New Releases – January 31, 2012

Keeping up with this project, albeit barely. I’ve discovered that an ounce of preparation is going to be a major key to success. So I’ll start that next week. Or the week after.

Sonic Avenues – “Television Youth” from Television Youth
I have a kneejerk suspicion about stuff that is intentionally lo-fi or “garagey” because it is almost always more about aesthetic aspirations than about making good music. That said, this has a certain undeniable Undertones innocence that is extremely appealing. I’ve heard this described as a less-snotty Buzzcocks. I could see that. I thought this song was very catchy.

Bleeding Through – “The Devil and Self Doubt” from The Great Fire
Never heard of these guys, but saw their album announced on multiple sites. The easiest way to describe it is Opeth-flavored, proggy black metal (complete with those carnival organs!) mixed with a little Slayer-esque hardcore. Whatever, I nodded along. Not really sure if those are human feet playing double bass at 0:42.

My Ticket Home – “A New Breed” from To Create A Cure
I really wanted to like this. Let me rephrase: At the beginning, I really liked this song. I mean … it is totally blistering. Also, the drummer is wearing a flannel shirt and hat and sitting behind a normal-people drumset while laying down some pretty boss chick-a-boom. And then, at the 0:55 mark, IT ALL GOES TO SHIT. Scroll down and watch the video. I’ll wait.

I KNOW, RIGHT? Did the chipmunk-cheeked guitarist with shark fin hair really just stare down the camera and sing “This is the death of my love”? I’m … I’m actually embarrassed for him. They manage to pull it back together nicely after that chorus, and there’s even a little Sepultura “Roots”-action in the breakdown there, but we aaaaaaaall know what’s coming. At 2:09, it happens again. I’m pretty sure you can see the singer roll his eyes. It’s rare to have a song go from promising to unlistenable so quickly, but there you go.

New Releases – January 24, 2012

I missed last week’s new release update because I was on the road all week, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t paying attention. YOU’RE IN GOOD HANDS. Maybe until the end of Q1.

This week (last week) features (featured) one highly anticipated release, one not-highly-anticipated-but-still-hopeful release, and one total surprise that I found looking around online.

The two releases I knew were coming are both from frontmen of other bands I like or have liked: John K. Samson of The Weakerthans (and formerly Propaghandi), and Matt Pryor of The Get Up Kids (and later The New Amsterdams).

My Weakerthans fandom is nothing I have ever tried to keep secret. I find Samson’s voice extremely soothing, and his lyrics are pure poetry. I have often found myself wondering how one man could squeeze so much meaning out of a single word. What a jerk! I would easily put The Weakerthans’ Reconstruction Site in my top ten albums of all time, maybe even top five. Anyway, here he is with his first solo full-length (that I’m aware of). I was hoping for a nice, easily-embeddable, online version of Heart of the Continent, but this version of Letter In Icelandic From The Ninette San will do just fine.

I liked The Get Up Kids through Something to Write Home About. Their subsequent releases had their bright spots, but … you know. The Red Letter Day EP is my favorite, so much so that I sometimes find myself searching for covers of Anne Arbour on youtube. ANYWAY, frontman Matt Pryor went on to head up The New Amsterdams in the early 2000s, and then release a solo record. Now he’s around with a second solo record. I haven’t spent much time with this record, and there isn’t a ‘single.’ I like the song below, and at 1:18, Pryor does that thing where he is hollering backing vocals over one of the guitar tracks (or something), which is neat. I like it.

This week’s wild card comes from England’s awesomely-named Pulled Apart By Horses. They should help spice things up a bit after all the folky folk above. The song below, V.E.N.O.M, appears to be some sort of single off their new album, Tough Love. The song itself is fine, it’s the video I like. Specifically, the guy with the double middle finger candles walking around all half-non-chalant, half-I’m-going-to-kill-the-shit-out-of-you is hilarious.

New Releases – January 18, 2012

Any time you start a project, it’s wise to have a target; to borrow a phrase from the conference room, WHAT DOES SUCCESS LOOK LIKE? The only reason I would bother embarking on a project like trying to blog a new music release every week is to expose myself to [a lot] more new music. A secondary goal would be to expose you to some music, but let’s be honest, that’s a pretty distant second. I don’t really care about you.

I’ll get to the point, I originally envisioned posting each week about a release that came out that same week. Seems simple enough, right? Releases [generally] come out on Tuesdays, and I want to listen to more new releases. Two weeks into this, I have encountered two problems: 1. Scouring the internet for records that were released THIS WEEK is hard, and it takes a lot of time. I see myself dropping that ball often. 2. And this is the more important point: What if I can’t find anything I like? Some weeks, like, say, this week and last week, there just aren’t any home runs to speak of (that I have been able to find). It feels lame to write about music I’m not totally stoked about just to meet some arbitrary goal. On the flip, there is SO MUCH music out there, I should be able to find something that doesn’t suck each week.

This is a whole lot of posturing to say that I might not get a brand new release out the door each week, but I will be more than satisfied to simply discover something new to me. And if I miss a week, I’ll post two items the following week, etc.

I like how I have to give myself a fucking pep talk just to listen to music. My children are doomed. Now then.

Matt Skiba (Alkaline Trio) and Atom Willard (Rocket From the Crypt) released an EP last Thursday under the name theHELL and it is the best thing I can find in the 1/11-1/17 release date range. Skiba has a powerful voice and is capable of really clever lyrics. What I’ve heard of this so far is fun. Alternative Press is streaming one of the tracks here. (scroll down to the little video box).

A co-worker turned me onto And So I Watch You From Afar over the weekend. They released an album called Gangs last year. They fall firmly into the Instrumental Post-rock labor camp, but they are more Hematovore than Caspian if that makes any sense. Below is a studio performance of the song BEAUTIFULUNIVERSEMASTERCHAMPION from Start Together Studio in Belfast. I really, really like this.

I am having a hard time finding a resource for good hardcore/metal new releases. To prove how much effort I put into this, I can tell you to avoid the new records from the following three bands (unless you’re into male-led Twilight soundtracks): Attack! Attack!, Famous Last Words, and Secrets. England’s Enter Shikari sort of fit the above scream/melody/scream/melody model with the important exception that they don’t appear to take themselves too seriously. I want to hate this song, and I will probably grow to, but it is a lot of fun the same way Andrew W.K. is a lot of fun. The only reason I mention it at all is that this record came out today.

New Release – January 11, 2012

Yesterday, I tweeted:

Garrett dutifully responded:

Fine, Garrett. FINE.

I found this Maccebees song on NME’s New Releases post for this week. Their album Given to the Wild came out on Monday. I’ve never heard of The Maccabees, which may sound silly, because after a tiny bit of research, it seems they are HUGE. Their facebook page has one of those “Like This Page To Access Content” filters, which are FUCKING BULLSHIT, but whatever. Cheerful, driving indie pop; lots of fun.