The Wedding Present’s El Rey

The Wedding Present
El Rey / Manifesto / Buy

In a lot of ways it’s silly to call El Rey a return to form for the Wedding Present, who, after all these years, still make the same (fantastic) record every time out. So, yes, guitar-heavy, sex-obsessed, whip-smart indie pop is the order here. And it’s, as ever, brilliantly crafted and totally familiar. In fairness to frontman David Gedge and company, however, the band’s bratty, Brit-pop guitar bray has been bulked up considerably on El Rey.

This is, after all, the first batch of material produced with uber-dude Steve Albini since 91’s Seamonsters. That album was a post-“Daft,” post-Peel highwater mark, experimenting with a heftier palate and a darker, randy wit. Which is the case here too. In contrast to 2005’s tentative, almost sleepy Take Fountain (the first release from the Present after Gedge’s side-project-turned-full-time-gig Cinerama disbanded in ’04), The Albini Reunion packs some surprising wallop. There’s the in-the-red guitars of “Santa Ana Winds,” the beastly Best-style chord bobbling on “Spider Man on Hollywood,” and the hefty bass and guitar squall of “The Thing I Like Best About Him Is His Girlfriend.” But Gedge’s furrowed brow makes sense. Remember: he’s a recent LA transplant who, in case the song titles didn’t tip you off, has turned his ire and eye on a new hometown’s glitz, glamour, and bimbos. Invigorated by the move, and aided by a returning Albini, The Wedding Present have crafted a worthy answer to Seamonsters, and another rewarding record in a pristine catalog of acid-tongued guitar pop.

MP3: The Wedding Present – “I Lost The Monkey”

Sequestered on the Subway

I am on a subway train in New York City listening over and over to the new Hold Steady song, “Sequestered in Memphis”, which is, apparently, the first single off of the band’s upcoming July release, Stay Positive. My iPod is welded open and I’m jamming those little earbuds as far into my ears as I can because this music can’t be loud enough.

It is early. Seven in the morning early. Lay low in the light early.

I am fairly certain I’m the only one in my car listening to this song, but most everyone is listening to something. Earbuds abound. With my morning train as proxy, music is universally embraced by the commuting public – which, considering that most of the public commutes, makes even more astonishing the fact that the global recorded music industry is now smaller than the US dry cleaning and laundry services sector. That’s pretty incredible, since most people do their own laundry. Considering where the music industry once was, it’s akin to a group of people kicking the hockey puck into their own goal, like, thirty times in a row. Hockey is on my mind this morning, because I’m a huge Penguins fan, and last night’s stellar performance aside, it’s going to be hard to beat the Red Wings. At least the Pens pummeled the Flyers.

I love this band, The Hold Steady. Lots of us love this band. Not as many as love, say, Usher, which yesterday was charting at #1 on iTunes. Or, if yesterday’s New York Times article is indicative of broader trends among women in America, as many as love the new movie version of Sex and the City. But, The Hold Steady is way cooler.

We Hold Steady fans have been pulling for this band since before the band even existed.

[Ed: Much, much more after the jump.]


Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson In March Pitchfork featured a young singer songwriter by the name of Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson in their Forkast section. The featured track was “Buriedfed” – a rambling, folky, captivating mess drawing comparisons to Conor Oberst and The Arcade Fire – that quickly caught the ears of internet tastemakers near and far.

Since that day the Brooklyn upstart has been climbing his way up the internet buzz band ladder, scoring mentions on The Fader, Stereogum, and, all in anticipation of his forthcoming, self titled debut album due June 10th on Say Hey Records. And while he’s presumably come up out of nowhere, the formidably named singer has won some equally formidable connections. Grizzly Bear members Chris Taylor, Chris Bear, and Daniel Rosen lend their hands at production, drumming, and overdubs respectively, and Kyp Malone of TV on the Radio also pops up on a few tracks (in fact, MBAR’s already at work on a follow up album with Kyp Malone to see the light of day in 2009).

So practice saying Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson three times fast because soon enough this will be the name on all your friends’ lips as he breezes through a town near you accompanied by labelmates (and your favorite new band of 2007) White Rabbits.

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson MP3 and tour dates after the jump.


Fates Of Mates: Re-Arrange, Re-Arrange

Back when they first started winning over the record store set, Mates of State did this 100% puppy dog thing where they’d lock eyes in the middle of a song and just love the hell out of eachother until it was over. Of course, their chipper drum-n-keys sunshine show made sense paired with those I-Thee-Wed Peepers. And whether they grossed out the cynics or won over the lovebugs didn’t seem important to Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel. Didn’t even factor. Because, well, They Totally <3’d Eachother, y’know?!

But, to my surprise, when the Mates played their early-bird “secret show” this Wednesday at Mercury Lounge, they didn’t really do the eye thing. It was a sure-fire sign. After all, lots has changed since the puppy dog days: they’re proud parents of two now, with a network TV debut under their belts, and a new “mature” record to peddle. But, as Wednesday’s performance proved, while the recently-released Re-arrange Us isn’t as bubbly and hook-obsessed as its predecessors, the knack for smart-pop songcraft hasn’t left the couple.