Feature ·

[August 22, 2006] Heading to the record store? Here's what's new.

Our writers highlight a handful of notable records scheduled to hit the shelves this Tuesday. Plus, check the full list of this week's releases:



Against Me!

Americans Abroad!!! Against Me!!! Live in London!!! [Enhanced]

Fat Wreck Chords

If your first Against Me! show also found you getting thrown across the room and landing in the arms of a girl named Critter (true story), you probably understand that even the roughest of the Gainesville, Florida-based band's recorded songs don't compare to its exhausting live shows. This live performance was recorded at the Mean Fiddle in England earlier this year and features the previously unreleased track "Americans Abroad," about the shame in being -- what else? -- an American abroad. There's an unfortunate absence here of "Slurring the Rhythms," but there the eighteenth track, a video for "Problems," gives this record that shred of enhanced material that warranted a new release date. ~China Bialos

Band: http://www.againstme.net/

Label: http://www.fatwreck.com/

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

"Pints of Guinness Make You Strong" live MP3 


Happy Hollow

Saddle Creek

If it's literate, intelligent indie rock you're looking for, Tim Kasher is your man. From the track list of Happy Hollow, it looks like this one might have something to do with The Wizard of Oz. The first single is entitled "Dorothy at 40," and a later track is called "Dorothy Dreams of Tornadoes." Wonder if you when play it along with the movie, strange sync-ups start coming out of the woodwork. Guess we're soon to find out. Because the album is on Conor Oberst's Saddle Creek imprint, by law it was produced by Omaha titan of the boards Mike Mogis. And apparently, Happy Hollow introduces a new element -- honking horns -- to Cursive's sound. ~John Zeiss

Band: http://www.cursivearmy.com/

Label: http://www.saddle-creek.com/

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

"Dorothy at 40" video: http://www.saddle-creek.com/happyhollow/

"Bad Sects" MP3 

The Hellacopters

Air Raid Serenades


Thanks to lapses in distribution by the Hellacopters' domestic and European labels, I have a feeling much of the band's ten-year output has failed to reach your local music retailer's shelves. And if it has, it's probably been egregiously expensive. It's time to play catch-up with the band's first quasi greatest-hits package, Air Raid Serenades. Dutifully represented here is the band's slow but deliberate evolution from snot-nosed Entombed roadies to radio-friendly songsmiths; several songs from each of the band's albums make an appearance. The twenty-two-track collection is intended to be the ideal chronology for "people that have none or only a few of our records," according to the Swedes. Let's just hope this one makes it stateside without too many taxes and tariffs. ~Zach Hothorn

Band: http://www.hellacopters.com/

Label: http://www.universalmusic.se/

Stream: http://www.hellacopters.com/site/themusic.asp

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


Kelis Was Here


The chick that brought all the boys to the yard with her "Milkshake," asked Busta "What it is right now?" and screamed her head off on her debut single returns with what promises to be her most concentrated effort yet. Often dealt a raw deal by the music industry, Kelis strikes back with the catchy single "Bossy" and a brand new streamlined look. Kelis is one talented lady who has never truly been given her due respect, so this one is a must for those looking for a little edge in their urban soul. ~Norman Mayers

Artist: http://www.kelisonline.com/

Label: http://www.jive.com/

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

�Bossy� video

Lamb of God



I must sheepishly (pun intended) admit that until quite recently, Lamb of God ranked dead last in my own personal stratification of Richmond, Virginia rock bands -- both Alabama Thunderpussy and RPG outclassed Lamb of God, as far I was concerned. That all changed, however, when I heard the first single ("Redneck") from Sacrament. The song, replete with pinch harmonics, machine-gun double-kick and one of the most badass riffs this side of Vulgar-era Pantera, made me a believer. I even found lead singer Randy Blythe"s guttural declaration -- "this is a motherfuckin' invitation!" -- stuck in my gray matter for days. If the rest of the album is equally as face-melting, I might just have to do a little reordering. ~Zach Hothorn

