recorded by Steve Albini
If I had ever imagined Australia being like this I would be there now. I don’t know where this comes from. These bright jangling guitars are the obvious product ofMr. Albini, but he did not solicit the noise to them, unless you count the sun drenched hours they may have spent mulling over SHELLAC riffs. There is something deeper going on here,
something cold and unrelenting that has nothing to do with dingo. There is a very fine balance going on here between a horizon blurred with heat and the crisp cool of the mountains, the monotony of an eight hour road through nothing, and the beauty of having those eight hours to think of nothing. There is tension and release going on here that could rival the finest Mowtown records. Something is to be said about
absolute repetition, with slight variance, that leads to eventual explosion. It is like good honest sex. Sprinkle a few well thought out words of sentiment throughout, and put a bow on it. If you took the rhythm section of the LIARS and the glare of Albinis guitar
in SHELLAC and added Spud from TRAINSPOTTING, sort of whispering sentences from his diary over top, you would have it. Sort of like a soundtrack to a desert in space. If it does have something to do with dingo, these dingo could eat my baby. Yet another poorly attended show in Gainesville.
(SM -Lost Sharks) Shabazz Palaces Black Up 2011 Record Label: SubPop Records Released: The former Digable Planets, have returned with a new side of experimentation in their debut album Black up. With Lady Bug Mecca, Butterfly, and Doodlebug layin the tracks down, there comes a very different groovebeat. The whole album, Black Up, is to be listened to as a whole. The tracks build up very slowly, however if you have the time, and open-mindedness, it is worth its’ length. The beats are low synth throughout the album, and a lot of the tracks display fragments of J Dilla, and Madlib. Space hip-hop is becoming prevalent in the North West Coast using Seattle as a huge example of the new wave of hip hop.
Deer Tick-Divine Providence
Deer Tick, American indie-folk band from Providence, Rhode Island is releasing their fourth Album on October 25. If you are expecting the new jams to sound similar to their sweet folk music fromWar elephant in 2007 or even in The Black Dirt Sessionsfrom 2010, throw those assumptions away.
The new album, Divine Providence, is rough, edgy, and personifies drunken debauchery. But this is the sound similar to what one would hear if they were to see the band live.
The group, after changing their cast around a bit, has landed on 5 members. Lead vocalist John McCauley, bassist Chris Ryan, keys and saxophone player Rob Cowell, guitarist Ian O’Neil and drummer Dennis Ryan.
McCauley recently did an interview where he made it clear that the boys don’t plan on making an album that resembles their previous ones for a while.
Divine Providence, sounds like an anthem for Fraternity brothers. With songs like “Funny Word” that opens with the line, “You fucking douchebag.”
“Lets all go to the bar” ends with belching and has lines, “I don’t care if you puke in my ride, lets all go to the bar”, woven throughout. It has every essential piece for an all American pub song; the chorus is chanted and the lyrics arouse memories of our worst nights out.
Most of the tracks on the album follow this trend. The single on the album, Miss K., is a typical college love song. McCauley says, “Wrap your drunken arms around me, talk dirty, turn me on, let’s get going.”
“Clownin’ Around” favors the bands previous sound the most, but it still has rock n roll elements.
This rambunctious style is showcased during a live set with Deer Tick. Onstage anarchy permeates from every member. This summer the band even did sets they called “Deervana,” where they covered only Nirvana songs.
McCauley’s voice is raspy, it’s grunge, it’s modern day rock. Divine Providenceoccasionally mirrors classic rock. Then it transitions to a 90’s garage band feel.
The quintets switch from indie folk to rowdy rock n’ roll is new for studio Deer Tick.
This new album is fun, it is the music you play during a cook out, or for “pre-gaming” before heading to get a drink. But, it sounds a little amateur. If this is what the group plans to switch its genre to, get anxious to hear the second rock album from Deer Tick.
Still Corners-Creatures of an Hour
“I Wrote in Blood” at first conforms to the album’s style, but gets abstract a little over a minute in when the song breaks into high-pitched keys and looming organ sounds. The lyrics are uncomplicated, yet thought provoking. “Wrote a little book … your name. Turn the page and wrote the same. I wrote in blood.” The genius of this track is the simplicity. It’s mysterious, making one want to listen over and over again grasping to hold on to the emotion.
The song “Endless Summer” released as a single this summer and then re-mastered for their new album seems to be the closest thing to a pop song on this release. Yet, it is still swirling with Still Corners Goth sounding tendencies.
The bands music creates a visual image similar to that of a cerebral, mind-bending thriller. A film whose plot is set on a ship lost at sea, the crew is being called to an island by the enchanting voice of a mermaid (Murray). Once she has you under her spell, you’ll never be able to escape.
Still Corners doesn’t fit the typical indie sound of today, which is normally 80’s dance beats or surf pop rock. I think the group is on to something here with their spooky spin on dream pop.
Sigur Ros- INNI
Sigur Rós’s sound is marvelously shown on this new album. Their songs begin with a faint, ominous, whisper like tempo with lead singer Jónsi Birgisson’ adrongynous vocals making you scared and delighted at the same time. The transition into the climax goes from the murmur to a boisterous boom.
The songs on this live album are frequently pulled from the groups 2005’s Takk.
Performances from the quartet are said to be tear jerking, awe inspiring orchestral masterpieces, but something about this live recording makes a few of their epic singles lack grandeur. The tour in which Inni was recorded on, was missing a few trimmings the group normally had in studio: A string quartet and a horn section. Although an avid listener may decide something is missing. It doesn’t take away from the beauty of the majestic music created.
