Part 1: From Admiral Radley to Glasser

[18 January 2011]

By PopMatters Staff


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Admiral Radley

I Heart California

(The Ship)

Admiral Radley
I Heart California

In a year when California saw sky-high bankruptcy filings and closed out on a disastrously rainy note, Admiral Radley celebrated their home state with a refreshingly sunny debut, titled I Heart California. The band who is half Grandaddy (Jason Lytle and Aaron Burtch) and half Earlimart (Aaron Espinoza and Ariana Murray) released I Heart California early last year. The title says it all, particularly the tongue-in-cheek title song, which features Lytle singing the opening lines, “I heart California. Ice tea in my hair.” The tune goes on to wryly commemorate drug-packed diaper bags, “fake tits” and “long walks on the five”. The opening song also sets the mood for the rest of the album, which is equally playful and addictive. Even the more delicate songs like “I Left U Cuz I Luft U”, which Lytle has called his love song to the Central Valley, are sweet rather than bitter. Lytle and Espinoza split the vocals on the album and leave one to Murray (a breezy ode to love called The Thread). When Espinoza sings, the songs emit a signature Earlimart twang; when Lytle takes the reigns, the sound is timeless, ethereal Grandaddy. Despite whose voice is in front, the sentiment is clear: California is a place that’s touched this band, and the result may incite the listener to either grab a beer or do the Nestee plunge. Or both. Jennifer Makowsky

 


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AfroCubism

AfroCubism

(Nonesuch)

AfroCubism
AfroCubism

Afrocubism sits atop PopMatters’ 2010 World Music list because of alphabetical ranking. But this amalgam of Cuban and Malian music deserves to be top ranked solely on its own merits. It’s one of my favorite 2010 releases in any style or genre. Produced by Nick Gold, who with Ry Cooder created in 1996 Buena Vista Social Club, the most successful world music album ever (8 million in sales to date and a Grammy winner), Afrocubism is the record Gold originally planned to make. But when the Malian musicians he’d recruited couldn’t make it to Cuba, he and Cooder rounded up the singers and players who would comprise the Buena Vista Social Club.

One of them, the guajiro (country) singer and guitarist Eliades Ochoa, co-leads the Afrocubism ensemble of Cubans and Malians; the other leader is the kora virtuoso Toumani Diabaté. Also on board are Bassekou Kouyate, a master of the ngoni, a precursor of the banjo, electric guitarist Djelimady Tounkara, and members of Ochoa’s Grupo Patria. The superb musicians and vocalists turn in 14 captivating performances that make an airtight case for the compatibility, indeed the connectedness, of West Africa and Cuba. (Africa is, of course, the source of Cuban rhythms, and Cuban music has been popular in Africa since the 1950s.) Kora and guitar, conga and talking drum, Spanish and Bambara: the sound of two cultures in perfect syntony. George De Stefano

 


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Sam Amidon

I See the Sign

(Bedroom Community)

Sam Amidon
I See the Sign

For all his weird blips and haunting, dessicated arrangements, Sam Amidon isn’t really out to deconstruct old folk tunes. Instead, he gives them new context, wraps them in the bizarre tensions of modern music—the organic clashing with the technological, sweet melodies sliced up by atonal bleeps. Following the dense, melancholy fog of All Is Well, I See the Sign deals in a clearer, sharper tension. Amidon makes the most of little details when he, say, adds a sinister palm-muted banjo to “How Come That Blood”, or how his often soft voice bursts to life alongside Beth Orton on album standout “You Better Mind”. Each of these songs, often pulled from Alan Lomax recordings or the work of Bessie Jones, work because Amidon isn’t interested in winking irony. As bizarre as these compositions can be—whipped up with classical effects by collaborator Nico Muhly—Amidon’s leftfield vision is always in service to the song. Even when he’s taking on R. Kelly’s “Relief”—with lyrics that can be heartfelt and absurd—Amidon delivers a sincerely hopeful performance. Plenty of people can make timeless songs modern again, but no one but Sam Amidon can take songs that belong to us all and manage to make them solely his own. Matthew Fiander

 


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Arp

The Soft Wave

(Smalltown Supersound)

