Tuesday, May 1, 2012

It's May!

Which I've always considered to be the 2nd best month behind December... mainly because my birthday falls within this month.  But now that I'm getting older, the whole May thing might be wearing a little thin.  And now I'm sort of half anticipating/half weirded out by my upcoming birthday, which is an entirely new feeling.  So I'm probably going to have to reevaluate my rankings of favorite months.

Not that I've ever given it any consideration other than right now.  But still.

I'm going to review some recent-ish songs for the hell of it.

Gaslight Anthem--45 (poor sound quality, but I couldn't post the Soundcloud that's been floating around.)

-It's hard to say why exactly I got into this band of Bruce Springsteen-loving punk rockers when I don't care for The Boss and punk outside of The Ramones does nothing for me.  But I guess that small part of my brain that loves straight-up no-frills rock and roll was able to make room for these guys and their last two albums (especially The 59 Sound... which is the type of album you need to have readily available to listen to in your car).  This one comes from their upcoming "Handwritten" album, and it seems like the type of song that could catapult them into Black Keys-esque success, what with the hard riffs and the agreeably catchy refrains.  I wasn't too keen on it on first listen, as I thought the "turn the record over/see you on the flipside" was a little too obvious/stupid, but it's warmed on me to the point where it doesn't bother me anymore.  It's catchy.  That's all that is important.

RATING: 7/10

CAN--Deadly Doris

-Few things to know.  1) apparently this is a track from the upcoming "The Lost Tapes," which is (surprisingly) a compilation of unreleased material from the band.  2) This song features Malcolm Mooney on vocals, and not Damo Suzuki--who, despite being pretty much unintelligible in every song, fit the sound of the band much better.  Mooney is not as good.  3) Very few bands in the history of music can lock into a groove like Can.  BUT... 4) This song doesn't really go anywhere.

RATING: 4/10

Beach Boys--That's Why God Made The Radio

-So... the band just actually reunited/touring for the first time in about 25+ years (although Mike Love has been touring as the Beach Boys for most of that period.  Also, screw him), and lo and behold--they decided to give a go at writing/recording new music!  Good for them!  I mean... it's not good.  Sounds a little too sugary and a little too overdone on the production, and sounds like a band trying to recreate the same sunshine-y vibe from eras ago (which of course, is what they're trying to do).  But, I mean... they still nail the harmonies.  And it could have been a lot worse.

RATING: 3/10

Spiritualized--Hey Jane

-They're playing here tomorrow, which I probably won't go to since I hate going to concerts alone.  In any case, I've been giving their new album a couple spins--and it's giving their classic "Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space" a legit decent run for its money.  This is probably my favorite (probably because it's the first impression... but still.)  Starts out as a pretty decent dark Britpop tune, slowly becomes spacier and somehow becomes euphoric by the end.  And the "sweet heart, sweet light" outro gets stuck in your head.  I can attest to it.

RATING: 8/10

Flaming Lips--God Only Knows

-I love The Flaming Lips.  I love The Beach Boys.  I love this song.  But this cover isn't really all that great.  It retains that underlying sense of sadness (and maybe ramps it up a bit), but this version comes off as being kind of spacey and noisy for the sake of being spacey and noisy, whereas the original version pulls off becoming one of the most heavenly pieces of music recorded.  Perhaps it comes off better when not comparing it to the original version, but as it is... a bit of a disappointment.

RATING: 4/10

Trampled By Turtles--Rebellion (Lies)

Trampled By Turtles covers Arcade Fire
-Hey, so this just came out today.  Anyway... it's taken me a while, since The Current has me predisposed towards hating local artists by putting mediocre stuff in HEAVY rotation, but I guess I realized that I don't hate these guys.  I can't imagine being a big fan of them, but I can see putting them in rotation given the proper mood... and "Wait So Long" is a legitimately great song that could be in rotation no matter what.  But this a cover of Arcade Fire--and they do a pretty bang up job on it.  It doesn't really deviate too far from the original version, but they make it their own anyway (i.e. they include a banjo.)

RATING: 7/10

Sigur Ros--Varúð

-Early reviews have the new album as "understated."  Which means I'm adjusting my expectations a little bit--not that I was expecting a full blown masterpiece like "Agaetis Byrjun", but saying an album is "understated" is kind of a nice way to make one hope for and expect merely a pleasant sounding album.  In any case, this still does it for me.  Takes a while to get going, but that last minute swells to that majestic climax you're hoping it achieves.  So basically, it's a Sigur Ros song.

RATING: 7/10

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