Wow, this Tuesday is kind of late into the month! In any case, here's the usual monthly list of new tracks I think everyone should know and love as much as I do. Just like last month, I guess there's not much of an intro I can write (boy, wasn't August great?!) so I'll just get on with it. As usual, any and all suggestions are welcome. Eels - What I Have to Offer
As if it wasn't enough to put out the wonderful and cathartic End Times, E went ahead and released a complete polar opposite (in the same year, no less) with Tomorrow Morning, a startlingly convincing, positive affair. What I Have to Offer is the perfect representative of the album, in that while it is hardly a musical departure, for the first time you can see E cracking a smile that is free of irony. This is music for appreciating one's self, love, and looking forward... who knew a band like the Eels would be the one to capture that so well?
Atmosphere - To All My Friends
Two years after their excellent album When Life Gives You Lemons... comes this positive, upbeat single with a predictably catchy beat from Ant and great storytelling from Slug. To All My Friends is basically in praise of the duo's career as musicians, and Slug's flow over the almost bluesy guitar sounds so genuine and contented that you can't help but feel optimistic while listening to him.
Fleshwrought - Inner Thoughts
Death metal of the tech and melodic varieties tend to get a bit too self indulgent with the instrumentation and sport production that is way too clean for this kind of music, at least for me, and the fact that Fleshwrought's debut has neither of these flaws, and in fact embodies each of these qualities to just the right degree, is reason enough to like them. There's a great flow to each song's multiple sections, and Inner Thoughts has not just this, but a saxophone solo near the end that sounds as well-placed as it is unexpected. Killer stuff.
Nils Frahm - Über
Modern classical, ambient, piano music, whatever you want to call it, the B-side off of Nils Frahm's latest single is just about too beautiful for words. With such a seemingly basic series of melodies, Über's lone piano gives off such a reflective feel, but not so definite as to make one feel particularly happy or sad. Anyone who likes this kind of music would do well to check this track out.
Skream - Wibbler
While most of the dubstep pioneer's latest is sadly bland, this track is one of the few exceptions - tremendous bass and reverb, pummeling layers of sound, and it's just simple enough to be catchy and danceable without losing its hard edge. Looking for crossover success seems to have watered his music down more than making him accessible, but in neglecting this formula, Wibbler finds the DJ with his energy still more than in tact.
Autolux - Spots
After a four year wait, Autolux have finally returned with another set of songs too good to make you wonder for very long about how much Sonic Youth they've been listening to. Still, they've adopted more dimensions this time around, which the moody, jazzy Spots illustrates beautifully. The passive vocal harmony floats over that clean piano, with more and more elements (keyboards, feedback, what I'm guessing to be a xylophone?) subtly thrown in, making a highly somber mood sound absolutely lovely.
Comeback Kid - Symptoms and Cures
2010 has seen some spectacular hardcore releases, and as you might guess I'm including Comeback Kid's latest. A great quality that shines throughout the album is the ability to blend almost melancholic melodies with a raging fury, which the album's title track (while it's a close call) probably does the best. Vocalist Scott Wade roars on against the wailing guitars while the song grows all the more forceful, with the music catching up to his energy by the end.
Matthew Dear - You Put a Smell on Me
The inspiration for the 'Lust' list a few weeks back, this song throbs with sexual energy, presented in an aggressive, brooding package. The almost cheesy 80s sounding intro doesn't stay as such for long, as the atmosphere darkens by the moment with the muffled backing falsettos, blasts of bass, and that moaning climax. It's Dear himself who really steals it though, sounding almost too much like a predator on the prowl.
Cee-Lo - Fuck You
Cee-Lo's first post-Gnarls Barkley release still reeks of neo-soul, and is as usual stuffed to the gills with his personality. How many other singers could take break-up angst and tweak it to sound not just this funny and cheerful, but with such an addictive, sing-a-long quality? The sentiment of telling someone to fuck off should always sound this fun.
Arcade Fire - Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
In true Arcade Fire fashion, their third LP The Suburbs is finished off with a soaring, epic closer - although I'm sure nobody expected such an unabashed synth pop sound. When the second verse comes along and that dancing synth pops in along with Régine Chassagne's typically vulnerable, gorgeous vocals, I can't help but grin like an idiot - despite the daunting subject matter, everything sounds so positive; like I've said before, hoping in the face of hopelessness really is what this band does the best.