Feature ·

[August 21, 2007] Heading to the record store? Here's what's new.

Each week, we preview a handful of notable albums scheduled to hit the shelves, plus offer a full list of the current new releases.




Because I Love It


Sure, Amerie hasn't really scored a perfect ten with this album; she came on the scene just as Beyonce's ascent picked up steam and has since been unable to shake the comparisons; and Because I Love It leaked back in May. But for all the career woes of everybody's favorite Korean-African-American singer, one thing remains true: Rich Harrison plus Amerie equals Godhead. Longtime friend and producer Harrison may not have joined lil' miss for ride number three, but that doesn't mean she hasn't learned a few tricks: Drums abound on her single "Gotta Work," and "Take Control" twists Tom Zé(http://mp3.juno.co.uk/MP3/SF253674-01-02-01.mp3) into a ladies-only dance fury. ~Dan Nishimoto



Artist: http://www.amerie.net/

Label: http://www.columbiarecords.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/ameriemimarie 

Architecture in Helsinki

Places Like This


Oh, the kids of today have it so good. Disneyland pop -- where utopian visions of aesthetic forms mingle context-free -- is the norm, and makes for some mixed-up, mindless fun. Aussie sextet Architecture in Helsinki reveled in such merriment through its 2004 debut Fingers Crossed, but realized the apex of these good times in its follow-up In Case We Die. Times have changed (sort of), one of its members has moved to utterly hip Brooklyn, and the result is an album written across oceans Places Like This. Not that the band is all moodypants now, but they add a healthy dollop of calypso, breaks, and skronk -- i.e., rhythm -- to ground its deliriously fun-time mix. ~Dan Nishimoto



Artist: http://architectureinhelsinki.com/

Label: http://www.polyvinylrecords.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/aihmusic

"Heart It Races" MP3: http://www.polyvinylrecords.com/media/prc-139-02.mp3

Bedouin Soundclash

Street Gospels

Side One Dummy

Canadian world-music trio Bedouin Soundclash returns with the follow-up to 2004's Sounding a Mosaic. The band recorded Street Gospels in its hometown of Toronto, with additional work done in New York City. As he's done for Bedouin Soundclash before, Bad Brains' Darryl Jenifer produced Street Gospels, which features Money Mark, Wade McNeil of Alexisonfire and Black Lungs, and Vernon Buckley of the Maytones. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.bedouinsoundclash.com/

Label: http://sideonedummy.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/bedouin  




Don't call him Manitoba. After a name dustup with Handsome Dick Manitoba of the Dictators, Dan Snaith has been recording as Caribou for the past few years. What hasn't changed is his sound: lush electro-soundscapes. This is Snaith's fourth full-length, second as Caribou, and first for indie-rock stalwart Merge. Andorra's nine songs are crammed full of eclectic sounds. Interesting to find out, then, that Snaith recorded all of the album in his London home, save the vocals Junior Boy Jeremy Greenspan provides on "She's the One." If Snaith's music sounds smart, it's because he is: Dude has a doctorate in mathematics. ~John Zeiss



Artist: http://www.caribou.fm/

Label: http://www.mergerecords.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/cariboumanitoba


Mentor Tormentor

Majordomo/Shout! Factory

Earlimart's Aaron Espinoza has long been central to the burgeoning music scene in the Los Angeles enclave of Silver Lake, out of which has risen bands like Silversun Pickups, Great Northern, and Sea Wolf. Espinoza has helped many of those bands record at his studio, the Ship, in nearby Eagle Rock. That's where Espinoza fleshed out Mentor Tormentor with Ariana Murray, his constant companion in Earlimart (the band name comes from a small California town, not some twenty-four-hour convenience store). They were joined by Joel Graves and drummers Russ Pollard (Sebadoh, Folk Implosion) and Scott McPherson (Neil Finn, Elliot Smith). Further assistance comes from Section Quartet string players, a professional whistler (no, not Andrew Bird), and, on album closer "Cold, Cold Heaven," plenty of Earlimart's Ship-mates from bands like Irving and Let's Go Sailing. The very Moz-ian titled Mentor Tormentor is a more balanced, emotionally mixed work than 2004's sad lament, Treble & Tremble. Songs on Mentor Tormentor range from the breakup kiss-off "Don't Think About Me" to the rocking "Everybody Knows Everybody." ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.earlimartmusic.com/

