of Montreal – Daughter of Cloud album review

It’s hard to know what to say about of Montreal. Having been around since 1996, they’re certainly vets of the industry, and with a discography that boasts shift after shift in style, lyricism and conception, if there’s one thing you can expect of the band, it’s that you’re always going to be surprised. This is undoubtedly a defining characteristic of the band that has come to the fore with the release of their latest, Daughter of Cloud.

Billed as a rarities compilation of songs written across five years (from 2007 to 2012), the album is the band’s second of the year, and is the perfect testament to the band’s variability. Elements of all kinds of acts, from those that predate of Montreal to those that have almost certainly drawn on them for inspiration, can be heard on this record. Animal Collective, Phoenix, Prince, even The Beatles all seem to make appearances in the undercurrents of the album’s 17-track run. At times it really just seems like a whole lot of nonsense, while other moments of traditional indie normalcy (“Our Love is Senile”) can take you by surprise.

As a whole, Daughter of Cloud is impossible to classify under any unifying feature, other than to note that the entire experience of listening to the album is wholly disorienting, like some sort of psychedelic, feverish, raving dream-nightmare sequence. In the best possible way, of course. The sounds are engaging and the band is lyrically solid. While they’re certainly not writing tunes to showcase their deepest and darkest secrets, lines like “Your attitude is impossible to dance to/I hate myself when you touch me” are the perfect blend of loaded and aloof to keep you engaged without being emotionally draining. The bottom line is that Daughter of Cloud is an album that doesn’t seem to be about anything in particular but features a little bit of everything. Whether or not it works is irrelevant — with 16 years in the biz under their belt, the variability is a badge that they’ve earned and wear well.

Placebo – B3 EP review

Placebo, the London alt-rock trio who are rounding up on 20 years as a group, dropped an EP last week foreshadowing their forthcoming full-fledged 7th studio album next year. Titled B3, the EP is intended to give fans an enticing nibble at what’s still to come.

Tried and true Placebo fans won’t be disappointed, as it’s evident even on a first-listen of the 5-song collection that the band hasn’t abandoned their moody, awkwardly-futuristic-yet-grunge-inspired core sound. They’ve merely injected it with rolling drums, and switching intervals of mellow then pummeling riffs.

Most notable is the lead vocalist and lyrical genius work of Brian Molko. Frontman Molko meshes his wit into a provocatively nasal assault of meaning, drawing on themes of good old fashioned anti-authoritarian recklessness, inability to be oneself in society, and Nirvana-esque mires of love and loss. While admittedly incohesive, the subject matter he discusses gives him the profound ability to provoke fans. Hopefully Molko doesn’t find himself soon, because the angsty trapped-soul vibe works with the confinements of his voice, making his outburts even more loaded and powerful.

This EP is a battleground; drummer Steve Forrest demands the listener’s acknowledgement with a noticeable thrashing of the drums in every track, which he absolutely nails. Nonetheless, Placebo has gone for a cleaner, less-glam sound with this EP. The opening track, namesake “B3,” is surprisingly harsh at first listen- but warms you up as the chorus rolls out, hitting hard and inevitably yielding a few head bobs. The rebellious “I.K.W.Y.L” (I Know Where You Live) is a riotous jest at authority, again with Forrest’s drums a demanding a constant presence that won’t go unappreciated. “I Know You Want To Stop” is one of the more melodic tracks of the set, exhibiting a fusion of new and old that’s sure to grab a few young ears. “Time is Money,” is a slow-paced, rugged afterthought of a track that allows you to drink your fill without being over saturated; it blankets the other songs in harmony.

“Will your paranoia keep you warm?” Molko drawls.

Placebo, no need to be paranoid. B3 will surely placate followers until the release of your album- until then, this EP will serve as the action-flick component to life’s soundtrack.

