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11 October 05 from Ian Mathers 11
And speaking of Morr Music associated artists, Ulrich Schnauss' A Strangely Isolated Place LP, from 2003, is absolutely goddamn gorgeous, and nearly flawless.
5 October 05 from jer 1
Since glenn and I both seem to just be getting into them, and since some other people still might not know them at all, I should note that I am actually liking Lali Puna's miscellany compilation I Thought I Was Over That at least every bit as much as the albums I have by them. Recommended, even if it is your introduction to the band.
Orderable at www.morrmusic.com where, since you're aready there, you can also find a new 7" single of Lali Puna's Valerie Trebeljahr and the Notwist's Markus Acher covering the Magnetic Fields' "Papa Was a Rodeo" and Smog's "The Morning Paper" under the name John Yoko.
4 October 05 from Michael 10
I didn't dig the Kathleen Edwards much either, but in the Americana/Canadiana realm I am listening to the new Amy Rigby and it seems very good. The last Chris Whitley is ok, but not up to his best.
4 October 05 from jer 1
I would have figured that Sarah's presence made up enough of what I liked about the last two K's Choice records that I'd have just as much of a chance of loving Scream, but that does not appear to be the case. The music on this record is fairly generic mainstream studio rock, but a few songs ("One Second," most notably) sound close enough to her old band that that can't be the problem. I think I'm just not as emotionally receptive to this album as I was to Almost Happy a few years ago, so it may very well be my issue, not the album's.
Then again, the new Kathleen Edwards really let me down, the new Ben Folds mostly bored me and I haven't been able to get into the new Dar Williams yet, so maybe I'm just in a really picky mood this year.
3 October 05 from glenn mcdonald 9
Ugh, it took me a couple years of practice to get to the point where I can usually tell which order a Japanese name is in. Pop citations flip back and forth more or less at random. In my column I originally used Western style, then started adopting (affecting?) Japanese style once I began understanding it. In this case Utada is the family name, Hikaru the personal. In the US she's credited simply as Utada, which seems somewhat sensible unless you realize that in Japan the short version of her name is "Hiki", which is a diminutive of "Hikaru".
1 October 05 from Ian Mathers 5
Speaking of Japanese musicians, am I correct in assuming that when you refer to one by name you follow the convention of putting what would be their last name in English first? That "Exodus 04" song you posted a while back has come up in iTunes a bunch recently, and I really love it. So I want to make sure I file it properly.
1 October 05 from glenn mcdonald 8
At the moment I'm really liking k's Choice singer Sarah Bettens' solo album Scream, which doesn't sound exactly like a k's Choice record, but is more than close enough if her voice is what draws you. And thoughtful bonus points for a musically anthemic title-track that's actually a lyrical condemnation of anthemicality.
Over in metal, the new Stratovarius album seems a little more focused to me than either part of Elements, and the new Hypocrisy record Virus is a gnashing return to their finer form. And the new HIM album, Dark Light, is magnificent in their unmistakable way.
And my recent batch of new records by Japanese artists I already liked is even better than I'd expected. Amano Tsukiko's A MOON CHILD IN THE SKY isn't as angry as her debut, but she seems to me to have finally figured out how to mold glossier production values to her own personality. L'Arc~en~Ciel's AWAKE is an impressive goth-prog-glam show-off, and Gackt's Diabolos goes back to his histrionic excess after the dreary Love Letter aside. And most surprisingly to me, Tommy heavenly6, the new Kawase Tomoko (of the brilliant green) side-project, sounds enthusiastically like the brilliant green, rather than the more bubblegummy stuff of her previous solo thing, Tommy february6.
30 September 05 from Chris Gerth 7
Malcom Middleton's latest solo album Into The Woods. Although I am a big fan of Arab Strap, this is by far better than anything they have released lately. Excellent stuff.
28 September 05 from NEH 6
It's been out about 2 weeks and I'm really enjoying Escape From the Dragon House, the new album by Dengue Fever. Dengue Fever is a LA band but the lyrics are in Khmer (and they're STILL easier to understand than Kings of Leon.)
So if you're curious about what Cambodian surf music sounds like (crossed with other global influences), check out this CD. Their self-titled debut full of Cambodian pop covers, is great as well.
Don't be surprised when you start singing along. It must be the farfisa organ.
27 September 05 from Ian Mathers 5
On a similar note, although it didn't come out this year, Elefant's Sunlight Makes Me Paranoid is a fantastic album along similar lines.
26 September 05 from jer 1
Has anyone heard Stellastarr's Harmonies For The Haunted yet? If not, imagine what Interpol might sound like if they took more after Simple Minds than Joy Division. Or better yet, forget trying to imagine anything and just go buy this album. Utterly fantastic, and easily one of the five best records I've heard all year.
23 September 05 from Kenny 4
The new New Pornographers album is fantastic, with much more Neko than Electric Version or Mass Romantic.
...Also, I know from your reviews that, well, (to put it lightly) they're not your favorite band, but you might like their latest album, The Woods. It's drastically different from all of their previous work, and is much more catchy.
Lastly, ever heard of Mirah? She's amazing, you should check out her latest album which is not exactly new, C'mon Miracle (2004).
11 August 05 from spin 2
I heard the Thompson at a friend's place after a Costello show last week. Great stuff... looks like Diverse is releasing it on vinyl as well so I'll wait a bit to own that one.
Downloaded the Mould last week on emusic. Can't say enough about the indie AND jazz selection, prices and higher quality VBR. I didn't like it on first spin, but it's growing on me.
Playing the New Pornographers and AC Newman's now in anticipation of the new NP's album in a couple of weeks. Anyone have an advanced copy? Neko, Neko, Neko... great set at this summer's TwangFest!
9 August 05 from glenn mcdonald 3
Well, I admit that I listened to all the :30 samples of the Penn album on the iTMS and was convinced not to buy it. It just all sounded like it was in the same plodding tempo that apparently at the moment I can't stand. I guess I can imagine that my impression was a function of the short samples, and ultimately wrong, but it seemed pretty vivid. Maybe I'm just in the wrong mode.
The new Richard Thompson sounded very excellent on first listen, especially after seeing him play at the Newport Folk Festival over the weekend. I'm excited about the new Juliana Hatfield, too. And after a few plays I'm still liking the new Bob Mould.
When I'm not listening to the Waltham album over and over, I mean...
7 August 05 from spin 2
I'll second that. I was annoyed that she rec'd her hubby's new LP during an interview a few months back, but picked it up anyway... haven't touched either of Mann's latest though.
7 August 05 from jer 1
I just finished listening to Michael Penn's Mr. Hollywood Jr. 1947 for the first time, and while I can't be too sure yet, I think it may be his very best record. I actually like it considerably better than his wife's latest, already.
Next up: 13 & God.