Label: http://www.shoutfactory.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/earlimart 

Jeremy Enigk

The Missing Link

567/Lewis Hollow

The third solo album from ex-Sunny Day Real Estate/Fire Theft leader Jeremy Enigk comes on the heels of last year's World Waits, and this new work actually comes out of the remains of that old one. The Missing Link features four studio tunes from the World Waits recording sessions, as well as five live songs Enigk recorded with a full backing band at Sony Studios in Santa Monica. As always with Enigk, expect more impassioned, emotional crooning. ~John Zeiss 




Artist: http://lewishollow.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/jeremyenigk  

Foreign Born

On the Wing Now

Dim Mak

Well, well, if it's not more good indie rock from Los Angeles (see also this week's newbies from Rilo Kiley, Earlimart, and Patrick Park). This is the band's first true full-length, after earlier EPs In the Remote Woods and Loud Times in the Valley. Foreign Born features the talents of Lewis Pesacov, who holds a degree in musical composition from San Francisco State University, and Ariel Rechtshaid, who has done recording work for the Blood Arm and We Are Scientists. Grizzly Bear's Ed Droste recently told Pitchfork that Foreign Born is his favorite new band. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://foreignbornmusic.blogspot.com/

Label: http://www.dimmak.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/foreignborn  


From the Corner to the Block


New Orleans may still be lacking reliable levees and rebuilt housing, but one thing the Crescent City will never be lacking for is music. Galactic has been repping the Big Easy's big, eclectic mix of funk, rock, horns, and beyond for years. On From the Corner to the Block, the band gets help from an amazing slew of guests, including Mr. Lif, Lyrics Born, Lateef the Truthspeaker, Chali 2na, Z-Trip, and Boots Riley, as well as fellow New Orleans musicians Trombone Shorty, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, Juvenile, and the Soul Rebels Brass Band. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.galacticfunk.com/

Label: http://www.anti.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/galactic  

Imperial Teen

The Hair the TV the Baby & the Band


Veteran indie-rock band Imperial Teen may consist of members far beyond their teenage years, but age has done nothing to slow down the wit and catchiness of its songs -- or its youthful exuberance. This is Imperial Teen's first new album in half a decade. The strange-named new album (the title references what the four members of the band have kept themselves busy with since last we heard from them) was recorded with Imperial Teen's pals Anna Waronker (sister of Joey and ex-member of That Dog) and Redd Kross's Steve McDonald. ~John Zeiss




Band: http://www.imperialteen.com/

Label: http://www.mergerecords.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/imperialteen


Down Below It's Chaos

Sub Pop

Come on, feel the noise on this rocking opus from Seattle racket-makers Kinski. Come on, you know you want to. And you should. More people should know about the band, one of the lesser known in Sub Pop's stable. This is Kinski's third full-length for Sub Pop and fifth overall, not counting output from the Herzog and Ampbuzz side projects. The band has always been light with the vocals and even said it wanted to do away with words completely at one point, but this album features singing from leader Chris Martin on three of the new songs here. (No, that's not Coldplay's Chris Martin.) Down Below was recorded and produced by Randall Dunn, who has done similar work for similarly loud, droning acts Boris, Earth, and Sunn O))). ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.kinski.net/

Label: http://www.subpop.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/kinskispace

