Tom Waits – Bad As Me
Tom Waits may pay the mortgage as a musician, but he clearly has the heart of a junkman. With Waits, you get the sense that nothing ever truly gets thrown away—maybe pushed deeper back or buried beneath but never completely discarded or forgotten. On Bad As Me, Waits’ first collection of entirely new material since 2004’s clanging, scraping Real Gone, the once inebriated lounge act turned beatboxing junkman picks through the scrap metal and tire piles of his nearly 40-year career and shows that a shine can be salvaged from even the rustiest pieces. Read the full review on Consequence of Sound
Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto
After a short instrumental intro, Mylo kicks off with “Hurts Like Heaven,” a driving homage to LCD Soundsystem and a nice kick in the formula. (Coldplay’s members are expert formula-repeaters.) But from there, it’s a different recipe, with a series of songs that almost beg for a verse from Jigga. “Paradise” is the biggest, most obvious one, with its saccharine—but somehow acceptable—lyrics (“life goes on, it gets so heavy”) and loping breakbeat. If Martin hasn’t lined somebody up to throw down some rhymes on a remix, he’s missing out on some serious crossover potential. “Princess Of China” serves up a major player, though: Rihanna duets with Martin on a massive bit of pop-ready melancholia that should find a home on about six different radio formats. Read the full review at Chicago Sun Times
Bonnie Prince Billy – Wolfroy Goes To Town
Wolfroy Goes to Town is a hushed, hallowed, humble work; with a reverent air that borders on religious, and a congregation of backing singers —including the glorious warble of Chicago songsmith Angel Olsen— employed like choir to his preachin’. This suits a lyrical motif that is filled with references to the divine.
Early in 2011, the Bonnie “Prince” issued a seven-inch, “There Is No God” b/w “God Is Love,” which at the time seemed like a lark; especially given the giddy, drunk-country ramblin’ of the former jam, which found Oldham caroling “that which puts mouth on cock and vagina” with glee. Here, there’s the same lyrical predisposition —God that is, not genitalia— only delivered with far more gravity and grace.
Just as on Willy O’s first-ever album, the 1993 Palace Brothers LP There is No-One What Will Take Care of You, God is present, in some form, in every song; usually by name, often in spirit; a panoply of perceptions coloring an often-stark set of songs, God rendered various shades of loving, cruel, absent, omnipresent, bearded, feminine. Oldham explores notions of faith and religion, pitting belief in a deity against the way humans force their own narratives, their own agendas, onto some imagined man in the sky. “Good God guides us/Bad God leaves us,” he carols on opener “No Match,” and that mixture of sly humor and solemn profundity holds across the whole album.
As the songs roll out mournful and melancholy, Oldham still can shoehorn in the lyrically bizarre (like: “as boys, we fucked each other/as men, we lie and smile”; or: “fat men smiling, bearded men/with blue eyes shining, light within”), but they don’t play like jokes. The effect is sad, somehow; like back in that old Palace era, when a song called “You Have Cum In Your Hair and Your Dick Is Hanging Out” was so beautiful it could make you cry. Read the full review on AllMusic
Raise your hand if you love Gillian Welch and want two free tickets to see her at the Flynn October 26th! One… two…. th- Ok. Put your hands down. We’ll do this a better way. If you want said ticket for said artist appearing at said venue on said date, head over to Pure Pop’s facebook page and Tell us your favorite Gillian song in the comments for this post. If we like your response and are feeling generous, we’ll add your name to
the terrorist watch list our random drawing.
