Thursday, January 19, 2012
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Almost two years ago to the day, I posted a live version of Orbital’s “Halcyon,” which has one of the greatest pay-offs in live electronic music EVER. Today comes the announcement that the Hartnoll brothers, Paul and Phil, are back together and have a new album on the horizon.
“Never” is the first single from Wonky, due out in April, the duo’s first new album in eight years. That alone is exciting news. Even if the track feels a bit run of the mill.
I can vaguely remember seeing a video for the track pop up early fall last year but there wasn’t an announcement or news, just the track. The tapping beat and revolving melodies are what Orbital does best and, as the video suggests, sounds like a very late night drive home from a very late night.
Nothing monumental from Orbital, other than the standard, high level of quality the Hartnolls have always maintained. But we’ve only heard one track, so there’s no telling what else they’ve pumped out of those brilliant bald heads.
Orbital’s official website.
Buy Orbital’s music at Amazon.
According to the email I just got, the album/mixtape includes members of the Queens, NY, community organization SEVA which is working to raise awareness of redistricting efforts in the borough. Also included on the tape are Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire, Action Bronson, and Childish Gambino, all of whom were branded underground hip hop heroes via 2011 year-end lists.
Grab the mixtape here. I haven’t listened to it yet, or even downloaded it, but I’m sure it’s no waste of time...
*I’m calling them visionaries because Relax got a lot of spins in my world. There’s a pretty good chance it’ll be on that slow-to-appear Top 11 of ‘11 I’ve been posting, but you never know...
Monday, January 16, 2012
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Of the entire line-up, and it is a deep, deep line-up, the two eye-catchers come from bands that fans have long wanted to reunite, one of which has sworn up and down for more than a decade that they were over forever: At The Drive-In and Refused.
The post-punk heroes, each of which has had a somewhat profound affect on punk and music as a whole, will play their first shows together at the gigantic festival.
At The Drive-In gained popular attention once Grand Royal Records (AKA The Beastie Boys) signed them and got “One-Armed Scissor,” from their pretty widely loved album “Relationship of Command” on MTV. Then the band splintered into the prog-metal mindfuck of The Mars Volta and more straight forward rock of Sparta. While TMV will release a new album this year, Sparta hasn’t put out a new album since 2006, though they’ve been playing live recently.
ATDI getting back together is not the most shocking thing though since they’ve been teasing it for at least two years. The problem with the band was that Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez felt held back, so they left and formed another band, in addition to writing, recording and releasing about 10,000 projects a year.
Refused, on the other hand, imploded and swore they’d never come back after their ground-shaking The Sound of Punk To Come changed the face of hard music - at least in retrospect. The album turns from melodic to blistering hardcore on a dime, with a series of political statements that show the band’s preference for socialism over pure capitalism, and is universally lauded for sounding so unlike anything else at the time, despite hardcore not being a new idea.
These bands matter, and now they have returned. This is a big deal people. Melodramatic enough for you?
Monday, January 9, 2012
One 2011’s biggest releases came toward the end of the year, from a band that has quietly become one of the biggest, most consistently great bands in the country - The Black Keys.
What the blues-rock duo has done over the last decade, without compromising anything, really, is evolve their sound from a somewhat derivative melding of the two music forms into a sound all their own. From their first album, The Big Come Up, the Black Keys have become adept at writing more and better songs every year since, with their sound evolving to balance the blues based attack that made that gritty first effort so addictive.
The new album, El Camino, is the first to feature Danger Mouse behind the boards for every track since Attack and Release in 2008, and it solidifies the partnership as just enough pop has been added to what probably started off as pretty hooky rock songs anyway.
El Camino finds Dan and Patrick finding their groove, literally, on most every song. Even where the lyrical content is a little heavy, as it can be with these blues guys, the up tempo riffage has everything moving.
The consensus among reviewers was that Brothers, the 2009 blockbuster from the Black Keys, was a down record, this rediscovers their rocking side. I don’t quite get that, but whatever. Maybe everyone just wanted a party record. Considering all the influence on here, what with echoes of all sorts of pop songs, in a good way, this should be a party record.
Coming in on the second half of the album, “Hell of a Season,” covers both those sides: lyrically, it’s a bit heart-wrenching, but sonically it kicks your sad ass off that ledge you’re looking out from. Or maybe it’ll pull you back off the ledge. Either way, it’s good. And so is the rest of the album. There’s no great mystery to it: Just good rock and roll.