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Monday, March 28, 2011

New Death Cab Track, 'You Are A Tourist"

Head over to Seattle based radio station (107.7 The End) to hear a track from DCFC's new record Codes and Keys.  The song is called "You Are A Tourist" and will be the first single from the record.  Look for Codes and Keys in stores May 31st via Atlantic Records, link here to listen to the track, and check out the tracklist for the album below.

01 “Home Is A Fire”
02 “Codes And Keys”
03 “Some Boys”
04 “Doors Unlocked And Open”
05 “You Are A Tourist”
06 “Unobstructed Views”
07 “Monday Morning”
08 “Portable Television”
09 “Underneath The Sycamore”
10 “St “Peter’s Cathedral”
11 “Stay Young, Go Dancing”

Sunday, March 20, 2011

James Blake - 'James Blake'

A&M/ ATLAS; 2011
Our Take - 8.8

One reason I am so late reviewing James Blake's debut album is that I didn't know how to approach it.  Still, even now, I am unsure of exactly what is important to include.  As a musician, he is something of a wunderkind.  Having only been discovered 2 years prior, he has already released 4 EP's (which combined took a prominent spot on my best of 2010 list) and a full length LP (which will take a prominent spot on my best of 2011 list).

Why is he important and what makes him stand out from the hoards of other singer-songwriters out there? Simply put, he is changing pop music.  I haven't heard anything quite like him.  His musicianship qualities are remarkable-- he has a gentle touch on the piano, a simple and unique voice that he often manipulates electronically, and a knack for creating elegant hooks.  CoS contributor Drew Litowitz describes his sound wel in his review of the record, "he’s covered a lot of electronica ground in a relatively short time: chilling explorations through dubstep rhythms, sound collages, dance hall-infused house, and electro-pop or whatever you want to call it. The fuzzy, hazy, blip-laden textures don’t let you know if it’s time to dance, take a nap on the couch, drink yourself into a coma, or cry yourself to sleep."  

Part of the magic in regards to James Blake is in his minimalism, the texture of his sounds, the way he pieces them and layers them together, and perhaps most importantly the way in which he incorporates silence into his songs.  He has the potential to be a crossover hit and change the way people view dubstep.  

James Blake is so many things, a producer, a pop-singer, a singer-songwriter, a dubstep enthusiast, a sonic manipulator, and a prodigy.  Above everything else he is a successful experimentalist-- one who is quickly becoming a phenom. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Destroyer - 'Kaputt'


Merge; 2011
Our Take - 8.4

Dan Bejar the brainchild behind Destroyer is deep, complex, tragic, and hilarious.  With Kaputt, we get a unique artistic statement and a stand alone record that is vastly different from other Destroyer records and worlds away from his collaborations with The New Pornographers.  

On first listen I wasn't too sure, I thought it sounded, well, corny. This can be attributed to the sonic elements and genres it combines-- smooth jazz, late 70's/early 80's reverbed synths, soft rock, easy listening, and sort of a romanticized poppiness-- sounds I haven't always appreciated.  What it took for me to enjoy the record was to just let go.  When I allowed myself to be carried by the sound of the record I appreciated the songs and embraced the aesthetic value of the record in an entirely new way.

I fell in love with the way the sounds are combined, his lackadaisical I'm-reading-obscure-literature-on-the-couch-while-singing style vocals, the wonderfully satirical, introspective and social commentating lyrics, the precise never-miss song structures, and the earworm hooks.

This record is complex and will be dissected and cherished for years to come, but even at surface value it is a wonderful sounding record.  Just give up with this record, let it take you where it wills, it is quite the journey.

Friday, March 18, 2011

PJ Harvey - 'Let England Shake'

Vagrant/ Island Def Jam; 2011
Our Take - 8.2

I already want to kick myself for giving this album a "low" review.  "8.2?? How is that a low review?" Well, let's hear what some others have to say about PJ Harvey's latest.  For his CoS review Nick Freed wrote, "I have never given a full five stars to any album I’ve reviewed on this site—not even albums by some of my heroes—but this is one of the best albums I have heard in a while... PJ Harvey has created an album that will be at the top of everyone’s “Best of” list come December." A reviewer over at Popwreckoning has this to say, "Nothing is going to top this anytime soon. It’s an album for the ages, one I will be dissecting far into the future."

Alright. Basically, people like this record.  I do too, in fact it is great.  I do wonder however, how much of the hype and acclaim surrounding this record is based on the music as opposed to the figure (it's fucking PJ Harvey, got it?).

Let's talk about what we know about PJ-- woman has got unparalleled stage presence, she is brutally honest, self-reflective, and she wears her heart on her sleeve.  Now let's talk about the album-- this is unlike anything PJ has done before.  Her lyrics, a highlight, turn from introspection and extend outward toward England particularly around the time of the Great War.  Her images are vivid and linger.  How about the sound on the album-- epic at times, exasperated and emotional at others, tragic, triumphant, heavy and... umm.. British?

The record is a joy to listen to and this is miracle despite the heavy subject matter.  It is a piece of artwork, but it is also simply enjoyable to listen to.  For whatever reason you pick it up, you shouldn't be disappointed come first spin.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hear the New Strokes Album 'Angles' Right Now

Well the wait is over, The Strokes are streaming new album Angles on their website.

Click here for the stream.

Also if interested in a serious view of The Strokes through history check out Pitchfork's feature, "This Is It: Ten Years of the Strokes" over at their website.

Link to Pitchfork feature.

I've been through the album a few times already, and it is a worthwhile listen.  Pick it up March 22nd via RCA and look for a full review in the comings days (ahem, if I get caught up-- James Blake, PJ Harvey, Destroyer, Bright Eyes, Toro y Moi, RADIOHEAD, etc.).

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Strokes 'Angles' Updates

The Strokes PR machine is working overtime: they've released the cover art to Angles (pictured above) an official video to "Under Cover of Darkness" and a B-Side to said song entitled "You're So Right."  You can check out the video and new song below.

The video is somewhat of a re-introduction to the band-- they play their respective instruments in different rooms with everyone but Julian sporting slick tuxedos before eventually joining each other on stage taking a as the song ends.

Second single (b-side if you will) "You're So Right" sounds nothing like "Under Cover of Darkness" and it truly sounds like at this point that the songs on this album are coming from all "Angles".

Check out both the video and the new song below.  Also follow the link at the very bottom for 30 second previews of all the songs on the record.

Click here for 30 second snippets of all tracks Angles which will be released March 22nd via RCA.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

New TV on the Radio, "Nine Types of Light" out April 12th

After a substantial break and a few solo projects (Dave Sitek is almost as busy as Jack White) TV on the Radio are back with Nine Types of Light which you can find at your favorite record store on April 12th. Check out the cover art and first track "Will Do" below.

Hear the new Mountain Goats album NOW

Head over to NPR to listen to the new Mountain Goats record All Eternals Deck in its entirety right now.  You can follow this link to get there NPR Stream-- All Eternals Deck to get there.

For some more information on the album in frontman John Darnielle's own words, follow the following link to an extensive interview over at Pitchfork.  Apparently, John Darnielle is a big death metal fan and a old-school horror movie lover.  Who would have thought?