She & Him – Volume 2 Stream

I dug the first She & Him album and their follow up, aptly titled: Volume 2, drops on Merge Records, March 23rd. BUT: NPR, is pretty much king and they are streaming the album more than a week before its street date. NPR is rad, and they do this kind of stuff all the time, so if you’re a fan of She & Him, or just want to hear their new album in its entirety, point your browser to NPR’s website or click just click here.

The Albums of 09

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Yes, my friends, there is much to rejoice about in the world of music. As a new year dawns, a new set of bands is called upon in the 2 year rotation of new bands. So here, we go…a non-official, non-all encompassing and semi-speculative look at what’s to come in 2009. Most confirmed dates are for spring releases. I will attempt to update this thread as info becomes available. They are as sequential as possible.

Confirmed:

01/20/09 – Andrew Bird: Noble Beast [Fat Possum]

01/20/09 – Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavilion [Domino]

01/27/09 – Franz Ferdinand: Tonight: Franz Ferdinand [Domino/Epic]

01/27/09 – Of Montreal : An Eluardian Instance EP [Polyvinyl]

02/10/09 – Dan Auerbach: Keep It Hid [Nonesuch] (This is the lead singer of The Black Keys first solo effort!)

02/10/09  – The Lonely Island: INCREDIBAD [Universal Republic] (Remember ‘Jizz In My Pants?’ Yeah, it was these guys.)

02/14/09 – Charles Spearin: The Happiness Project [Arts&Crafts] (One of the founding members of Broken Social Scene)

02/17/09 – M. Ward: Hold Time [Merge]

03/24/09 – The Decemberists: The Hazards of Love [Capitol]

03/??/09 – Arcade Fire: Miroir Noir [Merge] [DVD, out now digitally]

03/??/09 – Grizzly Bear: TBA [Warp]

04/14/09 – Dave Matthews Band: TBA [RCA]

No Set Release Date:

Sonic Youth: TBA [Matador]

Stephen Malkmus + The Jicks: TBA [Matador] (Malkmus said a possible late 09, but early 2010 more likely)

Built To Spill: TBA [Warner Bros] (Martsch said they’re in the studio now, already with some songs, late 09 release is likely)

Phoenix: Wolfgang Amadeus [Arts & Crafts (?)] (Great four piece band from France, their 2006 album It’s Never Been Like That, is one of my favorites, this album will be a treat to hear)

Third Eye Blind: Ursa Major [Sony]

Band of Horses: TBA [Sub Pop] (Entered studio in October with 27 songs already written, expect an 09 release)

Wilco: TBA [Nonesuch] (Supposedly Tweedy said Spring 09. He also said the album would be a return to Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A Ghost Is Born).

Wilco: Ashes of American Flags [Nonesuch] [DVD]

Purely Speculative/Long Waits

Radiohead: has mentioned on a few occasions that they may just jump straight back into the studio to record the follow up to 2007’s In Rainbows. With these guys you just NEVER know, we’ll hope.

Kanye West: He’s said on multuple occasions that the follow up to 2008’s, 808s and Heartbreak will drop this June, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was sooner.

The Shins: Left Sub Pop for front man James Mercer’s own label last June, I’m guessing early 2010, but who knows?

The Arcade Fire: Win Butler said in a recent interview that The Arcade Fire is going to be busy busy busy in 2009, expect an early to mid 2010 release.

That, my friends, is all I have for now. I’ll update it as I find out more, what with all my insider knowledge and stuff. Peace

Albums That Matter 08′ (So Far)

[The Essentials]

Stephen Malkmus – Real Emotional Trash

S.M.’s most adventurous album in terms of flat out shredding. Malkmus’ guitar playing on this gem is nothing short of impressive. 10 strong songs riddled with classic Malkmus humor and laced with interesting characters. Malkmus’ stellar guitar work threads the album together like a self indulgent Quicksilver Messenger Service album. I reviewed the album track by track months ago and it can be found below.

Tokyo Police Club – Elephant Shell

A newer band with only a couple EPs floating around. TPC is making some of the most exciting music I’ve heard in a while. Only one song on the 11-track album breaks the 3-minute mark and it just scathes it. The songs are fast, incredibly wordy and ten times as catchy. The guitar hooks will stick with you for hours and track 2, In A Cave, will have you singing for days following a single listen. There is no excess on this album whatsoever and the dynamics of the album are strong. The quieter songs fall exactly where they should and the climaxes exactly where they should. This album clocks around 33 minutes total and will have you hitting the repeat all button on your media player.

