I didn't give the Dr. Dog a glowing review, but it's still well worth picking up (especially if you're into soulful Lennon/McCartney inspired songs with nice Beach Boys-style harmonies). You might want to give local bands Bodies of Water and Low vs. Diamond a listen too.
Noteworthy Records Released on 7/22/08:
Records I’ve Heard:
Arbouretum/Pontiak: Kale (Thrill Jockey) – On this release, Arbouretum sound like a more rocking (dirty 1970’s style) version of Will Oldham on this release. Pontiak is a new Thrill Jockey signee. The title of the record is a pun referring to the three John Cale covers. It’s an enjoyable listen. This is available digitally or as a limited edition (1,000 copies) split 12”.
Dr. Dog: Fate (Park the Van) – Given that We All Belong was #6 on my favorite albums of last year, this was one was eagerly anticipated. But expectations can be a motherfucker. The first half of Fate stacks up against their best work, but by the time track eight rolls around, I completely forget what I’m listening to. The fact that they made a song called “The Old Days” and it’s similar to “My Old Ways” might be a sign that they could have spent a little longer writing. Lyrically, it’s very dark. It’s still worth picking up, but you might want to temper your expectations a little. They’re a great live band, see for yourself at El Rey on 8/8/08.
Download “The Old Days” and “The Ark”
High Places: 3/07 – 9/07 (Thrill Jockey) – Brooklyn duo that gets compared to Beat Happening and fits somewhere between No Age and Abe Vigoda. This is a collection of previously released songs available on CD for the first time. See them at the F Yeah Festival on 8/30/08 or at the Smell on 10/10/08.
Benji Hughes: A Love Extreme (New West) – Benji Hughes is the kinda performer who will come out with a 25 song double disc collection as his debut album. Local concertgoers should be familiar with his name, as Scott from the Fold was an early supporter. There’s a lot of humor in the songs, so it’s no real surprise that he co-wrote “Let’s Duet” (with Charlie Wadhams) the funniest track in “Walk Hard.” At El Cid on 8/15/08 and 8/16/08. Download “You Stood Me Up” and “Why Do These Parties Always End the Same Way” and “The Mummy” and “I Went with Some Friends to See the Flaming Lips”
Pacific!: Reveries (Caroline) – Swedish electro-pop band that reminds me a little of Tahiti 80. Download “Hot Lips” and “Sunset Blvd (remix)”
Sunfold: Toy Tugboats (Megaforce) – This is all the members of Annuals, but with a different frontman. I haven’t really listened to it all the way through yet.
Bodies of Water: A Certain Feeling (Secretly Canadian) – Haven’t heard this one yet. See them at Sunset Junction on 8/23/08 or the Echo on 9/10/08. Download “Under the Pines”
Low vs. Diamond: Low vs. Diamond (Epic) – They’re not too dissimilar to the Killers and U2. At the Troubadour on 8/13/08.
Other Noteworthy New Releases:
Avett Brothers EP
Black Kids – At El Rey on 7/29/08
David Bowie live in 1972
Brian Jonestown Massacre EP
Buffalo Killers – live at Safari Sam’s on 8/2/08
Brendan Canning – from Broken Social Scene
Captain Beefheart – lost 1967 sessions
The Clientele – not a “real” Merge release
CSN&Y live album
CSS –At the Mayan on 9/22/08 & 9/23/08 (mp3)
Helena Espvall and Masaki Batoh
Faun Fables EP
Individuals – on CD for the first time
Lackthereof – Menomena’s drummer (mp3)
One Day As a Lion EP – featuring Zach from Rage Against the Machine
Pas/Cal – (mp3 and mp3)
Paul Weller – At the Wiltern on 9/2/08 & 9/3/08