Category Archives: New Music Tuesdays

Engraved

I’m not sure why I generally pass over new releases by the Cowboy Junkies, since their classic Black-Eyed Man is one of my all-time favorites, the one that I always bring with me on cross-country drives. When all else fails, I can rely on Margo Timmins’ dreamy, sultry vocals to get me through a particularly land-locked, flat-terrained southern or eastern stretch. As someone on Rdiorecently expressed, “Whenever I hear Margo Timmins’ voice, I wonder why I ever listen to anything else.”

The first time I heard the band’s newest release, Renmin Park, I passed it over much more quickly than usual. The album skips bizarrely from what I can only call East Asian-inspired ambient psych-rock (shoot me now) to the southern bluesy alt-country (since I’m obviously not dead yet, you can try again) many of us associate with the Junkies. And there are other genres mixed in. The album is apparently a tribute to the three months Michael Timmins & family spent in China a couple of years ago.

Yet as with their other albums, this one’s a slow burn. And it is now etched into both my Itunes library and Seagate drive’s memories. The album is, quite simply, amazing. If you passed over it the first time, as I did, I recommend a second and third go-round.

I downloaded the album so that I could post my favorite song here (other bloggers seem to be sticking to the two catchiest tunes, “Cicadas” and “Stranger Here,” good tunes, as well). I’m also posting a live version of “Murder in the Trailer Park,” my heavy-hearted favorite from Black-Eyed Man. I think this album (along with Chris Cooper in Lone Star, which I have posted about before) single-handedly readied me for my hopefully-not-quite-yet mid-life excursion into the realm of classic country.

Cowboy Junkies, “My Fall”
Cowboy Junkies, “Murder Tonight in the Trailer Park” (live)

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Possessed. By "Afro-Jive."

I came across this “rare afro-jive” album last Tuesday (Jackpot Jive) and haven’t stopped listening to it, though I’m generally not of the “international music” (as it is labeled) persuasion. I have no idea whether it is actually “afro-jive” or “rare.” In fact, I have gleaned little about the album and its inhabitants online, except that the song I’ve linked to the post is by the Soweto Boys, and Soweto appears both to be a 60s musical form attributed to the South African city of the same name and also the birthplace of Kwaito, a South African hip-hop form that emerged in the Soweto township, which was a locus point for anti-Apartheid struggle.

This album has got me hooked, though, and intrigued. And Soweto has apparently intrigued others, such as Malcolm McLaren and the Sex Pistols. Enlighten me. Unless you are David/bored at work, in which case, write a one-act play about it.

Soweto Boys: “Bayeza, Part I”

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New Music… Tuesday, Wednesday… Old Music?

Broken Social Scene, Forgiveness Rock Record

Somehow, although both Cydney and I talked about posting on it, Broken Social Scene’s new record never got a mention. I always was a lukewarm BSS fan, although “I’m Still Your Fag” has definitely made my drive platter spin on repeat a few times. But this album is something special. Add more structure to your songs AND bring in John McEntire from Tortoise to handle production and drums? Oh boy.

Many of you have heard the knockout single “World Sick” (do click if you haven’t), but “Sentimental X’s” is probably my favorite track.

Broken Social Scene, “Sentimental X’s”

Janelle Monáe, The ArchAndroid
I have no idea what to make of this record. Pitchfork describes it as a “a futuristic story starring a messianic android” that zips “gleefully from genre to genre, mostly grounded in R&B and funk, but spinning out into rap, pastoral British folk, psychedelic rock, disco, cabaret, cinematic scores, and whatever else strikes her fancy.” It’s the type of album that both shouldn’t be made in this iTunes age. Either great or middling, and I’m leaning towards the former. Since no track is representative of the album, I’m throwing my hands up and posting the very Outkast-y “Tightrope.”

Janelle Monáe, “Tightrope ft. Big Boi”

Others in brief
The previously mentioned LCD Soundsystem’s This Is Happening is great. As is the previously mentioned Black Keys’ Brothers. The previously mentioned Band of Horses’ Infinite Arms is not. And we’re not friends if you haven’t listened to Phosphorescent.

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Youngins Avi Buffalo


L.A. band Avi Buffalo appears to be getting quite a bit of attention. According to the very little research I conducted, their single “What’s in it For?” was taken up pretty quickly by Sup Pop, who signed them and has now released their debut album.

