Lots of veteran indie bands have new records out this week. Other than that, some people seem to be excited about the new Islands record.
Albums Released on 5/20/08:
Records I’ve Heard:
Scarlett Johansson: Anywhere I Lay My Head (Atco) – I first got a mini-crush on Johansson back in 2002 when she appeared in Ghost World. It’s the easiest thing in the world to hate on actors who decide to put out records (especially when they get engaged to other dudes). All that aside, the surprising thing about this record is just how blah her singing is. The phrasing in a lot of Tom Waits’ songs can’t be easy, but she chose the songs. While the arrangements from Dave Sitek (TV on the Radio) are interesting, the monotone is too much to overcome. The record’s not a disaster, but not something I’ll be re-visiting down the road.
The Explorers Club: Freedom Wind (Dead Oceans) – The Explorers Club nail the pre-Pet Sounds Beach Boys sound. From the Brian Wilson-esque falsetto and harmonies, to the summer / beach / school lyrical themes, to the arrangements, it sounds like the lost album between Summer Days (and Summer Nights!!) and Pet Sounds. This seems to annoy a few Beach Boys fans that I’ve talked to, but they do it so well, I think it’s a whole lot of fun. The press release mentions Emitt Rhodes, ELO and McCartney, but if you don’t like the Beach Boys, there’s no point in picking this up (but maybe download “Freedom Wind”). Recommended. See them at the Troubadour on 6/21/08
Download “Do You Love Me?”
On the Shopping List:
Bonnie “Prince” Billy: Lie Down in the Light (Drag City) – The more I think about Will Oldham as a person (from what I’ve read secondhand in interviews), the less I like his music. That said, I still buy most of his full lengths.
Jeremy Jay: A Place Where We Could Go (K) – He’s getting a lot of really good press mentions. See the All Music 4/5 star review HERE. Stream it HERE. At the Echoplex on 6/20/08
The Parson Red Heads: Owl and Timber EP (Parson Farm Records) – Another solid set of songs from the local 60’s influenced band. I enjoyed their set at the Knitting Factory last night. “Crowds” and “Got It All” are my two favorites. See them at Boardner’s on June 17th.
Other Noteworthy Releases:
Annihilation Time, Douglas Armour, Ateleia and Benjamin Curtis vinyl, Blackstrap, Bun B, Castanets DVD, Dresden Dolls [Wiltern 5/21/08], El Madmo (mp3), Felix da Housecat, The Foxboro Hot Tubs – aka Green Day [Roxy 5/27/08], Free Kitten (mp3), French Kicks (mp3) [Echo 5/22/08], Indian Jewelry, Islands [Fonda 6/17/08], Joan of Arc (mp3) [Knitting Factory 6/6/08], Mason Jennings, Mates of State (mp3) [Fonda 5/28/08], Mudhoney (mp3), Mudhoney reissue (mp3), The National documentary and EP [Hollywood Bowl 5/29/08], Okay (mp3 and mp3), Orchestra Baobab, Stove Bredsky, Sybris [Knitting Factory 5/30/08], The Ting Tings [Troubadour 6/13/08], Trees, The VSS, Abigail Washburn & the Sparrow Quartet, The Wedding Present, Windsor for the Derby (mp3 and mp3)