Tag Archives: New Music

Kaiser Chiefs Carry On With “Misery Company”

Brit-rockers The Kaiser Chiefs have released a brand new song off their upcoming album EDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION & WAR.  The album, which will be the bands fifth, marks the first since drummer/lead-songwriter Nick Hodgson quit the band in 2012.  The new song, titled “Misery Company,” is pretty good and raises hopes that the band will pull themselves out of their death-spiral-of-mediocrity.

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I loved the first two Kaiser Chief albums and had high hopes for the boys from Leeds. The band combined the best parts of 90’s Brit-pop with punk and a danceable beat.  But public and critical reaction to the band’s second album YOURS TRULY, ANGRY MOB was the beginning of a decline for the band. Their third album, OFF WITH THEIR HEADS was the last one I sought out and listened to.  I haven’t been able to get the courage up to listen to their fourth album, THE FUTURE IS MEDIEVAL.  The law of diminishing returns now haunts the band.

“Misery Company” is pretty good.  It has the hallmarks of classic Kaiser Chiefs with it’s chugging beat and droning guitars.  The keyboards and maniacal laughing are nice touches, too.  I do wish the song had more memorable/catchy lyrics and was a little more aggressive.  The song’s good, but feels more like a second or third string single. Had the band been on a tremendous roll, I’d say they were just holding back the good stuff–but at this point I think “Misery Company” probably is the good stuff.

I guess it’s true what they once said: Everything is average nowadays.

EDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION & WAR comes out on March 31, 2014.

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New Gringo Star 7″ Hints At The Shape of Things To Come

Atlanta indie rockers Gringo Star released two new songs last week.  You know what that means…there’s gonna be a new album next year! I’m excited   because I absolutely loved the band’s last record THANK YER LUCK Y STARS. I was a bit troubled to learn that the band lost a member and are now just a three-piece, however the new songs are really great.  Apparently the band’s been writing, recording, and producing all their new songs by themselves which is always intriguing.

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The two new songs, “Going Way Out” and “Taller” are just as catchy and murky as the songs on THANK YER LUCKY STARS.  I especially like “Going Way Out” which is a cross between a gloomy Dick Dale song and John Lennon’s “#9 Dream.”The band’s official website promises a new album in early 2013 and a tour!  Hopefully they’ll swing by St. Louis so I can properly check them out.

 

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TSAR Returns with THE DARK STUFF Ep!

If there’s one thing that I love, it’s finding out that a band I really love has put out new music.  But what I love even more is when a band I’ve completely written off as “disbanded” returns with new music. LA rockers TSAR put out two phenomenal albums that really didn’t get the attention they deserved.

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Their self-titled debut album is more than worthy of a CLASSIC ALBUMS REVISITED post and their last record, BAND GIRLS MONEY was worthy follow-up that proved the band wasn’t a fluke.  But then something happened, I don’t know because I’m not in LA and I don’t follow that scene…but TSAR went away.  Then, a few days ago, I was prepping my iPhone for a trip and what do I see on Spotify? Brand-spanking new TSAR music.

THE DARK STUFF is an Ep of five songs; all killer, no filler power-pop perfection.  Upon first listen, I was surprised at how dark THE DARK STUFF really is.  Sure, the music is still sugary and fun; but TSAR aren’t pulling any punches–these songs have a real bite to them.  The first song, “Punctual Alcoholic” is a demented, spooky song that appropriately name-checks Stephen King.  The phrase punctual alcoholic  is one of those really good TSAR-isms that I’ve been missing over the last few years.  

Despite being really well-produced, the song was a bit of shock in that it wasn’t as hyper-produced as the songs from BAND GIRLS MONEY.  It’s a really good, really catchy song that instantly reminded me why I love this band.

The second track, “Police Station” is a more straight-forward rocker and sounded more akin to the songs from the band’s last album, but toned down and more thoughtful.  I especially like the reference’s to “Teen Wizards,” another of the band’s songs.  “Little Woman” returns to the darker, melodic quality that gives the Ep it’s name.

The best song on THE DARK STUFF is the last track, “Something Bad Happened To Me.”  Like “Punctual Alcoholic,” it’s more restrained than the band’s previous album but edgier.  It’s like a haunted-house where the music is provided by Cheap Trick by way of George Harrison, The Cars, and Steely Dan.  It’s a very cool, multi-faceted song that seamlessly morphs from acoustic noodle to electric monster.

TSAR is still a great power pop band, but with THE DARK STUFF the band seems to be moving away from the endless-partyrock sensability and more textured, mature rock.  I didn’t think it would be possible for TSAR to come back and actually be more interesting than they already were, but with THE DARK STUFF the band has proven that not only are they back but they’re better than ever.  I only hope that we don’t have to wait long for the full album.

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“Who” by David Byrne & St. Vincent

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I heard that David Byrne and St. Vincent had gotten together and made an album.  I just knew that I had to hear it.  A few months back I got on a Talking Heads-kick, so I was interested to find out if Byrne still had it.  And my it I mean: a propensity for the tasteful, the odd, and the tastefully-odd.

The Talking Heads were cultural anthropologists masquerading as a strange-sounding band.  It’s kind of a miracle to me that they were even popular in the 1980’s.  When I was revisiting their hits like “Burning Down The House,” “Wild Wild Life,” and the sublimely weird “Once In A Lifetime*,” I was struck by how un-pop The Talking Heads were. That they played on the radio along side Cyndi Lauper and Bruce Springsteen is utterly amazing to me.

Surely, I thought to myself before listening to “Who,” old-man Byrne has mellowed with age. Well fear not purveyors of all things freaky, David Byrne is still really strange.  I don’t really know much about St. Vincent except that she’s an indie-darling with a weird name who’s supposedly a really good guitar player.  Instead of being the chirpy song-bird I thought she was, I discovered that St. Vincent is more of a mysterious siren (color me curious about her solo-work).

Byrne and St. Vincent’s future so bright…they gotta wear shades.

The first song on LOVE THIS GIANT, “Who” is also the lead single.  It’s a daft and loopy number,  built almost entirely around horns and thumping drums (so much for St. Vincent’s guitar work).  Lyrically, “Who” is a series of semi-profound questions posed by Byrne, which is beautifully answered a single chorus from St. Vincent: “Who is an honest man?” It’s brilliant, catchy, auteur-pop that reminds me of fellow 80’s-freak Peter Gabriel’s solo-work.  LOVE THIS GIANT is a fantastic collaborative effort between the two artists, but “Who” is Bryne’s baby.  This one wormed it’s way into my heart, give it a listen and see if it doesn’t do the same to you.

Turns out Byrne still has it.  

*A song that I desperately need to analyze in a post all-to itself.

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