AAC (Hi-Quality) (44k)
MP3 (56k | 128k)
New in KUCI Music Library 8/27/07
August 27, 2007
by: John Penny, KUCI Music Director

Hi Everyone,

I don't even know where to begin to describe the last week of my life. Between a 30-hour power outage, an insane work schedule, my birthday, and enough girl drama to drive even the most composed man crazy, I lost track of the time and didn't get last week's adds out. For that you have my sincerest apologies. Fear not, friends, as I'm about to drop a colossal bomb of rock on you (with some slightly abridged blurbs to save a little time). Lots of CDs to review for volunteer hours, as well. Miran:

Pinback - Autumn of the Seraphs (Touch and Go)
This band shouldn't require any introduction. For those of you unfamiliar, however, Pinback is San Diego's finest. A melodic power-duo that brings you the rock via the two-headed snake of Rob Crow and Armistead Burwell Smith IV (Zach). The new record sounds like, well, Pinback. I was just discussing with my brother yesterday how no matter how many bands Rob Crow is in, or how many albums he releases, he always has one singular vision and sound. These guys are consistently good and this one won't disappoint anyone.

SW: 2, 3, 1
RIYL: Pinback
OPI: Needs review

The New Pornographers - Challengers (Matador)
Here's another one that doesn't need any prefacing. If Pinback can do no wrong, then The New Pornos can do just slightly worse. The Canadian supergroup's fourth album doesn't seem cohesive at some points, but I'll be damned if Carl Newman can't write a catchy song. Neko Case, Dan Bejar, Todd Fancey, and Kurt Dahle are all still in the fold along with some new players that round out the band's huge pop sound. Don't go thinking that's Neko Case singing lead on the tracks "Failsafe" and "Adventures in Solitude," though. That's her vocal doppleganger and Newman's niece Kathryn Calder.

SW: 1, 4, 10
RIYL: Newman's "The Slow Wonder," The Shins
OPI: Needs review

Liars - Liars (Mute)
Liars are back. Once again, they take a hard left-turn and deliver something totally different than their previous releases. Gone are the bizarre overarching themes and most of the noise. On this eponymous record, they blend the best parts of their old sound with some '60s garage and '70s punk. Another solid release from this always unpredictable band. Let me finish this blurb with the handwritten note (embellished with drawings of skulls) the band sent us with the record: "Thanks for spinning us round round like a record baby right round round round... Check us out with Interpol in the fall and get your face MELTED! p.s. Our new single is the shit. xxx <3 LIARS."

SW: 1, 4, 7, 8
RIYL: ...umm... witches and drums?
OPI: Needs review

Dirty Projectors - Rise Above (Dead Oceans)
This band puts on one of the best live shows I've ever seen. If they come through town touring for this record, I HIGHLY recommend seeing them. Anyhow, the last release from Dirty Projectors mastermind David Longstreth is a reimagining of Black Flag's 1981 record "Damaged." It's not a cover record, however, as Longstreth attempted to rewrite the record word-for-word, from memory. He sums it up best himself in this interview quote from daytrotter.com: "I didn't listen to the album or read the lyrics while I was doing it, and I hadn't heard the record since middle school, more or less. I relied on memory and intuition mostly. I wanted to see if I could make this album myself: not as plagiarism or mimicry, but as an original creative act. Writing a song is like pulling a shape out of the air, but I didn't want to write just any song - I wanted to write a song that already existed. An album of them, actually."

SW: 1, 2, 7, 10
RIYL: Crazy people
OPI: 3, 4, 6

Rilo Kiley - Under the Blacklight (Warner Bros.)
I don't like this band. There, I said it. But lots of you like them, so here you have their latest release. I do like the movie "The Wizard," however, and own it on both VHS and Laser Disc. The Laser Disc basically a giant shiny coaster at this point, but it will never be as shiny as "Under the Blacklight." This record is glossy, poppy, and tame. Oh yeah, if you thought Jenny Lewis was embarrased by "The Wizard," check out the song "Dejalo" where does her best Gloria Estefan impression, complete with Spanish chorus and all. Poor thing.

SW: 2, 1, 3
RIYL: Super Mario Bros. 3, Boy Meets World
OPI: Needs review (I heard "pissed" on track 7 during my brief listen)

Angels of Light - We Are Him (Young God)
Michael Gira is back with his fifth Angels of Light album (his main project since Swans disbanded in 1997). The songs here were originally recorded in a week with Akron/Family as the backing band. A bunch of top-notch session players were then brought in to further develop the material. We don't find Gira straying too far from his familiar sound, but the album is a testament to the talent and consistency of the 52-year-old industry veteran. Xiu Xiu's Jamie Stewart had this to say about the new record: "'We Are Him' is touching, frightening, wonderfully different and whole."

SW: 1, 7, 3, 12
RIYL: Akron/Family, Nick Cave
OPI: 4, 10

Vic Chesnutt - North Star Deserter (Constellation)
The new record from urban-folk singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt wins my early award for most bizarre musical collaboration of 2007. Backing Chesnutt on "North Star Deserter" are all seven members of Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band, Guy Picciotto (Fugazi), Bruce Cawdron (Godspeed You! Black Emperor), and more. The album was produced by Brooklyn-based filmmaker Jem Cohen (who directed the Fugazi doc "Instrument") along with Efrim of Thierry of Silver Mt. Zion and Picciotto. Vic Chesnutt + Fugazi + crazy Canadian post-rockers = one awesome record. Despite all the noise, Chesnutt is at the center of all the songs here. His brooding, yet reflective twang finds its way through the walls of sound and really makes an impact.

