New Music Roundup: This Week In Musicland
Artist: Lykke Li
Album: Wounded Rhymes
What the hell is it? Lykke Li comes back to offer 10 tracks of brilliance
Sounds like a combination of: A grown-ass woman
Recommended? Lykke Li is a brilliant talent who took a break after her debut record, 2008’s Youth Novels, to tour and settle down in the States for a bit. Her break lasted long enough that she almost didn’t record this record. Luckily she did, as she has come back to reclaim her seat as a Woman in Music Who Kicks Ass. Li has grown considerably from the first record, Where that had more “youthful” tracks, here she is in your face (Sample lyric: “I’m your prostitute/You gonna get some”) and is all right with feeling blue. The album opens fiercely with the organ-led “You Knows No Pain,” and moves into the stalker jam with a bright, shiny chorus, “I Follow Rivers.” Li’s biggest asset is the drums. If you ever get to see her live, you’ll know her and her band pound the hell out of the drums. Bjorn Yttling’s open production lets the tracks flow and sound almost as if they were recorded outside on a beach. Exploring all kinds of styles, like the surfy guitars of “Get Some,” and the Motown feeling of album highlight, “Sadness is a Blessing,” Li proves that she can’t be held to any one genre. Some of the most striking tracks are the sparsest. Both “I Know Places,” and album closer “Silent My Song,” are striking for the relative lack of instrumentation, letting Li breathe and be in her element. While I highly recommend this record, it is kind of a bummer, so if you feel sad after listening to it… don’t worry.
Artist: Mr. Dream
Album: Trash Hit
What the hell is it? First record from NYC trio featuring two ex-Pitchfork writers
Sounds like a combination of: Pixies, Big Black, mclusky, Dinosaur Jr., Nirvana, early Nineties indie rock, things you NEED to be listening to
Recommended? If my totally gushing about this band with this week’s song-of-the-day didn’t state it I’ll say it again: THIS RECORD RULES. The 90s are coming back, and in a perfect world Mr. Dream and Yuck will tour together and show the kids how to do it. Trash Hit may wear its influences on its sleeve, but these aren’t homages. It’s more of a continuation. Each track has expert-level skill and a fierce humor that most bands don’t get right. But why hear me talk about them? Just fucking listen.
Album: The King of Limbs
What the hell is it? 8th Radiohead record—duh
Sounds like a combination of: Radiohead exploring Kid A territory again and not giving a fuck who they leave behind
Recommended? Who really cares what I think about this record? You have all heard this, tweeted about it, made snap judgments, but I haven’t reviewed it because I wanted it to live a little. After a bit of listening, it isn’t as boring as I originally pegged it. It isn’t necessarily thrilling, either. While the band sounds tight (other than Johnny, where are you? what are you playing here?) it just seems so cookie-cutter. But do we really need Radiohead to surprise us? Since Kid A they haven’t been inventive, but rather consistent.
This actually might be better than this album:
Artist: Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie XX
Album: We’re New Here
What the hell is it? A full Jamie XX remix of the last Scott-Heron record, I’m New Here
Sounds like a combination of: A remixed version of I’m New Here
Recommended? Remix records usually don’t work, but Jamie XX is at the top of his game. His DJ sets are quite fantastic and his solo tracks are damn near gorgeous. What seems like an unlikely combination actually works. Scott-Heron’s poetry is heightened by the ever-switching beats ranging from club to dub-step to electronic washes. Jamie pulls out almost every trick in his bag. He is proving himself to be one of the best producers around, and I really hope the shit he worked on with Drake gets released.
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