When I first heard the title of Usher’s new record, Raymond vs Raymond, I thought perhaps it was a concept album based on the 1979 Dustin Hoffman starring drama, Kramer vs Kramer. I was sort of right. In the movie Dustin Hoffman and his wife divorce, leaving him to raise his son on his own, whilst in real life Usher and his wife recently divorced, leaving him to raise Justin Bieber on his own. None of that is all that relevant to the quality of the album though, which is top-notch.
2008’s crossover success story MGMT recently released their oddly covered second album, Congratulations. It’s a more toned down effort this time around, missing are the obvious hit singles like Kids and Electric Feel, but anyone who enjoyed their less immediate, more psychedelic numbers should be pleased with this one.
David Bowie’s excellent two-disc career overview, Best Of Bowie, is now in our collection. Do yourself a favour and track this down, because he is responsible for some of the best rock music ever made. Every song’s a winner, from his Ziggy Stardust days – The Thin White Duke, to whatever he called himself in the early 80s when he seemed to dance about in outback pubs a little too much.
My favourite ever band, Pixies, are now in the collection with a best of called Wave Of Mutilation. Don’t just trust me when I say they’re great, Radiohead’s Thom Yorke has openly admitted they were trying to rip off the Pixies on their first album, Kurt Cobain also shared a similar admiration. Noisy, weird and endlessly fun to shout along with.
Volume 2 / Brotha D & the Dawn Raid Family is a compilation showcasing the hip hop and R&B talent on Auckland’s Dawn Raid label. If local hip hip is your thing you’ll be glad to hear from the likes of Monsta Ganjah, Deceptikonz, Aaradhna and more.
UK indie buzz band The xx were the subject of much fawning in the music press last year for their debut The xx. Sometimes so much hype can set a young band up for a fall, but The xx overcame the magazine covers to deliver a solid album that should see them on the road to a nice career. If the genre dream-pop sounds appealing, this is for you.
More indie-pop, this time from Local Natives with Gorilla Manor. Described as “afropop-influenced guitars with hyperactive drumming and hooky three-part harmonies”, you know they’re going to be fun to listen to. A more easy listening Animal Collective, perhaps?
80’s goth/pop favourites The Cure are a band you should familiarise yourself with, and what better starting point is Greatest Hits? All the best bits from the post-punk days in 1979, to the elder statesmen pop days of 2001. It’s also a good starting point for the great, great British alternative scene of the 1980s.
Speaking of 1980’s alternative British bands, The Smiths were one of the most influential, and the most pleasingly literate (this is after all a library blog). As a colleague said when we were out buying these CDs, “The Smiths will always have a place in the hearts of teenagers, right?” Right. The sound of The Smiths is a very well compiled best of from Manchester’s finest.
If you’ve ever listened to a rock song and thought to yourself, “this is fine, but it’s a bit over-complicated”, rest assured The Ramones thought the exact same thing. Hey ho let’s go : greatest hits is a great overview from the original punks and the self-described Beatles on speed. It’s not stripped down rock and roll, it’s distilled rock and roll.
Ten is enough for now, but there’s a lot more on the way…
The Soundtrack to Drew Barrymore’s Ellen Page starring, roller derby themed Whip It (called Whip it : music from the motion picture, of course) features songs from such great artists as Jens Lekman, The Raveonettes and The Ramones, but teasingly it does not include the song Whip It by Devo. Small matters aside, it’s really good. Listen to it as you and your friends beat each other up, whilst rollerblading.
Another new soundtrack we have is (500) Days of summer : music from the motion picture. On it are songs by The Smiths, The Black Lips, Feist and Simon & Garfunkel. Relive all your favourite romantic-drama-comedy moments from the critically acclaimed film. We don’t have the DVD yet, but I’m sure that in due course, we will do.
If you’re addicted to bass and desperately need a bass fix, lest you suffer bass withdrawl symptoms like the bass sweats, I suggest you issue Addicted to bass 2009. It’s yet another three CD Ministry Of Sound compilation with bass heavy hits from The Prodigy, Utah Saints, Dizzee Rascal, So Solid Crew, Groove Armada and others. With bass addiction becoming so prevalent, it’s lucky Ministry Of Sound provide a tonic.
