Best New Releases – The Strokes, Boat, Belong, Soundtrack of Our Lives, Dangerous Ponies, Acid House Kings, Parenthetical Girls
This is definitely The Strokes’ week, and they deserve it. With the release of their first album in four years, the general conscience of Angles is a thumbs up.
But first, let’s look at the dynamics of the past month.
In the world of rock music, the past four weeks have been golden. It started of course with the release of a new album by one of the greatest rock and roll bands ever, and plenty believe they are the best ever, or nothing less than second to The Beatles. On February 18th, Radiohead quietly released The King of Limbs, the band’s latest masterpiece in a long string of classic, game-changing albums dating back to 1995′s The Bends. That album changed rock music forever, and in a number of ways, so did the band’s 2007 release of the brilliant In Rainbows, which went even further by snubbing the out-dated album distribution model that the big record labels still cling to by distributing In Rainbows themselves, and for a while, at a name-your-price offer. With the fresh release of The King of Limbs, Radiohead has upped the ante for every other band, once again. Radiohead not only keep bringing it, they are it. Keep in mind that we’re on like our 20th full spin of ‘Limbs.’
While the initial buzz of The King of Limbs was still fresh, another legendary rock band from the other side of the Atlantic, Athens, Georgia’s R.E.M., released their newest album, Collapse Into Now. For some rock fans, R.E.M. seemed like their best days were behind them. And yet that contention was blasted into oblivion as the raves for Collapse Into Now spread like rapid fire in the music press, and among die-hard fans who never gave up hope. Not only did R.E.M. deliver their best album in years, they returned to their roots to do it, and the results are nothing short of remarkable. Collapse Into Now is one fantastic song after another – and there’s not a filler track to be found anywhere on the entire album. All we can say, is thank you R.E.M. and welcome home.
But this is the week of The Strokes official release of their much anticipated new album, Angles. The album is overall a true Strokes record, even if Julian Casablancas apparently didn’t really collaborate with the band, as the rumors have supposed. The most die-hard fans can probably tell if this is true by listening to the album; we can’t. So, it might be best to just let the music speak for itself, since it does that wonderfully from start to finish.
Aside from the joy of finally being able to get our hands on the actual Strokes’ CD and vinyl, we also got a hold of another anticipated album, the new LP from Sweden’s Acid House Kings. In fact, AHK are amongst one of the top Swedish pop bands on the appropriately Swedish indie label, Labrador Records. The Stockholm-based label, which obviously has a knack for signing excellent pop bands, is also home to bands like Suburban Kids With Biblical Names, Club 8, The Radio Dept., and The Legends.
Although the Acid House Kings’ name could understandably suggest some kind of psychedelic trip-hop outfit, that couldn’t be further from the truth. AHK’s music is 100% pop perfection, and obviously take their admiration for upbeat, well-crafted music seriously, which is apparent all over Music Sounds Better With You. “Are We Lovers Or Are We Friends?” is the first official single from the album. Can you imagine how many times that question has been asked over the centuries of human civilization? It has to be at least millions.
There is definitely a formula to their songs – upbeat, melodic percussion, airy, shimmering guitars, bouncy, bright keyboard and piano, and the textured, airy male and female vocals. Of course a formula for song writing and recording does run the risk of being criticized as predictable and playing it safe, so to speak. And while that is true to some extent, if you dig “happy shiny” (thanks Mr. Stipe) pop music, Acid House Kings brings it, and oozes it.
As far as stand-out tracks on the album, it’s pretty much a situation of ‘take your pick’ – always, depending on the listener, a good sign. There are so many good songs, and different people will have different favorites, so we’d say songs like “I Just Called To Say Jag Älskar Dig”, “(I’m In) A Chorus Line,” “Under Water,” and “There Is Something Beautiful.”
Attention Indie Music Radars: Watch Flight Path of Seattle Band Boat
Another release that we have been waiting for is the new album from lo-fi indie Seattle band Boat. After the band’s widely-praised 2009 album, Setting The Paces, the pressure was on to at the least match the brilliance of that album. Based on just a few spins, we are happy to say that Dress Like Your Idols is just as good – maybe better – than Paces. In 2006, Sean Tollefson of Tullycraft saw Boat play a show and sent a copy of the first, and unreleased, record, Comic Book Rock to the folks at Magic Marker. The execs there liked it so much that they signed the band and quickly released it debut LP, Songs That You Might Not Like, in July 2006. Nowadays, Boat has been on a rise and made its mark on the lo-fi indie scene, especially in Seattle and the Northwest. Chances are, given the right amount of promotion, that Dress Like Your Idols could be the band’s break-out LP. In that case, we are including the first single from the LP, plus another one of our own favorites from the new album.
Also, you might want to listen to the new single from the band, Belong; definitely has an ’80s new wave mixed with shoegaze feel to it. Swedish psychedelic rockers’ The Soundtrack of Our Lives, follow-up their appearance at SXSW last week with a remastered albums of their greatest hits. This is definitely an album that fans of TSOOL want to have in their record collection – the tracks sound so much better remastered.
“Perfect Life” – Belong from Common Era
Voxhaul Broadcast – Timing Is Everything
Last October, we featured the band Voxhual Broadcast in one of our In Dee Mail featured playlist mixes. Not surprisingly to us, IRC readers responded very positively. The song that we featured, “Leaving on the 5th” was an advanced single from their new, self-released DIY album, Timing is Everything, officially out this week.
