BUY IT, BURN IT, SKIP IT: Daedelus, Wire, The Hold Steady

DAEDELUS stops to smell the flowers and strings

[Photo by Jessica Miller]

By Aaron Richter

As we all know by now, new releases hit record-store shelves and digital-download services each Tuesday. That’s why self-titled presents the following every week: a new release you’d be stupid not to own (Buy It), one worth checking out if you’re the curious type (Burn It) and something you might have heard about but probably should avoid (Skip It). Simple, ain’t it?

Buy It
Daedelus, Love to Make Music To (Ninja Tune)

For an artist like Daedelus–one of L.A.’s leading underground producers thanks to an impressive run of forward-thinking, genre-jumping electronic music–this record feels like an artifact, a fascinating nod to bygone eras, styles and trends. While “Twist the Kids” (featuring MC N’fa) decimates speakers with Chemical Brothers-caliber basslines, “I Car(ry) Us” sounds like an interrogator dripping skin-scalding acid over a emotional Smiths ballad. And then there’s “Drummery Jam,” which brings to mind the heyday of Jurassic 5, and “Get Off Your HiHats,” a hyperactive, handclap-led piece of above-the-clouds funk. Obviously, there are quite a few unavoidable moments of self-indulgence meant to “blow … our … minds,” but Daedelus’ obsessive throwback tracks prove you don’t always have to look to the future to move things forward.





Burn It
Wire, Object 47 (Pink Flag)

Object 47 is a surprisingly solid (albeit nonessential, except for diehard fans) addition to Wire‘s catalog. Bright and expansive, the record, which earned its name because it’s the 47th object in the group’s disco, sounds frequently like New Order’s more band-oriented tracks–danceable, shiny, rhythmic marvels that maintain the spontaneity of a group of dudes roughing it out in a cramped practice space. The rest of the batch, their first album without Bruce Gilbert, is fairly light yet relentlessly propulsive post-punk (the kind that makes you think). Even if you couldn’t feign interested in a group nearly 30 years past its prime, you’ll find yourself enjoying this charming disc.


One of Us

Skip It
The Hold Steady: Stay Positive (Vagrant)

OK, Stay Positive is a pretty good record, but let’s use some logic. The Hold Steady has four albums. The first two–Almost Killed Me and Separation Sunday–were great for their beer-sputtered rawness and, despite both being awesome, were nearly identical. Boys and Girls in America, which came at us in 2006, polished the group’s sound, turned some heads, drew a ton of “Born to Run” comparisons and, in a word, ruled. Now, we have Stay Positive, which, if you dig analogies, is to Boys and Girls as Separation Sunday was to Almost Killed Me. Same jam. Different year. All four albums are basically about the same thing: getting drunk in various cities across the United States and trying–sometimes successfully, sometimes embarrassingly–to score with chicks. So what we have here are two sides of the Hold Steady: raw and polished. But (and this is a huge “but”) Stay Positive features two unbelievably annoying songs. “Navy Sheets” will make you want to bang your head against a wall, and “Magazines” has a chorus echo sung by some gravel-voiced Dicky Barrett sing-alike. Ick! So assuming Boys and Girls is basically the same album, we’ll stick with that one. In fact, after clicking the last key on this review, we’ll probably never listen to Stay Positive again. Logic!