Author Archive

Released this Week: Regina, The Rapture, The Horrible Crowes, Roberts & Lord

Every week, we’ll take a look at some new releases (not all of them, unfortunately!) and talk a little about them and give you a chance to listen. God bless Tuesdays!

Regina — Soita Mulle

While people in the U.S. are busy sleeping, Regina are busy making beautiful indie pop in Helsinki. Unless they record at night. That’s possible. Check out “Unessa” and “Haluan Sinut” from Soita Mulle, due out September 20 on Friendly Fire. They’ll be releasing the album in Finland tomorrow.


The Rapture — In the Grace Of Your Love

In The Grace Of Your Love: More dance rock from the band that helped kick off the post-punk revival in the early 2000s. Stream it right here and give it a listen while you make some food. Or, you know, something. Dance, maybe.


The Horrible Crowes — Elsie

The Horrible Crowes, Brian Fallon’s new project, ranges from moody to energetic, but it usually falls on the side of the former. The instrumentation’s solid if not stunning, and that’s probably enough motive to give it a listen. If you’re only up for one track, try “Sugar,” but the whole thing’s available on SoundCloud.


Roberts & Lord — Eponymous

Rafter Roberts & Simon Lord have produced an endearing debut on Asthmatic Kitty: Eponymous promises some vaguely unconventional instrumentation and a wonderful sense of timing. Listen to “Oblique” and “Windmill” below and try not to get sucked into the sound. Check out more from Roberts in his project Rafters and more from Lord in Simian.


Father, Son, Holy Ghost sees Girls reaching toward new styles

Father, Son, Holy Ghost

When Girls released Album two years ago, most reactions were incredibly supportive of their debut effort. It was a stunning indie rock album that avoided the complications flooding the genre at the time — it wasn’t soaked in reverb, the band seemed to understand when it was okay to let things quiet down for a few minutes, there was obvious passion involved — and as a result, it was named one of the top albums of 2009.

In November, Girls charged out with Broken Dreams Club, a six-song EP that saw the band moving in a forward direction, trying out a new feel while retaining the unique value of Christopher Owen’s vocal outlet and the relaxed mode that made Album a sonic joy.

Shift forward to 2011: In 8 days, the band’s second full-length effort, Father, Son, Holy Ghost hits shelves. It’s again the band moving in a forward direction, taking what they did with Broken Dreams Club, picking up the successes and weeding out the failures (or half-failures — it’s a very good EP) and adding a boost of excitement.

Now, that’s not to imply that it’s all fleet-footed and stunning — for example, the delicately named “Vomit” shows the band slowing things down more than they have before. But when it comes time to kick things into that higher gear, there’s no fear to be found. Where Album was at times daunting in its consistency, Father, Son, Holy Ghost takes a more varied approach.

Check out the video for Vomit

Where instrumentation is concerned, there’s a clear inclination toward a strange country music melded with the San Francisco band’s indie rock sound. They’ve managed to combine that laid-back big-city feel with something a bit more rural, and while the sound is a little lacking in the refined quality you’d expect from others practicing an indie with country music aesthetic, it’s exactly what you’d expect from Girls.

Father, Son, Holy Ghost is what the band needed to do for their sophomore release. They’ve avoided staying dreadfully the same (though I’m not sure it would have provoked huge complaints) while treading some new ground as a band. It’s neither as raw nor as exciting as Album, but at the same time, it’s more musically engaging and interesting, and it’s proof that there’s more to Girls than a great album and an EP.

Brian Eno evokes youthful exuberance with new record

Drums Between the Bells, vinyl edition artwork

Brian Eno’s 40-year career has seen him push the bounds of art rock, innovate ambient and redefine the sounds we hear every day.

His last album, 2010’s Small Craft on a Milk Sea, is still sinking in, but Eno’s wasting no time in sending out blasts of experimental, boundary-pushing music. Drums Between the Bells, due for release July 4, promises to evoke that same imaginative young man that literally shifted musical paradigms.

It’s a dazzling combination of music and poetry — a marriage that so often turns over-wrought and uninspired, but Eno and the poet behind the work, Rick Holland, dart around the obstacles with such ease — it’s clear that this is the work of two artists who know their way around their respective craft.

Brian Eno – bless this space (taken from Drums Between The Bells) by Warp Records

Drums Between the Bells, Physical Editions

The three released tracks, “Glitch”, “Pour it Out” and “Bless This Space” are not just full of the electronic work Eno’s mastered — they’re boiling over with it, and the only thing keeping these from spilling into chaos is the poetry. The music’s familiar in a way, but there’s an exuberance in the instrumentals that feels more akin to Here Come the Warm Jets than anything he’s done since.

