I have been anxiously awaiting the return of A Place to Bury Strangers since I first heard their first album a couple of years ago. I deeply fell in love with that self titled album and it still remains one of my favorites. I picked it as my favorite album of 2007 and I firmly stand by that decision. So of course, I could not wait to hear this new album. I sometimes go see a movie and am already thinking about buying the DVD before the movie is already over. That is just how my mind works, and this is how I feel about A Place to Bury Strangers. I was thinking about getting the new album years before it was even out. And it turns out, I do love the new album just as much as I expected to. It is currently in competition for that number one spot on my top albums of 2009. It is really hard to follow an amazing debut album -- so many artists fail at this. But it is often not even their fault. You will never ever be able to capture that feeling you had when you first fell in love with an album or new band. It just can't happen, so the follow up album often ends up never sounding as good as the first. But I think these second albums are sometimes just as good -- try to imagine if you had never heard that first album and were introduced to the band for the first time with their second album. You then get super obsessed with that second album. Then you go back and listen to that first album as if it was their second. I bet you might find that "first" album not as good as the "second" album, which was your first. This experiment would not work for every band, but it has been the case with certain bands for me. Regardless of any of this, I do love this second album by A Place To Bury Strangers. This is their first album for Mute Records, and it is called Exploding Head. There are a couple of fantastic songs on this album and everything else is also pretty great. I am in love with "In Your Heart," "Keep Slipping Away," and "Exploding Head," but really, the whole album is fantastic.
A Place to Bury Strangers does not hide their influences. It is obvious the band is directly influenced by Jesus & Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, The Cure and Spiritualized, but they pull it off brilliantly. I was always hoping some new band would be able to pull off that loud shoegaze sound, and that's exactly what they do! It doesn't sound like they are trying to copy some old album but is also not like they are trying to reinvent a genre. I went and finally saw them for the first time last week at the Echoplex. For some reason missed the tour for the first album -- I must have had a good excuse at the time! I knew it would be hard to pull off the full sound of the album live, but they managed to do a pretty good job. I feel like they still need a bit of work but I just love the albums so much that maybe I was expecting too much. I had lots of fun at the show and enjoyed every minute of it. I don't know what I really expected but I did enjoy listening to both albums the next day even more than I had before. I think I had actually gone this whole time without even looking up a picture of the band -- both albums have really been just all about the music. You really need to hear this band If you have not yet. You can try out my experiment and listen to the second album first and then go back and listen to the first as if it was their second. I think you will be blown away with how great they are...or maybe you will hate them. But I don't see how that is even possible! I am now going to enjoy both these albums for years to come and anxiously await that third album. I hope this band is around for a long, long time.
Here is the video for "In Your Heart" from the new album Exploding Head by A Place to Bury Strangers...
and here is the video for "I Know I'll See You" from their first self titled album...
One of my other favorites out 10/6 is the new album by Dead Man's Bones. I was not really expecting much when I first heard that Ryan Gosling was in a band and putting out an album. I really do like him a lot and loved him in Half Nelson and Lars and the Real Girl. I know not eveyone was a fan of Lars, but that movie remains one of my favorites. It was brilliant and he really somehow made that movie believable. It doesn't always work out when film stars decide they want to be rock stars -- it didn't work out so great for Eddie Murphy or Bruce Willis. I don't think I have actually ever listened to Keanu Reeves' Dogstar or Russell Crowe's bands...I really have not ever heard anything good about them. Sometimes it does work-- Zooey Deschanel really won me over with her She And Him album. However, my expectations were still low for Ryan Gosling and the Dead Man's Bones -- and I was really pleasantly surprised. Dead Man's Bones is made up of Ryan Gosling and Zach Shields. The album also features L.A.'s Silverlake Conservatory Children's Choir. I really love the story of how this project came to be. They met when they were dating each others' girlfriend's sisters. They then both discovered their love of ghosts and the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland. Initially they had planned to write a sort of musical but ended up creating a band and then an album. The album really does capture the feeling of the Haunted Mansion; it is a bit folky and a bit spooky, sort of goth indie folk. "Lose Your Soul" and "Pa Pa Power" are two of the best tracks on the album. I find myself going back to both those songs over and over again. The use of a children's choir can often be too cute and end up annoying, but it does work perfectly with these songs. They are weird but really catchy. I really have fallen in love with this album, and it is perfect for the month of October. Incidentally, I also recommend the newly reissued album from Disney's Haunted Mansion. It is called Story & Song From the Haunted Mansion. The album includes the original record and story that was released in 1969. It features the voice of Ron Howard, who is one of the kids who visits the Haunted Mansion. It is the perfect companion for the Dead Man's Bones record.
There don't seem to be any videos for Dead Man's Bones yet, but here you can listen to "Pa Pa Power."
It will get you hooked...
...and here is a video of Dead Man's Bones performing "Name In Stone" at a cemetery...
and here is a video somebody made of the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland...
also out 10/6...
Love 2 by Air
Six by Black Heart Procession
Goodnight Unknown by Lou Barlow
Power by Boys Noize
There Is No Enemy by Built To Spill
Bonfires on the Heath by The Clientele
Ask the Night by Orenda Fink
Music For Men by The Gossip
Gay Singles by Hunx & his Punx
Expressions by Music Go Music
Childish Prodigy by Kurt Vile
also out 10/13...
Embryonic by Flaming Lips
Do What You Want Box Set by Hall & Oates
Ovations by Piano Magic