Jonsi’s icy alto croon harmonizes with the group’s famous extraterrestrial ambience. Exemplified in “Seaglopur” and “Popplagið”.
“Inní mér syngur vitleysingur” makes you want to throw your arms up to the heavens and twirl. It could be the soundtrack to your life as you laugh with friends on the beach, it will push you to climb to the top of that mountain, to chase your lover through an airport, or to dance for no reason.
While some may complain that this album is missing accessories that the studio versions usually have. That’s what live music is all about, seeing it in its most raw form. The band is bound to sound different.
The songs chosen for this record seem carefully selected and done hauntingly well.
INNI (the album and the film) may not subdue one’s yearning to see the group live, on the contrary it may only make it grow. Skeptics are afraid this is the group’s attempt to showcase their legacy. For all of our sakes, let’s hope it is to remind us of the greatness of this band and the enchanted sounds they have yet to create.
The Decemberists- Long Live The King
The six songs on Long Live the King, are rightfully placed on their own album. It was no mistake they did not mess with the cohesiveness of their January release.
Somber meets rock n’ roll meets hillbilly meets indie on the EP that was released on November 1.
“E. Watson” and “Burying Davy” two songs/narratives beautifully told in true Colin Meloy fashion, who serenades us with fairy tales that are half nightmares.
When keyboardist Jenny Conlee harmonizes with Meloy you don’t want it to stop. She enters and exits in the perfect moment of the song.
The EP picks up with the folky love song “I4U &U4ME”, it incites toe tapping, memories of summer romances and creates a visual image of a group friends around a campfire with a single acoustic guitar covering the track.
Although the Grateful Dead song “Row Jimmy” as been covered by over a dozen times, The Decemberist’s take on the track maintains The Dead’s soul, and country jam band feel. The keys are on point as is Meloy’s voice.
Before the release of The King is Dead, rumors were floating around that the band might be calling it quits. Yes the members of the band each have their own side projects to maintain: Meloy’s children’s book. Conlee, guitarist Chris Funk and bassist Nate Query have a blue grass project “Black Prairie.”
Other good news is that Conlee’s breast cancer is currently in remission.
I think this EP does not show the beginning of the end, quite the contrary rather. Although the group may put their instruments away for a while, it doesn’t seem they’ll be collecting dust for long.
She & Him- A Very She & Him Christmas
Deschanel has a very interesting voice, it’s solemn, cool and smooth and fits well with the chosen songs.
Their take on the traditional Yuletide carols are suave yet simple. Deschanel and Ward have successfully delivered the millennials with new renditions of their classic favorites.
The remake of The Beach Boys hit, Christmas Day, suits Deschanel’s voice. Paired with M. Ward’s guitar strums give it the perfect folky, surf-pop rock sound. In typical Beach Boys fashion the chorus sounding harmonies are added behind the main vocals. The cover is so respectable some may even think the duet wrote it themselves.
The passionate vocal delivery and music She & Him is known for is still prevalent on this album. M. Ward has a particularly memorable guitar picking style and Deschanel occasionally strums a ukulele. These sound elements have made the couple a huge hit over the past few years.
M. Ward doesn’t harmonize with Deschanel until the fifth song in. His vocals matched with her in “Christmas Wish” and “Sleigh Ride” are effortless. Sleigh Ride has a particular 1950’s rockabilly sound.
Nothing compares to their rendition of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” the two switch roles singing the male and female vocals in reverse. The beat is kept up with swift guitar strokes and whistling.
The new spin on the model holiday cheer doesn’t stray too far away from the norm. It is music for all generations. It is sophisticated and classy. It’s going to be a very Indie season with A Very She & Him Christmas.
Bombay Bicycle Club – A Different Kind of Fix
Indie/folk? Yes, this group’s second album, Flaws, had an indisputable acoustic folk sound and the newest release, A Different Kind of Fix, is just as certainly indie.
Leave it to major producer Ben H. Allen (who has worked with Animal Collective, MIA, Gnarls Barkley and Deerhunter) to facilitate the removal of a traditional indie sound from their repertoire. Well, most of the traditional aspects have been eliminated, one looming trait of the genre are the repetitive hooks, which Bombay Bicycle Club definitely uses.
Those repetitive choruses are sung by Jack Steadman, his vocal inflections are tranquil and provide the album with a lavish charm, an attribute that Allen couldn’t supply solely with his production skills.
The group uses a piano that harmonizes with Steadman and then Allen layers vocals over the melodic sound. “Still” is a great example of this, the keys came unexpectedly but are a compliment.
“How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep” seems inviting, simple and warm. Steadman asking you “Can I wake you up, Is it late enough?” over and over again will either annoy you or captivate you. Until the drum disrupts the hypnotize and the song takes off. This track landed a spot on the “Twilight: Eclipse” soundtrack. Although the sound is carefree, perfectly fitting for teen mix tapes, A Different Kind of Fix has some mature moments.
Almost as a male siren Steadman’s voice and the group’s sound have a tendency to resonate in your cognizance, “Your Eyes” and “Lights Out, Words Gone” most notably linger with you.
Although, Bombay Bicycle Club has is the ability to pass you by. The whole album could be listened to leaving you with nothing but a relaxed feeling. This album isn’t filled with memorable breakdowns.
We never said indie rock had to be slamming drums or loud guitar. It is almost annoying how sweet this group seems, but in a good way.
Photo Courtesy- p_a_h “Paul” (Flickr)