Feature ·

[April 8, 2008] Heading to the record store? Here's what's new.

This week: Boredoms brings the noise (again), Kim Deal gets back to the Breeders, and the Microphones redo Pt. 2. [more:]




Eric Avery
Help Wanted

More people know the name Perry Ferrell than the name Eric Avery, which is unfair, since Avery co-founded Jane’s Addiction with Ferrell. Since those hazy days, Avery has gone on to lead the band Polar Bear and play with the Smashing Pumpkins, Alanis Morisette, Peter Murphy, and Garbage. That last band’s lead singer, Shirley Manson, makes a guest appearance on Help Wanted, Avery’s first true solo album. So do Flea (playing trumpet, not bass) and Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins. Of Help Wanted’s thirteen mostly gloomy, introspective tracks, three are subtitled “The Man Who Could Fly.” ~John Zeiss

Artist: http://www.ericavery.net
Label: http://www.dangerbirdrecords.com
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/ericaverymusic

Super Roots 9
Thrill Jockey

At this point, I’m unsure if the Super Roots series even needs to be considered a series. Sure, each volume collects tracks that don’t quite fit the album format, but who would consider any Boredoms album conventional? So, think of the ninth edition of Super Roots as the latest opportunity for fans to get their headphone or bedroom/living room groove on. This edition captures a 2004 live performance in Japan with a twenty-four-piece choir and comes packaged in a mini-gatefold jacket package. In other words, it looks pretty and it’s hella noisy -- just how you like it. ~Dan Nishimoto

Band: http://www.boredoms.jp
Label: http://www.thrilljockey.com
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/boredoms

Billy Bragg
Mr. Love & Justice
Indie-rock types who fancy themselves socially sensitive because they listen to Ted Leo or some band on Dischord will do well to check up on Billy Bragg. Or, so goes the logic of the leftist upstarts at Anti- Records. The truth of the matter is Bragg already made a deep entrenchment into the post-punk aristocracy with his critically acclaimed collaborations with Wilco, Johnny Marr and Morrissey and likely won't win over any new converts. That said, listening to the man's craft further mature ain't such a shabby affair. ~Dan Nishimoto

Artist: http://www.billybragg.co.uk
Label: http://www.anti.com
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/billybragg

The Breeders
Mountain Battles
With that whole Pixies reunion thing out of the way, Kim Deal can now focus on getting back together with the band she’s second-best known for being a part of: the Breeders. But don’t expect a full-on classic Breeders lineup reunion; sister Kelley is the only other band member still around from the group’s “Cannonball” heyday. The band is fleshed out by bassist Mando Lopez and drummer Jose Medeles, who also appeared on 2002’s Title TK. Kim Deal has been slowly crafting the songs that appear here over the years since that record, with recording help from Steve Albini, among others. Kim and Kelley trade vocal duties on Mountain Battles, Kelley even singing in Spanish on “Regalame Esta Noche.” ~John Zeiss

Label: http://www.4ad.com
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/thebreeders

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!
After last year’s excursion into scuzzy blues with his side project Grinderman, Nick Cave gets behind the piano again for his fourteenth studio album with the Bad Seeds. Expect things to stay dark and Biblical; in addition to the title track, there are songs named “Moonland,” “Midnight Man,” and “Jesus of the Moon.” The band got production help from Nick Launay, who also worked with the group on Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus. ~John Zeiss


Band: http://www.nickcaveandthebadseeds.com
Label: http://www.anti.com
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/nickcaveandthebadseeds

Do It!

