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Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

Click, Click, Click, Click

Review of Bishop Allen's The Broken String

Photo By Aubrey EdwardsAubrey EdwardsNever have I claimed to be the fastest to get turned on to something, to be the one who discovers the next big thing. I’m far more tortoise than hare in these sorts of matters, but even then there’s not really any excuse for taking, oh, seventeen months to get around to writing up Bishop Allen’s last album The Broken String – or even longer if you think back to the year-long “one EP a month” series in 2006 from which much of the album is taken.

And it’s a pity I’ve waited so long, because I am very much in this record’s target market – namely fans of sprightly indie rock of the wordy variety. As such, stylistically and sonically, it’s very familiar stuff built on earnest boy lead vocals with sweet girl backing vocals and just enough interesting instrumental flourishes to disguise the fact that it’s pretty straight guitar-driven folk-pop. Where Bishop Allen stands out is in the songwriting, which is never less than solid but on a few occasions, is outstanding. Leadoff track “The Monitor” is a stirring and evocative piece about a Civil War naval battle, but that sort of lyrical grandeur is the exception rather than the rule – the standouts tend to be those the simple, slice of live observationals that are rendered in exquisite detail, as in “Flight 180” or “The Chinatown Bus”. They also handle the peppier stuff with vigor and aplomb, but it’s the slower, more thoughtful stuff such as above that really sticks.

Because of my neglect, I missed the band when they came through last Summer but I shan’t be skipping out on their just-announced January 17 date at the El Mocambo. Similarly, when their next album Grr… is released on March 10, you can be sure I won’t be taking a year and a half to give it the attention it deserves. The Justice has an interview with band principal Justin Rice.

MP3: Bishop Allen – “Click, Click, Click, Click”
MP3: Bishop Allen – “Middle Management”
MP3: Bishop Allen – “Rain”
Video: Bishop Allen – “Click, Click, Click, Click”
Video: Bishop Allen – “Middle Management”
MySpace: Bishop Allen

Ben Kweller and The Watson Twins are at the Mod Club on February 22, tickets $25. Spinner, The Smith College Sophian and The Irish Independent talk to Kweller, who will release a new album in Changing Horses on February 3. Stereogum are sharing the first single.

The Airborne Toxic Event, last spotted hereabouts for V Fest, have a date at the El Mocambo on March 4. Tickets for that are $12.50.

Blurt, Glide, ArtistDirect and The Toronto Sun make time with Rachael Yamgata, who will be at the Mod Club on Friday for an early show. She’s got not one but two new vids from Elephants… Teeth Sinking Into Heart.

Video: Rachael Yamagata – “Faster”
Video: Rachael Yamagata – “Sunday Afternoon”

Brooklyn noiseniks Dirty On Purpose have formally called it a day. A moment of silence for a great band who created my favourite trebuchet-themed video of all time.

Video: Dirty On Purpose – “Car No Driver”

The Independent, The Oxford Mail and This Is Nottingham interview Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn.

Ra Ra Riot are in session overload – Laundromatinee has a video session, NPR an audio one. They also find time to squeeze in an interview with The Courier-Journal.

Austin360 talks to Johnathan Martin of The Uglysuit.

Lots of session action lately for School Of Seven Bells with audio and video sets for for Radio K, KCRW and Spinner’s Interface and video only at Lime.

Paste reports that Hazards Of Love, the new record from The Decemberists, will be coming out on March 24 of next year.

The Long Winters have released a live DVD entitled Live At The Showbox and are giving away a few live tracks taken from it. Check it out.

MP3: The Long Winters – “Scared Straight” (live)
MP3: The Long Winters – “Clouds” (live)
MP3: The Long Winters – “Cinnamon” (live)

John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats salutes heavy metal for the The New Zealand Herald.

By : Frank Yang at 8:22 am
Category: General

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RSS Feed for this post5 Responses.
  1. Schtuz says:

    Dirty on Purpose were just featured on mtv’s what the flip! The episode featured “Light Pollution”, it was kinda awesome- check it out here : http://whattheflip.mtv.com/episodes/5

  2. josh says:

    I also recommend Mutual Appreciation, an Andrew Bujalski that starring the lead singer of Bishop Allen (he plays a musician). It’s great. I think it’s what finally turned me on to the band.

  3. jim says:

    On the Blur tip: the NYTstyle mag just profiled Alex James, cheesemaker (http://www.nytimes.com/indexes/2008/12/07/style/t/index.html#pageName=07james)

  4. Mari says:

    Hey guess what! Bishop Allen was recently in the Street Date studios- check it out!

    Bishop Allen in the Street Date Studios

  5. Review of Bishop Allen’s Grr… and giveaway | MP3 Music at MixBurner says:

    […] Bishop Allen. I only got around to writing up their second album, The Broken String last December, almost a year and a half after it was released, and here I am now just getting to their latest […]