Today saw the release of four of the most hotly anticipated albums of the year, and we simply can't contain our excitement about at least two of them. So rather than discuss the amusing low-tech video for LCD's lead single "North American Scum," we'd much rather sing the praises of the high-tech brilliance of the Soundsystem's latest album, Sound of Silver. It is quite simply, as Pitchfork put it, "as close to a perfect hybrid of dance and rock music's values as you're likely to ever hear."
Beyond its technical skills, this is an album full of heart and meaning. It is James Murphy's lyrical peak thus far, and features some of the most emotionally affecting songs of the year. Coming near the exact center of the album, "All My Friends" is an especially memorable lament on the loneliness of growing older and being disconnected from youthful naivety.Sound of Silver must now be considered among the defining albums of the genre which Murphy helped create nearly a decade ago. So go outside, drive to your nearest record store, and buy it.
And while you're there, pick up the new Panda Bear as well, despite what you might think about the video. Person Pitch is an utterly unstoppable collection of infectious folk/electronica from one-half of the iconic Animal Collective duo, which will surely recieve oodles of praise among the reviewing community in the coming weeks (on top of the blogosphere thunderstorm it has already created).
Listen: Panda Bear "Ponytail"
The two other notable releases of the day where Andrew Bird's Armchair Apocrypha and Modest Mouse's We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank. Both works are solid and valuable additions to the veteran musicians oeuvres, but there is a parched feeling left at the end of each, as if something vitally important were missing. In the case of Bird he makes up for a loss of his early lo-fi charm with an excess of wordy witticisms, and the Mouse try and do the same with the addition of ex-Smith Johnny Marr. But what we ultimately miss is the excitement and guts of these artists' earlier albums, the type of albums that are tied to unshakable memories and emotions in our hearts. Neither of these works seem to succeed in that way.
(Ted Leo & The Pharmacists Living With the Living also came out today, but we haven't had the chance to hear it yet. Like we said, it was a major day in music!)
Listen to all these artists over at The Hype Machine