Camera Obscura "My Maudlin Career" (April 13, 2009 on 4AD)
- "Swans" mp3
Cursive "Mama, I'm Swollen" (2009 on Saddle Creek)
- "From the Hips" mp3
The Decemberists "Hazards of Love" (March 24, 2009 on Capitol)
Decemberists, what are you doing with yourselves? In this release, the band tries to pick up where they left off with "The Crane Wife" (an album I am not too fond of besides a few high points-"Sons and Daughters," "O! Valencia" and "Summersong"). Instead of constructing an album with catchy melodies, like seen in the "Always a Bridesmaid" singles series, they shoot for the stars and fall short. All of these "preludes" and "interludes" read more like an ornate rock opera than a solid rock record. "The Rake Song" (the song released as a free download) is the only tune that does not falter off. But background melodies and "Alright"s are just too much. The next track "Annan Water" has really lovely guitars.
I am sorry Colin Meloy, I love your music (and your accent that I can never really place). But stop trying so hard. It would be much better if you would put out shorter records with a solid group of witty songs. Instead of a 17 song album half good songs and half filler tracks. Make an album like "Her Majesty" or "Picaresque" again. I know you can do it. Thank you.
Note 3/30/09: I listened to this album several more times recently and the truth is that I really like it. It is an album of mostly high points and only a few low points. I am not going to edit the content of my original review, I just wanted to make a note of my change of heart. So to the readers: Check out this album, give it more than one listen. Don't be so quick to judge, like I was.
Jessica Lea Mayfield "With Blasphemy So Heartfelt" (2008 on Polymer)
KEXP and WRSI (93.9 The River). But I always dismissed her because, of course, I rarely like female vocalists. But the other day I gave in and realized that Mayfield has something different to offer. Her songs are, as one reading the album title would imagine, incredibly heartfelt. Even the G-ds at Pitchfork liked this album - giving it a 8.2/10. It starts off soft with "Kiss Me Again." Her voice has a raw drawl, especially in "I Can't Lie to You, Love" and "The One That I Love Best." "We've Never Lied" is a tune about trying to correct and deal with a relationship that has gone sour. "You've Won Me Over" is a strong acoustic song outlining being around that person who knows all the right thing to say. But you are never sure if they are sincere or just has a tendency to " kiss all the girlies [he] know[s]." Each song on this album is perfectly suited for a different type of mix cd (ie. unrequited love, new love, friendship, broken relationships, etc).
M. Ward "Hold Time" (February 17, 2009 on Merge/4AD)
- "Stars of Leo" mp3
Keep the hits on coming, M. Ward. We love it.