Friday, April 15, 2011

Weekly Whathaveyou - Friday, April 15, 2011

Various and Sundry Goings On About Music:
  • The new Cass McCombs album, WIT'S END, dropped this week. I was pretty pumped for this one; it warrants excitement any time a previous HSW Album of the Year winner preps a new release. As a matter of fact, three of them have or will this year--Local Natives would have to release a quick follow-up to make it 4/4. Anyway, could Cass build off Catacombs? It's with a sobering sigh that my thumb swivels floorward. It's not a musically bad album. It's not embarrassing, and there's not a marked drop-off in quality. The best word I can use to describe the album is grueling. Eight songs, brooding and sparse, that move at the pace of thick sap oozing down a sycamore trunk. I imagine Cass's efforts were deliberate--he's never been in a hurry. There are some nice moments--most notably the album opener, "County Line"--but overall, it isn't engaging enough. It makes the Red House Painters sound like speed metal.
  • The last WWHY alleged that two MAYhem contenders had seen the light of day. For some reason, I was thinking TV On the Radio's Nine Types of Light was a May release. It isn't. But the new Felice Brothers is out there. I won't give too much away, but between The Fleet Foxes and the Felice Brothers, the other four contenders are going to need to bring the goods if they want to compete.
  • Bon Iver has posted a mysterious video, featuring what seems to be 50 seconds of a new song over footage of someone slow-panning over a painting. Expert assessment: the song sounds a lot like Bon Iver.
  • A first for me: last night, I skipped a show I'd purchased a ticket for. It was the Drive-By Truckers--which means I still haven't seen them. My excuse? A busy travel weekend ahead meant I coveted a free Thursday night that would allow me to pack, organize, and get to bed on the early side. Plus, I left my ticket at work. There are two conclusions I can draw from this: First, I'm lazy and aging. But perhaps more importantly, the Truckers are slipping in my personal hierarchy of bands. I haven't been crazy about three of their last four albums, and the one I did enjoy was too damned long. There was no real sense of urgency, nor am I currently regretting my decision. If I wasn't so sure the DBTs would be back through before too long, I might have dragged myself out there. But man did I sleep great last night!
  • I can't remember if I wrote about it here, but I posited that Radiohead could always surprise us with a complementary follow-up or addendum to the brief but brilliant King of Limbs. Alas, Ed O'brien has confirmed that it isn't the case. They'll release a song on Record Store Day (this weekend), but aside from that, the book is closed on King of Limbs.
  • If you're on Twitter, so are we. We have been for a while, but ignored the shit out of it for a long time. Been a bit more active lately so feel free to follow!
Recent Listening:
  • Felice Brothers - Celebration, Florida
  • Band of Horses - Cease to Begin
  • Charles Mingus - Mingus Ah Um
  • Toro y Moi - Underneath the Pine
  • Josh T. Pearson - Last of the Country Gentlemen
Upcoming Releases of Import:
  • Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues (May 3)
  • Okkervil River - I Am Very Far (May 10)
  • Felice Brothers - Celebration, Florida (May 10)
  • Man Man - Life Fantastic (May 10)
  • Death Cab for Cutie - Codes and Keys (May 31)
  • My Morning Jacket - Circuital (May 31)
  • Bon Iver - (no title yet) (June '11)
My Upcoming Concert Schedule:
  • Toro y Moi (Columbia, April 16)
  • Iron and Wine w/Low Anthem (Savannah, April 23)
  • The Fleet Foxes (Atlanta, May 14)
A Tube For You:
Merle Haggard looks more like a college football coach than a country singer here, but his singing is always as effortless as it is pleasing to the ears. Get a load of that slick guitarist's free-flowing mullet. Country band session player in the 80s? Your mullet better be epic as hell, son.

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