Brian Eno – pour it out (taken from Drums Between The Bells) by Warp Records

Drums Between the Bells will be released July 4 on Warp Records and is available for preorder from Brian Eno’s online store in the UK and Bleep in the US. It’s being released as a 2-CD hardback edition and as a double LP 12” vinyl.

Read more about Drums Between the Bells on Brian Eno’s site.

Brian Eno – glitch (taken from Drums Between The Bells) by Warp Records

Brief: David Bazan’s latest showcases efficiency, secularism

Strange Negotiations

When an artist “goes solo,” does the sophomore album rule of thumb still apply? No matter, David Bazan’s avoided that particular pitfall with the solid Strange Negotiations with — not grace, but something like it. He’s never been a particularly graceful artist, and it’s one of his enviable strengths.

When he was fronting Pedro the Lion, Bazan was clumsy, awkward even, but he was ruthlessly efficient. That’s continued into his solo career: Bazan doesn’t just throw ideas into a song; he molds and crafts them to a point that the music almost seems secondary — not an ignored secondary aspect, and one that’s not given short shrift. by David Bazan

…This is an album that’s more lyrically subtle than Curse Your Branches, and in that same way, it’s sounds a deal less angry. Of course, we still have lines like, “Wake up in the morning / Check your revelation / Make sure you know it as well as you can,” in Level With Yourself. It’s clear that Strange Negotiations is not a wholly secular piece, but Bazan is clearly moving in that direction.

Read the entirety of this review written by Matthew Montgomery at No Ripcord.

(from No Ripcord)

Cool Albums, Cool Art #1: Yo La Tengo

And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out

Yo La Tengo — a band with a penchant for album art that lives on its own but never overpowers the music (that would be a feat!) — produced one of my favorite albums, And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out. Musically, it’s sublime, and its packaged in something strangely compelling. The photographs of Gregory Crewdson line the album and provide scenery that matches the musical approach the band takes. They’re surreal, evocative — even edging toward creepy at times — but they feel genuine and believable.

Check out Crewdson:

• Crewdson at White Cube
• Crewdson at ArtNet

Music Video: The New Pornographers – “Moves”

This is a great video — it’s “Moves” by The New Pornographers, and it features a veritable cornucopia of comedy gold. Contributions from fellow Matadorian Jon Wurster and a slew of Daily Show members make this really enjoyable, and the “story” is just brilliant. From such humble (-seeming?) folks, this is a great video!

Written And Directed By Tom Scharpling
Producers: Robert Hatch-Miller & Puloma Basu

Cast: Jon Wurster, Julie Klausner, Kevin Corrigan, Wyatt Cenac, Horatio Sanz, Ted Leo, John Hodgman, Bill Hader, Paul Rudd, Todd Barry, Donald Glover, Esther Crowe, Michael Lisk, Gabe Delahaye, Max Silvestri, Jay Norton, David Rosenblatt, Terre T., Anna Copacabana, Rob Cuthill, Brian Turner, Alex Scordelis, Jonathan Fernandez, Therese Mahler, Candace Mills, Christina Stanley, Christine Tadler, Owinema Biu, Chris Spooner, Jacob Wolk

Music Video: Dreamend – Magnesium Light

Check out this video for Dreamend’s “Magnesium Light” from So I Ate Myself, Bite By Bite. It’s a bit on the bizarre side but nothing terribly out of sorts.

Released This Week: Esben and the Witch – Violet Cries

Esben and the Witch - Violet Cries

Violet Cries is the full-length debut from Esben and the Witch, and it’s been launched on the ever-effervescent Matador Records. It’s a brooding, self-reflective release and it’s hard to catch the vision sometimes. Those difficulties are quelled throughout, but lingering doubts harm the effectiveness of this record.

Esben and the Witch – “Warpath” (download)
[audio:|titles=Esben and the Witch – “Warpath”]

Throughout Violet Cries, I’m never sure whether something more exciting is going to come into play — and that’s after several listens. When the pace gets frenzied, I almost expect something bombastic and vibrant, but instead, Esben and the Witch stay the course.

It’s hard not to be impressed by this debut, but it’s also hard to fully enjoy it during the first few listens. I can’t complain about the result, and while it was a hard one to dig into, but I’ve since gained a real appreciation of it.