After a much buzzed-about run at this year’s CMJ, King Krule, aka 17-year-old London-based songwriter Archy Marshall, seems poised for either breakout success or career-killing backlash. (Sadly, there is not much room in the middle anymore, is there?) His self-titled, five-song debut EP was just released by True Panther, and it’s an extremely likable little collection of bedroompop songs that are refreshingly well constructed and tastefully embellished with various electronic elements. Even with Marshall’s deep, primitive vocals, there’s something so clear and concise about the whole thing that you can’t help wanting to hear what he’ll do next. If I were to say it sounds like Billy Bragg for the Altered Zones generation, you would probably throw up, so I won’t. (But it does.)
Ian Dury –“Clevor Trever”
I’ve developed a weird addiction to this song, off Ian Dury’s 1977 album, New Boots and Panties. Like the rest of the album, “Clevor Trever” (sic) is a strange blend of punk, new-wave and disco, and it’s driven by a series of unbelievably good melodies, but it’s the totally maddening double, triple, quadruple negatives and tight, repetitive rhyme scheme of the lyrics that will stick with you long, long, long after you’d have liked them to.
The Internet’s Reaction to Lulu
For those who haven’t been paying attention, the internet has this tendency (and increasingly, so does the print world on which the web continues to have such a severe, misbegotten impact) to apply unnecessary and in fact counterproductive intellectual examination to things that are simply not worth it. Or, maybe that’s not true: everything’s worth close intellectual examination, I suppose, but all too often recently, at least in the seediest, silliest music-crit corners of the internet, it results in pieces that stand “boldly” in defense of things that everyone else knows are only worth defending (Hello, Creed) if you’re looking to pad your page-views. I am pleased to report that, now a couple weeks removed from the release of Lulu, the obviously laughable collaboration between Lou Reed and Metallica, no such defense has surfaced. And for that, internet, I commend you. (Though Chuck Eddy did wrongly deem it "less ridiculous than you might expect")
Robert Forster Covered Vampire Weekend’s “Walcott”?
I don’t know how it’s possible that this happened over a year ago and I only found out about it last week, but alas: In August of 2010, Robert Forster, formerly of the mighty Go-Betweens, released a cover of Vampire Weekend’s rousing “Walcott,” from their 2008 debut. It’s loose and sprightly and beautifully arranged, just like you’d assume. Now, I’ll ask again, will someone please work on some Go-Betweens vinyl reissues, please?
“This Town Doesn’t Have Enough Bars for the Both of Us”
I don’t know if people know this band at all, but they just released a record called How to Get to Heaven from Jacksonville, FL on Kill Rock Stars, and it’s a pitch-perfect reiteration of 90s indie-pop à la The Crabs. (I don’t know if anyone knows The Crabs either, but you should, I promise.) Anyway, be sure to track down standout Gospel Music track “This Town Doesn’t Have Enough Bars for the Both of Us,” which features the line, “I’m not drinking anymore but I’m not drinking… any… less.” Recommended if you liked Noah and the Whale before they got shitty.
With two EPs already out on the Mumford & Sons-affiliated Communion Records and a handful of dates supporting Adele already under his belt, the young British soul singer Michael Kiwanuka seems like he should probably make a splash when he releases his debut full-length next year. Like those other artists I mentioned, he could be called a throwback, with a voice everyone’s always comparing to Bill Withers, which seems totally silly until you hear it. You’ll have your chance when he plays here at Joe’s Pub on December 8th.
R.E.M. –“Star 69”
Now that R.E.M. is officially done, there is of course another greatest hits thing coming out just in time for the holiday season. It’s called Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage, 1982-2011, and you’re not gonna buy it because you know better than to get caught up in that kind of shit. But you’re also not gonna buy it because of the simple fact that the only song included from the not-actually-all-bad 1994 album Monster is “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?” They should have included “Star 69,” if not for the totally addictive dual vocals thing, then at least for the chorus, which you cannot even believe is real: “I know you called, I know you called, I know you called, I know you hung up my line, Star 69!”
North Highlands –Wild One
In a weird and unfortunate turn of events, despite praise from lots of good, smart people (ahem), local outfit North Highlands wound up without a label to release their debut full-length, Wild One, so they did it themselves. Officially available as of October 18, it is every bit as elegant and detailed as I expected it to be, with elements of folk and post-rock featured prominently throughout. The whole thing is surprisingly hooky, too, and even more surprisingly danceable. Listen at north-highlands.bandcamp.com, and then, if you own a record label, press it on vinyl and send me a copy.
Craig Finn Referencing Friday Night Lights in the Title of His Solo Album, Clear Hearts, Full Eyes
This is simply too much for me to handle.
Click here for a Spotify playlist of tracks and artists discussed above.