Friday, March 22, 2013

Deerhunter is also releasing an album in May, and it should be...interesting

Deerhunter's next album, Monomania, will be released in less than a couple months, the band announced today.

Similarly to the National's new album (which I discussed yesterday), Deerhunter's will come out this May. But completely different from the National is what Deerhunter had to say about it. A band press release described it as:

"Mystery disc of NOCTURNAL GARAGE. rat tapes / NEW FORMAT
is avant garde(?) but only in context not form (original intent of avant garde (1912-59) / before logic: FOG MACHINE / LEATHER / NEON"

Um, this should be pretty interesting. I have pretty much the opposite reaction to this message, compared to the National's borderline-sellout-sounding statement from yesterday. Will Monomania be too weird?

Halcyon Digest, Deerhunter's previous album, was amazing. But it was also pretty accessible.

Like the National's previous album -- High Violet -- Halcyon Digest came out in 2010. If 2013 can live up to some of the releases we saw in 2010, this should be a really solid year for new music.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The National are releasing a new album, and I'm cautiously excited

The National announced today that their new album, Trouble Will Find Me, will be released May 20. It will follow two fantastic efforts: 2010's High Violet and 2007's Boxer. Anyone who knows me has probably heard me rave about these two albums a ton, so I don't need to go into that.

So you'd think I'd be pretty excited about a new National album, right? Yes, of course...but a statement released by the group's Matt Berninger has me pausing a bit for concern:

"For the past 10 years we'd been chasing something, wanting to prove something. And this chase was about trying to disprove our own insecurities. After touring High Violet, I think we felt like we'd finally gotten there. Now we could relax -- not in terms of our own expectations but we didn't have to prove our identity any longer."

It's the "felt like we'd finally gotten there" and "now we can relax" part that has me worried. I really hope I'm looking too much into it, but I'm going to be pretty disappointed if the National phones in this album. Did they feel like they reached their peak with High Violet? If so, will they keep aiming high to produce awesome music? Man, I hope so.

Monday, December 31, 2012


1. The Walkmen - Heaven ( 5 votes, 20pts )
2. Django Django - Django Django ( 4 votes, 15pts)
3. Andrew Bird - Break It Yourself ( 3 votes, 12pts) 
4. Grizzly Bear - Shields (3 votes, 10pts)
5. Alt-J - An Awesome Wave (2 votes, 7pts)



1. Take the Kids off Broadway - Foxygen

2. Break It Yourself - Andrew Bird
3. Tramp - Sharon Van Etten
4. Slaughterhouse - Ty Segall
5. Night Moves - Colored Emotions

Tracks -  
Frank Ocean - "Lost" 
Jason Molina - "No Hand Was At The Wheel" - 
Father John Misty -  "Every Man Needs a Companion" 


1. Django Django - Django Django
2. Andrew Bird - Break It Yourself
3. Passion Pit - Gossamer
4. The Walkmen - Heaven
5. M. Ward - A Wasteland Companion


1. The Walkmen - Heaven 
2. Porcelain Raft - Strange Weekend 
3. Alt-J - An Awesome Wave 
4. Grizzly Bear - Shields 
5. The Tallest Man On Earth - There's No Leaving Now

Tracks - 
Porcelain Raft - "Shapeless and Gone"
The Walkmen - "Heaven"  
Alt-J - "Tessellate"


1. The Walkmen - Heaven
2. Grizzly Bear - Shields
3. Divine Fits - A Thing Called Divine Fits
4. Django Django - Django Django
5. Japandroids - Celebration Rock


1. White Rabbits - Milk Famous
2. Alt J - An Awesome Wave
3. Django Django - Django Django
4. Tame Impala - Lonerism
5. Brother Ali - Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color

Tracks -
Brother Ali - "Singing this Song"
White Rabbits - "Temporary"
Tame Impala - "Elephant"


1. Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel
2. The Lumineers - The Lumineers
3. Mumford & Sons - Babel
4. The Avett Brothers – The Carpenter
5. Regina Spektor – What We Saw From The Cheap Seats


1. Alabama Shakes - Boys & Girls
2. Gary Clark, Jr .- Blak & Blu
3. Punch Brothers - Who’s Feeling Young Now?
4. Swans - The Seer
5. The Lumineers - The Lumineers


1. Django Django - Django Django
2. Andrew Bird - Break It Yourself
3. The Walkmen - Heaven
4. Jake Bugg - Jake Bugg
5. Jack White - Blunderbuss

