OK, Drake and I are now officially up-to-date, (and so are you). -ed.
Drake’s Take: New Releases 05 24.11
Heading into the holiday (re: Sasquatch!) weekend, this week’s crop may not have much for year end lists, but it’s still deep in worthy releases. Of note are the latest from David Bazan, White Denim, Art Brut, Sonic Youth, Joseph Arthur, Foster the People, Nat Baldwin, The Men, Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside, Dead Can Dance’s Brendan Perry and two, count ’em two releases from drone metal purveyors Boris.
Playlist: New Releases 05.24.11
When David Bazan debuted as a solo artist with Curse Your Branches, it signaled a change in sound from his days of Pedro the Lion. The struggles with faith were still there, but the sound was a more classic singer/songwriter acoustic-based joint. With Strange Negotiations, his second solo full-length, Bazan has brought back the full band sound of Pedro the Lion while perhaps dialing back on the faith struggles — or, at the very least it’s just less overt. It’s a solid release all the way through, even if it’s hard to pinpoint a highlight.
After recording their last album quickly (and releasing it for free — the spontaneous Last Day of Summer) D sounds more like a labor of love. Austin’s White Denim added a fourth member (appropriately named Austin) and the dual guitar attack compliments the amazing rhythm section nicely on D. While they often veer dangerously into noodle/jam band territory, the King Crimson progressions and Jethro Tull flute solos from left field make it more a 70s AOR kitchen sink love affair. Key party, anyone?
After two attempts at trying to recapture the magic of their debut, Eddie Argos & co. take baby steps into new territory with Brilliant! Tragic!. Back behind the glass is Charles Thompson aka Frank Black aka Black Francis, and besides punching up the band’s sound, he’s got Argos singing (!) and Ian Catskilkin playing extended guitar solos (“but only on two strings” assures Argos, and if so, then on “Axl Rose” he must have burned through several of those ‘two strings’). If treated as a transition album, this could be an album to look back on with elevated interest, but in and of itself, it’s at best a mixed bag. Highlights include the aforementioned controlled chaos of “Axl Rose” and “Lost Weekend.”
When it became known that Thurston Moore was recording a mostly acoustic album with Beck producing, there had to be more than a few heads exploding. A mostly accessible album of folkish ruminations is about as out of left field as you’ll get from Moore, who’s 30 + years of experimentation with guitar nearly has him pigeon-holed (as someone who is hard to pigeon hole, of course). Demolished Thoughts (which is also the name of his side project with J Mascis and others), has Moore on either 6- or 12-string acoustics throughout, complete with Beck supervised orchestral backing here and there, but it’d still be mistake to call it folk. Take one of the album’s highlight’s “Circulation,” which extolls the virtue of vinyl in the most hauntingly beautiful (and dissonant!) of fashions. But I might be biased. I named my dog after the man (and, coincidentally enough, it’s furry Thurston’s 11th birthday this week. Raise a paw, y’all!).
More on the radar (and in the mp3 player) this week:
Boris – Attention Please / Free AOL Album Stream
Boris – Heavy Rocks / Free AOL Album Stream
Foster the People – Torches / Free AOL Album Stream
Joseph Arthur – The Graduation Ceremony
Battles – Ice Cream (Single/EP)
Darwin Deez – Darwin Deez
Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat – Everything’s Getting Older
Nat Baldwin – People Changes
Friendly Fires – Pala / Free AOL Album Stream
Brendan Perry – Ark
Amon Tobin – Isam
The Men – Leave Home
Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside – Dirty Radio
King Creosote & Jon Hopkins – Diamond Mine
Ear Pwr – Ear Pwr / Free AOL Album Stream
Bird of Youth – Defender / “Bombs Away, She Is Here to Stay” [mp3]
Dear Lions – Dear Lions / Free AOL Album Stream
Motopony – Tenth Life / Free AOL Album Stream
Ash Black Bufflo – Andasol
She Wants Revenge – Valleyheart
Lady Gaga – Born This Way
Kate Bush – Director’s Cut
The Hangover, Pt II: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack