‘Oh No’ is the opening track off Andrew Bird’s 2009 album Noble Beast. A classically trained violinist and a pervasive whistler, he successfully combines the two talents into a pop song that The Shins would be proud of. Have a great week.
Two War on Drugs tracks in less than a month. Well they’ve only gone and released a new single, ‘Holding On’, so what am I meant to do? Like someone has said before me, I knew I would like this track before I heard it. Before Adam Granduciel does his Bob Dylan thang, the single starts apace with a tight drum beat, synthesizers, a xylophone and never lets up. “He never gonna change; he never gonna learn…” Yeah baby. The new album A Deeper Understanding is released on 25 August.
Brooklyn-based Big Thief shared a new single ‘Shark Smile’ last month. This slice of indie heartbreak will feature on their forthcoming album Capacity. Singer-songwriter Adrianne Lenker and her whispering vocals dominate until Buck Meek gets going on lead guitar.
If you think nine minutes of Yo La Tengo is long… check this. It’s been a long three years since their 2014 LP Lost in the Dream, but Philly rockers The War on Drugs have decided to return with 11 minutes of ‘Thinking Of A Place’. The expansive and psychedelic sounds are the first from a new work due later this year. Will the fourth album cement Adam Granduciel as the modern-day Springsteen?
Last week, Broadcast made me think of Yo La Tengo for the first time in a little while. The band hit its stride by the 1990s, releasing a sequence of classic indie-rock albums: 1993’s Painful, 1995’s Electr-O-Pura, and 1997’s I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One. The latter’s superiority is hard to dispute, but Electr-O-Pura boasts the epic ‘Blue Line Swinger’. It grows from a fragile start to something full of musicianship and swagger: an organ, drum fills, the feedback and Georgia Hubley’s “Ba da ba ba-dop, ba da ba ba-dop, ba da ba ba-dop”. Glorious.
In 1998, the Eels took an introspective turn for their second release, Electro-Shock Blues. It was still pop music, but much darker than debut Beautiful Freak. ‘Last Stop: This Town’ is about singer-songwriter Mark Oliver Everett’s (aka E) sister Elizabeth, who had committed suicide. The video features a spinning carrot that slowly turns into a clone of E. Yes, indeed.
A compilation for the weekend. My favourite songs of 2000 in no particular order:
Honourable mentions also go to: Grandaddy for ‘He’s Simple, He’s Dumb, He’s The Pilot‘; Erykah Badu for ‘Didn’t Cha Know‘; Daft Punk for ‘One More Time‘; Augie March for ‘The Hole In Your Roof‘; Missy Elliott for ‘Get Ur Freak On‘; D’Angelo for ‘Untitled (How Does It Feel)‘; and Edu K for his remix of Otto’s ‘Bob‘.
A compilation for the weekend. My favourite songs of 2001 and in no particular order:
Honourable mentions also go to: Weezer for ‘Island In The Sun‘; Zero 7 for ‘In The Waiting Line‘; Jay-Z for ‘Izzo (H.O.V.A.)‘; Golden Boy feat. Miss Kittin for ‘Rippin Kittin‘; The Other People Place for ‘Let Me Be Me‘; Muse for ‘Bliss‘; Cannibal Ox for ‘Iron Galaxy’; Roger Sanchez for ‘Another Chance’; Radiohead for ‘Knives Out’; and Yann Tiersen for ‘La Valse d’Amélie‘.
A little bit like The Divine Comedy, Jens Lekman is not easy to recommend. You are relying on the audience looking past the schmaltz to appreciate the creative force. ‘Your Arms Around Me’ features on his 1997 album Night Falls Over Kortedala. “I was slicing up an avocado/When you came up behind me/With your silent brand new sneakers/Your reflection I did not see.” Divine comedy indeed.
The singer-songwriter Nick Mulvey is a founding member of the band Portico Quartet. ‘Cucurucu’ was his fourth release after leaving the group in 2011 to go solo. It features on his first studio album First Mind, which, like the work of Portico Quartet, also received a Mercury Music Prize nomination. Mulvey has previously revealed that the song’s title is a meaningless noise a child would make, but to these ears, the salsa-infused sound has more to do with the time he spent studying music in Havana. A salsa infusion as it would be sung by Ian Brown, that is.
Wisconsin-born duo Brian Holl and Eric Hillman met in 2011 and quickly began work on self-releasing their 2013 LP Anywhere But Where I Am. Their brand of electronic folk was well received and they’ve since secured a record deal with Universal. ‘I’ features on last year’s album Take Cover. The website states: “Take Cover has a noticeable lean toward spirited rhythms which dance anachronistically beneath honest lyrical confessions of doubt and hopelessness.” Ah, the inhibition of self-release remains strong in these ones. Have a great week.
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A band formed in New Jersey in 1976, The Feelies have released five albums in 40 years. The long game. To celebrate their ruby anniversary, they have done that rarest of things and released a new collection of songs. ‘Gone Gone Gone’ has the trademark jangling guitars that so influenced the likes of R.E.M., Brian Jonestown Massacre and Real Estate. The new album In Between drops in late February.
Like Spoon, it’s been three years since Real Estate last released an album. Time flies when you’re blogging. ‘Darling’ is the opening track off new record In Mind. It has that familiar Real Estate sound, all chiming guitars and harmonies. Martin Courtney sings about his impatience to a patient dream pop sound.
This is a peach of an indie track – conjuring up both 1970s rock and noughties americana. ‘Hero’ features on Family of the Year’s second studio album Loma Vista. It had first appeared on the band’s 2010 EP Through The Trees in a format far too short. Earnest, nostalgic and timeless, the song deserved the extended play.