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What’s Playing Now April 20, 2008

Posted by ashiah in Music, What's Playing Now.

Bat for Lashes – Fur and Gold
I tend to stumble on the best albums post-hype – that way I can judge the music on its own merits without feeling pressured to succumb to trends. “Fur and Gold” was released last year, and although I remember stumbling on the excellent video for “What’s a Girl to Do,” I didn’t hear the rest of the album until recently. Beautiful moody music that’s unconventional, yet distinctly pop.

Portishead – Third
Portishead’s long-awaited third album (and what an appropriate title) had tons of buzz as fans eagerly waited for the ’90s’ trip-hop act to splash back into the music world. Unfortunately, all the buzz and hype has swallowed this album whole and only left tiny morsels of brilliance to dissect. I actually loved “Third” the first time I heard it, but as my excitement wore down, so did the music. Of course tracks like “Machine Gun” are excellent, but the rest of the album sounds so lost, like they were aimlessly wandering the music sphere looking for their new sound. An interview with the band said it was the hardest album they ever made. Well, it definitely shows.

Lykke Li – Youth Novels
Well this was a surprise. And I like surprises. Lykke Li is a Swedish singer/songwriter and her album is a light-hearted, pop-ish romp with plenty of other styles mixed between. “Little Bit” is the clear stand out, but other tracks like “Time Flies” and “Let it Fall” are just too damn catchy. I’ve noticed a steady string of hype building behind this album, so I think we’ll be seeing more of Lykke Li soon.


Saul Williams
OK, I’ll admit it. It was all because of that damn Nike commercial! There, are you happy? Of course I heard of Saul Williams before his music graced commercials, but I didn’t actively pursue his music until recently. Saul Williams is less of rapper and more of a poet who recites intelligent musings on the issues of race, politics and hip hop. His self-titled first album is probably my favorite. His most well-known album, the Trent Reznor produced “The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust,” sounded too much like, well, Trent Reznor. I like Saul Williams, though. I’ll keep my eye on him.

Nemeth – Film
“Film” does actually sound like a film. It’ll be the perfect backdrop for a sinister underground tunnel running through a vacant city. OK, so my imagination is all over the place, but “Film”‘s sparse, yet surprisingly eclectic album will reward those with enough patience.



Jacaszek – Treny
There’s something about “Treny” that feels like judgment day, like a “marching to the gallows” type thing. This isn’t a depressing album, but it is a chilly album. From the violins to the classical singers, everything is sharp and prickly, like ice chilling in a cavern. Simply beautiful.

Lullatone – The Bedtime Beat
Well ain’t this cute. Lullatone returns with a concept album revolving around bedtime. The majority of the beats and sounds are taken from usual bedtime objects, like bathwater and bed sheets. Refreshing on first listen, but somewhat obnoxious on the others. Sometimes concepts can go too far.

Beach House – Devotion
Everyone loves Beach House now, right? Right? A lot has been going on with this duo and their latest album has gotten a warm reception. “Devotion” relishes in its simplicity. There’s nothing over produced or overly complicated here. Just quiet, delicate songs. But for something that is overly complicated…


Fuck Buttons – Street Horrrsing
…we have Fuck Buttons! I’m letting my bias show here, but I can’t stand noise music. I like to listen to music on headphones and noise music simply makes that impossible. Fuck Buttons are a bit different from your typical noise band. There actually are melodies hiding beneath the ear-bleeding-fuzzy-glitch-of-doom, and because of that it has a lot of crossover appeal. But this reviewer has yet to listen to the entire album all the way through. Review pending.

Jade – Analogic
Who are Jade? I have no idea. Their music lacks any true identity for me to even begin wondering who they are or where they’re from. “Analogic” is perfect throw away music. It’s not terrible, but it’s not brilliant either. It’s best to play it in the background while you do something else.



Eleanoora Rosenholm – Vainajan Muotokuva
From the label that brought us Islaja and Paavoharju, here comes another Finnish singer who has some major competition. I have yet to let this album sink in yet, but the music here is strange, experimental pop. “Kodinrakennusohjeet” is the stand out so far, and you can here it on her Myspace.



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