Monday, October 22, 2012

#MusicMonday, Vol. 77: Sparks, Two Door Cinema Club, Yeasayer & more

What the CL music team is jamming this week (with video)

Posted by , , , , , and on Mon, Oct 22, 2012 at 11:54 AM

Find out what the CL Music Team is listening to today to rocket launch the work week. Click here to check out previous entries.

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Joel - Yeasayer, Fragrant World (2012)
Fragrant World the best pop album I've heard in years, but radio doesn't touch stuff like this. It's probably too weird for mainstream listeners. But Yeasayer's slinky, sexy rhythms and deceptively catchy hooks are a superior alternative for those burnt out on recent pop music conventions like awkward EDM infusion, monotonous dance beats, and sterile auto-tuning.

Deborah - Future Islands, In Evening Air (2010)
I been playing the hell out of Future Islands' debut lately, after forgetting it for a damn long long time. When first released, it was my go-to for long bike rides; letting me zone out to the repetitive nature of cycling while keeping me on pace with a driving bpm. The album is perfect post-wave darkness, filled with narratives of longing and loss laid over gorgeous synth melodies. It's definitely not all danceable, but the moments that are have had me spontaneously bouncing around my living room all weekend.

The subtle emotion in Samuel Herring's crooning vocals is also right on point - he's taken more than a few notes from Ian Curtis. I just bought their 2011 release, On the Water, in anticipation of the band's upcoming gig at Crowbar on November 7 - my homework for today. I was already stoked for the show, and then I saw Herring's erratic, emotional performance of the stunningly beautiful "Inch of Dust." Holy crap. Pumped. Video after the jump...

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Gabe - Sparks, Extended: The 12" Mixes, 1979-1984 (2012)
Spectacular 2-disc collection of extended dance mixes and remixes from the uncannily offbeat California brother duo that has been putting out some of the most original and indescribable music since the early 1970s. At the dawn of the '80s, Russel and Ron Mael, better known as Sparks, decided to take a more danceable, upbeat approach and began an impressive run with German dance and disco wizard producer, Giorgio Moroder. What followed was intelligent and witty (and always fun) dance music that matched the band's earlier output in quality and originality. This set has been crisply remastered and contains a fantastic extended dance mix of 1984's "Cool Places," the duet with Go-Go Jane Wiedlin that was the band's highest-charting in the States. Russell Mael's sometimes high, operatic vocals are not for the faint at heart but they add to the color and the quirkiness of the music. Sparks is getting my Monday off to an energetic start!

Evan - Frank Ocean, channel ORANGE (2012)
There's nothing generic about this R&B debut by Odd Future member Frank Ocean. channel ORANGE depicts a sensitive singer-songwriter's early 20s. Within the sonic atmosphere of neo-soul artists Bilal and Maxwell, Los Angeles landscapes and decadence come into view with a craftman's detail. Individualism flirts with indulgence at times, but the album retains its eccentric structure within 17 tracks. It's a captivating debut from the heart.

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Shae - Angel Olsen, Half Way Home (2012)
Angel Olsen's Half Way Home is reminiscent of those albums recorded by early '70s songstresses that were ignored upon release or promptly forgotten and then brought back into the spotlight 30 years later (see: Parallelogramss by Linda Perhacs, Just Another Diamond Day by Vashti Bunyan and Color Green by Sibylle Baier). Half Way Home has the same undulating simplicity, sparse arrangements that let the singer's voice shine and unrelenting honesty, as though the songs were recorded in a basement or bedroom at 3 a.m. This album is the perfect alternative for those of us who appreciate retro-infused contemporary music, but can't stomach Lana Del Rey's vapidity and "gangsta Nancy Sinatra" affectations.

Scott - Van Halen, Women and Children First (1980)
Plenty of die-hard fans will argue that either one of the first two VH albums is the band's no-contest best, but I prefer the mix of party anthems and slightly more substantial material that makes up their third outing. There are a couple of throwaway tunes, sure, but every Van Halen full-length has a couple, and the dual opening salvo of "And the Cradle will Rock ... " and "Everybody Wants Some," along with the group's blistering version of "Take Your Whiskey Home," more than make up for a few shortcomings.

Valerie - Two Door Cinema Club, Beacon (2012)
The Northern Irish indie outfit recently released a followup to their 2009 debut (Tourist History) and it's just what I need to get myself motivated and energized this Monday. Something about this band, maybe their upbeat and dancey vibe, just always manages to put me in a good mood. Check out "Sleep Alone" below.

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