Music of the Week
By Lauren Harris
Great Lake Swimmers, Lost Channels
Canadian quintet Great Lake Swimmers has assembled another sonic shrine to the rocky emotional terrain of life. With each of their three previous full-length albums, the band has been perfecting their gorgeous alchemy, blending folky landscapes and lead singer Tony Dekker's yearning revelations on relationships so intimate and honest, it feels like you're reading his diary. Recorded in and around the Thousand Islands -- a stretch of islands ranging in size around the St. Lawrence River ' the album sounds steeped in the stark, windswept scenes and the fireside evenings that undoubtedly went into its making. For anyone who likes the hushed intimacy and pop nods of Iron & Wine and Fleet Foxes.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, It's Blitz!
We almost lost them there. After Yeah Yeah Yeahs' beer-drenched, screeching debut (with just a dash of longing in breakout hit "Maps"), the purveyors of hipster cool gave us Show Your Bones, their sophomore album about making a sophomore album. Having fallen prey to that dreaded Second Album curse, YYYs took a much-needed breath, tossing out an EP as a stop-gap and allowing rumors of break-ups to swirl. In the time taken, lead singer/banshee Karen O decamped to California for some relaxation while bandmates Nick Zinner and Brian Chase searched for their own bliss. The result, recorded in wide-open spaces, trades Zinner's guitar fangs for slinking synths and O's caterwaul for actual singing. To date, the only members of downtown's graduating class to make good on the promise of their hype.
Prince, MPLSound / LotusFlow3r / Elixir
The Purple One returns with a three-disc set: two of his own, and a third album he produced for Bria Valente, the latest in a long line of Prince's prot'g's (Apollonia, we hardly knew ye). Everyone's favorite Jehovah's Witness has had a few missteps in the past few years ' the guitar-humping Superbowl performance, his sour-grapes stance towards downloading, his insistence on naming songs the way a 12-year-old girl texts --' but what he lacks in innovation he makes up for in sheer bizarreness. Released exclusively through Target, first disc MPLSound is an homage to his beloved Minneapolis, while both discs tread the same funked up territory Prince has always trafficked in. He does, however, break new ground with track 'Valentina' ' what has to be the first song addressed to the offspring of a celebrity ' in which he implores Salma Hayek's infant daughter to 'tell your mama she should give me a call.' Yikes!