July 24, 2006

Free Range Music: The Long Winters, New York Dolls, Spoon

The Long Winters -- Putting The Days To Bed>> Seattle's The Long Winters can lay claim to having the best record available via AOL Music's new release album stream corral this week. Putting The Days To Bed has big, upbeat melodies and big (but tasteful) dynamics. The record gets a little soft in the middle like Paul Simon, specifically the songs "Honest" and "Clouds," but otherwise it is very solid. Definitely check out the cut "Ultimatum" -- it's a big rocker and the lead track of last October's Ultimatum EP, and it sells the record as well as anything we could type here. Although we've seen only a smattering of positive buzz about One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This, and although we have never thought David Johansen was much of a singer (we recall some bright spots on his live 1982 solo set Live It Up, however), the new set from the resuscitated, remaining New York Dolls isn't the disaster we had feared. There is some lively stuff, particularly album highlight "Punishing World." Make sure to at least check out that track, it's the most obvious analog to the band's classic vibe. "Gotta Get Away From Tommy" is another solid tune that sort of combines The Replacements' "Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out" and Men At Work's "Be Good Johnny."

Also available to stream at AOL this week is Minneapolis outfit Tapes 'N Tapes' largely over-hyped debut The Loon. There's just not a lot of hooks on there, although the track "Insistor" is a spirited shuffler with some nifty cowboy lead guitar and the end of "Manitoba" is surprisingly bracing. "In Houston" has a nice, Modest Mouse-ish verse, so we may download that from EMusic in lieu of getting the whole set. If you've heretofore ignored this so-called "blogger band," hit the stream linked below to gauge whether this is really something you will really dial up on your IPod or, eventually, your Zune. Right. For a more positive take and a download, hit this item at M.F-R. Anyway, links to those streams are below.

The Long Winters -- Putting The Days To Bed -- Barsuk
The New York Dolls -- One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This -- Roadrunner
Tapes 'N Tapes -- The Loon -- XL

>> Elsewhere you can stream Merge's reissues of Spoon's Telephono long player and Soft Effects EP right from the label's home page here, and we suggest you do. Back when these came out we too readily wrote the band off as Grifters wannabes. While we can still hear why we developed that opinion, boy, we ended up regretting keeping our eye on the band.

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