If you're already a fan of Morrissey, you'll like this album. There isn't anything particularly groundbreaking about YEARS OF REFUSAL. If anything, it lacks a certain urgency. However, the same basic formula is in place, and Morrissey's voice is as smooth and swoon-worthy as ever.
A charity album produced by members of the National, Aaron and Bryce Dessnor, with 31 tracks by some heavy hitters such as Sufjan Steves, Cat Power, My Morning Jacket, The New Pornographers, and Ben Gibbard to name a few. All tracks are exclusive to this album. All proceeds benefit Red Hot, an organization that helps promote HIV and AIDS awareness through pop culture. Morrissey Myspace
Ward's first solo album in a good two years or so. Perhaps you recognize the name from She & Him, a side project with Zooey Deschanel (who also pops up in a couple songs for HOLD TIME.) I love how the Buddy Holly cover, "Rave On", sounds like you're playing a record on the wrong speed, but not in the sense of it being a carbon copy, but just slowed down version of the song. Great fusion of lo-fi, but never quite fuzzy folk vocals with throw backs to classic rock and roll alumni like Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and Buddy Holly. M. Ward Myspace
Zach Condor has the uncanny ability to take the music he loves from traditional backgrounds, and mold it into something fresh, and unheard. Although, he's usually cited for his interests in French culture and film, for the first part of this album (let's just go ahead and call this a double EP release) he explores a different variety of traditional music. Condor went down to Oaxaca, Mexico, found a nineteen piece band, and recorded six songs with them. He also filmed all this to be released in a series of short films. Holland, the second half, or the second EP is technically a release of an earlier solo project of his called Realpeople. As a teenager, Condor focused most of his energies into electronic music. Honestly, the sound of the Mexican funeral oompa is far more interesting than the played out 80's synth pop that makes up HOLLAND. Beirut Myspace
This isn't really my kinda thing. There are a lot of interesting names involved (George Carlin!), but a majority are of the guest artists are hidden underneath or between vocals of other guest artists. But can Tom Waits, David Byrne, and Ghostface Killah all be wrong to support this act? Eh, probably. N.A.S.A. Myspace
After receiving some backlash from the previous two albums, Trail of Dead are back to their SOURCE TAGS & CODES sensibilities. Epic, yet artist, and yes, a little indulgent, but never forgetting their prog aspirations. This album definitely feels organic, and I think it might have a lot to do with the recording process. The two studio produced albums were recorded to click-tracks, and heavily over dubbed. Here, they knew the songs and recorded them all live. Not always an easy feat, especially considering how slick these guys sound. Trail Of Dead Myspace
A tribute album of sorts to the late child star, Bobby Driscoll who was the voice of Disney's Peter Pan in 1953. Ferree makes references throughout the album to Peter Pan and other Disney movies Driscoll took part in. For some reason I keep thinking of Antony and the Johnsons when I listen to these songs even though they are sonically unsimilar. I think it may be the love and sorrow they each feel for their sources of their work. Ferree doesn't pigeonhole his music with Disney whimsy or the dark subject matter (Driscoll ended up addicted to heroin after getting kicked out the mouse club for hitting puberty. He died alone and homeless because of his addiction). Benjy Ferree Myspace
A little bit Johnny Cash, a lot Elvis. He even has a show airing on the Biography Channel that reminiscent of The Johnny Cash show. His music is probably most recognized from his two tracks in Blue Velvet. Here he takes a more things in a more modern direction instead of his usual '50/'60s feel which I'm a little disappointed by. I feel a little dirty for liking the Trish Yearwood duet as much as I do. Yikes. Chris Isaak Myspace
This is one of my favorite concepts for a cover album. Getting the creators of the standards to pick artists from big names in a new generation of music. You have to wonder how many time these legends of music have heard their songs (the same two or three songs probably) drug through the dirt by mediocre bands. It must be refreshing to actually get to chose the band you feel has a lot of promise, and get them to cover a song you love, but is usually looked over. The only track I've hear so far is Hot Chip's cover of Joy Division's "Transmission." They stayed true to the spirit of the song, but made it dance-y with steel drums and glittering synth. War Child Heroes Myspace
If Thom Yorke pixieish voice was super recognizable, I would've sworn this was another solo release of his. Very much the same floaty, dark, and melancholy style Yorke possesses. Steven Wilson Myspace
