Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Pick These Up

It's been quite some time since I last wrote an album review, and in that time I have been listening to a lot of new music. Instead of a single album review this time, I am doing a multialbum discussion to highlight some of my favorite albums released within the last few months. For my first installment, I'm going to talk about two of the albums I've been listening to alot since about February.

Death From Above 1979
You're a Woman, I'm a Machine

Death From Above 1979 have not only put out one of the hardest rocking albums of 2005, but also one that is catchy enough to stick in your head for weeks on end. Consisting of only two members, a bass player and a drummer/vocalist, DFA1979 stomp out loud, meaty hooks with unrelenting dance-punk energy for a solid half hour on You're a Woman, I'm a Machine. The Canadian duo churn out 11 tracks of pounding rhythm accompanied by the occasional synth, and capped by the whisper-to-a-scream style vocals of drummer/vocalist Sebastien Grainger. Rarely does a two person band rock as hard as DFA1979 (think a faster, drum and bass version of Local H). These guys bring the wailing, the funky basslines, the high-hat crashing, and the indie rock flare that is needed this year. The lyrics are intelligent, short, and sweet. Take this verse from 'Black History Month', one of the album's mellower tracks:

"Do you remember a time when this pool was,
a great place for waterwings and cannonballs,
a nice place for astrologists and blow up dolls,
and on, and on..."

Part new wave, part punk, part metal, this album is definitely worth checking out.
Key tracks: 'Blood on Our Hands', 'Black History Month', 'Romantic Rights'

The Great Destroyer

Low has been playing the indie circuit for more than a decade, having released 7 full-length albums since 1994. The Duluth, Minnesota trio's slo-core sound has been synonymous with a minimal aesthetic for years, but the deeper production on The Great Destroyer finds the band exploring new intricacies within themselves. The album ranges from slow-burning acoustic numbers to eerily brooding ones. Tracks like "Monkey" and "Pissing" revel in the dark side, "Broadway(so many people)" creates a soft ballad, and "Everybody's Song" drags your heart around at minimum speed. A main theme on the album is about getting older, which makes sense for a band that has been playing together since grunge was king. Cold and beautiful, the band's sound could be compared to the winter weather of their hometown. The male/female whispers play nicely off one another over the drowned-out echoes of guitar and synth. The lyrics at the end of the album's final track, 'walk into the sea', really tie the whole concept together:

"Time's the great destroyer,
Leaves every child a bastard,
But when it finally takes us over,
I hope we float away together"

Subtle and cathartic,
The Great Destroyer is a thoughtful look at life and death from the perspective of aging rockers.
Key Tracks: "Monkey", "On the Edge of"

...stay tuned for a follow-up post to Tae's "Pick These Up"

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