#60: Slaves – Acts Of Fear And Love
St. Vincent – St. Vincent ★★★★☆
Annie Clark’s fourth album confirms what has been obvious since David Byrne cut a record with her: the new Queen of the Art House has arrived. The throne on the cover of the album is a meta acknowledgment of this, but the proof lies as always in the music itself. Cool, confident art-funk, like the best of the CBGB brought to modern life.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVAxUMuhz98]
Dum Dum Girls – Too True ★★☆
Too True is really a bunch of okay tracks tied around a killer lead single (“Rimbaud Eyes”). Solid enough Indie Rock but not otherwise inspired.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPkfyjk0sqU]
Damaged Bug – Hubba Bubba ★★★★
From the prolific mind of John Dwyer, an album of “hand-made electronics” that buzz and pulse with the same sort of fetid life that inspires the best of his Thee Oh Sees music.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dt_bwtq4zx4]
Tinariwen – Emmaar ★★★☆
Solid, breezy desert stoner blues on the band’s sixth album. Recorded back in the band’s home country of Mali now that the political situation warrants such a return.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFtmB2U3Clo]
Carla Bozulich – Boy ★★★☆
Carla Bozulich has been making edgy art-punk for as long as I’ve been alive but this is the first album the singer has designated as her “pop” album. This is an album that is about as pop as From Her To Eternity, which is to say that in the mainstream acceptance of the word it is not. What it is, however, is an atmospheric deconstruction of country, blues, and pop traditions in the celebratory vein of Nick Cave or Tom Waits. Highly recommended for fans of the aforementioned artists.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DmEv1Vrbxo]
Floating Coffin continues on in the band’s new tradition of becoming tighter and heavier as their albums roll on. It’s still wild Sixties-esque garage rock, but with a greater emphasis on being bigger, larger than life. They’ve managed to cut out a lot of the weirder, screechier moments that marred otherwise great albums like Castlemania; instead, they’ve been replaced with slower, more melodic moments that add much needed contrast to the sort of beehive riffs that tracks like “Toe Cutter – Thumb Buster” are made out of. It still flags somewhere around the middle (“Strawberries 1 + 2”, to be exact) but the strength of the rest of the album makes up for it. It’s perhaps the first time that Thee Oh Sees can place an album next to their contemporaries and not feel weirdly out of place – hell, they even made a video this time around. Maybe they’re growing up?
Thee Oh Sees roll on in their ultra-prolific career of garage bliss, marrying a queen bee-sized riff to a quivering, multi-dimensional vocal take. The video is pretty violent, although not really gory – fair warning.