The Black Lips deliver another great garage rock album. It gets a leans a bit more melodic and psychedelic than they have been in the past, and they even threw in an early '90s sounding rap song with "The Drop I Hold." Untidy and never overproduced, these critics' darling seem to really live up to the hype built up around them. Black Lips Myspace
In 2006, HUNGRY BIRD was recorded, but was left to remain unheard after tension grew in the band as it so often happens. It was announced that frontman, Eef Barzelay would continue to pursue outside projects, and Clem Snide would come to an unceremonious end. Well, now it's 2009, and HUNGRY BIRD has finally been released with the news that the band had come back together to give things another go. When you listen to this album, you can sense how it reflects the time it was written. Broken and heavy without much promise of getting better, but definitely becoming bitter. Clem Snide Myspace
There's a lot of warmth to Here We Go Magic's self titled debut album. Recorded with a cassette 4-track and analog synths, the droning folk pop number definitely benefit from the lo-fi production. "Fangela" opens with a distant guitar playing, and and even farther away hand claps, but then like putting on polarized glasses at a 3D movie after watching the 3D trailers without them, the synths pulls everything into focus. Though the songs tend to linger on a little bit longer than I would like, they are entrancing enough to keep me interested for some more dreamy ambient sounds in the future. Here We Go Magic Myspace
About four or five years ago I went to a Devendra Banhart show where the outrageous Bunnybrains opened for that hot night at Emo's. I can't really say that was the best pairing of live acts I've ever seen. Stuart & Caan fit the bill so much more neatly, and I think Banhart probably thought so too when he had them play over in the States. They liked it so much, the stayed until their welcome was thoroughly worn out, and they were deported back to their Mother England. Another great psy-folk band with otherworldly falsetto vocals. Stuart & Caan MyspaceI've been listening to a lot of Hipster Runoff radio on SiriusXMU, and the guys bumps are down right infectious. Forgive me if my writing is a little disjointed as a result. Well, I plan to have this thing up on time next week, but if I don't it will probably because I have died of a sinus infection that has been threatening me for the past week. If you have any NEW music coming out soon, feel free to drop me a line , and I'll see if it's something I can throw in here. Peace Out
Feb. 25, 2009, 6:26 p.m. CST
Feb. 25, 2009, 6:27 p.m. CST
It logged me out and I had to log in again. That and you kinda cheat by being first on your own wife's post.
Feb. 25, 2009, 6:30 p.m. CST
no one cares..... how bout reviewing something a little more mainstream, say: Vintage Genesis Early Rush King Crimson Yes ELP Soundgarden Anything but this pretentious, boring hippie music... Thank you....
Feb. 25, 2009, 6:38 p.m. CST
You are thinking of WILD AT HEART, David Lynch's following film.
Feb. 25, 2009, 6:43 p.m. CST
But did not know they are coming out with a new album. Cool. I'll be seeing them in concert in like two weeks also, so I guess I should check out the new stuff.<p>Yoko, it's of course not a big deal, but I am allmost 100% postitive it's Condon, not Condor. Jut helping a music fan out.
Feb. 25, 2009, 6:44 p.m. CST
Still have no clue whether or not it's worth purchasing.
Feb. 25, 2009, 6:44 p.m. CST
fixed. <P> I'll be checking out the Black Lips, though.
Feb. 25, 2009, 6:46 p.m. CST
by Conqueror Worm
People don't even have to go to their local record shop to steal music nowadays, they just click a button and *magic* they own any album for free :(</p> In happier news - I am going to see Morrissey at the Manchester Apollo on his 50th birthday! How good is that?!
Feb. 25, 2009, 6:47 p.m. CST
I love Yes and King Crimson, as well as being crazy in love with early Genesis, but when mentioning those bands, you can not as in CAN NOT point the word pretentious in any direction but theirs. As far as Yoko reviewing 'hippie' bands...that's pretty funny. I think ...And You'll Know Us By The Trail Of Dead actually ate a few hippies at SXSW a few years ago.
Feb. 25, 2009, 6:47 p.m. CST
by Flim Springfield
Feb. 25, 2009, 6:48 p.m. CST
by Conqueror Worm
Feb. 25, 2009, 6:49 p.m. CST
Man, it's always good to see a new Morrissey album. Takes me back to the good ol' days. Thanks for doing this column- I hadn't even heard that some of these were coming out.
Feb. 25, 2009, 6:50 p.m. CST
If you're gonna review music the least you could do is get his name right.
Feb. 25, 2009, 6:50 p.m. CST
some of my best friends are massive Morrisey fans.
Feb. 25, 2009, 6:54 p.m. CST
do you even listen to ALLof these albums more than once? do you still even listen to the "shit cuts" you posted a month ago? I HIGHLY HIGHLY doubt that.
Feb. 25, 2009, 7:02 p.m. CST
Feb. 25, 2009, 7:03 p.m. CST
is gonna be fantastic.
Feb. 25, 2009, 7:03 p.m. CST
needs more listens for it to grow on me but for now i have to say that the realpeople tracks are amazing.
Feb. 25, 2009, 7:07 p.m. CST
my night with the prostitute from marseilles, my wife lost with the wind.
