Every once in a while a new album comes out that sounds like nothing else. Sometimes these albums break new ground in an ambient and sparse way, with lilts in each song that accentuate the sublime subtleties hidden in each track (e.g. The Field – From Here We Go Sublime). Sometimes these albums break new ground by pitting together instruments and sounds that work in such awesome harmony that it’s a wonder it was never accomplished before (e.g. Arcade Fire – Funeral). And then sometimes these albums roar so ferociously in your ear that at first listen they come off as raw, unfiltered noise that was designed to annoy rather than entertain. Sleigh Bell’s debut album Treats is that such album.Continue reading
You know the albums I’m talking about. The ones that you crank to max volume in your car. The ones that make you roll down all your windows and stick your hand out. The ones that make you drive faster.
Also the ones that make you dance.
This new album from LCD Soundsystem, This Is Happening, is that album. It is their third and arguably their best.
LCD Soundsystem is already well known for making highly danceable tracks, and this album is a very logical and well thought-out extension. On their second album, Sound of Silver, each song felt organized and arranged in a logical manner. The songs progressed as you would hope. They broached the realm of predictability, with a machine-like and metallic timbre. However that metallic feel and sound is nowhere to be found on This Is Happening.
I love when an album is released that I can’t help but listen to over, and over, and over again. The last album that had that effect on me was the debut album from Two Doors Cinema Club, whose review I posted in February.
These type of records are filled with songs that flow into one another, breathing life into the next song and cherishing the music that just passed. They work as complete albums and as stand alone tracks; songs to be played in the dead of night or to begin a new sunny day. They get my heart pumping and my spirits soaring while I bob my head along to the beat.
The debut album from twenty-one year-old Bobby Ray Simmons – aka B.o.B. – is causing my head to bob so much its giving me a stiff neck. The beats are infectious, the rhymes are tight, and the singing is strong. I don’t think I’ll grow tired of this album until it grows tired of me.
His album is named B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray and it fits. Coming off of a few mix-tapes with some successful singles, B.o.B. is relatively unknown. Yet from what I’m hearing on his album he definitely knows himself.
Phantogram is an up-and-coming/somewhat arrived band. That’s really the best way I’m currently able to describe them. They haven’t quite hit it big with a large audience but they are hardly underground anymore.
Phantogram is comprised of Sarah D. Barthel and Joshua M. Carter from upstate New York in Saratoga Springs. As already stated in numerous places around the Internet, for such a rural setting their music is amazingly urban-sounding. Their energetic beats push forward their dark and growling sound as either Sarah sings prettily above the din or Josh snarls into the mess.
The obvious standout track is When I’m Small. It is the first track most people hear and I was no exception. It opens with a soft drum sample for two measures until the volume gets turned up as the song’s drum beat and groove kick-in. I’ve yet to meet someone who isn’t moved by the incredible pull of this song. The vocals float above the grunge, the beat is unstoppable, and no second is wasted.
Ever heard of DJ Danger Mouse? He broke onto the music scene when he released his amazing mix-tape The Grey Album – a mash-up of Jay-Z’s Black Album and The Beatle’s White Album. It has amazing tracks that remove the need to imagine what Jay-Z would sound like rapping over the music of The Beatles (he’s also half the duo of Gnarls Barkley).
To the delight of fans DJ Danger Mouse and The Shins’ lead singer and guitarist James Mercer joined creative forces and formed their own band. They named themselves Broken Bells and their debut album comes out today, March 9th 2010.