Wednesday, April 27, 2011

April 26 Album Releases

And now it's time once again to run down the list of albums dropping this week across the world. Get excited!

We'll begin with Dancer Equired!, the new disc from Columbus lo-fi trio Times New Viking. The band has played in Athens numerous times, most recently at 2011's Blackoutfest at The Union. The record's out on Merge Records, the band's first with the label. Merge is cool, right? Well, they've certainly had a good year-or-so. So I'd say TNV is in rather good hands. The new album is said to have a cleaner production style in comparison to past releases. Is this true or false? Get your hands on Dancer Equired! and find out for yourself!

Steve Earle's T-Bone Burnett-produced fourteenth album, I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive, comes out on New West Records. The album, which gets its title from a classic Hank Williams tune, has already been reviewed on by our own Jacob Betzner.

Personally, I can't say I've ever listened to Earle, but two things are leading me to figure that this shall change soon. First of all, the aforementioned review was not only positive, but the album described seemed to contain a flurry of characteristics that generally equal success in my eyes -- notably country and bluegrass. In addition, I saw Earle's son, Justin Townes Earle, open for the Decemberists last Saturday in Columbus, and he was superb. Therefore, I can only imagine that his father is just as great, if not better.

Bowling for Soup release Fishin' for Woos, the band's eleventh record. lol.

The guys and gal of Airborne Toxic Event are hoping to repeat the success of their 2008 self-titled debut with All At Once, released through Island Records. Will Mikel Jossett's story-songs of love and loss resonate again this time around? Lead single "Changing" has already climbed to No. 10 on Billboard's Alternative Songs chart, so they're doing something right. Frankly, if they can match the epic-ness of "Sometime Around Midnight," I'll be satisfied.

Post-rock instrumentalists Explosions in the Sky return to the world stage with Take Care, Take Care, Take Care, their first effort since 2007's All of a Sudden, I Miss Everyone. At first, admittedly brief glance, the album might look like an E.P., what with its only containing six tracks. However, don't be fooled -- only one song, "Trembling Hands," dips below seven minutes long. So be prepared for some 45-minute-long instrumental weirdness. I'm sure, as with the band's last record, things will be dazzling.

Also releasing new music this week include British house duo Dirty Vegas, Liverpool's The Wombats, and folk-country royalty Emmylou Harris. It's a good week, so get out there and buy some music this week. Your record stores thank you.

--Kevin Rutherford, Editorial Director

Thursday, April 21, 2011

April 19 Album Releases

You’re okay in my book, Tuesday April 19. You’ve got a solid four bands releasing albums that I’m familiar with. So thank you. Thank you for not making me feel too ignorant.

Seriously though, who are all these people?

Anyway, w h o K i l l from tUnE-yArDs has been handed on over to the public. Merrill Garbus, the mastermind behind it all, has tweaked her genius so that this definitely sounds different from Bird Brains (2009) though it’s just as odd. Clearly, sistergirl is kind of weird, lyrically and vocally. I remember, after having listening the song a decent amount of times, the moment I actually heard the words to the song “Lion” off of Bird Brains. "Something, something, not important, something…. while my brother and all his friends whip out their tiny teenage cocks.”


Kidding, though. Every word Garbus is saying is important, even though it’s difficult to comprehend at times…er….all…the time.

On W h o K i l l, lots of words and sayings we’ve heard before are used, and so things sound familiar, but seem queer nonetheless.

She sings like she’s talking, then sings like she’s singing, then sings like she’s a dude, the sings like she’s a baby, the sings like she’s angry, and sings like she’s an animal, and it is these dynamics that make tUnE-yArDs so special.

At this point, I prefer Bird Brains to W h o K i l l, though, and maybe that’s because Bird Brains is easier to type.

Besides being so mysterious that I’m mad about it, Gorillaz has always been a…band (?) I appreciate. The Fall, their latest 15 songs release, is work of electronica art. Not a whole lot of singing is going on, but the beats speak for themselves. I’d like to dance to these songs, if I may, by myself or with other people.

Hip-hop and rap is becoming a genre that a lot of people deem Indie like these days. Typically it’s with the hipster-like rappers, Odd Future Wolf Gang, Kanye West and Common, that people in this category (shame on me for putting people in categories) take a liking to.

