Review: Dodge and Burn by the Dead Weather

Dodge and Burn by the Dead WeatherIf you’ve seen the Dead Weather live – whether it be actually live, or just off YouTube – you could argue that an album is no match for the sheer visceral nature of their performances. But Dodge and Burn proves that they can come quite close. The first album in five years from Jack White and Alison Mosshart’s not-quite-side project, it shows the band’s penchant for hybrid sounds – combinations of blues, garage and whatever else floats their boat at the moment – all tied in together with a hoo-rah! attitude. Oh, and Alison Mosshart herself: with one yelp, the Kills frontwoman conceals the complicated, perhaps mish-mash, nature of the music. That should do if you can’t see them live. Knowing that they somehow manage to not be comfortable despite sounds very much comfortable with what they do – that’s something. [NB] | 3/5

Review: In Dream by Editors

In Dream by EditorsBy now you have a pretty good idea what In Dream, Editors’ fifth album, sounds like. It’s sweeping. It’s brooding. It’s dramatic. It’s very much gut-wrenching. In Dream has flourishes of sunshine, however. Not something I expected to say, and not something you’d instantly glean, either. It’s still all doom and gloom, and yet you get a feeling that there’s acceptance, or jubilation, even. Maybe it’s the effect of doing five records. There’s an introspective acceptance prevalent in the lyrics across the record, especially in the final two tracks: “At All Costs” and “Marching Orders” feels like catharsis, acceptance, and moving onward. It would have been more effective if we didn’t need to wallow through more of the same to get there, however. [NB]3/5

Review: Zipper Down by Eagles of Death Metal

Zipper Down by Eagles of Death MetalTook them seven years to get a new record together, but Zipper Down – the latest from Josh Homme and Jesse Hughes, aka Eagles of Death Metal – is satisfying and worth the wait. And this, despite the fact that it just, well, zips by so quickly. It’s what you’ve come to expect from the band: sludgy, funky, grungy and growly, with a sense of fun that doesn’t quite cross the line. And it all comes naturally – nothing feels heavily belabored, rather it all just falls into place without you thinking about it. And then it’s done. 35 minutes and that’s it. The funny thing is, I wasn’t looking for more. I didn’t feel shortchanged, but I don’t feel pummeled by all this fun either. It’s… let’s just say there’s alchemy at play. I could say magic, but alchemy feels more appropriate for a band like EODM. [NB] | 4/5


“A Long and Short Festival” by Sheena Ringo | I was wrong – turns out I have three foreign-language songs this week. I heard this one on Monocle 24 (which, of course, loves its Japanese pop) and was drawn to that chorus breakdown. It’s not exactly auto-tune, but, well… it’s alluring, oddly. Sheena Ringo (or Ringo Sheena, depending on where you’re looking) is yet another luminary in the Japanese pop scene, responsible for eight solo albums, as well as her work with the band Tokyo Jihen. This song (which the station oddly misidentifies) is a non-album single, just released this year, and is one hell of a funky breakdown (as is this one, released around the same time, and is even funkier). I mean, it’s a cacophony of instruments, influences and all that, but it just all comes together, cramping themselves in one space until the levee breaks and everyone has to fall down. Gracefully. With style, to quote Buzz Lightyear. [NB]

“Esa es una verdad que en mí siempre vivirá.”

“Ese Camino” by Julieta Venegas | I don’t often write about Spanish-language songs. I don’t really get to listen to a lot of Spanish radio lately (this being an exception from years ago, and this is in English!) so I don’t get to hear a lot of Spanish songs, whether it’s from Europe or from Latin America. Or, in this case, California. Rainy and I were listening to The Latin Alternative and she recognized this song from some video she saw somewhere. “So it must be a few years old,” I thought. Wrong. “Ese Camino” is the lead from Julieta Venegas’ latest record, Algo Sucede, released just a month ago. A multi-instrumentalist, Julieta began her career in the late 90s, after years growing up in Tijuana, and has released seven records. And even won a Grammy – not just a Latin Grammy, of which she has many, but a Grammy, in 2007, for her record Limón y Sal. Shows how little we know that isn’t English. Not that we’re good at redressing the balance, or something. [NB]