This Week's New Album Releases (09/27/11)
This week’s releases includes the long-awaited studio return from Wilco and the next release from the constantly evolving metal group, Mastodon. Also included are albums from Van Hunt, Twin Sister, Gem Club, and Mekons.
Dum Dum Girls – Only In Dreams
“Whether it’s the negative stigma that comes these days with being labeled “lo-fi,” or the frustration of being lumped in with their throwback contemporaries like Vivian Girls and Best Coast that inspired the group to turn it up a notch in terms of both the songs and the production, who knows. But whatever the reason may be, with Only in Dreams, Dum Dum Girls have raised the bar.” Read Charlie Duerr’s review of Only In Dreams.
Gem Club – Breakers
“Gem Club’s principal duo, pianist and singer Christopher Barnes and cellist Kristen Drymala, offer none of the ‘80s revivalist tendencies that marked chillwave’s first wave. They don’t dress-up contemporary R&B the way Active Child or How To Dress Well do. Still, there’s a common link between those contemporaries and the resonant, melancholic cuts Gem Club has assembled on its full-length debut.” Read Bryan C. Reed’s review of Only In Dreams.
Van Hunt – What Were You Hoping For?
“Van Hunt runs the gamut from Everly Brothers harmonies, to smoothed-out soul with spacey edges to lots and lots of Prince homages. (Steal from the best.) He sometimes comes off a bit like he’s exploring the idea of a genre more than actually writing a song (“Eyes Like Pearls” get dangerously close to Kravitzing) but generally has enough enthusiasm and hooks to make his celebration of musical freedom worth riding along with.” Read Michael Tedder’s review of What Were You Hoping For?
Mastodon – The Hunters
“Something tells me Mastodon will never stop evolving. And even if they do, they’ll probably still kick ass. The Hunter, their finest album yet, is proof enough. The Creature Lives, indeed.” Read Ryan Reed’s review of The Hunters.
Mekons – Ancient and Modern
“It is, ultimately and unsurprisingly, a deeply angry and contentious album, yet one that glories in the act of musical collaboration. It took a World War to bring the first Edwardian Era to a close. The Mekons sound like they’re having a blast pondering what it will take to end this second one.” Read Stephen Deusner’s review of Ancient and Modern.
Elvis Presley – Young Man With A Beat [box set]
“The outtakes and the interviews offer more content than the typical fan needs, but they do help develop a larger picture of Presley’s 1956. That said, it’s really the music that matters, and there’s plenty of that here to satisfy. While a lot of the recordings are beyond familiar by now, they work well in this sort of set, especially supported by the live material.” Read Justin Cober-Lake review of Young Man With A Beat.
Twin Sister – In Heaven
“What makes these guys so great is their willingness to explore a song’s DNA, to fuck around with what makes a track tick. In Heaven is a quirky, forgotten mix-tape you discover wilting underneath your bed, and I (mostly) mean that as a compliment.” Read Ryan Reed’s review of In Heaven.
Wilco – The Whole Love
“The Whole Love rewards patient listening, which isn’t exactly fashionable in 2011. In some ways, it’s the black sheep of their catalog—not as instantly catchy, not as blatantly weird, lacking an obvious sonic identity compared to their other works. Maybe they’ve run out of creative obstacles. Oh, well. It’s the sound of Wilco out to prove nothing, driven only by their desire to craft great songs. In that regard, they’ve succeeded from start to finish—given enough breathing room and a bit of perspective, The Whole Love reveals itself as their finest album since Yankee Hotel Foxtrot”. Read Ryan Reed’s review of The Whole Love.
Various Artists – Phil Spector Presents: The Phillies Album Collection
“As the name of his label implies, Spector never shied away from self-promotion, billing himself as a star on par with any of his talent. But by giving women like The Crystals and The Ronettes and even The Blossoms such a commanding sound and such dignified songs to sing, he ensured that they would not be dragged down by his reputation. It’s possible to hear the Philles Album Collection and appreciate the vocal flair of these talented young musicians, who 50 years later can still hold their own against their infamous producer.” Read Stephen Deusner’s review of The Philies Album Collection.
yMusic – Beautiful Mechanical
“Will yMusic make classical music relevant again? Probably not. Even still, yMusic’s debut album features the kind of indie pop name-dropping to get new folks interested, while still holding on to the substantial chops that will attract classical music nerds and probably get them featured on NPR’s “Classical” page.” Read Luke Larsen’s review of Beautiful Mechanical.