July 14, 2009
Jay Reatard might have an eery resemblance to Meatloaf on the Watch Me Fall album cover, but you won’t find him making 12 minute rock operas with ambiguous meanings any time soon. Jay plays straightforward, garage pop-punk songs at a breakneck speed and the songs rarely go over two minutes. “Can’t Do It Anymore” is a perfect example of what makes Jay so electrifying. Built on a foundation of simplistic drums, furious guitar strums, whiplash-inducing tempo changes, and featuring an epic sing-a-long chorus and ultra-screechy guitar solo, the song is a full-out (and catchy-as-hell) assault on your eardrums.
Imogen Heap’s music has been used to soundtrack car crashes, romantic last-second airport treks, and slow-motion teenage shootings (and SNL parodies of said shootings), but don’t let the association with schmaltzy indie dramas like The O.C. and Garden State turn you away. “First Train Home”, the first single from the upcoming Ellipse, is really a lovely song. Imogen’s voice has always been her strongest suit, and it’s used very well on this track, layered multiple times providing the melodic and atmospherics for the song. It’s backed by airy electro-tinged pop that drives the track forward. “First Train Home” will likely be played out to death on shows like Grey’s Anatomy, but until then there’s no reason you should feel guilty for enjoying it.
Windmill’s Puddle City Racing Lights was one of my favorite debuts of ’07 and this year his sophomore album, Epcot Starfields, is being released. Looking past the fact that the album is named after a Disney theme park, I’ve been hugely anticipating this album and “Big Boom” is a very solid first single. The song echoes some the big pop moments on his debut like “Tokyo Moon” and “Plastic Pre-Flight Seats” with otherworldly lyrics and dense orchestration, focusing even more on strings and trumpets this time around. Matthew Dillon’s unconventional (some may say “squeaky”) voice continues to complement the uplifting instrumentation very well sounding equally emotional and giddy throughout.