#MusicMonday, Vol. 31: Rise Against, R.E.M., Lykki Li, Sonic Youth, The Pauses, and more (with audio + video!)

The Pauses - Go North from Deeb Studios on Vimeo.

Taylor Sarah Mac Band, A Single Revolution (2011)

This great Florida outfit flits around styles that call to mind Dave Matthews' punchy jazzrock, Joshua Radin's acoustic whispers, and Melissa Etheridge's heck-yeah-I'm-here-to-tell-you-what's-up. Check out this album, then see them live at the Hideaway Cafe in St. Petersburg this Thursday, March 17.

[image-1] of Montreal, thecontrollersphere EP (out April 26 via Polyvinyl)

It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I snagged an early copy of the latest output by Athens psyche-pop outfit of Montreal. Visionary leader Kevin Barnes is one of my favorite songwriters out right now, so I'm obviously partial to anything he produces, but the new EP is acid-washed pop-noise freak-out fabulousness that defies the funky dance accessibility of 2010's False Priest ... kind of what I hoped for and expected from that aforementioned album. According to what K. Barnes told me in a recent interview, "It’s only five songs but there’s some different material, it’s sort of new territory for us, a bit noisier, a bit artsier. Just kind of bizarre stuff." Prolly why I like it so much...

Gabe R.E.M., Collapse Into Now (2011)

Wow! What a great R.E.M. album! Fans of earlier releases like Document (1987) and Green (1988) are going to flip out over this one. Michael Stipe and company are in fine form; the songs are great, the lyrics are thoughtful and guest appearances from Patti Smith and Eddie Vedder don't hurt, either. A fine record from one of America's greatest and most-underrated bands. The Godfather's of Indie Rock sound better than ever on this new one. Highly recommended.

Shawn Azitis, "The Prophet," off Help (1971)

Pronounced "As It Is." I've been looking for this song for about two years now. I first heard it on a weird '60s comp called Trap Door. The kicker was that the list of bands and songs included on Trap Door were not available and the record company (I can't remember which one it was) had a contest on their website for listeners to chime in and guess the track list. (Most likely whoever was closest got something really cool.) It should be noted that I've been listening to it on repeat on Youtube. If I did have the original LP, I don't think I'd even be able to listen to it, since due to its obscurity, it's crazy-stupid expensive. How crazy-stupid expensive? If I had one, I'd sell it and take you to Europe. I do think "The Prophet" is one of the most perfect songs I've ever heard. Check it out below.

Brad Behemoth, Ezkaton (2008)

Polish black metal. This disc includes live recordings mixed with studio material as well as a Ramones cover!?

[image-2] – Des Ark, Don’t Rock The Boat, Sink The Fucker (Due out May 3 via Lovitt Records)

Des Ark is playing Transitions Art Gallery at Skatepark of Tampa tomorrow (Tuesday, March 15) with Pygmy Lush, ARCandPANTHER, and Hello.Invade! This is exciting news because the last time I saw Des Ark was in 2007. Even more exciting, I am lucky enough to have heard an advance copy of Des Ark's forthcoming sophomore full length, Don’t Rock The Boat, Sink The Fucker, the highly anticipated follow-up to 2005's Loose Lips Sink Ships. Visionary singer-songwriter Aimée Argote’s unique vocals shine through on this record with interesting instrumentation from some new contributors. There is definitely a more aggressive sound on some of these songs, which crash through track to track. You can clearly hear Kurt Ballou’s (Converge) influence on the tracks he recorded. So far my track picks are “FTW Y’ALL !!!” and “Two Hearts Are Better Than One.” I'm looking forward to seeing how Aimée translates them in a live setting and hearing the final version of the record.

Amber G. Love, Fixin' To Die (2011)

The twang-infused blues of G. Love's latest release were brought to life in St. Pete this weekend when the Philly-native hit the Jannus Live stage on Saturday night. I'm a big fan of his collaboration with the Avett Brothers, and even though he's working with a stripped-down sound and a genre full of history to copycat, the album still oozes with as much authenticity as the old church it was recorded in without losing the G. Love sauciness. Click here to read Ray's review of the new album.

Deborah Lykke Li, Wounded Rhymes (2011)

Swedish phenom Lykke Li's second album is an absolute stunner. She's still got the same feathery vocals, but this time around they're delivered over pounding tribal drumlines to create some undeniably catchy dance tracks. There's also a newfound confidence in her lyrics. On 2008's Youth Novels, she tentatively sang "I'm a little bit in love with you, but only if you're a little bit in love with me." Three years later, there's no hesitation to her come-ons; she's brazenly calling out "I'm your prostitute. You're gonna get some." Check out the album in its entirety below...

Lykke Li - Wounded Rhymes (Hype Machine Album Exclusive) by LykkeLi

Steve Sonic Youth, Simon Werner a Disparu / SYR9 (2011)

Like its predecessors in the SYR series, this release is jammy and noisy. The difference this time around is the use of a rinky-sounding piano on some cuts, and it includes the movie soundtrack-purposed songs. All are instrumental, with mood swings presumably corresponding to scenes in the French film of the same name. If the various foriegn-language titles in previous SYRs were simple affectations, here at least there is a clear reason for them. It's not where I'd point a noob to begin Sonic Youth Appreciation 101, but for the initiated, it will satisfy on several levels -- new textures, tight songs and warm sound.

What are you listening to right now? We want to know! Leave your answer below in the comments section...

The CL Music Team kicks off the week with some new jams (or old) to launch us into a new work week! Here’s what we’re spinning now; to check out previous entries, click here.

Rise Against, Endgame (2011)

I’m tired of slagging Rise Against for writing big rock hooks instead of angry punk tunes. Yes, Tim McIlrath’s voice is more polished. Yes, the riffs are not quite so ferocious anymore. But their songs remain vehicles for change and rallying cries for the fucked-over. “Make It Stop (September’s Children)” tackles gay teen suicides. “Satellite” laments the death of the American dream – and probably sounds the most like old school Rise Against. The central question of Endgame is, if all the awfulness in the world really heralds its end, would wiping the slate clean be so bad? As long as they continue to make their statements without creating bloated rock operas like other punk-turned-mainstream bands, Rise Against will be okay.

Ray The Pauses, A Cautionary Tale (2011)

When The Pauses’ Tiereny Tough dueted with Deleted Scenes’ Dan Scheurman on “Tonight You Belong To Me” at a July 2010 show at New World Brewery, I was kicking myself for not discovering the Orlando-based “indierocktronica” band sooner. Their debut LP was just released on New Granada Records last week, and it is a joy to listen to. Tough’s vocals on tracks like “Pull The Pin” and “Beyond Bianca” are a good foil to the slinky, distorted guitar lines, and the subtle electronic touches on slower cuts like “Hands Up” and “The Leap Year” beg for repeated listens. They even throw in a version of “Tonight You Belong To Me” as a hidden track at the end of “Goodbye, Winthorpe” to cap it all off. [Click here to read Leilani's story on the band and check out the video for "Go North" after the jump.]

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