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Hot Stuff: Danger Mouse, Okkervil River, and Black Metal

Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi teamed up with Jack White and Norah Jones for one of the most interesting genre fusions in recent memory. Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi teamed up with Jack White and Norah Jones for one of the most interesting genre fusions in recent memory.

We’ve got some killer tunes to share with you this week in Hot Stuff, RosebudMag.com’s weekly look at what’s rocking our socks off in the music world. It’s another mixed bag for all the moods of outdoor growing season. We’ve got indie darlings Okkervil River and Manchester Orchestra, producer/auteur Danger Mouse, Deafheaven with one of the best black metal albums of the year, and more. Without further ado, let’s get to it:

Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi – Rome

A surprising collaboration from American super producer Danger Mouse and Italian composer Daniele Luppi, Rome is a kind of indie-rock homage to Italian film scores, especially spaghetti Westerns. Danger Mouse came to prominence for his Jay-Z/Beatles remixes, and some of that urban influence is felt here, making for an interesting collision of influences. Pop-jazz superstar Norah Jones pops by to contribute vocals on a trio of songs, as does the White Stripes’ Jack White. Ultimately, Rome is a very successful and seamless blend genres resulting not only in one of our favorite albums of the week, but one of the can’t-miss records of 2011.

 

Okkervil River – I Am Very Far

Apparently collaborating with psychedlic rock legend Roky Erickson on 2010’s True Love Cast Out All Evil rendered Okkervil River (and perhaps especially songwriter/producer Will Sheff) a changed bunch. But don’t worry - I Am Very Far won’t alienate fans; instead it sounds like a very good band growing into a great band. There are a few more risks, a few experiments, but in the end, the foundation of Okkervil River is still great songwriting, and whatever stylistic departures occur on the new record, they never obscure that fact.

 

Manchester Orchestra – Simple Math

Neither an orchestra, nor British, these American indie-rockers have come up with an ambitious concept album that never falters from beginning to end. There were high expectations for Manchester Orchestra following 2009’s magnificent Mean Everything To Nothing, but these guys stepped up to the plate with their best album yet – a collection of memorable tunes leaning a little more towards accessible than ambitious, striking a beautiful balance all the while.

 

Ladybug Transistor – Clutching Stems

The Ladybug Transistor have been kicking around for a while now, and you can always rely on the group to give you a catchy hit of indie-style pop-rock that isn’t too sugary sweet. Clutching Stems is toe-tapping hit of keep-it-simple tunes that dips into some lush harmonies and instrumentation, but never veers from delivering the type of song that, at its core, you could always still pick up and strum around a camp fire on a summer night.

http://soundcloud.com/chippedhip/the-ladybug-transistor

Deafheaven – Roads to Judah

In the mind-bogglingly good category this week, we have Deafheaven. Deafheaven serve up some next level black metal, or maybe post-black metal would be more apt. Roads to Judah blends a shoegaze and post-rock influence into harsh black metal that winds up in a stirring combination of melodic and chaotic. Last year, Woe released the black metal album of the year, and this year it may very well be Deafheaven who earns that title, which means that American black metal has finally risen out of the shadows of its European roots to establish an undeniable and excellent sound to call its own.

 

Low – C’mon

Low have been churning out minimalist down-tempo indie-rock for nearly two decades now, and their latest album, C’mon, finds them at their atmospheric best. At once melancholy and saccharine, C’mon has a soothing slowcore vibe but never loses track of Low’s hook-laden melodies. As always, Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker’s male-female harmonies are the perfect vehicle for the mood of the band, who decorate their guitar/bass/drum outfits with subtle inflections from less traditional rock instruments, including violin, banjo, and synth.

 

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99 Problems: a mash-up of Jay-Z and the Beatles by Danger Mouse from the album that launched him.
Last modified on Wednesday, 22 August 2012 16:57

Happy is a regular contributor to RosebudMag.com and has written for various other publications, including Black Belt, Inside Hockey, and FoxSports.com. He transitioned to life as a writer following a decade-long career as a touring musician. He lives with his son in Vancouver, British Columbia

Website: www.rosebudmag.com/hkreter

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