Arp
The Soft Wave

Arp’s The Soft Wave is a gorgeous journey of electronic listening music that counters lulling analogue tones with largely effected guitars and other atmospheric treatments. Its most immediate reference is certainly the pastoral kosmische music of 1970s Germany, but Arp isn’t interested in simply appropriating an aesthetic. Rather, he uses the timelessness of that music as his guide, adding elegant, pristinely detailed, and all-too-appropriate asides to the format, like the majestic Debussy-esque syncopations of the fluttery “Catch Waves” or the Another Green World tribute track “From a Balcony Overlooking the Sea”, a cut which makes you wish Brian Eno had recorded an entire album so narcotic and peaceful. Arp can also lay claim to the youngest of fans, my daughter, who was born around the time of its release. The Soft Wave is simultaneously tranquilizing and chromatically vibrant enough to be enjoyed at the most fundamental level, but rich enough to elicit the same enraptured joy amongst old souls. Timothy Gabriele

 


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Black Mountain

Wilderness Heart

(Jagjaguwar)

Black Mountain
Wilderness Heart

Although Black Mountain was initially embraced by the indie crowd, the Vancouver band has slowly, brazenly been heading toward the middle of the road. Their sound has been getting bigger and bigger, daring listeners to embrace the pompous side of rock, from space rock, to psychedelic, to early prog, to proto-metal, without a trace of irony. While it was a surprise that they ditched the Hawkwind-isms for a cleaner, more Zeppelin and Deep Purple style on their third album, they pull it off with more grace than some on the indie side of the fence can bring themselves to admit. Sure, the Led Zeppelin III and Deep Purple influences are obvious on “Hair Song” and “Old Fangs”, but the record’s true strengths turn out to be the haunting vocals of crucial (and underrated) co-lead singer Amber Webber and keyboardist Jeremy Schmidt, who gives us the coolest Mellotron accompaniment since the last Opeth record. You won’t find a better classic rock album from 2010 better than this one. Adrien Begrand

 

Blitzen Trapper and more...


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Blitzen Trapper

Destroyer of the Void

(Sub Pop)

Blitzen Trapper
Destroyer of the Void

Given the major success they had earned with their previous two LPs, one might have imagined that all eyes would be on Blitzen Trapper as they put out their fifth album, released on Sub Pop. Perhaps the Portland sextet were considered too backwards-looking to be given the coverage they deserved for Destroyer of the Void, a more than solid folk-rock album nakedly influenced by—but never beholden to—the likes of Dylan, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and even Queen. This was a very “un-2010” album; rustic and spiritual, it began with a prog symphony of a title track but later featured veritable stand-outs like the serene, piano-led “Heaven and Earth” and Eric Earley’s duet with Alela Diane on the mystical “The Tree”. The result was a set of songs as strong as any strung together by a comparable outfit in 2010, and well worth seeking out. Andy Johnson

 


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The Books

The Way Out

(Temporary Residence)

The Books
The Way Out

Five years past the brilliant Lost and Safe (with a score for a French ministry building elevator somewhere in between), the still unclassifiable duo of Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong is back to its usual tricks. And by “usual tricks” I clearly mean freely sampling Indian peace activists and homicidal children (see: the uncomfortably catchy “A Cold Freezin’ Night”), composing tributes to irrational numbers (“Beautiful People”) and Hip Hop (the, um, rabbit, not the genre), merging all of the above into a dizzying free-association collage more interested in human speech (its textures, its emotional triggers) than anything from the annals of pop music. Along the way are inspired excursions into funk (“I Didn’t Know That”) and trip-hop (“The Story of Hip Hop”), but what especially gives The Way Out its weirdly alluring thematic pull is a newfound interest in recordings of self-help meditation gurus (most notably on bookenders “Group Autogenics I” and “Group Autogenics II”, as well as “Chain of Missing Links”). And the cliché holds true: The Books sound like a lot, but nothing else quite sounds like the Books. Zach Schonfeld

 


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Brasstronaut

Mt. Chimaera

(Unfamiliar)

Brasstronaut
Mt. Chimaera

Vancouver’s Brasstronaut gained recognition in Canada for their debut album, Mt. Chimera, when it made the list for that country’s Polaris Music Prize. The nomination was richly deserved. The album combines loose-limbed indie rock with jazz influences, and throws in a smorgasbord of other genres as well. With full-time trumpet and woodwind players as well as upright bass and piano, the band’s sound is unique. An upbeat rocker like “Lo Hi Hopes” gives way to the rolling klezmer stylings of “Six Toes”, which feeds into the chamber-pop of “Hearts Trompet”. Closer “Insects” manages to sound like three different songs in one, and actually makes it work. It’s all pulled together by Edo Van Breemen’s light, breezy singing style. The band tries a lot of different things on Mt. Chimaera, and pulls off every one. Groups that incorporate unusual instruments into an indie rock stew are pretty commonplace, but rarely do they sound as smooth as Brasstronaut. Chris Conaton

