Kasabian — Velociraptor!
We’ve never been massive fans of Mighty Boosh-affiliated UK haircut rockers Kasabian, although their last record West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum was definitely a more interesting proposition than its two lad-rock predecessors. Its follow-up Velociraptor! is streaming for free this week via the Guardian, and if you’re a fan of mouthy British rockers, you’ll doubtless welcome it with open arms — the band seem to do their best to mine pretty much every trend in UK rock over the last 20 years or so, all accompanied by a sneer and a pout. They also seem to anticipate any criticism you might want to aim in their direction — as Tom Meighan sings on Happy Mondays pastiche “Days Are Forgotten,” “You say I’m old hat/ A fucking dirty rat/ Call me a cliché/ How right you are.” Um. Well, then. You can hear the album here.
Twin Sister — In Heaven
Substantially more subtle is the new album from Brooklyn neo-dream pop outfit Twin Sister, which is streaming this week via Stereogum. We’ve liked all the band’s past work — after all, we’re generally all for anything dream pop-related — but there’s something vaguely disappointing about In Heaven. We can tell you what that something is, too — it’s that tracks like “Stop” veer worringly close to R&B territory. Perhaps this isn’t surprising, given the presence of both Erykah Badu and (gulp) Sade on the mixtape the band did for Domino radio a couple of months back, but it’s still a troubling development. When the band steers away from the Baduizms — like on the beautiful “Kimmy in a Rice Field” or “Luna’s Theme,” for instance — they’re as good as ever, and on the whole, we do like the album a lot. But no more R&B, please. Click here to make up your own mind, anyways.
Pearl Jam — Pearl Jam 20
Meanwhile, the ongoing Pearl Jam 20th anniversary fiesta continues this week with the arrival of the soundtrack to Cameron Crowe’s film Pearl Jam 20. The double-CD album contains a career-spanning live retrospective on the first disc, and a selection of demos (plus, um, some more live tracks) on the second. Obsessives and completists are probably all over this already; but we also humbly suggest that this makes fine listening for casual fans. The early live versions of songs like “Garden” and “Alive,” in particular, are pretty great. Anyway, the album’s right here — both discs, to boot — if you fancy a listen.
Jimi Hendrix — Winterland
Also on the live album front, Spinner has the new release of Jimi Hendrix’s shows at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom in October 1968. While at least some of this material has been available for years — most notably on 1987 Rykodisc release Live at Winterland — this is apparently an “official” release. Bigger fans than us will have to decide on whether it’s a shameless cash-in or a long-overdue release — judging by the early Amazon reviews, Hendrix überfans appreciate the high quality recordings, but are less amused that the entire concerts remain unreleased. The rest of us are happy just to marvel all over again at how supernaturally talented Hendrix was. Click here to listen.
Boots Electric — Honkey Kong
And finally, master self-publicist Jesse Hughes’ Gary-Numan-raping-George-Clinton-with-Little-Richard-as-a-dick debut solo album is streaming all week at Spinner. Hughes certainly does a good line in party-friendly rock’n’roll, which he augments here with a drum machine and a lot of leg-humping lyricism. For all his posturing, there’s something endearingly dorky about Hughes — but anyway, if you like sleazy rock dudes (ironically or otherwise), then click here to get moustache rides aplenty. Woo, and indeed, hoo.