August 1, 2007
With so many great bands releasing albums this year it’s especially nice to have an artist who can drag me away from the Okkervil Rivers, Sunset Rubdowns, and Go! Teams of this world and completely surprise me with something fresh and fantastic. Aaron Schroeder has done just that with his sophomore album Black & Gold. Although there’s many modern influences on the album, it seems to me that the most direct comparison that I can hear is a more upbeat The Smiths. Whatever you choose to compare Black & Gold to, the music is undeniably impressive.
The album begins with a startling pretty piano melody that sucks you right in and then pays you off with a drum beat that sounds like it was taken out of a the Phil Spector wall-of-sound era. The track is “What We Don’t Know”, and it quickly evolves again to a head-bopping power-pop song with a chorus that seems right out of Carl Newman’s songbook. It’s one of the most completely delightful delightful 3 minutes and 32 seconds of music that I’ve experienced this year. This is followed up by another absolutely killer pop song “Fake Crimes”, whose exuberant and piano/guitar/trumpet combo could have fit perfectly on Belle & Sebastians latest. Aaron’s clean-cut vocals on these songs work great, as they seem to float above the instrumentation giving the melody direction and personality.
The rest of the album is honestly just as solid as the first two tracks showcasing many more of the folk and country influences of the artist. Aaron Schroeder is someone I can guarantee that you will more about from me as I continue I let this album sink in. Very Very Highly Recommended!
There’s a feisty discussion about Rilo Kiley’s new single going on at Stereogum. I, like many, hated “The Moneymaker” with a passion (as well as the faux porn star video) but the new one, “Silver Lining” has restored some of my hope in the new album.
Still I can guarantee it won’t be nearly as good as anything on The Execution of All Things. Here’s an example of some of Rilo Kiley’s best work.
If you’d like to stream “silver lining” and join in on the discussion click here. If you’d rather just look through pictures of Jenny Lewis click here. What do you guys think of the new songs? Will Under The Black Light be a complete dud or did they just pick a horrible first single?