New This Week: Neon Neon, !!!, Iggy & The Stooges & More
Neon Neon, Praxis Makes Perfect Super Furry Animal Gruff Rhys and producer Boom Bip follow their Mercury nominated concept album Stainless Style, about the life of car designer John DeLorean, with another psychedelic-hued biopic, this time about the left-wing political activist and publisher Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, who was allegedly killed by his own explosives in 1972. The duo’s second collaboration has earfuls of glorious analogue-digital charm, but is probably best appreciated after reading the Wikipedia entry.
Iggy & The Stooges, Ready To Die The first album from Iggy & The Stooges since 1973′s Raw Power (!) is remarkable for the presence of incendiary guitarist James Williamson, now retired from his job as an electrical engineer in Silicon Valley. Andrew Perry interviews the legendary band here, and speaks to James Williamson about his favourite albums on eMusic here. Holly George-Warren reviews the album:
“Few albums are so misleadingly titled as Ready to Die. Its taut songs – clocking in at an old-school 34 minutes – constitute a genuine rebirth of a sneering, vital band, defiant as ever.”
The Phoenix Foundation, Fandango The fifth album from the New Zealand sextet is a dazzling mix of psychedelia, prog-folk, synth pop and motorik rock. Sharon O’Connell writes:
“As vocalist and guitarist Samuel Scott puts it, this is a record “that pays absolutely no attention to the short-form game contemporary music.” What it does pay attention to is sound – the most complexly imagined, seductively layered and immaculately produced kind.”
!!!, Thr!!!ler: The dance-punk pioneers return with another batch of jittery floor-fillers. Andrew Parks says:
“Considering all the factors working against !!! over the past 15 years — major lineup changes, members who live on opposite coasts, the questionable expiration date of “dance punk” — you’d think they’d be a part-time prospect by now. But no, here they are, delivering a filler-free album that feels like a carefully-curated DJ set, including the disco inferno diatribes of “Get That Rhythm Right,” the convulsive funk of “Station (Meet Me At the)” and the peak house-party hooks of “Slyd”.”
Akron/Family, Sub Verses: Akron/Family’s latest finds them working with an adventurous set of influences. Ashley Melzer says:
“The tracks skid from one time signature or influence to another, but feel of a whole — like some take on American roots by way of a post-industrial Africa invaded by Eastern shamans. On paper, it sounds haphazard, incomplete. But Akron/Family build these disparate parts into something explosive or holy or both, time and again on Sub Verses. There’s no mythic volcano to stamp the narrative; there’s only a radical harmony, divergent strands threading together.”
Mick Harvey, Four (Acts of Love) The former Bad Seed’s follow up to 2011′s meditative Sketches from the Book of the Dead is a song cycle on love, and includes reinterpretations of songs by PJ Harvey, Van Morrison and The Saints.
Deep Purple, Now What?! More heavy riffs with twiddly organ bits from the evergreen Purple.
The Melvins, Everybody Loves Sausages The Melvins tackle tracks from Throbbing Gristle, Queen and Roxy Music on a surprising covers album. David Raposa reviews:
“When Buzz Osbourne states unequivocally that “we REALLY like all of these songs,” he’s not just flapping his gums. The group (joined by a handful of friends, including Neurosis’s Scott Kelly, Foetus’s JG Thirwell and Mudhoney’s Mark Arm) tears through obscurities from nearly forgotten Californian punk groups like Pop-O-Pies and Tales of Terror with the same eagerness and fervor that’s bestowed upon faithful renditions of Venom’s “Warhead” and David Bowie’s “Station to Station.”
Daniel Johnston, Space Ducks Indie icon Johnston Satan for space ducks on this themed album, featuring contributions from Jake Bugg, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Eleanor Friedberger of Fiery Furnaces.
Junip, Junip Jose Gonzales’s second album with his pre-fame band spikes his airy melancholy with spacey synths and free-flowing drums. Marc Hogan writes:
“Throughout, Junip is unassumingly elegant, particularly on bleary-eyed dancefloor pick-me-up “Your Life Your Call”, jagged psych excursion “Villain” and tranquil ephiphany “After All Is Said and Done”. Over African-style rhythms, “Baton” finds a way to make even whistling sound subtle.”
Andy Cato, Times & Places This is a glamorous sonic travelogue recorded when Cato was touring with Groove Armarda that hops from Florence to Moscow to Mexico City. Groove Armarda never played Llandudno or High Wycombe, it seems.
Howl, Bloodlines: The second release from Howl is a little less bleak, but still as ugly as ever. Says Jon Wiederhorn:
“Howl can still stomp and drone, but they’ve added new tricks to their arsenal, including southern power-groove riffs, twin-guitar harmonies and unexpected shifts in rhythm; the tempos range from mid-paced (“Embrace Your Nerve”) to double-time (“Your Hell Begins”). Clearly, Howl worked exhaustively to overhaul their sound (captured expertly by producer Zeuss and they’ve done so without sounding like a completely different band than the one that recorded Full of Hell.”
Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, Brooklyn Babylon: The recommended latest from “steampunk-jazz” composer-bandleader Darcy James Argue. Seth Colter-Walls says:
“Some of the pieces feature wooden flutes, others Afro-Peruvian percussion. Ingrid Jensen’s electric trumpet solo in “Building” calls to mind Miles’s best fusion bands. That all these sounds work together so elegantly is evidence of expert execution, not just singular vision; the entire program flows in a way that many modern-classical composers ought to envy. Argue’s curiosity and skill at integrating all his fascinations represent the humanism of the narrative capably on its own. Both florid with moment-to-moment intrigue and a fine document of an artist with a lot to say (and the ambition to match), Brooklyn Babylon is essential listening for all sorts of musical communities.”
Colin Stetson, New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light: Indie rock’s favorite sax man releases the third installment of his New History Warfare series. Andy Battaglia says:
“Colin Stetson’s most formidable and impressive on his own, with just a metal horn and a pair of heaving lungs to help push air through its twisty, peculiar channels. Stetson’s expansive style finds fine form in “Hunted,” an unusual instrumental track that matches ghostly, wordless cries to a sax treatise in which Stetson taps on keys percussively while blowing out sounds as if summoning some strange prehistoric beast. He’s credited for playing alto, tenor and bass saxophones (the latter a burly monster of an instrument), but the presence of each, in all cases, conforms to the whole of his unique sound-world.”
The Heliocentrics, 13 Degrees of Reality: Playing out like a lost jazz soundtrack to some mid ’70s NY-centric crime film, 13 Degrees of Reality is loaded with tense, queasy greatness. Strings bow, drums stumble and stomp and the bass thumps and rattles like an elevated train. Recommended.