I’ll continue my ranting and raving over Marvel Comics proliferation at the expense of quality on Thursday. Today I want to talk about music, more specifically a couple of artists that I have fallen head over heels in love with over the last week.
First, and this isn’t a new artist or a surprise really, but Scottish band Mogwai have a new album coming out on SubPop, ‘Hardcore Will Never Die But You Will’, and if the initial track I’ve been listening to over the last five days or so is any indication it is going to be a masterpiece fit for release on the cusp of spring. ‘San Pedro‘ is the only track I’ve heard so far but let me tell you it drives emotionally and physically. I’m not super familiar with recent Mogwai, the albums I have are all early oo’s, but the band in general tends to take me to a very dark and isolated (but beautiful) place. ‘San Pedro‘ has those overcast Mogwai tones of introspection but also a slamming, almost triumphant movement to it. The track has been quite the aid in early morning drives down the freeway, wind in my face and a slowly rising sun in the corner of the sky.
The Soft Moon is the name of multi-instrumentalist Luis Vasquez’s project on Captured Tracks Records (which makes The Soft Moon label mates with another band I really like that I discovered recently, Thee Oh Sees). KCRW’s Mario Cotto* has been playing the hell out of this album on his show and the tracks ‘Parallels’ and ‘Tiny Spiders‘ grabbed me hard the first time I heard them. Dark, Rough Trade-era tones and beats, fuzzed-out vocals and minor keys that all build up a dreary luminescence that teeters back and forth at the edge of the kind of madness Robert Smith, Simon Gallup and the boys played with in early 80’s Cure.
Miami Horror – WOW! The album is called ‘Illumination‘ and it’s probably the best dance/electro/pop album I’ve heard since Kylie Minogue’s ‘Fever’. Hailing from Melbourne (you better go see them live Grez!!!) Miami Horror is producer Benjamin Plant in the studio and Plant plus Josh Moriarty, Aaron Shanahan and Daniel Whitechurch on stage. They’re touring through the States this spring and I’m going to go out of my way to see them (at the always lovely Echoplex here in LA LA land) as I’ve not been this excited by something in a while.
Miami Horror Website or buy from iTunes in their shop (for some reason buying from the iTunes link on the band’s site is more expensive. Exchange rate?)
The Gorillaz – I have a long-standing grudge against the Gorillaz. I want to like them, believe me I do. However, I just cannot seem to come to terms with Damon Albarn and his apparent refusal to actually sing in this band. I’m a HUGE Blur fan and when you go back and listen to those albums Albarn really opens up and utilizes his magnificent pipes for contrast to his more sour or reserved moments. In Gorillaz he just seems to mumble his way through most tracks. And that is no different than this new one, ‘Little Pink Plastic Bags‘, which is on a new ‘tour journal’ album recorded on the road with only an iPad during the Plastic Beach tour. ‘The Fall’, as the journal/album is named, was available for free to the bands’ (paid) membership on Christmas Day and is planned to be physically released sometime to the rest of us in 2011. I don’t know if I’ll like the rest of the album, and as I said this particular track is a perfect example of what I mean about Albarn not singing, however I really like the mood to this track, all wind-swept deserted streets and dimming street lights.
Frank (Just Frank) – this one I know nothing about other than they hail from the South of France and I found them on Stereogum’s Top 50 albums of 2010. They remind me A LOT of The Cure circa 1981 mixed with Bella Morte. How can you go wrong with influences like that, eh?
Last but most certainly not least is Best Coast. I know I just wrote about this group not too long ago, but they have a couple of new tracks out on an EP with Wavves and No Joy in celebration/support of their Summer is Forever tour. Once again it was Mario Cotto who played ‘When You Wake Up‘ the other night on his show and after hearing it it set me off on a full-out Best Coast spree wherein I fell head over heels for the band and finally figured out what it is about them that I like so much. Well, it’s not just the band, it’s singer/guitarist Bethany Costentino – she reminds me A LOT of a non-slutty Liz Phair. Some of you out there may not remember a time when Liz Phair’s name didn’t make people laugh or turn off the stereo, but there was a day when the woman made some damn awesome music (‘Never Said‘ is arguably one of the five best songs of the 90’s in my book. Exaggeration? Maybe, but not by much…). Best Coast’s blend of reverb-drenched music and forlorn vocals harkens back to the indie rock made ten years before the turn of the century and it’s light-hearted and charming demeanor simply put, enthralls me.
You can purchase the ‘Summer is Forever’ EP on iTunes and what’s more, it’s only $2.99!!! I’d pay double that just for the Best Coast stuff.
* I haven’t figured out how to embed yet on this new wordpress we switched to, so follow this link to hear Mr. Cotto’s latest show.