2009 Music Preview: February

By: LD · February 6, 2009

Handsome Furs: Face Control

Handsome Furs

Fact: I am always up for a Wolf Parade side-project.  Fact:  This is Wolf Parade co-frontman Dan Boeckner’s side project, recorded with his wife, Alexei Perry.  Their first release, Plague Park, was a bit too heavy and droning for my tastes, but I really like Boeckner’s voice.  The duo have publicly stated that this album will go in a different direction.  Given that it was inspired by the Russian club scene and its practice of turning away patrons based on appearance, I think we’re in for something unusual, at the very least.

The Von Bondies: Love, Hate and Then There’s You

Von Bondies

Long ago, The Von Bondies were a buzz band.  A little bit punk, a little big garage, and a little bit pop, they had a fairly unique sound for 2003 (even if it was a distinctly retro, familiar sound).  They’re back with Love, Hate, and Then There’s You, a solid, if unspectacular bunch of catchy songs that echo many different genres.  This isn’t an album that will change your life, but if you like good rock music, you’ll find something here to like.  If this was released last February, it would have been an oasis in a desert of mediocre albums.  In 2009, The Von Bondies are going to be forced to take a backseat to a number of truly good releases.

Lily Allen: It’s Not Me, It’s You


Oh, Lily Allen.  She’s truly a star for the modern age.  Cripplingly insecure, wryly funny, intelligent, and above all, open, this is a model that we’re going to see copied quite a bit in the years to come.  The first attempt at stealing Ms. Allen’s quirky mojo was Katy Perry, who far outsold Allen’s debut, but did so with only a sliver of her charm.  Lead single “The Fear” loses the personal edge of her debut Alright, Still, replacing it with standard showbiz satire and less interesting production that you’d expect from a Lily Allen song.  The lyrics themselves are still a cut above the rest (see below), but remember that The Streets went down this same path before becoming completely intolerable.  Consider this an album to watch, but don’t expect an outright winner.

Life’s about film stars and less about mothers
It’s all about fast cars and cussing each other
But it doesn’t matter ’cause I’m packing plastic
And that’s what makes my life so fucking fantastic
And I am a weapon of massive consumption
And it’s not my fault, it’s how I’m programmed to function

The Lonely Island: INCREDIBAD

Lonely Island

I’ve never fallen in love with The Lonely Island and I doubt I’ll buy this.  Still, there’s no doubt that this album will be popular.  Prepare to hear every mouth-breathing idiot at the bar quoting the songs off this album for the next 6-8 months.

Morrissey: Years of Refusal


Much like Springsteen, the new millennium has been kind to Morrissey, seeing him release several excellent albums and establish his reputation as a musical genius with a new generation of fans.  There’s no telling whether Years of Refusal will continue this trend, but the baffling and awesome cover art and strong lead single “I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris” certainly augur well for the former Smiths frontman.

Beirut/Realpeople: March of the Zapotec/Holland Beirut

I don’t know the first thing about Realpeople, but I know Beirut, a.k.a. Zach Condon.  Beirut has been quietly controversial on this indie scene for the Balkan musical stylings on his albums.  The question boils down to whether Condon is simply stealing the sound as a gimmick  or if he’s ultimately going to do something new with the genre.  I suppose that’s still up in the air, but on each album Beirut has included several songs that burrow their way into my playlists and set up permanent shop, so this is a day one purchase for me.

Asobi Seksu: Hush

Asobi Seksu

Asobi Seksu means “playful sex”.  I have all of one song by the group, but I love it.  It’s what I wish most electronic music sounded like.

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit: Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit Isbell

The best part of The Drive-By Truckers releases his second solo album.  I know nothing about it, but Isbell has a true gift for writing lyrics, particularly when it comes to emotive imagery.  Whether or not this is the album on which it happens, he’s going to release an absolute classic someday, so it’s best to start paying attention to the man right now.  If it weren’t for one other album, this would be the clear-cut album of the month.  We may have mentioned Mr. Isbell a few other times on this blog.

M. Ward: Hold Time

M. Ward

Is it dirty pool to use a picture of M. Ward’s side project, She & Him, just because I wanted to look at Zooey Deschanel?  Yes.  But, I regret nothing.  M. Ward’s last album, Post War, was one of the stronger singer-songwriter releases in recent memory, and he showed a surprising amount of versatility in crafting the AM-radio, easy-listening sound of She & Him.  The song below is outright brilliant.

Various Artists: Dark Was the Night – ALBUM OF THE MONTH The National

So, 4AD is releasing this album, which benefits the Red Hot Organization, an AIDS charity.  Curated by Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National, this double-album contains 32 exclusive tracks from the following artists:

Andrew Bird
Antony + Bryce Dessner
Arcade Fire
Beach House
Blonde Redhead + Devastations
Bon Iver
Bon Iver & Aaron Dessner
The Books featuring Jose Gonzalez
Buck 65 Remix (featuring Sufjan Stevens and Serengeti)
Cat Power and Dirty Delta Blues
The Decemberists
Dirty Projectors + David Byrne
Kevin Drew
Feist + Ben Gibbard
Grizzly Bear
Grizzly Bear + Feist
Iron & Wine
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
Kronos Quartet
Stuart Murdoch
My Brightest Diamond
My Morning Jacket
The National
The New Pornographers
Conor Oberst & Gillian Welch
Riceboy Sleeps
Dave Sitek (TV On The Radio)
Sufjan Stevens
Yo La Tengo


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2 Responses to “2009 Music Preview: February”
  1. DaveB says:

    Stereogum has been previewing the tracks from that compilation, and the best part is that none that I’ve heard sound like throwaways or b-sides.

  2. Callahan says:

    I liked that song from Asobi Seksu. Is the new album like that or have you not listened/bought it yet? And yes I know this is old but I didn’t see this post for some reason.

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