This is more like a personal record of what I have been listening to this year. I listen to several new releases but only a few really capture my attention. I use varied resources ranging from radio stations, blogs and especialized web media. If anyone feels like making a comment or giving suggestion feel free:So for this last week of March I have been listening to these albums:
1 - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
- It's Blitz
A significant departure from their previous works, the band now seems more contained and I would say even clubby. Karen O's voice is tamed as well as the sound altogether. Yet, It's Blitz is not at all boring. On the contrary, it's addictve.
2 - The Pains of Being Pure At Heart
- The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
What amazes me about TPOBPAH is that they did not produce anything really original which starts by naming their debut album with the band name and by producing a record which resembles several shoegaze and twee bands such as My Bloody Valentine, The Jesus and Mary Chain and Field Mice. Yet, their debut is highly addictive from beginning to end
. Call them unoriginal if you will, but the blend works and fills a gap in an indie scene full of groups trying to produce something new but ending up just being immensely boring.
3 - Telefon Tel Aviv
- Immolate Yourself
This is an album which arrives one week after the mysterious death of one of the band's oniy two members, Charles Cooper. Unfortunately no one knows what will become of the duo. Yet, their new release is a terrific good trip, moving from ambient to techno without ever becoming repetitive. The opening track illustrates this aspect and may be the best one on the disk.
4 - Peter Doherty
First solo album by infamous Pete Doherty who now wants to be called Peter. That's fine with me. Also, I really don't care about how the media usually demonizes ya. You can go on drinking, taking drugs and being arrested as many times as you want for as long as you keep giving us good tracks everything is fine here. The album is great! Folksy and bluesy puctuated by Peter's iconoclastic fragile voice. He is no doubt the quintessential English decadent romantic bard left alive.
5 - White Lies
- To Lose My Life
This another case of a group that seems to have achieved nothing particularly original but just puts out a mixture of several other bands together. For me they are a blend of Interpol and Editors but in a catchier manner so much so that the ten songs within the album could easly be radio hits. Two of them already are: Death and To Lose My Life. All in all, I would say that their debut album is quite a solid work.
6 - Super Furry Animals
- Dark Days/Light Years
There goes more than 15 years on the road producing significant albums. I remember how in the 90s these guys were on the top of the charts and reviews but then they had “Guerrilla” to support them. The new album “Dark Days/Light Years”
which is supposed to be released in the UK around April 15th does have many good tracks. Maybe due to their long career their listeners may feel somewhat disappointed hoping for some groundbreaking album. This is not the case here, but their new disk is far better than its predecessor. There are many pop gems in “Dark Days/Light Years”
such as Cardiff in the Sun
, The Very Best of Neil Diamond
, White Socks/Flip Flops
and my favorite Lliwiau Llachar
which is sung in Welsh. I also have the impression that the disk becomes better from middle to end which in the end one feels like there should be more songs in it. But, of course, this is just me.
7 - Black Lips
- 200 Million Thousand
Raw, dirty, loud, and histeric this new Black Lips album is that gem everyone was waiting for. Ok, it is clear how they manage to artificially create a vynil atmospheric 60s garage rock sound by including some fake needle scratches and noises. But, how can't you be taken by Starting Over
or Take My Heart
. This is a wonderful album!! All tracks are absolutely kick ass!
8 - Camera Obscura
- My Maudlin Career
I have to confess that I am not usually a fan of Camera Obscura. I usually tend to think of them as a female version of Belle and Sebastian. Besides, they are too mellow which makes the songs a little boring sometimes. Yet, there are moments here and there that really get me. From the new album, which is not a bad work altogether, just plain Camera Obscura
, I like the very first two songs (well, who wouldn’t?) and Away With Murder
. The others need more listening and they grow with time. All in all, CO are all cute and sweet as one would expect.
9 - The Wooden Birds
Maybe the best way to approach The Wooden Birds
is to view it simply as a continuation of previous Andrew Kenny's group AmAnSet, which, by the way, it is not reproachful. Leslie Sisson's additonal voice creates a tender, fragile and melodious record. Worth listening for sure.
10 - Speck Mountain
- Some Sweet ReliefFrom their my space page
: PREFIX MAG - 8/10 "I could sit here all day and write about Balabanian's beautiful voice, or the collection of dreamy songs on Some Sweet Relief. I could keep rambling on about the intricate guitar work and bittersweet atmosphere of the album. I could discuss its subtle moves between pop and country and soul and R&B. But, in the end, it isn't these things, taken together or separately, that make the album great. In the end, the way Some Sweet Relief comes together is inexplicable, in a way."
11 - God Help the Girl
- God Help The GirlGod Help the Girl
is as everyone knows by now a side project by Belle and Sebastian
. It has taken around 2 years to put together and Murdoch declared on the web that the songs were sort of appearing in his mind during the tour of Life Pursuit. The album is also a soundtrack for a future film expected to be shot this year and then it should be seen as a cohesive story. All in all, this is a huge project and a wise departure from the previous album (although two songs from that album are recorded here) as all songs are sung by female vocalists (especially Catherine Ireton). Finally, I still like the band and have the same feeling for them now as of when I discovered “If You're Feeling Sinister”
back 14 years ago or so. Moreover, very few bands produce that same feeling in me these days, although sometimes I get a little annoyed with Stuart’s obsession with teenage problems and this is because after all I don’t really care what Mom and Dad think (especially now that I am a Dad!). But how can one not appreciate the beauty of songs such as "Hiding Neath My Umbrella”
, “Perfection as a Hipster”
, “Come Moday Night”
and “A Down and Dusky Blond”
. Yeah everyone! The cultish adoration is still on and stronger than ever.