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 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: Low – The Invisible Way
TUESDAY: Josh Ritter – The Beast In Its Tracks
WEDNESDAY: And So I Watch You From Afar – All Hail Bright Futures
THURSDAY: Night Beds – Country Sleep
FRIDAY: Son Volt – Honky Tonk
SATURDAY: How To Destroy Angels – Welcome Oblivion
SUNDAY: Birds Of Tokyo – March Fires
The Invisible Way
- Sub Pop Records
- March 19, 2013
Low has been a very successful slowcore band for much of their career. The husband and wife duo of lead singer/guitarist Alan Sparhawk and drummer/singer Mimi Parker has been releasing albums since 1994. Over the course of their 19 year career, the couple has had a flurry of different bassists and their style has always gone in different directions along with that. The Invisible Way is the trio's newest record and the album is by far and away, the band's most stripped down of all. Being a slowcore band, this idea of music being simplistic and lo-fi is an obvious characteristic of the genre but Low has always managed to escape these shackles. Even on the band's last album C'mon, the music seemed to carry a great deal of energy that helped reverberate a solid rock sound instead of just the obvious repeating chord structures that haunt the genre to begin with. On this album though, Low has devolved their sound. The music is stripped down to bare bones with guitar leading the way. We get the discernible drowned out effects that surround each guitar chord and the progressions become this incredibly dull mixture of repeating power chords. Mimi Parker hardly shows up on the drums as each song sounds more like a depressing folk track then a rocking slowcore anthem. The track list here is just far too dull to have ever truly survived and it's all a bit weird to me. The band went from such a high energy on C'mon to a dark, foreboding sound on this album and it just doesn't have the ability to translate into anything that made the band so successful in the past. Aside from a few tracks such as "Clarence White" and "On My Own", this album was a major let down for me.
The Beast In Its Tracks
- Pytheas Recordings
- March 5, 2013
Folk music and breakup albums have gone hand-in-hand since the inception of the genre. If folk music has any one true inspiration, it must be love loss as just about every folk artist I can name has created at least one album based around the theme. Whereas most albums will concentrate on that cliche style of depressing song structures and dampening lyrics, Josh Ritter doesn't follow suit. Instead, Ritter sings his songs in a positive, more inspirational light with song structures that add sunlight to the darkened themes to brighten everything up if even just a bit. Ritter is no newbie when it comes to folk music as he's been in some major spotlight since his self-titled debut album back in 1999. His contemporary style has always been very Bob Dylan-like and his songwriting has always been terrific. He has always been able to open our minds to some beautiful storytelling and vivid descriptions of song themes. His ability to draw upon his interesting style of folk songwriting continues on his newest album The Beast In Its Tracks, a breakup album of sorts that doesn't intend on hanging onto the darkness surrounding the negative. Instead, Ritter employs some bright guitar structures that are beautiful and his songwriting, although sad at times, still has a certain sense of positive outlook. This confident style employed here by Ritter really turns the cliche folk album upside down and makes it something entirely different. Everyone can enjoy those sad singer/songwriter albums but this is a great escape from that style and Ritter once again proves that he can be one of the most significant folk musicians of the current era.
And So I Watch You From Afar
All Hail Bright Futures
- Sargent House
- March 19, 2013
And So I Watch You From Afar is an instrumental math rock trio from the United Kingdom. The band has long been considered a post rock band because of their instrumental styles which often combine some subtle metal elements but when it comes down to it, they share far more in common with modern math rock bands. The band has always been a very animated group, especially after adopting stage names for comic influence, almost a parody of what metal bands do. As far as personality goes, And So I Watch You From Afar really is enjoyable and fresh and their music follows closely. All Hail Bright Futures is the title of the band's third release and after two successful records prior, I was personally very excited about this attempt. After really enjoying the band's sophomore album Gangs is 2011, All Hail Bright Futures is actually a but different. Whereas Gangs used more elements of ambiance and post rock styles, All Hail Bright Futures is actually much more math rock. Everything is much more peppy and fun as guitars lead the way with some incredible instrumentals. All the focus is on the brilliant chord structures and design on guitar but drums play a major role in the timing here as well. This album is filled to the brim with hard rocking anthems that sort of remind me of Japandroids but with a more interesting instrumental element. The math rock technique is used brilliantly with plenty of crazy time signatures and melodies that make me just want to get to a beer keg. The party elements put forth here really add a fun atmosphere and the energy makes for a very enjoyable listen. Although I don't think this album is quite as good as the band's last record Gangs because of the less directed and organized fashion, this album still has some very high moments that I imagine I will hang on to for the rest of the year.
