Perhaps they should have taken a cue from The White Stripes and quit while they were ahead.
Release Date: March 22, 2011
Record Label: RCA
Nostalgia is a tricky beast– and there are few things in life as bad as swearing that something was great, only to revisit it and find that there was hardly anything special about it at all. Even worse are the times that the things you held dear sputtered out with such futility that it makes you question their original existence. For a decade, a garage rock revival that was seemingly built on nostalgia and featured such acclaimed bands as The White Stripes, The Hives (remember them?) and The Strokes, supposedly saved rock music as we know it– or remembered it. In an odd twist of fate, MTV seemingly embraced this generation of “The” bands, even going so far as featuring a “Battle of the Bands” between The Hives and The Vines. That last sentence is completely laughable now, but at the time it was a pretty big deal.
These days, The Hives are still touring but are largely forgotten (you barely even hear “Hate To Say I Told You So” anymore), joining a cesspool of other bands that people and critics largely rooted for, perhaps against better judgment. Even the bands that most thought could stand the test of time (The White Stripes) have sputtered out. Thankfully, Jack and Meg decided to hang it up before ever releasing something as detrimental as The Strokes’ Angles orFirst Impressions of Earth.
In what was a notoriously dreadful recording situation, The Strokes did nearly all of their recording separately, using a slapdash approach so problematic that it truly shows on the final product. Julian Casablancas seems as though he saved up all his energy for the lead single and just didn’t care enough to do much more. Also, while there are elements of fine songwriting and the craftsmanship they displayed on their first two albums, The Strokes can’t seem to get out of their own way. It’s truly as though they decided to let their own individual egos duke it out rather than produce a congruent sound, and consequentially as a listener you’re subjected to a nonsensical, occasionally worthless, trite and overtly pretentious set of songs that contain as much hot air as a Kanye West tweet.
Truth be told, we all should have seen this coming, but we all wanted to believe in the nostalgia that is Is This It?, an album so lauded that one could argue that it destroyed the band if it weren’t for their follow-up Room on Fire. It was then that people thought, perhaps unfairly, that maybe this New York City band could be the rock n’ roll saviors the critics wanted to be after all.
Now, thirteen years since the bands formation, the whole affair feels as forced as a Charlie Sheen joke, and Angles stands as the final straw in a charade where a band who (correctly or incorrectly) was thought to be the epitome of a new millenium rock n’ roll cool, instead showed their true colors of apathy and delusive grandeur.
Hot on the heels of releasing “Will Do,” TV on the Radio has a wonderful follow-up track to continue to build their hype for Nine Types of Light (4/12 via Interscope). Entitled “Caffeinated Consciousness,” it’s clear that TVotR is going in a different direction, but it really truly works. This song packs one heck of a punch, with its production striking a certain similarity to Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer,” albeit cranked to eleven. At the rate things are going, the Brooklyn based band will likely release one to two more songs before their album hits shelves, but so far, so good.
Listen to “Caffeinated Consciousness” below, or download the song for as little as your email address.
This should help satiate the appetites of fans anxiously awaiting the release of Helplessness Blues on May 3, as Fleet Foxes frontman Robin Pecknold released a trio of tracks today as a free EP. As you’d expect, the songs are subdued folky jams that are perfect for late-night meditations or stargazing. What you may not expect however, is that the lead track “I’m Losing Myself” features Ed Droste of Grizzly Bear. The collaboration works stunningly well with the fantastic harmonies balancing delicately above a sparse acoustic arrangement, and it’s likely going to be the favorite for many. You can download the EP for free here or stream the whole thing below:
Sondre Lerche follows up Heartbeat Radio with an eponymous album set for release on June 7, and in addition to a recently announced tour, Lerche unveils his new song “Domino.” Decidedly less glossy than anything from Heartbeat Radio– an admittedly easy feat– “Domino” may warm the hearts of those that miss Lerche’s earlier days, although the songwriting on this track seems rather sub par. Listen to the latest from Sondre Lerche below:
Gruff Rhys, whether as a solo artist or as the frontman of Super Furry Animals, always impresses, and Hotel Shampoo is no exception to the rule.
Release Date: February 14, 2011 (UK), May 3 (US)
Record Label: Wichita (US)
Hotel Shampoo, like seemingly every other project that Gruff Rhys touches, exists within some sort of gleefully twisted alternative universe. Partially retro, always random, and with a largely sentimental 60′s pop heart, Hotel Shampoo beams with an enthusiasm largely unmatched, especially on such songs as “Sensations in the Dark,” “Shark Ridden Waters,” “Take a Sentence” and “Honey All Over.” A much more consistent effort than his previous Candylion, there’s also less-reliance on the cute, while maintaining the same sort of fun boundless energy for which he’s known. A lovely, thoughtfully made release, Hotel Shampoo is a pure joy for any listener.
In case you missed it, three-day passes for the 2011 Pitchfork Music Festival went on sale yesterday at noon. In addition, a portion of the lineup has also been revealed. While it looks as though Pulp will be a no-show, the bands that will be present should make for a fun-filled dynamic experience. Three-day passes will set you back $110 (a slight increase from last year), while single-day tickets cost $45. The passes sold out in five days last year, so go out and get your tickets today. The partial lineup is listed below:
Friday, July 15:
Saturday, July 16:
The Dismemberment Plan
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti
Sunday, July 17:
TV on the Radio
In a complete 180 from the release of their lead single, “You’re So Right” is not only dark, but it’s bound to alienate the very people who thought “Under Cover of Darkness” was the cat’s meow. Time will tell how the song fits in with the album, but the first thirty seconds sounds like Julian Casablancas is channeling Liars more so than anything else (and not in a good way). Relying on a drum machine and droning vocals, it’s likely to give uneasy flashbacks to the polarizing First Impressions on Earth. While there’s still a lot of hope (and a lot of hype) for Angles, “You’re So Right” is an interesting choice for a song release from a band trying to prove themselves. Check out the latest from The Strokes 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 […]