Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Halvesies - Part II

Here's Part II of my 1st half of 2009. Bon Apetit!

The Thermals - Now We Can See
1st grabbing my attention with their album F*&^*&n-A years back, the Thermals were a Sub Pop staple. You know how I love Sub Pop. NWCS is their debut for Kill Rock Stars. Nothing changed but the label. Thermals purists will say they're not as hard as they once were. For me it's as fuzzed out as ever with a bit of pop tinge. The Thermals don't really sing. It is more of talking over fuzz. The title track "Now We Can See" has a recurring Oh, Wee, Oh, Wee, Oh chant for you that is fun. "When I Died" gets the album going with a ruckus akin to their last album, The Blood, The Body, The Machine. While this NW threesome may sound political with their words, they really could care less. Just sit back and enjoy the rock of it all (like "We Were Sick").

Passion Pit - Manners
Boston has had plenty of music through the years and here comes another. While they will never be an Aerosmith, maybe they can at least garner some attention. The buzz/backlash has followed them from the get-go when they dropped the song "Sleepyhead". One of so many DIY indie bands that have appeared over the last 10 years that have made their own steam, PP are better than CYHSY (the bar by which they're measured in my mind). Much like CYHSY, PP has a singer with a strange annunciation to say the least. "Little Secrets" is one of my favorite songs of the year and has a children's choir chorus that doesn't sound like some creepy Pink Floyd opera ala PB&J. The whole album is pretty fun musically, but again like CYHSY - can you handle the voice of the lead singer?

Strange Boys - ...And Girls Club
More garage rock? Yup! SXSW was abuzz this past spring waiting on these local youngins' to take the stage. Already a staple locally in Austin, they were set to unveil themselves to the nation. Slamming out bluesy rock that you could've made in your bedroom, the Boys have more than a "Poem Party". For some more retro garage, bend an ear to the aforementioned track and others like "No Way for a Slave to Behave".

Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Well, have we saved the best for last? Maybe. Maybe this will be the best of the year (not likely - but one of the best). These Versailles fellas have drawn the masses in the states, finally. "1901" is one of their best yet. "Listomania" could be one of the better songs of the year. "Lasso" is representative of the rest of the album - just plain fun pop rock. "Armistice" winds down a great album and leaves you thirsty for more.

Various Artists - Dark Was the Night
A compilation for the benefit of AIDS research put together by the brothers Dessner of the NYC band, the National. With contributions of nearly everyone, this comp is worth a listen. The list on contributors reads like a 00's indie rock all-star team. Check it out HERE.

Here are the ones that the jury is still out on for me.
"Near misses"

Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca
Please whale? My German is not up to snuff, but that is what I hear. Weird and good but not as good as Merriweather Post Pavilion.

Death Cab For Cutie - Open Door EP
Actually, this is worthy of the list, but it is only 5 or 6 songs. Great companion to last years Narrow Stairs. Check "Little Bribes"

Telekinesis - Telekinesis!
This one man band from North Carolina found acclaim from Death Cab guitarist Chris Walla. He went on to produce this debut with good results. Try "Tokyo" or "Coast of Carolina"

The Love Language - (S/T)
Yet another North Carolina upstart. This Wilmington attache is the brainchild of one man ala Telekinesis. While not the power pop they wield, TLL is a combo of Old 97's and the National with good results. This was my favorite "near miss". Can't go wrong with "Lalita".


A said...

i picked up Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix this week from best buy (on sale @ $7.99). it is good stuff . . .