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Yoko's Cool Cuts Volume 4&5: Morrissey, The Black Lips, Dark Was The Night & much more

Sorry to disappoint everyone. I know you thought because I didn't write last week that I might be gone for good, but I'm back. Here are last week's and this week's Cool Cuts merged together. Click the Amazon links to support the column, and also check out the bands' Myspace page. Some of them even post their whole albums on there in hopes that you'll buy the cd and come toshows. Speaking of shows, the SXSW band list and schedule are up now, and I've been slowly and methodically going through and creating my itinerary for that glorious weekend. Hopefully, I will have that up before the SXSW film portion begins, so that you may properly stalk me. Anyway, here you go!

Years of Refusal Morrissey
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.

Dark Was The Night Various Artists
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

Hold Time M. Ward
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

March of the Zapotec/Holland Beirut
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

Spirit of Apollo N.A.S.A.
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

The Century of Self And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead
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

Come Back to the Five & Dime, Bobby Dee Bobby Dee Benjy Ferree
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

Mr. Lucky Chris Isaak
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

War Child presents Heroes (Various Artists)
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

Insurgentes Steven Wilson
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

200 Million Thousand Black Lips
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

Hungry Bird Clem Snide
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

Here We Go Magic Here We Go Magic
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

The Mayfly Dance Stuart & Caan
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 Myspace
I'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

Readers Talkback
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  • Feb. 25, 2009, 6:26 p.m. CST




  • Feb. 25, 2009, 6:27 p.m. CST

    Dammit Harry

    by Xandar1977

    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

    i guess.......

    by benlinus

    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

    Chris Isaac didn't have any songs in BLUE VELVET.

    by LoneGun

    You are thinking of WILD AT HEART, David Lynch's following film.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 6:43 p.m. CST

    I fucking adore the Black Lips

    by kungfuhustler84

    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

    I have heard very mixed stuff on the new Beirut

    by kungfuhustler84

    Still have no clue whether or not it's worth purchasing.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 6:44 p.m. CST

    "If you're already a fan of Morrissey, you're gay."

    by gavdiggity

    fixed. <P> I'll be checking out the Black Lips, though.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 6:46 p.m. CST

    Shoplifters of the world unite!

    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


    by slowgraffiti

    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

    Good column, I'll be checking some of that stuff out.

    by Flim Springfield

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 6:48 p.m. CST

    .......oh, it's gay :(

    by Conqueror Worm

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 6:49 p.m. CST


    by ThomasServo

    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

    His name is ZACH CONDON

    by kgerm

    If you're gonna review music the least you could do is get his name right.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 6:50 p.m. CST

    Not that there's anything wrong with that, Conquerer Worm

    by gavdiggity

    some of my best friends are massive Morrisey fans.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 6:54 p.m. CST

    This is fucking retarded

    by Stengah

    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

    March of the Zapotec...

    by SamuelJackson1

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 7:03 p.m. CST

    New Mastodon...

    by Harold-Sherbort

    is gonna be fantastic.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 7:03 p.m. CST

    March of the zaoptec...

    by SamuelJackson1

    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

    march of the zapotec has 2 epic tracks

    by Stengah

    my night with the prostitute from marseilles, my wife lost with the wind.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 7:09 p.m. CST

    Morrissey is god

    by Mr_X

    i'm downloading that album asap!

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 7:15 p.m. CST

    the new Mastodon

    by kgerm

    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

    Years of Refusal

    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

    War Child, great concept

    by Garbageman33

    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

    I agree, dancy Joy Division covers are stale

    by IndustryKiller!

    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

    Didn't even know Beirut had new stuff out though

    by IndustryKiller!

    Thanks Yoko.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 7:42 p.m. CST


    by skellngtn

    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

    Good column

    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

    Yes, Yoko, You HAVE Disappointed Everybody...

    by KosherWookie

    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

    Trail of Dead

    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

    Dark Was the Night

    by mithrandir16

    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

    Hahahaha it's actually pretty funny

    by kungfuhustler84

    "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


    by marzblackmann

    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

    I'm pretty sure Chris Isaak

    by BillEmic

    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

    take it easy, skellngtn

    by gavdiggity

    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

    The Morrissey Is Very Good

    by fyrie

    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

    Yoko, the Morrissey record


    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

    Indeed Soylent Mean

    by kungfuhustler84

    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

    The shitty music columns back!

    by themasterofnonsense


  • Feb. 26, 2009, 1:11 a.m. CST

    Let me just get everyone

    by PTSDPete

  • Feb. 26, 2009, 1:12 a.m. CST

    Let me just get everyone's attention

    by PTSDPete

    ..and ask : " Whatever the fuck happened to the Christian Bale talkback " ?!?

  • Feb. 26, 2009, 1:34 a.m. CST

    This column...

    by DuncanHines

    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

    And the new Mastodon RULES.

    by DuncanHines

    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

    IndustryKiller! Dancey Joy Division...

    by alucardvsdracula

    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

    Am I the only one

    by the_shogun_gunslinger

    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

    great list

    by townshend

    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

    As to be expected, power pop gets the snub

    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

    Great selection, Yoko

    by Dijonase24

    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

    Yoko has great taste in music....

    by beatleMatt've got a good woman there!

  • Feb. 26, 2009, 11:12 a.m. CST

    Morrissey IS god.

    by Sailor Rip

    New album is great.

  • Feb. 26, 2009, 11:13 a.m. CST

    Blue Velvet...

    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 & urgency

    by Alec.Eiffel

    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

    Stuart and Caan.....

    by Jackie Boy

    Was really fucking good!

  • Feb. 26, 2009, 4:29 p.m. CST

    Yup. Mastodon's "Crack The Skye" is brilliant.

    by oceanic86

    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


    by skellngtn

    "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

    I didn't read that review...

    by gavdiggity

    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


    by skellngtn

    guess so. But since you're into the Who, yer friggin' alright in my book.

  • Feb. 26, 2009, 8:04 p.m. CST

    great job yoko

    by redfishbluefish

    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...

  • Feb. 27, 2009, 12:18 a.m. CST


    by thebearovingian

    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!]