Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Record Review: Local Natives - Gorilla Manor

My second review for Tiny Mix Tapes!

Local Natives
Gorilla Manor


Like that hot guy who works in the wood shop around the corner, Local Natives’ debut LP Gorilla Manor is most attractive at its messiest. Replete with sweet piano, duetting guitars, and insistent drumming, the California quintet paints a mostly pretty picture. But it’s when they veer away from pretty that things get adorably hairy...[Read more]

Hey this also marks the first time my review has been at odds with P4K. They gave Gorilla Manor an 8.4 and their "Best New Music" stamp. I thought it was good, but not that good.

Oh, well there was that one other time. Remember when Pitchfork's Marc Hogan saw Black Kids at Athens Pop Fest in 2007 and said they had "a communal urgency not unlike the Arcade Fire's"? Then he gave their EP an 8.2 and unleashed the full fury of the blogosphere's buzz machine? How about a few months later, when I wrote this (in retrospect very green, unresearched) review for Paste's website of Black Kids' full-length Partie Traumatic? Back then, I thought it was my job to skew things more positively than I do now, I guess. Live and learn. In contrast, Pitchfork's review of the album was this:

Ha. So I guess we've disagreed in print before, huh PF? I bet this time won't be the last...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Record Review: Surfer Bood - Astro Coast

My second little thing for Creative Loafing Atlanta:

Surfer Blood: Astro Coast

With echoing vocals and plenty of reverb layered over the sunshiniest pop melodies, West Palm Beach, Fla., quartet Surfer Blood released its debut record Jan. 19 and unleashed a tidal wave of buzz. But the album itself proves the band’s ability to ride easily atop that wave...[Read more]

Be sure to hit up their show at the Drunken Unicorn this Friday, Feb. 19 with Carnivores, Turbo Fruits and Holiday Shores.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Record Review: Field Music - Field Music (Measure)

It's my first review for Tiny Mix Tapes! Yay!

Field Music
Field Music (Measure)

[Memphis Industries]

Sorry Mr. President, but for a moment, let’s forget The Audacity of Hope. I want to talk about the audacity of longwindedness. It takes a lot for a band to stand up and say, “Hey guys. I know you’re used to an album usually lasting between 40 and 50 minutes, but we’ve got an hour and 12 minutes of material here, and we’re gonna make y’all listen to all of it.” To me, that’s pretty audacious, and I’ll tip my hat to it. That is, if it’s got something real to offer...[Read more]

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The National talks to P4K about forthcoming album

I'ma go ahead and declare the as-yet-unnamed record The National is finishing up right now my most anticipated release of the year (if, indeed, it releases in 2010). It's weird, I think The National's music is a bit of an outlier in my music love spectrum, at least lately. But I adore their compositions so much--and their seriousness, honestly--that the idea of a fresh album to adore...well, it's almost too much.

Ever the over-achievers, Pitchfork got enigmatic frontman Matt Berninger to sit down and talk about it. He says the record's about 75 percent finished.

The most exciting excerpt:

"I don't think it sounds anything like Alligator, but it's less restrained than Boxer, that's for sure. I don't quite scream my head off in the way I did with "Mr. November", but I do think it's cathartic. Boxer was all tension without a whole lot of release. This builds a lot of those same kinds of tensions, but I think there's at least a little bit of bloodletting in this one. I'm trying to sing out and higher a little more, and the melodies move around a little more. When we started this record, I worked on melodies before I worked on lyrics. A lot of my melodies are sort of in a limited chanting, murmuring range, which has always worked for me. But I was trying to work on melodies this time much harder than I ever have in the past, and I think that alone has made the songs feel like they release more."

Can't wait.

Hey, remember when I interviewed Aaron Dessner at Langerado?

How about when I blogged about their set there for

How about when I reviewed their show at The Tabernacle last year?

Yeah, me too.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Record Review: Yeasayer - Odd Blood

Remember when this band played at The Earl two years ago? I do. (Gosh, I was a fangirl back then...) How about when they shared a bill at Lenny's with Man Man? Yeah, that was good too.

For Flagpole:

Odd Blood

Secretly Canadian

Odd Blood, the eagerly awaited sophomore release from Brooklyn avant-pop prodigies Yeasayer, finds the band expanding adamantly in both more and less traditional directions. The band's 2007 debut All Hour Cymbals was a blissed-out romp through psychedelic dance territory, all bass and Chris Keating's charismatic whining. This follow-up shows us a more experimental Yeasayer, sort of; it’s more electronic, stranger effects have been applied to even the simplest melodies and the layers upon layers of groans and blips build to a fever pitch. Leadoff “The Children,” for example, features Keating's vocals sheathed in an unnerving effect that skews it simultaneously an octave lower and an octave higher...[Read more]

Record Review: Owen Pallett - Heartland

It's a weird place, that intersection between classical composition and pop. Here's my attempt to navigate it via someone who's well-versed at both.

For Flagpole:

Owen Pallett


Toronto omni-musician Owen Pallett is probably someone whose work you’ve heard before, though you may not know it. For years doing orchestral arrangements for other artists like Beirut, Grizzly Bear and Arcade Fire, he’s helped shape fellow musicians’ catalogs, becoming an indispensable but behind-the-scenes staple. For Heartland, Pallett abandoned his solo moniker Final Fantasy (which he used for two previous full-lengths), again mixing classical beauty with electronic skill, but this time unveiled.

Pallett's buttery tenor melts over pizzicato strings, round brass and reedy woodwinds. Clarinet and baritone and cello poke through the blended textures as Heartland’s tracks slide from one to another like a stage musical’s. But beautiful and benign aren’t the same thing...[Read more]