Saturday, August 12, 2017

The War on Drugs - Future Weather

This EP was the second release from The War on Drugs, and came out in 2010.  The whole EP is a kind of wash of sound, introduced by opening intro Come to the City #14.  The second track, Baby Missiles is kind of polarising, some will find this anthemic but too often it comes off sounding like the cheesier moments of Bruce Springsteen.  Comin' Through is more relaxed, and far more enjoyable, a medium paced strumalong track with guitars you could melt into, and this one could go on forever such is the lazy, amiable groove created.  Later, Brothers emulates this kind of feeling, you can almost hear Adam Granduciel and co drawing up their template for later work.  The band sound so... optimistic and wide-eyed on tracks like this, like the sondtrack to endless possibilities.

A change of tack arrives with the folky, Dylanesque A Pile of Tires, but mostly here it's gorgeous, echoey stuff like Comin' Around, Missiles Reprise and the glacial final track The History of Plastic.  Definitely one worth picking up if you like the band, for everyone else proceed directly to 2014's Lost In The Dream.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Wilco (the album)

Wilco released their self-titled album in 2009, just 14 years after the debut.  It starts with an actual song called Wilco, something of a throwaway chug.  Tracks like Deeper Down, Country Disappeared and I'll Fight have a strong production, giving it them slightly easy-listening feel.  The Leslie Feist duet You and I, and You Never Know are poppy, Beatles style numbers but aren't that memorable.  The driving, progressive One Wing is an improvement, still quite catchy but less... predictable.  Bull Black Nova is a sop to fans of their Jim O'Rourke period.  Built around a repeating one-note keyboard pattern, adding guitar, bass and drums where they see fit, again it's melodic but not as 'safe' as the rest of the album, getting noisier as it builds.  On the other extreme, Solitaire is like an acoustic version of the sadder end of the Beach Boys, which is a lot better than that sounds, all whispered, breathy vocals and deftly picked acoustic guitar.  The album finishes with Everlasting Everything, a kind of John Lennon-y piano ballad with a bit of drama thrown into the chorus with a clanging chime rounding it off.  

So most likely Wilco's pop album then.  But certainly, not their best.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring for My Halo

Kurt Vile released his fourth album in 2011.  It's an interesting mishmash sounding album, opening with the gentle guitar picking of Baby's Arms.  Vile's vocals are something of an acquired taste, and definitely have the capacity to annoy some listeners at times.  His over-accented faux-Dylan vocals don't ruin some fine music, such as the sunny, propulsive Smiths-like guitar licks of Jesus Fever.  Charming music abounds, whether it's the electric, Stones-y Puppet to the Man, or the acoustic On Tour.  A lot of the melodies on tracks like Society Is My Friend and Runner Ups feel vaguely familiar (stop me...) but Vile brings these songs somewhere else.  Classic rock influences abound, the car stereo anthems In My Time and the title track reek of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, while he also fits in folkier stuff like Peeping Tomboy, but who can quibble when the songs are put together so well.  He finishes with the six minute epic Ghost Town.

Overall, a fairly impressive piece of work.