Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Music Review: Super Furry Animals - Dark Days/Light Years (***)

"Not that they haven’t been prone to egregious stylistic departures at any given moment, but Welsh weirdoes Super Furry Animals have traditionally upended expectations most significantly with their album opening tracks. Take, for example, the piano ballad lead-in of 2001's Rings Around the World, the epic orchestral soul-pop of Love Kraft’s “Zoom!,” or even the self explanatory one-minute table setter “Gateway Song,” which opened SFA's last record, the underrated Hey Venus!. And now, after two comparatively mellow albums, SFA triumphantly return with Dark Days/Light Years, kicking off with the amazingly titled “Crazy Naked Girls.” Arguably, it's their biggest opening curveball yet-- or at least since that time they stuck a hidden song before the first track on Guerilla. The tone for this record is set immediately with 'Girls' and its barreling rhythms and acid fried guitar solos, announcing Dark Days as SFA’s most playful and groove oriented release in years. In other words, they’ve gone and put the power back in their power-pop, and stumbled into one of their strongest records to date." [Continue Reading]

Sunday, April 26, 2009

"Taking Woodstock" Trailer

So far it seems Ang Lee is doing everything right with this film. The poster was acid-fried perfection and the trailer has a woozily nostalgic charm. Really looking forward to it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Podcast: End of Radio #2 - 'The Greatest Gift'

For the second In Review Online podcast, Jordan Cronk and Brian Webster take a look back at the legendary Touch & Go imprint and spotlight some of their favorite moments from the label's nearly three decade run. The recording session for 'The Greatest Gift' was fueled by copious amounts of brown liquor, and we'd like to apologize in advance for any slurred speech, lost trains of thought, blanket statements, or offensive opinions. But hey, this is Touch & Go. I'm sure they'd have it no other way.

Music Review: Bill Callahan - Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle (***)

"When Bill Callahan retired the Smog moniker in late 2005, it felt like a logical conclusion to a fifteen year career of reflective melancholia. A River Ain’t Too Much To Love, Callahan’s underrated final album produced under the name Smog, was a record characterized by its comparatively content demeanor. After years of constant searching and longing, it seemed as though Callahan had finally found what he was looking for—and maybe he had. It was around this time that Callahan began a relationship with renaissance harpist Joanna Newsom, who had played on A River Ain’t Too Much To Love and subsequently toured the States with Callahan as a sort of folk-y low-key double-bill. The good vibes continued on Woke On A Whaleheart, the first Callahan album billed under his given name, and not coincidentally his loosest and least substantial offering in years. I realize that it’s possible that I’m putting too much credence in Callahan’s tendency to reflect his current life through his musical output, but based on his wonderful new record, Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle, it doesn’t seem an unreasonable contextual outline." [Continue Reading]

InRO Feature: Discographer #1 - Yeah Yeah Yeahs

"For our first Discographer, the staff of InRO takes a look at the divisive catalogue of indie rockers Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The band has just released their new album, It’s Blitz, and it’s already sparking a host of arguments similar to those they faced during their last release-- specifically, that they’ve sold out, become more accessible, etc. Like most websites, our allegiance to this band differs depending on which one of us you ask, but you can find a sampling of our opinions below, with reviews of their first three full-lengths." [Continue Reading]

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Michael Gira Talks James Blackshaw/"The Glass Bead Game"

Former Swans/current Angels of Light frontman Michael Gira recently released a fawning ode to the beautiful music of James Blackshaw, who Gira recently signed to his Young God imprint and who has another sure-to-be-goosebump-inducing new album on the horizon entitled The Glass Bead Game. You all know how I feel about The Cloud of Unknowing and Litany of Echoes, so needless to say, this is great news. I do wish however that I could articulate the intricaies of Blackshaw's music the way Gira seems to so effortlessly convey here:

"I'm incredibly pleased to announce that James Blackshaw will now be working with Young God Records for future releases of his absolutely beautiful and spellbinding music. The first such release is The Glass Bead Game. I am-- and have been for a long time-- a huge fan. James has received a lot of attention lately as a prodigy/virtuoso of the 12 string guitar, but he's anything but showy. He lays out patterns and shapes that subtly shift over time and lead you to a deeply satisfying mental state. Recently, driving around with the car stereo blasting his music I found myself inexplicably weeping. Why??? The music's not sad, or even mournful really. It's just exquisite in an ineffable way, and taps into a place, a dream place, or a pre-thought place, which each of us might recognize was always there inside of us and is suddenly revealed. Like coming home after a painful journey, I suppose...

James used to be in punk bands in England, but then he started listening to people like John Fahey, Robbie Basho etc, and I assume soon locked himself in a room for 12 hours a day for several years and just played his guitar constantly. It takes intense discipline and a religious commitment to get to the place where he's at with his instrument - his soulful and kaleidoscopic ever-shifting mantra cycles are, in my view, incredibly beautiful. Just his guitar by itself, with its swirling overtones, cascading notes, and a thousand points of light, is like an orchestra, but now he's started to further orchestrate his pieces with piano, strings, wind, vocals, and the music is positively cinematic and mesmerizing. The 18-minute-plus gem on this record is "Arc", performed on piano with the sustain peddle on full throttle, and the rush of sound created by the overtones-from-heaven, augmented by strings and wind, when played at proper (full) volume, is one of the most thrilling pieces of music I've heard in years. It takes a rare and single-minded courage and commitment to make music with such a powerfully positive force at its heart, especially in these troubled times. This is healing music that reaches for what's possible, just beyond our grasp. It is STELLAR. James is joined on this record by Joolie Wood (Current 93 and Simon Finn) - violin, clarinet and flute, John Contreras (Baby Dee and C93) - cello. Lavinia Blackwall (Directing Hand) is a classically trained singer and contributed vocals." [via P4k news]

