Spoon, Wale, Dinosaur Jr.: Really Quick Spins
A quick catch up on some notable releases from the past couple weeks. Tomorrow's a holiday so we'll (yeah, still in denial) see you back here on Monday, when we'll (actually with other people) be ranking some Sonic Youth records.
Spoon - "Got Nuffin"
An out-of-nowhere Spoon EP? Yes, please. Little known fact -- the best Spoon record is not one of the band's full lengths, but actually an EP, 1997's "Soft Effects." Well, "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga" has a higher VORP, but "Soft Effects" has a better EQA. This new one isn't nearly in the same league as those two. It's a glorified throwaway, but a glorified throwaway from Spoon is still exciting. The title track is the band at its best -- an propulsive rocker that happily chugs along while shards of electric guitar and some plinky keys intermittently get added to the mix. Britt Daniel has a gift for crafting songs that never lose momentum but don't rely on huge flourishes to make their point. The rest of the EP is inessential, but that one song is a nice reminder that nobody does it better.
Wale - "Back the Feature"
Wale. Dude. We love ya. You namedrop Chris Mullin in a song featuring Lady GaGa. Who else can get away with that? That's quite a niche to have carved out before even releasing a proper debut album. And that's the problem. This mixtape is nice. Pretty good. The tracks produced by 9th Wonder especially bring it. But we've got to have the real thing already. You're holding out longer than Elizabeth I. And after "Seinfeld" and "Back to the Future" what's next -- a Stanley Cup themed mixtape? Actually, from the guy who calls himself Wale Ovechkin, don't rule it out. Anyway, this one is worth your time, but first why don't you check out the new one from fellow D.C. rapper XO? His new "Monumental" mixtape is sharper and more focused, although there's a bit of an obsession with haters.
(Dinosaur Jr., Major Lazer and more after the jump.)
Dinosaur Jr. - "Farm"
Our band could still be your life. And it would still be a lot better than your band. Listen to first second of "Pieces," the first song on this album. Then listen to the first second of "Sequestered in Memphis" by the Hold Steady. OK, so even if it sounds really similar it's an incredibly generic kind of similar. And the bands sound nothing alike, but I get the same vibe from both of them -- that a bunch of older, ugly dudes can make new music that's exciting and invigorating and makes you feel like rock-and-roll matters. J Mascis is a bad, bad man on the electric guitar.
Major Lazer - "Guns Don't Kill People ... Lazers Do"
Major Lazer is producers/DJs Diplo and Switch teaming with a bunch of different vocalists for a dancehall-heavy record. They just finished a tour that was sponsored by Bacardi. And Bacardi took its sponsorship very seriously. If you went to one of the shows on this tour, the only thing you could drink at that show was Bacardi or water. And that makes sense; this is music to listen to while you are some variety of trashed. Party music. If it's a task to make it through the entire record, it's only because it's too much adrenaline. But if you're hosting a shindig this weekend and it's the opposite of one of the three mentioned in the post below you could do a lot worse than using this album as your soundtrack.
The Bats - "Guilty Office"
Oh, to age as gracefully as a New Zealand indie band. It's not too surprising, since even in their salad days bands such as the Bats and the Clean (who themselves have a sparkling new one landing in September) never relied on youthful exuberance to make their point. They were always sort of old souls at heart. "Guilty Office" is more pre-grunge, jangle pop goodness. Everything's just a bit off kilter, which I imagine what it's like to be in New Zealand. Who wants to sponsor my visit down there?
Let's Wrestle - "In the Court of Wrestling Lets"
This young U.K. band was a choice SXSW find. Their 2008 single "I Won't Lie to You" caught my ear and when I saw them in Austin they played a delightfully ramshackle set of jagged indie-pop to an audience of bewildered hip-hop fans. (It was a free show -- no badge required -- at a hip-hop club.) The trio's debut album runs a touch long but announces them as one of the more tuneful and likable bunch of Brits. "We aren't the most reliable guys in the world/But we got enough money to buy some G and T's for the girls," goes one lyric. This record feels sort of like listening to the Libertines, but without the crack. It's charming and at times great but lacks that "we will destroy everything in our paths" swagger that you probably get from smoking crack.
The Legends - "Over and Over"
A nifty little band from Sweden that gets away with writing the same song over and over by changing the aesthetic on each album so things stay fresh. First album was all about the upbeat indie-pop coated in lots of warm fuzz. Album two was icy, gothy, open spaces. And now album three goes the Jesus and Mary Chain/My Bloody Valentine route. I'll always have a soft spot for a good songwriter with good taste and Johan Angergård qualifies on that front.
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Posted by: rogo2000 | July 2, 2009 5:05 PM
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