There are only a scant amount of bands who can boast a career spanning more than three decades and fewer that can honestly make those boasts while knowing they have made no compromises. Mark E. Smith has been giving us his bluster since the early 80’s and, although the faces surrounding him have changed, he stubbornly refuses to bow out gracefully. On The Fall’s 30th album, he reveals that he still has his chops as well, preaching his missives and pointing fingers without pause. The backing band are just as confrontational, so prep yourself before listening.
Brooklyn-based electronic musicians Thomas Mullarney III and Jacob Gossett incorporate buttery R&B ingredients into their electronic compositions. The duo makes up new Ghostly label signees Beacon, releasing their first full length last month. The Way We Separate blends their soulful heartache with understated beats that bring all the bedroom sentiment without being overly saccharine.
With hometown legends like Guided By Voices and The Breeders, there are much more unlikely places to find a new savior of indie than Dayton, OH. With a digital release back in December and a following physical release in February, these gentlemen have brought the spotlight away from the bands that invariably moved to Brooklyn. With a garage sound and an obvious nod to Robert Pollard, they have an immediate sensibility that is slowly becoming extinct in the always crowded field of newcomers.
I usually do not insert myself into music posts, saving the use of any first person verbiage for describing a personal experience. Yet, after listening to the latest release from The National, I can’t help but voice my struggle with my support of this band. When I started listening in 2005 with their third LP Alligator, they grabbed my attention with a elementary and singular sound coupled with powerful lyrics delivered with a thick and emotive low register. Each successive album has garnered them more accolades and followers, yet has had a seeming regressive effect on me. Here we are at the sixth album and The National no longer fill the role of the underdog savior of explicit indie rock. I can hear the meticulousness and preoccupation with the creative process and music production they now artfully utilize, adding, subtracting and fussing in the way only afforded to successful bands. Sadly, in many of the songs, that is all I hear: disappointingly empty boxes wrapped with ornate paper. I know that I will be ultimately in the minority concerning Trouble Will Find Me, but I also was a few years ago when I discovered this great band that no one had heard of that could be the next crossover success story.
Summer is just around the corner and the windows-open jams are hitting the streets now. Classixx is a production duo based in LA specializing in arms-up party remixes. On their debut Hanging Gardens, the gents are giving due deference to classic house and disco while receiving some welcomed vocal assistance from members of LCD Soundsystem, Junior Senior and Active Child. Daft Punk is getting all of the (deserved) press and adulation, but Classixx will have won your heart by Labor Day.