My Education premiere mind-bending video via Consequence of Sound, announce forthcoming album ‘A Drink For All My Friends’

My Education premiere mind-bending video via Consequence of Sound, announce forthcoming album ‘A Drink For All My Friends’

“There must be something on the air, or in it, to explain the space rock blooming in central Texas. This Austin sextet expands on the arc-riff grandeur of local travelers Explosions in the Sky with John Cale-like viola and simple, rising melodies that take you way up and out. My surprise find at SXSW this year, My Education are advanced ecstasy.” — David Fricke, Rolling Stone

Austin, TX sonic explorers My Education premiere the first video from their forthcoming new album today via Consequence of Sound. The long-running 7 piece band’s sixth album, A Drink For All My Friends will be released November 27th, 2012 in North America on Headbump Records/Haute Magie and in Europe on Golden Antenna.

A Drink For All My Friends is the band’s most streamlined and aggressive effort yet, while remaining an entrancing cinematic journey throughout, exploring everything from the final communiques from doomed airline pilots to a frenetic and violent outburst from a laboratory golem.

Since forming in 1999, the band’s membership has expanded and contracted while the sonic landscapes have grown with each release. My Education has released 5 full-length albums, several singles, compilation appearances, and a 12″ vinyl collaboration with avant-hip hop duo Dalek. Recordings have been remixed by members of bands Kinski, Pelican, Red Sparowes and Dalek.

In June 2010 the band completed a series of improvisational recordings with Salt Lake City ensemble Theta Naught that were released April 2011 on Differential Records. “SoundMass” performances at SXSW and Austin Psych Fest were greeted with wild acclaim, and a Daytrotter SoundMass session was released in July 2011. Vinyl of this release is brand new and out now. Additional SoundMass performances are currently being scheduled to promote the vinyl and new recordings are also in the works. My Education’s collaboration with the Noble Motion dance company premiered with three sold out shows in June 2011 at the Austin Ballet. A new limited edition CD of Sunrise remixes is out now on Reverb Worship as well as a limited edition live “bootleg” CD entitled Bamboozled from the band’s 2010 tour. On the horizon: My Education’s first European tour now booking for spring 2013.

A Drink For All My Friends will be available on LP, CD, cassette and download on November 27th, 2012 via Headbump Records in the US and Golden Antenna in Europe.

My Education video

MY EDUCATION live:
11/30 Austin, TX @ The ND (album release party)

My Education – A Drink For All My Friends
Artist: My Education
Album: A Drink For All My Friends
Label: Headbump Records (US) / Golden Antenna (EU)
Release Date: November 27, 2012

01. A Drink For…
02. …All My Friends
03. Mister 1986
04. Black Box
05. ROBOTER-HOHLENBEWOHNER
06. Happy Village
07. Homunculus

Dumbo Gets Mad Premieres New Single on Yours Truly Announces Sophomore LP

Dumbo Gets Mad Premieres New Single on Yours Truly Announces Sophomore LP

“Radical Leap”

TODAY Italian psych outfit Dumbo Gets Mad premieres their latest single “Radical Leap” on Yours Truly taken from their forthcoming sophomore effort Quantum Leap due out early next year on the very awesome Bad Panda Records. You can also watch the teaser trailer for the track above.

The project’s 2011 debut Elephants at the Door (Bad Panda Records) garnered international attention for its fresh and irresistible take on eclectic psych pop with an experimental lean. Following up the debut and splitting time between Italy and LA, the duo spent the last year writing and recording material for Quantum Leap. Enigmatic frontman said of the new collection and project:

“After two years I can say that Dumbo Gets Mad is probably something that unconsciously came out of my mind as a signal of change. I’ve always played music, it helped me since I was a little kid, to feel free and escape reality. If you come from a small city like I do, you easily feel the need to see things differently, even if just in your mind. All the inspiration had to come from my private fantasies if I wanted to explore new concepts. I found myself working on something that I had never done before. A completely different sound from what I was doing until then. I asked my girlfriend to help me and explore it, because I love the way she perceives things, and that is how it kind of started.

