I’ll admit, sometimes I’m a bit skeptical of the Mexican Summer Myths Series. They’ve brought together some brilliant artists, though I tend always adore 1/2 the union, and not the other…but not this time. This time its Cate le Bon and Bradford Cox. Really, this feels like a Cate tune with an outro from Bradford, if you’re going with the vocal performance alone. Still, don’t you want to fall in love with music? Cate’s voice has this crystalline quality, floating carefully; there’s this build in tension during the chorus that’s built around this perfect melody…particularly that woodwind instrument lurking (is it an oboe or a clarinet!?). Bradford closes it out with a nice spoken word as the song fades to black. It’s brilliant, as you can tell. Myths 004 will be out on November 1st.
I’m not sure if you listened to Drinks debut album, Hermits on Holiday, but it was a pretty special listen through and through. But, members Cate Le Bon and Tim Presley also have other projects going on, so figured there’d be a bit of time before we got something new. Well, that time is now, as the group have just announced Hippo Lite. The lyrical content doesn’t really enter the picture until after the one minute mark, with the duo primarily working with a simple bobbing bass and these jangling little guitar chords that seem to hang in the air. I also appreciate Cate’s vocal delivery; she’s got such a distinctive voice. Their new effort will be out on April 20th via Drag City.
H. Hawkline came into my music listening with his drastically overlooked In the Pink of Condition, but he’s just about wrapped up a new LP recorded out in LA. Here you find him centered around simple percussion and piano, allowing his voice to tantalize the listener; there are a few moments where it almost has a perfect bounce to match the musical accompaniment. Eventually, the song takes on a nostalgic pop note, moving into a moment of playfulness that’s utterly brilliant; it closes with pure ecstasy, so be sure to stay tuned until the end. For now, Heavenly Recordings is just tossing out this teaser track, but be on the look out for the full length later this year.
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If you paid attention to the release of the last Cate Le Bon album, you had to know it was only a matter of time before she and Tim Presley (White Fence) formed a songwriting tandem. And indeed they have, working under the name of DRINKS, crafting paisley pop songs from an era long ago. On this track, there’s a steady stomp moving forward, with the vocals living in a land somewhere between Nico and Pollard. They’ve titled their first effort, Hermits on Holiday, which will see an August 21st release date via Heavenly Recordings. Enjoy your DRINKS.
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Is that even a real question? No, but it’s also not too early for the new project of Cate Le Bon and Tim Presley of White Fence, called DRINKS. Not only have they announced this new project, but they’ve also shared that their debut album will be coming out August 21st. That album shares the title with the song below, “Hermits On Holiday,” which starts out mellow with just Cate’s distinctive vocals and guitar, but as the song winds up, it emerges as a hodgepodge pop number with a rustic flair.
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Like most shows I’ve attended as of late, I was pretty familiar with the acts playing. But, that being said, I hadn’t caught a set from Cate Le Bon in several years, so I was interested in the performance, as I feel that she’s had a small transformation, in both sound and appearance. It didn’t hurt that the openers were both excellent, making it an easy night to enjoy music. Read on for more thoughts and some photos. Read more
|Date||Wednesday, January 29th|
|Tickets||$8 from Mohawk|
If you paid any attention to our year end list from 2013, you probably noticed that Cate Le Bon was on there for her wonderful, Mug Museum. It’s actually one of those albums that grew on me more, even after I raved about it. Plus, when she comes into town, she’ll be coming with Kevin Morby of Woods/Babies, who just released a pretty solid record of his own right at the end of 2013. Both musicians will surely draw a large crowd, but don’t overlook local openers Love Inks, who’ve clearly done just fine with their own recent release, Generation Club. It’s a great bill from start to finish, so be sure to show up early and join in the fun.
