New Plastic Ideas – week of June 7 2012

Let’s start this week off with one of the more interesting album releases of June: WIXIW by Liars . This restlessly creative band has taken another left turn in a career more or less built upon denying (or at least obfuscating) listener expectations and the synth-addled WIXIW is certainly a more interesting album than its middling water-tread of a predecessor Sisterworld . I do miss the guitar textures and dissonance but if you’re into minor key and slightly unsettling “rock band goes electronic so we’d better compare this to Kid A ” music Liars have a new album for you to unravel.

Next: a few words on Japandroids ’ Celebration Rock . I don’t get it. It’s celebratory sure but in a cloying vaguely processed sort of put-on manner. I did see them play to about 15 people in the basement of the Palomino three or four years ago and I was weirded out by the guitarist’s Bon Jovi hair-blowing fan. The Vancouver duo was loud but that’s all I can remember. I mean if you need more generational angst in your anthem-rock diet here’s a totally unremarkable “update” to something Naked Raygun once did a lot better nearly 30 years ago because this is just “oh oh oh” rock for the crowd juuust hip enough to avoid being seen at Warped Tour. You’re not punk and I’m telling everyone.

With Father’s Day coming up I should at least mention Neil Young & Crazy Horse ’s Americana . Americana is a collection of mostly traditional covers (e.g. “Clementine” and that song that goes “she’ll be comin’ ’round the mountain when she comes”) that have been put through the Crazy Horse grinder. Does the muzak that litters our time spent in waiting rooms really warrant reclaiming? Maybe if one were a boomer with precious little interest in the contemporary; otherwise I would hope not. Americana exists regardless.

Alternately you might consider That’s Why God Made the Radio a new studio album from The Beach Boys . You’d probably be better off buying some incarnation of the Smile sessions if dear ol’ dad hasn’t procured ’em for himself yet but if his eyes perpetually sparkle with the glimmer of LSD frying in the sun you might be able to sneak this album that celebrates 50 years of The Beach Boys into his CD wallet. Actually scratch that — the existence of Crazy Horse’s drunken bar band take on Huckleberry Hound’s favourite traditional time-filler is a far more bizarrely intriguing occurrence than this competently tiring batch of tracks and you want your dad to understand that we’re all just trying to have fun in some ironical post-modern fashion right? Maybe?