Yesterday the Punch Brothers released their third full-length album yesterday on Nonesuch Records. You can stream the entire album all week over at Spinner or you can purchase it here: Who’s Feeling Young Now? If you are unfamiliar with Punch Brothers, they are a bluegrass group that Chris Thile started shortly after Nickel Creek called it quits. The new album was produced by Jacquire King (Modest Mouse, Kings of Leon), and has a really fun sound. Take a listen to this great track from the album courtesy of Direct Current.
The cold harnesses the mind and hones the senses. We see divisions more clearly: the geometry of a bedside table, the sharp difference of darkness and light, the separation of communal identity and the lone self. In winter, the watercolor smear of summer is gone and the world has suddenly come into focus.
Winter keeps us indoors for long spans, which is hell for restless people. But more time affords longer commitments, like that of listening to a record in its entirety. Here are some frosty nuggets.
Music Has the Right to Children – Boards of Canada
Music Has the Right to Children is a future-music dream city submerged in murky water and subliminal messages. Melodies dissolve just as they reach boiling point. Many sounds are so subtle they hardly exist, so strap on some headphones. Hazy jams like “Aquarius” and “Turquoise Hexagon Sun” loom high, stretching a hip-hop beat and warping it forever past time. If Kubrick made beats…
Kind of Blue – Miles Davis
“All Blues” is the winter song on the jazz record. These alien chord changes don’t ever touch ground, despite heaps of praise. A tense theme for driving home from work at the end of dusk, the song has no peers. Kind of Blue is so unassuming but it demands your attention. This kind of record is extinct; it’s for people that have to wait for things.
Kid A – Radiohead
I remember first listening to all of Kid A in the early morning, on a stretch of highway in Colorado. We passed cranes and incomplete shopping malls, all of it dusted with snow, to the chug of “The National Anthem.” The car coasted around a mountain pass during “In Limbo,” a drugged funhouse mirror. It’s an album, man, and each song is a stream into one frigid reservoir.
Knives Don’t Have Your Back – Emily Haines & the Soft Skeleton
Haines sets out on a desolate adventure from Metric, the electric-rock group, with nothing but a husky contralto and jazz in the liner notes. “The first three songs all begin with the same note,” a friend pointed out, and he’s right; this is a mood record. The music of a late winter night should be concentrated, sparse and factual. Haines’ path is sad and beautiful.
- The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground
- 23 – Blonde Redhead
- The Moon and Antarctica – Modest Mouse
- Sanguine – Julianna Barwick
- Turn On the Bright Lights – Interpol
- Songs of Leonard Cohen – Leonard Cohen
- Demon Dayz – Gorillaz
There has been a decent amount of buzz over Norah Jones making a rock record. Not sure if that is the way I would describe it. But it is definitely worth talking about. While staying true to who she is, Jones has indeed managed to shake things up a little. But it’s not a rock record. It’s got more soul in it than it does rock and it doesn’t stray all that far from her jazzy roots.
The key component for change here was the switch to Modest Mouse and Kings of Leon producer Jaquire King. He definitely adds a little edge to the final product on several tracks. She is also playing with a completely new band who have collectively recorded with the likes of Beck, R.E.M., Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, The Roots and Herbie Hancock. Also the “retired” Ryan Adams and Okkervil River’s Will Shef gave a helping hand and each helped Jones co-write a different song on the album.
The Fall is easily Norah’s best effort since her delightful 2002 debut. Norah Jones enthusiasts won’t be disappointed and it is sure to attract a brand new batch of fans. Take a listen to the opening track, which gives you a great idea of the shift taking place on this fantastic record.
So I know I’m a little late on sharing this song with you, but I thought today, Music Video Monday, would be a good day, since they just released a video for it over the weekend that you can watch right here. While the Kevin Willis directed video is interesting and a bit creepy, the song itself is sort of blah. It’s not horrible and has some amusing lyrics, but it’s uncharacteristically bland for a Modest Mouse song. It is void of energy, as you can see from there performance on Letterman several weeks ago. I feel like you can skip around to any point during the song and it will sound exactly the same. It starts off fine, but then it goes nowhere. There is no crescendo, no building on itself, just blah. Hopefully the rest of the forthcoming EP will have a little more passion and zeal.