New music releases for the week of 05-29-2012
Web2Carz Senior Writer
Published: May 29th, 2012
he long, hot Memorial Day weekend has ended. Another Detroit Electronic Music Festival has come and gone, and the rock gods favored us with a week without a tragic death. This week sees many cool new releases, some great reissues, and some old-timers making a comeback.
2:54 / 2:54
THEY SAY: London-based female duo follow up their highly lauded Scarlet EP with their first long-player.
WE SAY: Claiming inspiration from Bikini Kill, Patti Smith, and Huggy Bear, 2:54 have clearly listened to a good deal of My Bloody Valentine and PJ Harvey, and they combine all their influences into a dreamy, noise-pop aesthetic that makes their album sound refreshingly new, even when it wears its influences on its sleeve. A great debut from a band that’s only been around for a little over a year.
Melissa Nadler / The Sister
(Box Of Cedar)
THEY SAY: Indie-folkster Marissa Nadler releases her follow up to last year’s eponymous album.
WE SAY: Marissa Nadler has been making albums for nearly a decade, and her growth as an artist and as a songwriter has been remarkable. Although her early albums were beautiful pieces of goth-tinged folk minimalism, her guitar playing and her songwriting have finally matured to the point at which they are on par with her remarkable voice, which Pitchfork accurately described as “a voice you would follow straight into Hades.” The Sister is intended as a companion album to last year’s remarkable self-titled album, but it stands alone as another step in Nadler’s beautiful evolution.
Public Image Ltd. / This Is PiL
THEY SAY: Brand new album from Johnny Rotten’s post-Sex Pistols band. Their first in 10 years.
WE SAY: Oh, John Lydon. You were once so mighty. Not only did you make history with the Sex Pistols, but the first couple of Public Image Ltd. albums pretty much defined post-punk. Metal Box (or Second Edition, if you prefer) in particular, remains one of the crowning achievements of that generation. But after hosting your own television program (the brilliant but short-lived Rotten TV), writing an autobiography, and appearing on I’m A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here, you really lost it. You tried to reignite the Pistols a few times, and now you’ve resuscitated PiL. But judging from this album, you have absolutely nothing new to contribute. Your voice, never much to write home about, but always brilliantly used, is a shadow of its former self, and your new songs are just...not good. It truly is better to burn out than fade away, and you are nearly invisible.
Scissor Sisters / Magic Hour
THEY SAY: New album from disco revivalists who were nominated for a Grammy for their cover of Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb.”
WE SAY: It’s fitting that The Scissor Sisters’ new album is on Casablanca, the label that launched many mega-stars in the 70s, from KISS to the recently departed Donna Summer. The Sisters do disco right, without kitsch, without a slavish adherence to retro sounds. Don’t let the fact that Bono called them “the perfect pop band” turn you off. He happens to be right.
Sigur Ros / Valtari
THEY SAY: First album in four years from Icelandic post-rockers.
WE SAY: Sigur Ros are brilliant minimalists, combining dreamy melodies with droning guitars and synths. Valtari is more upbeat than previous records (the band describes it, jokingly we hope, as a “dance record”), but that’s a very relative term, so don’t expect dubstep beats or funky rhythms. It’s like the soundtrack to a brilliant film you wish someone would make.
Small Faces / Small Faces (Deluxe Edition) & From the Beginning (Deluxe Edition)
THEY SAY: The first two albums by influential mod superstars are given the deluxe treatment.
WE SAY: It’s impossible to understate the importance of Small Faces in the history of rock. Although not as famous as the Kinks or the Who, the Small Faces were every bit the equal of both those bands and both in their original lineup and later, as the Rod Stewart-fronted Faces, they made a series of astonishingly great R&B-/psych-influenced masterpieces. Their first two albums are raw, stripped-down mod perfection. Better than the early albums by either the Kinks or the Who, they feature some of the hardest R&B to come out of England in the ‘60s.