The Album Leaf & Opinions on The xx and The Flaming Lips

The Album Leaf

The Album Leaf combines digital and organic instruments to make a unique sound. Bandleader Jimmy LaValle joins Jim and Greg to talk about the importance of giving electronic music a live experience and how the Album Leaf grew from a side project into a full time gig. Plus, reviews of the new albums from The Flaming Lips and The xx.

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I See You The xx

I See You

When The xx were guests on the shows in 2010, Jim & Greg had no idea the British trio’s blend of modern soul with minimalist ‘80s alternative sounds would prove so influential. Greg says that the band has subtly expanded its sound on its third album I See You, but hasnn’t taken any big musical leaps. Because he feels the group hasn’t quite got there yet, Greg gives the album a Try It. Jim, however, loves the contrast between the album’s celebratory sounds and its hints of darkness under the surface. Jim says The xx have grown and are pointing toward something exciting, proving they’re a career band. For him, I See You is a Buy It.

Oczy Mlody The Flaming Lips

Oczy Mlody

The fourteenth studio album by The Flaming Lips is titled Oczy Mlody, a Polish phrase meaning the eyes of the young. Jim says its a sleepy album, filled with electronic glitchiness and Miley Cyrus cameos, but lacking the tunefulness that once made them a great band. According to Jim, the Lips have spent the last decade churning out product without really spending time crafting their records in the studio. Greg agrees that the songwriting has fallen off on Oczy Mlody. They both give the album a Try It rating, saying it’s nowhere in league with the band’s best. Jim, as the author of The Flaming Lips’ biography, recommends that listeners who have only heard the last decade of Flaming Lips music check out their back catalog, pointing to early masterpieces like 1990’s In a Priest Driven Ambulance and Transmissions from the Satellite Heart from 1993.

The Album Leaf

Soundtracks for movies that live in his head is how Jim describes the music made by Jimmy LaValle of the Album Leaf. LaValle’s music is often grand and sweeping, while still being intimate. It is a sound that comes from the creative melding of electronica with organic instruments like the violin and trumpet. Check out our video to see how it comes together in a live setting. The Album Leaf started as a solo project of LaValle’s more than 15 years ago but over time it has become a full fledged touring band. The Album Leaf joined us live in our studios to talk about its latest album, Between Waves.

Jim

This week, it’s Jim’s turn to bring a track he can’t live without to play in the desert island jukebox. He selects the song Can’t Stand the Midwest by Dow Jones & The Industrials. The Indiana band came up in the emerging punk scene in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, however Jim didn’t discover them until fairly recently when their music was reissued. While the band never found huge fame, their fast and dynamic songs could sustain Jim on a desert island for quite a while. He chose Can’t Stand the Midwest to highlight, because although Jim has called the Midwest home for a number of years now, it can sometimes make even him a little stir crazy.

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