The past week has been absolutely magnificent for record leaks. Just about all of the most anticipated records of the late winter and early spring have found their way onto the internet (you'll remember that last week I had found a copy of the new LCD Soundsystem . . . this put the taste of blood in my mouth and I've been on a downloading rampage). Here's what I think of what I've listened to.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah -- Some Loud Thunder
It's essential I get this post up today as this record comes out tomorrow and my window for sneakiness is very small here. Pitchfork gave it a 7.4 today, I say it's more of an 8.1. There's not much here that will get you going the way their first record did, but it's good.
Release Date: January 30
!!! -- Myth Takes
Of the records I'm reviewing here, this one is the least qualified to be described as one of "the most anticipated records of the late winter and spring" because, honestly, how many serious !!! fans are there? And if you do like !!!, wouldn't you say the thought that !!! is coming out with a new record makes you a lot more "Oh, hey, !!! is coming out with a new record. Cool. I gotta check that out" than "AWESOME!!! There's going to be a new !!! record!!! I highly anticipate that!"? BUT let me just tell you that Myth Takes is one of my favorite records of this bunch and, when it comes to Indie dance music, it absolutely puts a hole in the new LCD Soundsystem record (which is a perfectly good album). The record seems a little bit more focused and a little less out there or messing than "Louden Up Now", the last !!! record but the band still delivers a trademark throbbing, pulsing, living slab of music like none other. Most importantly, Myth Takes features a track called "Heart of Hearts" that is just . . . I don't know. The Best? That will have to do. "Heart of Hearts" from Myth Takes is The Best. Best what? No need to be specific. Just give it a medal. No. Give it a uniform covered in medals. Make it in charge of armies. Have it run for President. It's a freak out you ought to seek out.
Release Date: March 6
Arcade Fire -- Neon Bible (March 6)
I wish I could make you feel better about not having Arcade Fire tickets by saying Neon Bible won't have you stabbed through the heart before the first track is done, but I can't.
Just great, another beautiful traumatic masterpiece.
Thanks a lot, Canada.
(p.s. But it's not like the record is absolutely perfect. Funeral is definitely better.)
Release Date: March 6
Air -- The Pocket Symphony
Ok. Air follows up that last record of their's with another record where they continue to sound like they never made the 10,000 KhZ Legend. Nothing jumped out at me about this record except that it was mellow and everything just blended together (soundwise). I suppose if you own a nice shoe store and were looking for some new background music this is good news. Sorry to have to bring the mood down by being so unenthused. I was giving it another listen last night to see if I could think of anything more interesting to say about it. Nope. Not an interesting record, even with Jarvis Cocker singing on one song.
Release Date: March 6
Bloc Party -- A Weekend in the City
First. By now, everyone knows or is at least getting the vibe that Bloc Party is set to be the next Coldplay. You have a very small window to still unabashedly like Silent Alarm and to get to know this record before you start wondering if you can still relate to the band and their direction at all anymore.
Here are the notes that I jotted down while listening to this record for the first time with added, bracketed commentary:
"Thinking about Coldplay comparisons, then Song for Clay [the first track] comes on and rocks harder than anything on Silent alarm" [At this point I'm suddenly expecting big things from this record and wondering if I'll remain a fan through thick and thin]
"Songs like Hunting for Witches [the second track] keep it Bloc Party" [Meaning that while I found Song for Clay an exciting departure from what I had expected, by the second track you're being reminded that there's a distinctive Bloc Party sound and that the band is going to be sticking to it]
"Remember how all the songs on Silent Alarm are similar yete likeable? By track 3 [Waiting for the 7.18] I think the same thing is going on here" [Well, at least I was still positive about the record on the third track]
"Really can tell they are bringing it" [When I wrote this, probably during the 3rd or 4th song, I meant that you can tell Bloc Party has worked hard at composing their Rush of Blood to the Head and creating something that will make an impression]
"but by track 5 I am worn out" [It's true. Less than half way through the record I had to start taking breaks from the album. Listening to it was turning into a job.]
"I keep having to stop listening to this record because I'm so Bloc-partied out" [I suppose the bracketed thoughts on the previous thought were unnecessary]
"Why do they call it "A Weekend in the City" when the music still sounds like standing in snowed-over woods on a freezing cold but sunny day?"
"'I Still Remember' [Track 9] sounds like a song you could play as the theme for the Special Olympics or any other competition where everyone gets a medal for just having participated. Alternatively, it could be used for background music on Laguna Beach."
"Memo to SRXT [the last song of the album] 'Sorry, but a song has already been selected for our Sony Bravia commercial'"
Release Date: February 6