Aftermath II: Tunes to do Grand Rounds by
After all the work it took to put Grand Rounds together (including trying to figure out how to work in a couple of last-minute submissions and one late submission), my brain is a bit fried; consequently there will be no substantive posts on medicine today. Since it's been a while since I've played music critic, I thought I'd mention some new music that was playing as I was starting to put Grand Rounds together this weekend:
1. Some Cities (Doves). I love Doves. Not the bird, the band. I first discovered them in 2002, when their last album, The Last Broadcast, took up residence in my CD player for several months. Their music is lushly produced, Brit-pop-sounding rock, and they have a knack for very catchy tunes that build to a satisfying crescendo. Now they've released a new CD, Some Cities. The first time I listened to it, I was taken aback. The first song, Some Cities, is more stripped down than their previous efforts, and more muscular-sounding, with a heavier backbeat. However, the more I listened to the album, the more I realized that it was evolutionary, not revolutionary. The sound is just slightly more stripped down than their previous efforts, but the tunes are tighter, shorter, and more focused. Several are just as compelling as anything on The Last Broadcast or Lost Souls (their debut album), and a couple may be their very best work ever. This one is really growing on me. It looks like Doves will be taking up residence in my CD player again for several months in 2005. These guys deserve to be the next breakout band. If The Killers and Franz Ferdinand can hit it big in 2004, Doves deserve to hit it big in 2005.
2. Frances the Mute (The Mars Volta). I had never heard of these guys until a couple of weeks ago. After hearing samples of their stuff, I took a chance and bought their latest, Frances the Mute. As much as I like punk and other stripped-down rock, I still have a weakness for prog, and Frances the Mute is prog rock just the way I like it: bombastic and pretentious, with long, oddly-named multimovement suites of songs that nearly fill the 80 minute CD. It reminds me of Jethro Tull's Thick as a Brick and Passion Play or perhaps early 1970's Emerson, Lake, and Palmer or Yes, perhaps with a little Dream Theater thrown in for good measure. Heck, a couple of the songs are even in Spanish! But they also have the chops and imagination to pull it off without degenerating into Spinal Tap territory. As in my comments on Comets on Fire's Blue Cathedral and their mind- and speaker-melting acid rock, I didn't think there were any bands that made music that channeled the early 1970's in such a satisfying way, but Mars Volta takes early 1970's prog and updates it for 2005, just as Comets on Fire did for acid rock. I'm going to have to check out these guys' back catalogue...
There's more, but I haven't listened to the entire CDs yet, which means I can't review them properly yet: The Great Destroyer by Low, which is awesome, as far as I can tell so far; and Who Killed...The Zutons by the Zutons, which sounds lightweight but fun. (One of the Zutons' songs, Pressure Point, was featured in a Levi's ad.)