The Wedding Re-Record George Best with Steve Albini

Felt like George Best is a long lost gem, and while they toured this album, they didn’t bring it to Austin (sad face); it would have been a delight to hear The Wedding Present play George Best in its entirety. And now we have news that Steve Albini has re-recorded the band’s heralded album as the record turns 30. The band, who were already working with Steve, recorded the whole thing live in the studio, and you can sample the reworking below. Look for the GB30 to be released via HHBTM on September 22nd. Also…on a side note, you should watch the George Best documentary.

Listen to a New Vomitface Tune

vomitfaceListening to this new track from Vomitface, it really starts to make a lot of sense that Steve Albini got himself behind the knobs to produce it. Maybe it’s just me, but Jared Micah sounds like a young Kurt Cobain (Incesticide era)…before it was all about the wailing. The track itself has a heavier handed bit of guitar, but that allows for the softness of Micah’s voice to really create this diverse feeling that draws you deep into the song’s emotional pull. They’ll release their debut LP, Hooray for Me, on August 26th.

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Spirited Number from Womps

wompsWe love to keep an eye on the Glasgow scene, mostly because we’ve got a few friends over there, not to mention that’s where one of our favorite bands was birthed.  So, when I got this single from Womps, I was really impressed.  It has that discordant feeling that puts it in the same vein of current stars like Wavves and what not, but production duties on their work has been handled by Steve Albini, so you know someone out there is going to be paying attention.  Honestly, it’s the best 90s college rock nod I’ve heard in some time. This tune will appear on a 7″ on September 18th while the band wrap up their debut album.

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Cloud Nothings – Attack on Memory

Rating: ★★★★☆

Dylan Baldi is hot right now, there’s no mistake about it.  Ever since releasing the self-titled Cloud Nothings album, his star has continued to rise, and deservedly so.  Now, his band returns with their latest album, Attack on Memory, determined to shift gears a little bit by going into the studio with the heralded Steve Albini.  The collaboration definitely alters the group’s sound, yet through it all we’re watching the evolution of a talented band.

Immediately upon hearing the first track, “No Future/No Past,” you’ll realize there’s a drastic change in the overall sound.  Where the band was once brash and pummeling, you find them here in a more brooding state, building the listener towards the emotional release of the song.  What’s great about the track is that you can feel it coming, you’re just not sure when that moment will come to fruition.  Rest assured, the time will come.  And from there you blast off into what is probably the most dynamic track on Attack on Memory, “Wasted Days.”  For a brief moment, it seems as if a more hammering approach to the stylings of Cloud Nothings has evolved, but as the song is well over 8 minutes, one can’t hope to hold that ferocious energy for too long.  And they don’t, offering up some jammy post-punk moments that wear a little bit towards the end.

Still, despite the altered sound on the record, there remains that knack for creating a sharp-edged hook that really captures listeners, such as the opening “fall in, fall in” line that comes with “Fall In.”  Okay, so perhaps it’s redundant a bit, but the drumming and Baldi’s voice are sufficient in carrying out the immense pleasure in this number.  “Stay Useless” offers up a more mature sound overall, though it definitely harkens back to the prominently more energetic times of early Cloud Nothings. Again, Dylan’s forte seems to be his ability to craft momentary hooks in the midst of a track that do more than enough, even with just brief lyrics like “I need time to stop moving, I need time to stay useless.”

Although the album seems brief, at least in the number of tracks – eight, there’s definitely more attention to detail in the fleshing out of tracks, giving more depth and vibrance to Attack on Memory.  You’ve also have to love the slight alterations that really craft beautiful moments like the album’s closer,  “Cut You.”  This song definitely lives somewhere in the post-grunge workings of 90s indie rock, and yet the group sounds refreshing, perhaps because of all the work they’ve put in leading up to this track. It might be the unassuming best track on the album.

For all the hubbub surrounding the usage of Albini and crafting a record around the influences on Cloud Nothings, they’ve really crafted a record that makes them seem a bit louder, a bit more thoughtful, and every bit themselves.  It’s difficult to live up the expectations of the masses, especially when you’ve risen to popularity so quickly, but Attack on Memory serves notice that the group is growing in confidence, both in sound and personality; we’re all better off for it.


Download:Cloud Nothings – No Future No Past [MP3]

Fun Fest Interviews: The Jesus Lizard

FFFFest2009_jesuslizardWhen one gets the opportunity to speak to a legendary band such as The Jesus Lizard, one most make the most of that opportunity with some quality questions.  Oh and questions about Halloween costumes… Such was the task assigned to us when we had the chance to send 5 questions to veteran bass player and founding The Jesus Lizard member David Sims.  I think you’ll find that David still likes to keep things pretty old school.  Follow the jump for full interview.

