Polychromatic monster puppet hauls ass on a dune buggy: That’s the takeaway image from the video for ‘Today’s Supernatural,’ the lead single from ‘Centipede Hz,’ Animal Collective’s ninth album. The song, the video, the album and its cover all show how very serious the band is about being very silly. As these trends suggest, ‘Centipede Hz’ is an awesome entry into their bountiful and bizarre canon.
Bob Mould has made a return to form -- one that, in a way, is devoid of comeback-circuit cliché. ‘Silver Age,’ his newest solo release, feels like a continuation of his Husker Du thrashings, to the point that there should be no discussion of a comeback -- he never left
Glam pop is a strange solar system. You've got the angered affections of Blondie on one end and the triumphant tremolos of M83 on the other, forming a glittery galaxy of the beautiful and the odd. ‘Cut It Out' marks the arrival of a new planet (or possibly planetoid) called Kitten -- a Los Angeles band fronted by starlet-on-the-make Chloe Chaidez.
Let’s go ahead and say it: supergroup, supergroup, supergroup. The goofy (and great) term gets bandied about (or coolly avoided) in any mention of Divine Fits, the Voltron formed by Spoon frontman Britt Daniel, Handsome Furs and Wolf Parade guitarist Dan Boeckner, New Bomb Turks drummer Sam Brown and keyboardist Alex Fischel. Their first project, the bluntly titled ‘A Thing Called Divine Fits,’ feels much more together than your average rookie effort -- owing to the fact these are accomplished musicians playing here.
Ariel Pink is out there. Like a reach-for-the-thesaurus-to-describe-adequately status of strange: quirky, idiosyncratic, madcap -- those might do. The Los Angeles-based singer has churned out a stream of basement-tape consciousness -- as in hundreds of cassette tapes -- before catching the ear of Animal Collective. As his first album for 4AD arrived in 2010, ‘Before Today,’ the lo-fi was traded in for hi(er)-fi production, and the lone artist found a band, expanding into Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti. ‘Mature Themes’ is their second effort, and it is as every bit as outlandish as Pink’s previous work.
Beloved and be-blogged, Yeasayer were once a Brooklyn band to the fullest, typifying the fussy artisanal nature of the borough, arising somewhere near the same neighborhood as the electro brood of TV on the Radio and the organic hooks of Grizzly Bear -- oh, those tranquil days of 2008! At Yeasayer's techno-hippie best in their first two albums, they touched the extremities of avant pop, but ‘Fragrant World,’ their third and latest release, finds only the average.
It must really be different in LA. Though they take their name from a Herman Wouk novel about a writer moving to New York, everything about Youngblood Hawke screams California: palm trees, skateboards, bleach. With ‘We Come Running,’ the new band is unapologetically itself. The result is what you might call disco Nickelback: a precisely produced, candy-like single, poised to build momentum for the Aug. 14 release of their debut album on Universal Republic.
A studio-produced track acting as the prelude of a live album, 'Cut the World' is lush and restrained. The song begins with strings as searching as predawn light, finding what they need in the beatific voice of Antony Hegarty, frontman of Antony and the Johnsons. Here Hegarty is accompanied by the Danish National Chamber Orchestra.