Death Cab For Cutie Plans (Atlantic Records)
Death Cab For Cutie is sort of like crack. If you try it once, despite your better judgement, you've got to have more. And after getting spun out on catchy love songs, the hophead either has a nauseating comedown or turns into a dithering idiot. But I digress. Their talent is undeniable, and it's admirable that on their first major label record the mush-pushers continue to make well-produced songs that feel good like narcotics. There's not really a dud here, so after a bender, just take a break and the effects will be just as strong as the first time.
Boyd Reno is John Center Soul Explosions (independently released)
This is a true obscurity: Body Reno from Oh, Ranger! (I do declare, one of the best Albuquerque pop-rock bands of all time) made his first album as John Center here in the Kirk with a mish-mash of local musicians and moved to Seattle to make an album with what I assume is a mish-mash of Seattle musicians. Proving that he hasn't forgotten about “Burque Rock City,” he sent us a copy. Like the last album, it takes warming up to, but once that happens, the listener is able to realize the underlying brilliance of many of the songs. Trying to get a copy might be a fun game for everyone to play.
Volcano! Beautiful Seizure (Leaf)
Chicago music bomb Volcano! is the first rock band signed to the Leaf label, which typically releases electronic experimentation. This record, containing a Leaf label-worthy amount of electronic noise, is discombobulating at first (i.e., any sound that is irritating in real life is probably irritating as "music;" see rattling tin cans), but mixes ebullient, freestyle rock with it, which ends up sounding sort of like a Macha or Mogwai explosion. This is the type of music that requires close examination to truly appreciate, but unlike, say, opera, it's actually good (and will offend the schmucks that like opera).