Clinic has survived the gimmick of being known as “that band that performs in surgical scrubs" to become a mainstay in the Brit-rock scene. The Arcade Fire loves the band, covering its songs and taking Clinic out on the road. Do It! is the band's fifth full album: Expect more spooky, organ-soaked garage-psych behind lead singer Ade Blackburn’s tortured yelps. ~John Zeiss


Band: http://www.clinicvoot.org
Label: http://www.dominorecordco.com/site
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/clinicvoot

Cut Copy
In Ghost Colours
It only took two albums for Cut Copy's transformation to become official. The aptly named production vehicle for Dan Whitford effectively replicated your favorite shoegazers and dancefloor maestros on its 2004 debut, Bright Light Neon Love. For album number two, Whitford teamed up with DFA's Tim Goldsworthy to obsess over ELO and Loveless . . . and write a new album. ~Dan Nishimoto

Band: http://cut-copy.blogspot.com
Label: http://www.modularpeople.com
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/cutcopy

Dead Child
Touch and Go/Quarterstick

Dead Child is the latest musical project of David Pajo. Best known as a member of Slint, Pajo has also played with Mogwai and Billy Corgan’s short-lived Zwan. Dead Child also features Todd Cook and Michael McMahan, who have played with Slint during recent reunion appearances, as well as a lead singer who goes only by Dahm. As the morbid moniker might suggest, Dead Child has Pajo exploring his metal side. Attack is chock full of even more mega-metal-named songs like “Twitch of the Death Nerve” and “Screaming Skull.” The album was recorded in Louisville with producer Brad Wood. ~John Zeiss

Band: http://deadchild.net
Label: http://www.touchandgorecords.com
Audio: http://myspace.com/deadchildmusic
“Sweet Chariot” MP3: http://www.touchandgorecords.com/bands/album.php?id=461#

Sub Pop

The band Foals possesses so many of the ingredients that are hip right now in indie rock that it’s almost unfair. The group plays a brand of wigged-out, wiry, world-beat rock that bands including Dirty Projectors and Vampire Weekend also trade in. They hail from Oxford, England, long a center of the British art-rock scene. They traveled to Brooklyn to record Antidotes with TV on the Radio’s David Sitek, who has also produced work for Liars and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Sitek was instrumental in pulling in the horn section from Antibalas as well as Celebration’s Katrina Ford to guest on the album. And Sub Pop, home to hot-right now acts like No Age and Fleet Foxes, is handling the U.S. release. If all those ingredients don’t explain why this band is being hailed as the next big thing, I don’t know what would. ~John Zeiss

Band: http://www.wearefoals.com
Label: http://www.subpop.com
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/foals

Man Man
Rabbit Habits

The members of Man Man like to dress in all white, put war paint on their faces, and engage in all other manner of onstage antics. Despite the eccentricities, though, Man Man has begun to catch on with a wider audience of late. The band has toured with Modest Mouse and is now signed to Anti-, the label of Tom Waits and Nick Cave that has been quickly plucking up young talent recently. But don’t think for a second that a bigger barn had made these Man Manimals any tamer; Anti- calls Rabbit Habits “a sprinkling of wild-eyed, demon-haunted art.” ~John Zeiss

Band: http://wearemanman.com
Label: http://www.anti.com
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/wearemanman

The Microphones
The Glow Pt. 2
This magnum opus from the Microphones was originally released in 2001, and Pitchfork christened it the best album of the year. Consider this reissue The Glow Pt. 2 part two. The album has been doubled in size, from twenty tracks to forty, spread over two CDs or three LPs. That means double the simple yet searching sonic masterpieces from Phil Elverum, who also records under the guise of Mount Eerie. ~John Zeiss

Band: http://www.pwelverumandsun.com
Label: http://www.krecs.com

Peter Moren
The Last Tycoon
Touch and Go/Quarterstick
Yes, Peter Moren is of Peter Bjorn & John. No, you shouldn’t necessarily hold that against him. Yes, “Young Folks” got quite annoyingly overexposed. No, Moren doesn’t put in a version of it on this, his first solo album. Yes, that title appears to be a reference to an unfinished F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. No, you shouldn’t hope Moren will follow in Fitzgerald’s footsteps and drink himself to death, no matter how much that whistling in “Young Folks” grated on you. Yes, other Swedish musicians including members of the Concretes and the Tiny guest on the album. No, Bjorn & John do not. ~John Zeiss

