Engine Down – To Bury Within the Sound [2000]

Posted in emo,indie,indie rock,post-hardcore,rock by jheisel on July 31, 2011

TV on the Radio – Nine Types of Light [2011]

Posted in art rock,electronic,funk,indie rock by deek on March 31, 2011

TV on the Radio have been many things in the decade since they first dive-bombed New York City’s outer boroughs. Arty a cappella reductionists on 2003’s Young Liars EP; sky-bound funk-slop visionaries on 2004’s still-epic Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes; tenacious, politically ravaged anthemists on 2006’s Return to Cookie Mountain; and most recently, a manic pixie dance band on 2008’s Dear Science. Throughout, their songs have been marked by lead singer Tunde Adebimpe’s to-the-heavens demon howl, producer/multi-instrumentalist Dave Sitek’s searing gospel-funk hoedowns, and an ineffable sense of drama — theirs is a sound that is meaningful but shaded, aggressive but delicate. It can burn as quickly as it can fade away. TV on the Radio make Important Music for Important Times. So, as the country claws its way back to sanity, if not normalcy, Nine Types of Light begins as a surprise of sorts: It’s lovers rock. Which isn’t to say this band has never loved. Guitarist Kyp Malone’s “Lover’s Day” from Dear Science remains an oft-quoted Brooklyn sex jam, and they are an undeniably physical band — not quite hip-thrusters, but Adebimpe’s wounded, off-kilter sensuality is a particularly unusual brand. They just haven’t been this intimate about their feelings before. “I’m gonna keep your heart / If the world falls apart / I’m gonna keep your heart,” Malone sings softly on the chorus of the stuttering, mandolin-accented “Keep Your Heart.” Later, on “You”: “You’re the only one I ever loved.” “Will Do” is a torch song that begins with such plainspoken unfussiness that it could appear on a Taylor Swift album. While drummer Jaleel Bunton and bassist Gerard Smith were Science’s lifeblood, pumping and chugging out some fractured take on disco, now they’re barely audible at times. And is that a banjo on “Killer Crane”? It all raises another question: What happened to the lupine fury? The apocalypse of the soul once proffered with such ferocity? It’s still there intermittently — “New Cannonball Blues” and the stomper “Caffeinated Consciousness” jerk the wheel into the oncoming traffic of blues rock. But mostly Nine Types of Light feels like the liquefying of a band, ten years and four albums deep, into the soft tenderness of pre-middle-age satisfaction. Like, maybe family life sounds pretty good right about now — and it fits them well. Interpreting the album’s title is a dicey proposition, but taken literally, it’s revealing: TV on the Radio have shifted constantly, from the humble visible form of light that brightens the world in their earliest days to the violent gamma explosions of Return to Cookie Mountain, straight to the cosmic light of the sky — a destination not unfamiliar to this band during Dear Science. And here, they return to the earth’s surface, intact, with their eyes open to what’s right in front of their faces. They want to be — and have the chops to be — all kinds of bands. And this album has a there-and-back quality, one they couldn’t have pulled off five years ago. TV on the Radio have flashed unknowable cool, have been a troupe for our times, and have shaken their asses to kingdom come. Acquiescence is no simple trick when you’ve conquered. But then, what’s wrong with a night on the couch with a loved one? -Spin

…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead – Tao of the Dead [2011]

Posted in alternative rock,indie rock by deek on February 2, 2011

It had to happen. After 16 years and six albums, these noisemongers finally indulge their proggiest tendencies on this epic excursion inspired by frontman Conrad Keely’s childhood love of ’70s concept albums (Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, Yes’ Relayer, Rush’s Hemispheres, etc.). Tao of the Dead is split into two songs, each tuned to a different key: Part I, a 35-minute jam in D effortlessly shifts over 11 chapters; and II boasts six movements over 16 minutes in F. The band’s typically thunderous melodic sprawl and cryptic musings on life and death perfectly fit the conceptual bill, with everything cranked to its natural extreme. – Spin

Bright Eyes – The People’s Key [2011]

Posted in indie folk,indie rock by deek on February 2, 2011

Bright Eyes leader Conor Oberst took a break from his band after 2007’s Cassadaga to focus on a slew of other projects, including a few solo releases and a record with Monsters of Folk. He even threatened to retire the Bright Eyes name in 2009, though that would fade with time when he announced a pair of EPs and The People’s Key. The record stands as his eighth with the Bright Eyes band, which this time is joined by a slew of guests. The 10 tracks on here include appearances from Autolux’s Carla Azar, Cursive’s Matt Magnin, and the Faint’s Clark Baechle, among others. – prefixmag

The War On Drugs -Future Weather EP [2010]

Posted in indie rock by lifetimeguerintee on January 18, 2011



The Decemberists – The King Is Dead [2011]

Posted in folk,folk rock,indie folk,indie rock by deek on December 18, 2010

For those who weren’t on board with 2009’s lavish rock opera The Hazards of Love, Colin Meloy and company are giving you another variation on their brand of theatrical, literate indie pop. Direct Current Music and a handful of other sources report that on Jan. 11, The Decemberists will release The King Is Dead. It’s the band’s sixth full-length album, their third for Capitol Records, and most likely not their first Morrissey bon mot. Possibly attributable to the influence of special guest Peter Buck (R.E.M.), Meloy promises listeners a more straightforward, folk-rock approach on The King Is Dead — and it shows in “Down By the Water” and some of other new tunes the band has been playing live. You should still probably keep a thesaurus handy and the Wikipedia entry on the 19th century bookmarked. -Prefix Mag

