New Music Roundup: This Week In Musicland
Here’s a short one kids:
Artist: Elliot Smith
Album: An Introduction to Elliot Smith
What the hell is it? Greatest hits of sort (’cause he really didn’t have any “hits,” did he?) for the dearly departed indie singer
Sounds like a combination of: A heart breaking
Recommended? Who was this made for? I mean, you all should already own the first three Kill Rock Stars records because they are classic. Sure, Roman Candle and Elliot Smith are spotty, but Either/Or is perfect. This collection only collects from the KRS material, adding in some stuff off the essential New Moon (not the Twilight movie with Taylor Hotner in it) compilation. It is the best E.S. mixtape I’ve ever heard. The song selection is perfect, and other than “Say Yes” not being on here there isn’t anything I would criticize the comp for lacking. If you have never heard Smith, start with this—I mean, being late is fine.
Artist: The Radio Dept.
Album: Never Follow Suit EP
What the hell is it? EP of B-sides and remixes from one of the best Swedish bands
Sounds like a combination of: “Never Follow Suit” three times, plus some instrumentals and a new track which actually includes the lyric, “Never follow suit”
Recommended? If The Radio Dept. are involved, I’m there. This EP has two segue tracks, “The One” and “Stay Off Route,” plus a brand-new track, “On Your Side” (not on this year’s still-amazing Clinging to a Scheme). All are in the same Balearic style as the record. I guess this release is for the diehard completists, but as a 15-minute listen it is bright and airy, employing all the things The Radio Dept. do best.
Artist: Sharon Van Etten
What the hell is it? Second record from the Brooklyn folkie
Sounds like a combination of: Grrrl rock
Recommended? Van Etten kicks asses and takes names—then she writes songs about it. She’s the kind of girl who’ll be kind to you and you can take to your parents’, but if you cross her she’ll throw your shit out and then cuss you out on record. Epic builds off her debut by employing a backup band. This record has much akin with Cat Power’s You Are Free, which is to say I’m feeling really lazy so any female singer who gets confessional and plays an acoustic guitar is Chan Marshall. “Don’t Do It” is a spectacular highlight and former song of the day, and it serves as the album’s centerpiece. Opener “A Crime” segues from the last record, as “Peace Sign” is when Van Etten’s backup band kicks into high gear. If you need to fill a void because Cat Power hasn’t released a record (of original material) since 2006, pick this up.
Album: The Fool
What the hell is it? Female four-piece’s first record
Sounds like a combination of: Dark pop music, 90s indie rock with girls singing
Recommended? Warpaint are four females who make music like it is 1990. Their music has a post-rock quality, as well as folk, and a good study of Sonic Youth dynamics. The vocals, however, are angelic and their multi-part harmonies—like on standout “Undertow”—are what makes the group distinct from most bands in the indie ghetto. Like Jim O’Rourke said, “Women of the world, take over, if you don’t the world will come to an end, it won’t take long.” Thank god these girls are here.
Artist: Matt and Kim
What the hell is it? Reverse party-ready Mates of State release their third record
Sounds like a combination of: Matt and Kim plus horns, all mellowed out
Recommended? Have you ever been to a party where everyone wore neon and looked like the sorority sluts from your college? I guess you haven’t seen Matt and Kim live, then. Seriously, this band isn’t that good. Now that they are trying new things like adding horns and samples (I swear “AM/FM Sound” sounds like “Just Can’t Get Enough” re-recorded to be “more hip-hop,” or whatever the fuck. And does Matt have a speech impediment? He sounds like he has a lisp, and I work for speech-language pathologists—I could get him a good one. Matt and Kim are supposed to be hyper, but this mellows them out and it sounds pretty lame.
What the hell is it? Pharrell’s band makes a snooze-worthy record! Too bad, ’cause Daft Punk is on it!
Sounds like a combination of: Really bad hip-hop
Recommended? The Neptunes used to be on their game. Pharrell and Chad Hugo made beats for everyone and they were the shit. Then a funny thing happened. They started a rock band and wow they’ve been sucking for years. Sure, there are bright spots—“Hypnotize U” is this record’s jam, and it was produced by Daft Punk so I can’t criticize it—but there are some low-ass points too. Why this record was made is beyond me. “Hot-N-Fun” is neither of the things it advertises, and the Nelly Furtado guest vocal is wasted—how much would you love for her to release a proper follow-up to Loose? Really, this record deserves to be in bargain bins or trash cans.
First time here? See what we're all about... Get involved... Send us a tip!...