Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bunnies - Alec Eiffel

I've never really understood the concept of putting out a tribute album for a band who are still together, although I suppose in the case of The Pixies, how "together" they really are is currently up for debate. As long as I get to hear some new interpretations of old classics, I really can't complain, and in the case of Dig For Fire: A Tribute to Pixies there are at least a handful of decent renditions worth checking out. Some of the bands involved include Mogwai, The Rosebuds, They Might Be Giants and Elk City, but probably the most adventurous song on the entire album is British Sea Power's eerie six and a half minute instrumental take on "Caribou". Still, I've always had a soft spot for "Alec Eiffel" and the Bunnies have a bit of fun with that here as well. I also threw in a track from an older Pixies tribute album called Where Is My Mind?, which featured Weezer and The Get Up Kids, among others.

» Bonus Track: British Sea Power - Caribou
» Bonus Track: Braid - Trompe Le Monde
» Buy Dig For Fire on Amazon
» Buy Where Is My Mind on Amazon

The Phoenix Foundation - Bleaching Sun

When I think of The Phoenix Foundation, the easy description that comes to mind is "the New Zealand version of The Shins", but that's really not entirely accurate. At times they do sound a bit like The Shins, but their most recent recordings seem to have mellowed a bit, and their latest album Happy Ending (not yet released in North America) reminds me more frequently of The Arcade Fire. Much like The Shins, however, The Phoenix Foundation's fan base seems to be growing thanks to their inclusion on a hip movie soundtrack, specifically the Kiwi indie dramedy Eagle vs Shark. To be honest, I'm a bit surprised I haven't read more about these guys in the blogosphere up until now, but once Eagle vs Shark is released on DVD, I can see them really getting their due. In the meantime, check out a couple of their newest tracks, and an older one too.

» Bonus Track: 40 Years
» Bonus Track: All In An Afternoon (from Pegasus)
» Buy Pegasus on Amazon
» Buy Horsepower on Amazon

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Atlas Strategic - Baby

If you're a fan of Wolf Parade, then you're probably well aware of the numerous side projects that both Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner are involved with nowadays, including Handsome Furs, Frog Eyes, Sunset Rubdown and Swan Lake. But if you want to look back into the distant past (okay, maybe just 7 years ago), you might discover some other interesting gems, including Dan Boeckner's first major band, Atlas Strategic. They only released one full album (entitled Rapture, Ye Minions!) but it caught a lot of people's attention (including Modest Mouse's Isaac Brock apparently) and laid the groundwork for the dirty electro-blues style that would eventually become associated with Wolf Parade. There's no question that the music is a little more abrasive than Wolf Parade, but I was surprised by how solid the entire album is. Sadly, the album was originally released by Global Symphonic but has since gone out of print. If somebody out there was smart, they'd re-issue the thing because I know a lot of people who would love to get their hands on it!

» Bonus Track: Little Black Heart
» Bonus Track: Extreme Prejudice

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Rivers Cuomo - Blast Off!

Weezer just announced that their sixth studio album will be released this April, although I can't say I'm particularly enthused. Like a lot of Weezer fans, I found that once the initial excitement of their big comeback wore off, the realization hit home that there wasn't much in the way of decent music coming out to support it. Make Believe, their third album since breaking the hiatus in 2000, was the final nail in the coffin for me. It was so mediocre I couldn't even bring myself to buy it.

That said, there's another upcoming Weezer release on the horizon that probably will get my money, and that is Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo. After years of fans passing around bootleg demos of half-finished songs, we will finally get official recordings of some early Weezer tracks that never saw the light of day. Many of the songs (including "Blast Off!") originate from an aborted "space opera" concept album that was supposed to follow The Blue Album called Songs From The Black Hole. For whatever reason, it didn't pan out at the time, although some tunes still found their way onto Pinkerton. Rivers claims he only recently summoned the courage to release this stuff to the public; personally I think Geffen Records only recently realized there's a market for them after the positive online reaction to a leaked Cuomo song titled "Pig" earlier in the year.

You can hear a few more of the unfinished demos over at Twelve Major Chords. Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo hits stores on Dec. 18th.

» Bonus Track: I Just Threw Out The Love of My Dreams (feat. Rachel Haden)
» Pre-order it on Amazon