Tag Archives: 2014 Albums

Strobe Strobe Strobe: Raveonettes at Bimbo’s

The Raveonettes kicked off their tour in support of Pe’ahi last night at Bimbo’s in North Beach. And they played the hell out of the new album, which was okay by me. It’s my favorite Raves record since Lust Lust Lust.

photo 1 (4)They also burned the hell out of the strobe lights, which was okay by just about everyone in attendance, especially this one dude near us who bore a striking resemblance to Mark Strong. With every pulsing sonic wave, he broke into a arms-flailing, titanic stomp. Like a stone golem performing a raindance.

He also had some pretty interesting crowdshouts.
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Cookies. Still Good.

Earlier this year, I was attending a dry seminar at a bleak airport hotel, and the catered lunch carts rolled into the conference room like a SWAT team response to a hostage crisis. Oh, Subway. And under one of those clear plastic lids, a bowlful of equal parts snickerdoodle and chocolate chip.

“Mm. I haven’t had a cookie in years.” I meant it, too. For reasons I’ve only recently begun analyzing, the cookie has been out of my dessert rotation for some time now.

Another attendee, in front of me in the chow line, without looking in my direction: “They’re still good.”

On last week’s Bandcamp Weekly, Andrew Jervis playfully gave Ben Sterling a hard time for taking five years to release an album following the breakup of Mobius Band.
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Black City Lights – Another Life

After spending all of fifteen minutes on Wikipedia, and stumbling through various links and associated articles, I’ve made the rather bold decision to move Wellington, New Zealand, onto my regularly updated cities-to-visit list. On the surface, I can appreciate its charms, as it seems to bear remarkable similarities to my hometown — from the earthquakes and the weather, to its beautiful oceanside/bayside geography.

black cityBut I wouldn’t have even bothered looking at that Wikipedia page if not for the real source of travelers curiosity. Last month Stars & Letters released the second LP from Wellington’s Black City Lights. Another Life is a gorgeous blend of ghostly synths and vibrant vocals, and it crashes against concrete & glass in no-waves emanating from mid-80’s ripples.

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Deerhoof – Exit Only

This week Deerhoof announced their new album, La Isla Bonita, out November 4 on Polyvinyl. The first single, “Exit Only” is a raucous punk jam straight outta the Ashkenaz heyday, appropriately recorded in one take.

Link this to my love of a great cover song, but if a band I already like, in talking about their new record, cites influences that I also like a great deal, then it won’t even take a decent single to secure my pre-order. I don’t want a reviewer telling me so-and-so’s new LP sounds like post-Cars Ric Ocasek; I want the band itself to tell me it was inspired by the guy.

Sometimes I might wake up and make my bed, inspired by a Shins song echoing out of the other room. And it’s a pretty fun looking bed.

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Woman’s Hour – Conversations

I have always been fascinated with the science behind communication, and the evolution of languages. This year, I have fallen in love with the art of conversation.

Conversations is the debut from the London pop four-piece Woman’s Hour. The dreamy, soulful pop is enjoyable enough on its own, but the full weight of the group’s artistry can only be felt with an appreciation of its entire aesthetic, including the album visuals and their first few videos.

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Master Mix: Red Hot + Arthur Russell

For twenty-five years now, Red Hot Organization has been “Fighting AIDS Through Popular Culture.” The non-profit group has teamed up with artists, musicians, and record labels over the last two decades-plus to produce some of the most unique and successful charity albums of our generation. The American folk-inspired compilation Dark Was the Nightreleased in 2009, is one of the few CDs that survived my digitization-then-physical-media purge of 2012.

On October 21, Red Hot and Yep Records will release Master Mix, a tribute to the genius of Arthur Russell. Hot Chip covers “Go Bang,” one of Russell’s Dinosaur L tunes.

Nothing can touch the vocal power and instrumental dynamism of Russell, who died of AIDS-related causes in New York in ’92. But if this album of interpretations can bring more support for the cause and expose more people to the man’s music, then I’m doubly enthused.

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Spoon – They Want My Soul

Spoon’s upcoming album, They Want My Soul, is streaming in its entirety on iTunes First Play today. This is my first time hearing of First Play, despite having managed my music with Apple’s software almost exclusively for a decade now.

IMG_1755Maybe if I’d been a little more proactive I could have anticipated this entry into the advance screening market and installed some updated iTunes software on my work computer. But, hey, that’s what old iPhones are for.

Fitting, I suppose, as this device probably hasn’t been used since the last Spoon album came out. It’s 2010 all over again…

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Tomas Barfod – Love Me

The first single off Tomas Barfod’s new album, Love Me, was released back in February. I was unfamiliar with this Danish artist’s work prior to this year, but “Pulsing,” with vocals by Nina Kinert, was one of my first Soundcloud “likes” of 2014.

The full length came out last month, and in addition to the aforementioned single, there are three other tracks featuring the stunning Swedish songstress.

The entire record is fantastic, replete with sultry disco-inspired beats and haunting melodies. Way to step up, Scandinavia. The electronic artists of New Zealand and Australia aren’t the only ones channeling Portishead and Massive Attack. And up in northern Europe, the channels are icy and slick, sweating and moving with an inner heat.

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The Raveonettes – Pe’ahi

The Raveonettes just made your Tuesday, and your week, a whole lot better with Pe’ahi, the follow-up to 2012’s Observator.

I’m incapable of resisting hype, and I’ve even succumbed to the lure of the ridiculous album trailer. But this new full length from the Danish fuzzrockers slipped completely under my radar. Which is refreshing.

As is the first single, “Endless Sleeper.”

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