The football season is just beginning, but in the world of indie rock, it’s already Super Bowl time. So throw some dogs on the grill, bust open your tailgate and feast your eyes on this week’s super-sized “Drake’s Take“. -ed.
Drake’s Take: New Releases 09.14.10
This week is the Super Tuesday of indie rock releases for 2010. The embarrassment of riches includes the latest from The Walkmen, Of Montreal, Weezer, Chromeo, The Black Angels, Black Mountain, J. Tillman, Junip, Azure Ray, Blonde Redhead, Crocodiles, Cloud Cult, a second round of Nick Cave’s Grinderman plus strong returns for both Superchunk and The Vaselines.
Playlist: New Releases 09.14.10
Don’t call it a comeback, because the ‘Chunk never left. Sure it’s been nine years since their last release, but Merge Records’ house band never called it quits, but instead were just taking their time. Musically, Majesty Shredding is a return to the spunky pre-Here’s Where the Strings Come In days, before the days of embellishment (not that their later catalogue was bad, on the contrary). Throw in lyrics that folks in their 40s can identify with and it’s the best of both worlds for an aging indie rocker like me.
Nick Cave’s mid-life crisis disguised as a return to Birthday Party rawness back in 2007 gets a much welcomed sequel. More improvised lyrics over raw expositions result in another Nick Cave gem. He’s notched three in a row (counting Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! w/ the Bad Seeds). Cave does the dirty old man bit to perfection.
Of Montreal has largely been a one-man effort over the years for Kevin Barnes, but False Priest sees the Atlanta native in a collaborative mood, with the band getting more credit along with some high profile guest stars. Jon Brion helps in production, while Solange Knowles and Janelle Monae join in for a couple duets. It’s not as genius as Hissing Fauna…, but it’s a step up from 2008’s Skeletal Lamping.
I’ve given up expecting The Walkmen to write another “The Rat,” the best thing they’ve ever done. A funny thing happened on the way to waiting for another burner like “The Rat” to come along — the band got better at writing spare and powerful songs that don’t require the guitars at 11. Album highlight “Angela Surf City” is as close as they get, and I’m alright with that.
Before Sweden’s Jose Gonzalez achieved solo success, he was the frontman for this act. Reforming the band, you’d think that this would sound more like a band and less like a slightly more rocking Gonzalez solo release. Of course, that’s a welcome outcome as well, and there’s plenty to like here, especially if you’re already a Jose fan.
Part of the magic in all these reunions is a return to youth, but sometimes you can’t go back. Glasgow’s The Vaselines were at their best juxtaposing innocence and sexual honesty, and occasionally the combination works with Sex With an X — their first album in 21 years — but they’re in their 40s now and that formula doesn’t have quite the same magic anymore. Belle & Sebastian help out backing the band and a few sparks fly, but after 21 years of waiting, don’t you want a little more?
More on the radar (and in the mp3 player) this week:
The Black Angels – Phosphene Dream / Free AOL Album Stream / “Telephone” [mp3]
J. Tillman – Singing Ax / “Three Sisters”, “Diamondback” [mp3]
Black Mountain – Wilderness Heart / Free AOL Album Stream / “The Hair Song” [mp3]
Azure Ray – Drawing Down the Moon / Free AOL Album Stream
Blonde Redhead – Penny Sparkle / Free AOL Album Stream / “Here Sometimes” [mp3]
Dungen – Skit I Allt / Free AOL Album Stream
Crocodiles – Sleep Forever / Free AOL Album Stream
The Drums – The Drums / Free AOL Album Stream
Cloud Cult – Light Chasers / Free AOL Album Stream
Megafaun – Heretofore / “Carolina Days” [mp3]
Chromeo – Business Casual / Free AOL Album Stream
Mice Parade – What It Means to be Left-Handed / Free AOL Album Stream
Jen Wood – Finds You In Love / “Pills”, “Zeppelin” [mp3]
El Guincho – Pop Negro / Free AOL Album Stream / “FM Tan Sexy” [mp3]
Teengirl Fantasy – 7am / Free AOL Album Stream
Chilly Gonzalez – Ivory Tower / Free AOL Album Stream
The Lonely Forest – The Lonely Forest EP / Free AOL Album Stream / “Live There” [mp3]
Weezer – Hurley / Free AOL Album Stream
The Charlatans UK – Who We Touch
Robert Plant – Band of Joy / Free AOL Album Stream
The Parlotones – Stardust Galaxies / Free AOL Album Stream
Brandon Flowers- Flamingo / Free AOL Album Stream