Thursday, May 7, 2009

Back By Unpopular Demand, More Album Reviews!

Some new releases and others I missed along the way, as always, rated using my Bazooka system:

The Horrors - Primary Colors

Shoegaze lovingly meets Madchester on this British band's second album. Swirling guitars worthy of Loveless, brooding vocals reminiscent of Unknown Pleasures, and a stellar production job by Portishead's Geoff Barrow. Few bands have borrowed from those influences with as good a result. And it's Trent Reznor approved, apparently.

N.A.S.A. - The Spirit Of Apollo

N.A.S.A. (North America/South America) is a collaboration of American-born producer Squeek E. Clean (a.k.a. Sam Spiegel, a.k.a. Spike Jonze's brother) and Brazilian-born DJ Zegon (a.k.a. Ze Gonzales.) There's so many guests on this album that I don't have enough space to list them all; let's just say they run the gamut from Tom Waits to Likke Li to Ghostface Killah. For the most part, the eclectic mix works, with only a few misteps along the way. Put it on at a hipster birthday party and you'll impress a couple of those little shits (although they'd probably rather die than admit it.)  

Joker's Daughter - The Last Laugh

Another collaboration, this time between English singer/songwriter Helena Costas and superstar producer Danger Mouse. The pairing yields captivating results. It's whimsical folk, vivid in imagery and aurally capricious. Costas' whispers are as haunting as they are beautiful and Danger Mouse's production is right on point. Bonus: Neutral Milk Hotel's Scott Spillane adds his horns to the mix.  

Coconut Records - Davy

This one snuck up on me, I didn't even know it was coming out until the day it was released on iTunes. It's slightly different from Jason Schwartzman's first outing as Coconut Records, 2007's Nighttiming, in that it's pretty heavily influenced by the Beatles. It's poppy, at times even sugary, and at 30 minutes in length, it's a perfect treat to be enjoyed ad nauseam

Mewithoutyou - It's All Crazy! It's All False! It's All A Dream It's Alright

Mewithoutyou started out as a harder edged indie rock group, whose music was propelled by anguished lyrics and clangy electric guitars through their first few albums. With time, they settled into a more focused and less angsty bunch, and accordingly varied their instrumentation beyond the standard rock archetype of guitars/bass/drums. It's All Crazy! is actually largely acoustic and uses more orchestral elements. This complements the lyrical approach, which is more allegorical and fable-like. Eccentric, but rewarding upon repeated listenings.  

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - S/T

This album has a lot in common with the Raveonette's last one, Lust Lust Lust, as both bands share a love for The Jesus And The Mary Chain, in all their fuzzed-out pop glory. There's also some undercurrents of Morrissey in the vocal melodies and the mopey lyrical content, but it's not too derivative. Not a bad debut from this New York band who's getting plenty of love in the blogosphere. 

Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

Phoenix's fourth album is not much of a departure for the French band, but consistency is the key word here, not monotomy. They've perfected such a great, fun sound that they always come off sounding fresh. I'm not even sure what to call their unique style but ultimately I'm fine with pop, because this is what pop music should be. Dynamic, catchy, and just damn fun.    

Various Artists - Score! 20 Years of Merge Records: The Covers

This compilation commemorates the 20th year of Durham, NC-based label, Merge Records, by getting together an A-list indie rock lineup to cover songs from the label's catalog. There's scores of great artists like Bright Eyes, Broken Social Scene, Ryan Adams, Okkervil River and Les Savy Fav covering songs by other great artists, like Arcade Fire, Superchunk, Neutral Milk Hotel, Lambchop, and The Magnetic Fields, amongst others. One of the greatest American labels, well worthy of praise. Here's hoping for another 20 years of great releases.


  1. I'm glad you've gotten so much accomplished since I've been gone!

  2. Is that a stab at my poorly thought-out reviews? For shame. You know I have a fragile ego...



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...