Tracks - 
Frank Ocean - "Lost"  
Andrew Bird - " Orpheo Looks Back" 
Beach House - "Myth"


1. The Walkmen - Heaven 
2. Grizzly Bear - Shields
3. Frank Ocean - Channel Orange
4. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Here
5. Beach House - Bloom

Tracks - 
Frank Ocean - "Lost"
The Walkmen - "We Can't Be Beat"
Grimes - "Oblivion" 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Last couple spots

As I'm running out of time to finalize my top album list for this year, I figured I'd cover two albums in this post. First up is Dan Deacon's "America." I gained a lot of appreciation for Deacon when I saw him instruct a group of sweaty Lollapalooza attendees a few years ago to toss piles of garbage into the air in a synchronized act of music celebration. It was unlike anything I'd seen before and probably since. Now maybe that moment was more stage presence than quality of music, but it gained him a place in my music heart.

"America" is not a drastic shift from his previous album, "Bromst." Lots of intricate bells and whistles, interesting song structures. On the surface, his music seems chaotic, but if you listen closely there's a lot going on that is clearly not haphazard. The first few songs of this album are awesome, and the final half of "America" is a string of continuous USA-inspired titles (USA parts I-IV). I applaud what Dan Deacon is trying to do, but I wonder if things become too long and drawn-out. Part IV, for me, definitely produces some head bobbing, but it might take too long to get there. I still like this album as a whole quite a bit -- it'll be battling for a spot in my top 5 for sure.

The second album is Grizzly Bear's much-hyped "Shields." Faithful Claptrapped readers will recall I'm a big Grizzly Bear fan, and for the most part this album doesn't disappoint. "Shields" is bookmarked by two outstanding songs: Opener "Sleeping Ute" starts things off with a bang and might be my favorite song among the group. Closer "Sun in Your Eyes" builds to a heart-felt crescendo that sums up Grizzly Bear perfectly. It's going to be hard to keep this album out of my top 5 from this year.

So I've covered three albums in the past week or so, and I'll say I only have two openings in my top 5 -- so at least one will be excluded. Watch for the Claptrapped list in the near future to see which one I left out.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Divine Fits: "A Thing Called Divine Fits"

I remember being really psyched when I heard a band was forming consisting of members from both Spoon and Wolf Parade. My record is pretty strong on this blog in terms of my support for Wolf Parade -- I'm a huge fan, despite being pretty disappointed in how things ended for them. In the end, the members of Wolf Parade may end up being better separate than together.

So add in another band I enjoy -- Spoon -- and you have a recipe for can't-miss greatness, right? For me, I'd lean toward "yes," but the jury is still out. I like "A Thing Called Divine Fits," the new-formed group's first album, which was released earlier this summer. But I feel like I should like it more than I do.

The first thing that strikes me is that Wolf Parade's Dan Boeckner and Spoon's Britt Daniel sound pretty similar. I can't really complain about this, but I kind of miss the sharp contrasts presented by Spencer Krug in Wolf Parade.

From what I've read, it doesn't sound like this will be a one-and-done-type project. It'll be interesting to see how the creation of Divine Fits affects Spoon. I know I'm all for this "supergroup" continuing to make music. I figure if they could come together so quickly and put out such a solid first effort, things could only get better from here.

I won't say this album will 100 percent make my top 5, but I'd say it's a pretty good chance.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Back in business

Hey! Remember Claptrapped? Yeah, well it's back. I guess.

While trying to come up with my list of top 5 albums for 2012, I figured I'd think through some of my decisions on here. I have a good idea of 3 of my top 5 (sorry, but you'll have to wait on those until the full list is revealed later this month; devastating, I know), but I feel like I have an overwhelming amount of options for those final two spots.

A ton of good music was released in 2012, and I admittedly didn't do a good job of keeping up with it. So over the next couple weeks, I'm going to cover 5 or so albums that I think I will like a lot, but haven't checked out yet.

First up is going to be Divine Fits' first album: "A Thing Called Divine Fits." The band is made up of members of Spoon and Wolf Parade -- both of which I like a lot -- so I figure this is a pretty safe place to start.

Look for my review in the next few days, as well as Claptrapped's top album list of 2012 sometime near the end of the month.

