Stranded In Stereo: New Release Tuesday

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

New Release Tuesday

This week, we take a look at two bands from across the pond who hit up the land of the Grand Ole Opry to track their new albums, and a movie that's getting a rather exciting Special Edition.

When I first saw The Clientele two summers ago opening up for labelmates Spoon, I was impressed. I was also unimpressed. As it got late in their 10 song set, all the songs seemed to run together. It was as if the trio from London had spent too much time with Lou and Co. while Luna was also stopping in for afternoon tea. That fall when they released Strange Geometry, I had warmed up to them. And now that their fourth album has hit the shelves of the shops, the tongue in cheek title God Save The Clientele, I'm in love with their brand of 60s and 70s stylings. The Monkees and The Byrds might be the best way to describe Alasdair MacLean's vocals and guitar work as they are meshed together through 14 songs. Strings are lush and expansive throughout songs like the opening bounce of "Here Comes The Phantom;" "Bookshop Casanova" is a classic disco hit that never happened with more shrieks of strings and tambourines aloof. Oh, and lest I forget "Dreams Of Leaving," the album's closing tune. It's the most devastatingly beautiful song of all time. Musically it's beautiful and brash, lyrically you will cry your eyes out. They'll tour the US with Beach House in June (their song, "Master Of None," is one of the many songs on my Song of the Year ballot,) go see them for I won't be able to make it.

Stream: God Save The Clientele [Here] /// [Buy Here]

I remember the blood curdling red shade of Brakes' debut album, 2005's Give Blood. Inside the single fold of the digipak was nothing I expected: it was an album filled with songs that were like brief synapses of the brain. 16 songs, most of them barely touching the two minute mark. They're a british mini-supergroup of sorts fronted by former British Sea Power bassist Eamon Hamilton and backed by former members of Electric Soft Parade. In the middle of the loud snaps was the delicate rendition of the Johnny and June Cash classic "Jackson." It floored me. I remember one night on my old radio show, I played their version at one point and closed with the original tune. Anyway, Brakes are releasing the second album in the states finally (it hit their native shores last November,) but thanks to some other band, they now have the luxury of being called Brakesbrakesbrakes in the United States (that rhymed, right?) For The Beatific Visions, the band went down to Nashville with the legendary Stuart Sikes to track 11 more songs that come across as a more cohesive effort, but still pack the chaotic punch of Blood. Again the songs are brief, save the near 9 minute epic ender "No Return." The title track is a great pop song that should be on several summer mix tapes, while "Porcupine Or Pineapple" channels the energy of Hamilton's tenure in BSP.

Stream: The Beatific Visions [Here] /// [Buy Here]

So, I was minding my own business this morning, reading the Rolling Stone blog, when I saw an ad for this: a 2-disc, Tom Hanks Director's Cut Edition of the classic 1996 film, That Thing You Do! Now with an additional 40 minutes and enough supplemental material to make you pronounce Oneders incorrectly (O-knee-ders was how the MC at the talent show pronounced it, they then changed the spelling to Wonders much to the chagrin of their lead singer, played by Johnathan Schaech.) The first disc also has the theatrical cut for those who wish to see the movie how it was initially burned in to our retinas, while the second disc features an HBO Special, A cast reunion, and the usual trailers and TV spots. I'm excited about the feature entitled That Thing You Do! Song Title submissions. Could Adam Schlesinger (of Fountains Of Wayne fame) have written songs that were too saccharine?

View: That Thing You Do! Trailer [Here] /// [Buy Here]

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