Thursday, July 26, 2007

Bloc Party - Cavaliers and Roundheads

What the-- more Bloc Party b-sides?! How is such a thing possible? Considering that many of the A Weekend In The City b-sides released thus far have been superior to the actual a-sides on the album itself, you know I'm thirsty for more. Bloc Party recently issued their third single, this time for the song "Hunting For Witches", and in addition to a new song called "Cavaliers and Roundheads", they've included this great Witches remix by Toronto's own Crystal Castles. CC have been putting all kinds of bands through their noisy 8-bit retro filter, and this is another winner. Now if only they could get around to releasing a full album of original material!

» Bonus Track: Hunting For Witches (Crystal Castles Remix)
» Buy it on Amazon

Monday, July 09, 2007

Hot Hot Heat - Give Up

By my reckoning, Hot Hot Heat have been in danger of fading into obscurity after the release of their last album Elevator, which was not commercially successful enough to turn them into The Killers, but at the same time alienated a lot of fans since it dropped most of the wicked synthesizer and addictive rhythms. It just seemed a little too premeditated and overproduced, and the majority of the songs were far too straightforward to bear many repeat listens. It's a shame, considering the accolades that Make Up The Breakdown received from a lot of people, but they might still have one last shot to remain relevant with their next full-length album. Happiness Ltd. doesn't hit stores until September 11th, but the first single "Give Up" is out now (it will also be gracing the soundtrack of EA's next Burnout game apparently). If you ask me the track is just okay... it's nice to have the synths back again, but I'm assuming (and hoping) this is also the most radio-friendly track on the album. Did someone mention The Killers? Hmm. Well, I'll definitely give them the benefit of the doubt, but I'm fully prepared to accept the fact that their time may have passed. (Also included below is another HHH b-side from The O.C. Chrismukkah compilation. Enjoy.)

» Bonus Track: Christmas Day in the Sun
» Pre-order it on Amazon

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Rentals - Life Without a Brain

When Matt Sharp first struck out on his own from Weezer in 1995 and formed The Rentals, their debut album was ironically titled The Return of The Rentals. It is only now, some 12 years later, that the true return of The Rentals is almost upon us. They first announced their reunion in October of 2005, and launched a short North American tour with Ozma in 2006. Now they are about to release their first new material since the album Seven More Minutes. The Last Little Life EP will be released on August 14th, and will serve as a teaser for their upcoming yet-to-be-titled full length album. The new line-up features Rachel Haden, sister of original female vocalist Petra Haden, who also contributed back up vocals on the first album, and Ben Pringle from Nerf Herder on synths, along with Sara Radle (vocals/multiple instruments), Lauren Chipman on (viola/vocals) and Dan Joeright (drums). The EP is a superb return to form, and it certainly left me wanting more. Now if we could only get Matt Sharp and Rivers Cuomo together in a recording studio again.

» Pre-order the EP

Super Furry Animals - Into The Night

It's been a while since we've heard something truly fun from the Super Furry Animals. Their last few albums have been mostly drab and dare I say stuffy affairs, sorely lacking in the melodies and adventurous atmosphere that we last heard on Rings Around The World. With their latest album Hey Venus!, they may not have made a complete turnaround, but there are at least traces of the Super Furries we once knew. The Beach Boys harmonies, fuzzed out guitars and eclectic synthesizers are at their most potent towards the middle of the album, where we get songs like "Into The Night" and "Neo Consumer". Despite the fact that it's a surprisingly short record, the highlights are a lot more enjoyable than just about anything they've put out in the past five years.

» Bonus Track: Neo Consumer
» Pre-order it on Amazon