 


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Broken Social Scene

Forgiveness Rock Record

(Arts & Crafts)

Broken Social Scene
Forgiveness Rock Record

The lack of Forgiveness Rock Record‘s mention in several Top Ten lists reflects far less on the quality of the album and far more on what an amazing year 2010 was music-wise. In almost every year since their last album in 2005, Forgiveness Rock Record would have been an easy Top 10 candidate. The album kicks off with one of the best opening tracks of the year (“World Sick”) and unveils 13 other memorable tracks, some unforgettable (“Romance to the Grave”), some misplaced experiments (“Me and My Hand”, the too hip for its own good “Texico Bitches”). Forgiveness Rock Record proved that straightforward rock bands could still produce wildly original material. When the last decade drew to a close, several albums that were not included in many critics’ “best of 2000” list found a place on many “Best of the Decade” lists. Don’t be surprised if Forgiveness Rock Record follows a similar path as future listeners will no doubt continue to fall in love with this record. Sean McCarthy

 


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David Byrne and Fatboy Slim

Here Lies Love

(Nonesuch)

David Byrne and Fatboy Slim
Here Lies Love

Imelda Marcos loved to dance. In the late ‘70s, the former First Lady of the Philippines frequented Studio 54 when passing through New York. The music of that legendary club inspires much of the sonic backdrop on Here Lies Love, a 90-minute song cycle written and produced by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim. Conceived by Byrne, the songs trace the ascent of Imelda Marcos as a formidable political figure, as well as Marcos’ betrayal of her childhood caretaker Estrella Cumpas. Each song tells another part of the chronologically constructed story, with nearly two dozen artists embodying Marcos, Cumpas, or other important figures. Essential moments include the delectable “Don’t You Agree” (featuring Róisín Murphy), Santigold’s appearance on “Please Don’t”, the sprawling title track sung by Florence Welch, and Alice Russell’s searing performance on “Men Will Do Anything”. Don’t be intimidated by the two discs-worth of songs. Just dive in and submerge yourself in one of the most compelling musical experiences of 2010. Christian John Wikane

 

Cadillac Sky and more...


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Cadillac Sky

Letters in the Deep

(Dualtone)

Cadillac Sky
Letters in the Deep

Cadillac Sky’s third album is one of those boundary-pushing bluegrass albums that seems to divide listeners. I’m not much of a traditionalist, though, so Letters in the Deep really, really works for me. Songs like “Hangman” and “Part of My Heart” tread in familiar but solid Americana territory, and the quintet of instrumentals are short and slight. But when the band explores more nuanced sonic territory, they absolutely shine. “3rd Degree” is a harrowing, pitch-black narrative of a late-night domestic argument that ends in violence, and the music that accompanies the lyrics is swirling and unsettling. “Hypocrite” softly decries its subject in the lyrics, but the music goes from dark to genuinely creepy in the middle of the song. On the other end is the beautiful “Ballad of Restored Confiedence”, with positive-thinking lyrics that would be cloying if not for David Mayfield’s heartfelt delivery. And then there’s the joyous bluegrass-punk of “Bathsheeba” with its needling refrain “Yeah it might be me / But it’s probably you.” The sudden departure of lead songwriter and frontman Bryan Simpson to find Jesus has put the band’s future in doubt, but at least he helped give us this great album first. Chris Conaton

 


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Cathedral

The Guessing Game

(Nuclear Blast)

Cathedral
The Guessing Game

Calling Cathedral a doom metal band is sort of like calling War and Peace a family drama: partially correct, if you don’t mind ignoring a whole bunch of rad shit. For their ninth full-length album, the British veterans deliver two discs of freewheeling prog-metal. Parts of it are doomy and crushing as all get-out, but when bassist Leo Smee pulls out his mellotron or his flute (!), you know they’re not beholden to any genre but their own. There’s so much color and play on this album, it’s a worthy successor to Sabbath’s Sabotage. Whether Lee Dorrian is singing Word Jazz about a secular-humanist revelation imparted by a scarecrow (!!), or gentle folk about quiet evenings with his cat, he manages to sound intense and nonchalant at once. Listening to The Guessing Game is like having a conversation with the coolest, smartest, hairiest person you’ve ever met. Awe-inspiring. Josh Langhoff