She & Him – Volume One

Folk/Indie Rock anyone? She & Him is composed of Zooey Deschanel, yes the actress, and respected folk rocker M. Ward. Together they make up She & Him and have managed to pump out Volume One, which is hopefully the first of many volumes to come. Their debut album is carried by Deschanel’s unmistakable charm and M. Ward’s beautifully melodic guitar work. The two sing together on a couple songs and their voices fit quite nicely together. Deschanel’s lyrical themes center around mostly lost and/or the pursuit of love and are sung in such a manner you’ll feel as though you’re in some cheap motel in the 50’s. She & Him also plug through a couple of covers including an amazing rendition of ‘You Really Got A Hold On Me.’ If you’re into the whole indie/folk/rock scene then check this album out soon.

The Black Keys – Attack And Release

The B. Keys are about ready to jump from the shadow of White Stripes comparisons, and by about ready, I mean, they’re WAY beyond White Stripes comparisons (and I love The White Stripes). The Keys most recent release showcases the Ohio two pieces ability to fuse garage rock and blues in an interesting and powerful way. The result is garage blues rock? Whatever it is, its damn good. Strange Times is a great rock track while Psychotic Girl illustrates they know the importance of dynamics. Still the opening track suggests that the listener might be in for more than a mere garage rock extravaganza. Check this album out, its one of the better ones out their right now.

The Raconteurs – Consolers of the Lonely

The sound of Jack White wailing on his poor guitar is unmistakable. His hooks are some of the hookiest in the biz. The White Stripes’ Icky Thump showed a more sophisticated side of Jack White that had started to emerge on Get Behind Me Satan. Consolers of the Lonely is simply White’s current abilities and interests being indulged by a full band. This album is much more than Icky Thump with a full band, don’t get me wrong now, but Jack White has shown through this album that The Raconteurs are also HIS band, and not as much of a collaborative effort as their first album suggested. While the first Raconteurs release had vocal styling of other members, Jack White is the featured vocalist on nearly every song. I say this like it’s a bad thing…Ha. Consolers… is a great rock album and not much more. But that’s all a good rock album SHOULD be..just rock.

Atmosphere – When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold

A long album title and some hip-hop to make it worth your time to read. If you’re looking for a solid hip-hop release this year, this is it. Slug’s lyrics are exceptionally strong throughout the majority of the album. There are a couple of low points, but really they aren’t worth mentioning. When Life Gives you Lemons… is a much more relaxed album than Slug’s most recent work. It actually follows right in line with Sad Clown Bad Summer 9, Atmosphere’s most recent EP release. Both of these records showcase a more a style that not only flows extremely well but is typically an easy listening experience. Ant’s beats are solid and Slug’s raps are as good as ever. This album is definitely near the top of my albums this year.

[Other Great Listens]

My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges

A good listen. The album starts strong mixing elements of Wilco and Kings Of Leon. Track 2 is my personal favorite, Touch Me I’m Going To Scream Pt. 1 while the third track, Highly Suspicious is easily my least favorite. This album is an appropriate follow up to the phenomenal ‘Z,’ but not nearly as good. This being said, I wouldn’t say My Morning Jacket is moving in the wrong direction. This album relies on the bands southern roots while never fully embracing that sound, whether that’s a good or bad thing, you decide.

Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes

Fleet Foxes are a newer act and with their newness they bring originality. They are a group of youngsters playing their way through an interesting and country/folk riddled indie rock expedition and the end result is nothing short of awesome. The music made by this group is something I look forward to for years to come. I’m a huge fan of the expansive and genre mixing they utilize especially on the third track, Ragged Wood.

Albert Hammond Jr. – ¿Cómo Te Llama?

The Strokes guitarist second venture into solo stardom is a fun and fast paced pop record that will rattle around in your head for days. Albert’s first solo album, Yours To Keep, was great. It was a quick album of light and fun songs with hooks that will have you playing the songs on repeat. If you like either of his albums and haven’t heard the other, definitely fix that, as it is a problem. Great driving music, party music or just plain sunny day music.

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So ha, already fulfilled my promise, kinda. I’m planning on a bit of expansion. There are a couple albums passing through my ear cavities presently that I’m digging, so expect a part2/future releases of 08 thread a bit later on.

Peace