New This Week: 2.1.2011
Acid Mothers Temple/Stearica _ Split
Some of today’s best psychedelic by way of Japan and Italy.
Arabrot _ Revenge
Norwegian black punk/metal. Very heavy.
Aretha Franklin _ Aretha Sings the Great American Songbook
Billie Holiday _ Forever Lady Day (3CD)
Compilation of 53 of Lady Day’s greatest.
Blood Command _ Ghostclocks
Female-fronted emo-core from the Netherlands. You can imagine…
**Bob Marley & The Wailers _ Live Forever: Stanley Theatre, Pittsburgh, PA, 9/23/1980
A reminder that Bob isn’t just a pioneer and pop-culture icon, but great performer. Must have for fans, hippies.
David Lowery _ The Palace Guard
Cracker lead singer makes the album he wants to make. Pretty American folk.
Dirtbombs _ Party Store
Unique Detroit garage-punk. See 'Jaguar', 'Alleys of Your Mind.'
Esben & The Witch _ Violent Cries
Eerie female-fronted indie guitar Brits are haunting in their best moments, dreary/kitschy at their worst. If you want to get creeped out watch the brand new video for “Marching Song,” directed by Peter King.
George Michael _ Faith [2CD]
Who knew there was a demand for more ‘Faith’? We didn’t, but here it is remastered and extended.
The Go! Team _ Rolling Blackouts
More Brits. Adventurous ones. Here they offer their most straightforward, psychedelic tunes yet.
Lloyd _ King of Hearts
Postponed, new date 3/22/11.
Matisyahu _ Live At Stubbs, Vol II
Say what you will about religious music but he’s the best Hebrew in reggae. Live from the famous Austin, TX BBQ joint.
**MEN _ Talk About Body
Sparse dance-tinged electro-pop from Le Tigre's JD Samson. Definitely has moments of greatness.
Midnite _ Treasure
Authentic, spiritual roots reggae.
Paul Hardcastle _ Desire
English synth-jazz guru plays dreamy, predictable jams.
Philthy Rich _ Trip’n 4 Life
Simple minded Cali MC is bolstered by slick beats and a long guest list. Nothing out of the ordinary.
Phish _ Live at the Greek (8.6.10, 8.7.10.)
Live. Die-hards swear the jams are better then ever.
Pushking _ The World As We Love It
Nu-metal from one of Russia’s most popular rock bands.
Red _ Until We Have Faces
Dramatic Christian mod-rock/screamo. Think a Lifehouse/Disturbed/Nickelback combo.
Regina Spector _ Live in London (2LP) (VINYL)
Spector manages to be simultaneously detached and compelling.
Seefeel _ Seefeel
**Spokes _ Everyone I Ever Met
Strong Arm Steady _ Arms and Hammers
Gritty, unique hip-hop. Postponed to 2/22/2011.
The JaneDear Girls _ Self titled
Warner Bros wish for another Taylor Swift, and it definitely doesn't come true.
The Rippingtons _ Cote d’Azur
Russ Freeman and Co keep the smooth Jazz coming. This guy wrote the music for the Weather Channel’s Local on the 8’s.
Terror Danjah _ Grand Opening, Minimal Dub, SOS, Leave Me Alone
Top-notch UK producer releases 12-inch from last year's Undeniable.
Prolific singer-songwriter sings instant classics. Endearing American folk.
Spokes _ Everyone I Ever Met (3.5/5.0)
Spokes are new to the scene, and their full-length debut doesn't hide it. This record doesn't fit cleanly under the umbrella of indie, folk, or even pop. More rock than a group like Mumford and Sons, and more pastoral than the Shout Out Louds, Spokes find a place of their own.
The opener "345" is a sweaty Arcade Fire-styled romp, built up from layers of sparse guitars and boosted by a striking violin line, eventually exploding with ferocity matching Win Butler and Co at their best. Second track and lead single "We Can make It Out" continues in the same vein with huge atmospheric guitars and violin weaving in out of the traffic. The album progresses organically into the title track exploding into a hooky pinnacle that would be the envy of peak masters Explosions In The Sky.
A much needed respite for the ears is then provided with the stripped down "Sun It Never Comes", and "Give It Up to the Night", which prepare the listener for the continuing swells and violent crescendos. The album doesn't let up the rest of the way sticking to the same formula of attack and release, building tension slowly, erupting in joy, and then doing it all over again.
The listening experience provided by Everyone I Ever Met doesn't feel like a collection of songs, but a unified project, conceived and realized as a whole. The low points here come in rare sleepy moments, which are few, far between, and will be welcome to some after the assault of smashing cymbals and guitars. This is a meticulously produced piece of art, every melody in a precise location and the timbre of every tone carefully crafted. Recommended listening for fans of good pop music.
Key tracks: "We Can Make It Out", "Everyone I Ever Met", "Forever the Bridge"
Seefeel _ Seefeel (2.5/5.0)
This is not a pop record and Seefeel is not a pop band, which may be the most important thing to keep in mind when listening to their latest self-titled LP. This is an assertively original collection of songs and if you can get over the fact that they're not made to please you, then there is an enjoyable experience to be had.
The album begins with stabbing synths, arrhythmic at first and gradually gaining structure with the plodding drums and otherworldly noises and feedback of "Dead Guitars." "Step Up" offers little more in the way of rhythm and continues to build on the theme of swelling electronics introduced by the opener, later resolved towards the end of the record with "Step Down." As the record continues to progress, the structure increases. Plodding rhythms begin to march, while chromatic melodies maintain the pervading sense of uneasiness.
"Rip Run" is the first track with an actual beat featuring dark atmospherics and warbling analog synths. The stuttering plod of "Making" is a definite highlight, accented by airy falsetto vocals, and the off-kilter movements of "Airless" continue the theme of unapologetic creation. It becomes clear that the band is not concerned with traditional song structures with three tracks under 1:03, and six tracks longer then 5:30.
Seefeel will be compared to the other electronic acts of today; Boards of Canada, Apparat, Braids, and while their perspective is extremely refreshing the record leaves something to be desired. As a fan of the genre and synth enthusiast I wanted to fall in love with this record, but it wasn't meant to be. Despite the group's many admirable qualities (they have been at it since '92 and continue to make music that is rudely original), this is a record that will be hard for many listeners to understand.
Key Tracks: "Rip-Run", "Making", "Sway"