The Music Wrap-Up is a monthly summary of my favorite and other notable new releases. Having trouble keeping up with all the new music? Need some music suggestions? Then the Music Wrap-Up is for you. And please support these musicians as that's the reason I'm featuring them in the first place.
Like every month, this month is full of new releases from bands I've heard a lot about but have never investigated further. Having the monthly Music Wrap-Up helps me feel obligated to take the plunge, so it not only helps you discover new music, but helps me as well! And we've had a pretty good month, with new releases from bands like Les Savy Fav, The Walkmen, Ben Folds, and more.
Plus, this is the grand unveiling of a slew of new features for this here feature. It isn't just prettier on the eyes, but it's also got handy links to the each of the tracks separately so you can refer back to specific songs without having to scour through the playlist. Plus, there are handy Amazon links to buy anything you like (and help us out at the same time). Oh, and helpful lists of stuff I didn't feature, and stuff I'll probably feature next month. So hit the jump and enjoy the music!
#1 - ADT
#2 - Soulless
I saw a tremendous amount of promise in Fake Problems from the start, but I really think this is the CD where they've finally achieved the level of quality I always knew they would. Not that their past releases were bad, but Real Ghosts Caught on Tape might be their masterpiece. It really shows growth and I'm curious to see how they'll follow it up.
#3 - Mickey Mouse and the Goodbye Man
#4 - Evil
I know almost nothing about Nick Cave, except that the Joystiq Podcast used to have one of his songs open their show. He reminds me a lot of Mike Patton: ridiculously prolific and eternally under the mainstream radar. Plus, they both seem to have weird musical whims that they frequently act upon. Nick Cave and the Bad Seed's expansive catalog of releases is a bit daunting for me, but given that this is only Grinderman's second album, I'm more than willing to dive in. Can't go wrong with some garage rock.
#5 - Dirty Knails
#6 - Excess Energies
Another band I know very little about, but I was instantly blown away when I listened to this CD the first time. They have a very set structure to their sound, but deliver it in a slightly sloppy, impassioned manner. Wikipedia has labeled them with a smattering of assorted genres, something I'm not all too fond of, but the post-punk revival one interests me. I missed out on post-punk, at least I think, as I'm not entirely sure what it is. But I'm all for more music like this.
#7 - From Above
#8 - Picture Window
I'm working on a theory that states, "All parties with even a slight amount of nerdiness inherent to their interests will have an, often unexplainable, draw to either Cake, They Might Be Giants, or Ben Folds, but rarely more than one, and never all three." My nerd magnetism pulled me toward They Might Be Giants, so I've largely missed out on the Ben Folds phenomena, but this CD is pretty good. Though, I don't really need to justify it to those of you that were attached to Ben Folds subconsciously from birth. You have no choice.
#9 - Don't Cry
#10 - Helicopter
It's pretty amazing how dense a sound Deerhunter can create. I've heard a little bit of Cryptograms, but otherwise I'm a newbie to the band. Halcyon Digest seems to be a mix of ambient space music and callback to past eras. I chose to feature two of the latter, because it interests me a lot more. Not that I don't get into ambient music sometimes when the mood strikes me, but the twists that Bradford Cox and crew bring to the 50s-60s pop sound they've seemed to adapt is endlessly fascinating.
#11 - Summer Sun
#12 - The Stars
Jukebox the Ghost remind me a bit of They Might Be Giants, only their music is more poppy and, at times, grandiose. Something about them hasn't entirely clicked with me, though I'm not sure exactly what it is. Maybe they are just a little too poppy, because normally an epic song about the apocalypse would be right up my alley. There was just something about their last CD that didn't quite cut it for me. I'm willing to write this off as my own hang-up and recommend the band, because they are definitely solid enough to at least check out. Hopefully they'll click with you.
#13 - Welcome to Algiers
#14 - Miserable
Once again I know nothing about this band, I just recognized the name and decided to give it a chance. I was actually expecting something along the indie rock lines, but was very mistaken. They're an alternative metal/post-hardcore band, and I guess I've heard them before, given their song 'Unsung' was one of my favorites in Guitar Hero. I kind of like their slower and heavier, sort of chugging riffs. Plus, they aren't screamers, something that usually turns me off from metal except on rare occasions.
