Tuesday, September 26, 2006

"Relegated to the back of an underclass you always hated."


My head feels strange. Nevertheless, I've skipped work for the day (due to the strangeness of my head) and I have some opinions to communicate to you all. Shouting into the void as ever, here are my opinions on a couple of upcoming albums that you may be interested in checking out.

The Swan Lake album has slowly, quietly become one of the most eagerly-anticipated albums of 2006. Swan Lake, in case you didn't know, is a kind of conglomerate of three of Canada's most original and singular songwriters, Dan Bejar (Destroyer, The New Pornographers), Carey Mercer (Frog Eyes) and Spencer Krug (Wolf Parade, Sunset Rubdown) (pictured above, l-r). As soon as this meeting of minds was announced, the bloggers went apeshit (not me though, I'm way too cool for that) and the expectation is understandable. Krug, Mercer and Bejar have, between them, released some of the strangest, most distinctive indie-rock to have come out of Canada in the last five years. I was kind of excited myself, if I'm being completely honest, but after the initial minor pant-wetting, I thought to myself, "This is going to be a bit of a mess, right?"

Well, I'm half right. If there's one thing that the subsequent result, Beast Moans is most definitely not, it's coherent. Too many ideas are thrown into the stew and the end product seems ultimately a little overcooked. When it does work, however, it's pretty spectacular. I posted earlier today on ILM that my initial impression of the record was that it was a little bit 'meh'. Having listened to it twice since then, I can feel my impression starting to change a little. Mercer is still a songwriter who'll never really have my ear, but Bejar and Krug definitely help to anchor his more fanciful flights of fantasy here. Krug's songs in particular get better with each listen, but Bejar's 'The Freedom' is the standout. A ringing, anthemic, mini-version of his 'Rubies' from the latest Destroyer album, it's a real winner. So I've posted it below.

Swan Lake - The Freedom (mp3) (removed by request)

One album that's kind of took me by surprise lately is Hot Club De Paris' debut, Drop It 'Til It Pops. Despite the shite title, it's actually pretty bloody good. I'd previously written HCDP off as merely The Scouse Futureheads, but it turns out I was wrong to do so. Sure they share similar touchstones with that band (XTC, Wire, you know the rest), but in fact they're pitched closer to Futureheads' Sunderland compatriots, Field Music and show an intricacy to their rhythmically wrong, spiky post-punk that belies their experience.

Drop It 'Til It Pops is an often invigorating, relentlessly catchy record that, from out of nowhere, is, in my opinion one of the most rewarding British debuts of 2006. It breezes by so quickly that once it's over, the urge to just press play again is quite hard to resist. Of course, now that I've bigged it up, it'll sell about four copies, just make sure that you're one of the (apologies in advance for crap, but irresistible musical joke) gang of four. Fnarr-fnarr!

Hot Club De Paris - Clockwork Toy (mp3)

Today, I 'came across' a shedload of early International Deejay Gigolos stuff. I'd forgotten just how good they used to be (and still are, fitfully), releasing stuff early in their years from the likes of Jeff Mills, Dopplereffekt, Miss Kittin & The Hacker, Foremost Poets and lots of other notable techno and electro artists. So, I thought I'd share some of my bounty with you, just for shits and giggles. Dig in, gigolos and gigolettes...

DJ Naughty - Boing Bum Tschag (their first ever release) (mp3)

Christopher Just - I'm A Disco Dancer (mp3)

Zombie Nation - Kernkraft 400 (Original) (mp3)

Dopplereffekt - Cellular Phone (mp3)

Dave Clarke - Compass (mp3)

I'm sure you'll agree that that's some Gesamtkunstwerk!



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