Tuesday News and Notes
August 16, 2011
New Album Releases
Hercules and Love Affair – Blue Songs
Following their first eponymous record, nu-disco fans everywhere can rejoice as Hercules and Love Affair have released their sophomore album this week. Without Antony Hegarty (of Antony & the Johnsons), this album will garner a little less attention but looks to be as good or better than their first. Don’t know if we’ll be posting a full review later this week or not, but we’ll get around to it.
Botany – Feeling Today EP
Need a refreshing bit of chillwave to lighten the weight of the late-summer heat? Perhaps something new, from a band you haven’t heard of, with a tone that is as soft and comforting as it is weird and off-the-beaten-path? We’ve got just the band for you. Texas-based Botany released their first EP this week, and it’s five tracks of mellowed-out madness. There is an epic kind of feel despite its tender voice, the intricacy and fragility and incomprehensible strength of a spider web only minus the scary little biter it houses. Instead, the only poison here is its catchy beats and unequaled flavor. Think of a more refined, more chilled out version of the chaos of A Sunny Day In Glasgow – lots of windows opening and closing, an impressive amount of sonic texture, and more than enough complexity to keep your mind spinning play after play after play. There are a lot of releases out this week, but so far this is the one we keep coming back to.
Mister Heavenly – Out of Love
It’s quite an odd pairing, this Mister Heavenly band is. Honus Honus of Man Man, Nicholas Thorburn of Islands and the Unicorns, and Joe Plummer of Modest Mouse and the Shins. Hell, they even welcomed in Michael Cera (yes, that Michael Cera) to tour with them on bass. Their first album, Out Of Love, was recorded late last year sometime during the tour in which they opened for Passion Pit, but is finally being released this week. We’ve played a lot of it in the last couple weeks on the podcast, so you’re probably fairly familiar with it. It’s not particularly inventive, sort of settles in to the generic indie rock canvas and doesn’t do anything that sets it far apart from their contemporaries, but still is a very enjoyable album. A little unfocused at times, it waffles between cute and dirty, but I guess you could call that “showing a wide range” if you wanted to. The best element of this group is clearly the Thorburn influence. Honus brings a cool flavor to it to. Probably could have done without Joe Plummer, but hey, if we’re throwing together a super group, why not toss him in there too?
The War On Drugs – Slave Ambient
The War On Drugs’ first album, although at times unfocused and figuring out its own sound on the fly, quickly thrust the Philadelphia, PA indie rockers into the limelight. The Americana influences on it were thick, but not so thick as to block out the jangle pop, psychedelia, and ambient rock that also were swirled in to form what would become a cornerstone album of the late 2000′s indie rock catalog. The band’s second album, and the first without Kurt Vile and two of the others in the band’s first steady line up, still features much the same sound: Dylan-/Springsteen-esque Americana, this time a little more heavily drowned in ambient indie rock, a sound produced by more pronounced keyboards, longer and more churning guitars, and an overall more chilled out affectation. Very, very cool stuff.
Stephin Merritt – Obscurities
Yes, I know, it’s not out until next week *technically*, but we’ll put this here for two reasons. One, it’s a huge release and one we cannot wait to get to next week, and two, it’s actually available for your listening pleasure if not for purchase. Just head on over to PasteMagazine.com and you can stream the album in its entirety. The whole album is a compilation of random recordings from before 69 Love Songs, including five previously unreleased tracks, three from the unfinished sci-fi musical written by Merritt and Daniel Handler (Lemony Snickett), and several from Merge-era 7-inches and compilations, from the 6ths, from an audio book, and even one from a K Records cassette.
Tour Dates Posted
Eric Bachmann is going to be one busy dude over the next year or so. Monday, Merge Records announced that he would not only be touring with Archers of Loaf, who have recently begun re-releasing their early works and have seemed to have a lot of news surrounding them in the last couple weeks, but that he would also be doing a full tour with his other band Crooked Fingers in support of their new album Breaks in the Armor (out October 11). As it should, this tour features a ton of dates in the Carolina-area: three in NC, one in TN, one in DC. Of course the date we’re most interested in is on October 15 at the Cat’s Cradle. For the record, trying to pick between Crooked Fingers and Archers of Loaf is comparing apples to oranges, but I’ll give a slight edge to Crooked Fingers in terms of personal taste. Would never argue against someone who takes Archers though.
Cat’s Cradle –
Friday – Archers of Loaf, Electric Owls, Schooner
Saturday – Archers of Loaf, Hammer No More The Fingers, Cobra Horse
Kings Barcade –
Friday – Hadwynn Album Release Party
Saturday – Dntel (of the Postal Service), the One AM Radio, Geotic
Local 506 –
Tuesday – Shovels and Rope, The Bayonets, Matrimony, Humble Tripe (Solo)
Wednesday – Rayland Baxter, Uncle Mountain, Jack the Radio
Friday – Six Organs of Admittance, Donovan Quinn, Degollado
Saturday – L in Japanese (Dance Party)