"Punching Goodbye Out Front" MP3: http://www.subpop.com/assets/audio/3505.mp3  



Touch and Go

Proto-punk legends Mekons are back with their first album since 2002's OOOH!. Age hasn't put a dent in the sly humor of Jon Langford, Sally Timms, and the rest of the band. Just look at some of Natural's song titles: "Give Me Wine or Money," "Cockermouth," and, my personal favorite, "Dickie, Chalkie, and Nobby." Are those code names for members of the Bush Administration? If so, who are Chalkie and Nobby? ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.myspace.com/mekons

Label: http://www.touchandgorecords.com/  

The Mendoza Line

30 Year Low


There are albums inspired by breakups, and then there are breakup albums. The Mendoza Line's double-disc 30 Year Low is definitely the latter. It documents the dissolution of main members Tim Bracy's and Shannon McArdle's romantic and working relationship. The first album documents that very personal breakup. The second is a covers and rarities collection that features the Mendoza Line's takes on Cole Porter's "Anything Goes," Bob Dylan's "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry," and Bruce Springsteen's "Tougher Than the Rest," among others. After 30 Year Low, McArdle will no longer be in the Mendoza Line, and Bracy will continue on with the project. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.mendozaline.com/

Label: http://www.glurp.com/

"Since I Came" MP3: http://www.mendozaline.com/songs/mendoza-line_since-i-came.mp3 




My friends often raise an eyebrow when I let loose the vitriol, perhaps because I reserve it for the truly deserving: juvenile delinquents. But fuck if I'm going to be mad at any young lion being weaned on M.I.A. Kala, the wunderkind's second album, is a globetrotting palimpsest of beats and leftist politics that conjures that precious P word (rhymes with "funk"). From Aboriginal rappers to chicken squawks to B'more breaks on back to Indian production, would I trust my kid with this woman? Damn straight. ~Dan Nishimoto



Artist: http://www.miauk.com/

Label: http://www.interscope.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/mia 

Minus the Bear

Planet of Ice

Suicide Squeeze

Could Minus the Bear be the next little indie band to break it big? Might be a good bet. The kiddos love the kiddos in Menos el Oso. And the band's pop aesthetics would be perfect for FM rock radio, if FM rock radio gave a shit about things like melody and pep instead of screaming and sludgy guitars. Planet of Ice prominently features new member Alex Rose on keys. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.minusthebear.com/

Label: http://www.suicidesqueeze.net/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/minusthebear  

New Pornographers



And the kids stuck on yesterday are blessed to have the New Pornographers. Though frequently tagged as "that superband" (you know, the one that must exist in every genre), this band of extraordinary musicians deserves greater attention for being a torchbearer of good ol' rock 'n' roll. I believe "top-down," "summer pop," and "perfect music" are some of the terms used to describe their music. And all for good reason: A.C. Newman and company sing the high praises of pop in the vein of Lennon-McCartney, highlights from Nuggets, the Zombies, Cheap Trick, and Styx (kinda). The band's fourth album, Challengers, follows the familiar path of a non-American musician moving to Brooklyn and writing some new songs. What this means for fans is a set recorded outside of the band's familiar Vancouver digs, some new liners written by Mr. Carl himself, and a spankin' new album to blast in your convertible as you speed across the highway on a perfect summer's day. ~Dan Nishimoto


Band: http://www.thenewpornographers.com/

Label: http://www.matadorrecords.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/thenewpornographers

"Myriad Harbour" MP3: http://www.buyearlygetnow.com/mp3/the_new_pornographers_myriad_harbour.mp3 

Patrick Park

Everyone's in Everyone

Curb Appeal

Much like Ferraby Lionheart, Patrick Park is a young singer-songwriter making a name for himself in Los Angeles. This is his second full album, coming after 2003's Loneliness Knows My Name (the opening track from that album was the last song ever featured on The O.C.). Park recently put in residencies at L.A.'s Spaceland and New York City's Living Room. He recorded Everyone's in Everyone in his City of Angels home base and in North Carolina, and he got a lot of great help recording and mixing the album from Rob Schapf, who has worked with Beck and Elliott Smith, and Dave Trumfio, who has worked with Wilco, among others. ~John Zeiss