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Music Review: Black Dice - Repo (**1/2)

"Let’s start with that album cover, as it has a tendency to signify the current Black Dice sound. The melted wax-like goo spilling out over a photo of some unidentifiable 1960s mod-pop band visually encapsulates the aural cut-and-paste that this Brooklyn experimental noise trio has trafficked in since their jump from DFA to Paw Tracks a few years back. This coinciding shift towards a more fractured house sound—a direction the band had been slowly creeping toward ever since “Cone Toaster”—was nicely summarized on Load Blown, a 2007 singles compilation that rounded up vinyl releases on both labels. Repo, then, is the first album of all new Black Dice material since 2005's raucous Broken Ear Record, and like its dizzying cover art, the record is a seam-bursting collage of chaotic rhythms and abrasive tonal variations. Threatening to get lost in the array of colors and limbs adorning Repo’s artwork is a friendly reminder positioned to the left that reads “Go where new experiences await you.” That’s not there by accident, and it’s certainly something to keep in mind as you traverse this turbulent landscape." [Continue Reading]

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

"Antichrist" Trailer

After weeks of buzz regarding that still photo, the trailer finally hits for Lars Von Trier's ridiculously anticipated horror (?) film, Antichrist. Von Trier has long been the king of provocation, yet Antichrist still looks to be one of his most uncompromising visions to date. This can't come soon enough as far as I'm concerned. Thanks to Incontention for the tip-off.

Monday, April 13, 2009

MP3: Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Zero" (Animal Collective Remix)

Here it is, the hotly-tipped Animal Collective remix of the YYY's "Zero". On an initial spin it already sounds better than just about anything on the album proper, due in no small part to the fact that AC unearth more interesting sonic minutia in about one minute than the original can muster in five. That however, is not too surprising. (from GvB via DiscoAttack)

MP3: Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Zero" (Animal Collective Remix)

"Moon" Trailer

This trailer has been all over the web for about a week now, and prior to just this very minute, I fully admit to avoiding it (maybe it's that blah title?). Well let's just say I'm sorry I did, as Duncan Jones' Moon looks rather fantastic. Of course, space films in recent years-- from Solaris to Sunshine--have had a tendency to let me down, but this looks like maybe (just maybe) it could be something special.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Podcast: End of Radio #1 - 'The World's End'

For the inaugural episode of In Review Online’s music podcast End of Radio, Jordan Cronk and Brian Webster take an in-depth look at some of the best tracks of 2009 so far, as well as discuss their plans for future installments of this series.

Music Review: Swan Lake - Enemy Mine (**1/2)

"Swan Lake has to be the most perfectly compatible super group in recent indie-rock history. It’s not necessarily uncommon for multiple artists with conflicting ideals to collaborate towards like-minded music (see most of the early New Pornographers music), but in the case of Swan Lake, these guys feel like three separate entities sharing one sadistic soul. In essence, the trio of Spencer Krug (Wolf Parade/Sunset Rubdown), Carey Mercer (Frog Eyes/Blackout Beach) and Dan Bejar (Destroyer/New Pornographers) all perform similar tricks within their main gigs, sharing an affinity for tail-swallowing lyrical worm-holes and barely-tangible arrangements seemingly always on the verge of near-collapse. The group’s first collaborative album, 2006's Beast Moans, was just that: an enveloping melding of the minds that sounded literally like all the best aspects of Sunset Rubdown, Frog Eyes and Destroyer effortlessly splayed out in 13 fully-formed tracks. The group’s new record, Enemy Mine, while still retaining a great deal of the quirks and idiosyncrasies of each individual songwriter, feels less like a Swan Lake album and more like three distinct personalities showcasing their gifts through allotted segments." [Continue Reading]

Break Up Your Band - The Essentials #6: Disco Inferno - "D.I. Go Pop"

"In 1994, Disco Inferno stood at a nexus between the ever-mounting technological advancements and prevailing Brit-pop trends of the day. It was almost unheard of in the mid-1990s, but rarely since has a band even been able to so thoroughly fuse basic rock elements into a predominantly synthetic environment the way Disco Inferno did on their second full-length album, D.I. Go Pop. Of course, the title of the album is completely ironic, as the resulting record is one of the most blatantly progressive and restlessly experimental documents of the decade. Coming just three years after the band’s first record-- as close a recreation of the late-70s post-punk aesthetic as they could possibly manage without literally scrawling the name Joy Division on the album spine—the instantly identifiable headspace of D.I. Go Pop only accentuates the dramatic leap the group took forward in such a short period of time." [Continue Reading]

Monday, April 6, 2009

Who Needs An Oscar?


"The reason the Yeah Yeah Yeah's made an electronic dance-pop album isn't because they are responding to a lack of fun electronic music everywhere - it's for precisely the opposite reason. Namely: everybody is making uptempo club friendly dance songs so we should probably do that too - afterall, our record label would love for us to make them some bread in these hard economic times. Plus, people want to dance when they are going financially bust, so we must feed this cause....and think of all the awesome remixes we could release...virally...." (Bank Robber Music)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Stream/MP3: The Tough Alliance - "Hung Up On A Dream" (Zombies cover)

The increasingly great Swedish electronic duo The Tough Alliance have made a name for themselves by pilfering the past and reconfiguring their many influences into a unique blend of disco rhythms, chilled-out grooves and blissful harmonies. I guess it was inevitable then that they'd out themselves as fans of 60s psych-pop legends, the Zombies. Here they cover the band's classic "Hung Up On A Dream". (Modular via GvB)