True fans of music spend countless hours searching for that next great song, album or artist, whether it be online or in a local record shop. The beautiful thing about music in today’s age is that technology has created an infinite supply of great music that is available to us at the click of a mouse. How perfect is that? We can discover a brand new artist on the opposite side of the globe in seconds without a radio or a music television channel. It only makes sense that a website so dedicated to this gorgeous universe of music would want to celebrate the greatness and share it with anyone who is looking.
My name is Eric and I am your host of Straight from the Teet, where I will delve into 7 new albums per week as well as 1 randomly chosen throwback record and let you know which tracks I loved from the albums I listened to. I hope that my exploration through this never-ending sea of music will help satisfy that hunger for the brand new tracks you have been seeking.
MONDAY: Grizzly Bear – Shields
TUESDAY: The Album Leaf – Forward/Return
WEDNESDAY: Mono – For My Parents
THURSDAY: Band Of Horses – Mirage Rock
FRIDAY: Dinosaur Jr. – I Bet On Sky
SATURDAY: Menomena – Moms
THROWBACK: Team Sleep – Team Sleep (2005)
- Warp Records
- September 18, 2012
Grizzly Bear is an indie band that most likely needs no introduction. They’ve only released four full length records but have become indie gods within the scene and it’s well deserved. Veckatimest, they’re huge release in 2009, showed a minor change in style but still formed around soothing, folk vocals and plenty of acoustic arrangements which people enjoyed. The overall sound of the band did change in a subtle way, steering away from the psychedelic nature of their former records and blending in a more accessible, pop sound. It was mostly evident in the record’s hits especially with their single “Two Weeks” which sounded eerily similar to Dr. Dre‘s “Still Dre”. Shields, the newest album by Grizzly Bear, returns to the psychedelic styled origins that the band ran with on their massively successful Yellow House. The music on this record has its folk inspired lyrics of course but the experimental guitar rocking really takes this album on a ride. It’s almost difficult to really compare this record to Veckatimest as the styles are very different but in the end, Shields seems like a much more genuine record that uses up the band’s strengths instrumentally much more. This is a very strong album that will end up high on most end of the year lists in the indie community.
The Album Leaf
- September 18, 2012
The Album Leaf has evolved from being the solo project for frontman Jimmy LaValle to being a full on band sine 1998. The progression album to album over the years has been fairly odd as it’s been an up and down sort of career. They’ve released a few terrific records but in between the cracks there have been some releases that were absolutely devolved and boring. In their defense, it’s fairly difficult to stay absolutely consistent from record to record when you’re playing instrumental ambient music as ideas have trouble blossoming sometimes. Although this is the case with The Album Leaf, I have always been a true fan of the style of music that LaValle and crew put out year to year. Forward/Return is actually the second record the band has released in 2012 after releasing Torey’s Distraction, a film soundtrack, in August. This EP is definitely relatable musically to the film soundtrack, but the songs are much more drawn out and tend to lean away from simplistic ambient tones. Instead, Forward/Return relies heavily on post-rock structures with plenty of electric guitar fills that dance around some droning but beautiful electronic landscapes. This album is quite different then earlier material by the band and I think that is due to a more significant role by the other members of the band since evolving from a solo project. The Album Leaf have always been master song crafters and I see no difference with this release.
For My Parents
- Temporary Residence Ltd.
- September 4, 2012
Mono is a Japanese post-rock band that formed in 1999. Since then, the band has released a handful of records, much of them receiving plenty of critical acclaim. They have remained a steady staple of post-rock music and a band that is often counted on for their very colorful, majestic arrangements. For My Parents is the newest release by the quartet and is a very standard release by the band. The music is exactly what you would expect from them as they incorporate these grandiose sections with some ostentatious production that seems almost overwhelming in an odd way. Like their last record entitled Hymn To The Immortal Wind, even Mono seems to get lost in their outrageous and complex verse structures and it tends to become a bit pompous in a way. Post-rock needs to have strong build ups with tremendous climaxes that bring all the sounds together but Mono always seems to drift away and disregard this very basic element. As usual, Mono is creating some very elegant atmospheres that are quite gorgeous but the lengthy track times that don’t have any real escape just end up being a bit boring and a little less fruitful than what post-rock music is normally accustomed to.
Band Of Horses
- Columbia Records
- September 18, 2012
2006 saw the massively successful debut album by Band Of Horses, a folk, rock band from Seattle whose attention to midwestern american styled music was made interesting by some alternative rock blends. The album, Everything All The Time, ended up being one of the better indie rock albums of the entire year and showed a young band with a substantial amount of potential. Their follow-up record Cease To Begin was another good album but didn’t carry that same sense of excitement as their debut while 2010’s Infinite Arms was a major step backwards for the band. Although the album contained some nice singles, Infinite Arms just failed to sound significant in a year full of outstanding albums. Mirage Rock is the first album since and the digression unfortunately continues for Band Of Horses. On this record, the music is much less melodic then ever before and the hooks are almost non-existent. The songs contain much more alternative roots then ever before and the subtle folk qualities that the band use to make a living off of are thrown to the wayside. Frontman Ben Bridwell has almost lost all ability to write an eloquent song and instead, uses generic songwriting that is basically tasteless. It’s like having a dry piece of turkey in your mouth. It just sucks. It’s hard to see a band that you personally liked struggling to make decent music nowadays as you just expect more and more from them. The bizarre career for Band Of Horses makes little sense as they sound like musicians who went from age 25 to age 65 in a few short years as they forgot how to make cogent music entirely.
