At the center of NY based dance act Hercules and Love Affair is DJ/producer/songwriter Andy Butler. He’s made it clear in the past that this project may feature a rotating cast from album to album. And while Blue Songs showcases plenty of interesting new voices (including Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke), one can’t help but miss the soulful magic that helped make HLA’s self-titled 2008 debut a colossal, disco-reviving hit machine (Antony Hegarty). Also gone is a lot of that groove altogether—in its place, a darker homage to 80s house music. Energy has by no means left the dancefloor (see: opener “Painted Eyes” into “My House”, jams), but there is a slight hangover present at times. It’s an admirable albeit less-fun direction (that will likely translate better live), and the US version comes loaded with seven remixes and two new tracks to reward patient fans since the UK saw this release back in January.
[BoxTitle]The War On Drugs: Slave Ambient[/BoxTitle] [MusicVideos]http://heavy.com/music/music-video/indie-music-videos/2011/07/the-war-on-drugs-baby-missiles/[/MusicVideos] [Listen]http://lstn.urbanoutfitters.com/lstnradio.php?auto=on&name=Slave%20Ambient[/Listen] [BuyNow]http://www.amazon.com/Slave-Ambient-War-Drugs/dp/B0056ANHRW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1313420212&sr=8-1[/BuyNow]
Philadelphia’s The War on Drugs, now mainly the work of Adam Granduciel, wouldn’t have felt out of place in last week’s nostalgia discussion. After all, his former bandmate Kurt Vile was involved. And like Vile, Granduciel’s approach has a classic rock appeal, centered around strum-based melodies and lyrical patterns that recall Springsteen and Dylan. Where Slave Ambient, the band’s second LP, get its present wind, is in the layering—complex, blurred, and distant. That subtle experimentation (some drone, horns, synth) makes for an involved listen, and could allow for this thing to shine a little brighter with each spin.
[BoxTitle]Yellow Ostrich: The Mistress[/BoxTitle] [Listen]http://music.aol.com/new-releases-full-cds/spinner#/12[/Listen] [BuyNow]http://www.amazon.com/Mistress-Yellow-Ostrich/dp/B0058IA6OO/ref=sr_1_2?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1313421861&sr=1-2[/BuyNow]
The success story of Alex Schaaf began with a heap of bandcamp activity last year. Modest uploads ranging from one-man chamber pop to a drum-machine concept EP about Morgan Freeman’s career, all came with an immediate and an endearingly bright-eyed simplicity. Within months he’d uprooted from Wisconsin to Brooklyn, and teamed with seasoned drummer Michael Tapper (We Are Scientists, Fool’s Gold). And now, a nice exclamation point: the official re-release of his formerly DIY full length effort. It’s a proper entry point as well, with standout self-harmonizing demos (“WHALE”, “Mary”) now sharpened and complimented into an album that feels cohesive and original.
[BoxTitle]The Cool Kids: When Fish Ride Bicycles[/BoxTitle] [MusicVideos]http://heavy.com/music/music-video/hip-hop-music-videos/2011/05/the-cool-kids-bundle-up/[/MusicVideos] [Listen]http://www.thagoodlifereviews.com/2011/07/08/the-cool-kids-when-fish-ride-bicycles-album-stream-leak/[/Listen] [BuyNow]http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0058OZA9E/ref=s9_simh_bw_p15_d0_g15_i5?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-3&pf_rd_r=1E4VXJB5R3A07Y4Q6PJV&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1247290242&pf_rd_i=5174[/BuyNow]
Chicago retro-rap duo The Cool Kids first made a splash around 2007, working a fun, pop culturally aware flow, somewhere between Q-tip and early LL Cool J. Their Bake Sale EP was a right place right time kind of campaign, earning them on an allstar tour, and a deal with Mountain Dew’s Green Label. Then that pre-release buzz slowly fizzled as delays held this LP under for years. When Fish Ride Bicycles is finally here; it’s sharp, funky, and clearly not trying to be profound, mostly commenting on the guys fly-times lifestyle of ladies and loafers (including what is probably the first Penny Hardaway reference since “No Diggity”)—harmless to the point of whatever.
[BoxTitle]Jeff Bridges: Jeff Bridges[/BoxTitle] [Listen]http://music.aol.com/new-releases-full-cds/spinner#/2[/Listen] [BuyNow]http://www.amazon.com/Jeff-Bridges/dp/B004XJ317S/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1313420584&sr=1-1[/BuyNow]
Shifting from the movie studio to the recording studio is always going to be headline news, but often for the wrong reasons. This crossover, however, feels a bit more natural. Bridges’ Oscar winning performance in Crazy Heart is proof right away that he’s no stranger to a guitar and a twangy disposition; this closet pursuit dates back just as far as his acting. The self-titled major label debut reunites him with well traveled hitman T-Bone Burnett for a pleasant collection of country blues—an open terrain worth exploring if you’re a fan of the genre, the producer, The Dude, or all of the above.