Come Monday night, things are about to get pretty effing loud north of Chinatown. Portland,...
Published: 08/22/2013 | 1 Comments Posted
While Belle and Sebastian’s early singles and EPs were aesthetically discrete entities, those from the period collated on The Third Eye Centre (Matador) — roughly 2003 to 2011 — felt, at the time, decidedly more ancillary. But that doesn’t make these 19 B-sides (including three remixes) any less delightful. This was, remember, the era when the band really loosened up and started having fun, and the spirit running through these bold, colorful takes on ’60s pop, blue-eyed soul, funk, ska, bossa-nova, Euro-disco, country, etc. is too infectious to remain solely the province of die-hards.
—K. Ross Hoffman
German producer Marek Hemmann performs a decidedly unshowy (but still, somehow, magnificent) balancing act on his excel-lent second full-length, Bittersweet (Freude Am Tanzen) — 10 tracks of matter-of-fact tech house that’s studiously detailed but never dry, cheerful but not aggressively upbeat, melodic but never at the expense of trusty underlying thump-and-wiggly syncopations. More than any other straight-ahead electronic record I’ve heard this year, this one is just a pure, consistent, quiet joy.
—K. Ross Hoffman
Refrigerator’s last release was a disc of demos in 2011. Their last fully formed album dates to 2007. Patience, therefore, is a virtue common to Refrigerator fans. The aptly named Glacial (Shrimper), a collaborative project from Refrigerator frontman Allen Callaci and singer/songwriter Adam Lipman, rewards the patient listener. Lipman’s introspective lyrics and sparse arrangements solicit close attention and repeated plays. Callaci’s voice is as evocative as it was 20 years ago, when the Mountain Goats declared with feigned envy and genuine admiration, “I wish I could sing like Allen Callaci, and then you would know how sad it was.”
Jonathan Byrd and Chris Kokesh’s The Barn Birds (Waterbug) starts off with a pair of sparse originals — just two voices and thoughtful lyrics supported only by his guitar and her violin. The fun starts when Kokesh trades honky-tonk trash talk with Byrd on “One Night at a Time.” They move on to evoke the early days of bluegrass on “Paint the Town Blue.” “It’s Too Late to Call It a Night,” promises romantic shuffling and belt-buckle polishing around the dance floor.