 


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Sylvain Chauveau

Singular Forms (Sometimes Repeated)

(Type)

Sylvain Chauveau
Singular Forms (Sometimes Repeated)

A quick glance at Sylvain Chauveau’s song titles accurately foreshadows the mood of his music: “Complexity of the Simple”, “Slowburner (With Stillness)”. In the thick of the “loudness wars”, when everyone seems to be mastering their albums too hot and everyone in a given band has to be playing all the time, the use of silence as a component for one’s song can feel awfully foreign to the modern listener. Chauveau does not care. He’s armed with only his voice, a piano, and a few sparse electronics, yet he uses each tool sparingly on Singular Forms (Sometimes Repeated). It may be slow, quiet music, but it sure as hell isn’t easy listening. John Garratt

 


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The Chemical Brothers

Further

(Astralwerks)

The Chemical Brothers
Further

With Further, the Chemical Brothers ditched their standard practice of having high-profile guests sing on a few tracks and focused strictly on sonics. The result was an album both atmospheric and melodic. Bookended by the familiar (the opening track’s most prominent line is “Your love keeps lifting me higher”, the closing “Wonders of the Deep” is a tightly-contained pop song), the tracks on Further are able to flow into one another while maintaining their individuality. Other electronic artists had more adventurous statements this year. We can only hope some of those artists will sound this good on album seven. Sean McCarthy

 


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Crowded House

Intriguer

(Concord)

Crowded House
Intriguer

Every year, lots of bands reform and/or make highly-publicized “comebacks”. With Intriguer, the first full-band Crowded House effort since reforming in 2007 after a decade-plus interim, Neil Finn and company showed everyone how to do it right. The album didn’t pander to the disarmingly melodic pop that first made the band famous. Nor was it a pretentious, mislaid attempt to parlay their reputation and veteran status into a self-important Statement. No, Intriguer was the sound of four guys who love playing together, accepting middle age with grace and, most importantly, vigor. With help from Wilco producer Jim Scott, Crowded House teased new, experimental sounds out of Finn’s songs without losing the plot. The songs were unforced to the point where they required a few listens to distinguish themselves, but this was just Finn being true to his muse after decades of making pure pop. That didn’t stop the gorgeous, relatively straightforward “Twice If You’re Lucky” from being the high-point. “It’s only natural,” Finn sang way back in 1991. Intriguer was Crowded House sounding more natural than ever. If only all reunions were so well-played. John Bergstrom

 

The Divine Comedy and more...


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The Divine Comedy

Bang Goes the Knighthood

(Divine Comedy)

The Divine Comedy
Bang Goes the Knighthood

When reviewing the Indelicates’ brilliant Songs For Swinging Lovers earlier this year, I likened Auteurs front man Luke Haines to a neighbor who hands out spiked apples on Halloween night. Using that same scenario of a UK indie neighborhood on All Hallows’ Eve, the Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon would assume the place of the neighbor who hands out lollipops engraved with witticisms and also invites you in for homemade apple cider. If that doesn’t give some clue to Hannon’s playfulness and warmth, then please refer to Bang Goes the Knighthood‘s closing track, “I Like”. There are few love songs in recent memory as sweet yet void of sap or cliché. The Divine Comedy’s tenth release offered no new innovations in sound, but as with Sheffield singer/songwriter Richard Hawley, Hannon’s timeless orchestrations never feel redundant. Maria Schurr

 


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Drake

Thank Me Later

(Young Money Entertainment)

Drake
Thank Me Later

The most lonesome and melancholic sounding album to hit the top of the Billboard charts in 2010, Thank Me Later is the sound of a young, rich and famous newcomer surveying the cost of fame before it has even had the time to take its mighty toll. Awash in anxiety and regret even in its flashiest moments, Drake’s much hyped full-length debut is brave in how emotionally naked he allows himself to be so early on in his career, a diary of the short term highs and long term losses sacrificed at the altar of celebrity. A quintessentially 2010 album in how it speaks to the trepidation that any thinking person must possess towards the 21st century spotlight, Thank Me Later is, additionally, the very model of a perfectly crafted modern mainstream hip-hop album, from the elegant tunefulness of its production to its well executed superstar guest spots, further proof that Drake has his finger on the pulse of all that currently matters. Jer Fairall

