Washed Out — Within & Without
Washed Out’s second full-length album, Within & Without, doesn’t only feature a cuddly stock photograph from a recent issue of Cosmopolitan, but contains dreamy, crisply executed sleepy synth to match. Even though the sound veers on the slow electronic / shoegazy side, it isn’t empty candy pop like *ahem* The Pains of Being Pure At Heart by any means. Soft and intimate like its awesomely pretty cover art (I actually like it a lot even though it was in that silly magazine), this album is super creative and sexy. Despite all of these positive feelings I have for the album, it does sound like the soundtrack of Williamsburg, Brooklyn’s hipster scene. Proof of this is that you can also hear the entire album if you hang out in Urban Outfitters for a couple hours.
Smith Westerns – Dye It Blonde
There was no bigger fan of Smith Western’s self-titled debut album than this girl right here – and though I was late to get on the train, I rode it all the way into late 2010, when “Dye It Blonde” was released. DIB is great, albeit considerably less “garage” and gritty than album numero uno. The boys are also 17 year old jerks on and off stage, so the thought of them sweetly pining for little teenage ladies as much as they do on this album sounds kinda gross. There are two different schools of boy swoonage in my opinion. #1: I’m James Dean and I’m going to act aloof but secretly think you’re pretty hot…let’s hang out behind the school ifyaknowhatImean and #2: I’m not ashamed of being twee and sickeningly in love with you…can you see these hearts popping above my head? Can we share a rootbeer float and stare into each other’s eyes after school? Whereas the Smith Westerns assumed the former attitude in their self-titled, Dye It Blonde is representin’ over the latter. All background info aside, the new LP is fun, young and super glam (they sing about being all of these things proudly…kinda like MGMT flaunts their reckless, glittery youth). As another band frequently played on Urban’s speakers, you know it’s at least excellent for bopping around to.
Black Lips – Arabia Mountain
Another rambunctious group of young men, The Black Lips are one of my favorite bands ever. The hobbies of these guys include making awesome garage-y rock music and not-giving-a-general-sh** what you think as long as it’s really fun and involves beer (especially onstage, where they are known to make out with each other or indecently exposure themselves to swooning/moshing fans). Arabia Mountain is relatively more produced than albums past (thanks to famous dude Mark Ronson), but as long as they keep singing about superheroes and wild tomfoolery, I’m always gonna be hardcore crushin’ these bad kids. I mean just check out this video…it’s a few minutes of an entire cruise that was just a lineup of rock acts like Vivian Girls, Ty Segall, etc…sailing from Florida to the Bahamas on a boat with a water park, laser tag, puppet show over banana pancake breakfast, etc. Eleven year olds forever and ever…
P.S: Guess where you can hear these album all the way through? Urban Outfitters! I only point that out because although “Arabia Mountain” is smart and fun, it’s also accessible.
Michael Ian Black (stand-up comedy) – Very Famous
Raunchy! We had this playing in the store for a few tracks. Michael C. (Head Dude of Pure Pop) and I were red in the face from laughing, but the talk got a little dirty and therefore a little awkward for the kids browsing around in here. Nevertheless, if you love Stella, Wet Hot American Summer, anything to do with “The State” comedy troupe or general little boy humor, this CD was made for you. If you have no idea what any of the aforementioned are, Michael Ian Black was the funniest guy on VH1’s I Love The 80’s and I Love the 90’s series, delivering sarcastic commentary completely deadpan. Bonus!!! You can see this guy in person at Higher Ground on Saturday, October 15th.