I seriously don't know where the month went. I thought it was still March. I have so very many new albums to talk about. It may have seemed like there was just nothing for me to talk about since I have not updated this blog in so long, but that is so far from the truth. I was off on a little vacation and then I had some visitors from out of town and then there was Record Store Day craziness! I am now officially back on the blog to tell you about all the amazing and exciting things that I have been listening to. There is always that horrible dry spell of music at the end of the year and the very beginning of the new, but all the new releases that you could ever want were saved up for March, April, and May. I am going to get finished up with March right now and just talk about the 3/24 and 3/31 new releaes. I will save the April stuff for the next couple of blogs. I highly recommend the new Decemberists album. I have been a fan of theirs for a couple years now. I suggest you go back and discover some of their older albums if you have not yet done that. I still need to spend some quality time with the new one. I also usually end up liking their albums more after I see them live. My favorite ladies from Azure Ray both had new albums in the last couple of weeks. Ladyluck by Maria Taylor is for sure good stuff but it has not yet grown on me like that second Maria Taylor solo album did. Lynn Teeter Flower from 2007 remains one of my favorites. I find myself going back to it whenever I feel a bit sad -- it has the perfect combination of pop and sadness. Orenda Fink, the other part of Azure Ray, also has a new album out. The band is called O+S and the new album is fantastic. O+S is Orenda and Cedric Lemoyne who was the bassist in Remy Zero. So far this O+S album is beating out Maria Taylor's as one of my favorites. I love them both and they both have fantastic voices, I have just been listening to the O+S more often.
There is also a great new album by Jeremy Jay. This dude is from Los Angeles and seems to be a very busy man. His last album made it onto my Best of the Year list last year. I was barely ready for a new album by him. Still spending some quality time with the last one A Place Where We Could Go. The new one is called Slow Dance. I like it so far but honestly have not had enough time to fall in love with it like I did the last one. Just too many albums to listen to right now. I keep listening to the same albums over and over and over again.
Another album that I have not had enough time for yet is the new Malajube. I have listened to it probably only twice but absolutely love it. I am going to have to again recommend their first album. Trompe-l'cei came out in 2006. I will not go so far as to say that the album changed my life, but it came very close. They are French Canadian and I have no idea what they are singing about, but the music is so good it really does not matter. The new album is called Labyrinthes. It is very close to the top of the list of albums that I need to spend some quality time with very soon. The music is very pretty and all sorts of messed up at the same time. A bit like Gang Gang Dance. They also remind me a lot of Blonde Redhead-- that same kind of crazy energy mixed up with an intense sort of dark feeling. I did love them before I saw this video...But now I really love them...
Here is the video for "Porte Disparu" from the new album...
I think that most of my top 10 or 20 albums of the year have come out in the last couple of months. Both the new Royksopp and Fever Ray will for sure be on that list. The new Royksopp is called Junior. I liked a couple of songs off their last album The Understanding, but I never completely fell in love with the whole album. The song "What Else Is There" remains one of my favorite songs. Maybe I just spent too much time listening to that one song. Nothing else on the album could really compare to it. The song featured Karin from The Knife and Fever Ray. Please go listen to that song if you have never heard it. If you love it like I do then you will love this new Royksopp album. If not, then you probably should not bother. The Understanding came out in 2005, so it has been a long 4 years to wait for this new album Junior, but Royksopp will give us two albums this year. In March we got Junior, and we also get Senior later in the year. I wonder how Junior Senior feels about this. Senior will be more instrumental and atmospheric. Junior features all sorts of guest vocalists. My favorite, Karin Dreijer Andersson, returns to sing on two songs, easily the best on the album. Her first song is track 4, which is "This Must Be It." The song is dangerously addictive and I find myself listening to it over and over again. I absolutely love her voice and love The Knife and love her new stuff as well. But Royksopp is able to do something else with her. Maybe they just make her a bit more accessible. Her voice is stil the strange and weird voice that you may be accustomed to. They just lighten her up a bit and make her more fun somehow. But don't get me wrong. I love her any way I can get her. Karin also has her new project, Fever Ray, who also just happen to have put out a new album. The new self titled album is put out by the great label Mute. I love love love it as well. Fever Ray is also more accessible than any of the Knife albums-- very similar to the Knife but maybe just a bit less wierd and a bit more of a pop album, or as close as she could possibly get. I don't really want her to turn into Robyn or Kylie Minogue but it is nice to hear a different side of her.
