There’s no more print mag with slots for me to fill in with reviews, but I still listen to music more than ever. So should you. Here are my takes on some newer releases. The first one is a free link, so at least read that far!
Asobi Seksu – Big Orange Studios
I was bummed that Asobi Seksu wouldn’t be joining Boris on the West Coast, but at least there’s this recent session that was recorded live in studio for Daytrotter and released in late September. Yes, there are only three songs, but each is an epic example of cinematic-yet-genuine rock, and an excellent example of how the New York band’s humungous sound translates live. “Trails” is the extra dynamic, hyper catchy single with every freaking dial cranked up and percussion sounding like fireworks propelling Yuki’s dynamic vocals. It makes you feel as if you’re flying through space. The middle number is the dreamiest, complete with Cocteau Twins-style scatting, and “Leave The Drummer Out There” is the dream pop equivalent of “Bohemian Rhapsody”–or is it “A Quick One, While He’s Away”? At any rate, if this primo sampling of dream pop were pressed on a limited-edition 12″ slab of candy-colored vinyl it would easily set you back 10-12 bucks before hitting eBay. Instead, you can download it for free. [Daytrotter.com]
Mannequin Men – S/T
This Chicago band is not a throwback to jangly guitar, garage-inspired rock from the late ’80s but a timeless piece of crusty-eyed, dry-throated venting. And behind the nasal vocals and no-bullshit riffs lie head-bobbing melodies, ace musicianship, and genuine finger snapping that mark good music from any era (although the subject matter of “Cheyl Tiegs” does reveal the group’s age). So many excellent songs with smart lyrics, but buried in the middle toward the end you’ll find the awesome 8-9 punch of “OK” and “Wake Up Dead.” The former is as tweaked as it is textured yet impossibly catchy–like Dinosaur Jr. meets The Replacements’ “The Ledge.” The latter is as bubblegum as it is bleak: “You better brush your teeth, you better make your bed/You’re gonna go to sleep, you’re gonna wake up dead.” The album comes out today, and you can sample one of its many killer cuts right here, right now. [Addenda]
The Sunshot Band – Dial M for Murder in Dub Style
Produced by Phil Pratt and powered by the legendary rhythm section of Sly & Robbie, as well as contributions from the likes of stellar keyboardist Tommy McCook, the Sunshot Band’s cuts are more groovy than psychedelic and driven that stony. And although “Dial M for Murder” doesn’t riff of the Hitchcock soundtrack and “Wonder Woman Dub” doesn’t pay tribute the amazing TV theme, the cuts more than stand up on their own as perfect examples of primal dub recorded at Studio One from 1979-1980. Not the spliced and spliffed (okay, maybe) reworking of reel-to-reel but seemingly live jams with hints of echo and effects introduced in at key moments to throw the sweet melodies and listeners off kilter. It’s delight in disorder within a truly masterful framework. Digital tracks will be available from the Pressure Sounds site soon, but I recommend waiting for the vinyl or CD release on November 28 due to the label’s love of deluxe packaging, painstaking attention to detail, and appreciation of the tactile. [Pressure Sounds]