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New Music Tuesday: Bombay Bicycle Club • Broken Bells • Les Claypool’s Duo De Twang • Gardens & Villa

Bombay Bicycle Club - So Long, See You Tomorrow
Every Tuesday, we focus on new music releases by naming our top tracks, album highlights, lowlights and important takeaways for select albums.


Bombay Bicycle ClubSo Long, See You Tomorrow

3.5-BamsTop Tracks:
“Feel”
“So Long, See You Tomorrow”
“Carry Me”

Album Highlights: Bombay Bicycle Club’s fourth full length finds the English indie group dabbling with a wider sphere of world music influences, yet the output is still pretty damn catchy. The big strength with So Long, See You Tomorrow is how it thrives on pop arrangements that are both diverse and understated. Earnest without being overbearing, it’s an album that’s bombastic in its spectrum of sound yet relatively subtle lyrically. The world music influence in “Feel” does wonders, helping to build a song that does a good job following through on it’s title. More of the record could have benefitted by following style and vibe of this track. Final track “So Long, See You Tomorrow” ends the album with a fitting big opus, a song that shines as bright as any on the record.

Album Lowlight: The first half of the album takes a while to gain steam — it doesn’t really pick up until the second half. “Whenever, Wherever” sounds interesting and slightly innovative at first, but upon repeat listens, it turns into some kind of twisted Millennial anthem. Also “It’s Alright Now” is an angst-filled slow-builder without the bite. Where’s the fun in that?

Takeaway: Demonstrating a greater focus on world music influences and female vocals has benefitted Bombay Bicycle Club nicely. The production is anything but formulaic, and So Long, See You Tomorrow flourishes the further it plays out — maybe it’s intentional sequencing, but the album certainly peaks on a high note. For many, it might also take half an album’s worth of listening to adapt to Bombay Bicycle Club’s understated, yet catchy, tunes.

-Mike Frash


Broken BellsAfter the Disco

3-BamsTop Tracks:
“Perfect World”
“Medicine”
“Control”

Album Highlights: James Mercer and Danger Mouse follow up their 2010 collaborative debut as Broken Bells with an ambitious and divergent sophomore effort in After the Disco. Their signature sound remains imbedded in the group’s funky basslines, audio production and Mercer’s incomparable talent as one of this decade’s most distinguishable singer songwriters. Yet, it’s their expansion into larger soundscapes with the inclusion of orchestral and big band elements, that sets this album apart from its predecessor in a positively encompassing manner. Branching out from their stylistically simplistic debut, the group incorporates hard hitting disco rudiments, space rock synths and jazzy lounge percussion components that give the record a vintage appeal while remaining on point with current modern pop trends.

Album Lowlight: A generally mid-tempo album, the pace of the record remains consistent except for the final tracks which unfortunately close out the otherwise dance worthy compilation awkwardly. Both songs are beautiful in their own right, but unfortunately don’t get the attention they deserve due to their arrangement on the record. Instead of ending on a high note, the band closes out a predominately new wave and disco themed track list with their two most dramatic songs back to back. Which may have been a premeditated move creatively, but ultimately falls flat against the alternatively up beat album structure.

Takeaway: Following suit with the current thematic shift in pop music, Broken Bells embraces the best aspects of late seventies disco, capturing the final moments of the genre’s crossover into early eighties nu-wave, while maintaining a modern flair. With both members bringing their equally influential tastes to the table, James Mercer and Danger Mouse devise an intriguing tribute to an era of music that achieves effortless resuscitation through their unique integration of modern production and musical skillsets.

