Philip Selway / Weatherhouse / PIAS / 2014

psWeatherhouse is the 2nd solo full-length from Philip Selway, better known as the drummer for Radiohead. Selway is quite adept at building atmospheric canvases, manicuring this ballad-heavy record with string arrangements and (unsurprisingly) well-curated percussion.

Lush, layered strings are the grounding force on Track 2 “Around Again” (until they build to a near cacophonous rage) coupled with a persistent maraca/egg, a jumpy drum beat and the most Radiohead sounding element (of the album), a sliding electric bassline.

Track 4 “Miles Away” opens with keys and a cool minimal beat, later adding a ride cymbal and just when you least expect, a loud distorted/jagged guitar line joins the mix. This song reminds me of The Antlers recent work.

An acoustic guitar and haunting synths are the focus of the aptly titled “Ghosts” (Track 5). I could easily hear Thom Yorke singing this song.

The undisputed BEST track here is the piano-centric “It Will End In Tears” (Track 6) on which Selway shows he can write a single with an undeniable hook, fleshed out with strings and a vocal choir. Bravo!

 

RIYL: Radiohead (duh?), The Antlers, Suede ballads, Kevin Tihista

Recommended tracks: 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

T.V. Eye 10/27-10/31

Mon. 10/27 – Wilco on Fallon NBC 11:30

Tues. 10/28 – Beck on Conan TBS 10:50
Sturgill Simpson on Fallon NBC 11:30

Wed. 10/29 – She & Him on Fallon NBC 11:30

Thurs. 10/30 – Spoon on Jon Stewart CC 10:20
The War On Drugs on Conan TBS 10:50
Perfume Genius on Letterman CBS 11:30

Fri. 10/31 – The Flaming Lips on Kimmel ABC 11:30
Run The Jewels on Letterman CBS 11:30

New Release Calendar

NOVEMBER

Gruff Rhys – American Interior (11/4)-US

Deerhoof – La Isla Bonita (11/4)

Bob Dylan – The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 (6-CD) (11/4)

Pink Floyd – The Endless River (11/10)

Parkay Quarts – Content Nausea (11/11)

VA – Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes (11/11)

Wilco – Alpha Mike Foxtrot: Rare Tracks 1994 – 2014  (11/17)

Bryan Ferry – Avonmore (11/17)

TV On The Radio – Seeds (11/18)

Ariel Pink – Pom Pom (11/18)

DECEMBER

Songs: Ohia – Didn’t It Rain (12/2) (2 CD reissue)

She & Him – Classics (12/2)

2015

Belle & Sebastian – Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance (1/20)

Sleater-Kinney – No Cities To Love (1/20)

The Charlatans – Modern Nature (1/26)-UK

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Chasing Yesterday (3/2)

Upcoming Concert Calendar – Chicago

Here’s a list of the best shows coming to town:

**SAT 11/8          Stephin Merritt +1                                 7pm @ Old Town School ($30)

SUN 11/9         An Evening with Sun Kil Moon            7:30pm @ Park West ($25)

WED 11/12    Gruff Rhys +1                                             8pm @ Schubas ($15)

WED 11/12    Interpol w/ Hundred Waters                      7:30pm @ The Riv ($30)

FRI 11/14 New Pornographers w/Pains of Being Pure At Heart  8pm @ The Riv ($30)

THURS 11/20  Kevin Barnes (of Montreal) on David Bowie    6pm @ MCA ($10) 

SAT 11/22 Disappears plays Low part of Bowie Changes  7:30pm @ MCA Chicago ($20)

**SAT 12/6      Sturgill Simpson +1                                               8pm @ Thalia Hall ($16-26)

TUES 12/30     American Football (17+)                                   8pm @ Bottom Lounge ($25)

WED 12/31       American Football (21+)                                  9pm @ Bottom Lounge ($45)

THURS 1/1       American Football (all ages)                            7:30pm @ Lincoln Hall ($25)

**FRI 1/2             American Football (18+)                                  10pm @ Lincoln Hall ($25)

THURS 1/15        Protomartyr +3 (part of TNK ’15)                     8pm @ Schubas ($15)

