Tuesday, August 27, 2013

King Khan and the Shrines - Idle No More (Merge, 2013)

King Khan and the Shrines
Idle No More

Rating: 7 piles of cat fur out of 10

King Khan, this time joined by the Shrines (one of many bands he is a part of), stepped up to the big leagues and put a record out on Merge.  Maybe that only seems like the big leagues because they're local, I dunno.  Anyways, a new record by everyone's favorite Indo-Canadian-German music personality, and how is it?  Pretty damn good.  If you've listened to the man with the Shrines before, you know their sound is more akin to juke joint soul combined with James Brown-style shenanigans than the garage rock he is best known for.  Hell, when I saw this group on tour a few years back they had a cheerleader on stage for the entire set who did nothing but, well, cheer.  "Idle No More" very much continues down the same path as "What Is?!" and the compilation "The Supreme Genius of..." that both came out on Vice a few years back - soul hooks (without the prototypical soul voice), horns - damn good party music. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Superchunk - I Hate Music (Merge, 2013)

I Hate Music

Rating: 8.5 half-empty water bottles out of 10

What can I say about Superchunk, one of my all-time favorite bands, that hasn't been said before?  And when I say "all-time" I'm  talking top five status here people.  This new record, "I Hate Music"?  IT FUCKIN' RULES.  First listen, I'm sold.  Though you might have already guessed I'm a soft sell when it comes to these folks.  If you ever thought they were washed up they already proved that wrong with 2010's "Majesty Shredding."  This just continues that tradition that being, older responsible label owners means you can't still write great songs and rock out.  For the most part this record is a little poppier than "Majesty," more akin to their late nineties/early oughts records, but it's not without it's rock - hell, "Staying Home" is basically a hardcore song, probably the heaviest thing they've ever recorded.  No fan will leave disappointed after this album.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Divine Fits - Chained To Love 12'' (Merge, 2013)

Divine Fits
Chained to Love 12''

Rating: 7 healed bruises out of 10

Instead of putting out a 7'' like a normal band, Divine Fits have released a 12'' with both songs on the A side.  I suppose that makes the songs easier to listen to on the vinyl, but it's just...weird.  I'm additionally confused why the second song is listed first on the sleeve, it's like they are intentionally trying to fuck with my OCD tendencies.  Anyways, the songs - much like their full-length, the vibe of the songs seems to directly correlate with who is singing them  Dan Boeckner handles the lead on first track "Chained to Love," and to no one's surprise it sounds more or less like a Handsome Furs song.  Britt Daniel sings the follow-up track "Ain't That the Way," the better of the two songs which sounds like a classic early 2000s Spoon song.  If you loved their record, go ahead and check this out, it continues things in that exact same trajectory. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Calexico - Maybe On Monday EP (Our Soil, Our Strength, 2013)

Maybe On Monday EP
Our Soil, Our Strength

Rating: 7 tiger claws out of 10

I don't get quiet as worked up over them as I once did, but I'll always give anything Calexico puts out a listen.  This EP is bookended by two different versions of the song "Maybe On Monday," which is also featured on their album "Algiers" that came out last year.  In between those two tracks are three covers - The Call's "Walls Came Down," Elvis Costello's "Shabby Doll," and the Replacements' "Unsatisfied." I'm partial to their take on the Replacements' tune since I'm already a big fan of that one, but the real trat is the Call track - I had never heard that song before, and Calexico does a great job making it their own.  I'll have to seek out the original now.  Oh and the title song is fine, with one version very similar to the original and another acoustic demo version.  But it's the covers here that will drive the traffic, and they're worth hearing if you are a Calexico fan. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Man or Astro-man? - Defcon 5...4...3...2...1 (Communicating Vessels, 2013)

Man or Astro-man?
Defcon 5...4...3...2...1
Communicating Vessels

Rating: 7 charged ions out of 10

I was as surprised as the next guy that Man or Astro-man? had released a new record, but then again nearly every band I loved in the nineties that broke up has since gotten back together and at least toured if not recorded new material.  For those that have never listened to the band, they're a (mostly) instrumental surf rock band with a silly back story about being from space and they always but on a damn good show.  If you're already a fan, this record picks up pretty much where their last couple of full lengths dropped off, more of the same surf rock but the with occasional vocals added to a few of the songs.  Believe it or not, there was a period on the mid-nineties where this sort of space-age surf rock and lounge music were top tits...it was a fun time.  Honestly there is really only so much you can do with this sound, but somehow I've never stopped enjoying Man or Astro-man?.  So keep it up fellas. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

White Fence - Cyclops Reap (Castle Face, 2013)

White Fence
Cyclops Reap
Castle Face

Rating: 6 torn envelopes out of 10

White Fence really really REALLY sound like a lost psychedelic band from the sixties.  Like they sent their music to the Nuggets people to be added to the compilation, and the tapes got lost in a basement only to resurface these past few years.  It's a very enjoyable listen like most of the other White Fence records, but at the same time feels a little "put on."  Of course I listen to a ton of bands you could say this exact same thing about, but for some reason with White Fence it bothers me - not a lot, just a little bit, but the feeling is there.  Tim Presley, the man behind the band, knows his way around a trippy pop hook though, and based on his release schedule he might have the makings of the next Robert Pollard.