Opinions on records recently listened to (often several times).
No Age, "Everything in Between" On my first listen I was a little mad at this record for, unlike Nouns, not having Teenage Creeps or Sleeper Hold on it. I listened to it a second time and thought, "Hmmm, maybe it does all right on its own though." But on a third listen I decided, "Yeah, I'd rather listen to the No Age record with Teenage Creeps and Sleeper Hold on it."
Belle and Sebastian, "Write About Love" Having a first go at this record I wondered to myself if the world needed another Belle and Sebastian record* and, if so, if this were the record the world needed. And upon finishing it, I didn't quite feel it was. But listen, this record is a grower . . . it needs precisely two listens to completely grow on you. Turns out this IS the Belle and Sebastian record the world very much needs right now. Super catchy, but you don't catch this at first, and there's a good tone that runs through the whole album . . . a tone like an early winter wind? Something like it.
*I wasn't trying to be awful about this. It's just that the Belle and Sebastian catalogue is so complete. To me, in someways, they're like the Beastie Boys or Weezer . . . all three bands have a solid and classic collection of albums behind them, can't that be enough? (For 2 of the 3 bands I'd argue it is . . . but I'm a few records behind on what the Beastie Boys and Weezer have been doing lately.)
Male Bonding, "Nothing Hurts" ALBUM OF THE MONTH! OR WEEK! OR UNTIL THE NEXT ALBUM I RESPOND TO IN ALL CAPS FOR THE FIRST THREE SENTENCES! What we have here is the Wavves/Best Coast sound interpreted by a British band. The results? Please consult AllCaps sentences from the beginning of this "review" or continue reading: The results are just brilliant. A hint more discipline? A suggestion of more talent? Might be what's happening here. Tthese dudes make American music sound better than Americans do for an album the way Pains of Being Pure at Heart made Scottish rock sound better than Scots for an album last year.
The Like, "Release Me" Four, five years there was this band called the Pipettes that some people liked because they were girls, they dressed 60s (good 60s), and played 60's-ish music . . . my problem with them, though, was I thought their music was lame and that they had no game. Now this year there's this band, the Like, who I know've been around for a bit, and suddenly they're dressing 60's (good 60's) and they're playing 60's-ish music real well and at first I was just about floored by this record and how well it spoke to my 60's garage sensibilities (because, not too deep down inside, this is my favorite genre of music). But then I did the tiniest bit of research and learned, oh no, that "Release Me" is a Mark Ronson-produced record. And now I just don't know what to think. A Ronson record is a Ronson record just like a Spector record is a Spector record, the band suddenly disappears in the puppet master's presence and I just don't know what to do about it. I go from thinking "Oh, that's tight" when I hear the buzzy guitar drop in on "He's Not a Boy" to "Oh, there you go again, Mark." The lesson: When you like something, stay away from Wikipedia. Another lesson: I should have just recommended this record, not said who really made it, and told you to never look the Like up on Wikipedia.
Twin Shadow, "Forget" Hey, this record is kind of sick (and I speak after the manner of the vernacular). Let me incorrectly try to describe it as, like, 21st Century Hall & Oates meets David Bowie. And let me highly recommend it and award it my "Runner-Up of the Month! or Week! or Until the Next Runner-Up!" award and give it my "Top Recommendation of the Month if What You're Looking for is a Record That's a Little Different from Everything Else You've Been Listening to Lately" award.