Sunday, June 07, 2009

Wear and Tear

Dark Room Notes, We Love You Dark Matter, Gonzo Records [import]

This city berates me. Dublin type wear & tear.
-- "The Same City Awaits Me"

Next to Seattle's Curious Mystery, Dublin's Dark Room
Notes boast the four coolest names in contemporary music:
Ronan Gaughan (vocals), Ruairi Ferrie (guitars, synth), Dar-
ragh Shanahan (drums), and Arran Murphy (keyboards).

Though I prefer CM's woozy psych-blues, DRN's debut marks a
respectable dive into the more wide-awake world of synth-pop.
If We Love You Dark Matter isn't quite as addictive as Cut
Copy's In Ghost Colours, my favorite synthesized dance disc
of recent years, this darker, sexier CD seems likely to ap-
peal to the same sort of discriminating party people.

Movers & Shakers, Larrabee, self-released

With guitarist Matt Price's whiskey-soaked voice and Marc Valois'
pulsating organ, Movers & Shakers come on like a 21st-century
iteration of the Band. Similarly, mandolins twang, trumpets blare,
and drums pound, but the Boston-by-way-of-Austin quartet rare-
ly sounds like an oldies act. On the Maine cabin-recorded Larra-
bee, roots rock meets alternative rock, and fans of the Replace-
ments, Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros, and My Morning
Jacket would do wise to lend these fellows an ear.

Thee Oh Sees, Help, In the Red

It's so easy to fall.
-- "A Flag in the Court"

About the last Thee Oh
Sees CD, I wrote, "The
Master's Bedroom Is
Worth Spending a Night
In is less psych-folk than
before...more garagey, with a slight rockabilly beat. Nice stuff."

Well, I'm thrilled to report that the Bay Area band has surpas-
sed themselves this time around, and Help moves beyond nice
into the more rarified air of the sublime. It's still garage-oriented,
but the songs have more sticking power. Imagine a super-charg-
ed Smile-era Beach Boys recreation of Piper at the Gates of
Dawn, and you've got my favorite album of the year.

Click here for a review of 2007's Sucks Blood

Endnote: For more information about Dark Room Notes,
please click here; and for Movers & Shakers, here. Thee Oh
Sees open for Jay Reatard at the Crocodile on 6/15. Images from
Irish Music Television and TOS MySpace Page (Virgil Porter).

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