Thee Oh Sees’ perhaps final LP encapsulates what the band has done so well for the past decade while still forging new territory. The album balances songs that thump around in dark corners with those that bang out brilliantly. “Penetrating Eye” explores spacey moog sounds even as it unleashes an unholy howl of Sabbath guitars. “Put Some Reverb on My Brother” has a terrifically snarling little riff and sneering performance by John Dwyer, with saxophones that add extra pop. The title track has great, big Who-style guitarwork, making it one of the band’s most all-embracing rock tracks yet. “The King’s Noise” tries on some regal riffs and strings for a bit of proggy psychedelia. But for all of Drop’s catchiness, it’s the band’s ability to warp garage-rock guitars into something truly strange and unnerving that gets us every time, as on the spacey, scary “Transparent World.” If this is truly the end of Thee Oh Sees, they’ve gone out with a bang on one of their strongest albums yet.
Record Store Day is coming our way Saturday April 19. You can already see what we have going on at Amoeba stores here, and this is a full list of titles that will be available that day. It’s a lot to parse through, so we’ve pulled a few highlights:
Joy Division – An Ideal for Living (12”)
Who wouldn’t want the first-ever Joy Division release? It includes remastered versions of the four songs originally included—“Warsaw,” “No Love Lost,” “Leaders of Men” and “Failures.”
Husker Du – Candy Apple Grey LP
A totally awesome and underrated entry to the Husker Du canon. It was their major label debut, so the band’s fifth album got some flack from longtime fans, but revisiting it, Candy Apple Grey sounds as amazing as anything else they did, with songs like the immortal “Don’t Wanna Know If You Are Lonely.” The 1986 album helped set the tone for alternative rock to follow. It’s on grey vinyl for the first time.
Mr Little Jeans is the project by Monica Birkenes, a Norwegian singer who writes sugarcoated electro-pop ditties that stick in your head long after they’ve stopped playing. Her recently released full-length album features terrific songs like the uplifting “Rescue Song,” a moody, electro-noir cover of Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs” and “Oh Sailor,” which features the local Silverlake Conservatory of Music Youth Chorale. It’s out now on CD and will be available on LP April 15.
She’s supported by Avid Dancer and Breakfast. Avid Dancer’s Jacob Summers is a former U.S. Marine and world champion at rudimental snare drumming. Now, he’s a psych-pop artist with an infectious single out called “Stop Playing With My Heart.”
Thee Oh Sees – “Drop” video
So I guess Thee Oh Sees are still breaking up? I feel like I’ll believe it when I see it. But in the meantime, their new album, Drop, is due April 19 , aka Record Store Day (you can preorder it now on LP or CD). The visuals for their new video for the power-poppin’ title track reminds me of Spirograph and origami, except a lot cooler. Here it is, via Spin.
Warpaint – “Disco//Very” and “Keep it Healthy” video
I picture Warpaint a lot shier than they appear in the video for two songs from its recent, self-titled second album. For the darkly danceable “Disco//Very,” we see them cavorting in the streets with a bunch of skaters, coming off a bit like the girl gang from The Craft. Lots of fun hand-dancing. Then, night falls for the chiller “Keep It Healthy,” which sees the ladies’ nocturnal tune soundtrack nighttime skate tricks. Very cool, fun stuff that shows the band doesn’t take itself too seriously. Also Warpaint is one of the best albums of the year so far and you should get it now.
We’re all excited about OutKast reuniting for Coachella. And who doesn’t love seeing The Knife or Arcade Fire? But there are plenty of just-under-the-radar bands playing the two-weekend festival (April 11-13 and 18-20). Here’s our list of 10 bands it’s worth getting there early for. (And by the way, Coachella set times have been announced.)
Friday at 12:25 p.m.
Part of the “Beast Coast” movement, the Brooklyn hip-hop group proves the music scene there is more than just a bunch of skinny white dudes with guitars. The acid-rap group debuted its Wu-Tang-inspired rhymes on this year’s It’s All a Matter of Perspective EP and a handful of mixtapes, but we’ve yet to see a full album. Be there so you can say you saw them before they blew up.
Friday at 1:05 p.m.
Similarly to another Baltimore duo, Wye Oak spin out beautiful tunes highlighted by Jenn Wasner’s husky, emotive vocals. But now the band has moved to Portland and ditched the dreamy guitars entirely, remaking the band’s sound for its upcoming album Shriek, due April 29 on Merge (preorder on LP or CD). The album’s lead single, “The Tower,” is stuttering, strange and alluring art-pop closer to St. Vincent than Beach House.