Wednesday, September 25, 2013

New Tunes Reviews, September 24: The Horrible Crowes, Deer Tick, CHVRCHES, and Tim Kasher

The Horrible Crowes (Brian Fallon of Gaslight Anthem and Ian Perkins) released Live at the Troubadour this week. The album has songs from 2011's excellent Elsie and full covers and singular verses. There is some light banter about the band's formation, tramps, relationships, and being fancy sprinkled throughout the recording.

Fallon received some flack recently after his Tumblr post entitled "Tonight You Have Broken My Heart." In the post, he addressed the direction of Gaslight Anthem and the "play all the hits"/"BRUUUUCE" attitude of many fans after some specific incidents in July 2013. After reading the blog post (and the oddly awkward out-of-context pull-quotes used in some cases), my respect for Fallon grew. Yes, nothing can live up to The 59 Sound.  But, artists need to grow. They cannot be expected to play every song you want to hear and every cover they performed once.  Each release by any of his main-projects or side-projects is testimony to his growth and "don't take people's crap" attitude.  

And the cover of "Teenage Dream" is ridiculously fun.

(Ed. Note: This blurb was written without a single reference to Bruce Springsteen and for that, I am proud.) 

Deer Tick's quiet moments are often the most enjoyable, as seen in the song "Big House" from their latest release Negativity. The songs are all over the place.  They go from raucous and drunk to easy-going and romantic.  Another great release from this band that puts on one of the most fun (and destructive) live songs I've seen to date.

CHVRCHES released their anticipated debut album called The Bones of What You Believe. Another one of those electronic-pop"buzz-bands," this release is just as expected. The songs are catchy and darkly danceable. For fans of that type of music, this will likely be a BNM (best new music).   

Tim Kasher (of Cursive and Good Life) released a 2-song EP called Truly Freaking Out. It has the usual themes of drunkenness, anxiety, and aging. It never gets old (even when we do). 

Follow my Best Songs of 2013 playlist on Spotify. Updated weekly, this playlist features some of the best tracks from new releases.  Check out the playlist below! 


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Happy Fall! Here is a playlist!

Hello faithful readers, I am currently on vacation but below is a playlist for the start of fall. Its only a few songs right now. I will be adding to it over the course of this most favorite season. 


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

New Tunes Reviews, September 10: The Pixies, Arctic Monkeys, Arcade Fire, and more

If you were not lucky enough to secure a copy of Pixies EP1 last Tuesday when ordering was announced, you can listen to it now on Spotify. These 4 songs are the first in a series of EPs to be released in the next 15 months (via article in NYTimes).  "Andro Queen" sounds like a dreamy Flaming Lips-inspired song, while the other three tracks follow the typical Pixies' quiet-loud-quiet formula. "Another Toe in the Ocean" does seem like a refined version of that equation. "Indie Cindy" and "What Goes Boom" are a great throwbacks, complete with Black Francis's talk-singing. 

For fans of Sonic Youth and noise-rock, Body/Head's Coming Apart came out this week. The new project of Kim Gordon and Bill Nace is definitely for those like guitar noise albums.

UK garage-rock band Arctic Monkeys released a new album called AM this week.   With more harmonies and a crisper sound, this album does have some good songs. "Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High" seems like the next logical step after 2007's "I Bet You Look Good On the Dancefloor." But again, it sounds mature and toned down.  The club/barroom sentiment is still there.  As Franz Ferdinand's latest album went more 80s-new-wave, this album continues with a more refined garage sound.  If you are a fan of bands like The Strokes, this album may be up your alley. 

Baltimore-based indie rock band Arboretum released Coming Out of the Fog. I saw them open for Band of Horses at Carnegie Hall in 2009 and was very impressed. Their new album feels very much like roots rock. It is worth a listen if you enjoy that genre and are looking for modern bands that do retro things.   

Another album for those who are in the mood for a more retro release, listen to Trombone Shorty's Say That To Say This.  Brass instruments are front and center on this great new album from New Orleans-based musician Troy Andrews and his band, Orleans Avenue.

Arcade Fire posted a song called "Reflektor," from their forthcoming album. Based on this song it seems like the album, produced by James Murphy, will be more electronica-dancey than previous releases. Thoughts?  I like it especially the mix of French and English lyrics.WNYC posted a round-up of bloggers' "knee-jerk" thoughts of the song, as well as links to the interactive and music video. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

New Tunes Reviews, September 3: Neko Case, Okkervil River, Glasvegas, Nine Inch Nails

photo from Amazon
Neko Case's The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You is another departure from her alt-country roots records. It is more of a rock album but there are quiet moments. The intro to "Calling Cards" is a soft-track reminiscent of Gaslight Anthem's acoustic gem "Blue Jeans and White T-Shirts." "Bracing for Sunday" is an example of Case's story-telling.  "Man," is a hard/fast song representative of Case's energetic and fierce songwriting and vocal style. "Madonna of the WASPs" features guest vocals from M. Ward. "Nearly Midnight, Honolulu" was the weakest track. Overall, great album, Neko! 

Is there a more Scottish band than Glasvegas? Their new album Later...When the TV Turns to Static is nothing short of a deep bunch of moody, rainy-day, emotional, bitter lyrics with dark, wintery, moody melodies. C'mon, the album includes a song called "I'd Rather Be Dead (Than Be With You)."  Depressing as always but intricately melodic, if you are in the mood for that type of sound, check this album out.  Or their excellent self-titled album from 2008.  

photo from amazon

Okkervil River's The Silver Gymnasium is another one of their concept albums.  This time the album centers on characters living in Meriden, New Hampshire in the mid-1980s (according to this NPR post from All Songs Considered)). The album is conceptual but real. It doesn't have any interludes like The Stand-Ins. "Pink Slips" and "Down Down the Deep River" are very good.  It is a more straight-forward pop-record.

Nine Inch Nails released their first album in almost over 4 years. Entitled Hesitation Marks, it is a great example of how to do industrial, goth dance pop successfully.  I was enchanted from the moment "Copy of a" began and never bored as the record moved along. 

As I mentioned last week, I also recommend Julie Ruin's Run Fast, which was released yesterday.