Edwyn Collins was the founder of the 1980′s Scottish band, Orange Juice, before he went on to a successful solo career in the 1990′s, when his 1994 single (and one of our top “cool songs” of all time), “A Girl Like You,” became a huge hit in the U.K. and U.S. It was also featured in films like Empire Records, Charlie’s Angel and The Secretary. This week, Collins released his first album in the U.S. since suffering a double brain hemorrhage in 2005. While the new album, Losing Sleep, was originally released in the U.K. last year, it has finally dropped in the U.S. Here’s the title track.
Musician Algodon Egipico Does ‘Chillwave’ Venezuelan Style
Totally new to us, is the Lefse recording artist, and Venezuelan musician, Algodon Egipico. Taking hold of the popularity of the ‘chillwave’ sound – complete with lo-fi keyboards and guitar, reverb love, and empty auditorium-sounding vocals – Algodon Egipico gives the popular sub-genre of indie music a new name to consider thanks to the sweet lead single “El Dia Previo,” off Egipico’s debut solo album, La Lucha Constante. He is also a member of the band Jóvenes y Sexys. We’ve also included another song from the album, and a cover of a Male Bonding track.
“El Dia Previo” – Algodon Egipcio from La Lucha Constante
“Weird Feelings” (Male Bonding) – Algodon Egipico, unreleased single (2010)
The Lonely Forest Release New Album, Arrows
It doesn’t seem that long ago, but we first featured the band The Lonely Forest in 2008 after the band sent us some of their tracks. We were surprised at the time to find very few mentions of the band online, and knew that it would only be a matter of time before they ‘broke out’ in their own way. And since 2008, The Lonely Forest has broken out. The band members were even thoughtful enough to thank us for all the interest our profile of them generated. This week they dropped their newest album, Arrows, via Trans Records. Although we have yet to hear the LP, the lead track, “Coyote” is a goo place to start. We’ll definitely let you know about other sweet tracks on the album when we get around to listening to it.
”Coyote”- The Lonely Forest from Arrows
Dangerous Ponies, Duran Duran, Micachu and the Shapes, Parenthetical Girls
This is the first time we’ve heard of the group, Dangerous Ponies, and we think they sound promising, but it’s hard to base that off of one song. So, at some point, we’ll listen to the rest of the album, and if there are gems on there, we’ll be sure to let you know either in a follow-up post, or via our Twitter or Facebook page. The ’80s new wave sensation, Duran Duran, return to the game with their 14th studio album, All You Need Is Now. Although they seemed to fade into the background after an initial break-through in 2009, the British outfit, Micachu and the Shapes, released their sophomore LP, Chopped & Screwed, this week in the U.S. And, Parenthetical Girls‘ new album Privilege, Pt. 3, is out now, fronted by the dark, swaggering single, “The Pornographer.”
“I Only Wear My Favorite Clothes at Home” – Dangerous Ponies from Dangerous Ponies
“All You Need Is Now” – Duran Duran from All You Need Is Now
“Everything” – Micachu and the Shapes from Chopped & Screwed
“The Pornographer” – Parenthetical Girls from Privilege, Pt. 3
Other Singles from This Week’s Releases You Might Like
We include this section for readers and visitors who may like to hear other singles from new releases that we don’t necessarily consider adding to our music collection. Ed Askew is a folk singer/songwriter who released his new album, Imperfiction this week, followed by the “new age” piano instrumental from Baby Dee, which doesn’t sound at all like the same of a pianist, but instead a hip hop artist. Next, musician Bing Ji Ling delivers some R&B and funk, complete with sound effects, on the track, “Everybody”; another folk singer and songwriter, Gary Higgins, has a new album out via Drag City – check out the melancholy, and ironic, lead single, “Laugh A Little”; Leverage Models does a bit of a Bowie mixed with Prince sound, just not sure we like it – what do you think?
“Deep Water” – Ed Askew from Imperfiction
“Yapapipi” – Baby Dee from Regifted Light
“Everybody” – Bing Ji Ling from Shadow to Shine
“Laugh A Little” – Gary Higgins from A Dream a While Back
“Tonight When I Burn” – Leverage Models from Interim Deliverable
Radiohead Release Details of The King of Limbs Physical Release
While there have been plenty of reviews written in the past few weeks about Radiohead’s eighth studio album in 18 years, every Radiohead fan spanning the continents of earth knows you just can’t listen to a Radiohead album a few times and write a realistic review. Like the finest bottles of aging wine, Radiohead albums get better with time – how they sounded, and what they meant to the listener one year, will eventually evolve and reveal another level of exquisiteness and majesty in another year.
The band are calling the upcoming physical release “the world’s ‘first’ Newspaper Album.” Unless you ordered early (before Feb. 21st), all orders placed in the next couple of months will be shipped on June 1st from the U.K. However, all orders for this special edition of The King of Limbs will receive an immediate download code for the included digital version of the album. There are two choices for the whole package outlined below – MP3 ($48 U.S. Dollars) and WAV ($53). Would be great if they made a FLAC download available too.
When you purchase the ‘Newspaper Album’ here are the goodies you will get:
- - Two clear 10″ vinyl records in a purpose-built record sleeve.
- - A compact disc.
- - Many large sheets of artwork, 625 tiny pieces of artwork and a full-colour piece of oxo-degradeable plastic to hold it all together.
- - The digital download as described above.
- - One lucky owner of the digital version of The King Of Limbs, purchased from this website, will receive a signed 2-track 12″ vinyl. Competition closing date is March 28th.