Tuesday, November 09, 2010

New Releases: Tyvek, Parting Gifts, Hank IV

I know a lot of you were probably disappointed by the results of last week's election. However, there are reasons to be cheerful, such as the release of the three albums below. I have confidence that the purchase of all three by all of my readers will be enough to kickstart the economy and leave us in good shape for 2012.

Anticipation for Tyvek's debut album was almost impossibly high. Based on a handful of fantastic singles and a well deserved reputation as an incendiary live act, the band were anointed the great hope of the lo-fi/DIY/garage/punk/whatever-the-fuck-you-want-to-call-it underground.

When their self-titled full-length was finally released in May of last year, disappointment was probably inevitable. Though a fine and adventurous record, some felt the album diluted the white hot intensity of their single with frequent Swell Maps-style song fragments and odd excursions. The consensus seemed to be "it could have been better." It probably didn't help matters that the original lineup was breaking up while the album was being assembled.

Tyvek's second album, Nothing Fits, comes out today on In the Red with all traces of excess excised. In other words, this is the Tyvek album you've been waiting for.

Though chaos is an essential part of Tyvek's approach, here they focus all the clamor and weirdness that sprawled all over their prior LP into their songs. The result is an unrelenting attack. Songs pummel you one after the other, never allowing you to catch your breath. This is not to say Tyvek are a brutal or punishing listen. Far from it, actually. Though they're not especially interested in melody, the band has a unique sense of tunefulness. They know just where to place a sudden stop, timing shift or blast of noise for maximum impact.

We could have a lengthy discussion whether or not punk rock actually exists in 2010. That's a topic for another time. But if you wanted to argue the "pro," Tyvek would be exhibit A. Nothing Fits is a strong contender for album of the year.

Also out today on In The Red is Strychnine Dandelion, the debut album from the Parting Gifts, a new project from Greg Cartwright of Reigning Sound and Coco Hames of the Ettes. Though the album definitely has the loose informal feel of a side project, it's still a blast to listen to. New tunes from a songwriter of Cartwright's magnitude are always welcome and he turns in a couple of gems here. Cartwright has also proven himself the master of unearthing obscure but brilliant Jagger/Richards compositions. The Reigning Sound's cover of "I'd Much Rather Be With The Boys" was one of the highlights of Time Bomb High School. Here the Parting Gifts dust off "(Walking Through the) Sleepy City," which is expertly intoned by Ms. Hames. Just try and listen to this version without smiling. Actually, one could say that about this entire album.

The third Hank IV album, creatively titled III, is also out today on Siltbreeze. Unlike the two records above, I haven't actually heard this one yet as Siltbreeze is not in the habit of playing the promotional copy game. Still, since the Hank IV's prior two platters made my best-of lists for their respective years and since they were possibly the best live band I've seen in the past half decade or so, I'm going to go ahead and recommend this one sight sight unseen (or, more accurately, sound unheard). If it stinks, that's on them, not me.

Update: Just prior to publication of this piece, the Hank IV released a video for the lead off track from III, so I've now heard at least a percentage of the album. It's awesome. Check it out here.

1 comment:

Brushback said...

That Tyvek album is almost perfect, top 3 for the year for me for sure. Saw them this past weekend, pretty darn formidable.