and African polyrhythms. While it’s bound to confound early fans, I feel like Odd Blood, with time, will win them all back in the before they’re through.
More on the radar (and in the mp3 player) this week:
The Watson Twins – Talking to You, Talking to Me / Free AOL album stream
Gil Scott-Heron – I’m New Here / Free AOL album stream
Kath Bloom – Thin Thin Line
Pantha Du Prince – Black Noise / Free AOL album stream / “The Splendour” [mp3]
Allison Moorer – Crows
Galactic – Ya-Ka-May
Massive Attack – Heligoland
Blue Brain – Soft Power / Free AOL album stream / “Ten By Ten” [mp3]
Sade – Soldier of Love / Free AOL album stream
HIM – Screamworks: Love In Theory and Practice
Reckless Kelly – Somewhere in Time
You Say Party! We Say Die! – Xxxx