I must say that music itself has always been my greatest inspiration, because amongst all the arts is the one that can actually make me feel better or worse, I don’t even know how to describe the concept of art itself but in my every day life I try to transpose everything that touches me in music, and if a song can take me back to that particular moment, I know I’ve done a good job. Music uses an abstract language that can be interpreted differently. What I try to do is to decode my thoughts in harmony, and reach as many as I can, because in the end that is what every human being is proud to do. We all want to express what we think matters, music is my channel.”

Buffalo Killers kick off fall tour tomorrow in NYC in support of Dig. Sow. Love. Grow

BUFFALO KILLERS KICK-OFF FALL TOUR TOMORROW IN NYC IN SUPPORT OF THEIR RECENT ALBUM “DIG. SOW. LOVE. GROW.” ON ALIVE NATURALSOUND RECORDS

THE OHIO-BASED TRIO OFFERS FANS THEIR NEWLY RECORDED NON-LP TRACK “BAPTIZED” AS A FREE DOWNLOAD!

BUFFALO KILLERS’ FALL TOUR DATES (W/ HOLLIS BROWN)
11.02 Mercury Lounge, New York, NY
11.03 Metropolitan Kitchen & Lounge, Annapolis, MD
11.04 Milkboy, Philadelphia, PA
11.08 Musica, Akron, OH
11.09 Ace Bar, Chicago, IL
11.10 7th Street Entry, Minneapolis, MN
11.15 Radio Radio, Indianapolis, IN
11.16 Taft Theatre, Cincinnati, OH
11.17 Zanzabar, Louisville, KY
(more dates to be announced soon)

In just the short time since the release of their fourth studio album Dig. Sow. Love. Grow. in August Buffalo Killers have been on a roll. The Ohio-based trio have been tearing up the road in support of their critically-acclaimed new album – touring with the likes of The Sheepdogs and will soon be embarking on a November tour with Hollis Brown. In addition to their recent studio LP, they’ve also just released a new double-sided 7″ vinyl single produced by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach (who also produced their 2008 full-length Let It Ride) as part of Shake-It Records’ Dangerous Highway: A Tribute To The Songs of Eddie Hinton project. On it Buffalo Killers turn in moving covers of the legendary Muscle Shoals musician’s “Heavy Makes You Happy (Sha-Na-Boom-Boom)” and “Still Water Runs Deep.”

As if that wasn’t enough, Buffalo Killers’ Zachary and Andrew Gabbard along with Joseph Sebaali have just emerged from the studio with two newly recorded non-LP sonic gems that they’re offering through their website as pay-what-you’d-like singles (one of which you can download as a free mp3 below to share). While the beautiful organic nature of their new song “Nothing Can Bring Me Down” hints towards some of the intoxicating strengths of both Dig. Sow. Love. Grow. and their previous effort 3, the other new track “Baptized” is a down-and-dirty rocker that weds hedonistic hard rock and heavy psych with the righteous and redemptive qualities of gospel music.

Dig. Sow. Love. Grow. is out now through Alive Naturalsound Records and is available in CD and Digital formats, as well as Limited Edition Pink Vinyl LPs exclusive to mailorders through Bomp!

HERE’S WHAT PEOPLE HAVE ALREADY BEEN SAYING ABOUT BUFFALO KILLERS’ RECENT ALBUM DIG. SOW. LOVE. GROW.

