by: John Penny, KUCI Music Director
Sort of a lackluster week for new music, in my opinion. Fear not, fellow DJs, as I've waded through the mire of crap to bring you the following new releases.
Bishop Allen - The Broken String (Dead Oceans)
These indie-poppers were truly prolific in 2006; the band released an EP every month of the year, ending with 58 songs in all. On this, their sophomore album, they've reworked nine of the best songs released last year and added three additional songs. Influences ranging from the Zombies to the Talking Heads are evident, but ultimately this is a clean, pop soundtrack for the summer.
SW: 2, 3, 4, 12
RIYL: Beulah, Belle & Sebastian, flying kites, butterfly kisses
1990s - Cookies (Rough Trade)
Once upon a time, there was a band from Glasgow called Yummy Fur. When they broke up, two of the members were lost in obscurity in some band called Franz Ferdinand, while the other two did a lot of drugs and then started 1990s. Imagine a glammed-up, poppier Franz Ferdinand, throw in a little T. Rex and the Clash, and you've basically got 1990s. Not really my thing, but I've already seen this on a couple playlists, so I imagine it will be well received
SW: 2, 1, 8
RIYL: Franz Ferdinand, "The" bands, cocaine, the 1970s
OPI: Needs review
M. Ward - Duet For Guitars #2 (Merge)
"Duet For Guitars #2" was first released in 1999 as a limited run of 1000 copies. Merge has graciously reissued M. Ward's debut for his loyal fans. Yes, the production value is much lower than Ward's more recent material, but at the core of the songs are his familiar raspy voice, finger-picked guitar, and quiet charm. The songs found here are much more minimal than his recent output, but fans won't be turned off.
SW: 5, 8, 6, 1
RIYL: Neil Young, Rocky Votolato, campfires, dust
OPI: Needs review
Oh No! Oh My! - Between The Devil And The Sea (Dim Mak)
I almost didn't add this one because of its blatant plagiarism of Modest Mouse's "Float On." Check out the track "Our Mouths Were Wet" and tell me that isn't the exact same guitar riff... and then on "The Party Punch," where they lift the same guitar line again! Unacceptable! Anyhow, even though those songs are the catchiest on the record (gee, I wonder why), I refuse to recommend them. The rest of the tracks, however, aren't without hooks of their own, and quite frankly, are pretty good.
SW: 5, 1, 4
RIYL: Bishop Allen, Page France, thievery, "Float On"
The Magic Numbers - Those The Brokes (Astralwerks)
First off, you may notice that this record is on Astralwerks. It does not sound like the Chemical Brothers - think more in the vein of Sondre Lerche's records on Astralwerks. Not to say this record sounds like Sondre Lerche, it's just not electronic, despite the label's history. Okay, I'm rambling. Anyhow, remember when Belle & Sebastian made the conscious decision not to be twee anymore? That's basically what's going on with The Magic Numbers on this record. The songs are loose, lively, and catchy, but they still retain some of the folk-pop of the band's earlier sound.
SW: 1, 2, 3, 7
RIYL: The Beta Band, Belle & Sebastian, boy/girl harmonies, dancing alone in your bedroom
OPI: Needs Review
Dustin Cole with The Specialist - Try And Love Me (Scratch)
This record will be immediately compared to Postal Service, not just in sound, but due to the specifics of the collaboration. Unlike Postal Service, however, the vocals and beats don't always seem to share the same vision. It's an interesting dichotomy, though, and it works on most of the tracks. Cole's songwriting finds him somewhere near post-grunge balladry, but it never gets as annoying as that sounds. Meanwhile, The Specialist has crafted some glitchy, IDM soundscapes, which might have been a stronger album on its own. Nevertheless, this one is worth a listen.
SW: 1, 2, 5, 8
RIYL: Postal Service, The Notwist, disparity, Germany
OPI: Needs review
Official Motion Picture Soundtrack - The Trials Of Darryl Hunt (Young American)
I haven't seen this HBO film, but the soundtrack has some pretty great tracks on it. New, exclusive tracks from Califone, Portastatic, The Last Poets (ft. Dalek), and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah can be found, in addition to live tracks from Mark Kozelek and Andrew Bird. The song Mark Kozelek sings is one of my favorite Red House Painters songs, but be careful, he says the f-word.
SW: 5, 3, 8, 17
RIYL: Paul Brill, Califone, civil rights, independent film
OPI: 2, 4, 6, 9, 16
Caribou - Melody Day [Single] (Merge)
This song has also been getting a bunch of play amongst you internet-savvy DJs. "Melody Day" is the first single from Dan Snaith's second full-length under the Caribou moniker. "Andorra" doesn't come out until August, so this should tide you over in the meantime. Also featured here is a remix by Four Tet, which features vocals from Adem, Luke LaLonde, and One Little Plane, and another new song "Zoe."
SW: 1, 2
RIYL: Four Tet, Fog, landlocked countries, Canada
theSTART - Ciao, Baby (Metropolis)
theSTART performed live yesterday afternoon on KUCI and uber-fan Kevin Stockdale picked up a copy of their new record. I don't know much about theSTART, but I do know a little. I remember about ten years ago when I was in high school (holy crap, am I that old?), I was really into the LA metal scene (I know, I know). I remember seeing bands like Fear Factory, Snot, and Type O Negative, and at a lot of these shows there was an opening act called Human Waste Project. And I always remember them because of how different they were from their peers - obvious new-wave influence, and well, a girl in the band. After HWP broke up, Aimee Echo went on to form theSTART. That's where my knowledge ends, haha. Anyhow, this new record is a long way from their metal past; the songs here are melody-driven, with carefully produced vocals and almost electro-sounding synths and drums.
SW: 2, 6, 1, 8
RIYL: Depeche Mode, Republica, Kevin Stockdale
OPI: Needs review