Monday, February 28, 2011

Dum Dum Girls

He Gets Me High

Sub Pop

Dum Dum Girls follow up their promising debut with a four- song EP (three originals, one cover) that is delightful. Putting a little more polish on the songs makes them smooth in a way the debut wasn’t, and brings the songs into better focus. The best song of the originals is the title song, an unabashed declaration of love, with giddy music to go alongside the lyrics.

The Smiths’ “There’s a Light that Never Goes Out” gets treated wonderfully as well. The music equals The Smiths’ version, but there is a nice twist lyrically. Morrissey sang this to a man, but he didn’t specify gender. When a woman sings it, it can be sung to a man or a woman. It’s a fantastic ending to a great EP that carries the band further than they’ve ever been before.[]

Andrea Weiss

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie XX

We’re New Here

XL Recordings

This album works best as an electronica singer/songwriter album. Jamie XX’s music here, enhances Scott-Heron’s poetry and singing with swoops, swirls, samples, and good rhythms. Jamie should do this with his own band, the XX. As a remix of Scott-Heron’s critically acclaimed 2010 album, I’m New Here, breathes life into an album that originally was about death.

The best lyrics of the original album fit wonderfully into the remix, making them even more powerful. There is no faux feminism at all, as there was on the original, which was I’m New Here’s one big flaw. As one song says, there is no such place as away, so you can’t run there, nor can you run for cover. It sounds even wiser than on the original album. On a new piece, a very short one Gil scolds young people for not listening to their parents. Listen to his words, bop around the room if need be, but in the main, chill-out to an album that will make you think. []

Andrea Weiss

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Esben and the Witch

Violet Cries

Matador Records

Musically this debut album from this UK band, is delightful. If early Cocteau Twins had been harder and harsher, that would be one element to Esben’s sound, combined with the drive, power and mysticism of early Siouxsie and the Banshees. Rachel Davies, Esben’s lead singer and bassist, even sounds a bit like Siouxsie. And very few of these songs include drums, which makes their sonics even more arresting.

But it’s also their optimism, their determined, steely angrily optimistic lyrics, that make this band fresh and different. They want to be happy so badly, and will stop at nothing to be happy. There is also a strange sort of kindness here, too, the kind that will kill. By the end of the album, they are violently blissful, if one can be that, and that state of mind is very refreshing. Let this album be a confidence booster to anyone trying to overcome a bad situation. []

Andrea Weiss


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