The San Francisco based band Film School released their fourth album last year called Fission. Since then, the band has come out with a very elegant music video, one that will no doubt be emulated by other bands that have little cash and a bit of a perverted sensibility. The music video is for the song When I’m Yours. Enjoy.
The music of Diaper Island stays true to the style of VanGaalen’s previous work, in that it feels like a hybrid of English musical acts Travis and Damien Rice, which you could really hear in his first album Infiniheart, especially in the track After the Afterlife. Diaper Island does have a different tone that is notably more energetic than that of VanGaalen’s previous work. The first track off of the new album Do Not Fear has a driving drum rhythm that is pushed forward by the guitar portions which accompany VanGaalen’s echoing anthem. Another cut on Diaper Island, Peace On The Rise, stands out as one of the star tracks on the album and as the title eludes to the song is very peaceful, relaxing and an absolute pleasure to listen to.
If this album has proved anything it’s that Chad VanGaalen doesn’t have any signs of running out of excellent music to deliver to his fans. You can buy Diaper Island on May 17th 2011.
Thao Nguyen and Mirah Zeitlyn have teamed up for a Self-Titled album set to be released in late April of 2011. The two paired up to do this collaboration after touring together with their respective bands; Thoa and the Get Down Stay Down and (just) Mirah. Thao and her band came out with a critically well received album not to long ago called, We Brave Bee Stings and All. It was a well crafted indie folk rock album that was reminiscent of Feist’s later work. As for the collaboration between Thao and Mirah, one might be hard pressed to find something negative to say about it. The two singers share the vocal duties on this album and they also manage to pull out some truly amazing harmonies. Their voices blend in a way that would make Simon and Garfunkel envious.
The album itself has a distinct grass roots vibe to it, some tracks even boarder on country. The real standout track on the album is Folks, which leans heavily on the vocals of Thao more so than Mirah, but it’s the horns that make this track subtle and sweet. Thao & Mirah’s album is loaded with tracks of a high caliber that are worth multiple listens.
London based band Let’s Wrestle is set to release their second album Nursing Home in May of this year. For those who appreciated the band’s debut album a follow-up was felt like a long time coming, even though it has only been two years. Their debut album, In The Court of the Wrestling Let’s was one of the most impressive and fully formed freshmen album released in 2009. Their musical style is a somewhat stripped down rock with minor detuned harmonies that permeate the band’s sound. The music of Let’s Wrestle is best suited for gritty little bastards who have problems with authority but none with women. The boys of Let’s Wrestle Wesley Patrick Gonzalez, Darkus Bishop and Sam Pillayl have always had a touch of smugness to their lyrics that speaks to the listeners more sardonic sensibilities. You know those feelings. The ones that make you smirk and roll your eyes at sappy platitudes and aphorisms and also at people with overly developed vocabularies.
Nursing Home starts off with In Dreams Part II, a tip of the hat to one of the band’s previously released songs. The new album starts off with a rattle and hum tracks, which is not totally unexpected from Let’s Wrestle. The track In The Suburbs feels like it’s paying homage to Arcade Fire’s last album of a similar title. But instead of being an introspective piece about the seemingly endless cycle of growing up, fleeing from and then not wanting to die in The Suburbs, Let’s Wrestle takes a more practical approach and focuses on the niceties. This track might have some of the familiar elements in it, but doesn’t take on that dismissive tone characterized in the band’s first album. In The Suburbs is just a bit too sweet. By the middle of the album you start to wonder, where are the My Schedule and We Are The Men You'll Grow To Love Soon sort of songs on Nursing Home? Luckily the album shifts gears after the endearing, if not slightly depressing, track For My Mother, which recounts the passing of a loved one beat for beat. The tone of the album becomes more recognizable as that of Let’s Wrestle when the track I’m So Lazy turn arrives on the album’s queue. I’m So Lazy is an anthem for the post-modern stackers among us, those who are brutally self-aware of their own apathy and don’t really give a shit about it.
How does Nursing Home stack up against In The Court of the Wrestling Let’s? The number of memorable tracks of the new album is far fewer than that of their first, but in the end Nursing Home turns out to be a solid follow up to Let’s Wrestle’s fantastic debut album.
Release Date May 17th
Helplessness Blues does not tout a massive shift of style for Fleet Foxes. No, their brand of harmony riddled vocals and acoustic guitar portions, that would make any fan of the first album tingle with joy, permeate Helplessness Blues. One clear difference between this album and their last is a distinct aggression and angst imbedded in the lyrics. The track Battery Kinzie off of the new album is particularly interesting because of how its lyrics recount an obvious and surreal anxiety dream that would put the fear of god into any musician, the line goes: “I woke up one morning, all my fingers rotten.” The rest of the track continues in the same abstract direction, and makes for one of the strongest songs on the entire album. There is still sweetness in the music of Fleet Foxes, if you are a listener who is looking for more of an Oliver James kind of track, you will find it in Lorelai.
It turns out that Helplessness Blues is a great album and a solid follow up to the band’s first album.