Monday, October 31, 2011

Cate Le Bon/ St. Vincent @ Royale, Boston 11-4

Like sandwiches? Cause Cate Le Bon + St. Vincent smacks of a good ole PB + J, in a strictly musical sense. Consider it an aural feast in indie pop-ness: Le Bon, like an early, lyrical Cat Power plus St. Vincent, the rock out, blast noise in your ear and make you bleed happy kinda girl. Yeah, we're looking forward to the duo... now, you know we appreciate Vincent's new one, and we just want to tease you about Le Bon's new one coming out early next year.
There's a link... right... about... here. This one off her single last month.
So, yeah, you guys won't be able to score tics at this point, other than from scalpers, or by stealing them from your Annie Clark-obsessed friends (how's that for a Halloween costume). But - you can still kick back to that single, check out Le Bon's "Me Oh My," and we'll keep all y'all posted on CYRK, her soon-to-be. Expect a good time and, of course, some post-concert pics. Laters,

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Deer Tick short of Divine, but full of rock

Deer Tick - "Divine Providence"
Partisan Records
-out yesterday
3.5 / 5

Deer Tick, one of our favorite bands from the Ocean State, has been cranking these albums out like it's a bad case of fleas. But there is good news here: if you have an itch for J. J. McCauley and Co., then you should scratch. Divine Providence, while not truly divine (see War Elephant, Black Dirt Sessions, or one of his many excellent collaborations) is still the same old grizzled, beer-guzzling, ditch-your-blow-up-doll-on-route-195-and-don't-look-back kinda band that rocks out your socks out. But this album isn't somber and gorgeous as BDS, nor is it as brilliant and barebones as War Elephant; still, as vocals go, "The Bump" starts off with some of his finest. Our biggest issue with this generally rockin' affair is its superficiality, both lyrically and sonically. But it's fun, almost divinely so, and comes recommended. (Just make sure you get those three other albums first!)

Get your download of "Main Street" on.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Classic Education doesn't blaze, smolders

A Classic Education - "Call It Blazing"
-out tomorrow
2.5 / 5

There are any number of ways to make a particular release stand out sonically: good hooks, powerful vocals, Robert Plant's exposed chest. Consider this, then, a backhanded compliment: A Classic Education is capable of making themselves sound like other bands. The vocals and song structure reminisce over Band of Horses, while early Yo La Tengo almost certainly inspires "Place a Bet on You." Now, the reality of these comparisons is that ACE doesn't really add their own to the mix here. At least, we hope not. Because the end result of Call It Blazing is a dreamy album that sounds like any other dreamy album, and, even worse, it drones without particular direction or drive. Call it uninspired, call it lukewarm, call it what you may; but we're calling them out on this one - don't call it blazing. Take a pass.

Listen to "Forever Boy."

Monday, October 17, 2011

My Brightest Diamond shines on "Unwind"

My Brightest Diamond - "All Things Will Unwind"
Asthmatic Kitty
-out tomorrow
4 / 5

We love this cover. Absolutely adore it. It's as vibrant, fun, and unusual as the work within; and considering Michiganian Shara Worden's penchant for unusuality (see Decemberists' rock opera "Hazards"), that's no minor compliment. What grabs us about All Things Will Unwind, other than the classical orchestration, other than the rock-ish song structure worked with a orchestral ear, is the depth of Ms. Worden's musical vision here. These songs, carried with her, at times, operatic voice (check out "Be Brave"), could easily be the mere eccentricities of an untrained, but curious ear. Yet, with each aside of the flute, with each strange little flourish, we find it difficult to hold back a sense of awe at her musical vocabulary, as delved in the classics as the currents. What to expect from this release: a trained ear, a sense of sophistication and fun, mixed perhaps with a je ne sais quoi - or maybe that's just the strings. Sensible, balanced, and an entirely difficult feat to keep it all strangely familiar and listenable; this one comes, naturally, recommended.

Stream this highfalutin album on NPR. Post-haste!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Brown Bird's album worth its Salt

Brown Bird - "Salt for Salt"
Supply and Demand
-out Oct. 18
4.5 / 5

It's not Rhode Island love that lights this reviewer's heart (the band is, after all, originally from Washington). And it's not that David Lamb's got to do vocals/ guitar/ bass drum simultaneously at shows. It's, quite frankly, the moody "Bilgewater" and the fire of "Cast No Shadow" that slay us. But, if a couple songs on the previous EP were all that caught our attention, we'd not've given this album such striking marks. As excellent as those two songs are, it's the entire mood of this album, an all-acoustic affair inspired by long-gone days of horse travel and demons (see "Blood of Angels"), all while maintaining a full sound with two-and-a-half members. As replete as it is with gypsy influence and energy, you might expect tales of evil and woe; and you'd be wrong if you thought these weren't danceable tunes, in a traditional gypsy sense. It is dark, it is simple yet deep, it aims for the gut and gets there. In short, Salt for Salt is well worth your time, and comes highly recommended.

Listen to the opener, and check out the EP, "Sound of Ghosts"