May 14, 2007

Today's Hotness: Up Up Down Down, The Mendoza Line, Ben Gibbard

>> The most awkwardly/awesomely named band in indie rock is about release a second full-length, and if the preview tracks at MySpace are any indication, the set is going to be superlative. Jersey-based post-emo superheroes Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start are taking pre-orders for the forthcoming set Worst Band Name Ever at a web site of the same name right here. New track "The Red Loop" in particular is hair-standing-up-on-the-back-of-your-neck good, a serene yearner that pairs pounding toms, acoustic guitar and murmured vocals to create a track that reminds us of the best American Football tunes, if not the best UUDDLRLRBAS tunes. Posted atop this item is the Gap ad-ish video for the upbeat but stilted popper "I'll Thank You Later," which you can also stream at the band's MySpace wigwam. The band expects the new CDs back from the pressing plant in the first week of June and will ship out pre-orders immediately thereafter. Folks who pre-order will also receive a copy of the band's simply stunning Girls Names EP, which has never been commercially released. In addition, Worst Band Name Ever is an enhanced CD that offers access to bonus material when you put it in a CD-ROM drive. Bonus material includes guitar tabs for the 10 cuts, and 18-song mixtape of the band's favorite indie acts, and the video for "I'll Thank You Later" in Hi-Res widescreen. Incidentally, Girls Names was one of our favorite records of 2006; you can read our other picks right here. Below we've posted a hot jam from the band's first full length recorded in late 2001 and 2002; the set is titled And Nothing Is #1 and it is out of print (but available at EMusic). You can check out the band's whole discography here, which is long on some very darn good EPs.

UUDDLRLRBAS -- "By Surprise" -- And Nothing Is #1
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>> And so we've finally listened to the new Mendoza Line cut. It's dramatic, kind of show-tuney, has a nice loose bounce and features typically great lyrics presumably from Tim Bracy. The cut is called "Aspect Of An old Maid," and it's an alternate take. The version that will appear on the band's (if you can call it a band anymore, considering the tumult described in the band's bio at the Glurp site we just found after reading the comments to the Chromewaves post we noted the other day) forthcoming set 30 Year Low, a double album which will be released on Glurp in August, features vocals from Okkervil River's Will Sheff. The second disc carries its own title, the equally bitter-sounding Final Remarks Of The Legendary Malcontent. The second disc features covers of cuts by Cole Porter, Dylan and Springsteen as well as live tracks (two actually from the Mendoza Line side project Slow Dazzle) and other stuff. We can't wait to hear the whole thing, although we find it takes a bit more effort for us to love the Mendoza Line's more countrified stuff, which makes up a large portion of its catalog since about 2000 or so. Our favorite Mendoza Line record is still the first one we received via The Good Doctor, the eclectic and adventurous We're All In This Alone. Here's that new track:

The Mendoza Line -- "Aspect Of An Old Maid (Alt. Take)" -- outtake from 30 Year Low
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>> Touch And Go will reissue two The For Carnation EPs as a single disc July 10. The band's first two Matador EPs Marshmallows (which was released in 1996 and features the excellent cuts "On The Swing" and "Winter Lair") and Fight Songs (released the prior year) will be combined into Promised Works. We'd say there are more details here, but really all there is is the album art. Still, we've always felt Marshmallows was a crucial EP (as was Stereolab's The Noise Of Carpet, which was released about the same time and which we recorded onto the same cassette tape way back when -- along with Versus' awesome Deep Red EP, no less), so get your hands on it if you haven't already.

>> The 'Nac has Death Cab For Cutie helmer Ben Gibbard's recent solo performance at the Somerville Theater posted. The set looks really solid, and if we can stop listening to UUDDLRLRBAS we'll stream it via The 'Nac Hype Machine feed this evening. Read the whole Almanac post right here.

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