Find out what the CL Music Team is jamming to rocket launch the work week. Click here to check out previous entries.
Leilani - Sunglasses, Wildlife (2012), Dent May, Do Things (2012, Paw Tracks) It's always surprising to stumble upon something so good this late in the year, but Sunglasses' Wildlife grabbed me on first listen - the second band off the Mush Records label to catch my ear in 2012 (the other being Holobody, which I wrote up in the last edition of MM). The debut from the Brooklyn duo made up of singer/multi-instrumentalist Samuel Cooper and DJ/sound designer Brady Keehn is a sunshine-y blend of psych, experimental and dance pop built with all manner of analogue and digital instrumentation, from acoustic guitars to iPhones to a range of percussives in upbeat smile-inducing ditties like "Cold Shoulder" and "Blessing," soundscapal centerpiece "Swim" and the Bowiesque glam of the title track. It definitely tickles my Animal Collective funnybone.
Do Things is the sophomore LP from Mississippi singer-songwriter Dent May, who completely abandoned the ukulele pop of his debut full-length in favor of a more smooth and grooving bedroom pop-oriented sound with island-vibing languidness and retro flavor, his dreamy Beach Boys-style vocal harmonies laid over a mix of synths, guitars and analog drum machines. May plays Crowbar in Ybor this Fri., Dec. 7; story forthcoming. Videos after the jump along with the rest of this week's entries...
Gabe - Manic Street Preachers, Generation Terrorists 20th Anniversary Legacy Edition (Original release 1992; new edition 2012) I've been reveling all week long in this superb remastered re-release of the debut from one of my favorite bands, Manic Street Preachers. Upon its release in 1992, the Welsh foursome had already garnered tons of press in the UK for their outrageousness, pompous attitudes and incendiary live performances. The band confidently claimed that this, their double-album debut, would sell "16 million copies" and that they'd disband after its release. Dumbfounded, the press and the public weren't sure how to react to this but, nonetheless, it went on to sell a respectable amount of copies and cemented the band's place in the UK's 1990s music scene, which Manic Street Preachers still have a firm grasp on. A combination of hard rock, punk and metal, Generation Terrorists sounds as fresh and raw as is did 20 years ago. This is the sound of a cocky, self-assured, swaggering band ready to take on the world with their revved up guitars and their attitudes. The deluxe re-issue contains a wealth of bonus demos, b-sides and live tracks. Also added is a jam-packed DVD containing a ton of videos, TV appearances, new interviews and a retrospective documentary. This is by far the bands crudest and most unapologetic work, and it still packs a mighty significant wallop, both musically and politically. Think Guns ‘N Roses meets the Clash with a little of the in-your-face bravado of Public Enemy thrown in for good measure. An important piece of work that still thrills and amazes. Original first single "Stay Beautiful" below.
Nicole (elawgrrl) - forgetters, Too Small to Fail (2012) Yay! Blake Schwarzenbach and Kevin Mahon have finally followed up the original forgetters release - a double 7" - with a DIY full-length produced by J. Robbins that moves in a (mostly) new direction. This might make some fans sad if they had their hopes pinned on this record being the next evolution of Schwarzenbach's past musical endeavors. But their melancholy should lift after a few spins as they realize Too Small to Fail is nicely eclectic and deftly blends multiple musical styles with some familiar indie rock and poppish elements. In fact, I like it enough that I listened to it all the way home on my flight from D.C. last weekend and I've added it into regular rotation now that I'm back home. My favorite tracks are "Hoop and Swan" and "In America," which represent the toe-tapping and indie rock elements of the record quite nicely. I'm hoping that this release means a tour will be coming soon - forgetters first and only visit to Tampa was in March 2010 for the Skate Park of Tampa Anniversary at the Ritz (photo I took of Schwarzenbach above right), and it's about time for another Florida sojourn.
Taylor - Josh Wilson, Noel (2012); Andy Williams, The Andy Williams Christmas Album (1963); Sufjan Stevens, Songs for Christmas (2006); etc. etc. etc. The company I work for got its tree last week, so the month of red, green, peppermint mochas, and excessive Christmas music has begun!
Evan - Ghostpoet, Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam (2011) When a debut album gets nominated for a major award, you know you have talent on your hands. Though Ghostpoet lost to PJ Harvey for 2011's British Mercury Prize, Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam is stellar. UK singer and electronic artist Ghostpoet shows an admirable vulnerability in a drowsy, down-tempo trip-hop universe of liquid demons and missed bill payments. While some rappers brag about how great they are — and how superior everything in their life is — Ghostpoet admits his search for footing. (He named a song "Survive it" — "it" being life; video below.) It's a highly-individual, emotionally-honest, fully-formed debut.
Deborah - Vetiver, entire discography Today, I'm moving into my new house. Go figure, the only thing I want to hear is something that makes me feel like home. My go-to band for days like this has been Vetiver for some time now. Lushly layered folk, thoughtful lyrics, and comforting vocals make every song feel like a big hug from mom ... followed by a glass of milk and some fresh baked cookies.
Shae - Ryan Bingham, "Bread and Water" Ryan Bingham's "Bread and Water" has pushed itself through my otherwise steady stream of Justin Townes Earle to become one of my most-listened-to tracks of the past week. Bingham's dirt-and-gravel voice mixed with a jaunty beat, some hand-claps and a slide guitar riff that conjures up images of some dusty honky-tonk where people boot-scoot and drink Budweiser makes an undeniably catchy tune. In the song, he takes us through the list of his travels, from California to North Carolina, and you can feel the sun and sweat on your skin. It's a perfect pick-me-up for an overcast Monday morning.