Saturday, December 31, 2011


1. Portugal. The Man - In the Mountain In the Cloud (20pts, 5 votes)
2. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues (12pts, 3 votes)
3. (TIE) M83 - Hurry Up We're Dreaming (6pts, 2 votes)
3. (TIE) The Antlers - Burst Apart (6pts, 2 votes)
5. The War on Drugs - Slave Ambient (5pts, 2 votes)

Claptrappers Lists: 

Jeff Totsch

1. Portugal. The Man. - In the Mountain in the Cloud 
2. M83 -Hurry Up We’re Dreaming
3. Girls - Father, Son, Holy Ghost
4. Cut Copy - Zonoscope
5. The War on Drugs – Slave Ambient

John O’Connell

1. The Antlers - Burst Apart
2. Elbow - Build a Rocket Boys!
3. Portugal. The Man - In the Mountain in the Cloud
4. Radiohead - King Of Limbs 
5. Wye Oak – Civilian

Mickey Waszkowski

1. Simple Math - Manchester Orchestra
2. Portugal. The Man - In the Mountain in the Cloud
3. The Black Keys - El Camino
4. Battles - Gloss Drop
5. MMJ - Circuital

Adam Kosecki

1. Paper Angels
2. The Roots – Undun

Bryan O’Donnell

1. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues
2. TuneYards - Whokill
3. Portugal the Man - In the Mountain in the Cloud
4. M83 - Hurry Up We're Dreaming
5. The Antlers - Burst Apart

Chris Berg

1. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues
2. The Decemberists - The King is Dead
3. The Strokes - Angles
4. Mastodon - The Hunter
5. Cake - Showroom of Compassion

Daniel Haas

1. Portugal. The Man – In the Mountain in the Cloud
2. The War on Drugs – Slave Ambient
3. Smith Westerns – Dye It Blonde
4. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues
5. The Black Keys – El Camino

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Album of the Week: Handsome Furs -- Sound Kapital

For those who missed the quiet news, the band Wolf Parade decided to call it quits -- at least for the time being -- last year. I can't say I was surprised by the news (the most surprising part was that I heard about it months after it was announced). Their latest album, Expo 86, wasn't very impressive and almost gave the impression that the band was distracted, didn't give it their all. Given the number of Wolf Parade side projects, it's very possible this was the case.

Luckily for me, I enjoy some of these Wolf Parade side bands -- and they should be able to get me my fix during the group's (hopefully not permanent) hiatus.

Handsome Furs consists of Dan Boeckner (Wolf Parade guitar player/singer) and his wife, Alexei Perry. Sound Kapital is the first album of theirs that I've listened to, and I like it a lot. At least on this album, Handsome Furs sounds closer to Wolf Parade than Spencer Krug's band, Sunset Rubdown, and I would consider that a positive thing. Sound Kapital has some electronic pop elements, but still has all the great hooks of a good Boeckner tune.

So if you enjoy Wolf Parade, give this album a listen. I could also see it being enjoyable for the anti-Wolf Parade people, so don't write it off on principle. Check out closing song, "No Feelings."

Monday, August 22, 2011

Album of the Week: Tune-Yards -- W H O K I L L

When I first heard Tune-Yards, I imagined them as an elaborate tribal-type band. But in fact, Tune-Yards is made up of Merill Garbus -- a white hispterish looking woman -- along with a few contributors. Mostly, Tune-Yards is all Garbus laying down vocal loops and African drum beats.

Tune-Yards' latest album, W H O K I L L, is catchy and different. Some people may not be on board with Garbus' vocals -- they're kind of high-pitched and take some getting used to -- but I advise anyone who enjoys building, complex loops to give this album a chance. It's one of my favorites so far this year.

Check out these clips from Sound Opinions on how the group constructs their songs. Watching her build the loop for "Bizness" is really a treat.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Album of the Week: The Antlers -- Burst Apart

My appreciation of The Antlers' 2008 album, Hospice, is pretty well-documented on this site (third favorite album from that year). It was a chilling album that I found myself listening to over and over.

I wouldn't say the group's latest effort, released in May, drew me in as quickly as Hospice did, but I have found it creeping into my music rotation more and more often lately. It has some electronic elements that I really dig, as well as the familiar haunting vocals and background noises.

Highlight tracks for me come back to back. "No Windows" and "Rolled Together" are really cool tunes. This band reminds me of Radiohead at times, and I think these songs are pretty good examples of why (especially the latter).

Give Burst Apart a few listens. I think it gets better the more you hear it. I'll be interested to see if it will measure up to Hospice for me in the long run -- but I wouldn't be surprised if The Antlers make an appearance on my Best Album of the Year list once again.