I Bet On Sky
- September 18, 2012
Dinosaur Jr. has been around for what seems like forever. Originally known simply as Dinosaur, the band quickly established themselves as a gritty garage rock band in the early 1980s. The trio, formed around well established musicians Lou Barlow, J Mascis, and Murph, would later change their name subtly to Dinosaur Jr. after some legal concerns but the band’s sound remained the same. Throughout the 80’s, Dinosaur Jr. remained one of the more hard rocking, alternative influences around and would later be recognized as innovators of the lo-fi rock sound that made them so famous. Although the band split in 1997, they regrouped in 2005 to continue releasing new material. I Bet On Sky is the title of their newest effort and really, not much has significantly changed about the influences. For the most part, this album sounds exactly like the rest of their records with the now traditional garage rock anthem style and lo-fi warmth. The blazing guitars really establish the sound for this album, as it does for all their records, and the rest is kind of history. With loads of reverb and distorted guitar solos along with some decently catchy and energetic guitar riffs, the album does carry the same type of passion that the band played with over 20 years ago. I’ve never been a huge fan of Dinosaur Jr. as for the most part, I tend to become disinterested in their recurring sound which to me, seems too universal especially after an entire decade of grunge and alternative rock music in the 1990s. Although I really enjoyed the band’s last album Farm a great deal, I Bet On Sky just seems too simple.
- Barsuk Records
- September 18, 2012
Menomena, the band with the annoyingly unpronounceable name, has had a fairly successful indie career since their arrival on the scene in 2000. Up until 2011, the band was a trio formed with members Justin Harris, Danny Seim, and Brent Knopf but Knopf decided to leave the band to pursue other musical goals on his own. This was pretty alarming news for fans of the band as Knopf had always been the most integral piece of the puzzle when it came to programming and songwriting. Not that Harris and Seim were background members, they just didn’t reach as high as their ex multi-instrumentalist. After the announcement had been made public, Menomena also announced a new LP entitled Moms. The record was released last week and I have to say, it’s exactly what I had suspected. With the absence of Knopf in the lineup, the music has taken a serious blow to the face. Beats are far less interesting and really, electronics are very dulled down to a bare minimum rather than structuring each track like normal. In a way though, it helps guitars and pianos come to life-like never before but the negative is that the band’s identity has changed. Menomena has always been a very artistic band, using complex instrumentation and oddly formed beats to enhance something that seemed simple on the outside. On Moms, the minimalism draws too much attention to the simpler side of their art pop and the songs end up being boring and without any true expertise.
The Helio Sequence
- Sub Pop Records
- September 11, 2012
I’ve always had a great deal of respect for The Helio Sequence, mostly because of how they have dealt with all the troubles they have encountered as a band throughout their career. It seems like the setbacks have always dominated their musical career. For one, Brandon Summers, the lead singer and guitarist for the band, had been diagnosed with such severe vocal chord damage that he was actually forced to relearn how to sing and even then, the notes were entirely different. After hearing about this especially, I knew there was something special about this band. Although they have never really released anything earth shattering, their albums have always been very decent indie pop records along the lines of say The Shins. Their music has always revolved around lots of acoustic guitars and very atmospheric melodies created by pianos and drums along with some subtle bass guitar. The formula has always worked. Negotiations is the newest album by the band and their first since 2008’s Keep Your Eyes Ahead. Before the release, the duo stated that the album would consist of much more organic and ethereal qualities then that had been used to and that couldn’t be more precise. Negotiations definitely shows a different band but the changes aren’t taking away from the identity that has created their name. The music revolves around lots of the same methods the band has been known for but the songs are much more dense and layered with much more instrumental tracks to create something very broad. I think The Helio Sequence continues to be a very consistent indie pop band and although this album doesn’t strike me as a top priority to listen to in 2012, it’s definitely worth the chance.
- Maverick Recording Company
- May 9, 2005
If you’re fans of the Deftones like I am, then you’re probably familiar with lead singer Chino Moreno’s side project, Team Sleep. The band actually started back in 1994 as best friends Moreno and Todd Wilkinson began trading music back and forth and creating something in casual fun. Over time, some of the tracks even got blended onto some Deftones albums. Finally, in 2002, the duo grabbed some additional musicians to round out the band so that they could finally record a debut album. The self titled debut oddly went under the radar in 2005 but the record really was a strong effort. What’s most interesting on this album is the combination of genres and influences being used. The music on here combines elements of dream pop, trip hop, alternative, shoegaze, and post-rock to name a few. Although some songs don’t seem to entirely fit on this album as they differ far too much, the album really becomes one of the more interesting records of 2002. Moreno’s excellent vocals over a very different style of music then Deftones nu-metal sound is a serious standout. This album, although maybe slightly forgotten about, is a very strong record that needs to be rediscovered, especially since the band is planning a follow-up record in the near future!
Albums To Look Forward To Next Week:
- Brother Ali – Mourning In America & Dreaming In Color
- Calexico – Algiers
- Sea Wolf – Old World Romance
- The Laurels – Plains
- Caspian – Waking Season
- Lupe Fiasco – Food & Liquor 2: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1
- Submotion Orchestra – Fragments
After another good week of album listens, I am more than ready to start another. If anyone is interested in purchasing or simply hearing any of these albums online, I have linked them for you at the top of this page to make it simple. I hope you have enjoyed reading this weeks edition of Straight From The Teet and I look forward to bringing you a new group of records next week. Please leave comments here at the bottom and let me know what you liked or didn’t like from this week’s lineup. Have a great week and please support these terrific bands!