I’ve been in a consumptive mood lately. Canceled my satellite television service, which was draining me an average of 60 dollars a month. Suddenly now, I’ve got all this time on my hands. It’s like I’m reborn. I started listening to music much more intensely again. Like when I was in college (and also lacked a television, BTW).
Here is some reccomended listenings of recent, foriegn or somewhat obscure releases that I’ve enjoyed lately:
Gelbison “See the World” http://www.gelbison.com.au :
This is the best CD you’ll buy this year. It’s so good, and sinks under your skin. Hailing from Sydney, these guys came through the ranks with the Magnificent Sleepy Jackson. IN fact, they share a band together called “nations by the river”. ON See the World, Gelbison starts off with a Lou Reed esque track that has a melody that will keep you singing for weeks… The stand out tracks are “All the Rage”, “Summer of Love” and “see the world”. Everything in between is interesting, varied and sublime. The production is lush but dry and tasteful. Classic Aussie release, and soon enough, this album will invade American shores. Buy it the instant you’re provided the opportunity.
Dappled Cities Fly, “A Smile” http://www.dappledcitiesfly.com :
These guys are also from Sydney, and produce really interesting rock. I can’t describe it, but lots of backwards sounds and interesting melodies. It’s ‘indie’ i guess, but not the crappy variety. Probably won’t be available in the US until late 2005-06. worth seeking out though.
The Arcade Fire “funeral” http://www.arcadefire.com/ :
Holy crap this is really good. it sounds like a mixture of sea shanties, Chinese music and talking heads. I’m going to give a copy to my parents, who are huge talking head fans. This album is unpretentious, honest and real, without any attempts at being cool or stylish. and it pulls it off.. Go buy it now!
The Organ “grab that gun” :
This is another CD that hit me right over the head. Thus far, this is the only band who’ve come close to sounding like the smiths, consistently. They’re all female. In some ways the singer sounds like a pissed off & sarcastic Natalie merchant. Believe me, this is a good thing. The CD seems to hold up upon repeated listening because every song is catchy and has awkward lyrics….
The Doves “some cities” :
The third release for the Doves, and they’re 3 for 3. The thing about the Doves is that all of their albums have been of equal quality, this one included. The sound is the same, except this time around it’s much more upbeat and less gloomy. This is a good thing because the translation makes perfect sense…. There seems to be a large 60’s music and Motown influence, as well. I think one song sounds very similar to “Pounding” off of The last broadcast.. but it’s good, and they escape unscathed despite it…
M83 “Dead Cities, Red Seas Lost Ghosts” http://www.ilovem83.com/ :
This is ambient music at absolute maximum volume. A French Duo, M83 cast massive walls of sound where synths pound away like guitars and guitars swell and soar like synths. There are very few lyrics, and for the most part the entire album remains cinematic. M83 has released another album recently, though I’ve not gotten into it yet. This one is still on heavy rotation..
Mew “Frengers”. http://www.mewsite.com :
For me, this CD left off where 1993 ended. Shoegaze had given way to britpop and grunge had conquered America. This CD sits somewhere comfortably between all of that turmoil. And it may be as ignored now as it would have been back then.
It’s well produced, guitar/electro rock with a breathy androgynous male Scandinavian singer looming above the cacophony. Many of the songs have really powerful drum performances, and the bass is often obscured, or not existing. It is not missed, however because the churning, guttural guitar obscures the absence of bass. It’s angelic at times, churning and mechanical at others. This is simply a really interesting record. It will probably be overlooked by press because it doesn’t fit naturally into any of the buzz-bins currently being tossed about in pop-culture right now. A shame, but you’ll enjoy it… You have to give it a chance though…
I’ve got some other albums I want to review for you as soon as I give them an honest chance and listen…
New Order’s latest, Mercury Rev’s latest, Trashcan Sinatras’ latest (amazing upon first listens, BTW).
Some older oddities, too. Rollerskate Skinny’s “Shoulder Voices”, which preceded their magnificent “Horse-drawn Wishes”. Some Kitchens of Distinction, who unfortunately are fated to obscurity. I’ll review Vast’s “Nude”, which was released but under-promoted by both the band and their label. My initial findings are that it rocks.
I’ll touch on ‘the killers’, ‘the unicorns’, ‘TV on the radio’ (who i currently just don’t get), Kasabian (who are getting too much press-this better be the joshua tree for all the ink they’re pouring over this band). This is another album that simply should be purchased.