I feel like Dr. Dre is probably not one of those rappers. He is a guilty pleasure. And he’s getting old, too.

Apparently his Detox is “The most anticipated Hip Hop album ever.” That’s a bold statement that is probably…not very true. It just sounds like any other rap album, honestly.

There are so many people in I’m From Barcelona. It seems like too many for a band, and just enough for an orchestral ensemble. But it doesn’t sound like too many people, so either they’re doing it right, or not using their human tools to the fullest.

Lyrically, I’m From Barcelona’s Forever Today is not too commendable. They’re kinda cheesy, and simple in a sort of juvenile way. I think these songs would be good inspiration for children.

Musically, it’s definitely happy tunes for happy times. And that’s just fine. I’m not sure if I would seek Forever Today out and listen to it, and I definitely wouldn’t pay for it. But I think a lot of other people would, so that’s good.

Don’t take all this from me, though. Check out to see some more legitimate and detailed reviews.

--Hannah Cook, Managing Editor

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

April 5 Album Releases

April 5 is a fairly decent day for music releases, in theory. It depends on what you're into. If you're into big releases with humongous top 40 potential and singles born to preside over every Billboard chart imaginable... stay tuned for next week, because the Foo Fighters have something for you. But if that ain't your bag, baby (and if you're reading this blog or even on this site, I'm guessing that's the case), then this week will be quite ok. Let's dive in, shall we?

One of the major releases this week is Robbie Robertson's How to Become Clairvoyant. For those of you who are like, "Deeeerp, who is he?" -- GTFO PLZ. Robertson, who in his earlier days was the guitarist and main songwriter of The Band, marks this releases as his fifth solo album overall since 1987. It features a slew of guest stars, including Trent Reznor, Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton, Robert Randolph and many more. It even includes Taylor Goldsmith, whose band Dawes is performing as Robertson's backing band on the singer/guitarist's live performances supporting the record. If these names aren't enough to at least have a listen, check your pulse.

Speaking of old men from old bands, Ray Davies releases See My Friends today in the U.S. The record came out last year in the U.K., and I listened to it then. Let's just say that the songs you expect to be done well --"Better Things" with Bruce Springsteen, "Days/This Time Tomorrow" with Mumford & Sons, "A Long Way From Home" with Lucinda Williams and the 88 -- are quite good. And, conversely, the tunes you'd expect to be not-so-great don't disappoint. Or they do disappoint. Ah, you know what I mean. What I'm saying is: listen to Davies and Metallica's cover of "You Really Got Me" if you need a good laugh. It was okay when they performed it at the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary concert, but this is just sad.

The Kills also have a new record out, the follow-up to 2008's Midnight Boom. Blood Pressures is more than a worthy successor; as I said in my review of the album on, the new album "not only dominates its predecessor, but kicks it in the ass quite a few times for good measure." If you were turned off by the more poppy Midnight Boom (I sure was, and I love pop music/want to marry Taio Cruz more than one man should), do consider Midnight Boom's delectable return to the garage-blues rock that gave the duo its fame. Sure, both Allison Mosshart has The Dead Weather now too, but I'd wager that this album even blows both of that band's records out of the water. Truly, this album will not disappoint.

Plenty of other releases abound here and there. The Raveonettes, a Velvet Underground-influenced Danish rock group, release fifth album Raven in the Grave, while Jefferson Airplane spinoff Hot Tuna release their first new album in over 20 years -- Steady As She Goes. New York synthpop act Cold Cave also puts out Cherish the Light Years today on Matador Records. As they're a band ACRN does tend to play, you should certainly check them out.

Beyond these laudable releases, Jim "We Fly High" Jones -- yeah, remember him? -- puts out Capo, his first record since 2009's Pray IV Reign. Hollywood Undead also (unfortunately) returns with American Tragedy, which is quite the telling album title, if you ask me. Of course, if first single "Hear Me Now" is any indication, the L.A. rap-rock crew are going in a more mainstream rock direction (think pre-Minutes to Midnight Linkin Park), which given debut Swan Songs, might not be a bad thing altogether. Will I listen? Most likely. Because I dig pain.

Be sure to check out this week for a plethora of reviews of new music, including some reviews of albums I've mentioned!

--Kevin Rutherford, Managing Editor