~Molly Kish


Les Claypool’s Duo De TwangFour Foot Shack

4-BamsTop Tracks:
“Man in the Box”
“Pipe Line”
“Boonville Stomp”

Album Highlights: Les Claypool’s Duo De Twang make their studio debut with a stompin’ album that pays homage to a variety of classic tunes and puts a new spin on some Claypool staples. Consisting of Les Claypool on vocals and acoustic bass and Bryan Kehoe on guitar, Four Foot Shack offers stripped-down versions of songs that span Claypool’s career such as “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver” and “Jerry Was a Race Car Driver.” As wonderful as these Claypool classics are, it is the covers on this album that really shine. Of the 6 cover tracks, the Twang interpretation of Alice in Chain’s “Man in a Box” alone is worth the price of admission. The Duo de Twang also tackle the Bee Gees disco anthem “Stayin’ Alive” and the surf rock masterpiece “Pipe Line” originally by The Chantays. Like every song the Duo De Twang covers, they put their own magic into it.

Album Lowlight: It’s tough to say anything bad about this album. Four Foot Shack has a very live feel to it, and was likely recorded in single takes with mild overdubbing of vocals and other effects. I really would’ve loved to have gotten an album full of covers. The Claypool originals are great, but not much new ground is broken with the Duo De Twang version. The covers are just so unique and interesting that an entire album of them would not disappoint me. Tough to complain about anything though, this album features vintage Claypool at his finest.

Takeaway: Four Foot Shack has a very distinct sound to it. Claypools signature slap and tap of the bass, albeit acoustic, mixed with his whacky vocal delivery and the twangy guitar of Bryan Kehoe make this album a foot-stomper. The sounds and rhythm Les Claypool creates with his bass are astounding and nothing is lost despite trading in the electric bass for an acoustic. If you’ve ever been a fan of anything Claypool has been apart of you will be much obliged to listen to this record.

-Kevin Raos


Gardens & VillaDunes

3-BamsTop Tracks:
“Domino”
“Chrysanthemums”
“Echosassy”

Album Highlights: With the help of DFA’s Tim Goldsworthy, Gardens & Villa have crafted an enjoyable slice of synth-rock while establishing their own sound on this sophomore release. This Santa Barbara-bred act burst onto the scene with an impressive debut with some seriously catchy numbers, and have followed it up with a slightly more sonically in-depth batch of varied sounding songs.

The pace and tempo of Dunes is one of it’s strong suits as Gardens & Villa expand beyond the more upbeat/tempo songs which open the album. Tracks like “Chrysanthemums” slow things down nicely with a piano-driven ballad with just the right amount of minimal effects to allow the songwriting, and Chris Lynch’s vocals, to shine through. On the other hand, the next track “Echosassy” shifts the band’s sound towards a contemporized New Wave breakdown. Fans of Miike Snow are sure to gobble up this batch of poppy dance-rock songs full of hooks, post-punk beats and swirling synths.

Album Lowlights: Similar to their previous self-titled release, Dunes is a solid release. They are not earth-shattering or breaking much new ground, unfortunately. Gardens & Villa do squarely have command of their sound and style, but there are times when a little more is desired from them. “Bullet Train” was oddly one of the first announced singles off of Dunes, and is a bit of a muddled mess of falsetto singing, flute effects and slightly cheesy 80’s synth flourishes which simply don’t add up to anything you need to play on repeat.

Takeaway: Fan’s of Gardens & Villa’s first release are sure to eat up this grouping of new tracks and play this album well through the warm summer months. Dunes does lack a bit of the ‘star fire power’ of their self-titled album, but solidifies their unique style of layered dance-rock that has launched similar acts like Cut Copy, who has been produced by Goldsworthy. There is a flavor for all current music fans to find enjoyable in this release, it’s just a matter of how memorable that taste turns out to be for each individual.

-Kevin Quandt


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Comments

  1. Why visitors still make use of to read news papers when in this technologcal world everything is presented
    on web?

  2. Definitely think Leave It Alone is my favorite track from After the Disco. Holding On For Life is a close second. The video is just too great. http://smarturl.it/BBHOFLh

  3. Glad to have new music Tuesday BACK!!!!
    Great reviews Bam Team

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