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Some great albums were released yesterday, including two of my favorite listens over the past month; She & Him’s debut, Volume One, and Destroyer’s new LP, Trouble In Dreams. As an added bonus, I had the chance to see both groups perform their new material live, last week, at SXSW.

I’ve fawned over M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel’s project, Volume One, previously, but having spent plenty of travel time with it (and their live act twice now, @ Noise Pop/SXSW), I am even more enamored with its sound. The back-story goes that the pair originally hooked up a couple of years ago while recording a cover of Richard and Linda Thompson’s “When I Get To The Border” for the film The Go-Getter. The vibe of this meeting has obviously carried over to Volume One. A simple record, it plays upon many of my favorite ’60s and ’70s touchstones, and does so without delving into blatant pastiche and/or Lenny Kravitz-esque retro-isms. Comprised of ten originals and two covers (The Beatles’s “You Should Have Known Better” and Smokey Robinson’s “You Really Got A Hold On Me”), the album nods to Phil Spector’s production, Patsy Cline’s longing, and ’70s AM radio dial twisting. Highly recommended.

The strength of Destroyer’s Trouble In Dreams again finds me pondering who is really my favorite songwriter in the New Pornographers (my initial introduction to Bejar’s work): Carl Newman or Dan Bejar (note: I actually prefer Newman’s The Slow Wonder to the New Porno’s catalog). This ongoing battle in my tastes, alone, keeps each release interesting. Bejar, at times, feels like Dylan through a kaleidescope, which, while much too eccentric for the masses, often points to brilliance, and Trouble In Dreams is no exception. Both albums available, now, on the Merge label.

Download:
MP3: Destroyer :: Blue Flower, Blue Flame
MP3: She And Him :: Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?
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Amazon: She & Him – Volume One / Destroyer – Trouble In Dreams

www.myspace.com/sheandhim ++ www.myspace.com/destroyer ++ www.mergerecords.com

+ Download DRM free music  via eMusic’s 25 free MP3 no risk trial offer
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6 Responses to “She & Him / Destroyer :: New Albums This Week”

  1. The proper answer pertaining to the superior writer; Bejar or Newman.

    The answer is Bejar. Hands. Down.

  2. i’m having problems loading your newly designed page when i use internet explorer. is anybody else having that problem? it’s working fine with firefox though.

  3. Have to agree with Jon. Newman is very good, but Bejar is close to genius. Trouble in Dreams is incredible.

  4. right on – any Newman pundits in the house? haha

  5. I’ll stick up for Newman – when put head to head in the New Pornos, “Sing Me Spanish Techno” is about the best thing any of them has done. Though “Jackie Dressed in Cobras” is awfully close. I loved Newman’s solo album, but I listen to Destroyer way more. It helps that he’s been at that a long time and is more prolific, it seems, than Newman.

    Oh, and “Out From Blown Speakers” off of The Electric Version. That’s a great Newman song, too.

    There, I’ve done my good deed for the day. :)

  6. Nah, for my money give me “Thay it, don’t thpray it” Newman any day. Bejar is vastly pretentious and wilfully obtuse. In 20 years they’ll be sitting around wondering why we bothered listening to him. He might “point to genius,” but through a telescope, or at best a pair of binoculars.

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