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The Great 2008 New Music Listen-Off

Regular readers of this blog may have noticed that I haven’t written much about music lately. To be quite honest, there hasn’t been a lot of new music that’s excited me and I’ve mostly been filling in with some older stuff and listening to the old tried and true. Besides listening to My Morning Jacket, which is pretty derivative of 70’s rock, I really haven’t heard anything new since last year’s Klaxons album and Radiohead’s In Rainbows. I’ve even ignored new albums by established acts that I’ve liked in the past like Beck and Weezer.

Part of it has to do with age and priorities. It’s hard to check out new music when you have job, family, financial obligation that just seem more important. Part of it has to do with the fact that the music industry is in a doldrums and isn’t really producing a lot that is new and exciting lately. It’s hard to get excited about bands that sound just like Death Cab For Cutie or have one decent song and 15 bad ones. So recently it’s just plain easier to listen to the old standbys, the stuff I’ve always liked and there's only so much you can say about an album you've heard multiple times before.

Well over the past week I decided to do something about my musical doldrums and decided to purchase four CD’s from four relatively new bands. The CD’s are all 2008 releases and I chose them based on a song or two I heard on the radio and by a cursory check on youtube.com. My plan is to give all four CD’s multiple listens, review them here over the next week or so, and then choose a favorite new band. The four bands and albums are as follows:

Kings of Leon – Only by the Night
The Ting Tings – We Started Nothing
The Walkman – You & Me
The Wedding Present – El Rey

I’ve started to listen to these bands over the weekend and have some initial thoughts that I will keep to myself. I promise to give each band a fair shake and give them multiple listens because I know my opinion changes with each listen. So come back to find out what I discovered it should be an interesting experiment.

What about you? What new releases are you listening to? What’s your opinion of the bands I have selected?


Actually, the Wedding Present has been around since the mid-to late 80's. They broke up up in the mid 90's and leader David Gedge formed Cinerama. They reformed again in 2004.

Haven't heard the "Weddoes' recent one, but can heartily endorse Bizarro, Sea Monsters, and Watusi--three LPs from their earlier incarnation. Gedge actually made being miserable sound palatable, thanks to his witty and wordy lyrics. Plus, their propulsive combo of jangle and buzzsaw guitars kicks ass.

I'll be curious to see what you think of El Ray.

er, El Rey...

Free - my neighbor loves The Walkman, but I have not heard them yet due to the same responsibilities that you spoke of that plague adults.

Let me know what you think of those guys.

It's scary, I still think of The Replacements as "new music."

free, geez i feel your pain. picked up the latest my morning jacket because i loved the last album. other than a few songs, it is a real stinker. the opening few songs are atrocious. the lyrics are stupid. perhaps, that is why the lead singer fell off the stage and the group had to cancel their tour. another not so bad new release, but not a favorite of mine, is the verve. i purchased it based on an rs review (mistake). the review referred to great psychedelic music. well, kind of. the lead singer's voice reminds me of the lead singer for that 80s group made famous by the movie breakfast club (the guy that knocked up chrissie hyndes)

So Tim, what MMJ album do you like? Z is decent. What else?

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