Sunday, August 1, 2010

Quick Spins

Arcade FireThe Suburbs
A slice of Americana brought to you by Canada’s greatest band. The Suburbs is a much more mature and grown up record from Arcade Fire. In so many ways it displays the band’s growth not just as musicians but also as people and a collective of individuals who are in such high musical regard. The record, which comes from inspiration of lost love letters, the brothers Butler growing up in Texas and an homage to their musical icons. Themes and insight from bands like Depeche Mode, Buzzcocks, Neil Young, U2, Springsteen all echo on this disc. With the help of Owen Pallet (Final Fantasy) on orchestral arraignments, this album will swell like an epic wave in concert. The Suburbs is one of the years most anticipated releases and unlike past Arcade Fire records, it does take a bit to really sink into.

RobynBody Talk Pt 1
Eight songs that pack more dance punch than a glass of Red Bull and vodka. Swedish global sensation Robyn returns with the first of two installments, Body Talk Pt 1 proves that she is a massive sensation, yet, will finally get the credit she deserves. The lead single “Dancing on my Own,” is easily one of the years best singles and a song you will just keep hitting the repeat button. While other sings try to emulate Lady Gaga, it is Robyn they should be looking at, Body Talk Pt 1 proves this. Her time has finally come.

Amanda PalmerUkulelehead EP
Amanda Fucking Palmer has taken some of Radiohead’s best material and reworked it to a bare bones piano, drum and ukulele accomplishment. Never has a cover album sounded so original and fresh.

The HivesTarred and Feathered EP
The Swedish garage punkers are back…even with just a few songs. The Hives, who were one of the most talked about bands a few years ago, seemed to have faded away and are poised and deserving for a joyous return. Tarred and Feathered is just an appetizer as to what is to come from the former buzz band. We all know what they can do and at this point we just want them back on the road so we can see this electric band in concert again.

The Austrialian pop princess is back and better than ever. Aphrodite is a non stop dance – synth collection that will have your heart racing and feet tapping. After all that Kylie Minogue has gone through not just in her career but in her life, she still manages to bounce back better and fresher than some of the new generation.

A Million YearsMischief Maker
Remember the name of this band. Why? Because they are on the brink of exploding into something so big, that I do not even think they are ready for it. A Million Years is a punk / funk, that is right punk / funk quartet from Brooklyn whose debut is so intense it is a sonic kick to the junk.

Big BoiSir Lucious Leftfoot: Son of Chico Dusty
The first solo record from an Outkast member comes years in the making. Big Boi who is not afraid to take himself too serious (then again Andre 3000 never really did either (just look at his awesome clothes) which is why Outkast was so brilliant), comes out swining on his debut solo record. Just as fun as his half of Speakerboxx / The Love Below, and just as typical as you would expect from one of Atlanta’s finest rappers.

Brandon BoydThe Wild Trapeze
The Incubus front man goes solo and sounds…just like Incubus. I love Incubus, always have and always will, but I wish Boyd saved these songs for his main band and made a new record. There are moments on it, where he experiments more with acoustic guitars and audio blips and loops but not enough for me to truly embrace this project.

Tired PonyThe Place We Ran From
An alt-country record brought to you from Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody, REM’s Peter Buck, Belle & Sebastian’s Ian Archer and his wife Mirium Kaufman and producer Jacknife Lee. In many ways Tired Pony is a project to be admired, with so many guests such as Editors Tom Smith, Zoey Deschanel and M. Ward, they each along with Lightbody take stab at the American dream and what it has turned into. A very interesting project and one to look into if you are a fan of any of those involved.

Richard Ashcroft and United Nations of Sound
Former Verve front man nixes a full on solo album and joins up with United Nations of Sound and Jay-Z producer No ID. There is not much to be said or written about this album, as it is Aschcroft at his least ambitious. Personally I feel, and I know I am not the only one out there; Aschcroft is one of the greatest songwriters and singers of all time. Yet, this project does not display any of that. Much like his sophomore solo effort, Human Condition, Aschcroft is singing about nature and his love of music. Fine, we get it, we love music to but you are making it hard for us to listen. What saves the project from being a total failure is the music that United Nations of Sound bring to the table. Laced with heavy drums, tribal rhythms and dazzling beats, the UN of Sound are the only thing worth listening to. Dear Richard, please make amends with The Verve and get back together (again).