Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Drop It: February 23rd

Welcome back, hot-droppers. Yes, it's true, the onslaught of new music can be a tad overwhelming at times. Lucky for you, ACRN is always here to help sift through all of the new releases that are fit to illegally downlo- er, um, purchase.

Brian Jonestown Massacre is back with another album, Who Killed Sgt. Pepper?, showing no signs of slowing down after reaching double digits two years ago. The sound is a far cry from the BJM of old, almost reaching the point of techno, as demonstrated by the song "Let's Go Fucking Mental," which has consumed the band's Web site. So goes the progression of front man Anton Newcombe (that asshole from the movie "Dig"). The album does, however, represent the return of Matt Hollywood (the guy who gets pissed and quits in the movie "Dig") to the group.

Swedish indie-pop outfit Shout Out Louds will release a third album, Work, their first record in three years. Most of the album is readily available already, but the sparse, 80s-pop influenced album is still generating buzz. Work was produced by Phil Ek, whose impressive resume includes albums by Fleet Foxes, The Shins and Band of Horses.

This Tuesday will be a bittersweet release day for fans of The Streets, AKA Mike Skinner. It will mark the release of a long-awaited album, Computers and Blues, as well as Skinner's final effort under the name. Even before releasing his fourth album, Skinner was telling sites like NME that he was, to paraphrase, effing sick of being "The Streets." The new album seems to have a definitively darker tone, but Skinners lyrical prowess is still on display.

If somewhat-edgy pop-punk is more your thing, Alkaline Trio drops This Addiction this week. The title track is essentially a love letter that says: "Baby, you're like heroin. All those other girls are nothing but methadone to me." The rest of the album seems to pretty much follow suit, and the cover art depicts a heart-shaped collection of pills. Sometimes, it's OK to judge a book by its cover.

As for the best of the rest, there are a few notable blast-from-the-past type releases, including new goodies from Michelle Branch and Lifehouse. So if you feel like reliving the turn of the century, dig in.

That's all for now, but stay tuned next week for everything from Peter Gabriel to Mumford & Sons, not to mention Jamies - both Foxx and Cullum.

Greg Gallant - Copy Chief

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cure your winter blues...

Greetings, darlings!

I hope you aren’t all too terribly snowbound, knee deep in winter doldrums and rabid with cabin fever. Such conditions can trigger a quick descent into madness, which may manifest itself in excessive napping, antisocial tendencies, unnatural fur growth and the substitution of guttural grunts for actual speech. Personally, I’ve been trying to outmaneuver that cantankerous old man winter by blasting Pet Sounds on repeat, screwing up my face and growling at the snow laden tree outside my bedroom window.

See? Madness.

But fear not, loyal readers! I’m here to advise. While my first suggestion for battling winter blues might be a stiff bourbon, my second is to keep those speakers up at full volume. While the Beach Boys are always a fabulous asset in cold weather combat, you don’t necessarily have to reach for something so super summery. Any enjoyable beat will help de-stress your shriveled brain and crack a grin on your pale face. If you’re brave enough to venture out to your local record store, check out some of the new releases dropping this week:

Prolific Seattle label Sub Pop recently garnered a few new darlings, Dum Dum Girls, who adopted their moniker from the seminal Iggy Pop song Dum Dum Boys (insta-points in my book). These four beautiful women produce exceptionally pleasing pop music edged with distortion and just the tiniest bit of tough – think flowery sundress meets studded leather jacket. Their debut album, I Will Be, drops today, so pick it up and dig it -- Dum Dum Girls will be coming through Ohio in early April, and it’s never too early to start prepping for a riotous gig.

If you’re an Epitaph kind of guy-or-gal, get yourself down to the record store and pick up the newest release from St. Louis based rockers Story of the Year. The new album is called The Constant, and you can check out a full review by lovely lobster Cassie here. If you’re a Guided By Voices kind of guy-or-gal, check out We All Got Out of the Army, the newest album from legendary Dayton native / GbV vet Robert Pollard.

If you’d prefer not entirely original content – well, treats are in store. Former Genesis frontman Peter Gabriel has dropped a cover album entitled Scratch My Back, wherein one can hear Peter covering the likes of Arcade Fire, Paul Simon, and the Magnetic Fields. But that’s not all! The second half of the project, another cover album called (I’ll Scratch Yours) is due out later this year. There, the artists covered on Peter’s portion will cover a few of his songs in turn. To check out a full review by our Senior Critic Kevin, click here.

Well, there you have it, my dears – highlights for the week. A bit of a slow one, yes, but there’s plenty to keep you company as you stare listlessly out of your window into the whirling wet white. Stay warm, stay sane, come back!

-Jen Kessler, Managing Editor

Monday, February 8, 2010

Another week of great music...

Bonjour mes homards!

It’s time for another roundup of all the exciting albums set to drop this week.

One of Bristol, U.K.’s electronic mainstays, Massive Attack, is back with their fifth regular studio album Heligoland. Hailing from the likes (and city) of fellow trip hop acts like Portishead and The Wild Bunch, this album promises to serve the same “Bristol sound” that it has given before.

Fellow British electropop group Hot Chip will formally release their fourth studio album One Life Stand this Tuesday as well. It’s predicted by both critics and insiders alike to be a pretty damn good album, so it’s definitely worth checking out.

Another band back on the scene is HIM with Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice. This proves to be an exciting release for many, and is set to fill a void left since 2007’s Venus Doom.

Metal staples Fear Factory are on their way to the crest of another highly anticipated release Mechanize. Despite some inner struggles and legal issues, Fear Factory is full speed ahead with Tuesday as their prospected release date.

For more releases this week, check ACRN.com’s album reviews and see if we talk about your favorite new album. There will be more where that came from next week, so stay tuned!

-Matthew Anderson