Monday, September 28, 2009

OOIOO! My head hurts...!

OOIOO - "Armonico Hewa"
Thrill Jockey
-due out Oct. 20

In case you're wondering where Yoshimi P-we disappeared to after guest voicing on the Flaming Lips' "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots," then here's your answer: forming a once-fictional electronic band. Displayed here is an array of the unusual, a Japanese electronic experiment consisting of drums, discordant electronics, and varying vocal effects. To say the music here is different is an understatement: "Uda Hah"s pastiche of guitars and vocals that creates a incredibly non-traditional view of modern music. But while "Uda Hah" and the playfulness of "Polacca" may be passable, several of the other tracks opt instead for pure experimentalism: the first half of "Ulda" relies so heavily on synth, that the vocals just barely lift the song, and the percussion-heavy "Irorun" simply runs out of steam. The sum of the album is less than the parts, as it feels as if several musical pieces are jutted and conjoined in almost nonsensical and not entirely pleasing ways. It is simply an experiment, and one that could have used more time incubating; take a pass.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It might as well be spri- errr...fall

Hello ones and all,
So, can you smell it? Here in NE territory, it's starting to smell something like Fall; which means, to the undiscerning music listener, fall CD releases. Right now I'm thinking of the Flaming Lips' new one, due Oct 13th. Just crossing my fingers to see if that one gets through.
Sorry for the seeming drought of CD reviews, for some reason I've been not getting a whole lot back. Come Oct., just looking ahead, there should be a dearth of albums, piling on my doorsteps. Can't wait, can't wait...
In most important music news, I was somewhat disappointed by Zooey Deschanel in "500 Days of Summer." Just didn't strike me as I'd wanted it to; the male lead was soooo finicky. I guess it's still okay to have a guy-crush or girl-crush on Zooey, if you're the opposite gender...
Come along now, follow this blog; you shan't be disappointed next month. You shan't.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

"Homemade Ship" carries a long way

Rose Melberg - "Homemade Ship"
K Records
-due out Sept. 22

Melberg's third solo record is a slight bit of gentle enchantment. It's a modest little record, composed mostly of acoustic guitar, her vocals and harmonies, and rather simple songs. But these songs are pleasant, enjoyable, and quiet in a deep and somewhat meditative way; "Things that We Do" in someone else's hands may come off too saccharine, but the simplicity and lack of embellishment is refreshing and enjoyable. "Old Days" is a more somber and fulfilling course in supporting guitar and gorgeous harmonies. At times, it is difficult to pin down exactly what makes this album a pleasure; it is not "exciting," yet the melodies enthrall; it doesn't sway, but it moves softly. This album won't get you up on the dance floor, nor may it get you up and moving, but if you find yourself locked in on a rainy day, there is little better way than to spend it with Melberg's peaceable voice; it is a rare album and a rare gem. Recommended.

Listen to "Things that We Do":

Sunday, September 6, 2009

"Frankenstein" not "Grand" enough

Grand Archives - "Keep in Mind Frankenstein"
Sub pop Records
-Due out Sept. 15

With a bit of acoustic Band of Horses flavor (guitarist Mat Brooke was on their debut), the Seattle quartet offers a second album of calm, quietly rocking tracks. With the likes of the plaintive "Oslo Novelist" and crisp dance of "Left for all the Strays," "Frankenstein" has strong tracks for fans of Mat Brooke and calmer, restrained pop. But the tradeoff here is that these tracks don't immediately grip you; the best of them require room and time for them to grow, whereas the worst simply fade from memory. One of the weaker tracks, the weird shuffling boogie of "Dig that Crazy Grave," break the spell the album quietly weaves. Though there are good songs here, ultimately, there isn't enough material to recommend the whole, and unlike the mad doctor, "Frankenstein," for the most part, tends towards being forgettable. Try a couple tracks and let them grab you (or not) before you dig into "Frankenstein."
Listen to "Oslo Novelist":

Friday, September 4, 2009

Next Week...!

This week has been a bit slow, mostly due to a contract dispute ("I get nothing?") with an online mag (think "sliced ____ meats"), but I assure you, each and every one of you, that you'll still receive the same quality reviews, health care, and general warmth/abuse you've come to expect. Or maybe you expect nothing. Anyway, here goes:
1. I decree there will be an exciting new album by a Sub Pop band next week. And lo, we shall see if it rocks.
2. No more of this "work for free" communist propaganda stuff. Simplify: everything belongs to me.
3. I'm starting up palm reading. Scan your hand and a check to find out if Tony will marry you.
Okay, now back to the music. I suppose a number 4 would be: more band interviews, as requested by you, the readers. Enjoy!
-The Mgmt.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Matador's finest kills it

Yo La Tengo - "Popular Songs"
Matador Records
-due out Sept. 8
4.5 / 5

On their 16th album, Hoboken trio Yo La Tengo crack open with strings, layering as complex and listenable as Beck, and their own dreary/dreamy vocals in "Here to Fall," the opener track. Download this track; it is as exciting and groovy as any you're bound to find in the vein of Depeche Mode (and there's strings, to boot). "Popular Songs" is chock-a-block with similarly poppy tracks, and for a moment, the album seems to have more focus and enjoyability than their typical spacious space jams. But even here they supply, as the last three tracks are 7+ minutes each, so as to not disappoint the longtime Yo La Tengo listener. These tracks are good, but the nine that precede them are what you come for: an eclectic and distinctly indie take on pop from a band that has spent 25 years defying it. Also take home the incredibly awkward "Periodically Double or Triple," and 70s styled "If It's True." A strong indie-flavored album that's surprisingly fun and enjoyable. Recommended.

Listen to "Periodically Double or Triple":

Back to the good-ole

Hey y'all,
So hope you had fun with Jazz Week. Coming up next will be more indie bands, including one from Matador today (hint hint). It's always a good idea to go out and check out different genres of music, so hopefully you got your feet wet in America's great musical tradition.
That would be jazz. Not complaining about royalties. (Or purchasing mansions.)
Okay, so that's maybe the top 1% of bands. Regardless: go forth, young people, and indulge in music.