I Might Be Wrong: A banner day for new musicBy Colin St. John | June 7th, 2011 | 3 comments
Sometimes in the music world, the stars align and the people are blessed. Last week’s concert lineup in Denver was a veritable smorgasbord for the ears: From Yeasayer and White Denim to the Dodos and Sleigh Bells, the days — Calvin and Hobbes would’ve been proud — were just packed. Today promises to be a righteous spark on the national front, with new releases from a crop of talented artists across the board. In fact, this might just be the best release day this year. (What’s been or will be better?)
So put down your Gaga, Paisley, Adele and — seriously, people, still? — Mumford & Sons. Try one of these fresh discs on for size. Except maybe the Tech N9ne.
Arctic Monkeys, “Suck It and See” — In the running for the best album name of, jeez, the decade, the Monkeys have settled upon a more nuanced, reflective tone (musically) for its fourth record. Not a bunch of impetuous teenagers anymore, Alex Turner and Co. can still wail, though, as evidenced by its show last week at the Ogden and the first single, “Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair”:
Battles, “Gloss Drop” — Four years has been a lifetime to wait for a second proper one from these math rock masterminds. Battles has taken the experimentation down a couple notches but, even with the loss of founding member Tyondai Braxton, is still not a group to be confined. The trio hasn’t lost a step; John Stanier’s bombastic drumming is still a revelation. “Ice Cream” is, dare I say it, catchy and “White Electric” blazes to the hilt. Listen to the album here and watch Stanier reach for his high, high cymbal at the Bluebird July 19.
Black Lips, “Arabia Mountain” — Black Lips might not be doing anything too new on this one, and that’s just fine. The Atlanta band’s songs are as frolicing and ramshackle as ever, a soundtrack for trippy summer hedonism. The bubbling “Mr. Driver” is perfect for a hot night’s joyride, windows down. Listen here; Black Lips (might) pee into each other’s mouths at the Bluebird on June 19.
Cults, “Cults” — This might be the big breakout of the summer, perhaps an inspiration for dedication on the level of the duo’s moniker. It’s almost purely pop; a wonderful, shiny skip through singer Madeline Follin’s sweet, sock hop-ready voice. But, below the glamorous West Coast sheen, there’s a feeling something dark and mysterious lurks, a sonic counterpart to a David Lynch film. Listen here and wear blue velvet to Cults at Larimer Lounge, August 1.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., “It’s a Corporate World” — DEJJ are going up against a bit of hype backlash, but it’s soulful, fetching pop is tailor-made for a good head-bobbing — even if the lyrics won’t knock you on your back. “Nothing But Our Love” and “Vocal Chords” are the most impressive; “We Almost Lost Detroit” covers the recently departed Gil Scott-Heron with gusto and name-checks the duo’s hometown. Listen to “It’s a Corporate World” here and crack some Budweisers for its gig at the Hi-Dive this Saturday, June 11.
Dawes, “Nothing Is Wrong” — The subtlety of Dawes’s folk-rock can sneak up on you; the quartet’s sparse and unassuming songs require a bit more attention than most. What you’ll find there are fine harmonies led by the Goldsmith brothers, often wistful but always with something to say. See how “So Well” grabs you; listen to the full album here.
Ford & Lopatin, “Channel Pressure” — Challenging electro is the name of this game, served up by Joel Ford and Daniel Lopatin. Sometimes the album feels like you’re completely drugged-out and witnessing the “Revenge of the Nerds” talent show song. So, clap your hands everybody here.
Fucked Up, “David Comes to Life” — Last year’s most epic piece of punk was “The Monitor,” which came courtesy of Titus Andronicus. Storming into that category this year is Toronto’s Fucked Up. “David” is part music, part concept album, part rock opera; it’s all well-executed. Damian Abraham (a.k.a. Pink Eyes a.k.a. Father Damian) has an abrasive scream that might be too hardcore for many, but there’s ample bounty for those willing to explore these 18 songs. It comes to life here.
Givers, “In Light” — This Lousiana band joins a couple others on this list offering up some timely merry tunes. On a record aptly-named for a sunny day diversion, the generous, encompassing rhythms make Givers worth mentioning alone. Listen here.
Tech N9ne, “All 6’s and 7’s” — Listening to an entire Tech N9ne album is sort of an absurd enterprise; the first single’s claim, “He’s a Mental Giant,” is a bit of a reach. But, it’s hard to deny that the dude has some enjoyable, super-quick cadences and even better pals. If the KC native is up your alley, see him try to best the Micro Machines guy at the Fillmore July 1.
Tombs, “Path of Totality” — What would a release day be without some experimental metal from Brooklyn? Some sludge, black and doom stuff has been leaking its way into the indie-rock blogosphere as of late — witness Liturgy. And, also, the fact that NPR is streaming this new banger here.