M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
M83 have never stood for half measures in any aspect, but Gonzalez is absolutely going for it here in a way that sheds new light on known tricks: The hair-triggered drum rolls of “New Map” recall Before the Dawn’s searing car-crash fantasy “Don’t Save Us From the Flames”, but Gonzalez’s nervy punctuation at the end of each line sells the idea that he’s along for the ride this time rather than being a passive observer. Dead Cities’ “In Church” was the sound of blissful acquiescence, but amidst the swaggering synth-metal of “Midnight City”, Gonzalez hollers, “The city is my church!” empowered and present, finding a voice for the evangelical zeal always implicit in his work. Read the full review on Pitchfork
Real Estate – Days
In contrast with the self-titled album’s stoned, friendly vibes, Days simply exudes confidence. They’ve clearly stepped up their production values in every respect; this time around, Etienne Duguay’s drums don’t sound so smothered or submerged, Matthew Mondanile’s guitar glides through each track with a sense of reverberating nostalgia clearly influenced by his solo work as Duktails, Alex Bleeker plays base with steadier and simpler purpose, and Martin Courtney’s vocals are layered and harmonized with more care and complexity than they ever were before. Then there are the tinier details that get the opportunity to shine through, like the subtle bells on opener “Easy,” the soft backing keyboards on “It’s Real” and “Out of Tune,” and the distant tambourine-woodblock combo on “Kinder Blumen.” The fact that Real Estate would even choose to include these embellishments in the first place suggests a willingness to grow, while their restrained use reflects a band that doesn’t feel the need to prove their growth; as the saying goes, they show us that they’ve expanded their sound instead of just telling us. Read the full review on 130BPM
Class Actress – Rapprocher
Like most acts that attempt to reclaim glamorous early-‘80s New Wave, Class Actress lives in a completely different era. Like Neon Indian’s first album, the somewhat lo-fi production values and vintage instrumentation never get in the way of the songs, but instead manage to stand alongside them hand-in-hand. This has to do mostly with the fact that the songs themselves on Rapprocher are just infectiously catchy. Whether its the insatiable choruses of “Love Me Like You Used To” or “Weekend,” Class Actress clearly has little interest in the washed-out vocals and melodic inaccessibility of other lo-fi acts. Read the full review on Paste
Fan Modine Gratitude for the Shipper
CD on sale for $11.99
Mayer Hawthorne How Do You Do
CD on sale for $9.99
Wild Flag Wild Flag
CD on sale for $12.49
Melissa Ferrick Still Right Here
CD on sale for $10.99
We’ve got some rad giveaways here at the store, but only while supplies last. Hurry in and purchase one of the following albums if you want to claim some free swag!
Ryan Adams– Ashes and Fire (CD $8.99/LP $19.97). Comes with free lyrics book. Note that the vinyl version of this album will not be released until November 1.
Feist– Metals (CD $12.99/LP $17.97). Comes with a free Paint-by-Numbers poster!
Rich Robinson– Through a Crooked Sun (CD $10.99/LP $21.97). Comes with a free 4-Song EP, Llama Blues.
Ladytron– Gravity the Seducer (CD $8.99/LP $19.97). Comes with a bonus DVD containing music videos, a making-of video, and a photo gallery.
Dum Dum Girls– Only in Dreams (CD $12.49/LP $16.97). Comes with a free 7″ containing an edit of the alubm track, “Coming Down” and a promotional exclusive, “Crystal Baby”.
Mason Jennings– Minnesota (CD $12.49/LP $18.97). Comes with a free signed poster!
Zola Jesus – Conatus
There has always been something almost subliminally idol-killing about the Zola Jesus project, and it really comes into focus here. Danilova’s childhood opera aspirations are subverted into something nearly opposite. Opera singing is narrative and flows smoothly from deep within. Danilova is more allusive and tortuous. Her voice keeps getting caught in her throat, where it’s stressed and twisted by transient emotional surges. Though the theatricality and the epic-pop trappings may evoke artists like Dead Can Dance, the vocals have the passion of blues singing. Danilova is equally iconoclastic when it comes to industrial influences like Throbbing Gristle, finding ways to make abrasion as musical as possible without sacrificing tension. Her touchstones have been digested into a personal style that is much more substance than reference. Read the full review on Pitchfork
Mastodon – The Hunter
The Hunter sees Mastodon taking a much more riff-heavy approach — shorter songs, more bombast — without compromising their epic feel. A purist raised on the literary universes encompassed on the band’s last three albums (Leviathan, 2004; Blood Mountain, 2006; and Crack the Skye, 2009) could pine for the 13-minute cosmic journey, but The Hunter is just as expansive as any of Mastodon’s earlier efforts, despite the lack of Hawkwind-style noodling. Having a pop radio producer at the helm seems not to have diminished the band’s determination to push boundaries, but rather to have made that desire more concise, more focused, and somehow more powerful. The shine given to The Hunter is definitely worthy of Warner Bros. (the parent of Reprise), and a measure of rock-radio friendliness hasn’t been a barrier to metal bands in the past. Read the full review on Tiny Mix Tapes
St. Vincent – Strange Mercy
Describing Annie Clark’s work as St. Vincent comes down to a toss-up between cinematic and clever. Both in the studio and in her videos, Clark is captivating, expansive, and yet undemanding. She slyly earns your attention with bombastic hooks, witty turns of phrase, or by mentoring a kid who just got a merit badge for “mind sandwich” (all done together in the video for “Jesus Saves, I Spend”), and then she reels you in further. She convinces you to take another step closer to the difficult subjects she intends to work out. Many were drawn in by the title track of her debut, Marry Me, for its cute power, the smoky vocals, the pretty girl singing directly to you with stark emotion. But what sticks in the end are her clever twists (“Let’s do what Mary and Joseph did… without the kid”) and the huge scope of such a simple song. Read the full review on Consequence of Sound