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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New Records This Week

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Tue, Jan 19, 2010 at 5:02 PM

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Lots of new releases this week, including the much-talked-about new Spoon album, which could be considered a local release, and the new Scout Niblett record, which could also be considered a local release. A lot of good stuff, too, and some crap, but we won't talk about that. Check out some good new records after the jump, and listen to a track from each.

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With Transference, I feel like Spoon is consciously shrugging off expectations on them to deliver the Great White Rock Album, which they could have tried to do after steadily growing to the size they are now. "The Underdog" from the last record was a big, bright, snappy pop single. And they don't do that this time, instead littering Transference with half-finished thoughts, rough-sounding recordings, and songs that finish mid-bar. It's the right move, and while the record doesn't reach the great heights that Spoon is capable of, it's not a batch of wrongheadedly ambitious duds that most bands would have probably ended up delivering if they were in Spoon's stead. The underachieving record still gets very high marks, even if Spoon gets less than an A for effort. Here's the most poppy tune on there [stream removed at request of Websheriff].

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And the new one from Scout Niblett is a scorcher, full of uneasy, unvarnished, smoldering emotion. She taps a raw vein every time she puts something out, and this record is just as good. Maybe you've heard a wolf howl in the wild, or more likely a coyote. But have you ever heard a domestic dog howl? Maybe from inside someone's house as you're walking by, when no one is home—a low, wrenching sound that hurts to listen to but remains chill-inducingly beautiful? That's what Scout Niblett sounds like to me. Also, that poor dog.

LISTEN:

Scout Niblett - "The Calcination of Scout Niblett" (from The Calcination of Scout Niblett)

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After a heap of buzz last year, Surfer Blood drops their debut, finally, and you can be forgiven for thinking, hey didn't this come out already? If you haven't heard them, Surfer Blood play great if unsurprising bombast-pop, with a foot in the garage (or in this case, the dorm room) and a heart full of melody. This is a good band that wants to rock but is unafraid to sound pretty. And they've made a good record.

LISTEN:

Surfer Blood - "Floating Vibes" (from Astro Coast)

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Here's a weird one. Dudes from Supergrass start a side project called the HotRats and release a janky covers album. It's worth one listen, at least. Here's their take on a Beastie Boys song. Like I said, it's worth a listen.

LISTEN:

The HotRats - "Fight for Your Right" (from Turn Ons)

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Eels have a new one, too. Already? It feels like Hombre Loco just came out. But I'm not complaining, because End Times is bluntly gorgeous, a further step toward stately grandeur, a less quirky, better realized version of their sound. I realize why they wanted to put this one out so quickly.

LISTEN:

Eels - "Little Bird" (from End Times)

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Lastly, I thought the new record from Fyfe Dangerfield (formely of Guillemots) was coming out today, but I guess not. Apparently, it comes out later in the spring. Guillemots made a dizzy, nearly deranged series of pop songs that were so unabashedly, woozily happy that they perhaps qualify as guilty pleasures. But the songs were pretty irresistible, and Dangerfield's solo stuff is no different. Here is a cheesy love song, but I can't keep from listening to it. It aims right for the pleasure center. It hits it.

LISTEN:

Fyfe Dangerfield - "When You Walk in the Room" (from Fly Yellow Moon)

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