Weekly: Changes

jenny lewis
I am currently looking forward very much to several releases ... the new Man Man record (Six Demon Bag), the Jenny Lewis (of Rilo Kiley) solo debut album (Rabbit Furcoat), and the new Liars LP (Drum's Not Dead). All of these artists have changed their sound quite a bit, making their forthcoming releases all the more exciting.
Man Man seems to have turned down the road that Wolf Parade is profiting from currently. Honus Honus, the lead singer, has perfected his wail into that Isaac Brock sort of yelp, and there is an off-kilter aspect to their newest sound. A bit honky-tonk or something like that. I like Van Helsing Boombox a lot because of the jovial, up-beat sound of that saloon piano combined with the simple, thumping bassline.
Rilo Kiley is one of my favorite bands. Sure -- they may have sold out with More Adventurous, and sure -- they have been known to tread water on quite a few occasions, but I am always impressed by the ground that the group covered. Their first EP, Initial Friends, was like a cover of one of those children's 7" records, whereas More Adventurous was a polished, alt-country pop album.
But I am most fascinated by Jenny Lewis' pitch-perfect voice. She has arguably one of the most serene and enchanting voices in pop music today. A tad husky, a little on the soft side ... everything about it is subtle and sublime. I love it. I also like her songwriting ... she tends to write songs that are heartwarming because they are written from a removed perspective ... when I listen to her songs, I can't help but think that someone besides Jenny wrote these songs about her life.
Rabbit Furcoat is a good album ... a true alt-country comeback. More country than anything Rilo Kiley ever recorded and gorgeously produced. Listen to my favorite song, You Are What You Love.
Now, Liars are quite a paradox to me. First they released They Threw Us All In A Trench And Stuck A Monument On Top, a predecessor to the dance/punk style that exploded in 2003. Then they released the highly experimental and controversial LP, They Were Wrong So We Drowned, which was pretty damn hard to listen to, I will admit. Then their Aussie frontman, Angus, moved to Berlin. He did some shows there, he played around with some new material, recorded a bunch of stuff with the group, threw it all away, broke up with the band (?), made some new music, and recorded it with the re-united band in Berlin.
Well, the group just released It Fit When I Was A Kid, an EP which is not too inspiring. Sounds like They Were Wrong ... to me, but with less wacked out drumming, less mention of witches and burnings, and more stress on abstract bass and tribal drones. Watch the crazy video for "It Fit When I Was A Kid" here (broadband) or here (56k). Or just listen to the song here.