As one customer pointed out, the new Daft Punk album, Random Access Memories, is one of the most hyped albums of the year. A disco throwback album featuring Giorgio Moroder, Nile Rodgers, Paul Williams, Pharrell Williams, Panda Bear, Julian Casablancas, Todd Edwards, DJ Falcon and Chilly Gonzales, it has bloggers, DJs, producers and fans all abuzz.
To celebrate the release, we’re giving away a small number of Daft Punk paper masks to the first people who buy the CD or record from us. Supplies are limited, so get in while the getting is good.
Majical Cloudz – Impersonator (Matador, 2013)
Canadian duo Majical Cloudz makes earnest and minimal art-pop on Impersonator, their debut for Matador. Existential themes are explored though confessional and deeply personal lyrics — singer Devon Welsh seems to lay all his cards on the table in an almost startling display of honestly, to great effect.
Musically there is much restraint. The songs are gentle deconstructions of something that could easily be maximal (in the hands of a Bon Iver, say, or Magnetic Fields’ Stephen Merritt). Welsh’s minimalist approach is a musical glass of watermelon agua fresca in a sonic landscape that is more often populated by giant vodka-spiked CapriSun pouches.
Welsh’s voice will remind some of a less self-aggrandizing Martin Gore or perhaps of Bill Callahan but with slightly more aplomb. It is a deep and assertive voice that only occasionally loses its aura of absolute authenticity – never to the point of distraction, but noticeably enough to remind listeners that they are hearing to a performance.
Lyrically, themes of consciousness, transformation and death are never far from the ear. “It pays to be on the edge of existence,” sings Welsh, “just riding the surface, my love.” There is an ominous quality to Impersonator which gives the entire set a feeling of realness; there is an equal amount of pain and joy expressed on the record, but always present is an undercurrent of sorrow and perhaps deep terror – the necessary condition of the existentially aware.
For fans of Grimes, Some Ember, James & Evander
01. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City
02. Natalie Maines – Mother
03. She & Him – Volume 3
04. Patty Griffin – American Kid
05. Steve Earle – Low Highway
06. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Mosquito
07. Black Angels – Indigo Meadow
08. Phoenix – Bankrupt!
09. Steve Martin & Edie Brickell – Love Has Come for You
10. Hanni El Khatib – Head in the Dirt
01. Deerhunter – Monomania
02. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City
03. Sigur Ros – Agaetis Byrjun
04. Big Star – Nothing Can Hurt Me
05. She & Him – Volume 3
06. Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls
07. Nas – Illmatic
08. Black Angels – Phosphene Dream
09. Iron & Wine – Ghost on Ghost
10. Flaming Lips – Terror
01. Clorox Girls – Demos, Rarities and Early Singles
02. Ty Segall – Ty Segall/Black Time
03. Traditional Fools – Traditional Fools
04. Ty Segall – Horn the Unicorn/Live in Aisle 5
05. Rime Force Most Illin – The Force is Slammin’
01. Sound City: Real to Reel
02. Rolling Stones – Let’s Spend the Night Together
03. Frank Zappa – Straight to Bizarre
04. Jack Reacher
07. Django Unchained
08. Chasing Mavericks
09. Viva Zapata
02. Cloud Atlas
04. Pulp Fiction
05. Wreck-It Ralph
06. Jersey Girl
07. Chasing Mavericks
08. Blade Runner
09. Lost Boys
10. Lady Gaga – Monster Ball Tour
01. Far Cry 3
02. Borderlands 2
03. Halo 4
04. Avengers: Battle for Earth
05. Epic Mickey 2
Friendly heads-up people: the Breeders are coming to the Rio Theatre in August. The band has not played together since 1994 and lucky us, Santa Cruz is one of the stop on the LSXX (That’s the cool name they’ve given it.) tour.
If you want in on the action, get tickets now, because you know that show is going to sell out, and probably soon.
Now you know.
Vampire Weekend’s third album, Modern Vampires of the City, has already been hailed as the best pop album of the year (and let’s keep in mind that the year isn’t half over). With a metacritic score of 80+ (indicating something called “universal acclaim”), the latest record from the distinctly New York quintet is possibly more hyped than any record in recent memory. But is it any good?
Yes. It is.
The 12 songs that comprise Modern Vampires of the City offer practically nothing to dislike. This may seem like a funny way of saying something is good, but it is certainly an apt method of description on this record; the music is perhaps best described as strikingly non-offensive. There is bubblegum, but not too much. There are somber moments, but not without taste. There are sound experiments which are more intriguing than tiring. The band even wades into something resembling political and social commentary (albeit of the highly personal variety) without coming off as too didactic, condescending, or alienating.
Modern Vampires of the City is chock-full of these really beautiful musical moments — not to say that the songs themselves aren’t satisfying as a whole (they certainly are) but there are these tiny moments in almost every song that you sort of have to listen for where all these elements come together to create something that transcends pastiche or genre, perhaps even transcends Ezra Koenig’s (sometimes) tiring cultural references.
Actually, the only moments on the record that stirred me out of a sort of reverie were the slightly awkward monologues featured on “Finger Black” and “Ya Hey.” These, I could have lived without, but again, they are tolerable, like a college room mate you don’t like, but at least keeps the dishes done.
Seven years into its career, Vampire Weekend has recorded a pop masterpiece; delicate and bold, mature but not boring, tasteful yet not timid.
Tomorrow’s the day the new Vampire Weekend album, titled Modern Vampires of the City drops. We’ll have it on vinyl and CD and you can get your vampire-loving hands on it in the morning. In the meantime, here’s a teaser, the official video for “Step,” the first single off the album.
Savages – Silence Yourself (2013 – Matador)
London-based indie outfit Savages offers up a tremendous, ambitious, and, well, effective collection of dark, neo-gothic post-punk songs that will, with your assistance, test the limits of your ear-buds.
Silence Yourself is the first LP from Savages, who formed in the UK in 2011, and is evidence for other young bands that taking it slow is a good idea. Since its inception, Savages has managed to craft a sound that is at once derivative and completely its own. Yes, there is a fair amount of obvious influence on the record; heavy doses of Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division and the Cure are felt throughout.
Savages may wear these forbearers of darkness on their sleeve, but they own them. On Silence Yourself, the listener is treated to a sleek, dynamic and totally powerful, re-imagining of an old genre – and the sheer excitement this band produces is enough to override the skeptics, the haters, the jaded non-believers. This record does not stop. From the intensely aggressive, politically-charged opener “Shut Up” to the soul-stirring closer “Marshall Dear,” Savages maintain an incredible level of tension (sexual and otherwise) through the entire set.
Silence Yourself by Savages is an intense, visceral experience of an album; something to dig into and freak-out over. A real-feeling gem that is exposed, carnal, and immediate; the perfect aural antidote for your musical-malaise, boredom, or disaffection.
For fans of Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division, and Wax Idols.