While it feels like we’ve waited forever to hear something official on the highly-anticipated upcoming album from The National, the wait may have been worth it. “Bloodbuzz Ohio,” the opening track off of their album High Violet, is staggeringly beautiful, and as haunting and spirited as anything else that is in The National’s catalogue. It’ll be interesting to see how the rest of the songs stack up, and if it’ll be enough to meet the heightened expectations, but all of that will be answered once High Violet is released on May 11 via 4AD.
After an brilliant and sadly overlooked debut with Antedotes, Foals have thankfully returned and seem to have quite the follow-up on their hands. A slow-burning six-minute jam, “Spanish Sahara” builds wonderfully, incorporating their nuanced guitar elements that played a major part in the distinctive sound that made their debut so impressive. Also below is the video from their lead single “This Orient” which is a very promising arena-jam (and yes, it skirts in Bloc Party territory, but it packs a great deal of bittersweet sincerity which more than makes up for it). Look for Total Life Forever to hit stores on May 11 via Sub Pop Records.
While the debut may have felt like a novelty act, things start to look a lot more promising for She & Him once listening to Volume Two.
Release Date: March 23, 2010 Record Label: Merge Rating: 88
Zooey Deschanel seems to have much of the world at her fingertips, between her absurdly adorable charm, her winning performance in films such as (500) Days of Summer and dashing the hopes of guys and girls everywhere by marrying Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard, not to mention her the highly successful project She & Him, it doesn’t look like there’s much of anything she can’t do. Matt Ward, whose contributions to She & Him will likely always be underrated, finally gets a voice on Volume Two, both literally and figuratively– and because of that, this album succeeds where the original failed– Deschanel takes a lot of worthy risks and the audience in turn, can get a lot more out of this album than you could ever imagine based on the predecessor.
While Volume One was never thin on charm, it certainly came off as timid or middling on numerous occasions, something that can be never said about their sophomore release. Even in comparing singles, “In the Sun” feels effortless, with Deschanel’s vocals cutting right through to the forefront, and its charming sing-a-long chorus evoking elements of Feist at her best. The songwriting in general is much more impactful, far surpassing the quaint folk-feel of her previous album, as evidenced on the aforementioned single as well as the equally brilliant “Don’t Look Back.”
The covers here are also improved, especially with their cover of NRBQ’s “Ridin’ in My Car,” which finally features some vocals from M. Ward. Other highlights include the dynamic “Home” and “I’m Gonna Make it Better.”
In light of other leading actresses releasing albums– most notably Scarlett Johansson with her Tom Waits album and her duet album with Pete Yorn– it’s easy to initially write off She & Him as nothing more than a novelty act. However, between M. Ward’s incredibly diverse musical knowledge and Zooey Deschanel’s eagerness to try new things while still writing timeless material, it proves to be a very fruitful arrangement. As such, Volume Two is a highly enjoyable and worthwhile album to own and play repeatedly, especially on long summer days.
James Murphy has long been the club floor psychiatrist for hipsters everywhere, and his latest entry “Drunk Girls” doesn’t stray too far from the formula. That being said, Murphy’s lyrics are as clever as ever and still sounds amazing. The album still lacks a title, but will be released on May 18 via DFA Records.
No relation to the horror film, Jamie Lidell’s latest song bridges perfectly between the crazy experimentalism he displayed on Mulitply and the more organic Jim. A funky, southern-blues driven track, Lidell’s passionate lyrics about the girl who the protagonist “always thought would stick around, always thought [she'd] stay, now he’s searching for the ring, the one you had to throw away.” The weighty lyrics are somehow balanced by a heavy-handed bass and piano riff, and the genre-blending eclecticism that we’ve come to expect for Lidell. Look for his next album Compass to hit stores on May 18 via Warp Records.
It feels like ages since Holy Fuck released their debut album simply titled LP, but now the Canadian group is back as they recently unveiled their single “Latin America” on Chatroulette of all places. Saving you the hassle, you can now listen to “Latin America” right here, no awkward video interface required. Latin will be released May 11 via Young Turks/XL Recordings.
The Film Gauge crew is back again, this time reviewing the latest Matt Damon release, Green Zone. Listen in as we compare it to the trio of Bourne films and look into some of the thematic elements that are highlighted in the movie. As always, you can listen to the podcast via our Tumblr page. You can also follow us on Facebook and iTunes.
Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward head back to school with their new video in support of their lead single “In the Sun.” With their new release Volume Two set for release in a little over a week, their latest music video should do an admirable job in adding to the palpable height surrounding their album. While it seems like an indie kids version of “Hit Me Baby One More Time” meets Feist’s “1 2 3 4,” any video that features Deschanel’s endless charm is certainly going to garner worthwhile attention. View the video below:
While yours truly wasn’t able to make a full contribution (we lost part of the original recording and I’ve been under the weather and wasn’t able to do the re-recorded session), the Film Gauge Podcast still managed to turn out a second edition, with our review of Alice In Wonderland and Finding Neverland. Both films star Johnny Depp, but one is very good, while the other is very bad– find out which film falls under what category by listening here on Tumblr.
Also, if you would like to follow the Film Gauge Crew, we’re on Facebook and iTunes– enjoy!
Gorillaz is riding this hype wave like no other, as anticipation is mounting for their latest release Plastic Beach, due out next week. Today, hot on the heels of the catchy “Superfast Jellyfish” we return with a music video that features Hollywood bad-ass Bruce Willis (I guess Clint Eastwood wasn’t available). While there are elements that may recall the car chase scenes of Tarantino’s Death Proof, the graphics for this video are absolutely amazing. Check it out below:
Fifty. Action Bronson Blue Chips You might remember Action Bronson making an appearance on last year’s list with his Dr. Lechter album. Despite the lower ranking, Blue Chips as a whole is even better than what Bronson has shown before. Between his deft wordplay and some outstanding, gritty production from Party Supplies, Blue Chips is a winner. Forty-Nine. Dr. […]
This is one album that you can definitely judge from the cover. Release Date: June 26, 2012 Record Label: In The Red Records Rating: 95 The first album under the Ty Segall Band name, Slaughterhouse is rife with the kind of raw, unrelenting, “F*** you!” type of energy that is the most damning thing to hit one’s […]
Frank Ocean’s major label debut proves to be a masterpiece. Release Date: July 10, 2012 Record Label: Def Jam Rating: 100 The most universally celebrated artist out of the Odd Future collective, Frank Ocean has managed to impress even with the monumental expectations leading into his major label debut. Taking pages from Stevie Wonder’s notebook, […]
While rumors and leaks run wild regarding the potential Lollapalooza lineup, Pitchfork has announced the rest of the bands for their 2012 festival. It looks a little thin at the top, to be sure, but this (like every other P4k festival) is a very solid lineup of bands at what is always a wonderfully intimate […]
A Church That Fits Our Needs is an elegant and wondrous album, it’s certain to be one of the better ones you’ll hear all year. Release Date: March 20, 2012 Record Label: Anti- Rating: 97 Written in the aftermath of the suicide of frontman Ari Picker’s mother, it’s not surprising that A Church That Fits Our Needs […]