I’ve been sold on PAPA since seeing them last January in an opening slot for Handsome Furs. After releasing a great EP, A Good Woman Is Hard to Find, in late 2011 – listen to it, for God’s sake – Darren Weiss (ex-Girls) and Daniel Presant are allegedly (hopefully) due to release their full-length debut sometime this year.
Presumably, “Put Me To Work” will be on that. They released the song in October and now have given it a visual companion, directed by Jonathan Hausfater, who’s also responsible for two previous PAPA videos. As noted on Buzzbands.la, the video took an inspirational cue from the ’90s Nickelodeon TV series Pete and Pete. Weiss said they wanted “to make it funny, sad, strange, and beautiful.”
Oh, yeah: Did I mention the album – the band’s 10th – was produced by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy? Wonderful worlds of music colliding.
Like the press photo above, Low’s drummer Mimi Parker steps to the forefront for vocals on “Just Make It Stop,” one of five songs she takes lead on for the 11-track album, a wonderful development as the band celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Nothing against Alan Sparhawk, who is a badass, but his wife’s voice is a thing of beauty, one of my favorites. Sparhawk also notes the bands increased use of piano on the album – “lots of piano” – and it’s all fully realized here.
In a Q&A two years ago, Michael Benjamin Lerner (aka Telekinesis) told me: “I also have this grandiose vision of writing a record as a band, and playing it live in a room, and that being the record. We’ll see if that ever works out though.”
Well, for the time being, Telekinesis remains a one-man studio venture. Lerner is returning with his third album, Dormarion, due for release on on Merge on April 2. As if to emphasize the efficiency of the operation, Lerner recorded the album in just two weeks, with Spoon drummer Jim Eno producing at Eno’s Public Hi-Fi studio in Austin, Texas. There are pictures to prove it.
Even better: Lerner, who canceled his Tempe show two years ago, is playing Crescent Ballroom on April 28, and he’s got an impressive backing band for the tour: Erik Walters (The Globes) on guitar, Eric Elbogen (Say Hi) on bass and Rebecca Cole (Wild Flag and the Minders) on keyboards.
“Ghosts and Creatures” is the first leak from the new album, and while it doesn’t smack you in the face with his usual power-pop prowess, it’s no less catchy.
The list of albums I’m looking forward to in 2013 is quickly filling up, topped by news of a new one from Montreal’s the Besnard Lakes, who craft epic walls of sound that can suck you in with their deliberate pace before you realize you’ve been floored by the grandeur of it all.
A Besnard Lakes release feels special, at least for me. They release albums once every two to three years, careful to ensure there is some heft/importance with every record. Nothing is watered down and there’s a certain gravity to the music, far out as the ideas may sometimes be. In premiering a song, “People of the Sticks,” at NPR, the band said of the new album: “Themes of personal loss alongside Millenial ennui weave their way into the narrative of the record. 2012 has come and gone and the world still rotates on its ever precarious axis prompting the question: What next?”
In typical Besnard fashion, the title of the new album, Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO (out April 2 on Jagjaguwar), reads like a non sequiter – some secret code to crack.
As Jeff Weiss perfectly puts it at Passion of the Weiss: ” … but this is the thing about Besnard Lakes, they tap into some weird feeling of immensity. Spectral plains and fossil remains. Music to drive and dive to. I don’t even care whether they’re singing about spies or water slides. When the guitar crescendo and Olga Goreas’ plaintive wail start to combine, I am taken somewhere else entirely.”
Every year in December, as I comb over my favorite songs to include on a year-end CD to give to friends — Spotify is too easy; an 80-minute CD-R has a way of forcing you to self-edit — it becomes abundantly clear that I never listen to enough. Whether it’s time or patience I’m lacking, it seems harder each year to consume so much music.
In some ways, I guess I’d rather form a deeper relationship with a few albums than have just a passing interest in many. To that end, a handful of albums captivated me in 2012, including C.A.R. by Chicago-bred rapper Serengeti. (I beg of you to listen — and then keep listening — to Go Dancin, a crushing song built on the vacant promises of a crumbling relationship. “It’s different now, I’ll show you how.” Of course it made the year-end mix.)
In keeping with his prolific output — check out the Beak & Claw EP (a side project with Sufjan Stevens and Son Lux) and the Kenny Dennis EP from last year, not to mention 2011’s Family & Friends — Serengeti will be back with a new album in 2013. It’s called Saal, and it was produced by Sicker Man and will be released on Feb. 12 on Graveface Records.
