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About two months ago I did a catch up on some music that had slipped through the cracks in my reviews. Time to do some housecleaning and take care of some more new music so far in 2009 that has slipped through:

Can’t Miss Bets (or, these are awesome albums that I really like):

Dan Auerbach - Keep It Hid - Review: April 27, 2009Keep It Hid

Dan Auerbach

February 10, 2009 (US)

Dan Auerbach, the singer/guitarist for The Black Keys brings his own soulful, bluesy, at times verging on psychadelic music to the world in his first solo album, an eclectic mix, one that will be mixing it up in all the year end countdowns, I guarantee you (it’s very likely to be in my top 20). Plus, he has a sweet beard (which bodes well, considering Ray Lamontagne, another bearded bard finished #2 on my 2008 countdown).

“when the night comes
and you lay your weary head to rest
no more trials, no tests”

“When the Night Comes”(album)

9/10

DM Stith - Heavy Ghost - Review: April 27, 2009Heavy Ghost

DM Stith

March 10, 2009 (US)

Heavy Ghost is a freaky-deaky album. It’s dark. It’s scary. It’s also brilliant. DM Stith is like Sufjan Stevens if he put on the black symbiote suit from Spiderman 3 and then made music. This is another one to watch for at the end of the year.

“how many things?
how many things can I say to you?
and expect shock-horror, shock-horror, shock-horror, hallelujah
to descend again in sweet oblation
your God’s a lion, recently fed, drowsy
and the body, the body, the body, the body, the body, it waits for obliteration”

“Pity Dance” (music video)

8.5/10

Not Worth A Rush (or, you might dig them, but they’re not for all):

Bell X1 - Blue Lights On The Runway - Review: April 27, 2009Blue Lights On The Runway

Bell X1

February 20, 2009 (Ire)

I crossed my fingers waiting for this album. I loved Bell X1’s last album, Flock, so much. I kid you not, it was a part of my routine listening for about two years. All in all, Blue Lights On The Runway is not their best album, but it’s a nice album worth listening to. With another eight months worth of releases to come, it probably won’t make it onto my top 20 albums at the end of the year, but at the moment is holding down a spot. It may surprise and win a spot on my top 20 songs of 2009, with the understated “How Your Heart Is Wired” (below).

“i don’t know what you’re carrying
or how your heart is wired
but there’s a dangerous ticking
i cut the red one
no, the blue one
i cut the red one
no, the blue one
i cut the red one”

“How Your Heart Is Wired” (live)

7.5/10

Black Lips - 200 Million Thousand - Review: April 27, 2009200 Million Thousand

Black Lips

February 24, 2009 (US)

The sort of low-fi, garage surf-punk rock that Black Lips put out is definitely not for everyone. That being said, punk is an aesthetic movement that they get. It’s not about guitarmanship, singing ability or singles. It doesn’t mean you have to sound like the Sex Pistols, either. It’s about pushing back against the establishment through art. The fact they are signed to Vice Records is so fitting. If you dig that sort of thing, you’ll “get” it too.

“don’t light me up i got a short fuse
don’t put me down i just love the dirt
don’t tie me up cause i’ll just get loose
don’t try to play you might get hurt”

“Short Fuse” (music video)

6.5/10

Cursive - Mama, I'm Swollen - Review: April 27, 2009Mama, I’m Swollen

Cursive

March 10, 2009 (US)

Indie rockers Cursive bring forward an album that is broody and emotive. It’s not “emo”, but it’s emotive. Lyrically inspired work that wordsmith listeners can nod in agreement with.

