Other Music are our friends. They curate selections of vinyl and CDs for the front desk marketplace at Ace New York, and this is their latest collection. You can come check it out for yourself — everything’s up on the wall by the taxidermy. If you come stay and want something good to play in your room, just call the front desk and they’ll send some things up. Here’s what OM have to say about their new favorites:
DANGER MOUSE/SPARKLEHORSE - DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL
This official release comes a year later than anybody intended, with much water under the bridge, yet it allows us a fresh perspective on what brought Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse together in the first place: blasted pop songs, featuring a corral bursting with some of this generation’s great vocalists. With a guest list that includes Wayne Coyne, Julian Casablancas, the late Chesnutt, Suzanne Vega, Iggy Pop, Jason Lytle, James Mercer, David Lynch, Gruff Rhys, Nina Persson, and Black Francis, it’s tough to go wrong. Each song takes on the additional burden of seeming “of a piece” with the whole concept of the album, while being composed of singers who are, to say the least, individualistic and stylistically at odds. Linkous’ glitch-pocked alt-country turns out to be the perfect kind of loose thread that wraps everything together. Combining shimmering, tremolo-heavy electric guitars and otherworldly analog static with digital hiss, Linkous and Danger Mouse create a rough-hewn texture that molds itself comfortably around crooners like Coyne, throat scratchers like Casablancas, and angels like Vega. The lush string arrangement serves as a mirror to Coyne’s voice on opener “Revenge,” while a loping loner’s shuffle accompanies Super Furry Animals’ frontman Rhys fittingly down the road of “Just War.” In my mind, the nicest surprises come from the women of the record, with Vega and Perrson (of the Cardigans) both delivering performances that are genuine and warm-spirited.
WOLF PARADE - EXPO 86
Sometimes it can be hard to define the things that make a band. At this point, trying to quantify the past and present projects with Wolf Parade ties can be a strain on the brain. Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner, the two main songwriting forces behind the Parade, have been just as prolific with their other projects as they have their better-known band. In light of increased exposure to these disparate groups, Wolf Parade starts to emerge as a precarious balancing act — one that stands and falls by how well these opposing forces can work together to spark a greater whole. Fortunately, the group sounds more like a band than they ever have here. From the start, the band have always pulled as much from art-rock and prog-rock (Bowie/Eno/Roxy) as heartland classic rock (Springsteen/Petty), creating eccentric anthems for a future breed. They keep the pillars firmly in place here, but the album benefits from better sequencing and a more seamless integration of Krug and Boeckner’s voices than we’ve previously heard. Most importantly, the band sounds absolutely on fire, coming closer than they’ve ever managed to approximating the feverish intensity of their live show thanks to drummer Arlen Thompson’s bombastic production (and tub-thumping!). For my money this band has always done the art-damaged modern anthem better than both the Arcade Fire-spawned theater troupes or the neo-Springsteen devil-in-blue-jeans contenders. Look no further than “What Did My Lover Say (It Always Had to Go This Way)” for proof of all this band’s legion rock and roll powers at work simultaneously. When was the last time an indie record sounded good cranked?
Other Music’s Newest Collection at Ace New York