Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Little Blurbs

August 21st was a big day for new releases, and to only review the New Pornographers and Architecture in Helsinki is a shame. Not because those albums are undeserving, they are, that's why they took precedent, but there were plenty of others that, had they been released any other week, would have probably seen some larger blog space. Below you'll find a few blurbs on some of those albums, and with any luck one of us will at least get a Kala review sometime in the near future. Enjoy.

Recommended Album
Caribou - Andorra

Score: 81.7 %

What the Others Think:

Pitchfork Score: 8.3
Tiny Mix Tapes Score: 4 1/2 out of 5
Coke Machine Glow Score: 60%

I have to admit that I'm far from a Caribou/Manitoba aficionado, though with the release of Andorra I may have to work on becoming one. The album is perhaps electro-pop at its near best. At times Andorra is reminiscent of Panda Bear's latest album Person Pitch, in that it does Brian Wilson and the Beatles justice while retaining its own identity. At the very least, give this album a spin or two, if only to hear such standout tracks as "After Hours", "Eli", and the album's closing track, "Niobe" which is an electronic menagerie of sound for the first 6 or so minutes that then shifts into a gentler, comfortable, science fiction movie-esque ending.

Caribou - "After Hours" (mp3)

Travis Morrison Hellfighters - All Y'all

Score: 69.5%

What the Others Think:

Pitchfork Score: N/A
Tiny Mix Tapes Score: N/A
Coke Machine Glow Score: N/A

Solo albums are not always very good, but for fans of the artist's previous endeavors, solo albums are usually, at the very least, interesting to hear. For example, after listening to Thom Yorke's The Eraser, you get a better idea of what styles and sounds he brings to Radiohead. But even The Eraser was far from perfect, and Travis Morrison, who helped take the Dismemberment Plan from Washington D.C. basements and dive bars to the cusp of indie stardom before their self-implosion in 2003, is no Thom Yorke. All Y'all is a marked improvement from Travis' previous solo outing, 2004's Travistian, otherwise known as the album slapped with a 0.0 rating at Pitchfork. Mostly the album picks up where the D-Plan left off on their underrated swan song, Change, but standout tracks like "Just Didn't Turn Me On" and "You Make Me Feel Like a Freak" branch off into a funkier, groovier direction that winds up being both refreshing and nerve racking, as its only a brief reminder of just how wonderfully off kilter D-Plan could be. Trimmed up a bit, this could have been a promising EP, but as it stands the album just a notch below pretty good.

Listen to the whole album here.

Rilo Kiley - Under the Blacklight

Score: 42.1%

What the Others Think:

Pitchfork Score: 5.1
Tiny Mix Tapes Score: N/A
Coke Machine Glow Score: N/A

Two years ago, Rilo Kiley jumped ship to a major label and released the sleeper single "Portions For Foxes", a guilty pleasure of mine I have to admit. Their not entirely alt-country, not quite indie-rock, not quite emo sound wasn't exactly thrilling, no more so than the new Wilco record, but pop songs don't necessarily have to take risks in order to work. In fact, taking risks is probably the biggest reason why this album feels like an underachiever. Rather than coming across as more adventurous, Rilo Kiley instead sound like they're struggling with their identity, trying to force songs to sound more exciting than they actually are. Granted, putting Jenny Lewis' cowpoke vocals over disco beats, which you'll hear several times on this album with varying degrees of success, does make for an interesting concept, but mostly winds up sounding more forced than fun. If you must, go ahead and call it a transitional record or a growing pain for a band that's still relatively new to the world of major labels, just don't expect to see it on too many "Best Of" lists come December.

Rilo Kiley - "The Moneymaker" (mp3)

1 comment:

Mandy said...

Maybe one of you could talk Erik into doing a Kala review. :)