Feb. 25, 2009, 7:09 p.m. CST
i'm downloading that album asap!
Feb. 25, 2009, 7:15 p.m. CST
Is pretty weak, actually. Its not nearly as good as their first two albums or even Blood Mountain.
Feb. 25, 2009, 7:22 p.m. CST
by Conqueror Worm
I came out as a Morrissey fan in 2002, at first my parents and teachers rejected me, but they learnt to accept it - I'm not so different, and they stopped blaming themselves for my upbringing.</p> There is a great interview on youtube of Moz, the show he is on is talking about the recession and the high unemployment......Morrissey basically tells people who have lost their jobs to go out and paint, be creative, the hosts arent in agreement, they say people need to feed their kids!</p> Ace.
Feb. 25, 2009, 7:31 p.m. CST
Lousy execution. If Ian Curtis heard what Hot Chip did to Transmission he'd hang himself all over again. I'm all for changing a song and making it your own, but most of them don't work at all. Notable exceptions being Beck (big surprise) and The Hold Steady. Then again, The Hold Steady has always sounded like a Springsteen cover band anyway. I also like the Rufus Wainwright and Lily Allen tracks. The rest is crap.
Feb. 25, 2009, 7:35 p.m. CST
Seriously how many times does it have to be done. I get it, behind all the gloom is just a wee flower blossom of a song just waaaiiiiting to bloom! Spare me, that isn't even remotely why they endure today. Besides a band already did tons of amazing dance synth rock Joy Division songs, they're called New Order.
Feb. 25, 2009, 7:36 p.m. CST
Feb. 25, 2009, 7:42 p.m. CST
yay. Morrissey gets reviewed on AICN and out come the homophobes, and what's with the Moz Myspace link for the HIV and AIDS awareness through pop culture? pathetic, people...fucking pathetic. and Yoko, the Moz review was "by the numbers" as well.
Feb. 25, 2009, 7:47 p.m. CST
by Star Hump
If you liked Insurgentes, check out Porcupine Tree's catalog. What an amazing band (fronted by Steven Wilson).
Feb. 25, 2009, 7:51 p.m. CST
By not hiring a grammar coach/proofreader or, better yet, just packing it in and sparing us your peurile attempt to sit at the grown-ups table. Honestly, your writing 'style' causes me actual physical pain when I try to read it! Again, to quote Destroyo from the Tick television series: "CONFOUND YOU, YOU IRRITATING WOMAN! WILL YOUR PRATTLINGS NEVER CEASE?!?!"
Feb. 25, 2009, 7:55 p.m. CST
by mr. whoa
Just saw them for the first time since 1999 when they were opening for Superchunk, and they rocked like no others. Great openers, too. Midnight Masses (with Jason Reese) and Funeral Party.
Feb. 25, 2009, 7:57 p.m. CST
I was/am listening to Dark Was the Night while reading this article. Great album. The highlight for me is the new Arcade Fire song, "Lenin". I'll be seeing Morrissey this Sunday in Orlando. Hope he plays plenty of the old stuff.
Feb. 25, 2009, 9:11 p.m. CST
"Condor!"<p>Teehee!<p>Wouldn't that be great if he had the head of an eagle? Of course, i think the world would be a better place if all of us had eagle heads.
Feb. 25, 2009, 9:13 p.m. CST
I looove morrissey! Nice to know that there is something constant in the universe after all.Long live the pope of MOPE!!
Feb. 25, 2009, 9:33 p.m. CST
did have a few songs as background music in "Blue Velvet." I seem to remember "Gone Riding" and one other track. Actually, BV has a lot more pop music in it than you'd think/remember. It's not just Julee Cruise. A lotta music for Frank to drive around to and stuff...
Feb. 25, 2009, 9:58 p.m. CST
I'm just kidding. <P> I think Morrisey sucks, but it doesn't make his fans gay. That is what my gay brothers and sisters call a joke. Conqueror Worm obviously gets that. <p> Don't panic in the streets of London (see what I did there? Another joke...)
Feb. 25, 2009, 10:12 p.m. CST
Morrissey had a huge comeback with You Are the Quarry in 2004. It was his best selling album ever. The follow-up, Ringleader of the Tormenters was good (Tony Visconti!), but I feel this new album is more of a direct follow-up based off of production and lyrical content. Go Moz!
Feb. 25, 2009, 10:54 p.m. CST
by WYLD STALLYNS RULES
You know, I think the thing I really got out of it on first listen is that it has an urgency to it (particularly in the newfound confidence of the rhythm section) that was lacking in the past 3 or 4 Moz albums. This makes me think that the "review" was more of a kind of stock blurb meant to basically group the new one in with most of the man's recent output. Which, in a sense, is spot-on. I just think the way you make that comparison is by incorrectly pointing out as missing one thing that is actually an improvement over the last couple of records.
