Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Belle and Sebastian - Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance (Matador, 2015)

Belle and Sebastian
Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance

Rating: 8.5 lenticular trading cards out of 10

I thought I had already written a review of this new Belle and Sebastian record a few weeks ago, and yet I don't see it here on the website?  Did I dream this?  Maybe it was one of those fever dreams you always hear about in the movies?  After all, this template autosaves the shit you write into it, so I have no explanation. 

Anyways, it's the band's first new record in five years and their ninth full-length by my count, and they still haven't lost that magic touch.  Bear in mind that the person reviewing this has flown both to Montreal and Miami just to see them perform, and I'm driving to DC for the same in a few months...I often claim I'm fairly biased in reviews, but my superfandom of B&S might put them at the top of the list. 

To put it simply, "Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance" sounds like the band wrote and recorded a typical album, and then decided to throw some dance jams in to appeal to the kids.  Kids love dance jams right?  First there is the disco-infused "The Party Line," then the New Order-esque "Enter Sylvia Plath," and finally the calypso-infused "Play for Today" that sounds like it would be at home on a film soundtrack from the eighties (not that there's anything wrong with that).  The film would most likely star Andrew McCarthy.  I like those upbeat tracks just fine, but the two best and most classic-style B&S songs are the first two on the release, "Nobody's Empire" and "Allie."  "Ever Had a Little Faith?" towards the end of the record is also a strong classic-sounding song.  Not a dud on the whole thing though, which continues the bands streak of never ever releasing a bad song.  Listen, I already told you I'm kind of a fan...

Ex Hex / Twerps - Split 7'' (Merge, 2014)

Ex Hex / Twerps
Split 7''

Rating: 9.5 Russian judges out of 10

I've loved nearly everything about this Merge subscription series, but this might be my favorite release of them all.  It kicks off with the amazing Ex Hex covering the Kids' "All Kindsa Girls," one of the greatest power pop songs of all time - and they do a fine job of it.  I've been in love with Ex Hex since seeing them live a few months ago, and this only stokes the flames.  The flip side is one of Merge's newest bands, the Australian pop group Twerps.  They have a new song called "Science" that much like the rest of their catalog sounds more like something unearthed from 1987 than new material, but I love it. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Pampers - Right Tonight 7'' (In The Red, 2014)

Right Tonight 7''
In The Red

Rating: 8 empty pee jars out of 10

I'm not sure if I love or hate that this band named themselves Pampers, it's so goddamn stupid it might actually work.  One thing I do know is the title track from this seven inch, "Right Tonight," is one of the most instantly catchy songs I've heard in quite a while.  I want to listen to it on repeat again and again and again.  The other three songs are great too, but goddamn that first track, it's like the good kind of kick to the nuts.  Not sure exactly how I would describe their sound - like a distorted, scuzzy Hot Snakes crossed with A-Frames maybe.  It works, it really works. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Records - Starry Eyes 7'' (Virgin, 1978)

The Records
Starry Eyes 7''

Rating: 10 award winning plays out of 10

This, record is one of the gold level members of the power pop pantheon of perfection.  Ask anyone in the know, and they'll all name-check "Starry Eyes" in any list of best power pop songs ever, and the b-side "Paint Her Face" is rad too.  Their first two records ("Shades in Bed" and "Crashes") and any singles associated with them are well worth the purchase if you come across them.