Recently (meaning today or yesterday) I've listened to four new records from four bands or artists each known for having a sound that's unmistakably their own.
First there's Lisbon by the Walkmen. It sounds jangley and shimmery and sometimes a little clangy as always, with the singer's voice going up and down as it often does. This record has gotten very strong reviews, but I'm the type of guy who finds himself needing no more than one Walkmen record in his collection, so I'll stick with Bows + Arrows, which I gave a little listen to after finishing Lisbon a second time. Bows + Arrows still impresses me and seems to have the most distinct bunch of Walkmen songs ever collected to one disc . . . had "We've Been Had" been on that record instead of their first one then you might have yourself a Desert Island disc.
The new Interpol album, Interpol, has not been getting very strong reviews. In fact, it's been getting trashed. Three listens now and I don't see why, I think the time was just right to take Interpol down. Sure, it doesn't come close to Turn on the Bright Lights, nothing ever will (consider that one, for me, a definite Desert Island disc) but if you're in the mood for an Interpol record that isn't Turn on the Bright Lights (and don't find yourself craving Antics) then you can do no better nor any worse than this record. It's got the tone, it's got the sound, it isn't a travesty. Stop freaking out, people. This record is fine.
Brooklyn-based rappers multi-ethnic hipster chillbro rappers Das Racist have released Sit Down, Man, the mixtape follow-up to their first mixtape, Shut Up, Dude. More polished and professional than the first and sporting an interesting array of producers the record mysteriously underperforms by exceeding. Production skill has worn away some of the rough edges of the first record and with it a good deal of the charm. I don't mean to hate too much, there are some good songs, but nothing that stuck to my brain like half the tracks on Shut Up, Dude. Also, the lyrical focus seems to have shifted a bit from the band's racial identity to the band's identity within the hip hop world. That's my closer-listening assessment. Both records (not really mixtapes, if you ask me) are available for FREE from their website.
Finally, today (or yesterday, whatever) Lil Wayne dropped an album-length EP called "I Am Not a Human Being", a prelude, if you would, to Tha Carter IV, which is supposed to drop the day he gets out of jail, or something like that. There are some solid, solid tracks on this record and plenty of Wayne's trademark outlandish rhymes, the first to catch my ear and make me laugh went: "Weezy Baby a.k.a. bring the money home/pull that AK out an shoot you in the funny bone" (I don't know, it just got me. That was my mood in the office) and the record even features a sweet, uhm, love song? Track 3, "With You." But here's the thing: Lil Wayne is in jail, he's been there for nearly a year. How did he make this record? Does anyone know this? Off the top of their head? Or will I have to google it.
So, in short, based on rereading what I wrote above, the records I recommend most today are: Turn on the Bright Lights by Interpol and, if you get tired of that (you shouldn't), Bows + Arrows, by the Walkmen. Neither of which I "reviewed" here.
Okay, people. Happy Thursdays to you.