Feature ·

[March 4, 2008] Heading to the record store? Here's what's new.

Among this week's notable newcomers are albums from a blogosphere favorite, a handful of singer-songwriters, and an indie-rock icon, reinvented. [more:]


"The actual product is the FLAC file -- but I don’t object to those who want to own something that they can hold.” ~Sean Booth in Clash Magazine

Way to make your CD-buying audience feel like a bunch of mass-CO2-producing a-holes. But I don't object to the duo putting out its ninth album of click-tastica. ~Dan Nishimoto


Band: http://www.autechre.ws
Label: http://www.warprecords.com
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/myslb

Born Ruffians
Red, Yellow & Blue

It seems like the Web has been atwitter over the band for eons, but this is only the first full-length from Born Ruffians. Alas, the band’s previous recorded output consists of a 2006 self-titled EP and last year’s “Hummingbird” single. These fresh-faced Canadians are all quite young, and they bring a precocious energy to their spastic music. The band's sound has been compared to early Animal Collective, and they’ve recently toured with Caribou, another Canuck band that makes colorful pop music. Humorous song titles here include “I Need a Life,” “Badonkadonkey,” and “Hedonistic Me.” ~John Zeiss


Band: http://www.bornruffians.com
Label: http://www.warprecords.com
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/bornruffians

Cadence Weapon
Afterparty Babies
After the party, it’s the after party, and after that it’s the afterparty babies. So says Canadian hip-hop artist Cadence Weapon. “Afterparty babies,” by the way, is what he says he wants his music to help create. Cadence Weapon is the performing name of Rollie Pemberton, former Pitchfork scribe. He’s been known to tour with more indie-rock-leaning acts like Final Fantasy and Born Ruffians. Afterparty Babies, his first for Anti-, is the follow-up to 2006’s Breaking Kayfabe. ~John Zeiss


Artist: http://www.cadenceweaponmusic.com
Label: http://www.anti.com
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/cadenceweaponmusic

Kathleen Edwards
Asking for Flowers
Singer-songwriter Kathleen Edwards continues to gain more acclaim and fans with each new album. Asking for Flowers is the follow-up to 2005’s Back to Me. Edwards wrote all of the eleven new songs here, and they’re thick with heart-rending storytelling. But she got plenty of help from top-notch collaborators such as Benmont Tench from Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers, as well as musicians who have played with the likes of Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, and Wilco. The album was co-produced by Jim Scott, who once worked with Whiskeytown. ~John Zeiss


Artist: http://www.kathleen-edwards.com
Label: http://www.zoerecords.net
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/kathleenedwards

The Felice Brothers
The Felice Brothers
Team Love

Don’t get the Felice Brothers confused with Pernice Brothers, the older, more established of the two indie-rock bands. The Felice Brothers consist of three siblings and an adopted fourth “brother”/band member. As with many a band on Team Love, the group first started getting recognition from touring with Bright Eyes. The band hails from the same area in the Catskills that Levon Helm lives in and has played some of Helm’s legendary Midnight Ramble concerts. And apparently they have a much bigger fan base in Europe. ~John Zeiss


Band: http://www.thefelicebrothers.com/fb
Label: http://team-love.com
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/thefelicebrothers
“Frankie’s Gun!” MP3

“Wonderful Life” MP3


The Gutter Twins
Sub Pop
The Gutter Twins could just as easily go by the name “Survivor: Indie-Rock Edition.” The band is made-up of the hard-living, hard-rocking duo of Greg Dulli and Mark Lanegan. Dulli led the rock-revivalist outfit the Afghan Whigs and still dabbles with the more electro-leaning Twilight Singers. Lanegan came out of the Seattle grunge scene as the lead singer of Screaming Trees, did some folky solo work after that band dissolved, and lately has been a musical journeyman, playing with everyone from Queens of the Stone Age to Isobel Campbell. Dulli calls the pairing of he and Lanegan “the Satanic Everly Brothers.” The Gutter Twins’ music definitely limns the depths of the darker sides of love, lust, and life. Saturnalia was produced with the help of the band’s “unofficial third member,” Mathias Schneeberger. ~John Zeiss


Band: http://www.theguttertwins.com
Label: http://www.subpop.com
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/theguttertwins