Band: http://www.lamb-of-god.com/ashes2/

Label: http://www.sonymusic.com/

Stream: http://www.sacrament2006.com/ 




Call Lambchop a lot of things -- a sprawling collective, an alt-country Nashville oddity, a woman -- but don't call the band lazy. Only a few months ago, the members let loose the double CD Decline and Country and Western Civilization Part II. Now comes Damaged. Band head/cult leader Kurt Wagner claims this will be a more straightforward, less gratuitously expansive album, but that's like Kanye saying a new album of his would focus less on his ego. The album starts off with the nearly seven-minute "Paperback Bible." Other great titles include "The Rise and Fall of the Letter P" and "Beers Before the Barbican." Lambchop's signature subtle, piano and strings-laden pop sound, with Wagner's immediately recognizable drawl overtop, still dominates. ~John Zeiss

Band: http://www.lambchop.net/

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

"Crackers" MP3 

Amy Millan

Honey from the Tombs

Arts & Crafts

Part of the sprawling group of musicians encompassing Canada's Broken Social Scene and an integral member of Stars, Amy Millan is no stranger to the scene. Honey from the Tombs is the first solo effort from the hardworking Canadian -- country-graced pop tunes explore introspective and bittersweet emotions, topped off by Millan's well-known and impressive voice. The Arts & Crafts machinery is truly behind Millan's solo release, and the fans she's made over the years are already foaming at the mouth. ~Lars Garvey Laing-Peterson

Artist: http://www.arts-crafts.ca/amymillan/

Label: http://www.arts-crafts.ca/

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

Jason Molina

Let Me Go, Let Me Go, Let Me Go

Secretly Canadian

Jason Molina is really trying to give Will Oldham a run for his money as far as being prolific and recording under numerous names goes. You may know Mr. Molina from his time in Songs: Ohia or his more recent band, Magnolia Electric Co, whose next album, Fading Trails, is scheduled to be released in less than a month. Here he's solo with a no-frills affair. He recorded Let Me Go, Let Me Go, Let Me Go in his own garage studio. Molina calls the songs that came from there "meditations on depression, waiting, dislocation, separation, doubt, fear, [and] loneliness." Good times, good times. Is Molina a hardcore Catholic? If not, what's with the things in threes lately? Check the album title again, and then note that its first single is titled "Get Out Get Out Get Out." Seems like the influence of the Holy Trinity to me. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, I think I see a trend. ~John Zeiss


Label: http://www.secretlycanadian.com/

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

"Get Out Get Out Get Out" MP3 

The Mountain Goats

Get Lonely


Did we exorcise all the demons last time around? Can we agree that we've resolved, come to grips with or achieved some base level of catharsis with all step-daddy issues? Let's hope so, as much for main Mountain Goat John Darnielle's well-being as for those exhausted Mountain Goat fans who might not be mentally prepared for another round of psychotically paced childhood skewering -- the storytelling on which was so magnificently and brutally detailed that 2005's The Sunset Tree was widely lauded as one of the best albums of the year. Follow-up Get Lonely is set to be a quieter, more redemptive affair, although don't expect any pussyfooting. Darnielle has always brought it straight and harsh, and now, riding that Sunset momentum, he finally has an audience. ~Jonathan Easley

Band: http://www.mountain-goats.com/       

Label: http://www.4ad.com/

�Woke Up New� video 

My Brightest Diamond

Bring Me the Workhorse

Asthmatic Kitty

That breathing-impaired feline keeps sneezing out the baroquely ornamented chamber pop. Next up on Sufjan's hilariously named label is My Brightest Diamond. Asthmatic Kitty's Web site says the band "courageously gathers all the essential elements of classical and pop to create an album that breaks down the barriers of both worlds," which could be the label's mission statement. Lead singer Shara Worden emotes like an even more operatic Tori Amos or Bjork. She was an Illinoisemaker on Stevens's most recent tour, and keeping with that theatricality, she likes to perform wearing superhero regalia or Victorian-era get up. Call up the kids in your high school drama department: I think we've found their new musical crush. ~John Zeiss

