Tonight in Seattle:  

Built to Spill, Morrissey, The Streets, Yeah Yeah Yeahs — Single Reviews: A Spring Mix of New Music

{8}

{Interscope}

Ah, nothing like the coming of spring. Flowers start poking their heads out of the ground and bursting forth with color that we've missed since the end of the summer. The air begins to warm with the re-emerging sun. People slowly come inching out of the their winter seclusion to venture into the "outdoors". And, most importantly, labels start releasing albums in anticipation of the summer concert season. If you're like me, this spring is rather exciting, with enough new music coming out to make a llama swallow with discomfort. So, to get you up to date on what to expect, I thought I'd drift through my iPod's "New Music" playlist and report to you on some of the more anticipated new singles for the impending change of season.


Yeah Yeah Yeahs "Gold Lion" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs from the album Show Your Bones {8.0}
Buy it!
{Interscope Records}

If anyone were to tell you that the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are due for an atomic-scale explosion with their new album, then they are either the type that gathered intelligence for the Bush administration on Iraq or quite delusional (I suppose those two types of people are more or less the same come to think of it). Not only did they come this close to superstardom with their debut, but they are fronted by a dead-sexy (albeit somewhat frightening) leader singer in the form of Karen O and they know how to write catchy tunes. That being said, "Gold Lion," the first single off of their new disc, is a little bit of a disappointment on first listen. It lacks the passion of "Maps" or the intensity of "Date with the Night". It reeks of snazzy studio production. It, in fact, sounds like a revamped version of Love & Rockets "No New Tale to Tell". However, if you let the song spin through a few times, you find yourself inevitably singing the song in the shower. Or the kitchen. Or on the bus. Or in your sleep. Yes, they have another hit. Enjoy the Yeah Yeah Yeahs before they become the next-generation No Doubt (hopefully with the Gwen Stefani-hip hop mutation potential).

Morrissey "You Have Killed Me" by Morrissey from the album Ringleader of the Tormentors {7.7}
Buy it!
{Sanctuary Records}

I have to admit, I have long had a mancrush on Morrissey. I honestly have no idea why. I wish I did. I'd be the first to admit I was pleased (and a little shocked) at his renaissance with his 2004 album You are the Quarry. Who knew that so many of us have been salivating for the return of Mr. Gloom himself. Now that Moz has realized that the world really does love him as much as he loves himself, he's come back much quicker with the early frontrunner for "Best Album Title of 2006," Ringleader of the Tormentors. The first "You Have Killed Me" pulls no punches, it more or less is an extension of the Quarry sound, rich with guitars and Morrissey smooth-as-silk voice. Sure, his lyrics are still ridiculously over the top: I entered nothing/and nothing entered me/'til you came with the key/and did you best/but as I live and breathe/you have killed me. Yes my friends, Morrissey has become the Frank Sinatra of alternative rock and this is his "My Way".

Built to Spill "Goin' Against Your Mind" by Built To Spill from the album You In Reverse {9.0}
Buy it!
{Warner Brothers Records}

You have to give Doug Martsch credit. Only a certain type of person can get away with having the first single from two major label albums clock in at over eight minutes long. Unlike Perfect From Now On's dirge "Untrustable/Part 2 (About Someone Else)", the first song to be released from Built to Spill's You in Reverse is a veritable barnburner. "Goin' Against Your Mind" starts off with a reckless abandon that we haven't heard from Built to Spill since There's Nothing Wrong with Love, with throbbing drums and dueling guitars that crashing in like waves during a storm. It is a full two minutes before Doug's vocals even come in, but the complexity of the song makes the 8+ minutes fly by. The song is broken up by a quiet interlude where the bass drives the music as Doug laments When I was a kid I saw a light/floating high above the trees one night/thought it was an alien/turns out to be just God before the tempo kicks back to have the song roar to a close. It seems that Built to Spill has finally found that balance between the sprawling epics of Perfect and the infectious rock of Love.

The Streets "When You Wasn't Famous" by The Streets from the album Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living {9.2}
Buy it!
{Vice Records}

Mike Skinner has learned something that many rappers never learn: rap about what you know. Sure, A Grand Don't Come for Free was brilliant, but is anyone going to believe that with the uberstardom that the Streets have attained worldwide that Mike Skinner would be concerned about losing a thousand quid? Heck, he probably lights his massive joints with £100 notes. So, what is a man to do? Write a song about how easy it is to get girls when you're famous. And, if you want to get back to feeling like you are famous, starting dating with other celebrities. Honestly, who of us can't relate with that sentiment anyway? (Ok, maybe not.) What makes "When You Wasn't Famous" so great is the infectious production - the marching beat and flute - it might be the first foray into highland Scottish hip-hop. Teamed with some of loosest rapping Skinner has ever recorded and some downright comical lyric like I realize with you the truth can be a whole lot worse than the flak/my whole life I never thought I'd see a pop star smoke some crack, the Streets might have dialed in the song that makes them huge stateside. Ah Mike, if only we knew what celebrities were talking about, but at least you're having fun these days.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
Type the characters you see in this picture. (verify using audio)
Type the characters you see in the picture above; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.