November 3, 2009

Bogart-Internet-Tubes Blues

My free internet situation dried up over the weekend (yes, I was bogarting internet tubes) so I'll be posting a bit more erratically over the next week or so in coffee shops until I remedy that. In any case, there have been several excellent releases over the past week, so in case you haven't had time to look around, here's what's been going on.

That awesomelly genuine and charismatic, Van Morrison wailing singer from Once, Glen Hansard, and his fictional/real life love interest/band mate Mark√©ta Irglov√° have released their second album together as the Swell Season. Unfortunately, this one's about break ups—specifically, theirs. Nevertheless, the two are still going strong, thanks to the fresh heartbreak-inspired material and backing from Hansard's excellent Irish rock group, The Frames.

The Swell Season - "Low Rising" (from Strict Joy)

Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas is finally out with his much-anticipated solo debut, Phrazes For The Young. There's not as much Daft Punk going on as that first single "11th Dimension" hinted. Instead, the record is much more classical, sounding at times like an American version of Phoenix with arpeggiated chords from a synthesized harpsichord and quick and cleanly plucked guitars. That's not to say Casablancas doesn't make the sound his own. Just listen to "Left & Right In The Dark"—there's no denying the charmingly sloppy ache of that Stroke.

Julian Casablancas - "Left & Right In The Dark" (from Phrazes For The Young)

I was excited when I heard that Mazzy Star singer Hope Sandoval was returning after a ten year hiatus. It's too bad however that the record—Through The Devil Softly—is a sleep-inducing bore. But everything happens for a reason, right? This happened so that I could start re-listening to those great forgotten 90s ballads like "Fade Into You" and the lesser known, "Look On Down From The Bridge"—an absolute slow burner.

Mazzy Star - "Look On Down From The Bridge" (from Among My Swan)

London's Uncut, the only music magazine I can get through on a regular basis without cringing, named Jack White man of the decade and his and Meg's White Stripes' record White Blood Cells the decade's best. The album featured the duo's first hit, "Hotel Yorba,"which has always reminded me of a strung-out and amphetamine-infused cousin to the Country Joe & The Fish Vietnam protest song "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin-To-Die Rag." Musically of course, not topically...

The White Stripes - "Hotel Yobra" (from White Blood Cells)

Buy it at Insound!Julian Casablancas

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