Label: http://www.asthmatickitty.com/

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

"Something of an End" MP3 

Nouvelle Vague

A Bande a Part

Luaka Bop

Something about Nouvelle Vague's newest album makes it harder to sing along to than the band's self-titled debut, released in 2004. Maybe it's because the members of the French bossa nova duo -- Marc Collin and Oliver Libaux -- have opted to go a little more goth with "Bela Lugosi's Dead"; a little more masculine with "Heart of Glass" (not sung by one of the band's girly and French Jennifer Charles-sound-alikes); a little harder to distinguish (the completely new melody of Yazoo's "Don't Go" had me scratching my head for a bit). But what this second effort lacks in cohesiveness is made up for by a loopy cover of the Cramps' "Human Fly," a piano stomp whose accompanying "buzz, buzz, buzz" makes this the new equivalent of Nouvelle Vague's "Too Drunk to Fuck" cover, wrapped up in hysterics. A Bande a Part has been released several times already, on import and in the U.S. by Peacefrog and Justin Time, but this (presumably) final and limited edition U.S. version contains three bonus tracks, including perennial favorite "Blue Monday." ~China Bialos

Band: http://www.nouvellesvagues.com//

Label: http://www.luakabop.com/

MP3s: http://www.nouvellesvagues.com/english/music.html

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

Jennifer O'Connor

Over the Mountain, Across the Valley and Back to the Stars


Let's go over the reasons to worry or be excited about this one. Worries: (1) Jennifer O'Connor is yet another (over?)emotional singer-songwriter. (2) She lists as influences way-in indies such as Destroyer and Silver Jews and hip-hoppers Jay-Z and Kanye. (3) That title sounds like a Fatboy Slim remix of a Fiona Apple longwinder. Uppers: (1) It's on Matador, a label that rarely ever releases sub-par stuff. (2) James McNew of Yo La Tengo plays bass on the album, and Spoon's Britt Daniel sings backing vocals; with friends like that around, good things are bound to happen. (3) She's cute; I'm willing to give her a chance. ~John Zeiss

Artist: http://www.jenniferoconnor.net/

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

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

"Over the Mountain" MP3




Only three hip-hop acts have seen their albums certified diamond for selling more than 10 million copies in the U.S. How do you follow that up? If you're MC Hammer, you abbreviate your name, get 2 legit 2 quit, and spiral into bankruptcy. If you're the Notorious B.I.G., you start a bicoastal war that leads to your death. Outkast is more ambitious. After the nearly unanimous critical and popular acclaim of its 2003 double album Speakerboxx/The Love Below, the unpredictable duo is releasing Idlewild in conjunction with its first movie, a Depression-era musical about a smooth ladies' man (Big Boi) and struggling musician (Andre 3000). Both will undoubtedly be nattily dressed. Based on the description of the movie, Idlewild will likely continue Outkast's exploration of African-American musical heritage within its own highly stylized hip-hop jams. ~Chris Sahl

Band: http://www.outkast.com/

Label: http://www.zombalabelgroup.com/

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

Radio Birdman

Zeno Beach

Yep Roc

Not since scientists unearthed that bizarre alligator-looking thing in the frozen tundra of Northern Canada -- the supposed "missing link" between sea- and land-borne creatures -- has a surprise the magnitude of Radio Birdman's reformation hit the wires. Mainstream acceptance eluded the seminal Australian punk band during its first epoch, but with Zeno Beach the band might finally garner the appreciation that's been thirty years coming. The album is expected to be a return to form for the band -- the members pick up right where they left off in 1978. Radio Birdman's signature brand of surf rock meets Motor City punk -- imagine the MC5 "throwing a couple of shrimp on the barbie" with Brian Wilson and his bros -- may have you saying, "Radio Birdman, Australian for punk." ~Zach Hothorn