- Dead Oceans
- February 1, 2013
When you first glance at the cover art for the debut album by Night Beds, you get a true picture of what this album really defines. Nowadays, this isn't as common as it used to be as album art so rarely draws the picture of an album's content. In this image, Winston Yellen, the solo artist behind Night Beds, is pictured in a deep, dark room with some low, faded light which seems to be reflecting off glass in the forefront. It's an image that conveys a sense of confusion and unknowing. His head, buried into his right arm as he stares off into the great abyss that is his future is lurking and quite metaphoric. It's a very distinct picture that is being drawn up before the album is even turned on. Country Sleep is the title of Yellen's debut and the music seems to server as a warm bed of sorts for this saddening folk record put forth here. Each song is a chamber folk gem, a record made by a young man who has no idea where his future might take him or how he even ended up here in the first place. The songs all serve a specific function towards this theme and although we get captivated by an overwhelming sense of frustration of sadness, the beauty behind each note really makes each adventure a unique one. This is a terrific debut album and with such a deep theme behind the lines of songwriting poetry, it seems that a brand new folk star has been born.
- Rounder Records
- March 19, 2013
The newest release by Son Volt is probably the band's most mature record to date and that makes sense for a band who only continues to grow older. The 5-piece americana band from Missouri has been releasing records since 1995 and although none of their releases has ever been truly fashionable, they have stayed at a consistent pace and really anchored down more fans for the once unheard genre. Let's face it, when you think of american folk music, unless you live in the midwest region of the United States, it's not going to be a genre that really jumps to the top of your itunes playlist. It's not that the genre isn't accessible because it is, it's the fact that the genre isn't typically something that everyone can establish an emotion towards. Unless you live somewhere where the chord progressions carry that dusty, midwestern style then for the most part, it's going to be difficult to grow attached to the style. Son Volt though, has always had a way of grabbing the attention of outside listeners. Their music in the 90's especially, carried a certain sense of alternative sound and it ended up being something far more then just average americana music. In recent years however, Son Volt has grown more accustomed to that traditional sound as they grab onto their deep roots. I think this comes with age but for me, it's become a bit too traditional for me to fully enjoy. Honky Tonk is by far the band's most traditional yet and a lot of it is stripped way down from their previous albums. Most of the songs off this record are built around acoustic guitar and lead singer Jay Farrar's moaning voice. The tempo of each song barely changes as you make your way through the 11 track record and the slowed down nature of this americana style folk album ends up being just another average americana record.
How To Destroy Angels
- March 1, 2013
Trent Reznor has often been considered one of the more brilliant minds in all of music over the course of his 20+ year career. His popularity that grew strong with Nine Inch Nails has continued to support him and he has even began fueling interest for new fans with some of his new projects, one being for his project How To Destroy Angels. The project, which was formed with his wife Mariqueen Maandig and long time collaborator Atticus Ross, is a much more diverse style of music from the style that Nine Inch Nails employed as a band. How To Destroy Angels relies heavily on electronics and atmospheric ambiance. The production reminds me a lot of what Reznor used on Nine Inch Nails' album The Slip in 2008 as the electronics are more like effects within the songs themselves. Each song has a great deal of glitchy styled effects and employs a certain experiment, drum & bass style as well. Maandig's sings on each track with a very vivid yet subtle style and although her voice is peaceful and elegant, the electronics seem very distressful and unorganized. Reznor almost seems like he wanted to get a million ideas out at once instead of gently producing each track to perfection like he has done in the past. It's almost like a child with a magnifying glass and the results are more disturbing then anything else. Most of the production on here is sub par if not even worse than that which is a huge surprise for me.
Birds Of Tokyo
- March 1, 2013
Birds Of Tokyo is a five piece indie band from Australia. The band has just recently released their 5th LP entitled March Fires and their rise in popularity over the last 3 or 4 years is well deserved. Their music has never been ground breaking but they make very catchy indie pop songs and do it very well. The band is a very basic indie pop band that relies heavily on melody that is created through use of guitars, drums, and bass. Like the band's last album, March Fires draws on these melodic anthems and use plenty of atmospheric space to play around with each landscape. Lead singer Ian Kenny continues to be the personality of this group as he sings in sweet harmony with the instrumentals yet he still hasn't come out of his shell. Most of the tracks off this album seem very held back from the direction the band was heading on their last record and this was a bit frustrating to me. I think Birds Of Tokyo has plenty of untapped talent at hand but their songs off this record don't fully show it off. Instead, these tracks come and go and leave a funky taste in your mouth as if something just wasn't cooked correctly. I can't blame the production as everything seemed well recorded and mixed nicely and in the end, it just seems the band decided to do less. Lesser isn't always better and it really seems to hold this album back from being anything too significant.
Next Week's 7:
Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Specter At The Feast
Pascal Pinon – Twosomeness
Devendra Banhart – Mala
Lisa Germano – No Elephants
The Besnard Lakes – Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO
RQTN – Passenger
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 week's 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!