Monday, February 16, 2009

The Hype Machine

2 months into 2009, 2 albums/bands have been getting British rag levels of hype. Before the ball had dropped in the Big Apple, the interweb was alive and buzzing about Animal Collective's forthcoming album, Merriweather Post Pavillion (named for an outdoor amphitheater in Maryland?). If you've never heard AC, you are not missing out on too much (especially, if you are straight - and by straight I mean laced - not sexual preference). AC's music would be phenomenal if you were a habitual user of hallucinogens. Since I'm not, I find it OK. My experience with Avey Tare and Panda Bear (the core members of this trippy folk union) basically was nothing past their album Sung Tongs (get it? Tongue Songs? these guys are a riot...) and Prospect Hummer. They came out from under a rock and into my life my 2nd year of dental school, and I admit I have some songs off theirs still on my iPod ("Who Could Win a Rabbit"). It is weird, and not something I would seek out on the pod to listen to regularly.


In a move that like so many other bands that find success will be described as the moment they sold out - This latest venture is successful. It is bizarre like AC but not to the point of driving me nuts. If you want something interesting to listen to while you do other things (for me: Commute on the subway) that you don't need to concentrate on, this is for you. They have finally added just a splash of Pop sensibility to their sound to make it palatable. With all the 5 stars and album of the year 2009 cries from critics, it would be hard to live up to the hype. I'm shocked and amazed that I'm saying this - IT DOES. As we began the new year, I was already dreading what the masses of weirdos would be saying about this album (see here). They said it and were right. I have given it a month of thorough attention: It's good.

VERDICT: Hypeworthy

DOWNLOAD: "My Girls"

If you have read a music Blog at all since the end of January, it is highly likely that The Pains of Being Pure at Heart have been mentioned. The current darlings of the moment released their debut week before last, and the bloggers are just now starting to calm down. My vinyl copy came lovingly bubble wrapped from InSound week before last, and I have given it a many spins. It is simply a lovely little indie pop record. Not as sugary as the New Pornographers and not as mopey as the Smiths, PoBPaH have crafted a solid effort that is very pleasant (Robert Smith would be proud). While you will find that nearly every song sounds the same (let's be honest, we could argue that case against almost any band....), you'll also find yourself bouncing in your seat to each one. As a new proud father of Wii Fit (thanks, for actually having one in stock), I like to do my morning routine to this one. Upbeat enough to work out with and not too loud to blow your concentration on your downward facing dog (shoot me...).

VERDICT: Hypeworthy
DOWNLOAD: "Everything With You" or "Young Adult Friction"


Leland said...

WHAT IS THIS?!?!? I see I caught you in your earlier phase regarding the AC album when we last spoke.

PoBPah is right down my alley, favorite album of the year so far. The cover reminds me of belle & sabastian, which also makes me like them more.

Will said...

I was and am still having trouble shaking my feelings for their prior transgressions of weirdness - I mean they used to dress like a tortoise and hare - freaks!This album is great though...