Feature ·

[January 29, 2008] 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.

[more:]


Beck
Odelay [Deluxe Edition]
Geffen/UMe
It's difficult not to overstate the importance of Odelay, not just in Beck's career but also in popular music and culture. Beck had previously created buzz with his major-label debut, 1994's Mellow Gold, albeit the sort of attention that threatened to pigeonhole him as a one-hit wonder. 1996's Odelay changed both the public perception of Beck as an artist of importance and offered a contemporary vision of hip-hop's role in pop culture. Though the world has changed again and Beck has perhaps ironically mellowed with age, now seems as good a time as any to reflect on this seminal album. The reissue collects a second disc of remixes, B-sides and ephemera from the period that offers a comprehensive view of an artist in one of his many primes. ~Dan Nishimoto

***

Artist: http://www.beck.com
Label: http://www.geffen.com
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/beck


The Helio Sequence
Keep Your Eyes Ahead
Sub Pop

Seems that dire times will get even your jauntiest keyboard-pop band taking on the bigger issues. From that forward-looking title to the peace-invoking cover to songs like “Hallelujah” (no, it’s not the umpteenth cover of the ubiquitous Leonard Cohen track), Benjamin Weikel and Brandon Summers seem to have higher things on their minds on Keep Your Eyes Ahead, their third full-length as Helio Sequence. The two produced the album themselves, and they’ve reined in their sometimes sprawling sound to craft more succinct songs. ~John Zeiss

***

Band: http://www.myspace.com/theheliosequence
Label: http://www.subpop.com
“Keep Your Eyes Ahead” MP3: http://www.subpop.com/assets/audio/3969.mp3


Ida
Lover’s Prayers
Polyvinyl

A band could do a lot worse for a mentor than legendary Band drummer Levon Helm, who shepherded Lover’s Prayers into existence. The New York City-based Ida retreated to Helm’s studio in the Catskills (near Woodstock) to flesh out new material. Then the musicians got to test that new material out at the Midnight Ramble concerts Helm holds in his mountain home -- he even sat in on drums for one session. The result is a beautiful, baroque folk record. Guests include Tara Jane O’Neil, Michael Hurley, Mekons violinist Jean Cook, and cellist Jane Scarpantoni, who has played with Lou Reed and R.E.M. This is Ida’s seventh full-length album. ~John Zeiss
***

Band: http://www.idamusic.com
Label: https://www.polyvinylrecords.com

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

“Lover’s Prayers” MP3: http://www.polyvinylrecords.com/media/prc-148-01.mp3


Thao Nguyen

 

We Brave Bee Stings and All
Kill Rock Stars
Thao Nguyen first made a name for herself with the inclusion of her song “Feet Asleep” on Kill Rock Star’s 2006 compilation, The Sound the Hare Heard. To be handpicked by KRS founder Slim Moon to stand alongside the likes of Sufjan Stevens, Colin Meloy, and Laura Veirs on that record was quite the honor. The twenty-three-year-old singer-songwriter follows up on that early promise with this, her debut full-length. It features smart, snappy, literate indie-pop in the vein of Feist and Cat Power. A reworked version of “Feet Asleep” appears on the album, as do ten more tracks brimming with Nguyen’s youthful energy. ~John Zeiss

***

Artist: http://www.thaomusic.com
Label: http://www.killrockstars.com
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/thaomusic
“Beat (Health, Life, and Fire)” MP3: http://www.krs5rc.com/krs/bands/thao/audio/Beat.mp3


Radar Bros.
Auditorium
Merge
Radar Bros. are another band from the sunny confines of Los Angeles that plays sunny power-pop befitting the city’s milieu. So expect jangly guitars, shiny high-hats, and lush, layered harmonies. The band recorded Auditorium in lead man Jim Putnam’s home studio. Auditorium is the first Radar Bros. album to feature Jeff Palmer, on guitars and keyboards. Song titles include “Hearts of Crows,” “Watching Cows,” “A Dog Named Ohio,” “Brother Rabbit,” and “Morning Bird.” Sensing a theme? ~John Zeiss

