Thursday, January 08, 2009

Overlooked Outliers: Five More Albums from '08

Dark Captain Light Captain - Miracle Kicker. I first heard this on Rollo & Grady's Top 25 of 2008. The hushed, high-pitched harmonies and sparkling finger-picked guitars may bring Elliott Smith to mind, especially when the singer drops F-bombs on the song "Questions". Elliott Smith had a distinctive lyrical persona and a dark worldview that aren't as apparent here, but Dark Captain Light Captain have a real rhythm section that adds a miraculous kick to songs like "Speak" and "Jealous Enemies". Listen to songs from the album, and buy it here.

The Donkeys - Living on the Other Side. Craig Finn and John Darnielle recommended this album on Pitchfork's Best of 2008 Guest Lists. Listeners at eMusic compared the Donkeys to Television, the Jayhawks, and the Grateful Dead. Living on the Other Side is a laid-back, guitar-oriented album that you can play along to. Rather than fetishizing a sound from the late 60's (like Fleet Foxes and Blitzen Trapper), the Donkeys emphasize songcraft and a spirit of camaraderie. There are two free mp3's at the Dead Oceans website (where you can also buy the CD or LP). The Donkeys also did a Daytrotter session before this album.

Eddy Current Suppression Ring - Primary Colours. This sophomore album from an Australian quartet was released in the US on Goner Records, but the band has progressed beyond its garage rock roots. They play deceptively simple songs with interesting guitar parts and self-deprecating lyrics that are declaimed by a singer who (I swear) is the Antipodean equivalent of Mark E. Smith. An mp3 and video for the song "Which Way to Go", plus vinyl and CD versions of Primary Colours, are available at the Goner website.

The Gang - Zero Hits. The review on Treble piqued my curiosity. The guitars chug along like the Fall (circa the Brix/Scanlon years), while male and female singers chant indecipherable lyrics, like a low-fi Go Team. Most of the songs are short and speedy, with "Heaven's Happening" as the sprawling exception (it lopes along for almost nine minutes). I may not remember any of these songs a year from now, but a fleeting pleasure is still a pleasure. Sample a free track (or buy Zero Hits) at Absolutely Kosher.

Girl Loves Distortion - Earth Beings on Exhibit. This was a reader recommendation on Wired Magazine's late music blog, Listening Post. Girl Loves Distortion is a DC trio who play smart, angular songs with male/female harmonies and (yes) distorted guitars. You can stream the album online, or buy it through Dischord Records.



At 1/11/2009 2:17 PM , Blogger Nathan Nothin said...

Thanks for the lists.

I hardly listen to much new musick in the midst of trying to fill in all the great lost tastes from days gone by, so it's great to get the year filtered through some discerning & uncommercial ears.

You'd already hipped me to The Duke Spirit, & no matter how cheesy their name is, their musick is AO.

A special thanks for the heads-up about know I like the noisy stuff & Carla (always loved Ethyl Meatplow) is top notch.

Keep'em coming...

At 1/11/2009 9:11 PM , Blogger jonderneathica said...

I'm glad you liked the Duke Spirit. I've only heard one Ethyl Meatplow song, but Carla's new record is great stuff. I like to discover older music too -- if I haven't heard it before, "it's new to me!"


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