I tend to get Norway and Sweden mixed up a bunch. They are right next to each other. It is an easy mistake. And I do like so much of the music that comes out of both those countries. Royksopp is from Norway. The Knife is from Sweden. The new Royksopp also features Robyn on one of the songs. She also comes from Sweden. Lykke Li, also from Sweden, sings on the song "Miss It So Much." Anneli Drecker, the singer from Bel Canto, sings on three of the tracks. She is actually from Norway. Her songs are my favorite from the album right after the songs by Karin. The two main members of Royksopp are Svein Berge and Torbjorn Bruntland. They do all the music on all the songs and sing on two of the songs on the album. The album is great and fun and everything an album should be. It makes you enjoy your life while listening to it and makes you want to come back for more. I do a lot more driving than I ever did before, and this is one of those great driving albums. Please pick up a copy of Silent Shout by The Knife if you have not yet done so. If you already have it and love it, then you really need both the new Fever Ray and Royksopp records in your life. I can't imagine the last couple of months of my life without these albums.
I have been waiting for a new Yeah Yeah Yeahs album since the day after the last one came out. I did love Show Your Bones, I just wanted more. Three years seems like so long to have to wait for a new album, but the new album will not disappoint you...or maybe it will if you are expecting the exact same album. This album is a bit different and more atmospheric, but it is still Karen O and it is still the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I just recommend listening to it a couple times before you make up your mind. While I am still having trouble falling in love with the new PJ Harvey, I had no trouble falling in love with this album. It is called It's Blitz! and the first single is "Zero." I am sure you have already heard it and have maybe already watched the video that I posted on my last blog. The video is filmed on the streets of San Francisco, which makes me love it even more. The deluxe version of the album features 4 acoustic versions of songs on the album. Acoustic Yeah Yeah Yeahs is for sure a different experience than I am accustomed to, but it is great to be able to hear those versions. The album is full of many fantastic songs. It starts with the great single and then just gets better. My favorite song is probably track 2 which is "Heads Will Roll," but then I also fall in love with the next track "Soft Shock" every time I hear it. There is not a bad song on this album and each song is so very different. "Skeletons" and "Runaway" make me cry every time I listen to them, but I keep going back for more. "Dragon Queen" is probably the most fun song on the album. I think the second to last song "Hysteric" is my favorite on the album, but it changes every time I listen to the record. I know I throw the word love around way too much, but I do love this album absolutely. And if you have never seen this band live, then you simply must do everything you can to try and see them. They are one of the best bands to see live. Karen O is just amazing to watch up on that stage. She just seems to be having so much fun.
Mono is one of those bands that I have been wanting to get into for a while. I knew I would like them, I just never got around to it. It was not until a couple of years ago that I finally started listening to them. They put out Gone in 2007, which was a collection of their EPs from 2000 to 2007. I, of course, fell in love. (I tend to do this a lot with music.) So I was anxiously awaiting this new album called Hymn to the Immortal Wind. I have been a long time fan of Explosions in the Sky. Mono does the same sort of instrumental rock type of thing that they do, and they are on the same great label called Temporary Residence Limited, but while the Explosions are from Texas, Mono are from Japan. This new album was recorded in Chicago and mixed by Steve Albini. It is hard to explain why you like an album like this so much. I guess it is like describing a classical album. There are no lyrics to fall in love with. No voice to captivate you. Just the sounds of the instruments. It is just the music. Without vocals, all the instruments obviously become the focus. I just like these albums because of the way they make me feel. I know I have described the Explosions this way before. The music allows me to think. I am not making up my own lyrics to go along with it, but I am sort of making up my own story to go along with it as I am listening to it. This music is just a sort of therapy. It helps me when I am not feeling the best and manages to fix most of my problems. This new album has 7 songs, most of them longer than 10 minutes. But, like a great score to a movie, they seamlessly flow together, creating one great album. There are certain albums that I would recommend listening to while driving around, and then there are the bands that I like listening to on my headphones while walking around the city. Mono is one of those bands. They don't work so well in the car, but are perfect for those private moments that you have by yourself. I highly recommend putting on your headphones and going for a nice 67 minute walk with this album. It will seriously cast some sort of magic over you and make you feel a whole lot better. But you really don't need to be feeling down to listen to this band. It just makes them even better for some reason.
Here is the rest of what came out on 3/24 and 3/31. Next up will be the releases of 4/7 and 4/14. It only gets better. New Bat For Lashes, Junior Boys, and Juan Maclean. And my new favorite album of the year by Thieves Like Us...
also out 3/24...
Hazards of Love by The Decemberists
Fist of God by MSTRKRFT
In A Perfect World by Keri Hilson
Grace/Wastelands by Peter Doherty
The Bends/Pablo Honey/OK Computer Deluxe Reissues by Radiohead
Enemy Mine by Swan Lake
I Blame You by The Obits
Slow Dance by Jeremy Jay
Fuckbook by Condo Fucks (Yo La Tengo)
O+S by O+S
Early Output by Fridge
Walt Disney & the World's Fair
Bromst by Dan Deacon
also out 3/31...
A Woman A Man Walked By by P.J. Harvey & John Parish
Live In London by Leonard Cohen
Lost Channels by The Great Lake Swimmers
King Baby by Jim Gaffigan
That's So Gay by Pansy Division
Ladyluck by Maria Taylor
Labyrinthes by Malajube