#15 - Devil in Stitches
#16 - Wrong Way Kids
I've never been crazy about Bad Religion, but every once in awhile one of their CDs really catches my attention. Most of the time they are straight-forward enough that I just sort of ignore it, and Greg Graffin's singing voice always rubbed me the wrong way. Still, the man can write some amazing lyrics, and rightfully so, given he's also a college professor. I actually really like The Dissent of Man, but it drags on a bit. There are probably four to six tracks that could have been cut to make the album more concise and let the better songs shine, but maybe those will grow on me with more listens.
#17 - Juveniles
#18 - Blue as Your Blood
Once again late to the party, but The Walkmen are pretty great. At least this album is. It's very soothing. Maybe not as soothing as, say, Horse Feathers, but soothing nonetheless. Kind of like The National, just less brooding. I think this CD would probably be really beautiful if I listened to it in the dead of night while I do papers. I'll have to give that a try.
#19 - Here, Sometimes
#20 - My Plants are Dead
It took a few listens for me to get into this CD. I guess I just wasn't in the right mood for it. Eventually, on the third or so attempt, I was in the properly relaxed mood, and I cranked it as loud as I could. That was the key. They are a pretty interesting mix, with soft, calming vocals, and very bass-y electronic backing music. That was what saved it for me when I maxed out the volume; an awesome, pumping layer to the relaxing vocals.
#21 - Summer Well
#22 - All of the Ways
With their debut, "Turn On The Bright Lights", Interpol seemed like they were taking up the mantle of The Cure, providing brooding hipsters with a soundtrack to their relationship woes and anti-social misadventures. A growing majority of their fans felt like they began to lose their path with subsequent albums that had songs about nautical themes and (say it isn't so!) dancing. I was not one of those fans; "Antics" and "Our Love To Admire" were albums that retained Interpol's skills with lyrics that conveyed regret and self-evaluation (sometimes overtly, with lines like, "I haven't slept for two days, I've bathed in nothing but sweat, and I've made hallways scenes for things to regret"). They just happened to do so with higher emphasis on more upbeat tunes, largely losing the droning background guitars that always seemed to build a sense of doubt and vague depression.
With their new self-titled album they have returned with what sounds like a long-lost sophomore record. Almost all of the songs return to the point of view of a man who's lost his woman and either wants her back, knows he's not good enough to have her back, or is resigned to seeing her off with a (slightly) better man. They also go back to their almost maddeningly-cryptic lyrics that I had grown to not miss as of their third record. You could reliably add this to some of their best work, if not for requiring a slight bit of time travel in evaluating their growth as a band.
#23 - Sirens
#24 - Nirvana the Buffalo
Fusion music is a strange mix on the ears, but weirdness in my book isn't a barrier to entry. Jam rockers Toubab Krewe form an interesting medley combining West African beats and Southern American rock, which results in a jamming rock crossover. Their latest, TK2, continues this trend of heavy African drum beats, twenty one stringed kora tunes, and electric guitar riffs.
The band plays TK2 at an eccentric pace messing around with tempo and effects. Some tracks move with the momentum of a roller coaster, switching from a slow steady bongo rhythm and slide guitar to suddenly busting out into a hoedown like breakdown such as on the track Sirens. Another notable track, Nirvana the Buffalo, plays out with ferocious surf rock inspired guitar play but keeps a progression on rhythmic African percussion. If this is your first taste of Toubab Krewe, I suggest their album Live at the Orange Peel because the feel of the band shines the brightest in a live setting, sort of like Phish or Béla Fleck and the Flecktones. Still, TK2 is a great blend of two music genres and should definitely be checked out for those fond of instrumental rock. (Note: The track Holy Grail can be downloaded for free off the Amazon album page.)
Weezer - Hurley
Owen Pallett - A Swedish Love Story EP
The Thermals - Personal Life
Of Montreal - False Priest
Neil Young - Le Noise
Coming Out Next Month:
Franz Nicolay - Luck & Courage - 1st
Weezer - Pinkerton (Deluxe) - 5th
Envy - Recitation - 12th
Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz - 12th
Belle and Sebastian - Write About Love - 12th
Less Than Jake - TV/EP - 12th
Sainte Catherines - Fire Works - 26th
Avey Tare - Down There - 26th
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Abattoir Blues/Lyre of Orpheus - 26th
None More Black - Icons - 26th
Am I missing something awesome? Let me know in the comments, or by emailing CerebralPop[at]gmail[dot]com.