Clinic Bubblegum [Domino]
Need to know: Clinic was formed by Ade Blackburn and Jonathan Hartley in Liverpool, England in 1997, with a DIY, kitchen sink, lo-fi aesthetic. In their first two years they released three EPs, which were released as a compilation by Domino Records, which signed the band in 1999. Clinic released their debut album, Internal Wrangler, the following year, which put them on the map and to this day is regarded as not just one of the strongest albums of the decade, but also their finest record to date. Single “The Second Line” was featured in a Levi’s ad and Radiohead brought them on tour as their opening act. The band maintained a consistent release schedule over the next decade, putting out an album every two years, which included Walking With Thee (2002), Winchester Cathedral (2004), Visitations (2006), Do It! (2008) and Bubblegum (2010). They also released a second compilation in 2007 title Funf, which collected B-sides from the band’s first decade. Clinic are known for their distinct costume, which includes but is not restricted to hospital scrubs and face mask.
In a 100 words or so: Bubblegum is arguably the first Clinic album to have the distinction of not immediately sounding like a Clinic album. Not to write off their first five albums, but if there’s any way to describe Clinic’s previous output it’s consistency, both in quality and identity. Ade Blackburn’s mumble is hard to miss, so it remains the one true identifier, but this evolution is anything but a disappointment. Where they’ve always shown a fondness for ’60s psychedelia and garage, Bubblegum explores many other textures, like the Brill Building pop of “Baby,” the haunting folk of “Linda” and “Forever (Demis’ Blues),” a rollicking adventure based around twang. For all of the attempts to expand Clinic’s horizons, the only definite misstep is “Radiostory,” an dispensable spoken word track that shows like a BBC Radiophonic Workshop outtake. Should their development rub any fans the wrong way, well “Lion Tamer” and “Evelyn” are two of the better garage songs they’ve done in years, demonstrating that all of their forward progress isn’t without keeping an eye on the past.
Best track: “Lion Tamer”
R.I.Y.L. The Fall, We Are Wolves, Pavement, Archie Bronson Outfit, Electrelane
Buy, download, steal or don’t bother: The packaging is hard to resist, so buy in some format.
Sample: Bubblegum instrumental “megamix”
Animal Collective Fall Be Kind [Domino]
They really didn’t need to do this. After over-stimulating us way back in January with Merriweather Post Pavilion, an album that still reveals brand new elements and nuances almost a year later, Animal Collective cap off a career-making year with five more mind-bending gems.
Fall Be Kind is not a companion EP, but a stand-alone work that peels yet another layer from their infinite onion. Well, actually, opener “Graze,” was originally imagined for MPP, and I can see why. The soaring, echo-y haze keeps ascending until it trickles into a coda that’s as much some Celtic/polka concoction as it is a carbonated AC breakdown we’ve become accustom to.
“Bleed,” on the other hand, looks back to the more jam-filled formative years, where they were more about simplifying music by stretching out songs into extended refrains (though this one isn’t even four minutes). “On A Highway” too eschews MPP’s boisterous activity, spreading its wings and soaring off into a pensive, dubby drone.
Since its initial announcement though, Fall Be Kind had most people curious to hear what they did with the sample they lifted from the Grateful Dead’s “Unbroken Chain.” As the first act ever to receive clearance from the Dead, AC certainly put it to good use. The guitar part is looped and then absorbed into their intricate layers, blossoming into a bona fide pop song that acts as not just the centrepiece but also one of the most accessible things they’ve given us.
Ending on a more drawn out cut helmed by Noah Lennox (Panda Bear) is both surprising and not very. Again, it demonstrates how much Animal Collective like their songs to climb and then expand. While it takes nearly five minutes to arrive, the pinnacle arrives when the song erupts - for one brief, glorious minute - like a gutted piñata expelling a melange of dizzying harmonies.
Apologies for getting seasonal, but Fall Be Kind is like that extra special Christmas present your parents wait to give you after you’ve unwrapped everything in sight – somewhat unexpected, not exactly necessary considering the gift they already gave us this year, and the complete and utter cherry on top of a year that has seen them become the most influential and important band making music.
Who knows what they could possibly have in store for that next album, but let’s hope they’re making that promise to have it out next year as a New Year’s resolution…
- Cam Lindsay
Irate New Jersey indie rockers Titus Andronicus have released details on their second album. The Monitor will be a concept album loosely about the Civil War. Frontman Patrick Stickles says “it is a record about how the conflicts that led our nation into that great calamity remain unresolved, and the effect that this ongoing division has on our personal relationships and our behavior and how they’re all out to get us (or maybe not?) and yadda yadda yadda.” Guests on the album include the Hold Steady’s Craig Finn and Vivian Girls’ Cassie Ramone. You can hear part one of the first single “Four Score and Seven” here.
