Follow Friday 3.21.14

This is the first weekend of Spring, so it’s time to pack away the winter sweaters, find the sunscreen, and find some new albums to enjoy.  This week we’ve got a little something for everyone – from contemporary classical and futuristic pop to classic Americana and folk.

Black Lips – Underneath The Rainbow

I’ve been a Black Lips fan ever since I first saw them give a wild opening set at Southpaw in Brooklyn, and their new album does not disappoint. Looks like I’ll have to make a bit of a road trip to catch them live this time around. -Andrew


Bryce Dessner – St. Carolyn By The Sea / Jonny Greenwood – Suite From There Will Be Blood

Contemporary composers and rock musicians have long held a mutual fascination, from the atmospheric production work Brian Eno has done with the likes of U2 and David Byrne to the tip of the hat David Bowie and James Murphy gave to Steve Reich on Murphy’s 2013 remix of Bowie’s “Love Is Lost”. Jonny Greenwood, best known as the genius guitarist for Radiohead, began writing his own original compositions for orchestra some years ago, and in 2007 his work appeared as the main score of the Academy Award-winning There Will Be Blood. Fast forward to 2007, and the German record imprint Deutsche Grammophon has released Greenwood’s score, as performed by the Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra, as a double-feature with another successful rocker’s orchestral composition. Bryce Dessner, the guitarist and a principal writer for The National, has a knack for creating rich harmonics and complementary ebbs and flows that translate well for both a rock band and an orchestra. Greenwood’s Suite may be the better-known piece in this pairing due to the success of the film it is associated with, but both Dessner and Greenwood have created impressive compositions filled with rich texture, tension, and wonderful interplays between soft and loud. -Jeff


The Deadmen – The Deadmen EP

This week was all about rock n’ roll as I single handily tried to part the overcast skies of Central Virginia with The Deadmen’s new EP. I needed to try anything. It seems pointing my speakers skyward and going to “11,” accomplished just that (you’re welcome). The Washington D.C. based Deadmen just released a five track gem that gets right to the point. Although, Let Your Fingers Rule shines as the obvious single, Sons and Dogs produces a truer example of solid folk lyricism coupled with a soulfully gritty presentation that will leave you feeling good about the direction of folk-rock. Get hype. -Rocky


PC Music – “Keri Baby”

Bored, bored, BORED. I was so very fed up with all the stuff out there this week. It was all the same, familiar stuff. But then Jerome LOL saved my life, as he so often does. He did a GvB takeover this wednesday, and posted one incredible and hilarious track from the new London DIY label PC Music, which is basically one guy, A. G. Cook, who produces all of his artists himself. His mixture of TOP40 pop-appeal and underground attitude is highly reminiscent of Sophies “Bipp” from last year. So if you liked that one (and want to have a bit of a laugh, too) check out the rest of his Soundcloud ( Ridiculous and so well done at the same time. …and something else. -Henje


Nathan Reich – All Night Pharmacy

The opening track of Nathan Reich’s All Night Pharmacy was a bit deceiving. I almost stopped listening as he clumsily crooned “hey good lookin’. What ya got cookin’?” But I pushed forward. What I found was an often beautiful (Sweet Isolation) Americana-inspired record laced with pop sensibility. Take it along as a soundtrack to your next weekend drive. -Jeremy


Tensnake – Glow

Nostalgia is one of the trickiest human feelings to understand in general, and when mixed with the unquantifiable alchemy of music, it becomes even more opaque. Is it possible to enjoy a song simply because it evokes pleasant memories of other songs that you liked for their own merits? Is this kind of enjoyment bad for music because it rewards artists for creating works that are comfortably familiar instead of innovative and original? What are the borders between homage, classic, and rehash. And in dance music, especially, does any of that matter as long as everyone’s dancing? It’s a debate that backgrounded the discussion of the two biggest dance albums of last year: the 70s collage of Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories and Disclosure’s 90s house revivalism on Settle. And it’s a debate that I couldn’t help but remember when listening to Glow, Tensnake’s album of self-conscious, self-effacing 80s dance jukebox jams. Thankfully, Tensnake sidesteps that entire debate the same way those two albums did: by creating an album of mostly rock solid songs that you should feel no ambiguity in listening to. The German producer leans heavily on the pop instincts he’s been relying on for years, bringing several guest vocalists to make proper pop songs out of his smooth, precisely crafted productions. The track selection and sequencing could have been tighter: there’s no reason for this album to have 16 songs, and the inclusion of clubstep pandering “Holla” is inexplicable, but as I’ve had Glow on repeat this week, who am I to complain? – Ramona


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