So it’s technically August now, but I was incredibly busy last week, what with the All-Star Game being here in Philly. In fact, between friendlies, Open Cup games and the ASG, I was at eight live matches in a 22-day span, and didn’t have time to as listen to as much I normally would. So the music post is a few days late. DEAL WITH IT (Kidding. Thanks for reading).
Best New Music
You know what there aren’t enough of? Good, successful Irish rock bands. There’s U2, of course, and My Bloody Valentine and The Cranberries have been around for forever. Two Door Cinema Club is a fantastic indie group from Northern Ireland, but beyond that, the Emerald Isle has failed to export as many excellent groups as you might expect.
Hopefully, Family, the debut album from The Cast of Cheers can add another Gaelic name to the top of the alternative rock scene. Although there are hints of Foals and Bloc Party in the record, it’s got a tighter sort of dance-indie vibe than either of those two more introspective bands. This is title track and lead single “Family.”
Honorable Mention: I had reservations about liking The Gaslight Anthem, because, you know, Jersey. New Jersey is the nation’s armpit, and that’s hardly fair to armpits. The only valuable service provided by Jersey is keeping seawater and New Jerseyans out of Pennsylvania. But annoyingly, the state has managed to produce more than its fair share of talented musical artists, and The Gaslight Anthem continues that tradition, and new album Handwritten is full of soulful, anthemic American rock music. Jersey still smells, though.
Often in the “currently playing” section, I do a theme. Last month, for example, featured a trio of surf rock bands. Previously, I’ve done a bunch of bands from the same city. This month also has a theme, if you count “other new-ish albums I’ve listened to recently” as a theme.
Australian indie poppers Architecture in Helsinki‘s fourth studio album, Moment Bends, was one of my favorites from last year, but one that required a few re-listens before I got to like it quite as much as I do now. “Escapee” was included on the FIFA 12 soundtrack, which just proves those guys know exactly what they’re doing.
I mentioned Northern Irish indie band Two Door Cinema Club earlier, and since they’re playing here soon and I plan to buy tickets, this is a wonderful opportunity to play the excellent single “Sleep Alone” from upcoming album Beacon.
And we’ll finish off the set with “The Way My Heart Beats” by Londoners Good Shoes, from their 2010 album No Hope, No Future.
Britpop legends Blur are one of my favorite bands of all time. And while their 22-disc box set Blur 21 may be little more than a cash-in so bassist Alex James can indulge his post-music career of cheese making (seriously), their music remains utterly fantastic.
The album Parklife was Blur at their commercial peak, and the eponymous title track might be the single most popular song the foursome ever recorded apart from the ubiquitous “Song 2″ (if you don’t know it, it’s the “woo-hoo!” song). The upbeat music belies a melancholic lyrical look at modern life, and together, they create Blur’s signature tune, in their signature style: catchy pop hooks hiding discontented lyrical depth.
And for those of you who use Spotify, here’s The Playlist.