Posted by: on March 10, 2009 at 10:19 am

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800 Beloved, Bouquet (Moodgadget Records)

MP3: The Skeleton Collection

Uh oh. Looks like Detroit’s got its very own Joy Division. At least that’s what the uniformed will think when they hear the cold, slightly Goth-ish tones on 800 Beloved‘s icy Bouquet. While the monotone vocals, slashing guitar work, melodic bass-lines, apocalyptic synths, and dark tunnels 800 Beloved travel down certainly bring to mind Curtis & co. — and, to a much lesser extent, Interpol, for those without a decent record collection — what the band is really up to seems a lot more endearing. In all reality, Bouquet is a well-crafted continuation of a long-standing Mitten tradition of producing quality space-rock and shoegaze; one that started with groups like Majesty Crush, Windy and Carl, and Asha Vida (featuring a much-less pop inclined Casimer Pascal of Pas/Cal fame), and has continued to this day with sonic shredders like Dark Red (Rob from Paik) and the super-underrated Dykehouse (hell, we could even go out on a limb here and dub Javelins and Deastro branches on the Michigan-shoegaze family tree). So it’s with open arms that we welcome 800 Beloved to the fold. And how could we not, with certified New Romatic-era jams like “Show Me Evil” and “The Skeleton Collection” stuffed up their frilly sleeves? The band is slightly elusive (they hardly ever play around town), but fans of M83, Robert Smith-hair, and City Club will surely find something to adore about this collection. — RA

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Julie Doiron, I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day (Jagjaguwar)

MP3: Consolation Prize

Julie Doiron’s work with 90’s Canadian favorite Eric’s Trip has certainly helped her build a consistent solo career. More or less until this point she’s delivered solid, but relatively quiet records that only hint at the lo-fi squall of those early Eric’s Trip days. Though the title sounds like a note your adorable stalker might leave inside a mix tape under your windshield wiper, I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day, also contains some of Doiron’s most fuzzed out and melodic material yet. Thickly distorted, yet melodically solid tracks are interspersed with introspective observations. Her most immediately catchy release yet. — LW

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Elvis Perkins In Dearland, Elvis Perkins In Dearland (XL Recordings)

MP3: Shampoo

Elvis Perkins sound like the name of a Southern Rockabilly revivalist, but instead, he’s a revivalist of a different sort. For his second album, he’s now formed a complete band — and this additional trio of multi-instrumentalists bring something special to the music of the exceptional songwriter. With a sound reminiscent of classic Cat Stevens and Josh Ritter meets a New Orleans funeral band, Elvis Perkins In Dearland march through the streets in joyous defiance. Bursts of harmonium, trombone, banjo and clarinet punctuate clever and biting lyrics. Songs like “123 Goodbye” and “Hey” wouldn’t sound out of place a Wes Anderson film soundtrack. — LW

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From Monument to Masses, On Little Known Frequencies (Dim Mak/Downtown)

MP3: The First Five

Instrumental music is always a hard sell — it’s not like Tortoise are packing out arenas these days, ya know? But, music without lyrics has quite the history. Ever hear of this dude Johann Sebastian Bach? Yeah, thought so. So, in the tradition of ol’ white-wig himself, we give you the occasionally cinematic soundscapes of the vocal-less Oakland trio From Monument to Masses. Combining the bass-heaviness of the aforementioned Tortoise, with the electro-rock of Minus the Bear, and the metallic shrapnel of, say, Mastodon (fun fact: producer Matt Bayles oversaw records by both the latter groups), FMTM often show up their instrumental peers by A) being not boring (unlike Godspeed You Black Emperor), and B) having a tasteful hip-hop influence (think Prefuse 73, not Diddy) featured throughout. It’s hardly a symphony, but this ain’t your older brothers math-rock either. — RA

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Handsome Furs, Face Control (Sub Pop)

MP3: I’m Confused

Face Control will quickly become the “it” record for the ironic hipster set, so expect every person who sees gold lame’ stretch pants and rubber wading boots as essential wardrobe pieces to adore this record. But Handsome Furs bring just enough earnestness with their 80’s throwback synth sound to avoid being a flash-in-the-pan trendy favorite. Of course staying power is also improved when one half of your band is Wolf Parade’s Dan Boeckner. Along with his wife Alexei Perry, the two follow up 2007’s Plague Park with a fuller, more realized set of songs. Gets better with each listen. — LW

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War Child presents Heroes (Astralwerks/War Child)

MP3: The Like, You Belong To Me (Elvis Costello)

Did the masterminds behind Urban Outfitters in-store playlists and SirusXMU get together and put together a comp? A quick scan of the artists that make up War Child‘s Heroes collection — the Kooks, Estelle, TV on the Radio, Lily Allen, Franz Ferdinand, Scissor Sisters, etc. — and it would seem so. Indeed, you could hear any one of these middle-of-the-road alt.rock and pop pansys blasting over the loud speakers while you snatch up your newest pair of skinnies, but this time around, the kids are covering legendary tracks by the likes of the Ramones, Iggy Pop, U2, and the Kinks, amongst others. The catch? The roster was chosen by the legends themselves. The verdict? It’s pretty hit-and-miss, with nu-Winehouses Estelle and Duffy doing predictable “SNL”-esque big-band takes on Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney. Elsewhere, the Hold Steady cover Bruce (shocker!), TV on the Radio do Bowie (no shit!), and the Like do Elvis Costello (actually awesome!). Nitpicking aside, it’s for a good cause (proceeds go to benefit children affected by war), so buy it for you dad and feel good about yourself. — RA

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Posted by: on June 30, 2008 at 10:00 am


Wolf Parade, At Mount Zoomer (Sub Pop Records, 2008)

MP3: “Soldier’s Grin”

It’d be easy to evaluate At Mount ZoomerWolf Parade’s second act to their first, 2006’s Apologies to The Queen Mary — through the scope of an extremely successful band, following up an extremely successful debut album. On the other hand, it’s almost hard not to, as sophomore albums are generally sliced open with a slightly sharper edge of the sword the second time around. But the reality here is that even though At Mount Zoomer is technically Wolf Parade’s second record, it seems more like the fifth or sixth, considering band members Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner’s side-project addiction. At this point, any fan of Apologies to The Queen Mary has become well versed in each songwriter’s distinct style: Boeckner writes the jean jacket anthems; the dirty knees rockers that nod to Springsteen and Strummer, with songs full of sweat, jangley chords, triumphant melodies, and a scratchy delivery that speaks of countless nights spent smoking and drinking cheap whiskey. Read more

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Posted by: on June 6, 2008 at 3:00 pm


>>> The Walkmen might be jerks, but they make good music. That’s why we’re excited to announce that their new album, You and Me, will be out sometime this fall. The 14-track affair was produced by John Agnello (Hold Steady, Sonic Youth) and Chris Zane (Les Savy Fav, White Rabbits), and will likely feature lead Read more

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