destroyerMuch could be said, and probably already has been said, about the novel aspects of this new release, “Bay of Pigs,” by Destroyer. Only two tracks, stretching more than 20 minutes in total. Electronics instead of guitars.

But, to me at least, “Bay of Pigs” seems to build naturally, though importantly, on much of Destroyer’s previous work. For starters, Dan Bejar’s long songs have always been his best songs (see, for example, “Hey, Snow White” or basically anything on “Destroyer’s Rubies” from 2006). And, what’s more, the overall sound of the two new tracks on this EP would not be too far out of place on “Your Blues” from 2004 (see, for example, “It’s Gonna Take an Airplane”).

Indeed, this “Bay of Pigs” EP strikes me as the natural culmination of exactly the sort of “European Blues” that Bejar introduced us to on his 2004 lp. Look at the cover: there he stands, at the top of the stairs, looking down just like Bryan Ferry, that other great European bluesman, would. And, like all of the other great Destroyer songs, these two somehow seem to be about many things at once: politics and diplomacy in both the large and the small, failed expeditions, disastrous invasions, and houses lying in ruins. Christine — I guess she was the one who “looked ok with the others and looked great by herself” in “Painter in Your Pocket” from “Destroyer’s Rubies” — makes a return on the title track. And the Balearic instrumentation, also maybe a kind of “European Blues,”  provides the perfect backdrop to all that.

So while some will focus on the new, I like it that Dan Bejar’s still walking the city streets at night, maybe a little bit sorry and definitely more than a little bit drunk, remembering things past.

Technoir MA – 3-Song EP

August 23, 2009

technoir_maThis new EP by Technoir MA is one of those records where it only takes about five seconds of listening to know that you’re onto something special. Three tracks, lasting 20 minutes, that begin with guitars, synths, and drums blazing, end with guitars, synths, and drums blazing, and never let up in between.

An auspicious debut. I have it filed under “N,” for “New Ordery greatness.”

And you can download the tracks, right here, for free.

“Logical advice gets you in a whirl ….”

kompaktcd75-total_10Kompakt records’  annual Total compilations are always pretty good. But the latest one, number 10 in the series, is really great — a top candidate, I would say, for being the very best so far. Its 21 tracks span two cds and run nearly 2 1/2 hours in total.

Disk one starts out with DJ Koze’s tennis-inspired “40 Love,” followed by the superb Dirk Leyers remix of Justus Kohncke’s “(It’s Gonna Be) Alright.” Gui Boratto’s remix of the Sam-Taylor Wood/Pet Shop Boys collaboration “I’m In Love with a German Filmstar” was one that I knew from before and really liked. And two more outstanding tracks are Ada’s “Lovestoned” and Wighnomy’s remix of Boratto’s “No Turning Back.”

But, if you ask me, this compilation really hits its stride at the beginning of disk two, which opens with Kohncke’s “Give it to Me Easy” (a brilliant remake, James of friday morning “Kick Out The James” points out, of the Zombies’ 1968 single “Time of the Season,” which, when you think about it, always kind of did sound like a way-ahead-of-its-time techno track), and proceeds through Matias Aguayo’s excellent “Walter Neff” and Mayburg/Ada’s “Each and Every Day” before reaching an absolute peak with the amazing Supermayer remix of Gotye’s “Heart’s a Mess” and Thomas Fehlmann’s remix of the Field’s “The More I Do.”

Yes, I could go on. But suffice it to say that whether you want to bring the signature sound of Koln to your own dancefloor or just want an extended techno set to keep you focused while banging out some programming code, Kompakt’s Total 10 more than gets the job done. A fitting monument to the label’s tenth anniversary.

Many Years Ago …

August 15, 2009

metro-ad

“… you could live a simple life ….”

This one and some others like it can be found on the Robin Lane website.

Oneida – Rated O

August 9, 2009

JAG145

Oneida are painting on a big canvas. They’ve got a TRIPLE cd just out, called “Rated O.”

And yeah, I know, the Clash’s “Sandinista” was a triple album, too. But when it came out on cd, the whole thing fit on two disks. Which highlights the enormity of “Rated O.”

In the end, though, what keeps “Rated O” manageable — much more manageable than “Sandinista,” in fact — is that each of its three disks has its own consistent character, making it more of a triptych than a gigantic mural. Disk 1 has the electronics, disk 2 the psychedelic rock, and disk 3 the extended jams.

But, most impressively, across all three cds, there’s not a single redundant or otherwise unnecessary track to be found. Like “Sandinista,” “Rated O” is a massive piece of art that will take years of listening to fully appreciate.

And, to get you started, three of my favorite tracks, “I Will Haunt You,” “Saturday,” and the stunningly awesome “What’s Up, Jackal?” can be downloaded from the Jagjaguwar website.

Sister Suvi consists of Patrick Gregoire (also member of Islands) on guitar and vocals, Merrill Garbus (who earlier this year released a very nice album under the name of Tune-Yards) on ukule, violin, and vocals, and Nico Dann (I don’t know what else he’s done) on drums and vocals.
Sister Suvi can be kind of noisy, like Deerhoof, and kind of abstract, like High Places.  But as the brief introduction above suggests, they’re also like of like mid-to-late-1970s-era Fleetwood Mac, in that they have three vocalists, each of whom brings his or her own unique style to the mix, making the whole much larger than the sum of its parts.  And a bit like Sonic Youth, too, in that yes they like to experiment, but never miss a chance to really rock out either.
All of that comes together with great effect on “Now I Am Champion,” their first official full-length release.  “The Lot” is the centerpiece/masterpiece on this disk, weaving a story of a nighttime bike ride through the dark streets of Montreal and ending with a wonderfully stunning three-part a’capella. But other standouts include “Claymation,” about clay animation gone awry, and “American,” a meditation on good intentions and the road they’ve paved.
“Now I Am Champion” provides the perfect mix of light and dark and the perfect mix of surprise and accessibility.

suviSister Suvi consists of Patrick Gregoire (also a member of Islands) on guitar and vocals, Merrill Garbus (who earlier this year released a very nice album under the name of Tune-Yards) on ukulele, violin, and vocals, and Nico Dann (to be honest, I don’t know what else he’s done, but I’m sure it’s something equally impressive) on drums and vocals.

Sister Suvi can be kind of noisy, like Deerhoof, and kind of abstract, like High Places. But as the brief introduction above suggests, they’re also a bit like mid-to-late-1970s-era Fleetwood Mac, in that they have three vocalists, each of whom brings his or her own unique style to the mix, making the whole much larger than the sum of its parts. And a bit like Sonic Youth, too, in that yes they like to experiment, but never miss a chance to really rock out either.

All of that comes together with great effect on “Now I Am Champion,” their first official full-length release. “The Lot” is the centerpiece/masterpiece on this disk, weaving a story of a nighttime bike ride through the dark streets of Montreal and ending with a wonderfully stunning three-part a’capella. But other standouts include “Claymation,” a song about clay animation gone awry, and “American,” a meditation on good intentions and the road they’ve paved. Check the band’s myspace page for a couple of those examples and more. Or see below for “The Lot” performed live.

“Now I Am Champion” provides the perfect blend of light and dark and of surprise and accessibility. Definitely one of the year’s best.