Drake‘s come out of hibernation for a big week of new releases including the latest from the venerable Arcade Fire and Drake fave Wavves. (FYI, “The Suburbs” is still priced at an attractive $3.99 on Amazon.com.) -ed.
Drake’s Take: New Releases 08.03.10
Summers in Seattle are a busy time, as we only get a compressed amount of time to wear sunglasses, and we all know it can be tough typing on a laptop with suntan lotion-greased digits. Seriously, though, it’s been nuts what with the vacations and a scaled back workforce at my day job. But it was going to be hard to punt on this week’s release, with two of 2010’s best albums dropping in stores. The latest from Arcade Fire and Wavves are sure to make more than a few best of lists, and help add some sizzle to summer’s mostly blah releases. Elsewhere, there’s the latest from Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band, Autolux, The Magic Numbers, Versus, Shapes & Sizes and an interesting reworking of their hits from Squeeze.
Playlist: New Releases 08.03.10
Looking back to 2004, it’s easy to forget just how special Arcade Fire’s debut (Funeral) was, and how out of nowhere it seemed. The band announced itself both an act of subtlety and of “big ideas.” While that release looked inward, their next release, Neon Bible, got political, as if the kids in the debut were in college and rebelling against everything, but with it, much of the subtlety from the debut was lost. With The Suburbs, the band retreats from grand statements, instead relying on the more mundane trials of life (Springsteen territory), taking the kids from Funeral trying to get out of their hometown, and finding themselves with kids in the suburbs. It’s still as ambitious as we’ve come to expect and it mostly hits its lofty mark. The opening “The Suburbs” turns Neon Bible‘s “My Body is a Cage” upside down, both musically (hear the direct reference in “The Suburbs (continued)”) and lyrically, with the setting of the suburbs being the new prison to try and escape from. The album finds the band more varied in sound, welcome after the last album’s hollow sameness. To wit, there’s the My Bloody Valentine-meets-Abba of “Empty Room” along with the pulsating electro of “Half Light II [No Celebration]” and “Sprawl II [Mountains Beyond Mountains]”).
If there’s a flaw, it’d be that the album is awfully long, but I’m hard pressed to pick a song that would be edited out, so it’s not an easy complaint to make. Given that the albums have been following a progression of maturity from high school to college to married with kids, I can’t wait to hear what Win Butler and co. do with a theme of mid-life crisis.
What a difference a year makes for Nate Williams. After his up and down 2009, rife with on stage meltdowns and low-grade pissing matches in the press, no one would’ve blamed Williams if he retreated to even lower-fi surroundings for his next release, but he’s regrouped and taken a huge leap forward. Scooping up the late Jay Reatard’s rocking old band (whom Reatard fired not long before his death), Williams rebuilt his sound from scratch, pulling equally from the two disparate sounds from his surroundings of San Diego – that of the surfing Beach Boys-ish pop and skater punk. With King of the Beach, he’s still the loner/slacker/loser protagonist like before, but the musical surroundings are much more resplendent. The title track/opener and “Post Acid” are your first stops, but the whole ride is well worth the self-hate.
More on the radar (and in the mp3 player) this week:
Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band – Where the Messengers Meet / AOL Album Stream
Autolux – Transit Transit / AOL Album Stream
The Magic Numbers – The Runaway
Shapes and Sizes – Candle to Your Eyesd / “I Need an Outlet,” “Tell Your Mom” [mp3]
Versus – On the Ones and Threes / Stream from Merge Records / “Gone to Earth,” “Invincible Hero” [mp3]
Squeeze – Spot the Difference
The Black Crowes- Croweology
EL-P – Weareallgoingtoburninhellmegamixxx3
La Roux – Sidetracked (Curated Mix)
Dax Riggs – Say Goodnight to the World / “No One Will Be a Stranger” [mp3]
Los Lobos – Tin Can Trust
David Dondero – # Zero With a Bullet / “# Zero With a Bullet,” “Wherever You Go” [mp3]
Level 42 – Living it Up (Box set)
Middle Men: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack / Free AOL Album Stream