Three for Wednesday

Brightblack - "Wildshiney Stars" (MP3). Plain and simple, I'm addicted to Brightblack. It's telling that the 10 tracks on Brightblack Morning Light, their just-released second record, move in unison on my iPod play count list. If I start the album, I need to finish it, and that's been happening a lot these days. To quote Other Music's great review, it's an "astounding and extraordinarily chill" record that delivers on all the promise of its opening track "Everybody Daylight" (MP3) and then some. BBML is incredibly cohesive, with a shuffling rhythm and Rhodes keyboard tying it all together while hazy flourishes (like the trombone solo on "Friend of Time") make individual songs stand out. Easily one of the best things I've heard all year.

"Wildshiney Stars" is actually from the band's first record, when they were still just Brightblack. (They added to their name for the new album, and the extra words will apparently keep changing with each LP.) It's sparser and much folkier than the new album, with vocal harmonies and lap steel filling the space of BBML's insistent keyboard grooves. Different, but still quite good. Brightblack are playing Southpaw tonight and the Mercury Lounge on Friday - I'm sure their new material will dominate the show, but I hope a few old songs make it in too. Espers and Mariee Sioux are also on the bill.

The Evangelicals - "Diving" (MP3). This was the most memorable song of the two very memorable Evangelicals sets I caught at SXSW, but it's interestingly one of the more restrained cuts on So Gone, the Oklahoma band's debut LP out now on Misra. It was much thrashier live, and in general I found So Gone's psychedelic pop underwhelming at first. Turns out I just needed to turn it up. The immediacy of the band's live show is replaced on record by an enormous volume of sounds, lots of little noises unpredictably crammed into each song's corners that reveal themselves more and more with time. With their shared Oklahoma pedigree, Flaming Lips comparisons have seemed almost compulsory in the Evangelicals reviews I've read. I definitely hear some old Lips in So Gone, but "Diving" speaks more to the old Sea and Cake junkie in me.

Senor Coconut and His Orchestra - "Simoon" (MP3) (featuring Mouse on Mars). Señor Coconut is German DJ Uwe Schmidt, and "Simoon" comes from Yellow Fever, Schmidt's tribute to Yellow Magic Orchestra. I'm unfamiliar with YMO but apparently they're like the Japanese Kraftwerk - and Yellow Fever turns their songs into Latin pop numbers. It works perfectly. Creative arrangements and entertaining interludes (think the Avalanches meet Akufen) make Yellow Fever's 20 tracks fly by, as does the fact that these songs are packed with hooks. Lots of guests too, including Akufen, YMO themselves (including Ryuichi Sakamoto) and, on this song, Mouse on Mars. Great stuff! (Next on my list, after some YMO originals, is El Baile Alemán - Señor Coconut's 2000 tribute to Kraftwerk.)