Download: Cate Le Bon – I Think I Knew (feat. Perfume Genius) [MP3]
Making our year-end list of Top Albums is never something we take lightly. We realize that it’s rather arbitrary in the grand scheme of things, but we realize that our role is to at least toss out our opinion, however meaningless it may be. In the long run, we had to take the tastes of several people, and whittle it into a list of 50 great albums that we think are vital to your listening experience. We know it’s a matter of personal tastes, but the records below are reflective of our tastes and our site, so don’t get mad, they’re just opinions. But, feel free to tell us where we went wrong, or what we might have missed. If you click on the album titles, you can also read our full reviews of each album, save the ones that we didn’t get to in time. Sorry we don’t like Kanye.
50 – Wampire – Curiosity
49 – Dot Dash – Half Remembered Dream
48 – Mantles – Long Enough to Leave
47 – The Appleseed Cast – Illumination Ritual
46 – Bad Sports – Bras
45 – Part Time – PDA
44 – Dick Diver – Calendar Days
43 – Math and Physics Club – Our Hearts Beat Loud
42 – Veronica Falls – Waiting for Something to Happen
41 – Eat Skull – III
40 – The Lonely Wild – The Sun as It Comes
39 – The Love Language – Ruby Red
38 – Gun Outfit – Hard Coming Down
37 – Cate Le Bon – Mug Museum
36 – Daughn Gibson – Me Moan
35 – Andre Obin – The Arsonist
34 – Arp – More
33 – Gap Dream – Shine Your Light
32 – The Black Watch – The End of When
31 – Ty Segall – Sleeper
30 – The Stevens – A History of Hygeine
29 – Of Montreal – Lousy with Sylvianbriar
28 – Mirror Travel – Mexico
27 – Local Natives – Hummingbird
26 – Girls Names – The New Life
25 – GRMLN – Empire
24 – Small Black – Limits of Desire
23 – Audacity – Butter Knife
22 – Mikal Cronin – MCII
21 – Chelsea Wolfe – Pain is Beauty
20 – Foals – Holy Fire
19 – Radical Face – Family Tree: The Branches
18 – Youth Lagoon – Wondrous Bughouse
17 – Terry Malts – Nobody Realizes This is Nowhere
16 – Shout Out Louds – Optica
15 – Kurt Vile – Waking on a Pretty Daze
14 – Braids – Flourish//Perish
13 – Crystal Antlers – Nothing is Real
12 – Typhoon – White Lighter
11 – Ski Lodge – Big Heart
Admittedly, this album makes nods to folk troubadours of Christmas’ past, but what grabbed me from the moment I heard this record was the sincerity in what’s being created. In leaving us with a stripped down listen of folk tunes and incredible poetry, we’re asked to look into the history of American songwriting tradition; it’s been awhile since it was executed so well.
9 – The Growlers – Hung at Heart
I’d put this album on any list for one song alone, “Someday.” But, it just so happens that the rest of the album maintains the sensation that’s established on the opening track. I’ve heard it referenced as a surf-psych opus, but what’s been assured in my mine is what an incredible listen we’re all be treating to when we put Hung at Heart on our record players.
Hether Fortune seems to scare people. Her work is in your face, never making an excuse for who she is or what she believes. That attitude carries on into her music, allowing listeners to experience a musical world void of any pretense. The songs on this album are angular, dark and abrasive; the vocals have Hether dominating the scene of modern lady rock warriors. If you don’t dig it, she doesn’t care, but I do because this record rules.
While many of the songs on this effort leaked out before under various EPs, the whole masterpiece exists in the way it was tied together as a complete work. It’s operatic and grand at every corner, but it’s also undeniably a pop record. The emphasis might revolve around the more artful spectrum of pop music, but this is an album you can play for everyone in your family, and they’ll all find themselves swept up in the wonderment of Privilege.
What else really needs to be said about The National. They consistently make great albums that are lauded then often overlooked, but we didn’t want to do that to one of our favorite acts. I mean, if they played 8 shows in 8 days, we’d be at every one, and the DJ set after party. Their accolades and recognition are warranted, and it’s especially clear on this, their latest release.
When listening to Pass the Ringo, I thought of one thing: this is the sort of record that makes a small label, like Loglady Records, a household name. It’s spun around garage rock and psych rock structures, whilst still maintaining an accessibility that few people working in that genre achieve. Some albums can play in the background of your house, and might be happy to do so, but Legs created something that made me stop and listen at every turn; I’m thankful for that.
