Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Street's Albums of the Month: February 2010

Bomb the Music Industry! - Adults!!!: Smart!!! Shithammered!!! And Excited By Nothing!!!!!!!

Since 2006, Bomb the Music Industry! has been dropping albums faster than most bands release singles, and if "Adults!!!" isn't their strongest offering yet (I'm like 90% ready to say it is), it's undoubtedly their most accessible. "Adults!!!" piles on the instruments, from the thunderingly fuzzed-out guitars on “All Ages Shows” to the unreasonably high energy horns on “Planning My Death,” even throwing in a chiptunes-y interlude in “Big Ending.” It's clear Bomb! has hit its stride lyrically, clinging to a kernel of unbelievable earnestness in the face of deeply embedded cynicism. Clocking in at just over 20 minutes, every track's a winner, and, since it's free, there's no legitimate reason not to give it a listen. Download the album through http://www.quoteunquoterecords.com/

-Dan Abromowitz ‘13

Chew Lips - Self-titled

Granted, the name is awful and the album art is even worse, but Chew Lips’ self-titled debut is a rare thing: emotionally-complex electro-pop. In a genre usually reserved for fluffy divas and disco balls, Chew Lips carry themselves with a distinctive, sophisticated art-rock swagger. Yes, there are synths and bleeps and drum machines, but the melodies are sinewy and skeletal, and singer Tigs sounds wise beyond her years. Even better, no two songs here are alike. The dirge-like “Gold Key” sounds like TV on the Radio, “Seven” bumps and bleeps and bounces like Hot Chip, and “Slick” is a smirking, deceptively lightweight pop gem. I saw the band live in London during Intercession and their CD has more than lived up to my expectations. If you thought all electro-pop was just disposable fun, think again.

-Adam Tanaka ‘11

Munford & Sons - Sigh No More

Riding against the wave of electronic production that is currently sweeping the music industry, Mumford & Sons' "Sigh No More" is a refreshingly original work and an impressive debut for the London-based band. Almost wholly comprised of acoustic instruments and boasting a developed, textured folk sound, the band has an inimitable energy and enthusiasm that makes their music infectious. Listening to their album was the first time I've found myself grooving to pure, straight-up folk music. I'm betting you'll feel the same way.

-Kiran Gollakota ‘13

Joanna Newsom – Have One On Me

When I first heard Joanna Newsom’s “Ys,” I was instantly giddy at the prospect of hearing, for the first time, something stunning and unique. Naturally, I dispensed mix-tapes to all of my friends, only to receive confused looks and judgmental laughs. So I cried over the spilt milk, waited four years, and bought her next album - because “Have One On Me” is brilliant for the same reasons that Newsom’s last two albums are brilliant. Her quasi-classical style, the playful harp, and those astonishingly clever, naturalistic lyrics are nothing short of blissful. This time, however, Newsom’s voice is a touch more delicate. “Kingfisher” is a perfect example of this newfound elegance: “In this life who did you love/ beneath the drifting ashes/ beneath the shifting banks of air/ that barely pour out rations.” “Have One On Me” is perfect for any brave listener’s mix-tape.

-Lisa Han ‘13

Spoon – Transference

After waiting two and a half years, die-hard Spoon fans still living off the brilliance of 2007’s "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga" get to hear the band up close and personal on its seventh album, "Transference." The album is as raw as they come – about half of the tracks are the original demos with just guitar, vocals, and percussion. With this lack of polish and run-of-the-mill hooks comes an experimental freshness that is rare in today’s heavy-edited world of music. Singer Britt Daniel’s lyrics are simple and brooding in true Spoon fashion, and the driving steady beat of songs like “Got Nuffin” will remind you of past albums no doubt. "Transference" may not be the right gateway album for those just beginning Spoon addictions, but it’s damn good if you’re already hooked.

-Sara Wallace ‘12

Various Artists – Download to Donate to Haiti

Musicians, painters, authors - creative beings of all sorts - have been releasing works at a breathless pace to benefit Haiti in the months since the devastating earthquake. Celebs have gotten involved too, and the recently released "Download to Donate for Haiti" is just one of several compilations for Haiti relief. However, out of all the benefit albums out there, this is the one to check out - it's worth listening to even without the humanitarian aspect, which is more than can be said for a lot of releases like this. You can actually download the album for free and then choose how much you'd like to donate (Yes, you have to be accountable and actually donate after downloading, but that's kind of the beauty of this project). "Download to Donate for Haiti" is a 13 track compilation of diverse and talented artists, including Weezer, Metric, Enrique Inglesias, Lupe Fiasco, and Jack Johnson. And here's the kicker: all of the songs on the album are unreleased! Check it out: there are enough compelling reasons for you to take your pick. Here's the link: http://www.musicforrelief.org/

-Jess Turner ‘13

Yeasayer – “Odd Blood”

Since “Odd Blood” leaked last December, the blogosphere’s been all a tizzy about the alleged pop transformation of (one of) the critic’s favorite Brooklyn-based indie bands. (Sidenote: Is it possible in this day in age for a Brooklyn-based indie band to be anything other than
critically adored?) “They’re using 80’s style synths!” some shrieked. “And inspirational lyrics!” wailed others. The general angst: what happened to those apocalypse-singing hippie-folk weirdoes we fell in love with back in 2007? Well, their sound has certainly become more electronic, and their worldview rosier – but neither of these things are bad, merely different. And in fact, once fans get over their expectations, they’re bound to Yeasayer’s sophomore album just as rich and compelling as its predecessor. Top tracks: "The Children, "Ambling Alp, "Madder Red, "ONE"

-Cristina Luzarraga ‘11

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