SW: 2, 4, 5, 11
RIYL: Castanets, Silver Mt. Zion
OPI: Needs review

Nina Nastasia & Jim White - You Follow Me (Fat Cat)
Yet another 2007 drum collaboration, "You Follow Me" finds singer-songwriter Nina Nastasia paired with drum virtuoso Jim White. Unlike other similar pairings, such as Kieran Hebden's work with Steve Reid, the songwriting and, for lack of a better word, teamwork here is immaculate. Nastasia and White clearly understand each other's vision as the vocals, guitar, and drums all intertwine seemlessly. The production from some guy named Steve Albini is sparse and leaves the all the natural dynamics intact. I highly recommend this album, it was quite surprising.

SW: 1, 6, 3, 4
RIYL: Hem, Black Heart Procession
OPI: Needs review

Animal Collective - Peacebone (Domino)
I believe Jason sent out the link to download this new single last week. "Peacebone" is definitely a new sound for the always-evolving Animal Collective, with perhaps a more "normal" melody, yet even stranger sounds. The label is describing the sound as "sonic freeform electronic-horror-gospel-hip-hop-soul-pop-madness," which is more concise than anything I'll be able to come up with, so we'll leave it at that. Also found here is the live-favorite b-side "Safer" and two remixes of the single by Black Dice and Pantha Du Prince.

SW: 1, 3
RIYL: originality
OPI: Needs review

Sleeping People - Growing (Temporary Residence)
This is the third release featuring Kenseth Thibideau that I've added in the last two months. Now, before anyone cries foul and thinks that perhaps I am secretly Mr. Thibideau and am just trying to whore my records on all of you, each of his acts sound pretty different and he just happens to be super prolific. Driving, dynamic, instrumental rock music can be found here. Check out the guest vocal from Pinback's Rob Crow on "People Staying Awake."

SW: 3, 10, 2
RIYL: Do Make Say Think, the Goonies 2 video game
OPI: Clean

Kinski - Down Below It's Chaos (Sub Pop)
Kinski have abandoned the more experimental inclinations of their earlier (and perhaps better) records. "Down Below It's Chaos" is a relatively straight-forward sludge-rock affair. NME described it as "Sabbath in a washing machine during a power surge," which pretty much sums it up. Mostly instrumental with some vocals popping up every now and then.

SW: 1, 2, 4
RIYL: Comets on Fire, Acid Mothers Temple
OPI: Clean

The Weakerthans - Reunion Tour (Anti-)
I'm not sure what happened in the four or so years since the Weakerthans' last album, but if this is all they have to show for it, I'm not sure they'll be around for a fifth record. A lot of you like this band, though, so I won't talk too much shit. No real traces of punk remain, with the songs on "Reunion Tour" sounding something like the mentally-challenged offspring of Death Cab, They Might Be Giants, and the Mountain Goats. Fans of the band will probably dig this one, but I'm not sure they'll gain many converts.

SW: 1, 2, 4
RIYL: Fountains of Wayne, Death Cab
OPI: Clean

Monument - Decades (XOXO)
Atmospheric, melodic soundscapes that underscore seemingly emotional lyrics (I really didn't listen that closely). Reminds me of some of the late-second-wave emo bands that were coming out around 2000 or so, but with a newer Minus the Bear/Snow Patrol-esque production style. This one goes down pretty easy.

SW: 1, 2, 9
RIYL: Elliott, Coldplay
OPI: Needs review

The Honorary Title - Scream & Light Up the Sky (Reprise)
This one probably won't be long for our library shelves. It's got that right mix of mainstream sensibilities and indie rock stylings. Not really my thing, but I can hear this on a lot of shows. "Scream & Light Up the Sky" is emotional pop-rock with lots of hooks, some good melodies, and tight songwriting.

SW: 3, 4, 6
RIYL: new-school Dashboard Confessional, Sunday's Best
OPI: Needs review

Numbers - Now You Are This (Kill Rock Stars)
Former tigerbeat6 noise-makers are back with their second release for Kill Rock Stars. Numbers have almost fully abandoned their electro past and adopted a new sound that incorporates elements of Krautrock, indie rock guitar noodling, and some square-wave heavy synths.

SW: 1, 2, 5, 7
RIYL: Stereolab, Deerhoof
OPI: Needs review

and finally one experimental add...

Amiina - Kurr (Ever)
Amiina is best known as the Icelandic string quartet that has supported Sigur Ros on their various tours around the world. Fans of Sigur Ros should definitely get in line for this one, however, as it captures that familiar gorgeous, glacial beauty. Even the album packaging is beautiful (although I don't think it will fit properly on our shelves). This record isn't [post-]rock enough to go in Rock-A and it doesn't quite meet the criteria for a classical release, so when in doubt: experimental! I highly recommend this release.

SW: 2, 3, 6, 10
RIYL: old Mum, Eluvium
OPI: Clean

Enjoy these amazing releases and I'll be back with more next week!




[ Home | About KUCI | Contact | Alumni Pages | Photo Gallery | Schedule | CD Reviews | Listening Help | Articles | Hosts | Links ]

KUCI is brought to you by the University of California, Irvine