I really do live for weeks like this. 9/14 is a big release day! Tons of great new albums out to end your summer with! At the top of the list is a brilliant new album by Blonde Redhead. Some have been saying this album is too slow or mellow, but it is Blonde Redhead! The album will not get you out of a coma or suddenly make you have an optimistic outlook on life, but it is amazing! I have loved this band for a long time and over the years I have fallen in love with them over and over again. Each time a new album comes out and each time I see them perform live it is like falling in love for the first time. My favorite album is still probably Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons from 2000, their 5th album. Their new album is called Penny Sparkle and it's their 8th album. The new album is of course out on vinyl, and the CD comes out in two formats. There is a regular jewel case version and a Deluxe cardboard box version. No extra tracks, but the packaging is cute and fancy. Inside the hard-to-open box is a drawstring cloth bag and inside the cloth bag is the CD. It also has a fancy fold out booklet that is not included with the regular CD. The Grinderman, Junip, Brandon Flowers, James, & Weezer albums also all have deluxe versions out 9/14.
Anyway, Blonde Redhead is not one of those bands meant for everybody. They have not really changed very much over their 8 albums. If you have ever loved them before then you will probably still love them now. I feel like their fans are a loyal bunch -- at least I am! This new album is dark and dreamy, weird and ethereal. It will most certainly break your heart, just like you would expect from them. I have liked all of their albums but I really have not gotten obsessed with an album this much since Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons. Blonde Redhead is Kazu Makino and twin brothers Simon and Amedeo Pace. The band first started in 1993 in New York and 17 years later I really can't get enough of them. There is just something about them that gets under your skin and they stay with you for life. I still remember exactly where I was and how I felt back when I was listening to Melody in 2000 and In An Expression of the Inexpressible in 1998. Those albums and those feelings will stay with me forever. If you are not already a fan of their music it is not too late! It would be like a treasure hunt for you, going back and discovering all their older brilliant albums.
Watch the video for "Not Getting There" by Blonde Redhead from the new album Penny Sparkle...
You can also watch a video of the band performing at Amoeba SF here!
Buy the new album Penny Sparkle by Blonde Redhead
The Drums' debut album came out a couple of months ago in June as an import. It absolutely became one of my favorite albums of the year! The band is from Brooklyn so it seemed silly that it would come out in the UK before it came out over here but sometimes England is just more ready to embrace a band like this before we are. The album is one of those perfect pop albums, and it has finally come out domestic this month, just in time for the final hot weeks of the year! They also released an excellent EP at the end of last year. It was a perfect introduction to the band. "Down by the Water" and "Let's Go Surfing" appear on both the EP and this full length album. The band reminds me a lot of The Smiths; they are sort of a more electronic modern version of The Smiths. The Drums used to be a foursome of young dudes but now seems to have lost one of its members. Like The Smiths, they combine the dark sounds of new wave with a more pop sound -- a mix of new wave and twee, Belle & Sebastian meets Joy Division. The album has its share of hand claps too, which I love. They are the perfect band for me and it was no surprise that I quickly became a big fan. I sort of knew that I was going to love this band before I even heard them. They could easily be mistaken for any of the more current bands coming out of Sweden. Their sound is similar to Swedish bands like The Mary Onettes, Jen Lekman, Pelle Carlberg, The Legends, & The Shout Out Louds. The songs on this album just make me happy. One of my favorite tracks is actually "I Felt Stupid," but you can only find that song on the EP. However, there are a ton of good songs on this new album, too. LIke any of the records by The Smiths, there is not a bad song on the whole album. You will not be needing to skip ahead to the next song. I have not had a chance to see this band live yet but they are doing an instore at Amoeba in Hollywood on TONIGHT at 6pm! Check them out for sure!
Listen to "Me & the Moon" from the new album The Drums by The Drums...
Buy the new album The Drums by The Drums
One of my other favorites out this month is the debut solo album from Brandon Flowers of The Killers. Some might consider The Killers a sort of guilty pleasure but I am not ashamed of my love of The Killers. Their first album, Hot Fuss, came out in 2004 and I was hooked. They were sort of a Las Vegas rock band version of Duran Duran. I loved it. I sort of do feel like a teenager when I get out my Killers albums, but I am OK with that! They have released 3 solos albums and a compilation of outakes and b-sides. Day & Age was their third album and it came out during my first year back in Los Angeles (2008). It is not easy for a band like this to keep making hits and big fun albums one after the next but I was super impressed with Day & Age. It was super fun and had tons of great songs on it; it makes me happy to think back on that time in my life. It also makes me really happy whenever a band like this can maintain and continue to put out albums that make their fans happy. Maybe it was not such a bad idea for the group to take a break and let Brandon Flowers explore some other stuff and put out a solo album. A new Killers album will probably be out in 2012.
Brandon Flowers is the voice behind The Killers so it is no surprise that his new solo album, Flamingo, is not a huge depature from the sound of The Killers. Maybe it's a bit more country, at least on some of the songs. If somebody could go and make country new wave work, it would be Brandon Flowers. Flamingo is just as good as any Killers album and it's actually super Vegas-y (his hometown) -- way more Vegas-esque than any of the Killers albums. At least, the theme of the album and the subject of the songs is more Vegas -- it is called Flamingo, after all! I am leaving for Vegas soon for the big Matador party so this album is helping to get me ready! The album still has electronics and it still has the pop and drama of a Killers album. If you never liked the Killers then you probably will not be falling in love with this album but as a fan of The Killers and the voice of Brandon Flowers, I am also a big fan of this album. It is catchy for sure, and being catchy should not be a crime! Another great album to end my summer with. There are two more fantastic records right around the corner as well -- the amazing new Abe Vigoda is out on 10/5 and the new Belle & Sebastian album is out on 10/12! Keep them coming...
Listen to "Crossfire" from the new album Flamingo by Brandon Flowers...
Buy the new album Flamingo by Brandon Flowers
also out 9/14...
Phosphene Dream by The Black Angels
WIlderness Heart by Black Mountain
Who We Touch by The Charlatans UK
Skit I Allt by Dungen
Grinderman 2 by Grinderman
The Morning After the Night Before by James
Fields by Junip
Root for Ruin by Les Savy Fav
What It Means To Be Left-Handed by Mice Parade
Never Let Me Go Soundtrack
You Are Not Alone by Mavis Staples
Majesty Shredding by Superchunk
Sex With an Ex by The Vaselines
Lisbon by The Walkmen
Hurley by Weezer
also out 9/21...
Maximum Balloon by Maximum Balloon
A Good Understanding by Nico Muhly
I Drink the Air Before Me by Nico Muhly
Trip by Laetitia Sadier
Life of Leisure by Washed Out (finally out on cd!!!)