The new Camera Obscura album, Let's Get Out of this Country is pretty damn good; hooray for Merge. I've never been what you can call a 'fan' of the Concretes or the Cardigans, more like an admirer, and will probably remain the same for the similar Camera Obscura, although name checking Lloyd Cole gets my attention. No wonder they had to go to Sweden to get it right. And jettisoning the Belle and Sebastien likeness was a great thing. There can only be One.
Futureheads' new one is worth your dollar. All the way through. They play like the Jam, sing like the Damned, and produce like Kate Bush. They almost write as well as the Jam, although it's unfair to compare anyone in such a light. Even solo Paul Weller. Especially him.
Looking forward to hearing more from the new Hidden Cameras album, Awoo; liked them from the "Ban Marriage" single I used to spin so successfully in my DJ days. Their song "Smells Like Happiness," from their debut, might be the most beautiful song with explicit lyrics about wearing blindfolds and deflowering a young man "who behaves himself in department stores." Great line. Take that, Morrissey.
Trying to like the Duke Spirit. Not sure if they do , any better, what thousands have done before. I would see them live, though, because the garage rock man-band vs woman-singer is always a good thing. But I need only one album of this stuff, and it's Knock Loud (2002) by the Paybacks.
Dirty on Purpose's new one won't set anyone on fire, but it will make a nice drive better, or especially improve an airplane flight. They're taking a deeper look at that territory that Yo La Tengo discarded around When the Heart Beats as One or whatever it was called.
Which brought me to finding an old Portastatic EP, bought when I first realized Mac from Superchunk had been recording other things (his Bricks project is ok, for Chunk fans, at least) unbeknownst to moi. The Scrapbook EP is mostly underwhelming save a heavens-aligned cover of Brian Eno's "St Elmo's Fire" with Ira and Georgia from Yo La Tengo.
Around the same time I bought the Portastatic EP, I was sent, for review, a nifty little record, Bear Catching Fish, by Engine Kid, now long defunct. Recorded by some asshole named Albini and released in 1993, it's an interesting collision of Slint-esque math rock and pure metal; "Rockford Files" evokes both Sonic Youth, Slint, and Iron Maiden (wait for the rhtyhm section to kick in) and their cover of "Rocky Mountain High" makes so much sense with their particular sound that it's another moment where the heavens were in the right position for once.