by: John Penny, KUCI Music Director
What's up Muggles,
Perhaps, like myself, you devoted seven hours this weekend to the seventh Harry Potter novel; and then again, perhaps not. If you fall into the latter category, you are probably better for it. I won't spoil anything, but that epilogue was whack! Anyhow, this weekend also saw me listening to the newest records from such indie luminaries as Screwie Lewie and the latest record from Superdude, "Pothead Punk." In other words, not a lot of quality material to sift through this week. Ultimately, I decided on quality over quantity, so here are this weeks rock adds:
Fog - Ditherer (Lex)
KUCI probably has a Fog record sitting on the shelf in just about every genre, but "Ditherer" is their first truly rock release. Notice I said "their;" yes, that's right, Fog is now a full-fledged band as opposed to just brainchild Andrew Broder. Lots of sounds and styles here, including white noise, metal, drones, strings, electronic flourishes, some folk, but ultimately this is a fairly straight-forward rock record. There are lots of guest artists, as well, such as Why?, Andrew Bird, Dosh, Phil Elv[e]rum, Pedestrian, and Low, among others. It's hard to believe that this is the same Fog that created one of my favorite records, the headphone-masterpiece "Ether Teeth," but once you get past the shiny rock sheen, I think you'll really dig this one.
SW: 1, 2, 4, 8
RIYL: Subtle, Nada Surf, metamorphmagi, Ron
Manchester Orchestra - I'm Like A Virgin Losing A Child (Favorite Gentleman)
It's kind of hard for me to tell people's ages in old photographs because I feel like the style forced everyone to look old in the 50s. Nevertheless, I think the cover for this record steals a page out of Blind Faith's playbook. Anyhow, enough about boobs, Manchester Orchestra is quintet of below-drinking-age chaps from Atlanta. You can hear the influences of other Southern indie mainstays such as Neutral Milk Hotel and the Dismemberment Plan, but Manchester Orchestra has polished their sound into something more akin to the indie-pop/punk revival stuff everyone loved in the late 90s. The songs are tightly crafted and the record sounds a lot more mature than the band's average age should allow.
SW: 3, 2, 6, 1
RIYL: The Weakerthans, Jealous Sound, Quidditch, Harry (in dark-rimmed glasses)
OPI: Needs review
The Truly Me Club - Popstar On The Lam (Sonic Boom)
The Truly Me Club is the project of Portland multi-instrumentalist and all-around cool dude Jason Parker. Okay, I don't know if he's cool or not, but he seems nice. This record is full of cute, laid-back, organ-based jams. Don't let the sound mislead you, however, as the lyrics skew a little darker with mentions of guns, suicide, car crashes, switch-blades, and more. In the end though, it all gets tied to love: the one thing that can defeat pure evil. Put this one on and drift away... almost as if you're under some kind of spell.
SW: 6, 1, 2, 5
RIYL: All-American Quarterback, American Analog Set, the Imperius Curse, Albus
Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton - What Is Free To A Good Home? (Last Gang)
I know how popular Emily Haines' solo record was at the station, so I'm adding this one more out of principle. This EP is a collection of five outtakes from the recording sessions of "Knives Don't Have Your Back," along with a remix by Soft Skeleton member Todor Kobakov. Apparently, the title and the lyrics from one of the tracks stem from poems written by Emily's father Paul Haines. A collection of his work is being released in tandem with this EP when it is available commercially. If you liked the solo CD, this is more of the same.
SW: 2, 6, 1
RIYL: Feist, Metric, sugar quills, Hermione
Grampall Jookabox - Scientific Cricket (Joyful Noise)
This album is weird. Jello Biafra is quoted as saying the following about this band: " I have no idea what you're trying to do, and that's either really good or really bad, I'm not sure." This is definitely a love it/hate it kind of band, but what makes it so hard to decide is that the record is all over the place. The opening track sounds almost like those really old Commander Venus tapes, whereas the second track is closer to Danielson territory. I can reference Animal Collective or Daniel Johnston, because you can hear it every now and then, but that really does nothing to paint the full picture here. Just as the style, production value changes from track to track; some songs sound like four-track bedroom recordings, whereas some are quite polished. And if it wasn't confusing enough, there are random spoken word samples that come from nowhere and then disappear again, doing nothing to illuminate the content within. This might be the new American folk music... and I kind of like it.
SW: 2, 5, 8, 3
RIYL: Danielson, Animal Collective, the Cruciatus Curse, Luna
All is well,