 


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The Drums

The Drums

(Downtown)

The Drums
The Drums

Aristotle was definitely (maybe) considering the Drums’ debut when he concluded “Youth is quickly deceived because it is quick to hope.” It beautifully captures that sense of burning youth fading away under the anaesthesia of adulthood. That terrible ache where the euphoric joy of endless summers fade into the frosty betrayal of growing up and being like ‘them’. Trading in your hopes and dreams for a mortgage, joint bank accounts and a beard. Like American Graffiti, The Drums traps that last night of freedom in a bottle. A future still unwritten. Twelve perfect waves of imperial pop bursting with naivety, yearning, heartache and melodies to die for. Oh and some of the wittiest, most swoonsome ‘n’ charming lyrics this side of the Smiths. The kind of truths you cherish within your rock ‘n’ roll soul forever. Kids, give ‘beards’ the middle finger and offer your hearts to the Drums. Matt James

 


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Errors

Come Down with Me

(Rock Action)

Errors
Come Down with Me

With the arrival of their second album, Mogwai proteges Errors had the opportunity to expand upon the fertile ground of their niche post-electronic debut, which whilst admirable, could have meant more of the same. Come Down with Me bests their previous work, because what could have been a directionless sophomore effort from a less assured band, has been crafted into a dense and atmospheric collection of songs, that form the basis for one of 2010’s most overlooked albums. Their heady blend of ideas rewards repeated listens, growing in depth over time and never knowingly dumbing down, while remaining accessible to the casual listener by avoiding the temptation to tip over into art-rock exclusivity. The band’s strength lies in the surprising warmth of their expansive and angular soundscapes, which carefully balance and blend instrumental indie rock and electronica. Ultimately, creating something vibrant and original that proves lyricism and wonder can be achieved without the need to strain for words. Tom Fenwick

 


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Everyone Everywhere

Everyone Everywhere

(Tiny Engines)

Everyone Everywhere
Everyone Everywhere

The last decade saw the genre known as emo get dragged through the proverbial muck, and as 2009 came to a close, it’s image had somehow morphed into a fifth-rate crunk sound with bits of screamed vocals. Thank goodness for Philadelphia’s Everyone Everywhere. The band is part of a group of musical acts from around the U.S. that are looking to emo’s first couple waves in order to make great pop music today. The group’s 2010 self-titled debut is about as ecstatic and thrilling as an anthemic pop-rock album can get. The 10 tunes that fill Everyone Everywhere are simply sublime: the songs are strong nuggets that serve as a reminder of the days when emo was more about rejoicing than humorless narcissism, and offer hope for where the sound could go tomorrow. Leor Galil

 


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Extra Life

Made Flesh

(Loaf)

Extra Life
Made Flesh

Extra Life frontman Charlie Looker has a talent rarely seen in pop music: he’s about as literate a musician as one can imagine, but he isn’t afraid to go for the jugular. Looker has a great handle on the dynamics that make experimental and pop music so appealing to their audiences, and knows how to combine them to make some enchanting, dynamic tunes. It’s probably the reason Looker spent so much time as a member of experimental weirdos Zs and worked with the esteemed Dirty Projectors, and it’s certainly the reason why Extra Life’s sophomore effort, Made Flesh is such a powerful record. On Made Flesh, Looker and company juggle everything from skronk to Gregorian chanting to hardcore punk with great finesse: for those who love the challenge of complex music and thirst for a sharp, unexpected pop hook, look no further than Made Flesh. Leor Galil

 

The Fall and more...


