Sunday, November 22, 2009

Return of the Quick Ones

Well, after a prolonged hiatus of sorts on this blog, I'm back with my brief reviews. Here are 11 albums from the year, and keep your eye out for the enormous glut of reviews that I have to do.


Arctic Monkeys
Humbug **½
Is this what working in the desert with Josh Homme brings us? Favourite Worst Nightmare 2? It takes the awkward, bassy songs from the previous work and adds a layer of guitars to it.


Atlas Sound
Logos ****
Bradford Cox is back as Atlas Sound, and after a prolonged recording thanks to internet leaks, he releases Logos. Compared to last year's Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See but Cannot Feel, Logos is more bright, cheerful and confident. If Let the..., chronicled Cox's era of sadness and despair, Logos follows a happier Cox, and it shows on tracks like "Walkabout" which features Noah Lennox of Animal Collective, and "Quick Canal", featuring Laetita Sadier of Stereolab, which as something of an emotional coming-out on the album. Other highlights include the ironically upbeat suicide-pact/romance saga of "Shelia", "Criminals", and the closer "Logos".


Dananananaykroyd
Hey Everyone ***
Twee-punk band, or to be exact, tweecore (to be even more exact upbeat hardcore) from Glasgow make an album of highly caffeinated anthems. Decent, but not totally focused and organized.


Deerhunter
Rainwater Cassette Exchange EP ***½
A good follow-up to Microcastle but it’s not better than say Fluorescent Grey. Though my Deerhunter t-shirt is a Rainwater Exchange Shirt.


Delorean
Ayrton Senna EP ***½
So we get those bands from Sweden doing that whole tropical pop thing, and Passion Pit and YACHT are sorta doing that same thing. Well I present you a band who comes an area with sunny beaches and warm waters - Spain. Delorean make an noticeable EP of sunny dance pop, filled fun summer jams. Highlight, the epic dance track "Big Dipper".


The Dodos
Time to Die ***
Yep, the sophomore slump has effected the Dodos. Despite good tunes, they don't have the same staying power as the tunes on Visiter. However, the single "Fables" is the songs best album, a catchy little number thanks to the pseudo-reggaeton beat.


No Age
Losing Feeling EP ***½
No Age goes New Wave on their new EP. The distortion is there, but it's a cleaner, polished sound. The EP continues the trend that has been hitting members of the Smell club. Look at Abe Vigoda's Reviver EP from earlier this year to hear more of the New Wave sound.


Jay Reatard
Watch Me Fall ****
Since 1996, Jay Reatard has been the hardest working man in show business, and yet nobody really knows this yet. Ever since his solo debut, Blood Visions, Reatard has been building as steady cult following and already a recognizable presence in the indie world. An intense looking, yet baby faced fella, Jay is the indie tough man of the moment. Watch me Fall, his second album, first on Matador, is another album full of short garage punk epics. Also, don’t let the Shining-esque cover full you. Watch Me Fall is a rather cheerful album. Despite the brevity of the songs, they surely pack a punch, filled with hooks, clever lyrics and catchy choruses. Jay can also do some balladry. “I’m Watching You” and the closer “There is No Sun” are album highlights. But it’s those 2-minute epics, like “It Ain’t Gonna Save Me” and “Wounded” that make you come back for more.


Sunn O)))
Monoliths & Dimensions ****
Metal's most interesting act right now, Sunn O))) release one of the year's most challeneging, but most satisfying releases. Long, droning (duh...) chords that last for minutes, with church choirs and deep, scary vocals. Sunn O))) have probably made the year's best metal album.


Wild Beasts
Two Dancers ****
If there’s a moment that can surmise this album by Kendal, England band, Wild Beasts, it’s on the fantastic track “All the King’s Men” around the 3rd minute. After launching into one of his many passionate falsetto shrieks, Hayden Thrope gasps for air. That moment alone makes Two Dancers one the year's most interesting and exciting albums. While the album has these fantastic, showstopping vocals, it has more soul, passion and is grounded in reality than your average American Idol contestant. Soul seems to have been resurrected by a quartet who come from a town whose greatest export is a mint cookie.


The XX
XX ****
The XX, the much hyped British band, make on the years best debut with an album full of sparse yet introspective and personal songs. Every song grabs you with it's minimalism. The group also are leading the pack of a new wave of British music, that don't rely on Strokes-esque riffing and hipness.

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