Known Johnson

September 12, 2007

The Breakdown: Animal Collective, Black Francis, Elvis Costello, Cloud Cult, Pinback, Pink Floyd, Qui

Filed under: Music,News,The Breakdown — Tom @ 9:01 pm

Holy crap, what a week! Better start saving your money now – Christmas is a-comin’ and things aren’t going to let up much until around Thanksgiving. But that’s a good thing for us music-freaks, isn’t it? Maybe not good for our wallets, but good for our ears and collections . . .

Animal Collective – Strawberry Jam: For whatever reason, I kind of see Animal Collective paired with Liars in terms of audience and even style. Both make their minimal instrumental skills a focus of their music, letting their lack of experience guide them to sounds and styles that more trained musicians might never attempt. Sure, it’s messy and sloppy, but the results are often so charming it’s hard to resist falling for the weird music.

Black Francis – Bluefinger: Frank Black is dead, long live Black Francis. Or maybe he’s just resting . . . I don’t know, honestly, why the change back to his Pixies-era moniker, but it doesn’t really matter. Black has turned out the best solo album since his first couple of solo albums, and it’s an equally strong, catchy piece of work as either the self-titled (Frank Black, that is) or Teenager of the Year. There might be a little more Pixies-derived attitude here than either of those, but, really, does it matter? It’s a hell of a fun album that should make both Pixies and Black fans very happy.

Elvis Costello – My Aim is True Deluxe Edition: I think Costello fans are getting mighty tired of these reissues – despite having significant, fan-worthy additions, it’s hard to fathom buying yet another version. This one, however, really is pretty awesome, and you’ll be able to keep your Rhino 2-disc version because the second disc here consists of a never-before-released 23-track live show from August, 1977, while disc one packs some of the demos from the previous version, including four that have never been released in any form. You can balk all you want, but you have to admit that at least they made this a pretty enticing Deluxe Edition.

Cloud Cult – Advice from the Happy Hippopotomas: This previously out of print 2005 album is reportedly “an in-depth look at the fine line between life and death; on the realization that mortality is an unavoidable truth” (stolen from the Amazon description.) I’m going to have to take their word on that, never having heard this album, but I can say that the band’s 2007 offering, The Meaning of 8, is a complete surprise – a wonderful, weird, exciting album that never seems afraid to take unexpected leaps into as much territory as they can possibly cover. Descriptions of the band’s sound point at The Flaming Lips and Modest Mouse, but very emotional and environmentally-minded. It’s powerful music, and the band is keenly aware that they could probably garner a lot of attention if they went with a major label, but they’ve opted to keep their lives simple by remaining on the label they started. Cool band – do check them out.

Pinback – Autumn of the Seraphs: I have meant for ages to check out Pinback, having really liked what I’ve heard from them the few times I’ve run across them playing in record stores, but I never got around to it. This might be the time. Fans of smart indie-pop like Death Cab for Cutie and Minus the Bear should keep this one in mind. Oh, and be sure and pick up a copy soon – the first pressing includes a bonus disc with a few extra songs. (I really like this trend – it is officially Breakdown-endorsed.)

Pink Floyd – The Piper at the Gates of Dawn Deluxe Edition: How many people did Capitol Records trick by releasing the two-disc stereo/mono version of this last week? I’m sure there are some who don’t obsess over new-release lists who are going to walk into their favorite music store sometime soon and see this lush, extravagant three-disc version (the third disc is b-sides and unreleased material) and be a bit pissed. This is the version to have – not only does it have the three discs, it also boasts a big book filled with notes and lots of Syd Barret’s original art. If you’re buying this, you’re likely a big fan, so why would anyone not want this version?

Qui – Love’s Miracle: It’s about friggin’ time – ex-Jesus Lizard front man David Yow finally got off the couch he’s been on for most of a decade and joined another band. Yow fans might be a bit surprised to hear the man actually singing on “Apartment,” but he’s doing so against a decidedly Jesus Lizard worthy backdrop. Seriously, do I need to describe this? Just hit their myspace page for some clips. Jesus Lizard fans are going to swarm the record stores this week to pick this up. I’m pretty anxious to hear their takes on Zappa’s “Willie the Pimp” and Pink Floyd’s “Echoes.”

Maybe it’s not good week for our wallets, but it sure is a good one for our ears. Now get out there and spend.

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