by Elijah Jarocki
New records from La Femme, American Football, and Savoy Motel are spinning this week on Radio 1190.
Recorded half in a French castle, half in Los Angeles, “Mystère” from La Femme is a powerful record that combines European Krautrock with contemporary sounds. La Femme sounds like a version of Yelle inspired more by Kraftwerk, Neu!, and Stereolab than 80s pop. “Mystère” has all the hustle-and-bustle of busy parisian streets; it morphs and shimmers with an incredible energy. Tons of different sounds appear throughout the record, coercing the listener to indulge in La Femme’s psychedelic thrill ride. Some songs are fun and straight ahead (“Septembre”) while others are opaque and difficult to comprehend (“Vagues”). This record is super cool because it marries hardcore pop sensibilities with experimental leanings. Everyone will find something to like on La Femme’s “Mystère.
On the other hand, the new record from American Football is even less accessible than their infamous 1999 self-titled release. “American Football (LP2)” definitely panders to previous fans of American Football by distilling the band’s tried-and-true sound into something far less compelling. When their first record came out in 1999, Mike Kinsella & Co.’s blend of math rock and emo was new, exciting, and expressed heavy personal feelings in a way never seen before. Since 2000 though, hundreds of bands have fallen in love with American Football and ripped pieces of their sound for their own use. Mike Kinsella has also moved on, working with Owen and Joan of Arc has shaped him into a powerful songwriter much more mature than the Kinsella singing on American Football’s 1999 self-titled. I think writing with the original American Football lineup is a strange idea for Kinsella, he’s progressed immensely over the last 16 years while his bandmates pursued things outside of music. All of these elements make “American Football (LP2)” familiar . . . really familiar. This record opts for safe songwriting rather than radical change. This approach ensures American Football keeps its sizeable fan base, but also guarantees them almost complete irrelevance in popular culture. Long story short, If you liked American Football before, you’re gonna like this new record; however, if you’re unfamiliar, you might be left totally bored. Judge for yourself, “American Football (LP2)” will be spun to death on Radio 1190.
Savoy Motel is a set of inside jokes for a particular fanbase. The group’s self-titled debut release embraces camp and cheese through 70s songwriting and outdated sounds. Savoy Motel’s strange conglomeration of instruments reminds me of Zappa, Beefheart, and scores of strange legendary acts from the past. This is music for weirdos, by weirdos. If you grew up listening to outsider music and loving the banal and absurd, Savoy Motel will be right up your alley. This record was released on What’s Your Rupture, the same label responsible for acts like Parquet Courts and Royal Headache. Savoy Motel has a similar vibe to these bands, all three are super sensitive to musical history and entirely self-aware of their place in the modern indie landscape. I’d also reccomend this debut from Savoy Motel to fans of Sonny & The Sunsets or fans of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros’ strange b-sides. I can’t guarantee everyone will like this one, but it’s definitely worth a shot. To hear it yourself, tune into 98.9FM in Boulder or 1190AM in Denver and listen to Radio 1190 this week!