Catching up on some recent release here at BIJLM, here are six recent releases that you should add to your collection immediately.
Local Dallas, Texas native LehtMoJoe released his latest LP towards the end of April, and it’s been picking up buzz locally. The entire album is ready made for a weekend (or weeknight – if that’s how you roll) dance party. Frankly – it’s hard for me to review this genre because I so rarely dabble in the electronica scene. But at the same time, good music is good music and this is good music. The album starts off a little weak with the synth heavy opener, Through To You, but gets stronger track by track, including highlights Crash (w/ Sara Dean), and Touch The Sky (w/ Sedrick Stylez, Xavier Marquis).
“I think this album is some of my best work, incorporating techniques from the electronic based music I am very comfortable with, alongside a more traditional approach to songwriting,” says LehtMoJoe. “For me, there is a greater feeling of accomplishment creating these kinds of songs. Taking a random lyrical melody in my head and turning it into a complete track is a bit different from my previous album, which is more rhythmically driven.”
Bottom line – this is a toe tappingly fun album that belongs just as much in your personal collection as it does a dance club.
If Yuck is this generation’s answer to Pavement, then Soviet may be the modern day equivalent to Sonic Youth. Sure, not quite as good or groundbreaking, but listening to their debut album, DOOM, leaves you stuck in a haze of late 80′s early 90′s lo-fi avante guarde alternative rock. It’s like the aforementioned Sonic Youth had a love child with My Bloody Valentine and the Pixies stepped in to help raise the bastard.
That may be a convoluted way of describing what Soviet is. But listen to the album (it’s free on their website, but donations are welcome) and you’ll quickly see why the Dallas natives might be one of the most promising new bands on the scene.
My first reaction after listening this album was, “wow, the Beastie Boys are back!” And indeed they are. After several years between proper albums (let’s be honest – 2007′s The Mix Up was quite good, but not exactly a run-of-the-mill Beastie Boys album) and a time in which member Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock) has battled throat cancer – the idea of a new Beasties album sounded far fetched. Yet here we are.
Hot Sauce Committee Part Two harkens back to a hip-hop’s yesteryear, yet maintains a certain modern flair. The album seamlessly combines the best grooves from The Mix Up with the rhymes from Paul’s Boutique and Ill Communication.
At this point in their careers, no one would be disappointed if The Beastie Boys simply maintained the status quo. This album is ultimately a refreshing hip hop album from one of the genre’s biggest groups.
Really – I’m not an R&B kind of dude. I grew up in the time of early Usher and Brian McKnight, so the thought of R&B still takes me back to awkward slow-dances in high school gyms. But damn is this shit good. The Weeknd takes typical R&B genre conventions (smooth vocals, easy beats, “baby, baby” lyrics) and twists them together to form what may be the genre’s best output in many years. Highlights include The Morning and The Party & The After Party.
Note from Sissyphis: I hate this album for the same reason I hate all R&B music. I’m pretty sure the only lyric is “Girl. Girl. Girl. Girl.”
Over the last couple of albums (specifically The Stage Names and The Stand Ins) Okkervil River has quietly become one of my favorite bands. The songs are smart, danceable when necessary, and go down easy with a good beer. Their latest effort, I Am Very Far completely snuck up on me. In fact, I didn’t hear cuts from the album until about a week before its release, when they opened for Arcade Fire at Gexa Energy Pavilion. At first blush, the songs seemed to lack the hooks and infectious melodies of their predecessors.
After listening to the album in its entirety, however, it’s definitely worth a download and is a worthy addtion for any Okkervil River fan. That said – if you’re accustomed to the Okkervil River of the last two albums, it might take a listen or two before you catch on. It’s different. It’s darker. It’s not quite as approachable. But you’ll find yourself coming back to it for multiple listens, which is always the mark of a good album. Highlights include the Springsteen like Rider and Wake and Be Fine.
Every now and then a band comes along and changes the way you think about music (or at the very least makes you question the sex of the lead singer). Back in the 90′s, I remember hearing Jamiroquai’s Virtual Insanity for the first time. Having grown up mostly on Top 40 and Adult Alternative FM picks, I naturally assumed the band was fronted by a very gifted female singer. Of course, Jamiroquai is fronted by Jay Kay – just a gifted (male) singer with some talented pipes. Tune-Yards is a little of the same.
Essentially the solo project of Merrill Garbus, Tune-Yards is this year’s answer to Sleigh Bells. And not because they sound anything like Sleigh Bells, but because like Sleigh Bells, Tune-Yards sounds so drastically different from anything else you’ve been listening to this year. W H O K I L L is a fun and exceptionally diverse listen, and certainly rewards multiple plays. This is the kind of album that inspires and reminds that despite hundreds of years of recorded music history, there’s many an area yet to be fully explored. Highlights include the albums first single Bizness and You Yes You