Frog Eyes – Paul’s Tomb: A Triumph [2010]

Posted in experimental rock,indie rock by deek on December 11, 2010

If we were to take Carey Mercer and his cohorts — members of Frog Eyes, Swan Lake, Wolf Parade, etc. — as a sampling of what Canadian musicians are like, we’d assume everyone who ever picked up an accordion or pan flute north of the border was prolific, virtuosic, impassioned, and a little unhinged. But I guess that wouldn’t be quite statistically sound. Though Paul’s Tomb: A Triumph is Frog Eyes’ Dead Oceans debut, as far as I can tell it’s their sixth full-length overall, the previous LPs having been put out by small Canadian and Californian indies Global Symphonic, Animal World, and Absolutely Kosher. And if you liked those, you’ll love this. Much of the same Frog Eyes material is here: the frenetic guitar refrains, the slithering keys (even without Spencer Krug performing them anymore), the manic drumming, and Mercer’s voice howling and gurgling around it all. This release feels freer, though — not easier, necessarily, but delivered with a clarity of purpose not quite as muddled, consumption-wise, by sheer weirdness as was their previous LP, Tears Of The Valedictorian, for instance. Which isn’t to say Paul’s Tomb isn’t a weird album. It certainly is, when compared to, like, normal music with singers that don’t sound like they may actually be on the brink of strangling themselves to death behind their microphones. It’s just that there’s more of a familiar rock framework for listeners to latch onto than there ever has been before. The band starts delivering it immediately. The first few seconds of Paul’s Tomb are about as compelling a rock album beginning as you’ll find, a distorted, crunchy guitar lick and feedback followed by our introduction to Mercer’s characteristic gutpunching holler. The leadoff, “A Flower In A Glove,” is a nine-minute epic that opens up into an almost speak-sung, keyboard-driven rout. Mercer delivers like a frantic preacher, articulating his words in a way that suggests that they run through him from somewhere unbidden, and all he can do is be a conduit for them. And what words emerge! I was fortunate enough to procure a lyrics sheet and got to read all the verses usually half-obscured by the music. I knew Mercer weaves a mythological world, that he makes rampant use of literary references and puts more than a little syntactical feeling behind his lyrical convictions. What I didn’t know was that I would find a half-stanza in “Styled By Dr. Robert” that reads:

And the glory of economy,
Is when your dwarf shall become a man,
Woe to the night, woe to the night,
Emaciated forester dancing in the moonlight,
Dancing just to stave off the hunger — it’s a hunger where
You want to hit him in the fucking knees.
And then you hit him in the fucking knees!

Or that there would be a line in “Odetta’s War” that commands, “Cast off the fabled leotard, flee the legions of FAKES by the shore.” The fabled leotard!? I’m sold. Frankly, though, a hard sell’s not really necessary; after listening to other bands in the Mercer/Krug catalog, Paul’s Tomb sounds comfortingly familiar. Especially toward the end of “A Flower In A Glove,” when new addition Megan Boddy’s voice enters, it forcibly recalls the vocal interplay between Krug and Camilla Wynne Ingr in Sunset Rubdown (even though Mercer isn’t in that band). The very ambition of the album secures its home among its melodic brethren. So undoubtedly it’s Mercer’s vocals that characterize Paul’s Tomb, or any Frog Eyes release. But even if you could bypass his emphatic delivery, how can you ignore the use of words like “messianic” (“The Sensitive Girls”) or “dilettantes” (“Lear, In The Park”)? Under these ejaculations, though, lies a vast web of adeptly intermixed counterpoint instrumental parts, driven by soaring keys, harried guitar, or Melanie Campbell’s insistent drumming. In this way, the idiosyncrasy of Mercer’s vocal style might do the band as a whole a disservice, running the risk of driving away casual listeners that just might not be able to hang on through the breakers. Well. As Jane Austen writes in Pride and Prejudice, “Such squeamish youths as cannot bear to be connected with a little absurdity are not worth your regret.” -Tiny Mix Tapes

The Go! Team – Rolling Blackouts [2011]

Posted in indie electronic,indie rock by deek on December 11, 2010

The Go! Team is releasing its third full-length album, Rolling Blackouts, in early 2011 on British-based label Memphis Industries. The album cover is a collage of images that are as eclectic as the English sextet itself. Rolling Blackouts features guest vocal appearances by Deerhoof’s Satomi Matsuzaki and Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino. After a nearly four year hiatus, Brighton’s eclectic sextet is back with an album that has a song for almost everyone. Per usual, founding member Parton has cleverly figured out to push the boundaries of several genres, while combining them to create a unique sound. If you like dance-driven hip-hop, then you’ll be happy, and the same goes if you California-driven indie pop. Sometimes, inconsistency over the course of a record can be distracting, but somehow, The Go! Team not only makes their interesting track selection and musical work, but it sounds terrific. -FILTER Magazine

Native – Wrestling Moves [2010]

Posted in indie rock,math rock,post-hardcore by deek on December 8, 2010

Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest [2010]

Posted in dream pop,indie rock,neo psychedelia,psychedelic pop,shoegaze by deek on October 3, 2010

The Atlanta-based quartet’s fourth album combines calm shoegaze pop and noisy punk rock to create a dreamy, psychedelic sound.

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