Great new Thermals album, but too accessible for their long-time fans?
Chromeo--Business Casual...Their electro-house approach hasn't changed much and I think that's a good thing in an era where so much electronic music has gone completely mellow. These guys turn down the volume later in the album but there's stuff to make you move. Track tips: "Night By Night", "Don't Turn the Lights On", "I'm Not Contagious".
The Drums--The Drums...Considering how long ago "Let's Go Surfing" endeared me to these guys, it's taken forever for this official album release in the U.S. The guys have become a major British success, which isn't surprising due to their "Joy Divison/Smiths-meet-the-50's and 60's" influences. The album debuted at #16 on the English charts. "Surfing" is about as happy as you can get, and the track almost didn't make the album. They adeptly blend dark lyrics with some of the most positive melodies around, so don't expect "Surfing" to be representative of the remainder. Their quietest track "Down By the Water" became a free download and has become an internet hit. I interviewed Jacob and Adam from the band last March at SXSW. Great guys (although Adam has left the band), and you can catch it here. Track tips: "Let's Go Surfing", "It Will All End in Tears", "Down By the Water".
Jenny and Johnny--I'm Having Fun Now...Jenny Lewis is Rilo Kiley's lead singer. During their hiatus, she's hooked-up (so to speak) with musician/boyfriend Johnny Rice. If lower-fi endless summer is somewhat if fashion right now, they're in that uptempo sweet spot with great melodies and strong songs. Single "Best Wave" deals with the struggling California economy. Other fave tracks include "Scissor Runner" and "Complicated".
Of Montreal--False Priest...This one is borderline for me, but rising. Of Montreal has been one of my favorite bands, and people are responding really well to this album. False Priest will probably be a grower for me, but I'm not yet liking it as much as "Sunlandic Twins or "Hissing Fauna". It's surprising to me that people are calling this one more accessible because I feel those prior albums are more so. Just the same, Kevin Barnes is one of the most creative people out there, and he'll always keep us guessing. I'll go with the majority and recommend you check this out. Track tips: "Coquet Coquette", "Enemy Gene" f/Janelle Monae, and "Sex Karma" f/Solange Knowles.
The Thermals--These Portland dudes have been around for awhile and their fans are rabid. I get great reports on their live shows. Some of these fans will be disappointed because this is the most accessible Thermals album to date. For me, it works really well and the disc is consistent throughout. The hooks in "I Don't Believe You" are undeniable. I also like "Never Listen to Me" and "Not Like Any Other Feeling".
Lots of good stuff coming just prior to the holiday blitz. None of the above will probably make my year-end top ten, but all strong just the same and some just might make yours. More September albums to come, and I'm looking forward to hearing the new Walkmen . Same for The Black Angels. I respect Interpol but their new one didn't do it for me, sorry to say. Keep raving on and talk soon.