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Jarvis Cocker – Further Complications

furthercomplicationsRating: ★★★★☆

When legendary producer Steve Albini was rumored to be at the helm of the newest Jarvis Cocker solo outing, Further Complications, many were chomping at the bit, awaiting the arrival of something entirely special.  While the album does have a lot of those elements, it’s difficult to attribute these strictly to the presence of Albini’s magical touch. After all, who can really take control of an piece of work by a man like Jarvis.

Albini’s production influence is most notable in the first half of the album, especially the first four tracks.  Opener, “Angela” hits harder than anything we’ve heard from Jarvis in all his previous work.  It’s a fuzzed rocker of a tune, but one would be difficult to identify this as a track that exhibits Cocker at his best.  These first four songs all fall to the exact same trap; they succeed in be decent rock tunes, but they fail in the way that they are not your atypical Jarvis piece.  With that in mind, we can always be thankful that Jarvis has his usual literary wit in tow, which definitely helps along those early songs.

“Hold Still” serves as the turning point in this novel, as the tone of the album takes a drastic turn, and for the most part, this is for the best.  The song features Jarvis at his best, with his voice taking on the raspy crooning whisper in your ear, begging you to come hither, which was always his best vocal trick in Pulp. Present hand-claps and backing vocals bring this song back to the orchestrated best moments that broke out on Jarvis.

Of course, there is always that whimsical song that hits home with all listeners when Jarvis is rocking the mic. “I Never Said I Was Deep” is this exact song; Jarvis struts his voice in the verses, with that cocky sexual undertone we all know and love. When the chorus comes in, with the character claiming that he isn’t as deep as his lover requests, you are drawn into the magic of the song.  This is Jarvis at his absolute best.

Bookending the album is “You’re In My Eyes (Discosong),” with the title alluding to the more soulful quality of the instrumentation.  Not only his this the longest song on the album, but it’s one where our old friend Jarvis truly returns.  This song has all the swagger you expect from Mr. Cocker, but with the feel of your favorite lounge singer.  It’s hard not to love a man with such talent.  It exemplifies everything that has made Jarvis Cocker one of the more interesting, and vital, musicians of the last two decades. Further Complications is just another notch on his already quite respectable belt.


Download: Jarvis Cocker – I Never Said I Was Deep [MP3]

New Tunes from Jarvis Cocker

jarviscockerThat’s right ladies and gentlemen, Jarvis Cocker is back again. His second solo album is set to be released by Rough Trade on May 18th, which will more than likely be a solid album, just like his last solo album, which was like his Pulp albums, and like his performance on Harry Potter. Now, this new album has uber-producer Steve Albini running the show, so we should expect an edgier Jarvis; I’m game.


Download: Jarvis Cocker – Angela [MP3]

Albums Of The Year: 15-1

A few days ago, we gave you part one of our albums of the year list.  Today we bring you the best of the best from a wide range of artists who brought the noise this year.  We’ve fought it out amongst our ATH writers for weeks and these are the albums that we all loved.  These 15 albums went into thunderdome and emerged victorious.  Follow the jump to see if your favorite band made the Top 15 of 2008.

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The Wedding Present – El Rey

Rating: ★★★★☆
Long ago David Gedge hung up The Wedding Present moniker in favor of Cinerama. Recently, as in the last three years, we have seen the return of The Wedding Present–with two proper albums added to their already glorious catalog. Honestly, this newest one is the best work I think he’s ever done.

Our first hint at a classic return to form is his usage of Steve Albini-famed sound engineer-the first time they have united together since 1991’s Seamonsters. The reunion brings across a brilliant sound, where the guitars are extremely clean, while also carrying with them fire power. Then you have the pounding drums; the perfect mix of instrumentation to accompany Gedge’s voice.

For me, all the music creates quite a dynamic power. Songs like “The Trouble with Men,” carefully play with the soft/loud dynamic that made bands like Death Cab for Cutie or Pinback your favorite. It’s the album we all have been looking for, but we just didn’t know that it was out there for us. Well, solid rock albums are back in these days-brought to you by David Gedge and The Wedding Present.

Lyrically, he is as clever as he has ever been. Gedge comes across in his lyrics like that endearing older sibling who always has the answers to life that we search for on our own. He wants you to feel his characters and his words–and you listen. Of course, he also manages to keep pop culture references abundant–such as the Seinfeld reference in the brilliant “Soup” or a quick jab with Spiderman. This all serves as a reminder why we all love lyrics like these. For me, he is the poor man’s Bob Pollard.

This album is meant to bring perfection to your sunniest days. It makes you want to drive around town-or walk since that helps keep you in shape-with the guitars blasting out of your stereo as you sing along to every single word, as if they were your words. Ask yourself, isn’t this the sort of record you have been looking for? Here you have it folks, the completely triumphant return of David Gedge and The Wedding Present.

Here we have a new song off the album el rey entitled “The Thing I Like Best About Him is his Girlfriend”

Download: girlfriend.mp3