Secret Machines Ten Silver Drops (Reprise) – Longtime fans and the indie press seem disappointed by the direction of the new album, but it’s getting solid reviews from British mags, Entertainment Weekly and Urb. The bombastic drums are gone and there are more Coldplay-type moments. I don't like it as much as the last record, but there are enough good songs to recommend it. I'll write more about it after I see the songs performed live. Stream the album HERE. They appear live at Amoeba on 5/2 at 7:00 PM and at the El Rey on 5/4.
Things I Need to Hear
Elf Power Back to the Web (Rykodisc) – Athens, GA band that was part of the Elephant 6 collective of indie rockers. Apparently this album is less pop and more acoustic folk. Appearing live at Spaceland on 5/13. Sample tracks on MYSPACE.
Other Noteworthy Releases
The Coup Pick a Bigger Weapon (Epitaph) – Hip-hop group that still mixes politics with humor. Talib Kweli, Black Thought, dead prez, Tom Morello and Jello Biafra all make guest appearances. Appearing live at Amoeba on 4/27 @ 7:00 PM. Download “My Favorite Mutiny” and “We Are the Ones” or stream HERE.
Eleventh Dream Day Zeroes and Ones (Thrill Jockey) – First album in six years from the Chicago band that features members of Freakwater and Tortoise. Download “For Martha”
The Fever In the City of Sleep (Kemado) – They lost their original guitarist and changed their sound. They mention Fellini, Sun Records and Stax in their press release. Appearing at the Troubadour on 5/13. Listen to some tracks at their website.
Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris All the Roadrunning (Nonesuch/Warner Bros.) – This is more a Mark Knopfler album than an Emmylou album. It’s probably worth downloading the Emmylou tracks. Appearing live at Gibson Amphitheater (Universal City Walk) on 6/28. You can stream the new album HERE.
The Rakes Capture/Release (V2) – Domestic price for the British post-punk band. They are appearing at Coachella on 4/29. Stream the album at their website.
Riverboat Gamblers To the Confusion of Our Enemies (Volcom) – They’re an energetic, engaging punk band from Denton, TX. Their previous albums haven’t captured the power of their live show. Stream the album HERE.
Bruce Springsteen We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions (Columbia) – He gathered 13 musicians for two sessions and recorded these covers live. It’s getting universally good reviews. He’s touring with the band and appearing live at the Greek Amphitheatre on 6/5. Stream the album HERE.
Starlight Mints Drowaton (Barsuk) – Indie rockers from Oklahoma. Appearing live at the Troubadour on 5/7. Download “Inside of Me”
The Streets The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living (Vice/Atlantic) – Some of the critics seem to think the British electro-rapper has lost his way. Download “When You Wasn’t Famous” or stream the album HERE and see videos of Mike Skinner talking about the record HERE
Time Again The Stories Are True (Hellcat/Epitaph) – Rancid influenced band signs to Tim Armstrong’s label. Appearing live at the Echo tonight. Download “Junkies”
Tom Verlaine (ex-Television) Around and Songs and Other Things (w/members of Television) (Thrill Jockey) Around is an instrumental follow-up to Warm and Cool. Songs and Other Things is the more traditional rock album.
VA Invaders (Kemado) – This is an 18 track compilation of newer heavy bands that are acceptable for hipsters. While it is a good intro to a lot of these bands, I do have a couple of problems with it. Most of these tracks are unreleased or rare because they weren’t good enough to be on the band’s album. The Dungen track is basically a flute solo, and the band has a lot more to offer than that. The Wolfmother track is the worst thing on their EP and far worse than anything on their full length. In the internet age, I don’t think customers should have to pay $13 for a sampler of b-sides. That said, a lot of these bands are worth hunting down and listening to on Myspace.