It is getting to that point in the year where I am having a hard time keeping up with all the music coming out, so you really should not have that hard of a time finding new albums to listen to this month or the next. I keep finding a new favorite album but it is then overshadowed or replaced by some other album that I get obsessed with. The new Lily Allen album came out last week, and I do love it. If you already love her then go get this album. It is very different than her first album but you will love it for all the same reasons that you loved the first album. Her song writing is still that great combination of cute and brilliant and sassy. I can't really imagine liking any other singer that could get away with her lyrics, but she pulls it off. I might be throwing the word love around a bit too much, but I did fall in love with her voice the first time I listened to Alright, Still. I do also associate that album with Los Angeles. It was one of those albums that I listened to a bunch on trips to LA a couple of years ago, so it is now perfect that I am actually living in LA again for this new album. Lily Allen just has one of those catchy and cute voices that makes me smile. It is what all pop music should sound like. Perfect for those of us still obsessed with British music and culture and a nice pop alternative. The new album is called It's Not Me It's You. She has a brilliant way of switching around some popular phrases, as she does with "Thank You Very Much," one of my favorite tracks on the album. I saw her show for the first album in San Francisco and can't wait to see her again down here. She will be playing at the Wiltern on April 2nd. The album is just as catchy as you want it to be. It does what it sets out to do. The album is pure pop entertainment with that signature Lilly Allen feel to it. I do have a habit of loving the artists that most people either love or hate. It is the better artists that I think have this effect on us. You should love her like I do, but I will not hate you if you don't. She is for sure not for everyone.
Also out last week was the debut album from Lonely Island called Incredibad. This is the music project of Andy Samberg from Saturday Night Live. It is basically all the songs from the last couple of years of the digital short segments with some added new songs. I know that there are many out there that think that Saturday Night Live is just not funny anymore, but Andy Samberg and Kristen Wiig are two of the funniest people on television and I think have both saved the show. This is of course just my opinion, but I really can't get enough of either of them. They both started on the show in 2005 and I think they both tend to get the best material on the show but are seriously funny regardless. I will keep my fingers crossed for a Kristen Wiig album. I don't think I have every laughed so much as I do whenever she comes on the TV screen. The guys in Lonely Island have all been friends since junior high in Berkeley and are all now writers on Saturday Night Live. The humor might be a bit juvenile but I still love it. The album comes with a DVD of 8 of the digital shorts of your favorite songs like "Jizz in My Pants" and "Dick in a Box." One of my favorites is "Space Olympics." I can watch that one over and over again. I realize I sort of sound like a boy in his teens right now, but sometimes you need some silly humor in your life. They are sort of like a more hip version of Weird Al. Unfortunately, "Natalie's Rap" did not make it on the DVD, but the song is still on the album. This was one of the most brilliant and suprising moments on Saturday Night Live with Natalie Portman. Even if you think you are no longer a fan of Saturday Night Live, you need to give it another try. At least watch these Lonely Island videos. And please try and not laugh at the brilliance that is Kristen Wiig. Everything she does is absolutely brilliant.
One of the most exciting albums of the year is out this week: That would be the new album by Morrissey. The album is called Years of Refusal and is released by Lost Highway. I hope that by now those of you that have turned your back on Morrissey are ready to let him back in your life. I never really understood how people claim to be huge Smiths fans but have never bothered getting into Morrissey as a solo artist. I have some friends who I am very jealous of who actually saw The Smiths live. I was just a bit too young to really even know who they were when they were still a band. But I grew up with Morrissey and he was for sure one of my first obsessions. My obsession has not always stayed as strong as it was in the late 80s and early 90s. I know I have talked about all this before -- it really came back with this new group of solo albums starting in 2004. He may be getting older but he is just as talented and relevant as ever, and his fanbase seems to be growing once again. There are those of us still obsessed with him since Viva Hate first came out in 1988. 20 years later we still love him as much as ever. There are also those who were fans back then but then gave up on him but are now back in love with Morrissey. But I do love all the new younger fans -- the fans that were born in 1990 when Bona Drag came out just turned 18 last year! I really do love it that he is getting new fans with every album. He is not losing fans and fading into obscurity. He remains a totally huge old school cult status singer but also is managing to grab the attention of a whole new generation. I don't even know what else to say about this guy. I love him and the new album is fantastic. But maybe I wouldn't feel that way about the album if I was not so blinded by my love of Morrissey. It is hard for me to be subjective about a album by him, but I gaurantee you that there are some great songs on here -- although this album is another one of those albums worth buying for the cover alone. The baby he is holding is apparently a digitally created baby that sort of looks like what his baby would look like. Or maybe he actually has a secret baby! The album is strangely familiar. I already know all the words somehow. "It's Not Your Birthday Anymore" is currently my favorite track on the album. I love having Morrissey back in my life every time there is a new album. But if you grew up a Morrissey fan he has probably never really left your life. He is just waiting on the sidelines for some of us, waiting to be let back in.
My new favorite of the week is the new album by Asobi Seksu. It is hard to compete with Morrissey, but this album puts up a good fight. Asobi Seksu sort of reminds me of the band Lush. I was obsessed with Lush for many years and still put them up very high in my all time favorite bands list. Try to imagine Azure Ray mixed up with Lush. There is obviously some shoegaze influence on this New York group. The band is basically Yuki Chikudate on keyboards and James Hanna on guitar. Yuki does most of the singing on this new album but James helps out on a couple of tracks. They have actually been recording albums for a couple of years now and this is their third album. But I am new to the world of Asobi Seksu, which apparantly means "casual sex" in Japanese. I don't really know much about them. The new album is called Hush, which even sounds like the band Lush. I have become totally addicted to this album. It is one of those albums that makes me happy but also makes me want to cry the whole time, just like the way I feel when I listen to Maria Taylor or Azure Ray. Speaking of, Maria Taylor has an album out next month that I am very much looking forward to. The other half of Azure Ray, Orenda Fink, also has a new album out next month for a project called O+S. Azure Ray fans like me have a lot to look forward to next month! But I really do highly recommend this new Asobi Seksu album. It is also one of those albums that manages to be cute and sort of dark at the same time, which I guess is why it makes me happy and full of tears at the same time. This is sort of what shoegaze does to me. If you have any doubt whether you will like this album just listen to track 9, "Glacially." It sounds a bit like My Bloody Valentine. Fantastic. The album will grow on you as it has me. Like a really good movie it stays with you and you long to experience the feeling you had again. Get some Asobi Seksu in your life. It will make you feel better -- but just a little bit sad as well.
also out 2/17...
March of the Zapotec and Realpeople Holland by Beirut
Hold Time by M. Ward
Dark Was the Night by Various Artists
Tight Knit by Vetiver
To Be Still by Alela Diane
For the Whole World to See by Death
Cranes by Cranes
Where You Go I Go Too (special edition) by Lindstrom
Choral by Mountains
Reviver by Abe Vigoda
Part 1: John Shade, Your Fortune's Made by Fol Chen