Looking for new music? DJs at WVAU share their thoughts on a range of recent releases.
Dirty Projectors | About to Die
Pretty good for a collection of odds and ends; Dirty Projectors have already released a full-length studio album this year, the quality of which you may still be contemplating.
“About To Die,” then, comes as something of a bonus release. Consisting of the titular track (one of the best from the album “Swing Lo Magellan”), three original songs and the two tracks released earlier as a tour-only single, the 17-minute EP is typical Dirty Projectors. There’s the general off-kilter attitude toward meter and key, the usual female vocal harmonies, all topped off by the over-the-top, multi-tracked yelping of David Longstreth.
That being said, it’s still worth a listen. “While You’re Here,” written after the 2007 passing of TV on the Radio member Gerard Smith and features just strings and vocals. But Longstreth’s unconventionally melismatic approach to singing keeps it from getting boring. “Simple Request” sounds like one of Led Zeppelin’s lighter tracks with a Jimmy Page-esque acoustic performance, subtly powerful drum track and crooning, melodic vocals.
The final two tracks, from the tour-only single, are also pretty catchy. And while it might not be anything revolutionary for the band, it is still a great companion to their album this year.
Recommended If You Like: Animal Collective, Frank Zappa, that David Byrne & St. Vincent collaboration
By Bill Oldham, “Kerwin’s Korner” Tuesdays, 8-10 p.m.
Pile | Dripping
A cathartic reminder of ‘90s heroes with touches of post-hardcore.
Pile throws Built to Spill’s intricate guitar melodies into a blender with Modest Mouse’s angrier moments and sprinkles in touches of folk-punk and Shellac’s hammered drums. The result is a dark, moody album featuring songs that feel absolutely monstrous despite their relatively short length.
“Baby Boy” opens the album with a grimy story juxtaposing childhood innocence with adult failure.
Their Boston heritage is apparent not even a minute into the album as Rick Maguire sings, “He washes his hands in a water bubbler” in a song that owes its quiet-loud-quiet dynamics to fellow Bostonian ‘80s alt-champions, the Pixies.
There’s an abundance of gut-wrenching, honest emotion seething just beneath the surface, from the shriekingly beautiful guitar solo that closes “Prom Song” to Maguire’s roaring, bone-cutting refrain on “The Jones.”
If you’re a fan of ‘90s guitar-driven indie rock and the snarling aggression of post-hardcore, you owe it to yourself to give Pile a chance. While the band is still finding an audience, “Dripping” already feels as classic as the legends that it brings to mind.
RIYL: Modest Mouse, Built to Spill, Pixies, The Jesus Lizard
By Cameron Stewart , “Sultry Red Feedback” Saturdays, 3-4 a.m.
Andrew Bird | Hands of Glory
The whistling indie violinist goes to a honky-tonk: Andrew Bird is back with his second album of 2012.
“Hands of Glory” is a stripped down, intimate companion to March release “Break It Yourself.”
It’s also a little bit country. Recorded with a few musicians around a single microphone, “Hands of Glory” is full of covers of Bird’s favorite Americana tunes.
Known to be a huge Townes Van Zandt fan, Bird includes a fairly faithful cover of “If I Needed You.” “When That Helicopter Comes” is an eerie yet swingy version of the already mysterious Handsome Family song.
“Hands of Glory” is folksy rather than artsy, unlike Bird’s previous albums. He leaves out his virtuosic whistling and exposes his vocals more than ever before. These songs deal with difficult concepts of sin and salvation through story, just like any good country record.
RIYL: Townes Van Zandt, Gillian Welch, M. Ward
By Trevor Langan, “Gypsy Soul” - Thursdays, 6-8 p.m.