I’m not sure what exactly to say that I like here, except that for such a young band (all of the members graduated high school, thank God, by the time the record was released), they have strong lyrical command with quite a bit of wry humor (even when they wield words like “cum” in the song I’ve posted below) and a sound that is more mature than you’d expect for such youngins. I’m not a huge fan of wandering guitar (it tends to take my attention along with it), but I don’t mind it here.

This is a nice summer listen and impressive debut effort. I enjoy the vocal duo on “One Last,” and I’m posting “Summer Cum” with just a little bit of adult discomfort, since it is my favorite on the album so far.

06 Summer Cum

07 One Last

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New Music Tuesdays: Free Lying Gorillaz

A very quick edition of New Music Tuesdays, highlighting a few albums that were released yesterday.

Liars, Proud Evolution
Post-punk Kraturock-philes Liars released a very solid fifth effort in Sisterworld. I’ve already annoyed people with “Scissor” via Facebook, so I’ll post their sequel to Pearl Jam’s “Do the Evolution” (lie):

Liars, “Proud Evolution”
Also, Thom Yorke did a remix, Radiohead completists:

Gorillaz, Plastic Beach
Damon Albarn-helmed Gorillaz released the uneven but fun Plastic Beach. Why wouldn’t grimemaster Kano feature with the Lebanese National Orchestra?

Gorillaz, “White Flag”

Free Energy, Stuck on Nothing
Philadelphia hipster classic rock band Free Energy skip right over the Philly scene to get produced by dancemeister James Murphy (DFA, LCD Soundsystem). You’ll forgive it’s numerous clunkers for its breezy spring feel and sundry good songs. Even though I’m pretty unimpressed, I can see it growing on me until it becomes a closet favorite (see: Semisonic, Counting Crows). Their first-released track is still their best:

Free Energy, “Dream City”

Also, jj released jj nº 3, which I wrote about and posted from earlier: Tropical vacations with jj & Gucci”.

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New Music Tuesday (another ode to Lala)

So it’s (late) Wednesday, and I realized only yesterday that Noise Narcs needs some sort of New Music Tuesday posts.

Every Tuesday, we who lust after music flock to sites like Lala.com to listen to new releases. Sure, real music lusters have heard most or all of many new releases far before their release dates, but since Lala has made it so easy to listen to music without cheating, I like to honor musicians and bands by waiting (in most cases) until their official release dates to listen to full albums. The beauty of Lala, also, is that it posts new releases by category, making it absurdly easy to glide through a genre, listening to a dozen or more new albums during a workday.

Here are just a few of the albums I listened to on 2.23.10:

A-Trak: Infinity + 1
K-os: Yes!
Holly Miranda: The Magician’s Private Library
Bomb the Bass: Boy Girl
Johnny Cash: American VI: Ain’t No Grave

(There’s also Steve Reich’s Phases, which I am embarrassed to say I forgot to listen to in my K-os and A-Trak excitement.)

Not all of which were good, mind you. In fact, coming down from New Music Tuesday is often like sliding off a sugar or coffee high. First, you are frantically firing all synapses trying to find the time to listen to everything in the electronica and indie rock categories, but by the end of the day, you are left with a few good tracks or—if you are lucky—one great album.

This week, Holly Miranda’s The Magician’s Private Library stands out for what it could have been had Miranda not overly channeled Chan Marshall (one of my favorite songwriters, but a woman who should never, ever, be allowed on stage in front of an audience who has paid to hear her play live): a gorgeous, ethereal, lyrically-driven album. Unfortunately, the Catpower influence is so strong that it distracts more than charms.

K-os’ album Yes! is another decent entry into the mindful hip-hop genre.

Bomb the Bass’ “Boy Girl (FM Radio Gods Remix)” is a moody entry into the electro deep, and I’m not posting it here lest I get punished by David for its length.

I think it’s A-Trak’s Infinity + 1 that is the heavy hitter this week, although it is a mix album and only contains two remixes of A-Trak’s own (coincidentally not my favorite on the album). A-Trak was a turntable superstar by the age of 18 (an influence you can hear in the turntablism you can hear on his tracks), but he’s perhaps better known for being Kanye West’s touring dj. He’s put together a bouncy little number here (I’m having visions of David and his purse hopping like a kangaroo–um, I mean, dancing gracefully–around the dance floor, or perhaps that is David holding the purse I’ve made him hold for me while I use the powder room).

So here’s a track from Infinity + 1, a song I’ve been digging for a while, Little Boots’ “Stuck on Repeat (Fake Blood Remix).”

A-Trak, “Stuck on Repeat (Fake Blood remix)”

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