Someone For You came our way in January. On my record player, it hasn’t left since. This is one of the most rewarding power-pop records I’ve gotten my hands on, and trust me, I’ve gotten my hands on a lot of great records. Each song is filled with innate hooks and garage rock grit, encouraging you to tap your toes for the entirety of the record. You’d think after a full year our interest would have waned, but with time we’ve only grown to appreciate the record even more.
At the moment, there’s not too many people releasing music that’s the quality of Mathew Cothran and Coma Cinema. There are elements of the bizarre, similar to the work of early Elf Power, yet there’s this intimacy that artists like Eliott Smith were able to create with their listeners. You wrap that up and put it in a package of pop sensibility, and you have an album that can’t be ignored.
In today’s musical climate, we buy into the fact that artists have to be doing something strange, or something that’s vastly different from their peers. But, in the grand scheme of things, we often forget what it’s like to take enjoyment out of the music. This album was one of the many reminders that music, when it’s good, can be quite special. Every song here is a single, and worth your time; it’s the best thing Laz has done, and I feel like he’s just really getting started.
This album is about Devon Welsh. From the first instant I heard his voice, it took hold of me. Throughout the year, Impersonator, consistently played on my radio. His voice was mesmerizing, captivating audiences on several occasions in Austin, convincing us to be as quiet as a mouse, so as to hear every note. The unique quality of the album will reward listeners for years to follow. It made us believe in great music again.
This record feels more 1973 than 2013 and I love it.
Cate Le Bon may not be for everyone, but I think a lot of people are going to “get” Mug Museum. It’s quite a multifaceted record. Musically, Mug Museum is highly unpredictable, shifting between jangling chamber-pop and early indie rock with plenty of twists. Over all of this, Le Bon alternates between her sullen, jazzy low register and a strange, theatrical falsetto.
Although Cate Le Bon is from Wales, she recorded Mug Museum with Noah Georgeson (Joanna Newsom, Devendra Banhart) and Josiah Steinbrick in LA. The result is definitely her best sounding record to date, and one that still feels definitively British (partially due to Le Bon’s prominent Welsh accent).
Mug Museum is more instrumentally varied and more densely constructed than most of Cate Le Bon’s previous work. Smooth organs and synths set the tone for many of the more downbeat tunes such as “Mirror Me”. Assorted pianos, drums and horns fill in the gaps elsewhere. Great bass lines abound throughout the record, especially on “I Think I Knew” and “Sisters”.
Cate Le Bon is a supremely confident vocalist, holding her notes perfectly even when they’re not quite right. There’s something approaching ennui in her voice that reminds me strongly of Nico, although I think Le Bon is a more talented singer. Despite the fact that she writes all of her own songs, Le Bon has a very distant, detached way of delivering her lyrics. “I forget the detail but know the warmth,” she sings in the title track, and her music tends to make me do the same.
For the most part, this is a very easy album to listen to. Still, there are challenging moments like the one at the end of “Duke” when Le Bon pushes her voice past its upper limit in an almost comical way. The guitar work throughout Mug Museum is artfully careless, and it reaches its logical conclusion on the latter half of “Cuckoo through the Walls” in a mess of twangy noise and dissonance.
The title track, “Mug Museum”, is the slowest, jazziest tune on the album, and definitely my favorite. Give it a listen if you’ve got the time. “Mirror Me” and “Duke” are also worth checking out. Actually, just listen to the whole thing… It’s worth it.
I was amazed at the first live set I caught of Cate Le Bon a few years back. I found her effort following that good too, but I get the feeling this new release is going to be pretty great. On the latest single she takes a really laid back approach, allowing the groove to sit calmly in the foreground while her marvelous voice operates all around. Then there’s this angelic backing vocal that comes in just before the 3 minute mark; it’s just a beautiful touch. Her latest effort Mug Museum will be out on November 12 via Wichita Recordings.
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