Each week, we preview a handful of notable albums scheduled to hit the shelves.[more:]
British Sea Power
Do You Like Rock Music?
Rough Trade/World’s Fair
If you like rock music, especially of the British variety, then you’ll be happy that British Sea Power is one of a handful of bands that continues to carry the torch for Brit-rock. Besides having a question mark in the title, Do You Like Rock Music? shares other facets with the band’s Krakenhaus? EP from last year. Songs such as “Atom” and “Down on the Ground” reappear here. So do guests Howard Bilerman (formerly of Arcade Fire) and Efrim Menuck of that ever-name-changing Godspeed/Silver Mt. Zion Canadian collective. ~John Zeiss
Free Form Funky Freqs
Urban Mythology, Vol. 1
Free Form Funky Freqs is the eclectic trio of Vernon Reid, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, and G. Calvin Weston. Reid is, of course, best known as the guitar hero from Living Colour. Bassist Tacuma played with Ornette Coleman in the ’70s. And drummer Weston has played with the likes of John Lurie, Marc Ribot, and Billy Martin. The three came together in the waning days of Tonic, the experimental music hub in Manhattan that no longer exists. The group played its first show there without ever having practiced together. The show went off so well, as did another in Philadelphia, that the Freqs decided to record together in Reid’s own studio. The result is an organic, dynamic blend of funk and rock. ~John Zeiss
Thriller: 25th Anniversary Edition
While procrastinating researching for my piece on the Odelay reissue, a recurring theme was the record's essentialness. I won't argue that point (read the review for my two penny), but I couldn't help but think about another record that my generation would inarguably consider for that superlative: Thriller. Whether you own a copy obsessively, ironically, nostalgically, or unknowingly, anyone who has heard it and lives in the modern age knows it is a perfect time capsule: a synthetic study of culture consumption as told through that confection/digestible vitamin/suppository we all know and love as "pop." This reissue actually improves upon the original by including other key components of the King of Pop's mythology, circa the early '80s: the three videos that accompanied this album, as well as M.J.'s historic performance of "Billie Jean" (nee, the international debut of the moonwalk) on Motown 25: Yesterday, Today and Forever. So, so recommended. ~Dan Nishimoto
If I Could See Dallas; Down the Elements; The Sleepy Strange [reissues]
The Athens, Georgia-based post-rock collective Japancakes started its career strong. So it’s good to see the band’s first three releases, which have been out of print for a while, being re-released. Japancakes’ debut album, 2000’s If I Could See Dallas, was a bold, big, sprawling statement of arrival. Songs on the record range from Air-esque fuzz-pop to sitar-drenched raga rock to Japancakes’ signature pedal-steel sound. Down the Elements followed later that year, culling together the leftover studio recordings from the Dallas sessions. And 2001’s The Sleepy Strange found the band settling into the laid-back, gorgeous grooves Japancakes continues to focus on to this day. All of the albums were originally released on Kindercore.
B.I.P.P.P.: French Synthwave 1979-1985
Ever wondered where the sounds plied by the likes of Daft Punk, Justice, and Air come from? This compilation of early French electro-pop could help. The album, featuring selections from Ruth, Comix, and Vox Dei, was originally released in 2006 by French imprint Born Bad. It’s being released by Los Angeles-based label Everloving, which branched out from its folky base with last year’s Cornelius album, Sensuous. ~John Zeiss
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