Wednesday, March 07, 2007

(03.06.07) Recommends:

Illinois, "What the Hell Do I Know?" (Ace Fu, 2007).

It has been a whirlwind 2007. Some great records released. Some great shows seen. And despite all the awesomeness I have been out of the blogging game since December. But just the other day I received an unexpected little package in the mail that excited me enough to get the recommendations started again. It’s a 7-song EP called “What the Hell Do I Know” by a band called Illinois. It's put out by Ace Fu, and I guess it's time to ask: can Ace Fu do any wrong? With releases by the likes of Annuals and DeVotchKa, among others, they had a pretty ridiculous 2006 and with this release look poised to repeat that success in '07. Anyway, back to the record. I’ve been listening to it pretty much non-stop for days now. What does it sound like, you ask? Well, remember the first time you heard Ryan Adams’ solo material? And each song reminded you of about three artists, but you couldn’t really put your finger on exactly which artists you were recalling? It’s kinda like that with Illinois. And I mean that in a really good way. Vocally, I hear a bunch of bands that I listened to constantly in 2006 – the aforementioned Annuals, Oxford Collapse, the Whigs. Sonically is where this thing gets interesting. There’s some YHF-era Wilco. Meets Beck. Meets the Flaming Lips. Meets those weird swirling keyboards of the Unicorns. There’s one track (I’m not sure the name because it’s track 2 on my hard copy EP, but track 4 when I listen to it on Rhapsody) that has a hip hop foundation, layered with banjo plucks and distorted indie-rock yelps. It's catchiness cannot be denied and it's an early favorite for Track of '07.

This is a record you'll end up listening to a ton this year, so do yourself a favor and get to know this band:

Take a listen to Screendoor.

And listen to more on their myspace.

Their website.

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