Band: http://www.radio-birdman.com/

Label: http://www.yeproc.com/

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

"You Just Make It Worse" MP3 




Razorlight's sound is equal parts British and Swedish, with founding members from each country, but the band is known predominantly for its cocksure swagger. This self-titled second album gets its American release one month after hitting the streets in England. With characteristic lack of subtlety, the British music press is divided on Razorlight. Q raved about "length, sound, simplicity, sheer brass balls in the songs" and called it the "best guitar record" since Oasis's Definitely Maybe. The Sunday Times found it "painful" to listen to. Undeterred, the album shot to number one immediately upon its release in the U.K. Fans of the Strokes, Franz Ferdinand and the Killers ought to listen and decide for themselves. ~Chris Sahl

Band: http://www.razorlight.co.uk/

Label: http://www.universalmusicgroup.com/


"In the Morning" MP3

The Sex Pistols

Original Spunk Bootleg


It's time to jab a bacteria-ridden safety pin into your face and jump up and down while you strangle your dance partner: The Pistols are back and, no, they don't want your stupid award. (Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, I'm looking in your general direction.) This remastered version of the band's much ballyhooed unofficial live album features the original lineup, so we won't have to stomach Sid Vicious's abysmal bass "playing." In addition to the original bootleg, the boys have included two bonus cuts recorded during the infamous Denmark Street sessions and the unedited (and assuredly sloppy) version of "No Fun." ~Zach Hothorn

Band: http://www.sex-pistols.net/

Label: http://www.castlemusic.com/ 

The Thermals

The Body, The Blood, The Machine

Sub Pop

The Portland, Oregon-based garage rock band called the Thermals has been dwindling in numbers since its 2002 inception; getting their start as a raw quartet, the members managed 2004's Fuckin' A without guitarist Ben Barnett (Kind of Like Spitting), and the band is now a duo after the 2005 loss of drummer Jordan Hudson. This time around, Hutch Harris and Kathy Foster played multi-instrumentalist roles under the supervision -- lucky them-- of Fugazi's Brendan Canty. Given that Fuckin' A was so much more accessible and refined than the band's 2003 debut, More Parts Per Million (in other words, it didn't sound like a bedroom recording), it'll be interesting to see what higher stress and a keyboard add to the Thermals' formula. ~China Bialos

Band: http://www.thethermals.com/

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

Audio: http://www.thethermals.com/�A Pillar of Salt� MP3


A Lazarus Taxon

Thrill Jockey

What the hell is a Lazarus Taxon? Sounds Biblical. This boxed set from post-rock kings Tortoise, after a recent foray into being a cover band with Will Oldham at the helm, is certainly of Biblical proportions: three CDs, one DVD. The third CD is Tortoise's now out-of-print 1995 album Rhythms, Resolutions, and Clusters. The other two CDs consist of singles, compilation tracks, B-sides, imports, and remixes by the likes of Autechre and Yo La Tengo. The DVD combines live concert footage with Tortoise videos. The tortoise is also an animal with one of the longest life spans on earth. Biblical. I sense a trend here. ~John Zeiss

Band: http://www.trts.com/

Label: http://www.thrilljockey.com 

Chad VanGaalen


Sub Pop

America's biggest trade deficit maybe with China, but we're certainly also starting to rack up a Great Indie Rock deficit with our neighbors to the north. Arcade Fire, the Sadies, Wolf Parade: I could go on, but these blurbs are supposed to be short. Also invading from the Great White North is Chad VanGaalen. He's a very DIY kind of guy. He likes to make his own instruments, use those to record in his basement studio, and then draw illustrations for his album covers and videos (or for the likes of fellow Sub Poppers Love as Laughter. Skelliconnection is the follow-up to VanGaalen's warmly received debut, Infiniheart. If there's any sophomore slump, it won't be able to be blamed on any lack of hard work on VanGaalen's part. ~John Zeiss

Artist: http://www.flemisheye.com/chad.php

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

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

"Flower Gardens" MP3

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