Serengeti treads into more relationship territory on Breaking Vows, a bonus digital-only track. Listen below:
Here’s the tracklist for Saal (via Graveface):
4. Day By Day
5. Glassell Park
7. I Could Redo
8. Erotic City
9. All the Time (bonus track on CD)
10. Breaking Vows (bonus digital-only track)
Lastly, here’s a short clip of Serengeti and Sicker Man in the studio creating Breaking Vows:
Most days, I’m an anxious mess. For better or worse (usually worse), I let the details of life – no matter how minor – consume me. (Sorry, Mom, I’m biting my fingernails again.) The frantic and sometimes mindless chatter of our daily lives has slowly chipped away at my attention span. It’s exhausting and, frankly, sort of embarrassing. I can open a new browser tab and in a matter of seconds forget why.
Short of doctor’s prescription, I need a comedown - anything to help me let go. And so I am forever grateful for the Radar Brothers, who have constructed a catalog of music that sort of levitates above my petty concerns. There are certainly complexities to it that I could never understand; I’m just happy to let them carry my brain to some far-off place.
So I’m fairly giddy that a new album from Jim Putnam and Co. (now a six-piece band), Eight, will be released on Jan. 29 via Merge Records, undoubtedly the first great record of the new year.
The band premiered a the first track, “If We Were Banished,” and I love how Pitchfork described it: “… None of it sounds lazy — Radar Bros. sound like they’re pushing against some immovable object and when a new chord after the cyclical chorus, it feels like a true accomplishment, the point where you finally muster the strength to get off the hammock or couch. It’s a huge little song.”
I swear I’ve been heaping praise on the Cave Singers for some time now, but it wasn’t until this past summer, when we saw the band at Sail Inn in Tempe, that my wife decided that, hey, maybe I was right all this time: These guys are great.
We had a blast at the show. She bought a shirt and then proceeded to listen to the Cave Singers for about a month straight. So she’ll be more than happy to know that a new album, Naomi, is on the way March 5 via Jagjaguwar. It’ll be the band’s fourth, sticking to an every-other-year release pattern.
Not only did Phil Ek (Built to Spill, Band of Horses, Shins and so on) produce the album, but the Cave Singers welcomed a new member to the band with Morgan Henderson (Blood Brothers, Fleet Foxes) on bass and extra instrumentation.
The first song, “Have to Pretend,” premiered over at KEXP. It’s a punchy number, and I second KEXP’s assertion that the track locks into quite a groove - an airy change of pace from the Cave bros.
It takes only a 40-second teaser to get me excited about a new Low album. The Invisible Way - produced by Jeff Tweedy, no less, and recorded in Wilco’s Loft studio this fall - is due for release on March 19 via Sub Pop.
I’m typically turned off by the trend of album teasers. But without the release of a song just yet, this is all we have for now to preview Low’s 10th album and fourth in what’s become an incredible run with Sub Pop (The Great Destroyer, Drums and Guns and C’mon are all equally lovely). The Invisible Way also coincides with the band’s 20th anniversary - quite an accomplishment in itself
Although there’s no album single, the band didn’t leave us totally empty-handed. Low - Plays Nice Places is a six-song live set, featuring a new song, “Waiting,” and can be streamed/downloaded via the widget below.
Here’s the tracklisting:
Words (featuring Benjamin Gibbard)
Nobody does a hip shake in a white suit quite like Father John Misty, eh? Only the man born Josh Tillman would be so bold to wear white after Labor Day. You might ask if I’ve developed a man-crush. It’s very possible.
Tillman and his band performed Monday on Conan, doing the song “Nancy From Now On.”
I’m really bummed to have missed his show in Phoenix last month, though I hear his dance moves were impeccable. For the Conan performance, Tillman, as usual, seems to pull off this weird blend of sincerity and snark. He’s definitely not laughing with us - he’s laughing at us. Only I’m not sure what the joke is.
PAPA bassist and devout Lakers fan Daniel Presant surely is gearing up for the new NBA season, especially with his team reloading by adding Dwight Howard and taking Steve Nash from us in Phoenix (he looks terrible in Lakers gold … so there!).
Likewise, Presant and Darren Weiss - the principal members of PAPA - look like they have big things in store for 2013. After releasing the excellent EP, A Good Woman is Hard to Find, last year, the band will unleash its full-length debut in 2013.
“Put Me to Work,” the pulsating first single, dropped on Thursday. Stream/download below: