Among all the new releases this week, it’s hard to escape the one from Daft Punk. Their new album, Random Access Memories, is the first by the band in eight years. The 13-track record begins with a bang via its track “Give Life Back to Music”, a funky, 70′s-inspired song with trademark robot-style vocals. Shoulder-swaying and ethereal with strummed electric guitars, the song feels like an early Michael Jackson single mixed with the electronic auto-tuned Daft lyrics. Memories features guest artists like Pharrell Williams and The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas. The new album from the French duo is diverse in tempo, complete with mellow and thoughtful tracks as well as handclap-infused, drum-heavy dance songs. The partnership with Pharrell, who hasn’t been in the limelight as much of late, is a natural one, and leaves the listener satisfied for body-movin’ beats. “Lose yourself to dance,” sings Pharrell over and over on the album’s sixth track. “Using some stellar veteran studio musicians and featuring a variety of special guests,” says KEXP Music Director, Don Yates, “Random Access Memories is a lush, glittering set of meticulously arranged songs that often pack a surprising poignancy.” The record feels like a playground where artists and performers can come to shed traditional ideas of form and place for more progressive ideas of sound and light-hearted, production-soaked tones.
Also out this week is the LP Defcon 5…4…3…2…1 by Man or Astroman?, who recently played Seattle’s Neumos on Saturday. The new 12-song studio record from MOAM? is playful and powerful, with the band continuing to dance around the theme of space travel and technology. Their song “Defcon 1″ (one of the five Defcon-themed tunes) ends the album with whirring sirens and crashing cymbals, mixed with dramatic electric guitar. Some of the songs off this album are energetic instrumentals, leaving the listener with room to imagine what sort of language the band might have been contemplating when they created this opus.
Dirty Beaches have a new record, Drifters/Love Is The Devil, complete with eerie cover art accentuating the spooky tone of the band’s music. With songs like “Mirage Hall”, “Aurevoir Mon Visage” (French for: Goodbye My Face), and “This Is Not My City”, the album gives the listener a sense of absence and removal. Electronic-based – or at least produced to sound as much – Drifters is a melancholy album that attempts to jar the listener from glassy-eyed daydreaming. The twelfth track, “Love Is The Devil” is a sad tune with minor-chord strings and a heart-breaking timbre.
The first single, “Demons”, off The National‘s Trouble Will Find Me LP features droning baritone vocals and anthemic drumming. It feels as if one is on a musical safari in the depths of a rain forest and the vocal caravan is all that one has to get through. The musical flora, both dangerous and beautiful, is all around, ever-present, and we are hacking away just to keep moving. We are reminded of similar sounding sonics from those of Leonard Cohen and Lou Reed. This album is the most recent since their 2010 disc High Violet. “This Brooklyn band’s sixth album is another masterful set of dark, brooding chamber-rock,” says Don Yates, “beautifully arranged and subtly detailed with ringing guitars, mournful strings, piano, occasional brass and other instrumentation accompanying Matt Berninger’s resonant baritone and smartly crafted lyrics of unease, guilt and regret.”
A 25th Anniversary Vinyl Collection from Public Enemy and a reissue of Speaking in Tongues by Talking Heads are also released today, proving that great music lasts through the decades, continually prepared for new audiences and those fans of repackaging, repurposing and remixing the classics.
Other new releases include the stunning new album from Montreal duo Majical Cloudz, the eighth album of dreamy electro-pop from Swedish duo Club 8, the second album (and first in 10 years) from Denton, TX, band The Baptist Generals, and latest from KEXP fav’s JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound. Check out all of these, plus a 5-album box set of Love and Rockets reissues, in record stores today.
Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams - Get Lucky
from Random Access Memories from on Daft Life/Columbia
Man or Astroman? - Defcon 5
from Defcon 5...4...3...2...1 on Communicating Vessels/Chunklet
Dirty Beaches - Love Is The Devil
from Drifters/Love Is the Devil on Zoo
The National - Sea Of Love
from Trouble Will Find Me on 4AD
The Baptist Generals - Dog That Bit You (MP3)
from Jackleg Devotional to the Heart on Sub Pop
Majical Cloudz - Childhood’s End (MP3)
from Impersonator on Matador Records
Jesse Ruins - Laura Is Fading (MP3)
from A Film on Lefse Records
Shannon and the Clams - Into A Dream (MP3)
from Dreams in the Rat on Hardly Art
Scout Niblett - Gune
from It’s Up To Emma on Drag City
JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound - Rouse Yourself (MP3)
from Howl on Bloodshot Records
Club 8 - Stop Taking My Time
from Above The City on Labrador Records
Radiation City - Zombies
from Animals In The Median on Tender Loving Empire
Linda Draper - Hollow
from Edgewise (self-released)
Talking Heads - Burning Down The House
from Speaking In Tongues on Sire
Attic Lights - Say You Love Me
from Super De Luxe on Elefant