Three Quick Ones

Full-scale reviews are on temporary hiatus.  To not halt completely, here’s short reviews for three new records by three well-established artists: Alkaline Trio, Fall Out Boy, and Daft Punk.

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The Wombats - This Modern Glitch (2011)

Flash back to 2004.  Two things had just jumped into my brain: The Futureheads (with their fantastic cover of "The Hounds of Love") and The Killers.  On the one hand, angular English post-punk with a distinct leaning toward fun harmonies and unironic cheekiness; ultra-slick synth-soaked 80s-retro pop on the other.  It was a good summer, musically.  Eventually, the two bands separated in my mind as they went in different directions (slightly slicker angular post-punk and an excellent impression of Bono trying to become Springsteen, respectively).  The unasked, unanswerable question, then: what if they had grown together instead of apart?

Unbidden, unexpected, I have that answer: The Wombats.image

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The Wombats - “Techno Fan”, from This Modern Glitch (2011)

Tim Fite - “For-Closure”, from Under the Table Tennis

Tim Fite - Under the Table Tennis

So what you’re going to do right now - and I mean right the fuck now, I’ll wait - is open up a new tab, point your browser at http://timfite.com, and download Under the Table Tennis. You’re going to do this for two reasons. The first is that (like most of his music) Fite gives it away for free. The other reason - and by far the more important one - is that it’s one of the best records you’ll hear this year. Seriously. I am not fucking with you. Go download it.

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Flobots - The Circle In The Square (2012)

The one thing I heard about the Flobots that stuck with me after “Handlebars" had faded off of WFNX back in 2008 is that on the tour for Fight With Tools their founder and co-MC Johnny 5 never took off any of the admission bracelets (you know, the cheap papery-plastic things that clubs use to show you’ve paid) from the shows they played; he just kept adding them to his arms and letting them fall off as they got too battered to continue.  By the time they were done he was covered from wrist to bicep on both sides.  It’s a fair metaphor for the way the Flobots do business: they’re out there at the show with you, and they want to remember it just as badly as you do.

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Flobots, “The Rose and the Thistle”- from The Circle In The Square (2012)

Muse - The 2nd Law (2012)

I don’t think anybody was all that surprised when Muse’s “Hysteria” was voted the best bassline of all time (disagreed, sure, but it’s not surprising.  It’s one giant fuck of a groove).  They have a tremendous sense of bombast, an ability to make a song sound so much larger than it has any right to be (seriously.  See “Resistance" and "Knights of Cydonia”).  Unfortunately, that gets blurred by a tendency to sound like the band Radiohead is trying really badly not to be anymore.  

With The 2nd Law, Muse has put together a partial departure from their mainstay sounds.  And for the life of me, it does nothing quite so much as remind me of Zooropa.

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Muse, “Madness” - from The 2nd Law (2012)

Mike Doughty - “Haughty Melodic” (2005)

Somehow I’ve wound up listening to records by characters from deep in my past.  On this episode we have M. Doughty (having grown back his first name, Mike), the former front man and driving force of slacker jazz scenesters Soul Coughing.  

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