Drake’s Take: New Releases 02.15.11

Just catching up with The Drake. Stay tuned for another edition later this week. -ed.

February may be the shortest and weather-challenged month of the year, but 2011’s version has already been both long on and warm to quality releases. I’m not even sure what that means, but it somehow still feels apt in introducing the latest offerings from PJ Harvey, Telekinesis, Drive-By Truckers, Twilight Singers, Bright Eyes, Lifeguards, A Hawk and a Hacksaw, Asobi Seksu, Sonic Youth, Mogwai, The Dears, East River Pipe, Zooey Van Gooey and the debut from UK’s Yuck.

Playlist: New Releases 02.15.11

PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
Stream / Purchase [mp3]

PJ Harvey - Let England ShakeI can only imagine fans of PJ Harvey’s raw guitar-based early releases (Dry, Rid of Me) will balk at Harvey’s latest upon hearing that the most prominent instrument is the harpsichord. They’d be missing out, though, on what is surely Harvey’s best release since then. While the raw lyricism of Let England Shake lacks the personal appeal of her laid bare offerings of old, her richly detailed look at warfare in relation to her homeland of England has it’s own rawness to it that’s hard to resist. Taking three years to research and five weeks to record (with frequent collaborators John Parrish, Bad Seeds’ Mick Harvey and producer Flood), LES is an obvious labor of love for Harvey, with most the toiling occurring over the lyrics. To better tie the war theme with our current climate, she enlisted war photographer Seamus Murphy to shoot fairly abstract (and beautiful) videos for each of the 12 tracks on the album. Only four have been released thus far (see them here), but you can already feel a potential brilliance in the whole of them. They make an already powerful collection of songs hit that much harder.

Telekinesis – 12 Desperate Straight Lines
Stream / Purchase [mp3]

Telekinesis - 12 Desperate Straight LinesAfter the levity of Harvey’s release, Telekinesis’ sophomore long player feels pretty light as a companion to highlight. To be sure, 12 Desperate Straight Lines is lacking in lyrical depth, but there’s an infectious joy in this collection of songs that’s hard to resist. Between the pop bursts of album highlight “Car Crash” and the Cure-cribbed “Please Ask for Help,” there’s a lot to smile at, even if after a few listens it can start to sound a bit similar.

More on the radar (and in the mp3 player) this week:
Drive-By Truckers – Go-Go Boots / “Everybody Needs Love” [mp3]
The Twilight Singers – Dynamite Steps / “Blackbird and the Fox” [mp3]
Yuck – Yuck / “Rubber” [mp3]
Lifeguards – Waving at the Astronauts
Bright Eyes – The People’s Key / “Haile Selassie” [mp3]
A Hawk and a Hacksaw – Cervantine
Asobi Seksu – Fluorescence / “Trails” [mp3]
The Dears – Degeneration Street
Sonic Youth – Simon Werner a Disparu
Mogwai – Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will / “San Pedro” [mp3]
East River Pipe – Modern Ruin / “Cold Ground” [mp3]
Skull Defekts – Peer Amid / “Fragrant Nimbus” [mp3]
The Babies – The Babies / “Run Me Over” [mp3]
Andrew Jackson Jihad – Candy Cigarettes, Capguns, Issue Problems! and Such
Zoey Van Goey – Propeller Versus Wings / “The Cake and Eating It” [mp3]
Eddie Spaghetti – Sundowner
Arbouretum – The Gathering / “Destroying to Save” [mp3]
Win Win – Win Win
La Sera – La Sera / “Devils Hearts Grow Gold” [mp3]
Occult Detective Club – Crimes
Young Galaxy – Shapeshifting / “Cover Your Tracks” [mp3]