Buffalo Killers have long hair, beards and a wonderful new tune “Hey Girl” that harkens back to ’60s psychedelia, CSNY hooks and lava-lamp love. Even though the song possesses a delightfully flowery vibe, “Hey Girl” packs a delicious punch that’s filled with more than your average acid tablets. The Cincinnati band’s new single has a hell of a lot of heart. – SPINNER

Buffalo Killers sound just as American as their name. Brothers Zachary and Andrew Gabbard, plus Joseph Sebaali, bring the full-force blues rock. “Get It,” off Dig. Sow. Love. Grow., is gritty, loud and will no doubt beg the comparison to a handful of contemporary blues-rock bands like former tourmates the Black Keys and the North Mississippi Allstars. – MAGNET

The album features the band’s raucous blues-rock sound, which harkens back to the classic rock era. “Get It,” a rollicking number complete with twangy electric guitar solos, is loud and wild and will likely make you crave a beer. Preferably from a dive bar in the South. – RCRD LBL

Once again the trio draws on a blend of Americana, garage rock, folk and psychedelia for this recording. – RELIX

The band hits noticeably harder this time out, and these ten songs sound less like the work of a bunch of Laurel Canyon refugees and more like the proud Midwesterners they really are. [Their last album] 3 sounded as if the Buffalo Killers were reaching for something bigger and grander than they’d attempted on their first two albums; Dig. Sow. Love. Grow., on the other hand, is a simpler and more organic effort that suggests these guys just want to rock, but it succeeds well enough to be as satisfying as its predecessor. – Mark Deming / ALL MUSIC

The boys rediscovered the volume knobs on their equipment when recording Dig. Sow. Love. Grow. Yup, this James Gangsian number was intended to be played only one way, and that’s loud. – MY OLD KENTUCKY BLOG

“Steeped in ’70s classic rock, Buffalo Killers’ terrific new album Dig. Sow. Love. Grow. features harmonies clearly culled from their past. You can trace the Neil Young influence on their albums going all the way back to their debut. But that influence is even more prominent on Dig. Sow. Love. Grow, which sounds like the classic rowdy albums Young recorded with Crazy Horse in the ’70s” – Jeff Niesel / CLEVELAND SCENE

“Ohio band waves their freak-flag high while keeping things concise. Despite writing heavy riffs that can turn mountains into volcanoes, they don’t pummel you the way most power trios tend to (we’re looking at you Mountain, Blue Cheer, Gov’t Mule). Songs like “Blood on Your Hands” and “I Am Always Here” show a gift for creating memorable, hooky songs that recall the best of Steven Stills, only louder.” – Warren McQuiston / PERFOMER MAGAZINE

“Buffalo Killers are simply one of the best bands to come out of Cincinnati ever.” – ULTRA SESSIONS

With their latest album, Dig. Sow. Love. Grow., brothers Andy and Zachary Gabbard and Joseph Sebaali return with a no-frills production that sounds instantly familiar and is infused with a depth and honesty conspicuously absent on many modern releases. – Kyle Melton / DAYTON CITY PAPER

[5 OUT OF 5 STARS] Dig. Sow. Love. Grow. sees the band absolutely stampeding back to their raucous rock sound, but it also goes the extra step by showcasing both the majestic side of the Buffalo Killers, while managing to convey the overwhelming and unbridled power of the group. The band, which features brothers Zachary (bass and vocals) and Andrew (guitar and vocals) Gabbard, as well as drumming monster Joseph Sebaali, most certainly draws influence from a wide catalog of rock and roll’s elite. But Dig. Sow. Love. Grow. isn’t just another retro-sounding album that mimics bands of yesteryear. It’s a raw, real and commanding sound forged from grit that is as wide and expansive as the western plains, and is as mighty as it’s namesake. Simply put, it’s f**king awesome. – Brian Johnson / MARQUEE MAGAZINE

This is rough and tumble, dirty south, throwback blues rock done right. – ALAN CROSS: A JOURNAL OF MUSICAL THING

Whether it’s chemically, electrically or organically produced — or induced for that matter — the heavy rock of Buffalo Killers’ Dig. Sow. Love. Grow. packs a wallop. – Roy Kasten / KDHX RADIO

