Just some albums and songs I’ve been enjoying/evaluating lately:
TV On The Radio – Dear Science – Guess what, don’t like it as much as everyone else does. But that’s been true with every TVOTR record I’ve ever heard. I feel like this band is playing two hand touch on the soccer field and I haven’t been invited yet, but they’ve given me a look up and down a few times. Maybe I’m not smart enough, but I’m going to be proud of my judgment and not feel like a hipster sheep. The first half of the record lacks any sense of melody, but the second half is admittedly kicking my ass. This is definitely their shiniest and catchiest effort to date, thank goodness. My fave record of theirs so far. After a few listens through, “Golden Age” (single), “Family Tree”, and “Love Dog” are my standouts. Dave Sitek (guitarist/programmer/producer/brain child of Scarlett Johannson’s Tom Waits cover record) did an amazing job, as usual. His ear for arrangement is unreal, both seen on this record as well as Scarlett’s. Say what you want about that record, the arrangements were incredibly good. I feel like this band has important things to say so I’m going to stick around. I just don’t know why they have to subject me to shitty Prince dilution the first 5 songs.
Mardeen – Read Less Minds – alright, now for some straightforward, WYSIWYG Canadian rock. This record has been high on my playlist recently. Not overly a new release, but these songs are irrefutably fun. Think good 90s Halifax Pop Explosion (Sloan, Super Friendz, Thrush Hermit) meets The Stills meets diluted Interpol meets dudes singing Exile in Guyville. This is proof that Halifax still produces world class powerpop. Three lead singers, a good dichotomy of machismo aesthetic and teeny, vulnerable lyrics. Single “Kids” is an anthemic tetebanger, “Things Are Hot” could be track 7 on the Stills’ Logic Will Break Your Heart, and “Telephones” showcases their young abandon in a very rock and roll way. Find them on MySpace, buy at Zunior.
Mogwai – Hawk is Howling – Surprisingly like it. I find Mogwai tiring sometimes, just a slightly improved version of watery Explosions in the Sky. But Hawk is Howling offers smarter arrangements, fun song titles (“I’m Jim Morrison”, “I’m Dead”, “Daphne and the Brain”, “Thank You Space Expert”), and some earnestly moving songs. If you like instrumental, post-rock, ambient styles, give this some time. Glad they impressed me, they’ve been around long enough.
The Killers – Human single – produced by Stuart Price (who did Madonna’s Confessions on a Dance Floor), the disco gloves are officially coming off. Production sounds good on the track, but the Killers need to realize they still need at least touch on what makes them the buckers – anthems. I wanted a “When You Were Young” inspired track, and it still could’ve been dancey! I just wanted some big tones! The chorus is a huge letdown and the verses are completely aimless. The only part that gets me going is the interlude directly after the first chorus. I like the arrangement for the most part, but there is just not enough song in there. I saw them on SNL, Brandon’s voice actually stood up and sounded good! Miracle on 30 Rockefeller. I’m proud of him, it’s about time he started catching up to his mouth. Hear it streaming on their official website.
Nota Bene. After listening to “Human” some of the day, the chorus totally permeated the stuck in head routine. Also realized it sounds like Lionel Richie circa 2000.