You Wait For Someone That'll Make the Waiting Worth the Wait
Ahh, Wilco. They have evolved in such a sublimely subtle way. They hit a true high note with Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and although it didn't get the kind of sales that Foxtrot did, A Ghost is Born still stands as some of the most inspired music I have heard from them. (That, and it was the soundtrack to me falling in love with my husband, so I could be a bit tainted. Well, clearly I am tainted. I should say that it makes me biased. Oh, and they won two Grammy's for it, if that means anything more than a pile of steaming cock these days.) Sky Blue Sky was such a musically mature move for them, filled with the kind of songwriting that makes Neil Young sit up and listen. So saying that I anticipate the upcoming Ashes of American Flags live DVD (and the new album in June) is an easy understatement.
Wow. If ever there was a "top secret" project in the metal scene, this is it. Whispers of this metal supergroup have been floating around since 2007, and it looks like they are finally producing something to be released this summer. Shrinebuilder is comprised of some big names: Saint Vitus/Obsessed/Spirit Caravan/Hidden Hand guitarist Scott "Wino" Weinrich, gigantic Neurosis/Tribes of Neurot leader Scott Kelly (author's note: SQUEE!), former Sleep and current Om bassist Al Cisneros, and Melvins drummer Dale Crover. If pedigree has any correlation to performance, this album should pretty much rock your face off. Doom metal, baby!!!
If I could ask one question of this also once-named supergroup, Garbage, it would be Janet Jackson-inspired. What HAVE you done for me lately, Garbage? Ah shit, I'm sorry dudes (and Shirley); you don't deserve my bitterness. You are still a supergroup to me. I just want you to, you know, bring it with this mysterious new album that I can't find any information on. In an interview with drummer Butch Vig that published in mid 2007 (they been talkin' for a while), Vig hinted that the new album will be a shift from what fans have come to expect from the band. "Listening to our body of work, my favorite songs are stuff like that--'Milk' and 'Queer' and 'You Look So Fine' and 'Bleed Like Me,' the slow and sultry stuff. When Shirley [Manson] sings that way, I just fall in love with her voice. So I think we could make a completely different record than anything we've done before. It'll probably be commercial suicide, but the music business is so f*cked up now, maybe it'll be the most inaccessible record of our career and we'll have it be the biggest hit." Man, if that holds true, then I am really looking forward to what they put out.
Michael effin' Jackson. What is there to say about this train wreck that hasn't already been said? I admit that I will booty clap all day long to his pre-1995 stuff. But come the fuck on, man: You are a cultural joke. What the hell can you come out with now that will erase the fuckery of the last two decades??
Grizzly Bear's last album, 2006's mellow Yellow House places in the category of my favorite albums of all time, though the love was not immediate. Indeed, many critics and fans, when discussing the band, often mention how difficult it was to initially get into Grizzly Bear's slow, swirling, deeply-layered musical stylings. Many, like me, practically wrote them off after the first listen of their debut, Horn Of Plenty, a mostly solo-written effort dominated by frontman Ed Droste and without a feeling of cohesion in the songs. But if Horn of Plenty was a work of a single man's pretense, Yellow House was a duet of richness, as Droste collaborated much more heavily with fellow Bear Daniel Rossen. Now, finally, the band's third release promises to be their most open collaborative work, with the whole band contributing to the arrangements and giving rise to a new sense of adventure and exploration. Opening for Radiohead's 2008 summer tour may have also done the band some good, and it'll be exciting to hear the results of their labors when Veckatimest arrives on May 29.
The Flaming Lips' Grammy-winning (yeah, it doesn't mean much these days, but still) At War With The Mystics dropped back in 2006 to mixed reviews, yet from the frenetic activity of the band since then, you'd think they had just made the album of the century. True, their follow-up has not been long in the making (the band entered the studio in March. Of this year.), but that doesn't mean they haven't been working. Indeed, this may have been the busiest three-year period of the band's long career. Their work has appeared on numerous soundtracks, including everything from Spongebob Squarepants: The Movie to The Heartbreak Kid to Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium and several others. You might think that composing for all of this lightweight fluff would have softened the band's experimentation, but one viewing of their trippy sci-fi acid-comedy Christmas On Mars, completed last year after nearly a decade in production, and it's plain to see that the nearly psychotic nature of the band has not dulled, and whatever direction they take with this new work, it will certainly be a surprise to even the most ardent fans.
Flight Of The Conchords
What more can a band do? Flight of the Conchords, in the span of a few short years, has overtaken the hipster fringe of America and has made an undeniable mark on the comedic world. They've been nominated for Emmys and Grammys, and have even had moderate chart success, something almost unheard of in the realm of comedy. And, through it all, the band has not let up with poking at the music industry with stick sharper than knives. Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement are the Spinal Tap of a new generation, changing genres endlessly. But, whereas the fictional Tap moved with the generations of music fans, Flight of the Conchords move with each new song, taking on each genre from rap to folk and rock with a hilarious energy that infects the minds and ears of listeners across the globe. So where can they go? What's next? While rumors fly that this second season will be the last of the band's HBO series, only ten of the fifteen songs on their second full-length album will have been featured on the show. And for those who've been watching, they're likely to hit and hit hard. But for the general masses, will this be the Conchords ultimate moment at last? Or have they already reached the pinnacle of their success? We'll have to wait and see. A release date has not yet been set, but god knows we'll probably review it when it finally drops.