Web Toolbar by Wibiya Bears and Bullets: 2011-02-20

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Bears: New Walkmen video - While I Shovel the Snow

If the Walkmen's new video "While I Shovel Snow" didn't actually have snow in it, I'd probably be a little turned off by it. Luckily, it has a ton. No shoveling though, which I can deal with.

Lisbon, the group's latest album, is available now via Fat Possum Records.

The Walkmen - While I Shovel Snow

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The King of Limbs, an introspection

In what some could consider shocking news, Pitchfork gave their long-awaited review of Radiohead's new album The King of Limbs today, handing out the lowest rating of any of the band's studio albums (not counting Pablo Honey): a 7.9.

In relative terms, Pitchfork's next lowest rating for a Radiohead album was Amnesiac with a 9.0. Obviously, the fine line where The King of Limbs falls is somewhat of a mystery to this point. Fanfare from the album has been everywhere from sorely disappointing, to splendidly crafted and underrated. Yet, from most viable sources and variable discussions, there's a safe consensus to say that it's no one's preferred Radiohead work.

So, what is it then that deviates where The King of Limbs acclimates itself in the Radiohead catalog? Four years after the release of In Rainbows, an album that seemed underwhelming by some at the time of its release, but has aged remarkably, what possible directions the band would take moving forward seemed unrefined. What has inevitably become, to the disappointment of many, is a downsizing of their work.

Hail to the Thief was a massive sprawl of sounds and complicated ideas often found to be too broad and reveling, making the band that was known for continually manipulating its own creative apex sound like they were trying just a bit too hard. But if In Rainbows was a down-sizing from Hail to the Thief, than The King of Limbs is the band's sordid attempt to minimize anything and everything that made the group seem so impossibly large.

For some, the album is a reversion to the early-2000s sound of the band where the anthemic guitars of the late-90s ceased to be a mechanism of genial comfort and the group learned to expand boundaries they had previously not traversed. In hindsight, that thought may be implausible; there's little to no way to quantify the new album.

The severe intricacy of the eight tracks is often deceiving, but that's largely an inept excuse for a lack of sheer emotionality that innately touches the average Radiohead listener. That very same emotionality that fans experienced with most of the group's previous albums isn't totally absent this time around, but in the same regard isn't anywhere near that of, say, In Rainbows. Much of Thom Yorke's vocal work is muddled behind modifiers and looping rhythms, perhaps hindering the band's most brilliant asset as well.

But despite its honest contractions, The King of Limbs is still an encapsulating collection of songs, especially for the album's latter half. It's unfortunate, however, that the waning moments of the album's final song, "Separator," remind us of Radiohead's best, as Yorke's swirling wails of "Wake me up/wake me up" fill in the vacuum of silence that make many of us wonder when/if The King of Limbs Pt. II will be released.

So is disappointment surely justified, if that's the consensus? Possibly. Again, this is Radiohead. The fact that they made something that was almost universally penned as lacking astonishing exception is something of a frenetic anomaly, considering the group's unparalleled consistency and pace of altering directions. Anything less than stellar can be considered a disappointment.

To give the album the benefit of the doubt, the full impact of the work cannot be honestly contested until either a second half comes out (only a rumor), or a year or two pass. That's the value of a Radiohead album, in reality - too difficult to accurately quantify without repetitively analyzing every microcosm of significance. It's a lengthy process, but one that usually entails work worth the unquestioned merit.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New TV on the Radio - Will Do

A day after TV on the Radio released their updated spring and summer tour dates to prep the release of their upcoming album Nine Types of Light, the band released the album's first single "Will Do." Listeners should be relieved and excited, cause it totally sounds all TV on the Radio-ey.

TV on the Radio - Will Do

Wednesday Bears: Deerhunter on Letterman

Deerhunter, with a few friends from the Black Lips and Back Pockets, brought an extended edition of "Memory Boy," the short Halcyon Digest track that the group plans to release as a single on Record Store Day, to Letterman last night. Go on, watch.

Deerhunter - Memory Boy (Live on Letterman)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Purity Ring

Maybe if you're like me, this will be your first listen to Purity Ring's new song "Ungirthed" too. If you like what you hear, you can pre-order the group's 7", which is due out in April.

Purity Ring - Ungirthed - MP3

Purity Ring - Ungirthed

New Cults video - Go Outside

In the newest addition to the MTV Supervideos catalog, James Franco's younger brother Dave, and Emma (Julia's niece) Roberts, who plays a French movie star, go out for a silent night on the town, ending in eventual TV-induced sorrow, all the soundtrack of the Cults "Go Outside."

The Cults - Go Outside

Tuesday Bears: Full Album Stream - Wound Rhymes

This doesn't happen too often, but earlier today Lykke Li's upcoming album Wounded Rhymes became available for full stream, nearly a week before its scheduled release date.

You can listen to the full stream here, or at Hype Machine where it originally became available.

Wounded Rhymes is due out Feb. 28. You can pre-order the album here.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday Bears: Weekend video recap

Here were some of the better videos released over the weekend that I didn't get a chance to post yet:

Kanye West - All of the Lights (ft. Rihanna, Kid Cudi) - Directed by Hype Williams

Felix Cartal - World Class Driver - Directed by Josh Forbes

Wolfgang Gartner - Illmerica - Directed by Ryan McNamara

Star Slinger - Mornin'

Gold Panda - Marriage