Where NY music fanaticism and NY Mets fanaticism need not be mutually exclusive. Next year is now, bitches!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Sometimes I get to Listen to New Music....

When I'm not cursing at WFAN or making New York a kinder, gentler place for landlords and their rent-stabilized tenants, I get to listen to stuff. Stuff like.....

The National - Alligator - This is one of those bands that I'd been aware of for months without ever actually having heard anything by them. In fact, when I wanted to go see Palomar at the Merc a few months ago, the gig ended up being sold out because unbeknownest to me, the National were the headliner, and I guess they've got a following. CMG gave their new record a positive write-up, and Rajeev at OL recently said that they sound like Tindersticks; which can only be a positive thing. He's right. They do sound a hell of a lot like Tindersticks. The lead singer only sings in a seductive baritone, and nearly every song has the sexy, sloooowcore R&B feel that's practically been trademarked by the aforementioned Brits for the past 14 years or so. Unlike Tindersticks however, The National can actually do uptempo and rockin' without sounding embarassing. Eerie, sexually charged lyrics too. I think I'm going to like this record.

Mercury Rev - The Secret Migration -Been out in the U.K. for awhile, comes out here in two weeks. I wanted Pitchfork's review to be wrong, but they're actually on the money for once. Johnathan Donahue has finally turned into a bonafide dirty hippie. Migration mostly lacks the mystery and darkness that made Deserter's Songs awesome, and All is Dream tolerable; instead trafficking in wide-eyed, hippie, new-aged crap-some of which The Magic Numbers would have a hard time digesting. Sample lyric - "In the wilderness, nothing is what it seems/In the wilderness, life is but a dream!" Bernard Sumner is taking notes.

Sufjan Stevens - Illinois - I feel more than a little dirty writing about this because it doesn't hit stores until July (something I was not aware of when a leak came my way). But it's nothing short of fantastic. 74 minutes long, and I have yet to completely digest the second side because songs 1-12 are so good. To be honest, this is the first SS album I've ever listened to; having been scared off by his tendency to embrace his Christian faith and the simple fact that the new wave of indie-folk generally isn't my bag. But I need to hear more, and everyone tells me that Greetings From Michigan is also excellent, and similar in it's use of dozens of instruments, female backing vocals, and mid-fi production. Must pick that up. "Jacksonville," "Chicago," and "Casimir Pulaski Day" are among the greatest songs I've heard this year.

Ryan Adams and the Cardinals - I like the Grateful Dead. Ryan Adams likes the Grateful Dead. This sounds like The Dead. Easily his most palatable effort since Heartbreaker.

The Raveonettes - Pretty in Black - An impulse buy on the part of the Girlfriend on the same trip that I impulsively bought the National record. I generally thought of these guys as a more gimmicky, Scandinavian answer to the White Stripes with a Phil Spector obsession, but this is surprisingly excellent after a few listens. Generally speaking, the "E! Online" reviews hosted at Metacritic are remarkably stupid and over laudatory, but their review of PiB stating that Quentin Tarantino has a soundtrack to his new movie actually makes a little sense. There's spaghetti Western sounding ditties not unlike the Nancy Sinatra tune that opened up Kill Bill Vol. 1, more than a handful of Spector-esque tributes (Ronnie even chips in at one point), and a variety of styles and sounds far more expansive than anything on their first two albums (well...a full length album and the mini album that was Whip it On). Time will tell if it sticks, but so far, I like.

Sitting on the hard drive.....Nine Inch Nails, Caribou, Architecture in Helsinki.....

Dave likes our record. Das should make us happy. It does not.


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