Posts Tagged ‘Last Shadow Puppets’

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

"Take It Or Leave It"

Arctic Monkeys cover The Strokes

Photo via arcticmonkeys.comarcticmonkeys.comArctic Monkeys and The Strokes. Two bands from opposite sides of the Atlantic who became huge in their respective homelands despite not bringing anything especially new to the rock’n’roll table. Or perhaps that’s exactly why. Easy to appreciate, hooky pop tunes delivered with a requisite amount of attitude by young men with good cheekbones will never go out of style, I suppose.

But it will go on a break. Arctic Monkeys took a breather following 2007’s Favourite Worst Nightmare to allow singer Alex Turner to work on his arguably more interesting side-project The Last Shadow Puppets, but have since regrouped and will release their third album in Humbug on August 25 with North American touring to follow, including a September 29 date at the Kool Haus in Toronto.

The Strokes have been on the back burner a while longer, having turned out no new music since 2006’s First Impressions Of Earth, but most of the band released solo projects, the latest of which to be announced comes from singer Julian Casablancas – his solo record Phrazes For the Young is due out sometime this Fall. But with all that out of their systems, they are aiming to release a new Strokes record in the early part of 2010.

This cover the Arctic Monkeys did of one of the catchiest tunes from the Strokes’ debut apparently comes from a television performance – note the existence of terrible quality video – but details elude me. I can tell you that they pull it off pretty well, Turner’s accent a more than suitable substitute for Casablancas’ sneer.

Alex Turner talks to Spinner about some of the influences on their latest long-player while Casablancas details some of his ambitious plans for his solo tour to NME.

MP3: Arctic Monkeys – “Take It Or Leave It”
Video: Arctic Monkeys – “Take It Or Leave It” (live)
Video: The Strokes – “Take It Or Leave It” (live)

Sunday, December 28th, 2008

Sunday Cleaning - Volume 102

Portishead, The Last Shadow Puppets, Chairlift

I’m going to close out 2008’s Sunday Cleaning series with quick reviews of three albums that have already received dollops of ink pretty much everywhere else. But I feel like writing about them, just a bit.

Portishead / Third (Island)

I believe that there is a crucial decibel level at which the first Portishead record in eleven years moves from subtle, inscrutable and sinister to all-out terrifying. For most of this year, whenever I put Third on, I apparently kept the volume knob in the former range and as such, didn’t get much out of it rather than a general sense of unease and the impression that they’d managed somehow to become even more downcast and averse to music conventions in their decade away. But after putting it on loud, as I did for the first time a couple weeks ago, “subtle” is pretty much the last word I would ever use to describe it. It’s like an aural death grip, skeletal, insistent and unrelenting, Beth Gibbons whispering seductive nightmares in your ears – terrible but still beautiful. It took me a while, but I get it now.

Video: Portishead – “The Rip”
Video: Portishead – “Machine Gun”
Video: Portishead – “Magic Doors”
MySpace: Portishead

The Last Shadow Puppets / The Age Of The Understatement (Domino)

Being no particular fan of the Arctic Monkeys and not knowing who The Rascals are, the default sales pitch for The Last Shadow Puppets wouldn’t have worked too well on me. But even without the backstory, the absurdly lush retrorchestral (my word!) pop they delivered would have gotten my attention. At first, I was a bit suspicious that the opulence of the dressings were meant to distract from the lightweightness of the songwriting – it sounded great but perhaps there wasn’t any substance there. But with time and repeated listens – it kept drawing me back – I found that that was either simply not the case, or I just didn’t care anymore.

Video: The Last Shadow Puppets – “The Age Of The Understatement”
Video: The Last Shadow Puppets – “My Mistakes Were Made For You”
Video: The Last Shadow Puppets – “Standing Next To Me”
MySpace: The Last Shadow Puppets

Chairlift / Does You Inspire You (Kanine)

The debut album from the latest iPod commercial lottery winner is sleek and slinky, though probably too playful and innocent to qualify as seductive. Built mainly on a blueprint of hazy, ’80s-drenched synth-pop, it occasionally forays into country or soul terrain but is kept centered by the remarkable vocals of Caroline Polachek, which are never sound out of place no matter what musical accouterments surround them. Inspire is consistently listenable throughout, but the high points – the Nano-shilling “Bruises” and the additively nonsensical “Evident Utensil” – do stand considerably above the rest.

Clash has a feature on Chairlift.

MP3: Chairlift – “Evident Utensil”
Video: Chairlift – “Planet Health”
MySpace: Chairlift