Feature ·

[March 25, 2008] Heading to the record store? Here's what's new.

This week: the imprint run by Animal Collective gives us a new one by Excepter, Constellation collects the ever-sprawling Silver Mt. Zion, and Stones Throw reminds us why we should care. [more:]


Alaska in Winter
Dance Party in the Balkans

Alaska in Winter sure must be cold. But the band Alaska in Winter plays warm, generous, beautiful music. The band has a champion in Beirut’s Zach Condon, who has taken Alaska in Winter out on tour and played on some of the band’s recordings. Condon has been friends with Alaska in Winter’s main man Brandon Bethancourt since both were children. Here he adds some signature ukulele and trumpet, and Heather Trost of Beirut and A Hawk and a Hacksaw shows up on the album as well. Dance Party has been available outside the U.S. since last year. ~John Zeiss


Band: http://www.myspace.com/alaskainwinter
Label: http://www.milanrecords.com


Elf Power
In a Cave
Elf Power continues to soldier on despite often being relegated to the low end of the Elephant 6 totem pole, behind such legends as Neutral Milk Hotel and current stalwarts like Of Montreal. No matter. It seems Elf Power is content to keep churning out accomplished proggy, folkie indie-rock. Thirteen tracks of such can be found on In a Cave, Elf Power’s ninth full-length and follow-up to 2006’s Back to the Web. Andrew Rieger’s lyrics still explore backwoods gothic territory, while bassist Derek Almstead pulled double duty by also producing the album. ~John Zeiss


Band: http://www.elfpower.com
Label: http://www.rykodisc.com  
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/elfpowerband

Debt Dept.
Paw Tracks
Excepter is a band of electro-music-making weirdos that now records for Animal Collective’s Paw Tracks imprint. Imagine such a thing, right? Weirdness seems to be the ticket that gets you in the door over there. Seemingly just for the sake of being strange, the band has an elaborate visual breakdown of all that went into making the album up on its website. It claims, among other things, that “The Exceptarian sonic-society/Intelligence Agency network is intrinsically interwoven into ALL levels of society’s structure.” It goes on to reference Sirius, Brooklyn Vegan, Interpol (it’s anybody’s guess whether Excepter means the band or the crime-fighting agency), and NME. ~John Zeiss 


Band: http://www.excepter.com
Label: http://www.paw-tracks.com
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/excepter

Guilty Simpson
Ode to the Ghetto
Stones Throw
“I want to make the consumer care about the music again,” says Guilty Simpson. Let's be frank: Guilty Simpson doesn't make me care about the music again. But a production team featuring Madlib, Denaun Porter, Black Milk, and Oh No sure as hell makes me care. Care a lot. ~Dan Nishimoto


Artist: http://www.guiltysimpson.com

Label: http://www.stonesthrow.com

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

Brad Mehldau
Brad Mehldau Trio Live
Pianist Brad Mehldau has made a name for himself by crafting jazz covers of songs by rock acts like Radiohead. On this double live album, Mehldau, bassist Larry Grenadier, and drummer Jeff Ballard take swings at Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” and Oasis’s “Wonderwall.” The trio also covers more traditional jazz tunes from the likes of John Coltrane and pop standards, as well as performing a handful of Mehldau originals. The music was recorded at New York City’s Village Vanguard in October 2006. This isn’t the first time Mehldau has released a live album put down at the legendary venue. ~John Zeiss


Artist: http://www.bradmehldau.com
Label: http://www.nonesuch.com

The Raconteurs

Consolers of the Lonely

Third Man/Warner Brothers

Let’s call this “pulling a half-Radiohead.” The news last week that the Raconteurs would be releasing sophomore album, Consolers of the Lonely, this week came as much as an out-of-the-blue surprise as did the In Rainbows announcement last year. And while Consolers won’t be an independent, pay-what-you-will affair, it is somewhat self-released, as it comes on Jack White’s Third Man imprint via Warner Brothers. This isn’t the first time White has rushed product to market (work on Consolers was just completed within this month). “Blue Orchid,” off the White Stripes’s Get Behind Me Satan, was a similarly quickly turned around affair. As with 2006’s Broken Boy Soldiers, White is again joined in this side venture (although who knows if he himself thinks of this as less important than his White Stripes work) by singer-songwriter Brendan Benson and the rhythm section of the Greenhornes, Patrick Keeler and Jack Lawrence. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.theraconteurs.com

Label: http://www.warnerbrosrecords.com

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

Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band
13 Blues for Thirteen Moons
And with that band name, we’re already out of the allotted space for this preview. Kidding! Of course, you may better know the band as “that sprawling post-rock collective that features a few members of Godspeed You! Black Emperor.” After backing Vic Chesnutt and Carla Bozulich on recent albums, Silver Mt. Zion gets back to doing its own thing. After twelve short tracks of droning ambience, the album appropriately gets started in earnest on the thirteenth track, the also-long-named “1,000,000 Died to Make This Sound.” The album was recorded at Montreal’s Hotel2Tango studio with help from ex-Arcade Fire drummer Howard Bilerman and features the band’s new drummer, Eric Craven, who used to play with Hangedup. ~John Zeiss


Band: http://tra-la-la-band.com
Label: http://www.cstrecords.com

Week in Preview - [March 18, 2008] Heading to the record store? Here's what's new. Dave Gahan Dave Gahan: Interview
Week in Preview

plus 2 albums I'm looking forward to... Ghostface's WALLY CHAMP mixtape and the Lemonheads IT'S A SHAME ABOUT RAY/TWO WEEKS IN AUSTRALIA deluxe.

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i got the lemonheads deluxe. its pretty awesome

/site_media/uploads/images/users/Jboh213/n38409054_33275787_4276.jpg jboh

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