***

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


Vampire Weekend
Vampire Weekend
XL
The Columbia University origins. The buzz. The Oxford comma. The Afro-pop rhythms. The Mansard roof. The Paul Simon and Bobby McFerrin influences. After all of that, the debut full-length from much-hyped quartet Vampire Weekend is finally here. Let the love and/or backlash commence. After opener “Mansard Roof,” the album rolls out the three songs from the band’s EP from last year. The capper of the eleven-track set has a title that could be prophetic, or not: “The Kids Don’t Stand a Chance.” ~John Zeiss

***

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


Chris Walla
Field Manual
Barsuk

Ben Gibbard may be Death Cab for Cutie’s best-known member (that mega-successful side jaunt into the Postal Service certainly didn’t hurt), but guitarist Chris Walla has been just as integral to the band’s success over the years. He’s also produced albums for the likes of the Decemberists and Mates of State. He brings his musical and studio talents together for Field Manual, his first solo album under his own name. (Walla has put up some solo stuff online under the moniker Martin Youth Auxiliary.) He got help crafting the album from Warne Livesey, who has produced albums for The The and Midnight Oil. Field Manual has long been in the works, and its completion was even further held up when a hard drive with much of the album’s material on it was confiscated by U.S. Customs officials when Walla was coming back from Canada. ~John Zeiss

***

Artist: http://www.hallofjusticerecording.com
Label: http://www.barsuk.com
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/chriswalla
“Sing Again” MP3: http://barsukmusic.blaireau.net/ChrisWalla_SingAgain.mp3


Xiu Xiu

Women as Lovers
Kill Rock Stars

Women as Lovers sounds like it could be the name of an Ernest Hemingway or Richard Ford novel, but it’s actually the moniker of the new album from indie rock’s ever-passionate Xiu Xiu. The record finds Xiu Xiu in a more fleshed-out form. It was laid down with the full incarnation of what is now the touring band, including bassist Devin Hoff and drummer Ches Smith. Xiu Xiu remains anchored in the artistic vision of Jamie Stewart, with Caralee McElroy adding gorgeous harmonies. Included in the album’s fourteen tracks is a cover of “Under Pressure,” featuring Michael Gira on backing vocals. Women as Lovers was produced by Deerhoof’s Greg Saunier and is Xiu Xiu’s first album for Kill Rock Stars after previously recording for 5RC. ~John Zeiss

***

Band: http://www.xiuxiu.org
Label: http://www.killrockstars.com
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/xiuxiuband
“I Do What I Want, When I Want” MP3: http://www.krs5rc.com/krs/bands/xiuxiu/audio/IDoWhatWantWhenIWant.mp3

 


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

Why is Super Roots 9 one of the pictures above? Is it getting a cheaper, non-import release?

Hello?

Michael

I think the Beck reissue is a must-have, and I'm interested in the Vampire Weekend, but haven't decided if I'll grab it or not.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/prefix/no-user-pic.gif noise redux

let us not forget that the two-disc Hydra Head re-release of Xasthur's debut full-length "A Gate Through Bloodstained Mirrors" is also coming out this week! Review forthcoming...

/site_media/uploads/images/users/narfish/HeadbangSquare.jpg narfish

Isn't Mars Volta this week as well?

/site_media/uploads/images/users/prefix/no-user-pic.gif noise redux

i thought Super Roots 9 was being re-released this week but I can't find where I saw that.

Mars Volta is this week

/site_media/uploads/images/users/daba/me-bermudajpg.jpg Daba

So, whatever happened to the full list of releases you still claim to have every week?

oatysporran

Definitely getting the Odelay reissue. It's always nice to be reminded that Beck was good once.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/type_slowly/travispic.jpg type_slowly

I don't see how he's not good now?

/site_media/uploads/images/users/prefix/no-user-pic.gif noise redux

I guess, for me, he's good at being bland now. I love his work up to and including Sea Change, but aside from a few stray tracks, I just don't enjoy the Guero/ The Information-era.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/type_slowly/travispic.jpg type_slowly

I should have said, "it's nice to be reminded that Beck was exciting once."

And the Vampire Weekend album's pretty great.

That is all.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/type_slowly/travispic.jpg type_slowly

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