This is a band that plays guitar based rock & roll with a heavy heap of vocal harmonies – with an emphasis on songwriting, and dynamic instrumental interplay. They play what they love in the fashion they are able, and what we are given is a soulful stew of excellent songcraft, and quality rock – whether it was recorded this year or in 1969 matters not a bit. The songs are melodic and memorable, the vocals a classic example of what happens when brothers sing together, and they have a drummer who often comes dangerously close to rolling off the rails with a strange, and unpredictable syncopation that makes me smile as I remember Levon Helm. What I really like is the fact that we may be in the presence of a new and genuine American guitar hero. Andy Gabbard is an encyclopedia of cool guitar tones, chord changes, fills, and solos. – ROCK GUITAR DAILY

It’s no surprise that Buffalo Killlers keeps impressing industry insiders. If you take a step back and look at what they have accomplished it’s easy to see that they are easily one of Cincinnati’s most successful bands. – CINCY MUSIC

“For my money, the best rock band to emerge in the 21st century thus far.” – THE RECORD CHANGER

“From the first ringing chord and cymbal crash, Dig. Sow. Love. Grow. is a freshly fueled two-ton truck, hauling a fertile stash of sounds that incorporate the Allman Brothers’ dual-guitar slither and Joe Walsh’s knowing snarl. ‘Course, since these sounds were born, more or less, in the ‘70s, Buffalo Killers have the ability to make anyone who digs those sounds feel as comfy as we did during Dazed and Confused’s first scene.” – Mary Leary / SAN DIEGO READER

“Don’t let those Beatles-esque album covers and Jim Morrison-inspired beards fool you. The Buffalo Killers are, in fact, from this side of the new millennium, though their music, apparel, and general Gestalt make it clear that, spiritually, they’re from the era of lava lamps and free love. The Cincinnati trio are contemporary progenitors of exactly the sort of rough-edged semi-psychedelic 1960s-era feel-good rock-pop (think the Black Keys, but with decidedly more groove) that has been conspicuously absent of late and, incidentally, is more than ripe for a resurgence, and in a big way.” – ART VOICE

Alt-J Wins 2012 Mercury Prize

#Alt-J Wins 2012 Mercury Prize

Alt-J has won the UK’s prestigious Mercury Prize for their debut album An Awesome Wave. The annual music prize is awarded for the best album from the United Kingdom and Ireland. Past winners include PJ Harvey, Portishead, Pulp, Arctic Monkeys, and The xx. This year’s nominees included albums from Michael Kiwanuka, Ben Howard, Jessie Ware, and The Maccabees.

An Awesome Wave was recently released on September 18th in the United States. The album was previously released in the UK to much acclaim, with BBC Music calling it “strong, addictive and enthralling, the perfect accompaniment to any mood, any moment, anywhere,” The Guardian calling them, “the most successful new British band of the year,” and The New York Times said the band’s music “is a handsome alloy of dry acoustic timbre and reverberant effect, suggesting a very British convergence of texture-minded electronic music and psychedelic folk.”

The band are also preparing for a short west coast tour this December, including dates in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Portland, and Seattle. For the full itinerary, please see below.

TUE 12/11 – SAN FRANCISCO, CA @ Bottom of The Hill (SOLD OUT)

WED 12/12 – LOS ANGELES, CA @ Fonda Theater

THU 12/13 – SAN DIEGO, CA @ Casbah

SAT 12/15 – PORTLAND, OR @ Star Theater

SUN 12/16 – KANSAS CITY, KS @ Midland Theater w/ Passion Pit

MON 12/17 – SEATTLE, WA @ The Crocodile (SOLD OUT)

Eddie Roberts’ West Coast Sounds “It’s About Time”

Eddie Roberts’ West Coast Sounds will release their new album It’s About Time on November 13 via Tallest Man Records, and their grunge funk-infused single “Black Bag” can be listened to HERE courtesy of Jambase.