Clubbers’ Guide To 2009 is yet another Ministry Of Sound three CD boxed compilation, how on earth they find the time to do anything but compile is beyond me. Anyway, let them guide you through last years biggest club hits, from the likes of The Killers, Kaiser Chiefs, P-Money, The Kills and others. Kind of like the Lonely Planet series for clubbing I suppose. (note; this is a different compilation from Clubber’s Guide 2009 despite it’s nearly identical moniker)
Good news for Gleeks, Glee : The Music, Volume 2 has arrived amongst our collection. You won’t be able to find it on the shelves though, because lots of you have already reserved it. Jump in the queue and excitedly wait for the most popular music since 1964 – true story, in 2009 the Glee cast had 25 singles in the Billboard hot 100, the most since the Beatles had 31 back then. Just as big really.
Nirvana’s albums are almost all too old to have a Young Adult card now, and Bleach recently turned 20. To celebrate this occasion, Sub Pop has released Bleach (20th Anniversary Edition). More than just the standard reissued, same old album, but with a new booklet and a couple of token bonus tracks, this one has an entire live concert packaged with it. One that could be rightly considered deserving of a stand alone release. Worthy!
Another nicely packaged package is Live from the Royal Albert Hall by The Killers. You get a career spanning concert performance + behind the scenes doco on the DVD side and an 80 minute chunk of said concert performance on the CD side. No matter where you are you can pretend you’re at a concert! All in all it’s a killer collection, haha.
And if you’d like to hear previews of these CDs they’re all on our bebo page.
The first soundtrack to Glee (there’s a second one out, I think, in the US?) is now in the library catalogue. You can reserve it here. Lots of people want to listen to it! (Apparently Kurt does an amazing cover of Defying Gravity.) Tres exciting, do admit.
Apparently Cobra Starship frontman Gabe Saporta went on a spirit quest into the Arizona desert. There he found his true purpose in life was to “…[teach] hipsters to not take themselves so seriously and by telling emo kids to stop being pussies.” Apparently you do this by contributing to the Snakes On A Plane soundtrack, achieving dance-punk fame [via. MTV] and releasing an album called Hot Mess. Apparently.
Sum 41 seem to have amassed enough hits to put out a best of compilation, All the good sh** : 14 solid gold hits (2000-2008) is that very album. And indeed it does include all their biggest hits including billboard number 1, Fat Lip. Bratty mall-punk abounds.
Missy Elliott’s pal Jazmine Sullivan released the long awaited (she started performing aged 11) Fearless last year. It was a fine debut by all accounts, pick it up from here if you haven’t yet listened to the rising R&B star.
Janelle Monae’s first album has been delux-ified and Metropolis : the chase suite : special edition is the result. It’s a concept e.p. detailing the life of a rebellious soul-equipped android who risks disassembly by falling in love with a human. If you enjoy Andre 3000’s soul wackiness you are advised to issue this. Do it.
Maximo Park are a guitar driven angular pop quintet from the UK. They’ve gained quite a following in the wake of the post-punk revival of the mid decade and look to continue this form with Quicken The Heart, their third effort.
Head Like A Hole, or HLAH, were one of the most popular and hard-rockin’ NZ bands of the 90s. They might not fit into those leather pants as easily as they did back then, but they’ve been touring of late and reports have been overwhelmingly positive. The Devil Makes Work For Idle Hands documents these shows.
Along with Animal Collective and Grizzly Bear, Dirty Projectors are the crossover indie-darling success story of 2009. Bitte Orca marries sweet harmonies and bursts of atonal noise in the most beautiful way imaginable, highly recommended.
MGMT were last years crossove indie-darling success story and to tide everyone over until a new full-length arrives their 2005 ep, Time To Pretend has been re-released. It includes the original versions of Kids and Time To Pretend, along with 4 songs that didn’t make Oracular Spectacular. Managementbros rejoice.