Bradford Cox has dusted off a super-rare Deerhunter album. In a post on the band’s blog, Cox says “it features only me and Moses and is very experimental in nature. This was during our ‘tape phase’ when we would often play shows as a duo (or as a trio with colin) playing only tape machines and vocal loops.” You can download Carve Your Initials Into the Walls of the Night for free here.
‘90s East Coast indie darlings Thrush Hermit will reform for a series of reunion shows in March 2010. It doesn’t look like anything more than a short tour though. Joel Plaskett tells Exclaim!, “As it stands, this is a one-off tour. We’re all busy with our own agendas and we wanted to do this, so we are all pressing pause on our other lives to make it happen in March.”
Galaxie 500 will see their catalogue reissued once again. On March 22nd, Domino will release the seminal ‘80s indie band’s three studio albums - Today, This Is Our Music and On Fire - all with bonus discs of live recordings Peel Sessions and more.
The National and Dan Deacon have both been used new ad campaigns by Google. The National have leant “Apartment Story” for an “out of office” advertisement, while Deacon’s “Build Voice” will be heard promoting web browser Google Chrome.
Tags: Bradford Cox, Carve Your Initials Into the Walls of the Night, Dan Deacon, Deerhunter, Domino, Exclaim!, Galaxie 500, Google, Joel Plaskett, Patrick Stickles, The Monitor, The National, Thrush Hermit, Titus Andronicus
Posted in News, The New Music | No Comments »
Goldfrapp will return in the new year with their fifth album. Out March 23, 2010, Head First has been described as their :most powerful trip to date, a speedy rush of synth optimism, euphoria, fantasy and romance. With life affirming lyrics and stellar production it lifts off at full tilt and takes us on a journey to the heart of 2010.” Despite the label writing that, we’re still excited.
Stop the presses: Robyn and Diplo are working together?!? Pitchfork dug up this tasty collaboration, which the two have been tweeting about for a couple weeks now. Diplo says Robyn has made his “favorite track of 2010!” Considering his tastemaking skills, we’ll assume it will be ours too.
If you’re curious about Final Fantasy’s upcoming Heartland album, you can now get a taste of what’s to come from the “12 concise songs informed by the traditions of pop, based on one long narrative concept and played by an orchestra.” Domino is giving away an MP3 of “Lewis Takes Action,” which you can download here.
Let’s hope the guys in Pavement enjoy their hugely anticipated, forthcoming reunion. Spiral Stairs told The Age, “If it’s enjoyable for us, I think it is inevitable that we’ll make some more music.” Somebody please hold him to that.
Finally it looks as though Oasis might reform… without Noel Gallagher. As the founder of the band, Liam likely has the rights to it. He says, “We’re not using it [the Oasis name] at the moment, but if we don’t come up with something else by the time we’re ready to release the album it’ll be Oasis. I’m not going to call myself something ridiculous just for the sake of it.” He also added that they wouldn’t play any Noel songs live.
Tags: Diplo, Domino, final fantasy, Goldfrapp, Head First, Heartland, Lewis Takes Action, Liam Gallagher, Oasis, pavement, Robyn, Spiral Stairs, The Age, Twitter
Posted in News, The New Music | No Comments »
Joy Division/New Order bassist Peter Hook has confessed that he’s fooled collectors in the past by forging the autograph of his late bandmate Ian Curtis. Of course, it was all done for a laugh. (That is pretty funny, actually.)
Damian “Pink Eyes” Abraham, frontman for Polaris Music Prize victors F**ked Up and eternal record junkie, is the star of a new online short that follows him to his favourite local record shop (Toronto’s Rotate This.)
One of the most unlikely lawsuits has come to life: German electronic shoegaze maestro Ulrich Schnauss and his label Domino have launched a $1 million lawsuit again Guns N’ Roses for blatantly sampling two of his songs without clearance. Tsk, tsk Axl.
Not only is Daft Punk scoring next year’s Tron Legacy
, but according to star Olivia Wilde, the influential pioneers of French Touch and outright robotic gods are also making a cameo in the film. (We’re guessing with their masks on…)
And just because they deserve it, the first two Bauhaus albums are getting a deluxe reissue by label Beggars Banquet. A fifth wave of goth, anyone?