Cleek has moved to
Update your treasure maps accordingly.

Friday, September 10, 2004

New Toons

Oh boy, it's time to do another list of new music.

Thanks to iTunes, I picked up the following:

  • No Knife : Riot For Romance.
    Found one song by these guys on someone's playlist on the iTunes music store, liked it, bought the album. These guys have a nice mix of sounds: along with a energetic and angular indie-pop style that's all their own, they work in some Spoon-esque minor-key messy minimalist pop, a little emo, and scattered all throughout are Discipline-era King Crimson-styled guitar bits. The album's fun to listen to and I imagine they'd be fun live.

  • Kings Of Convenience : Riot On An Empty Street.
    This is a nice set of laid-back and breezy pop songs. Most of them have minimal instrumentation: nearly-whispered voices and tasteful guitars, maybe some low-key drumming, occasionally keyboards or a horn. Some songs almost sound like classic Simon and Garfunkel - nice harmonies with guitar backup. A couple of songs approach Belle & Sebastian's twee Euro-pop, but they don't get into the lilting effeminate preening the way B&S sometimes does. Very pleasant stuff. Fits nicely between Iron And Wine's Our Endless Numbered Days and Joni Mitchell's Court And Spark...

  • Joni Mitchell : Court And Spark
    This is bigger and richer than her amazing Blue, and not as immediately catchy - except for that damned "Help Me", which has been stuck in my head for a week (thankfully, Elliot Smith's "Waltz #2" just popped up on the iPod, which disproves my earlier assertion that it never plays Elliot Smith, but also promises to push "Help Me" out of my head, since "Waltz #2" is one of the catchiest songs I've ever heard). Anyway... The songs on Court and Spark are more complex and jazz-flavored and the early 70's production and arrangements date the songs much stronger than the more folky, sparse and intimate Blue of just 2 years prior. So, it's a bit harder to get into. Her lyrics and voice are really the most interesting parts of her songs to me, but there's so much other stuff going on she kinda gets lost in all the action. It's something that may take a little effort to fully appreciate.

  • The Cure : The Cure
    Well, I broke down and went back to The Cure. I had given up on them when Wish came out (because of the accursed "Friday I'm in Love" and "Doing The Unstuck" (let's get happy!)), after years of adoration. But I read that they'd gone back to their old ways on this new record. Did they? Yeah, sortof. There aren't any attempts at commercial hits like the aforementioned abominations, but they didn't make it all the way back to their glory days of angst and gloom either - except lyrically, where Robert Smith reuses lines, phrases and constructions from older songs. There are some B+ songs here but I wouldn't put it up there with anything from their Faith through Kiss Me records.

  • Merge Records : Old Enough To Know Better
    This is a 15 year, 3-CD, Best-of-Merge collection. It features all the big Merge bands: Superchunk and Portastatic, Neutral Milk Hotel, Polvo, Spoon (with a surprising cover of Yo La Tengo's "Decora"), etc., and of course lots of their lesser-known bands. And, amazingly, the whole thing cost the same as a single CD. It's a good way to sample a lot of good bands, and support a great little label at the same time. I bought this one in real, physical CD form, as should you.

All images Copyright 2004-2005, cleek.