These are the sort of weeks that I live for. There are so many new releases out this week that are getting me excited. This week could easily leave me content for the rest of the year. I am very much looking forward to a new EP from Antony & the Johnsons in a couple of weeks and the new Bloc Party next month, but it is really all about this week. There has to be something out this week that you will at least fall in love with a little bit. There are big new albums by Mogwai, Jenny Lewis, Brightblack Morning Light, Kings of Leon, and TV on the Radio. These guys have all been around before and are pretty consistent with their albums. If you like these bands you will probably like their new albums. The new TV on the Radio is awesome, and there are also some very exciting debut albums out this week. I have been absolutely obsessed with this Friendly Fires album for a month now. It is so good. I have been listening to it almost every day at work for the past couple of weeks. I think I love it as much as I love that Teenagers album from a couple of months ago. And by the way, I still love that Teenagers album. It just grows on me more every month and I think it is brilliant. Please listen to it and you will see. More on the Friendly Fires later. The Tough Alliance get their U.S. debut on Modular, New Chance. I also love this album. I just talked about their Swedish label mates, Air France, last week. They are also from Gothenberg, Sweden. It is a super fun electronic pop album. And there are two great albums out on Fat Cat this week-- very different albums. There is the debut album from Ten Kens. I really liked this album when I first heard it a couple of weeks ago, but it was not until early this week that I realized just how much I like it. It is more intense than the Friendly Fires and Tough Alliance -- it sounds like Sonic Youth a bit. It reminds me of something that I have heard before but also sounds like something completely new and unique. I can't quite put my finger on what exactly it sounds like, but it is comfortably familiar. And I finally have decided to get into classical music this week with the new Max Richter. It might not be you typical classical release but it is classical none the less.
I had been really wanting to get into classical for the last 5 years or so, I just didn't know how to approach it. I still really don't. I might need to take a class or get a introduction to classical book. The classical section is a bit overwhelming and I just don't know where to start. The only music in my collection that approaches classical music are soundtracks. I have always loved scores to movies and they often help me to fall in love with the movie. I am always paying attention to the scores of movies and often listen to them over and over again months after I see the movies. Somebody had told me to check out Blue Notebooks by Max Richter. It was also released by Fat Cat in 2004. It is one of those albums that I have been searching for a used copy of for about 4 years, but I finally bought a new copy a couple of weeks ago. I figured there would eventually be a period in my life when I would need some classical in my life. I just was not sure if it happened when I turned 40 or 50-- if there was a day when I would just suddenly fell in love with classical, or if it was something you were born with or had to be taught to love at a young age. I couldn't wait any longer. I am not really sure if I am going to go classical crazy and listen to classical albums every day now, but I sure do love this Max Richter album. I fell in love with Blue Notebooks and have been anxiously awaiting this new album, 24 Postcards in Full Colour. Since my main experience with classical compositions is score work, I am accustomed to visualizing scenes and images from the movies when I listen to the scores. Since this is not the soundtrack to anything, I have had to make up my own images while listening to this album. I love letting this music get into my head and sort of rearrange my thoughts and way of thinking. It creates a sort of intense calming sensation that I imagine is part of the reason people get into classical music. This new album is mostly strings, piano, and electronics. I am a sucker for the strings and tend to be moved by anything involving string instruments. Max Richter performed with the classical group Piano Circus for many years before embarking on his solo albums. He also worked on a couple of Future Sound of London albums. This is his fourth album. Blue Notebooks was his second. The new album includes about 24 compositions, many of them only a minute or 2 long. The album is great and I am already addicted to it. I often listen to it twice in a row because it is simply too short.
The self titled album by Friendly Fires finally comes out this week. I can't wait for everybody to love this album as much as I do. They could easily become as big as The Arcade Fire or Vampire Weekend but will most likely end up in the ranks of the Shout Out Louds and Okkervil River. Those that find this album will love it. The album is very addictive and could quickly become one of your favorites. Friendly Fires are of course from England. Their album is brought to you by the fine folks at XL recordings. I fell in love with the singer's voice the first time I listened to this album. There are many great songs on the album but "Skeleton Boy" and "Lovesick" are my favorites. Most of the really good songs are towards the end of the album. The album is not something crazy or revolutionary. It is not changing the face of any type of music. It is just one of those great catchy albums that come around a couple times a year. It is one of those albums that simply makes me happy. I am addicted to it just as I was last year to the Shout Out Louds... or to the Arcade Fire albums years before that. I imagine a day when I may get sick of it, but only because I have listened to it too much. I might need to give it a break soon and start listening to it only once a week, just so I can still appreciate it in the years to come.
also out this week...
Furr by Blitzen Trapper
Motion To Rejoin by Brightblack Morning Light
High Places by High Places
Only By the Night by Kings of Leon
Acid Tongue by Jenny Lewis
Hawk is Howling by Mogwai
Journey To the West by Monkey
S-M Backwards by Serena-Maneesh
Ten Kens by Ten Kens
New Chance by The Tough Alliance
Dear Science by TV On the Radio