Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Breeders Triumphant Return

The Breeders released two terrific albums and a womnderful EP in the early 90's. What had started as a side project between Kim Deal and Throwing Muses' Tanya Donelly, soon became a critically acclaimed and commercially successful sister act between twins Kim & Kelley Deal. It was disappointing then that we would go almost 10 years before a new album would surface, one that was much more reminiscent of the group's raw 1990 debut Pod, than it's more polished sibling, Last Splash. Fans alike should be grateful that we have only had to wait a mere six years for the latest offering, Mountain Battles (slated for release on April 8). The overall feel of the album is still on the raw coarser side. Still, perhaps it could just as well be described as an unrefined and unpolished reflection of Last Splash. A new track from the album, "Bang On" has been pulsating around the blogosphere for a few weeks now, but the album's opener "Overglazed" is a soaring and spectacular welcome back. Far be it from me to shut the door on the past and future.

Hellbound (1990)
Safari (1991)
Bang On (2008)
It's The Love (2008)

Website | MySpace | 4AD

Bon Iver '(pronounced: bohn eevair; French for "good winter" and spelled wrong on purpose)'

While I am in no way on the cutting edge here, I would be remiss if I did not talk about the incredible debut record, For Emma, Forever Ago, from Justin Vernon (under the pseudonym of Bon Iver). I've seen the name around for a while now, and the record came highly recommended by a friend. It is very seldom that my jaw drops for a debut album, but this is an exception. The album is like an affecting personal diary; sparsely recorded and arranged, it is both stunningly muted and at times gently raging. Do yourself a favor and take a listen if you haven't yet.

Skinny Love
The Wolves (Act I and II)

The vivid and moving video for The Wolves (Act I and II) directed by Matthew Amato

Website | MySpace | Jagjaguwar

Thursday, March 6, 2008


I have been charged with dereliction of duties with regard to my blogging, and my penance is your reward, or punishment depending on whether you no likee. Prevailing wisdom would seem to suggest that getting shit-canned would free up time for my little hobby, and indeed it has. I have just been too damn lazy. I will try to do better. There are a few records on the horizon that I am mildly excited to tepid about including a Ministry covers record (see track below), a new Breeders record, the new NIN Ghosts I-II-III-IV, a new Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan record, and more that I hope to get around to listening to and gabbing about. Until now, here's a few covers to keep you occupied.

Noun 1. cover song - a recording of a song that was first recorded or made popular by somebody else; "they made a cover of a Beatles' song"

The Afghan Whigs - If There's A Hell Below (We're All Going To Go) (Curtis Mayfield)
Kate Nash - Men's Needs (The Cribs)
Seu Jorge - Rebel Rebel (David Bowie)
The Band - Atlantic City (Bruce Springsteen)
Ministry - Roadhouse Blues (The Doors)
Mudhoney - You Stupid Asshole (Angry Samoans)
Tift Merritt - Who Loves The Sun (The Velvet Underground)
Bonnie 'Prince" Billy - Am I Demon (Danzig)
Allison Moorer - Dancing Barefoot (Patti Smith)
Flyin' Shoes - Lyle Lovett (Townes Van Zandt)
Where Is My Mind - Yoav (Pixies)
Streets Of Baltimore - Evan Dando (Tompall Glaser)
Dead Flowers - Caitlen Rose (The Rolling Stones)
Computer Age - Sonic Youth (Neil Young)
Say It Right - Bloc Party (Nelly Furtado)
Sea Of Love - Cat Power (Phil Phillips with The Twilights)
Xanadu - Lightspeed Champion (Olivia Newton John)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

My Review Of The Gutter Twins - Saturnalia

The Gutter Twin officially unleash their epic, Saturnalia, on the public today. Personally, I was intrigued as each new song was posted to their MySpace page, and instantly hooked by the album at first listen, though I still like to give something a couple of weeks before talking much about it. I did not initially care for what have become some of my favorite records, and the opposite can also be said. This falls into neither of those categories. As I said, I was hooked on my initial listen, and had the thing on constant repeat for the first few days. I even forced myself to step away for a few days to clear my mind. Coming back, I only found more to love. This really is one of the strongest releases of Dulli and Lanegan's respective careers.

The dichotomy of Dulli's ethereal highs and Lanegan's deep growl intertwine beautifully on tracks like, "Who Will Lead Us Now" and "BĂȘte Noire." Most of the record is very much band driven, though Dulli still uses sequenced tracks to establish songs like "The Body" and "Each To Each." Clashing egos, and conversely attempts to not step on each others toes, could easily destroy an album like this, but the talent of both men as well as their tendency to lend a hand and collaborate as shown throughout their careers seem to effortlessly bind each song into a seamless, yet diverse piece of art. From the machine gun opening of the bridge in "God's Children" to the delicate "The Body," the driving back beat of "All Misery/Flowers" played over by a soft piano as guitars and effects build the song to a thundering crescendo; the album evolves throughout it's twelve songs without ever dropping off. The lyrics are classic Dulli and Lanegan, placing all of man's vices and egos on display, climaxing with the alluring calamity of the gorgeous "Front Street."

Idle Hands (mp3)
Full Album Stream

The boys are touring the U.S. now through the beginning of April before heading back to Europe of a string of dates to close out the month. Full tour dates are available on the band's website and MySpace.

Website | MySpace

Monday, March 3, 2008

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! Out Today!!! -In Europe

Today marks the European release of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds' latest effort, Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!. The album is the 14th studio release of a band whose career has been anything but static. While this hasn't always pleased longtime fans, it has, if nothing else, kept the man refreshing and relevant. I wanted to give the record a couple of weeks and plenty of listens before reviewing it, so I decided today was as fitting a day as any.

The album was expected to be, at least somewhat, tinted by Grinderman. While tracks like "Today's Lesson" and "Albert Goes West" sound like a more refined Grinderman, there are the familiar narrative tracks like "Night Of The Lotus Eaters" that hearken back the early days of the Bad Seeds, though in a more muted form. Conway Savage's familiar piano and rapturous organ as well as the searing violin of Warren Ellis are as present as at any time over the past decade. While the album seems to lack the complete cohesiveness of many of the past Bad Seeds' records for me, the record is still quite solid. Whereas many longtime fans find the band's Nocturama record as a definite low point, they will be glad to know that this is no Nocturama.

For American fans that don't want to shell out the extra cash to order the import, the entire album is currently steaming over at MySpace.

Tracks to check out:
Today's Lesson
Albert Goes West
Hold On To Yourself
Jesus Of The Moon

Website | MySpace