“we’re at our best when it’s from our hips
from our hips we don’t give a shit
it just feels good, and that’s no sin
it’s the only way to feel alive
the closest thing to being born again
and when baby comes, it’s ‘job well done’
roll in the hay, or roll around the sun”

“From the Hips” (live on tv)

7/10

Matt & Kim - Grand - Review: April 27, 2009Grand

Matt & Kim

January 20, 2009 (US)

They’re just too fucking cute. Yes, the f-word is necessary. “Daylight” (below) just might be one of those tracks that is so awesome one minute that you think it should be considered for song of the year. It is also one of those songs that makes you want to scream in agony after hearing it a thousand times. I’m not yet at a thousand listens. So, in the meantime, it remains enjoyable and a current favourite, even if it’s essentially meaningless fluff. The rest of the album runs along the same lines. Staying power? None. Given enough time, I will grow to hate this album.

“slip and slide on subway grates
these shoes are poor mans ice skates
fall through like change in the daylight
fall through like change in the daylight

i miss yellow lines in my roads
some color on monochrome
maybe i’ll paint them in myself
maybe i’ll paint them in myself”

“Daylight” (music video)

7/10

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Review: April 27, 2009The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

February 3, 2009 (US)

What planet did these guys come from? Or, more accurately, what Cold War era bomb shelter did they crawl out of? Seriously. Listening to this album, it could easily have come from the height of shoegazing in the late 1980s. The Jesus and Mary Chain or My Bloody Valentine themselves would approve fondly. Normally when a band does something that sounds retro, it sounds retro. As in a nod to the past. Not actually from the past. That’s vintage. These people are vintage. Without any sense of irony. I honestly believe that they live in a world where Thatcher is still Prime Minister, the Berlin Wall has not fallen, Reagan is yelling at the Evil Empire, etc. This doesn’t belong on iTunes, it should be on vinyl. Watch their video for “Everything With You” (below) filmed on Super 8 and tell me that you don’t genuinely believe that some sort of time-travel has occured. We need to get this thing sorted before the time-space continuum implodes. In the meantime, it is a good album.

“i’m with you and there’s nothing left to do
tell me its true
i’m with you and the stars are crashing through
i want everything with you”

“Everything With You” (music video)

7.5/10

The Rifles - The Great Escape - Review: April 27, 2009The Great Escape

The Rifles

January 26, 2009 (UK)

It’s a crowded genre that The Rifles find themselves in. The Kaiser Chiefs. The Pigeon Detectives. The Rakes. The View. Arctic Monkeys. White Lies. The Kooks. et cetera. The point is that it’s not easy. What do they bring that sets them apart? Well, that’s just it. They don’t have anything new, nothing grandiose or adventurous a la The Kaiser Chiefs’ 2008 offering, Off With Their Heads, which added in some slick strings and big lyrics to back up their bravado (not to mention the fact it squeeked into my top 20 albums of ’08). Instead, Great Escape is The Rifles acquiescing to keeping it simple, playing it safe. Accordingly, in the end that’s what the listeners get: simple, safe.

“join a local gang and get a cool nickname
make your lifelong sweetheart your ball & chain
convert your self belief for a new religion
or leave the TV on, make a decision when you’re

Waiting for the day you’re not looking for something else
Waiting for the day you’re not looking for something else”

“The Great Escape” (music video)

7/10

Wavves - Review: April 27, 2009Wavves

Wavves

February 3, 2009 (US)

Wavves, the band, put out Wavves, their first album, last year. This year, Wavves, the band, put out Wavves, their second album. It’s different. But like Weezer, these guys like to keep us on our toes. Damn lo-fi, noise surfer-punk. If you understood that sentence, you’ll like this album. If you have no idea what I am talking about feel free to move along. Wavves is just corrupting the youth.

“i’m so bored
yeah i’m so bored”

“So Bored” (video)

6/10

The Whitest Boy Alive - Rules - Review: April 27, 2009Rules

The Whitest Boy Alive

March 30, 2009 (UK)

Formulaic, repetitive, underwhelming and oddly addictive to listen to. I want it as the soundtrack to all my real world boring tasks: standing in an elevator, doing laundry, walking down the street. Gahhhh. Take it away!

can you keep a secret?
what choice do i have?
the door that you’ve opened
the seal that you’ve broken
you cannot shut now

“Keep A Secret” (album)

6.5/10

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