Mar 122008

The Raveonettes, Lust, Lust, Lust

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Artist: The Raveonettes
Album: Lust, Lust, Lust
Label: Fierce Panda Records / Vice Records
Release Date: Tuesday, 2008.2.19
Score: 6.5/10

The sophomore release from Danish duo The Raveonettes has finally landed here in the States after some sort of punch-up with their American distributor. American fans of the first Raveonettes album, of course, could probably have easily grabbed it off of any of a number of foreign sites and, thanks to the magic of music downloads, not had to pay the normally high price to import it. One of the effects of the age of direct-to-computer music sales is that the import market is becoming (even more than it was) the realm of collectors and capital-T-True Fans. If I want an album by a foreign band, but don’t need the Super-Duper-Deluxe Special Collector’s Edition that was only released in Upper Scrovovia, I can just hop on the internet and buy the digital version (perhaps swapping a .com for a .co.uk in order to find it). That any record execs still think that this is a bad thing makes me wonder if they got their job as a prize in a cracker jack box. Anyone qualified for the position of running a record company anywhere but into the ground should know that increased ability for fans to buy music is a Good Thing.

But I digress. As I was saying, Lust, Lust, Lust is finally out stateside, and if any fans were waiting for said release, I can imagine they might be disappointed. The album is far from bad, but it’s hard to imagine anyone waiting several months for it and then being thrilled what is mostly a standard-issue indie-pop album, save for The Raveonette’s trademark fuzzy sound. It’s competently done, but most of the songs are competent, but uninteresting and unmemorable.

One exception to this is the first song on the album, “Aly, Walk With Me” is a dark, groovy track which is loop-heavy enough that it wouldn’t sound all that out of place coming from the decks of an artist like DJ Shadow (it actually sort of reminds me of “Mongrel… Meets His Maker”.) Its noisy guitar riffs and wistful pleading lyrics combine with the unrelenting drums to create a really cool effect. It’s a great opener for the album, because it really sets up early one of the defining points of the album: the use of noise and an extremely rough sound overall. It’s a bit unfortunate, then, that “Aly, Walk With Me” is by far the most interesting, enjoyable, and catchy tune on the whole album.

Which, of course, isn’t to say that the rest of the album is bad. It’s just not terribly interesting. After the opening track, the whole experience is a bit like listening to a rather twee pop/rock album with gauze stuffed into one’s ears: a bit hard to make out the words, but all the melodies are there, even if they sound a bit muffled. Admittedly the fuzzy, noise-pop sound is one that the Raveonettes do well. They use noise to create some interesting textures in their music and, at times, as a fairly effective instrument.

Skillful use of overdrive peddles and cacophony, however, do not a great album make, and Lust, Lust, Lust, is, in the end, a mediocre album, with a great opening track and a lot of noise. Which is another reason why digital downloads are a fantastic thing. For those albums which don’t really stand as a whole, but with have some cool tunes on them, you can always just pick the tunes you like. “Aly, Walk With Me” is definitely worth grabbing, but the rest of the album is hardly anything to lust over.

Mar 122008

Okay, so I missed another week. Apologies. The review is up and, in a land slide victory, you folks chose the new Flogging Molly album to be reviewed next week. One confession: one of the reasons my Raveonettes review took so long is that I spent most of the weekend listening to Float. You’ll have to tune in next week for the full review, but I will say up front: it’s pretty cool.

Well, on to the business at hand. Voting! These weeks voting include the debut release from the first Israeli to land in the Billboard Top Ten (Yael Naim), a band with the same name as the one my former suite mate formed (the Matches), a solo project by one of the members of the Moldy Peaches (Adam Green), and a collaboration between M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel (She & Him). Oh, and the new Destroyer album.

Options!

Destroyer, Trouble In Dreams (LINK)
The Matches, A Band In Hope (LINK)
Yael Naim, Yael Naim (LINK)
She & Him, Volume 1 (LINK)
Adam Green, Sixes & Sevens (LINK)

Feb 272008

Well praise the deity or cosmological principle of your choice, I actually got a review posted on time. I will also soon set about acquiring next week’s album, Lust Lust Lust, by the Raveonettes. No, no, don’t thank me good citizen, I’m just doing my job.

And now it’s time to do yours. (Segues for the win!) The voting this week’s chock full of excellent artists, with new releases from Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Bauhaus, The Black Crowes, Flogging Molly, and Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks. So a tough field with some stiff competition. It’s your job to narrow it down to just one, so get your votes in.

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Dig, Lazarus, Dig! (LINK)
Bauhaus, Go Away White (LINK)
The Black Crowes, Warpaint (LINK)
Flogging Molly, Float (LINK)
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Real Emotional Trash (LINK)

Oct 102007

Well, with only two votes for last week’s options, I was going to cast my tie-breaker for the new Raveonettes disc. Unfortunately, it seems like the Raveonettes have chosen not to renew their contract with Columbia Records, and, while their album will be out in the UK on Fierce Panda Records as of the 5th of next month, no new US release date has been set. There’s rumors on the interwobs that they’ve signed to 429 Records, but the band itself is being pretty tight-lipped on the whole thing, as far as I can tell. More info on the whole thing over at SpaceLab.

So in the meantime, the only album that got any votes that actually came out as scheduled is the new Fiery Furnaces disc, Widow City. As such, I’ve snagged a copy and will be feverishly listening away.

In the meantime, some more options for you fine folks.

Jimmy Eat World, Chase the Light LINK
Soulsavers, It’s Not How Far You Fall, It’s the Way You Land LINK
Neil Young, Chrome Dreams II LINK
Underworld, Oblivion with Bells LINK
Dan Wilson, Free Life LINK