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The Fall

Your Future Our Clutter

(Domino)

The Fall
Your Future Our Clutter

In order to understand the Fall it’s useful to look at what happened last year when they shared a festival bill with Mumford & Sons. It’s a fairly standard set of events: Lead singer Mark E. Smith tells Mumford & Sons to shut up during their warm-up; Mumford & Sons don’t do so; Smith throws a bottle at Mumford & Sons. “I just thought they were a load of retarded Irish folk singers,” Smith later explained. Mumford & Sons probably don’t deserve to be violently accosted. Smith, though, clearly still believes in the not-so-fine line between wheat and chaff, or genius and shit, in rock and roll. It shows in this album, which combines thunderous drums, memorable riffs, abrasive guitars, and slurred vocals into a unique and powerful mess. After 31 years and 28 albums, the Fall somehow still manage to sound as hungry, inspired, and just plain good as ever. Tomas Hachard

 


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Ben Folds and Nick Hornby

Lonely Avenue

(Nonesuch)

Ben Folds and Nick Hornby
Lonely Avenue

Noted music geek and writer Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, About a Boy) had wanted to try his hand and writing lyrics for a while. He found a willing collaborator in piano player Ben Folds, and the end result is Lonely Avenue. Clearly, Hornby was already a fan of Folds work going in, because his lyrics aren’t too much of a departure from what Folds writes himself. But the job of writing songs around existing lyrics seems to have focused Folds, because this may be his strongest full album since 2001’s Rockin’ the Suburbs. The pretty-but-sad “Picture Window” joins a long line of excellent Folds ballads, while the jaunty “Doc Pomus” and “Claire’s Ninth” are very cool Hornby short stories in song form. “From Above” neatly refutes the idea that soulmates always connect above a bouncy, catchy tune. And Folds really cuts loose with the goofy lyrics of “Saskia Hamilton” and “A Working Day”, with the latter including one of the most withering retorts of the year: “Some guy on the net thinks I suck / And he should know / He’s got his own blog.” Chris Conaton

 


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Charlotte Gainsbourg

IRM

(Elektra)

Charlotte Gainsbourg
IRM

Charlotte Gainsbourg has an easier time releasing albums than acting in films. An outstanding actress she may be, but compare appearing in Lars von Trier’s Antichrist—with its infamous genital mutilation scene—to Jarvis Cocker writing you some songs. Having a father of such high esteem as Serge Gainsbourg makes musical aptitude seem a given, but it also brings living in his shadow into concern. Calling on Beck—whose love of Gainsbourg senior is no secret and whose recent solo output has been lackluster—seemed like a large risk, but it’s one that paid off wonderfully. As with the songs he collaborated on with Jamie Lidell for Lidell’s 2010 release Compass, Beck’s work with Gainsbourg on IRM has been his best in years. Songs like “Me and Jane Doe” are like musical chiffon; others, like “Trick Pony”, are loose and sexy. That all the songs sounded formidable on Gainsbourg’s first tour this past spring is a testament to their exceptionality. Maria Schurr

 


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The Gaslight Anthem

American Slang

(Side One Dummy)

The Gaslight Anthem
American Slang

The Gaslight Anthem, and the band’s lyricist Brian Fallon,  have fielded more than their fair share of comparisons to Bruce Springsteen for crafting catchy punk/folk songs that deliver a cinematic, Chayefsky-esque “slice of life”. American Slang holds slightly less of a retro feel than their previous albums, however, the Gaslight Anthem’s simple, yet driven musicality and Fallon’s emotionally evocative lyrics are still as potent as ever. Sometimes cryptic, but mostly clear as day, each song is packed with personal meaning that can be easily transposed to the listener’s own life. You may not know a “Queen of Lower Chelsea”, but chances are, you probably know someone a lot like her. And, in your travels, you’ve probably met a former couple (or twenty) touched by “The Spirit of Jazz” and the memories that come with such a visitation. That said, most of the material on American Slang is marked by a certain wistfulness mingled with pain that could easily slip into bitterness, but gratefully, doesn’t. Lana Cooper

 


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Glasser

Ring

(True Panther Sounds)

Glasser
Ring

It’s easy to immediately declare Glasser as another Bat for Lashes/Fever Ray clone, and indeed, when you hear the sparse arrangement and sumptuous vocals of “Apply” the similarity is striking, but the deeper you go into the gorgeous, hypnotic Ring the more it becomes apparent that singer-songwriter Cameron Mesirow is quickly emerging as a singular talent. With a voice capable of the seductiveness of Kate Bush and the sensitivity of Joni Mitchell, Mesirow shows a lot more maturity and restraint than the Florences and the Marinas of the world as she and her bandmates engage we listeners with songs so subtly arranged that we transfixed yet can barely elaborate why. All we know is by the time the stunning “Mirrorage” comes along, we’re in Glasser’s collective hands fully. Adrien Begrand

 

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/feature/135842-part-1-from-admiral-radley-to-glasser/