by Alex Carnevale
People seem to like the new R.E.M. album, I personally thought Molly saying Britney Wowch was more entertaining. I honestly don’t know what the Men on the Moon were thinking with this one. This is the recording equivalent of Mick Jagger dancing like Godzilla through the streets in that video. Michael Stipe must sleep 22 hours a day. “Until the Day Is Done” is one of the worst songs ever written. They should have just covered all of Bruce Springsteen’s “The Rising.” Eddie Vedder has poops better than this album. Honestly it’s like no one in this band has listened to music since 1988.
In better news Del dropped a new album.
Del collaborated with pop-group Gorillaz for two songs on their debut album, both of which became singles: “Clint Eastwood” and “Rock the House“. In their cartoon-based videos he is portrayed as a ghost. Del later commented in an interview on the success of “Clint Eastwood” by saying to the interviewer that he actually wrote the song with the book “How to Write a Hit Song,” a book that he bought with a coupon his mother gave him. After the song went platinum he gave the plaque to his mother.
Word. The production on this album is slick. Occasionally it gets a little bit after school special – no one should rap about “emotions” – but then that’s not really a surprise, we’ve all gotten older. I liked his track on the AmpLive Radiohead remix album better than everything on Eleventh Hour. There’s some filler and I really would prefer to listen in a car, but since I don’t drive anymore, computer speakers will have to do.
“Dry Lips” – Lightspeed Champion (mp3)
This guy’s act definitely entertains me, and the album surprisingly delivers. Pitchfork:
A precocious young man himself, Hynes has an awful predilection towards the kind of “transgressive” lyricism that’s less shocking than just plain silly. Pick your poison: “I’m sick in your mouth,” “Wake up, smell the semen,” or something that certainly sounds like “until they cum down his throat.”
Horseshit, Hynes is an awesome lyricist and not just when he’s using bad words. “Dry Lips” is already one of my favorite songs of the year, and it’s just part of the parade of gorgeously written highlights totally unlike Hynes’ last project, Test Icicles. I think they should get the chick on Idol who sang “God Bless America” to re-record this album. It would be the biggest selling country album of all time. You could change “balls” to something more female related. “Feelings”?
A band that is getting a lot of attention from the usual outlets is Fuck Buttons. All the tracks are about ten minutes long. If you really like experimental post-rock (we enjoy calling everything post-rock), this album has its moments. It’s not something you really want to sit around listening to, but it’s not bad. The single “Bright Tomorrow” is my hot track; in the words of a semen-loving NCAA tournament announcer, “THAT’S A MAN’S JAM!” As Danish said the other day, “Pitchfork’s Best New Music is like the who’s who of mediocrity, nothing offensive but impossible to understand how people can get excited about most of them.” Amen.
The new Elbow album, The Seldom Seen Kid, is easily one of the best of the year. The tough thing with this album is that their last album was so great it’s kinda hard to know how to follow it up. 2005’s Leaders of the Free World was epic. In the end, they didn’t worry about anthems, they used Guy Garvey’s dreamy voice and wrote 12 blowaway tracks highlighted by the single “Ground for Divorce.” It doesn’t officially come out in the US till April, but it’s a lock for our top ten list already.
I dig the Hercules & Love Affair album, but you sir are no Hot Chip. We’ve already posted a bunch of HLA. This album shows tons of promise and “Blind” is the best dance track so far this year.
You can try to hate the new Raconteurs all you want but it is the catchiest thing that will come out this year. Benson and White is gold. When they go to the piano, it is incredible. When they go to the guitar, it feels nice. Consolers of the Lonely (great title) is pretty much more a continuation of my favorite White Stripes album, Elephant, than the actual follow-up was. Elton John should cover “You Don’t Understand Me.” The rockier tracks aren’t really my style but Consolers of the Lonely has it all.
“Old Enough” – The Raconteurs (mp3)
Lykke Li is the hype girl right now, and rightly so, as this collection is at times strangely otherworldly, at times Joanna Newsom incarnate, and at times very singer-songwritery. I can imagine her being a great live act. She’s going to have a very nice career. “Hanging High” is a great track and the album is smooth, catchy, and intelligent.
“Snow in Berlin” – Zookeeper (mp3)
An album that I missed in 2007 and found recently was Zookeeper’s Becoming All Things. “Snow in Berlin” is my jam right now. I loved The Gloria Record and Mineral. This track is masterful hypnotic post-pop with shoegaze tendencies. Then again, I describe nearly everything that way. I have listened to “Snow in Berlin” about 600 times in a row and it never gets old. I want it to play it above my gravestone so my eventual wife can cry to some moving power pop whenever she thinks of how great I was.
I love Guillemots but this record has plenty of misses. It feels disjointed at times, and at other times just plain weird. I think they thought too much about what they should do instead of simply doing it. The cover doesn’t exactly blow you away either. The last track is a fitting epitaph for this album. It borders on poppy fun, but never relaxes enough to win you over.
“Cheater’s Armory” – Hanne Hukkelberg (mp3)
Rykestrasse 68 fulfills Hukkelberg’s considerable promise as an artist. Her cover of the Pixies’ “Break My Body” more than justifies the price of admission here. In the battle with Nina Nastasia of the alliterative singers she has brought this contest to a most aurally pleasing tie.
The new Pharrell Williams produced Madonna is wholly unfortunate. I don’t know what she thinks people want from her, but I’d rather live inside Cher’s vagina than listen to this album again. I’m a big Madonna fan but this was the recording equivalent of an epileptic seizure. She’s now more insane than Mariah Carey, and that is not a designation anyone wants. I’m going to listen to “Human Nature” and “Vogue” about five hundred times and try to bring the old Madonna back.
“Candy Shop” – Madonna (mp3)
Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording. He lives in Manhattan.
PREVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING
We were sort of concerned you’d be drowned within our sea.
We went to see Emily Haines.
We saluted Camille Paglia.