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Fiery Furnaces, Yeasayer, The Blakes

click to enlarge The Fiery Furnaces  - Widow City  -  -  - Thrill Jockey  -  - Sounds like: Some bizarre avant-garde musical -  - Short take: The Furnaces get even stranger -  - For Brooklyn-based indie poppers The Fiery Furnaces, - eccentricity is the name of the game. And Widow City - almost is like a game. Who strays further - from the norm: Matthew Friedberger in his - instrumentation, or sister Eleanor in her vocals? It's a - tight competition, which is only fun if you're up for - playing. When you're gonna rock out Widow City - , the act's fifth full-length in as many years, you'd - better be in an oddball mood. Matthew uses any and - every instrument he can find; Eleanor plays over his - creations by jumping from singspeak to alto sing-a- - longs to the type of rhetoric heard during the mid-song - asides of musical numbers. The disc certainly has its - merits, not the least of which is its surprising 16-song, - 59-minute length. Just make sure you know what you're - getting into.  Pete Freedman
  • The Fiery Furnaces

    Widow City

    Thrill Jockey

    Sounds like: Some bizarre avant-garde musical

    Short take: The Furnaces get even stranger

    For Brooklyn-based indie poppers The Fiery Furnaces, eccentricity is the name of the game. And Widow City almost is like a game. Who strays further from the norm: Matthew Friedberger in his instrumentation, or sister Eleanor in her vocals? It's a tight competition, which is only fun if you're up for playing. When you're gonna rock out Widow City , the act's fifth full-length in as many years, you'd better be in an oddball mood. Matthew uses any and every instrument he can find; Eleanor plays over his creations by jumping from singspeak to alto sing-a- longs to the type of rhetoric heard during the mid-song asides of musical numbers. The disc certainly has its merits, not the least of which is its surprising 16-song, 59-minute length. Just make sure you know what you're getting into. Pete Freedman

click to enlarge Yeasayer  - All Hour Cymbals  -  -  - We Are Free  -  - Sounds like: David Byrne in the middle of the - woods -  - Short take: The happiest fear of the year -  - Like a commune with a prerequisite of talent, Brooklyn's - Yeasayer creates, on its debut All Hour Cymbals, - a kind of pastoral din with as much polyphonic oddity as - possible. It calls the sound "Middle Eastern psych-pop - snap-gospel." What that means in practice is a lot of big - chorales, instruments old and new, and plenty of group - harmonizing. But the act grounds its wild indulgences - with both an ear for undeniable hooks and a fear of the - future; Yeasayer is not a feel-good spiritual retreat. - "2080" cloaks its own paranoia for an age of uncertainty - and endless war in one of the best choruses of the year. - Many of the songs are like this: sun-drenched and - doom-laden, answering any and all troubles with yet - more instruments and triumphant song.   Matt - Martin
  • Yeasayer

    All Hour Cymbals

    We Are Free

    Sounds like: David Byrne in the middle of the woods

    Short take: The happiest fear of the year

    Like a commune with a prerequisite of talent, Brooklyn's Yeasayer creates, on its debut All Hour Cymbals, a kind of pastoral din with as much polyphonic oddity as possible. It calls the sound "Middle Eastern psych-pop snap-gospel." What that means in practice is a lot of big chorales, instruments old and new, and plenty of group harmonizing. But the act grounds its wild indulgences with both an ear for undeniable hooks and a fear of the future; Yeasayer is not a feel-good spiritual retreat. "2080" cloaks its own paranoia for an age of uncertainty and endless war in one of the best choruses of the year. Many of the songs are like this: sun-drenched and doom-laden, answering any and all troubles with yet more instruments and triumphant song. Matt Martin

click to enlarge The Blakes  - The Blakes  -  -  - Light in the Attic  -  - Sounds like: Indie rock schizophrenics gone - wild -  - Short take: Using the best of all worlds -  - There's no remarkable progression or timing found on - The Blakes' self-titled debut, but that's not really the - point with this Seattle-based trio. Instead, what should - be said is that these guys are clearly students of their - craft and of current trends in rock music. Through sharp, - differing song styles, the band channels everyone from - The White Stripes to The Strokes to Black Rebel - Motorcycle Club, mixing in a little of The Rapture and - Matt & Kim. They funnel it all through dirty, retro guitar - riffs backed with dance-inducing drums and varied, but - appropriate, vocals. Standouts include the hectic opening - track "Two Times," the foot-tapping, almost anthemic - "Don't Bother Me" and the charmingly eccentric and - poppy "Commit." Really, there isn't a bad seed in the - bunch. Even better: They'll be at The Black Sheep on Dec. - 5.  Pete Freedman
  • The Blakes

    The Blakes

    Light in the Attic

    Sounds like: Indie rock schizophrenics gone wild

    Short take: Using the best of all worlds

    There's no remarkable progression or timing found on The Blakes' self-titled debut, but that's not really the point with this Seattle-based trio. Instead, what should be said is that these guys are clearly students of their craft and of current trends in rock music. Through sharp, differing song styles, the band channels everyone from The White Stripes to The Strokes to Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, mixing in a little of The Rapture and Matt & Kim. They funnel it all through dirty, retro guitar riffs backed with dance-inducing drums and varied, but appropriate, vocals. Standouts include the hectic opening track "Two Times," the foot-tapping, almost anthemic "Don't Bother Me" and the charmingly eccentric and poppy "Commit." Really, there isn't a bad seed in the bunch. Even better: They'll be at The Black Sheep on Dec. 5. Pete Freedman

  • Fiery Furnaces, Yeasayer, The Blakes

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