Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Suuns Drop New EP

Given our ecstatic love for SUUNS first full length Zeroes QC, we have to say expectations for their next effort were running painfully high.  Luckily for us, the band must have anticipated the potential for backlash, as their new 12" EP Bambi/Red Song (cover above) is nothing but totally killer new material.

SUUNS at Shea Stadium from the HAD Archive

Comprised of only two tracks and clocking in at just under 13 minutes, the EP is significantly more minimalist than the band's debut. While still embracing an texturally exploratory aesthetic, the record is also extremely careful in it's arrangement.  It leaves each tracked instrument the space to be explored on its own in the context of the greater whole.  The guitars are singled out and less layered, the beats are given space to grow, and in many cases take on the role of lead instrument.

Without question, the record plays on the band's strengths, and perhaps could do a little more to push in new directions.  That being said, an EP is a great context in which to explore, and this record does exactly that.  Taking the foundations of the first record and exploring their most stark nooks and crannies is a worthwhile effort, and leaves us eagerly anticipating where the band will go next.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Plants And Animals Played The Rock Shop - Pictures, Review, Setlist

Last night we braved the late-fall rain to stop in at Brooklyn's Rock Shop for a set from Montreal's Plants and Animals.  The band, who recently announced their third full length's arrival in February, decided to play a couple of one-offs before they go on tour next spring.  The show saw the arrival of a new bassist to the band's lineup, and a handful of songs off the new record.  And, as per usual, these HAD faves delivered an absolutely killer live set.

Over the course of an hour and twenty minutes, the band traversed both of their previous full length records, as well as delivering three tunes from The End Of That, which drops on February 28th.  The new material (which included the already released "Lightshow") was surprisingly straight-ahead in it's delivery, and was at times reminiscent of Jonathan Richman, or Dylan at his most melodic. It's unquestionably a new sound for the band, but one that worked extremely well, and left us hankering to hear the rest of the record.

The older material also took on a new life.  The addition of a full time basis allowed the band to explore more nooks and crannies of the tunes, and also gave way to some more fleshed out lead guitar. The closest thing the band has had to a hit, "Bye Bye Bye", was radically reworked in a manner that removed a fair degree of its grandiosity, and replaced it with a garage-y feel that placed the emphasis on the melody, rather than the arrangement.

Despite clocking in at over an hour, the set still felt incredibly quick.  This is a band who is positively riveting on stage, and gives it their all every time we see them. Moreover, their intricate, syncopated arrangements never seem to get old, and breathe new life into the tunes time and time again.  The End Of That is unquestionably one of our most anticipated records of 2012, and last night's show served to remind us of why. If you decided to stay in last night because of the weather, well, we're sorry to say you missed out.

More photos at the HAD Archive

Faerie Dance
Game Shows
Mama Papa
Good Friend
The End Of That
Undone Melody
Bye Bye Bye
New Song (Holy Matrimony)
New Kind Of Love

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Lissy Trullie - "Madeline"

Lissy Trullie at the DeYoung, from the HAD Archive

It's been a while since we'd heard from Lissy Trullie, so we were delighted when we discovered that she has a new record on tap for 2012.  The self titled album, which drops on March 6th, has yet to grace our ears or our inboxes. However, If the lead single "Madeline" (mp3 below) is any indication, it's gonna be a damned good one.

The track manages to channel the spirit of Nico, and set it adrift in layers upon layers of synth textures and  loping beats.  Combine that with the fact that Trullie's vocals are actually a fair bit better than the Velvet's chanteuse, and the fact that the tune has a nice unconventional composition, and well, we're sold.

The sound is a fair bit more mature than Trullie's debut: Gone are the jangly, garagey guitars, and in their place is a far more crafted and well produced record.  The effort is just as polished, but it has more individualism and clarity, and manages to shed a fair degree of the derivative moments of its predecessor. In short, exactly what you'd hope for from a second record.

mp3: Lissy Trullie - Madeline

Monday, December 5, 2011

Talking Heads Set To Drop Live Video Compilation

When we first saw the Talking Heads' video compilation announcement appear from David Byrne in our inbox, we were interested, but not riveted.  After all, most of the band's fantastic videos are available on YouTube, and we've got a good feel for what's out there.  Well, in retrospect, we stand corrected:  a closer read reveals something much more interesting.

In short Talking Heads Chronology is a high quality compilation of the band's live performances, from their very earliest days up until their Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame induction in 2002.  In Byrne's estimation, they were "very much a live band", and as such, this review is a good estimation of their prowess. We never saw them live in concert, but needless to say, we would have loved to, and if this is the closest we get, well, so be it.

Talking Heads Chronology is available now.

Friday, December 2, 2011

John Cale - Extra Playful

John Cale entered into the new decade on the high of two critically acclaimed records, Black Acetate and Hobosapiens, that saw him giving a nod to his poppier guitar based rock instincts, and blending them with some delightfully experimental use of electronics and synthesizer.  As such, it should come as no surprise that 2011 finds Cale continuing on the same path, to similarly great success.

Compared to the records mentioned above, Cale's latest, Extra Playful, is perhaps the most accessible of all.  Where the others ebbed and flowed between poppy goodness and difficult sonics, Extra Playful is straight ahead pop, through and through. The instrumentation is Cale at his most accessible, firmly rooted in guitars and playful pianos. When electronics are brought into the mix, it's only to provide modest backing beats or synth textures.

Which isn't to say that the record is without depth.  The strong moments are some of the best songwriting of his career, and calls to mind his creative heyday of the mid seventies. There are weaker points (we could do without the backup singers on "Hey Ray", for one), but overall the EP holds together remarkably well as a straight forward rock and roll record.

Extra Playful is apparently the precursor to another full length from Cale in 2012, and that's great news.  His output as of late has been nothing if not a consistently rewarding treat.  For now, we'll be giving this record more than a few spins, and eagerly awaiting the delivery of the next chapter.

mp3: John Cale - Perfection