FRI 1/16            Hamilton Leithauser +2 (part of TNK ’15)           9pm @ Lincoln Hall ($15)

SAT 1/17  Strand Of Oaks, Kevin Morby +1 (part of TNK ’15)      9pm @ Lincoln Hall ($15)

WED 1/21         The Vaselines                                                       9pm @ Empty Bottle ($20)

SAT 3/14           Sylvan Esso                                                          9pm @ Metro ($18)

FRI 4/3              Belle & Sebastian                                                 8pm @ The Riv ($40)

Key: you’re shit outta luck (SOLD OUT)
** – tickets going fast

Kevin Morby / Still Life / Woodsist / 2014

kevin-morby-stilllife

Still Life is the second solo album from Kevin Morby, formerly the bassist of Woods and guitarist for The Babies, who are currently on hiatus. Listening to the album opener, “The Jester, The Tramp & the Acrobat,” Morby immediately reminds me of Cass McCombs in vocal style and composition. (Also see Track 6 Re: Cass McCombs sound) Both guys are storytellers lyrically, in the tradition of Bob Dylan, right down to the dropped off vocal drawl.

A good portion of this record sounds more fleshed out (and the work of a full live band) than Morby’s debut. (great use of bass, drums and organs)

Track 3 “Motors Runnin” has a jangly (Feelies-like) guitar upfront and later gives way to a (Galaxie 500) style guitar solo.

Track 7 “Parade” has a timeless/classic sound about it. Opening with a clean electric guitar tone, drums and adding a tinkling piano and saxophone, this is probably the album highlight. “Parade” also adds some double-layered lead vocals and female backing vocal (bah bah bahs) for good measure. Lyrically it’s a bit new-agey, revolving around the line “If I were to die today…”

RIYL: Cass McCombs, Bob Dylan, Kurt Vile, Jim James

Recommended tracks: 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 9

LVL UP / Hoodwink’d / Double Double Whammy / 2014

LU

Hoodwink’d is the sophomore album from New York’s LVL UP. There are 3 songwriters and seemingly as many lead vocalists (along with female backing vocals) mixed throughout the record.

Hoodwink’d is a slacker record through and through, calling to mind vintage Pavement, GBV, Superchunk and Weezer, as well as retro-leaning peers like Yuck, Parquet Courts, PAWS and Speedy Ortiz.

Track 2, “Stoned Alone” is a peppy shuffle of a tune with a giddy wordless chorus and vocals reminiscent of Martin Courtney of Real Estate. There a several songs that share the breezy Real Estate guitar ethos as well as vocal similarity on Hoodwink’d. (Also see tracks 6 & 14)

Track 4, “Hex” is a dead ringer for Slanted + Enchanted-era Pavement and the fuzzy guitar fueled “DBTS” (Track 7) rings of Weezer and GBV.

Piling on the retro reverence, Track 9 restates Silver Jews lyrics “I feel insane when you get in my bed” and discusses what one thinks about when listening to the Silver Jews. This is LVL UP’s anthem, with the repeated line “I keep trying to lose.”

Recommended tracks: 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14

Ex Hex / Rips / Merge / 2014

Rips is the debut full-length from Washington D.C. based trio Ex Hex. The group is fronted by Mary Timony, most recently of Wild Flag and previously of the band Helium. Rips is also a good adjective to describe the sound because Ex Hex is a riffing power-pop force.

3 of the cuts here were released earlier this year on a 7” (Tracks 6, 7 & 11 on Rips), HOWEVER the versions on Rips are new/different recordings.

Album opener and first single “Don’t Wanna Lose” is a gritty kiss-off displaying pop sensibilities while also making room for guitar soloing all within 2 ½ minutes. I particularly enjoy the tambourine employed early on in the track.

Track 3 “Waste Your Time” has a sing-songy guitar line and the bass is definitely moved up front in the mix.

One of the heavier numbers is “New Kid” (track 9) and like much of the album is a riff-fest married to the angsty refrain “You’re a warrior, a warrior, a warrior.”

Album closer “Outro” is the closest thing to a slow burn song here and is sort of a forgettable toss-off.

Recommended tracks: 1, 3, 6, 7, 9, 11