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Yet More Music

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Another collection of remarks on a number of albums. I must say this year has been exciting so far with respect to the records that have been released. While there seems to be no absolute star among them, the general quality has been pretty high. Featuring: Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Show Your Bones, The Flaming Lips’ At War with the Mystics, Die Sterne’s Räuber und Gedärm, The Kooks’ Inside In / Inside Out and Be Your Own Pet.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Show Your Bones

Yeah Yeah Yeahs Show Your Bones album cover In the likely case that you aren’t a super long-time reader with an excellent memory I should make my bias quite clear: I think the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are one of the greatest bands around at this time. Particularly seeing them live was as exhausting as it was exciting. Thus, I was eager to hear their new album, Show Your Bones, which took a few years to come through.

Listening to the album left a mixed impression. In total it sounds too slow and tame for the proper Yeah Yeah Yeahs feeling. But I am pretty confident that this is just a side-effect of using a studio and producer people who like things to be done nicely. Rather than unashamedly and numbingly powerful. So while the record doesn’t have songs that can match Master’s Art Star in its ear shattering debauchery, I hope that rock-godess Karen O and the band can still shift to a more violent gear when playing live.

My favourite song at this stage is Mysteries, but Phenomena, Way Out or The Sweets – while being less energetic – aren’t bad either. Turning up the stereo to very high levels does help…

[Bonus Karen O worship task: listen to Brakes’ Heard About Your Band.]

[Buy at amazon .com, .uk, .de]

The Flaming Lips – At War with the Mystics

Flaming Lips At War With The Mystics Cover Art And while we’re up here with the great bands of these days, The Flaming Lips released their new album At War with the Mystics as well.

Naturally I was looking forward to hearing this album, but – to be honest I didn’t really expect it to be better than the ever-so-glorious Soft Bulletin. This was a pretty low-risk expectation to have, of course, and it came true. I’d say the album can’t match Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots either and while being generally cheery and uplifting it seems to be a bit too indifferent to me at stages.

The opening tracks, Yeah Yeah Yeah Song and Free Radicals are probably the most straightforwardly powerful songs on the album but others have their good bits as well. My Cosmic Autumn Rebellion is the most ‘typical’ Flaming Lips song, Mr. Ambulance Driver sounds like it’s from a film and Pompeii am Götterdämmerung – whatever that concoction of words is supposed to mean – uses the melody of the German national anthem as its leitmotiv.

[Buy at amazon .com, .uk, .de]

Die Sterne – Räuber und Gedärm

Die Sterne Räuber und Gedärm cover art Die Sterne are one of the well-known Hamburger Schule bands. After drifting to a more poppy field on their 2002 album Irres Licht they returned to being more thoughtful on Das Weltall ist zu weit in 2004 and seem to try being slightly political on their new album with the horribly punny title Räuber und Gedärm.

I’m a bit sceptical about mixing politics and music. And I thought there was too much focus on the lyrics – which were too much in the foreground of the songs – at first. But I got used to it, and ended up quite liking the album. Possibly because some of their lyrics match my own grudges…

Viele Sachen sind viel zu teuer
und kosten, sagen wir einfach mal, zehn.
Ich nehme viel weniger,
weil ich der Meinung bin,
es müßte auch günstiger gehen.

Ich bin billig, ich bin billig,
ich bin billig – nimm mich mit.

Die meisten Sachen sind nicht gut –
es ist immer irgendwas dabei
was Du gar nicht brauchst.
Etwas, das Du gar nicht haben willst
und das den Preis dann letztendlich versaut.

Ich bin billig, ich bin billig,
ich bin billig – nimm mich mit.

Die Sterne – Billig!

In English the song would be called Cheap! and go like this:

Loads of things are too expensive
and cost, let’s say, ten.
I take less
because I think
it should be possible for less.

I am cheap, I am cheap,
I am cheap – pick me up.

Most things aren’t good –
usually they include something
which you don’t need at all.
Something you don’t want to have at all,
and which ruins the price in the end.

I am cheap, I am cheap,
I cm cheap – pick me up.

[Buy at amazon .com, .uk, .de]

The Kooks – Inside In / Inside Out

The Kooks Inside In / Inside Out cover art A strange album! In a way I consider it to be too poppy / tacky to be good. But then I ended up liking it anyway, musically at least. Sometimes you just can’t help it I guess. The music reminded me a bit of The Thrills and is good for relaxed listening on sunny days.

Naïve, Match Box or See the World are songs I particularly like.

What I particularly dislike about the CD has to do with the marketing. Usually it’s a bad sign if bands bring along their German-language web site right from the beginning. And The Kooks do. In the ‘even worse’ department, I still can’t decide whether it’s the fact that the CD turned out to be what is euphemistically named ‘copy controlled’ or that I only realised it is way after ripping it into my iTunes library and iPod… but I’ll leave that for another post.

[Buy at amazon .com, .uk, .de]

Be Your Own Pet

Be Your Own Pet Cover Art Hooray for teenager music! Be Your Own Pet are blood young and very noisy band. I first encountered their song Fire Department here and then had to listen to the album. It doesn’t quite match the quality of that one song but still kicks ass. A lot of noise, not too many thoughts given to making songs sound dull or last longer than two minutes. Great! And how cheerfully bold is it to call a song Stairway to Heaven and even start it singing the words ‘Stairway to Heaven’ in a not-quite-unknown melody?

What keeps confusing my old aged self here is the question how the ‘proper’ capitalisation of the band’s name works. There seem to be several different variants around, proper capitalisation or no capital letters except for PET. In which case it could be an acronym for many things.

So please excuse me now, I’ll have hang out at my Livejournal and open a MySpace account…

[Buy at amazon .com, .uk, .de]

May 15, 2006, 0:04

Tagged as music.

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