UK essentials Arctic Monkeys are releasing a new single “R U Mine?” tomorrow, a b-side off their 2011 release “Suck It and See.” Arctics are constantly evolving, consistently progressing. I find if very difficult to argue with anything they put out. This song in particular is just incredible. It has a darker edge than the stuff they released on the album but a similar mystique, with brilliantly smoky riffs and thundering drums. An instant obsession. I’ve had it on repeat. They made a fun little video to go with it.
I’ve only ever heard good things about Dr. Dog’s live performances, and two weeks ago I finally had the privilege of seeing for myself in Santa Ana, just a day after the release of their seventh studio album “Be the Void.” A completely physical concert, they are some of the best performers I’ve ever seen. The sextet has amazing synergy on stage, releasing nothing but raw, unadulterated energy. They somehow manage to be all over the place while still remaining right on par with their music, which is only attributable to their immense musical talent. Their new material blended in perfectly with their older stuff. And the crowd was really into it. It was over all a damn good time.
That being said, “Be the Void” is just what I’d expected from Dr. Dog. It’s quintessential Dr. Dog–ambling rock and roll with punching baselines and beautiful harmonies. The kind of stuff that makes you want to get up and dance and sing a long. They’ve been criticized for their obvious 1960′s influence and idiosyncratic lyrics but that’s beside the point. They’ve got a firm grip on what they do and it’s thoroughly enjoyable. If you were a fan of their old stuff, you’ll like their new stuff and it’s really never too late to be a fan.
2. That Old Black Hole
3. These Days
4. How Long Must I Wait
5. Get Away
6. Do the Trick
8. Heavy Light
9. Big Girl
10. Over Here, Over There
11. Warrior Man
12. Turning the Century
I wasn’t able to dig up much about Florida four-piece Paleo Eskimo. Other than that the song linked below sounds amazing on a playlist with Real Estate, Surfer Blood and Beach Fossils. Download it for a sonic trip to the beach.
The Tarot Classics EP is the first formal compilation Florida-based indie rokkers Surfer Blood have released since their debut album Astro Coast. Four tracks long, each sun drenched song sounds like it could fit right in with their debut with its hollowed guitar riffs and crisp melodies. It’s the same sunburnt melancholy indie that I kept on repeat two summers ago. The lyrics are a tad jaded, probably wrought from the past year on the road. Yet they strike a tactful balance between achingly morose and stoically confident. It’s a promising indication of where they’re headed. I’m looking forward to their followup LP.
I’ve never been the biggest advocate of Liverpool trio The Wombats. If you’d asked me a week ago what I thought of them I would have laughed and said the only song worth knowing was “Let’s Dance to Joy Division” (which happens to be a jam and a half) but anything else was a waste of time. I downloaded their followup LP This Modern Glitch the other day on a boredom-induced whim and I’m glad I did.
At a first listen, the album is a lot of the same danceable, rough-edge Brit pop/rock as their debut. Though it’s cleaner. Less obnoxious. More modern (as though the album title wasn’t a dead give away). They’ve added sugar coated layers of 1980′s synth and high tempo’d guitar riffs. Ironically this oft over the top ’80s vibe proves to be its modern glitch. Suffice it to say, there’s still something about their music that makes them more a guilty pleasure than anything else after your first few runs through of this album.
With a five-year gap between albums, you’d expect considerable maturity in the lyrics; this is not immediately noticeable in this album, which in a rather heart-on-the-sleeve manner grapples with the pangs and debauched pleasures of the life of the modern 20-something. In “1996″ they reminisce on the long lost teenage days of carelessness. At times (i.e. “Tokyo” and “Jump Into the Fog”) they mockingly shirk the responsibility of maturity. The lyrics are almost too honest. Frontman Matthew Murphy declares, “I’ve made mistakes I admit that freely/It’s just that life tastes sweeter when it’s wrapped in debauchery.” The albums ultimate hook (and possibly saving grace because it allows you to see the band through a different lens) is its first single “Anti-D” in which Murphy discusses his ongoing struggle with chemical depression. The album from this point on becomes a lifeline. The self-deprecating wit of the other songs gains new perspective and the album in general doesn’t seem so one dimensional.
Despite the gloomy undertones, the album is dressed in warm flourishes that make it utterly, almost confusingly enjoyable, like a shock of energy through your system. Murphy sings “The lasers fill our minds with empty plans/I never knew I was techno fan.” The album is far from flawless, but it doesn’t aim for perfection and that’s made clear through some of the darker aspects of it. But it does succeed on several grounds. It did enough to change my mind about them, I’ll admit. I guess I never knew I was a Wombats fan.
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