The Last Drop

Reviews and Clues on Music That Matters (to me)

Archive for November, 2010

New Issue: The Morning Benders

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The Morning Benders, Big EchoIt’s getting  damn near consistent that each year a new folk rock band will put out a solid effort that gets plenty of attention. Fleet Foxes had their time, Grizzly Bear put in some work too. And now The Morning Benders take the mantel as the “it” indie rock band of choral vocals and rhythms awash with energy. Is it a necessity to have this each year? In the case of the Benders, I sure hope so. More than any of the aforementioned rock guide posts, I’ve enjoyed the breeziness of the Morning Benders. This is not to say that their music is any less important or weighty. Just easier to digest on early listens. And much more invigorating.  A first half chock full of energy, melody, and downright fun. The second half, a slower burn of reflection. Together, a well rounded effort that hasn’t lost any of it’s appeal over time. Early on, I had this as a one of my more memorable albums of the year and I still think it applies.Let’s hope they keep this going.

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November 22nd, 2010 at 11:15 pm

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New Issue: Hot Chip

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Hot Chip , One Life Stand – Steadily ticking through the back log of album reviews. I was actually excited to hear this album as Hot Chip have had an excellent record for keeping the pulse of electro/dance/synth goodness. All well timed for the club. Low and behold, they turn out an album with feelings. And a message. And a slower tempo. So, what to think of this change towards “adult” emotions? Largely, it is average. It has less punch than their typical sound. But instead of pushing the limits outward in a staccato pointed build, each song gradually arcs to it’s peak. There is still the sense of enormity of sound, just a more gradual slope to get there. Synths are a lot less buoyant, more immersive. On trend with the ’80s rebirth. But overly laden with remorse, regret or forced gravity. Alexis’ voice has always had the touch of vulnerable – a signature to their cool but nerdy image – and now takes on more of a desperate, longing tone. Sometimes to great success (“Thieves in the Night”, “Hand Me Down Your Love”, “We Have Love”) but routinely to middling effect. There are a few standout tracks but as a whole was less compelling than their previous work.

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November 21st, 2010 at 11:21 pm

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New Issue: Vampire Weekend

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Vampire Weekend, Contra – yet another relic of a post from a bygone era. I’ll keep it short and sweet.

So, I was kind of digging our Ivy League trip to the equator a year ago. But I was wary of if a repeat of the freshness could be achieved. And rightly so. What seemed refreshing in 2008 seems down right languid a year later. No new territory explored. No new country exposed. An Ivy League education can only get you so far. Outside of the universal pick up of “Cousins”, Contra lacked any punch or anthem to rally around. Call me a cynic but I found this rather boring. As boring as the cover girl’s blank stare. Yeah, she’s wide-eyed and full of anticipation. But does it get her anwhere?  And maybe that’s the point. It’s rather harmless music. Not much to hate, but not much to get worked up about. In spite of the endless hype of the first album, Contra seems more than happy to not upset anyone.  And I can’t think of anything more dangerous. Complacency is a beast. Let’s hope that these boys find something new soon. Or decide to take a break.

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November 21st, 2010 at 9:23 pm

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Top Drops: 2009

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Way too old of a post to even deign with a “man, I fell off the wagon” type beginning. This is purely saving face (and setting up so I can claw back dignity to post some 2010 stuff before that year ends too).  2009 theme: women, thanks for showing up. Here we go.

Honorable Mention

The Clipse Til The Casket Drops – Not as gritty as Hell Hath No Fury but ultimately more listenable.  Higher production value from the Neptunes lends to a more cohesive sounding album. Honestly, I just like indulging in my inner coke dealer once in a while. And for that, I thank you my Clipse friends.

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November 21st, 2010 at 8:21 pm

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Stockpile: Burial

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Burial, UntrueLonliness never sounded so good.

And London never had a better theme album since this guy came around. Every winter I fall into a state of needing seasonal music. And no, it’s not related to the holidays. When the sun becomes less and less prevalent (and I become more and more irritable), it’s nice to have music that is balanced. And slightly moody. Something to capture the essence of winter – cold, all encompassing and distant. And I can’t think of a better companion than Untrue.  Shallow drum and bass with 80’s R&B vocals spliced to sound like the very essence of council house living.Destitution in the midst of magnificence. It’s more urban than we Americans can fathom. Hip hop is tough because of it’s braggadocio, the need to fill a void with immensity. Burial is tough because of it’s emptiness. The soft fades. The empty promises. The unrequited love. I challenge anyone to listen to this album and not feel a little bit less than they were before. But not in a demeaning way. It’s the same feeling I got when watching Talk to Her – just because your heart is breaking doesn’t make it any less an amazing feat.

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November 4th, 2010 at 2:09 am

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