Tuesday, May 20, 2008

New Music Releases: 5/13/08

I'm still a week behind, but hopefully I'll get caught up this week.

Albums Released on 5/13/08:

Things I’ve Heard:

Kassin + 2: Futurismo (Luaka Bop) – This is the domestic release (on David Byrne’s label) of Brazilian Alexandre Kassin’s 2006 record. The plus two in the group are Moreno Veloso (Caetano’s son) and Domenico Lancelotti. The record’s an easy breezy combination of samba, bossa nova and (occasionally) more psychedelic sounds. Americans Sean O’Hagan (High Llamas) and John McEntire (Tortoise) make guest appearances on the three bonus tracks from the Luaka Bop version. This music makes a lot more sense when you spend some time around the beaches in Brazil with a Brahma in your hand. Download “Ya Ya Ya” (features O’Hagan and McEntire).

Old 97’s: Blame It On Gravity (New West) – I wonder if all Old 97’s fans have the same sort of love-hate relationship with them that I do. Not being from Dallas, I wasn’t there from the beginning. I only got into them after they signed with a major label. Initially attracted to their poppier material, I later went back and discovered some of their twangier stuff. Around 2003, a friend of mine with a major man crush on Rhett Miller moved to LA from Texas. Fortunately for him, Rhett was working hard on his solo career and playing a ton of shows at Largo. I got dragged to all of them.

And that’s when the hate part of the relationship started to spring up. Watching Rhett swing his arm like a pendulum while he strummed the acoustic guitar with his blow dryed hair and a shirt unbuttoned to his bellybutton was just too much. Rhett moved away from LA. My friend moved back to Texas. And I stopped thinking about Rhett and the Old 97’s (with the exception of catching them at Stagecoach last year). So it was with apprehension that I put this one in the CD player. But guess what? It’s a damn fun record and complete return to form (recorded back in Dallas at Salim Nourallah’s studio).

The record starts with two songs that immediately call to mind classic Old 97’s tunes. As the record progresses you get some of Rhett’s (occasionally) corny love songs, but you also get Murry’s heart (and lead vocals on a couple of tunes) and Ken’s excellent guitar work. If you’d almost given up on Rhett and the band, you should reconsider. This one’s well worth picking up. See them at the Crash Mansion on 6/19/08

Local Interest:

The Submarines: Honeysuckle Weeks (Nettwerk) – The Submarines’ last record was all about the breakup of the couple that fronts the band (Blake Hazard and John Dragonetti). There were a number of call and response songs with the couple trading lead vocal duties. This time around it’s immediately obvious that they’re back together and couldn’t be happier about it. It’s a likeable, easy record to listen to – the kind of thing you’d be happy to hear coming from the speakers at your local coffee shop. “Xavia” sounds like a lost track from the Rentals’ Return of the Rentals. At the Echo on 6/13/08.

Other Noteworthy New Releases:
Acid Mother’s Temple, The Bellrays, The Black Angels [Troubadour 6/5/08], The Botticellis (mp3 and mp3), Bruno Pronsato, T Bone Burnett, The Daysleepers, Death Cab For Cutie [Nokia 6/23/08], Dosh (mp3) [Spaceland on 6/15/08], Duffy, Ecstatic Sunshine, Dan Friel, Tobias Froberg, Ghost of the Russian Empire, Girlyman, Daniel Givens, Group Doueh, The Instruments (mp3 and mp3), Lau Nau, Local H [Troubadour 6/6/08], Modey Lemon [Echo 7/2/08], Pendulum, Pomegranates, The Presets [El Rey 5/20/08], Royal Bangs, Skybombers, Teitur (mp3) [Roxy 5/23/08], We Are Scientists, Young and Sexy (mp3)

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