Feb. 25, 2009, 11:27 p.m. CST
A good section on pulp fiction or something would really spice this site up. I read lots of noir fiction, and this Robert Ferrigno novel I'm reading right now deserves to be talked about.
Feb. 26, 2009, 12:49 a.m. CST
Feb. 26, 2009, 1:11 a.m. CST
Feb. 26, 2009, 1:12 a.m. CST
..and ask : " Whatever the fuck happened to the Christian Bale talkback " ?!?
Feb. 26, 2009, 1:34 a.m. CST
is alright. I like the four-line reviews for albums instead of 3 paragraphs either giving the creators blowjobs or curbjobs, depending on how the reviewer feels about the album. (and yeah, I ripped off that news guy from the internet.)
Feb. 26, 2009, 1:35 a.m. CST
It's a progressive rock album though. In every sense of the word. Those dudes are the new kings. I can't wait to see them in Atlanta this weekend...
Feb. 26, 2009, 2:21 a.m. CST
Yeah, sort of, however Isolation and She's Lost Control (12") are pretty dancey actually. But don't try to do it in front of a crowd, much easier to listen to in a dungeon or darkened room, with dead objects scattered about your person and a rope around your neck.
Feb. 26, 2009, 2:40 a.m. CST
who has never heard of any of these bands? (Except for Issac and Morrissey)I admit I don't buy too much new music seeing as how everything 1999-present has sucked utter balls.
Feb. 26, 2009, 4:22 a.m. CST
Amazing list, great artists, this is what aint it cool could be, cutting edge without kissing ass. Morrissey is a personal favorite, could have not been on this list, especially with all the wonderful indie fare, but jesus, morrissey should be mentioned anywhere.
Feb. 26, 2009, 8:07 a.m. CST
by Hawaiian Organ Donor
Tommy Keene released an album last week. That guy's been around as long as Morrisey, writes better music but gets the shaft. Gotta love the music industry.
Feb. 26, 2009, 9:24 a.m. CST
I disagree, DuncanHines. I'd like to see a bit more depth on these articles. As it is, it's nice to see such good taste from Yoko. Dark Was the Night, Beirut, Benjy Ferree, M. Ward. There's some great indie stuff here. shogun_gunslinger, it depends on what sort of music you listen to. I'm an indie rock guy and there's a wealth of great music there post 1999.
Feb. 26, 2009, 10:42 a.m. CST
....you've got a good woman there!
Feb. 26, 2009, 11:12 a.m. CST
by Sailor Rip
New album is great.
Feb. 26, 2009, 11:13 a.m. CST
by Sailor Rip
...quite sure Chris Issac had no music in Blue Velvet. It was Wild at Heart.
Feb. 26, 2009, 1:20 p.m. CST
Morrissey hasn't sounded this urgent in a very long time. The first track on the album, "Something Is Squeezing My Skull", is one the most urgent songs he's ever released. A lot of people felt like You Are the Quarry was Moz getting his second wind, but I'd say that he's just getting it now.
Feb. 26, 2009, 3:58 p.m. CST
by Jackie Boy
Was really fucking good!
Feb. 26, 2009, 4:29 p.m. CST
Fuck that Dream Therater garbage, Mastodon are the new kings of prog. Obviously the album will divide fans, as the last one did, between those with open-minds and interested in musicality, and those simply looking for heaviness and brutal riffs.
Feb. 26, 2009, 6:29 p.m. CST
"humorous" comments in TBs are almost to be expected here. AICN was never a forum for maturity, but placing Morrissey's myspace link in the Dark Was The Night review, after the HIV/AIDS line was either one the stupidest typos i've seen here or a very unfunny homophobic joke. Either way, Yoko- not cool. As for Moz sucking(and you would know), what do YOU listen to that's SO great?
Feb. 26, 2009, 7:20 p.m. CST
so I had no idea about that link. <P> As for me, I like The Who. And Tom Waits. And Rufus Wainwright. <P> Therefore, I'm gay too, I guess.
Feb. 26, 2009, 7:31 p.m. CST
guess so. But since you're into the Who, yer friggin' alright in my book.
Feb. 26, 2009, 8:04 p.m. CST
keep it up. your picks are great. and what gal doesn't love m.ward. and for those who would love to d/l a selection of indie music to listen to, here is an amazing march sampling... http://tinyurl.com/cvlsww
Feb. 27, 2009, 12:18 a.m. CST
I like to discover new music and bands but the overwhelming amount of pure shit you have sift through kills my motivation to do so. Behold, this article illustrates my point. [In my opinion, bitches!]