West Coast Sounds is more than simply a band name for guitar maestro Eddie Roberts new endeavor—it’s a statement about where he’s at in his extraordinary life. Two years ago, the Welsh native and longtime Leeds, U.K. resident/globetrotting founder of The New Mastersounds packed his gear and headed to his favorite city, San Francisco. Roberts reconnected with Hammond B3 virtuoso and Boom Boom Room stalwart Wil Blades. He found drummer Jermal Watson (Dirty Dozen Brass Band) on this year’s Jam Cruise. When Jazz Mafia horn players Joe Cohen (tenor sax) and Mike Olmos (trumpet) guested on the New Masterounds’ album Out on the Faultline, Roberts had an epiphany.

“I realized how amazing they were, and it set an idea off,” says Roberts. “The addition of horns automatically changes the sound, although I would say that the grooves and the overall style of the West Coast Sounds is more similar to the New Mastersounds than my solo material, which has usually gone in more of a club jazz direction.”

Regardless of the group or the setting, Roberts’ guitar playing is always visceral and funky. Shades of influence from Grant Green and the Meters’ show up rough and ready to rip.

The theme of time appears throughout the new album from originals “The Long Drive Home” and “A Day, A Week, A Month, A Year,” to covers such as Sisters Love’s “Now Is the Time,” Bobby Williams & His Mar Kings’ “All The Time,” and Gotye’s “Somebody I Used to Know.”
“‘Somebody’ is a cheeky one we threw in there to turn a few heads,” says Roberts. “When I first heard the original, I immediately imagined it with an Afrobeat groove, which is unusual for a group that uses a Hammond organ to produce bass lines rather than a bass guitar. In fact, I couldn’t think of a similar example, so I really wanted to give it a go.”

Roberts produced It’s About Time at Sharkbite Studios in Oakland using house engineers live to tape in just three days with the main band, and a few more dedicated to horn overdubs. Eddie mixed the record himself and mastering is credited to engineer John Cuniberti, who has worked with The Neville Brothers and the Grateful Dead. The result is a rich, vibrant recording with a palpable sense of immediacy that will be released on Bay Area indie, Tallest Man Records.

Tour Dates
11/2 Cumberlandshe Galerie Hannover, Germany*
11/3 Knust Hamburg, Germany*
11/4 100 Club London, UK*
11/5 Sela Bar Leeds, UK*
11/10 Bear Creek Music Festival (late night w/ Wyllys & NY Hussler Ensemble)
11/10 Bear Creek Music Festival*
11/10 Bear Creek Music Festival*
11/16 Cervantes Ball Room*
11/17 Cervantes Ball Room*
11/29 Brick & Mortar Music Hall San Francisco, CA#
11/30 Brick & Mortar Music Hall San Francisco, CA#
12/1 Brick & Mortar Music Hall San Francisco, CA#
*With The New Mastersounds
# With Johny Vidocovitch & Reid Mathis

Lindi Ortega – Cigarettes & Truckstops album review

Ortega’s music has a real, rustic feel to it. By balancing her full, rich voice with the twanginess of the guitars, her music sounds organic and natural, each part playing off of and enhancing the other. I would call her newest album “Cigarettes & Truckstops” classically country except for two things: Ortega’s soulful yet naturally twangy voice, and the fact that she’s originally from Canada.

Ortega shows a vast knowledge of and versatility between the various subgenres and nuances of country and folk music. The fast-paced “The Day You Die” makes you (or me, at least) want to get up and two-step, while “Demons Don’t Get Me Down” wouldn’t sound out of place in a 1920s saloon. By maintaining the same basic elements, Ortega is able to traverse a range of styles with both deftness and cohesion.

I preferred Ortega’s slower songs because I think they showcased her vocals more, letting her slightly nasally, deeply soulful voice take center stage. On “Lead Me On,” she sings with a hopeful melancholy that transforms into a bombastic confidence, all the while supported by an orchestra of guitars that’s both full of timbre and delicately buoyant.  The closing track, “Every Mile of the Ride” is more straightforward indie, with both Ortega’s vocals and the melody becoming more ethereal and gentle, like you’re floating on the song like a river.

