Monday, July 24, 2006

Musical Interlude

Couple albums that have taken me lately:

TV on the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain

Finally! This is the breakthrough break-out break-in blowed up piece of musical shrapnel that will take over the world, if enough people hear it. This is a fully complete TVOTR album, fulfilling the potential of the original EP and minus the occasional lapse in judgment and weak bridge of their debut album. There are rhythms and melodies that are completely original, utterly TV on the Radio. The two new members - an actual human drummer and a smooth bassist - add much needed dimension to a band that strives for something greater than just music. This is passion in sonic form. Their lyrics are passionate and topical. There is talk of war that feels so personal we're not sure if they're meaning Iraq or some kind of personal relationship battle. There are images of floods and homes drowned and we know it is the ghost of Katrina. TV on the Radio are notorious as some of the only non-whitey indie rock music, but here they are more than just a color or a city or a genre, they are a statement of purpose and power.

Phoenix - It's Never Been Like That

This is the little band that could. As in, you can hear the potential on their songs, but I could never sit through one of their albums. A combination of boredom, repetition anxiety, and frank disillusionment would set in. Not this time. This is an kick-ass rocker of an album from start to finish. Phoenix seem to have let down their hair a little with this one. The tightness and over-calculated attention to detail of their previous works were admirable but not necessarily enjoyable. Again, not here. This album is simply fun. It is a breathe of fresh air. It lacks the pretentiousness of a lot of other, similar, bands that employ synths as if the 90's never happened, who sing in high-pitched flare unconscious of any metrosexual connotations, and whose lyrics don't make any rational sense, but are fun to sing along to. One of the best albums of 2006.