Label: http://www.touchandgorecords.com
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/petermorn
“Social Competence” MP3: http://www.touchandgorecords.com/bands/album.php?id=462#

Neva Dinova
You May Already be Dreaming
Saddle Creek
It may come as a surprise that this is the first album Neva Dinova is releasing on the Omaha-based, Conor Oberst-affiliated label Saddle Creek. Neva Dinova lead man Jake Bellows has long recorded and toured with Bright Eyes, and drummer Roger Lewis also mans the skins for fellow Saddle Creek act the Good Life. Neva Dinova’s last album, 2005’s The Hate Yourself Change, was released by Crank/Sidecho. Why the three years between albums? Besides Bellows’s decision to reconfigure some songs after initial work had begun on them, Bellows temporarily lost hearing in one ear after a barroom brawl and the band lost equipment in a studio flood. ~John Zeiss

Band: http://www.nevadinova.net
Label: http://www.saddle-creek.com
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/nevadinova

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
Some people still love the kind of '90s indie-pop that Matthew Sweet and Archers of Loaf used to do so well. And some of those people are obviously in the band Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin. Pershing is the follow-up to the band’s 2006 self-released debut, Broom, which later got a reissue on the band's current home, Polyvinyl. The album reportedly finds the band maturing into the bigger britches of meatier guitar riffs and catchier vocal melodies. ~John Zeiss

Band: http://www.morawk.com/boris
Label: http://www.polyvinylrecords.com
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/boris
“Think I Wanna Die” MP3: http://www.polyvinylrecords.com/media/prc-151-07.mp3

Richard Swift
Richard Swift as Onasis
Secretly Canadian

Richard Swift is quickly becoming one of the most prolific indie-rockers around. (Watch your backs, Bob Pollard and Joseph Arthur!) Last year Swift released his debut full-length, Dressed up for the Letdown. Already this year, he unleashed a glitch-pop album under the guise of Instruments of Science and Technology. And now this two-EP set finds Swift returning to rocking out on old-fashioned, blues-inflected stompers like “Knee-High Boogie Blues” and “Greaseball Blues.” ~John Zeiss

Artist: http://richardswift.us
Label: http://www.secretlycanadian.com
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/richardswift
“Knee-High Boogie Blues” MP3: http://www.scjag.com/mp3/sc/kneehigh.mp3
“Phone Coffins” MP3: http://www.scjag.com/mp3/sc/phonecoffins.mp3

Tapes 'n Tapes
Walk It Off
What Tapes 'n Tapes might be attempting to walk off on Walk It Off is the pressure that comes with trying to follow up a critically acclaimed debut. The Loon was blogged about incessantly when it was released in 2006, getting called Best New Music by Pitchfork and garnering Tapes 'n Tapes comparisons to Pavement and Modest Mouse. To avoid the sophomore slump, Tapes 'n Tapes brought in Dave Fridmann to produce. Best known for putting the pretty gloss on top of the sounds of the Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev, Fridmann’s presence should make Walk It Off less of a lo-fi affair than The Loon was. ~John Zeiss

Band: http://www.tapesntapes.com
Label: http://www.xlrecordings.com
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/tapesntapes

Wye Oak
If Children
A guy/girl duo from Baltimore that plays hazy indie-pop? No, it’s not Beach House. It’s Wye Oak, the pairing of Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack, who play all the instruments and sing together on the If Children debut. The band is named after a centuries-old tree in Wye Mill, Maryland. The band can make more of a racket than Beach House when it wants to, but for the most part Wye Oak keeps things folky and mellow. Wasner’s vocals are reminiscent of Cat Power’s, if less husky, and Stack’s songwriting recalls Conor Oberst’s, if less blatantly socio-political. ~John Zeiss

Band: http://wyeoakmusic.com
Label: http://www.mergerecords.com
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/wyeoakmusic
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