Artist: http://www.patrickpark.net/

Label: http://www.curbappealrecords.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/patrickpark

Rilo Kiley

Under the Blacklight

Warner Brothers

As Jenny Lewis matures from child actress to her current status as an indie-rock queen, she's increasingly embracing her sexuality. The fact couldn't be more apparent than with Under the Blacklight, Rilo Kiley's first new album together since 2004's More Adventurous. Its first single is called "The Moneymaker," the video for which is populated by porn stars. Between Under the Blacklight and More Adventurous, Lewis went solo with last year's Rabbit Fur Coat and Blake Sennett continued pushing his side project, the Elected, which also released an album in 2006. Those diversions make Blacklight a key album in Rilo Kiley's possible continuation as a cohesive unit. The band received production help from Mike Elizondo, who's worked with Fiona Apple, and Jason Lader, who's worked with VietNam and Gwen Stefani. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.rilokiley.com/

Label: http://www.warnerbrosrecords.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/rilokiley

Josh Ritter

The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter

Sony BMG/Victor

We recently got a new album from singer-songwriter Josh Rouse, and now here's one from Josh Ritter. It can be difficult to keep the two separate, what with their similarities. Both are great tunesmiths with legions of fans who think the guys are underrated and should be in better known Sufjan Stevens/Conor Oberst territory. One review of The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter called it, "What may be the best album of 2007, hands down, by the most under-accorded American genius," and then speculates as to whether Ritter might be the new Springsteen or the new Dylan. Conquests is the follow-up to last year's Animal Year. ~John Zeiss



Artist: http://www.joshritter.com/

Label: http://www.sonybmg.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/joshritter  

The Section Quartet



Ah, yes, the orchestral group that covers rock songs. It's a novelty that apparently isn't ever going to stop be amusing. The Section Quartet hails from Los Angeles, and members of the foursome added strings to fellow Angelenos' Earlimart's new album, also out this week. On Fuzzbox, the ensemble handles the Strokes' "Juicebox," the Postal Service's "Such Great Heights," Led Zeppelin's "Heartbreaker," Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun," and Radiohead's "Paranoid Android." ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.thesection.net/

Label: http://www.deccaclassics.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/thesectionquartet  

Shock Cinema

Our Way is Revenge


What's truly shocking about Shock Cinema is how much talent is involved in the project. The amalgamated band features members of And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Dragons of Zynth, and the Rogers Sisters. Want more hip talent involved with the band? Apparently TV on the Radio's David Sitek encouraged Shock Cinema's formation, and the band is already working on its next album with Sitek in his Stay Gold Studio. Our Way Is Revenge may or may not intentionally be an anagram of Sigourney Weaver's name. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.shock-cinema.com/

Label: http://www.kaninerecords.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/shockshockcinema  

Swizz Beatz

One Man Band


How appropriate that Swizz Beatz would appropriate Chucky by way of Jack Torrance/Nicholson for his "It's me, snitches!" tagline. The promotional campaign to promote his first proper solo album (if you don't count 2002's Presents G.H.E.T.T.O. Stories compilation) is meant to have that iconic, door-shattering resonance, but comes off more like a B-side story, or "what a bad idea looks like when it's well-made.". Yet, in spite of the mind-numbing beat and child's wordplay, Swizz garners respect for setting the hip-hop and R&B soundscape in the late '90s with his ubiquitous production. Ten years later, duke can still push some genuine weight. If "Check on It," "Touch It," and "New York Shit" suggest anything, it's that he need only title his solo jawn songs "(Fill-in-the-blank) (Word that rhymes with "It")" and he'll have a hit. ~Dan Nishimoto



Artist: http://swizzbeatzonline.com/

Label: http://www.motown.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/swizzbeatz

*Release dates may change. E-mail brandon@prefixmag.com with corrections or additions.

Patton Oswalt - Comedy comes in many forms Battles Tyondai Braxton on the natural evolution of a band
Week in Preview

Find us on Facebook

Latest Comments