Opening Tracks – 1/20/15

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Rocknowski is listening to and reviewing the opening track of every new release we find interesting or worthy, for as long as he keeps his sanity. Unfortunately, Rocknowski is a little busy this week, so Nat joined in the fun. These reviews and ratings are for the opening tracks only.

Last week’s winners were Finish garage rock band Rajayttajat, Local H, the Chicago duo celebrating the 20th Anniversary of their debut album this month, The Decemberists, Sleater-Kinney and Hanni El Khatib.

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Aphex Twin– Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt 2 EP (Vinyl) [EP] – “Diskhat ALL Prepared1mixed13”

– This Aphex Twin character has done some really innovative things with song titles and videos. Point of fact, I finally got around to watching the first Captain America movie and the first half-hour when actor Chris Evan’s big head is computer animated onto a tiny body, reminded me of an Aphex Twin video. His music, however, just ain’t my scene.

1 star: Did not want to finish.

 

– Hot on the heels of Syro, my favorite album of 2014, Richard D. James released another “EP” (In quotes for it’s near 30 minutes length). The opening track is just mellow piano and some light drone, lacking all of the beats of Syro, but I will definitely listen to all of it, given his history of work that I love.

4 stars: Will finish listening. 

 

Belle & SebastianGirls In Peacetime Want To Dance – “Nobody’s Empire”

– It’s hard for me to hear the music of B&S, or even read their name without thinking about how they’ve been proclaimed “The Whitest Band on the Internet” by the data cruncher at OKCupid. I think this track is just about as good as they can make. It’s got a catchy hook you can hum along with and tap your toe to.

4 stars: Will finish listening. 

 

The DecemberistsWhat a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World – “The Singer Addresses His Audience”

– I haven’t ever heard any of The Decemberist’s music that I remember enjoying, and this song didn’t start out much differently. While the song begins as a typical low-key acoustic number, halfway in the drums kick in, followed by some rockin’ guitar. Lyrically the song is about the relationship between artist and audience, summed up in the only lyrics in the second half, “to belong to you”.

4 Stars: Will finish listening 

 

Franz NicolayTo Us the Beautiful – “The Hearts Of Boston”

– This is exactly the kind of post-Mumford & Sons song that I’m glad Rocknowski didn’t have to hear this week.

1 Star: Wanted to turn it off. 

 

Hanni El KhatibMoonlight – “Moonlight”

– I really liked Hanni El Khatib’s 2013 album, “Head In The Sand”, but this track seems a little too influenced by The Black Keys. I still definitely want to hear the rest.

4 Stars: Will Finish Listening  

 

HypercolorHypercolor – “Squeaks”

– My interest in instrumental has definitely waned over the years, except for the work of one man: John Zorn. Nor surprise then, that this is on Tzadik, his record label. This is a pretty compelling two minutes, filled with Sonny Sharrock-esque liquid guitars, a heavy but grooving bass line and some insane drumming.

4 Stars: Will Finish Listening. 

 

Josh RitterAcoustic Live Vol. 1  – “Best For The Best”

– This is pretty much what I expected of The Decemberist’s song. Pleasant, but not very interesting. 

3 Stars: Might finish listening. 

 

Local H – Local H’s Awesome Mix Tape #2 – “Heroes”

– The best track on this covers e.p. Is actually the Lorde tune Team. But this take on one one of the more intimidating songs in the Bowie canon doth justify its existence. Comes off like Gang of Four’s Andy Gill jamming with classic period Kiss.

4 Stars: Will Finish Listening. 

Rajayttajat – Rock N Roll-Painajain – “Rock N Roll Painajainen”

– I have no idea what they are talking about, but this is a pretty great fucking song. It’s got a driving beat, blistering guitars and catchy vocals (even if you don’t know the lyrics). It even flirts with Sabbath-heavy doom rock on either side of the song. 

4 Stars: Will “Finish” Listening. 

 

Sleater-Kinney – No Cities To Love – “Price Tag

– While not as excited for the reunion of S-K as many people on my Facebook feed, I do very much like this rocking track about the horrors of modern capitalism.

4 Stars: Will Finish Listening. 

 

Viet Cong – Viet Cong – ” Newspaper Spoons”

– It’s strange the way hype happens. Get yourself a semi-controversial name, put out a cassette only release, get a couple positive reviews from some online music sites, and you’re on top of the world. Personally, I found that this emperor has no clothes, and did not find this an interesting listen at all.

2 Star: Probably Won’t Finish. 

 

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