Ortega’s delightfully cheeky, clearly having fun with her talent and attitude. On the rockabilly anthem “Don’t Wanna Hear It,” she croons to “Go ahead and sing your sad little song. Before you finish the first verse, baby, I will be long gone.” Luckily for Ortega, she can successfully back up her audacity with an album full of warm, emotional tracks. “Cigarettes & Truckstops” is a solid album, harking back to more traditional styles of country and blues that Ortega manages to breathe, or rather sing, life into.

Ben Harper – By My Side (Retrospective) album review

Ben Harper released “By My Side”, a collection of his most popular acoustic ballads, October 16th. The album is something fans have excitedly awaited for years, and truly lives up to the expectations that surrounded its release. The album’s release accompanies Harper’s first ever strictly acoustic solo tour that began in late September.

Opening with “Forever”, a song unequivocally popular among longtime fans, the Claremont native gently sets the tone for the rest of the album with a soft caressing of the ear, undertones of a lightly strummed acoustic guitar accentuating a melodic croon characteristic of Harper’s balladry. The song outlines a yearning for an romantic relationship lasting with legitimacy, portraying life-long adoration in such a manner that will inspire even the most adamant opposers of commitment to long for an amorous romance.

Harper progresses through the compilation to provide a string of songs that slide elegantly through the air, cascading throughout the room in a manner that inspires exotic dreams of intrigue and passion, delving into the depths of human emotion- gripping the listener by the core and gently skating down their bones to create a sensation of intimacy that resonates strongly in each note.
“Diamonds on the Inside” stands strongly among the slow-paced theme of the album- perhaps symbolic in association with the ballad’s meaning- bursting from soft tones out of nowhere to blast into an anthem anyone ever smitten by a gem hidden under a slew of coal can associate with. Just as the melody emerges among the surrounding slow jams, “Diamonds” illustrates a girl lost in a world of darkness, shining as the sole candle through it all. The passion and intensity of the rhythmic chorus is repeated after each humbly portrayed verse, overlaying the magnitude of the understated lines with uplifting repetition of the song’s fulcrum.

“By My Side” echoes through a variety of themes, bringing Harper’s willing audience along on an exploration of depth via his marvelous songwriting surrounded by gentle melodies, forging a demonstration of the artist’s musical expertise. The album is one that long-time fans and new listeners alike will fall for, and can be found online at Harper’s website or in your local record shop today.

Calexico – Algiers album review

I grew up with Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass playing in my house. Alpert’s soulful trumpet (still going strong today, by the way) cut to the heart and painted such landscapes.  So any band that hints of border-town jangle, brassy  horns and acoustical guitar riffs brings back some great memories.

Calexico’s newest album, Algiers has not disappointed in this effort. The opening track, Epic, has a hint of plaintive solo trumpet and bassy six-string thumps. Founding members Joey Burns and John Covertino share vocals that blend perfectly with the image of indie-desert classical tunes.

Sinners in the Sea is a beautiful, rumba-paced ballad that uses a haunting chorus with off-key instrumentals to build tension, but for more modern tastes, Fortune Teller harkens  an influence The Shins and Kris Orlowski, backed by low-key snare.

The title track, Algiers is just lovely. All instrumental, smooth and tejano-jazzy. A showcase of talent from each band member. I can see this going on for ten or fifteen minutes, easily at a live show and I think I would be sorry when it ended. For lovers of romantic Spanish songs, No Te Vayas will be the standout: trumpeter Jacob Valenzuela wrote this song and teases in some beautiful solos.

This sound isn’t ‘just’ for the indie crowd, or TexMex or  world music aficionados. There are plenty of songs for every category and some reviewers have actually complained that this album (Calexico’s  seventh) is too commercial. Bah. Fifteen tracks long, Algiers is about five tracks longer than most but probably short by this band’s previous works. If I had to pick a single for radio play, Hush would fit in most every market. OK, maybe not hip hop.  But overall, this album is a perfect choice for long-time fans and brand new ones. Hint, hint: Christmas is coming.