Hip Hop Anthology is a four disc, well, anthology of hip hop. It’s a pretty in depth collection that turns the focus on quality – not necessarily sales – and is to be praised for this, unlike so many other compilations out there. Features tracks from the 80’s to today.
PNC is a local rapper who loves his home town of Palmerston North City so much he named himself after it. His last album Rookie Card won best Urban/Hip Hop album at the 2007 Vodafone Music Awards and his newest, Bazooka Kid, just might repeat the effort.
Lastly, Eskimo Joe return with Inshalla. Fans of commercial rock groups like Nickelback might find something to enjoy on this one.
There are five new CDs this week, and they are…
Hands by Little Boots is a synth-pop album that has received it’s fair share of internet buzz via the blogosphere over past few blog years. Is the hype deserved? “Yes it is”, will say cats who dig on Ladyhawke, Hot Chip and their ilk. If this is you, you know what to do.
If Little Boots (above) piqued your interest then allow Ready For The Weekend by Calvin Harris to do the same. More dancefloor ready numbers reside inside the jewel case patiently awaiting the weekend, which I suppose is why it’s named what it is.
Did you go see the movie 17 Again and think that the music was fantastic? If you did you’re in luck because 17 again : music from the motion picture has just arrived. Includes tracks by Cat Power and The Kooks. Also pictures of Zac Efron on the cover, should that also entice.
Florence Welch is an alt-friendly bluesy singer from South London who releases music as Florence and the Machine. The Machine must be a backing band, though I hope it’s an actual machine, like a robot. Anyway, her music on debut Lungs is similar to that of Cat Power and Amy WInehouse.
The Arctic Monkeys third full-length, Humbug, finds them working with Josh Homme, he of Queens of the Stone Age and Eagles of Death Metal fame, who encourages them into expanding their scope to embrace a bigger more darkly sweeping sound. A new direction, and an exciting one at that.
La Roux means “red-haired one” in French – this is a good name for them since singer Elly Jackson has red hair. They’ve been topping the UK charts for a few months now with an impressive run of 80’s synth-pop inspired singles and have now released La Roux, their self-titled debut.
French electro-rockers Phoenix have been around for a while now, but recent release Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix sees them mastering their craft and conjuring up some of the catchiest pop of the year. If you dig MGMT and Empire Of The Sun, pick this record up.
Fantasy Ride, Ciara’s third is the type of album that will get plenty of play in the clubs this upcoming summer. Guests include Justin Timberlake and MIssy Elliott, the production is supremely glossy and the grooves danceable. Also included is a DVD where you can watch Ciara in the studio and at rehearsals and things.
Blindspott broke up in 2007 to focus on solo commitments playing a final set to a sold out Powerstation, this show has now been released on a handy dandy CD + DVD combo as Sold out: live @ Powerstation, for everyone who wasn’t there, or wants to relive the night. As expected from Blindspott, it’s a largely shouty, noisy affair. It also works as a sort of greatest hits package if you want it to do that to.
Three of them actually. 1977’s Let There Be Rock, 1980’s Back In Black and 1990’s The Razor’s Edge, making all of them too old to get a YA card [see here for reference - G]. Even though they’re getting on a bit, they still rock totally hard and you can catch them in Wellington next January. Until then, why not practise your screechy vocals along with the albums?
Jack White is a prolific man. If his bandmates aren’t ready to release any new material he simply forms a new band and presses on. Dead Weather being active band number three, with The White Stripes and The Raconteurs being the other two. Dead Weather is somewhat of a departure for White, who is banging the drums instead of strumming the guitar on this record. On Horehound, the bands debut, he shares vocal duties with Allison Mosshart (of the Kills), with Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stone Age) and Jack Lawrence (Raconteurs and Greenhornes) rounding out the group. If you’ve ever enjoyed any of the above bands, or even just Rock music in general give Horehound a listen.
The Gossip emerged out of the Nu-Rave scene spearheaded by The Klaxons in 2006 with Standing In The Way Of Control and now return with their new long-player Music For Men. Lead by outspoken front-woman Beth Ditto, it’s more of the same adventurously aggressive, neon-coloured electro-pop.