The creepy vampire mask on the cover of Shots might hold meaning beyond just being a cool visual. Jagjaguwar says this, Ladyhawk’s “night album,” finds the band “howling at the moon” and “lining up a round of shots on the edge of the grave.” Songs include “Corpse Paint,” “Faces of Death,” and “Ghost Blues.” The band crafted the album over two weeks in an abandoned farmhouse in Ladyhawk’s hometown of Kelowna, British Columbia. The place may have been haunted, or maybe Ladyhawk’s bluesy rock simply conjured up the spirits of vintage Stones and Neil Young. ~John Zeiss


Band: http://www.ladyhawkladyhawk.com
Label: http://www.jagjaguwar.com
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/ladyhawk
“I Don’t Always Know What You’re Saying” MP3


Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks
Real Emotional Trash
Ex-Pavement frontman Stephen Malkmus is now an over-forty father, mature enough to trust in following his own whims. He’s not rehashing Slanted & Enchanted or Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. Mostly gone, too, is the accessible indie-pop of his first post-Pavement record. Malkmus now seems to favor songs that spool out slowly, with languid guitars performing loop-de-loops. Call the sound “jammy” if you must -- many have. Real Emotional Trash is back to being billed with the Jicks as backing Malkmus, after 2005’s Face the Truth came out under only his name. But this is a different incarnation of the Jicks from that on 2003’s Pig Lib. Gone is drummer John Moen, who now mans the kit full time for the Decemberists; in his place is Janet Weiss, best known for previously pounding the skins for Sleater-Kinney. ~John Zeiss


Band: http://www.stephenmalkmus.com
Label: http://www.matadorrecords.com
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/stephenmalkmus

The Ruby Suns
Sea Lion
Sub Pop
Sub Pop must have a field office set up in New Zealand. The label is home to such Kiwi bands as the Brunettes, Flight of the Conchords, and now the Ruby Suns. The band is led by Ryan McPhun. “Tane Mahuta” is sung entirely in the indigenous Maori dialect of New Zealand. Sea Lion also has a heavy African influence, not only with the cheekily titled “Kenya Dig It?” but also with the employment of traditional African instrumentation and field recordings from some of the continent’s most exotic locales. All of this comes together to create a sunny, sumptuous world-pop feast. ~John Zeiss


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

Label: http://www.subpop.com


Mia Doi Todd
City Zen
Over the course of Mia Doi Todd's decade-long career, the Angeleno singer-songwriter has blossomed most in the company of her fair city's brightest talents. From her early major-label work with Mitchell Froom to her more recent remix sessions with folks like Rob Campanella and Nobody, her plaintive voice has found surprising comfort in a number of varying platforms. On her seventh album, Gea, Todd brings it back home again by linking with Carlos Niño (Ammoncontact and, for those who truly know, KPFK) and Miguel Atwood-Ferguson. ~Dan Nishimoto


Artist: http://www.miadoitodd.com
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/miadoitodd

A Weather
Team Love
This is the debut full-length from A Weather, which hails from Portland, Oregon (but what band doesn’t these days?). Cove swims in seas of swirling organs, guitars, and harmonized vocals, reminiscent of the music of Beach House, Ida, and Low. The album was produced by Adam Selzer, who has also worked with M. Ward and the Decemberists. ~John Zeiss


Band: http://aweathermusic.com  
Label: http://team-love.com
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/aweathermusic

Jim White
Transnormal Skiperoo
Luaka Bop
Jim White is anything but your everyday singer-songwriter. His incisive storytelling often takes up the themes of the religion so prevalent in the American South, his home base. (An older album of White’s was named The Wrong-Eyed Jesus!.) White -- not the Jim White who’s a journeyman drummer who has manned the kit for Cat Power and Nina Nastasia -- says he uses the term “transnormal skiperoo” to refer to his ability to look on the bright side of this often-bleak life. The album was produced by Joe Pernice and Michael Demming. The band Ollabelle backs White on Transnormal Skiperoo, and other guests include Chris Walla, Laura Veirs, Tucker Martine, and bluegrass duo Jeff and Vida. ~John Zeiss


Artist: http://jimwhite.net
Label: http://www.luakabop.com
Audio: http://www.luakabop.com

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