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    • The Complete Wimmen’s Comix
      The Wimmen's Comix Collective came together in the early 1970s when the best-known underground comics were by male artists. Initially called It Ain't Me Babe Comix, Wimmen's Comix was one of the first produced by all females, and Complete gives a clear view of their sense of creative freedom.
    • Vinyl
      Vinyl drops us into the pre-Internet music business of 1973, a period where a hundred-dollar handshake might open doors to airplay, well before anything as civilized as market research was considered. 
    • 2015 Artist Survey: Everything Everything
      For Under the Radar's 13th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to 2015. We asked them about their favorite albums of the year and their thoughts on various notable 2015 news stories involving either the music industry or world events, as well as some quirkier personal questions. Here are some answers fro […]
    • NFL Confidential: True Confessions from the Gutter of Football
      In NFL Confidential, an anonymous lineman presents his humorous behind-the-scenes look at the National Football League.  
    • Listen: Under the Radar’s Weekly Playlist With La Sera, Wild Nothing, Dinner, and Britta Phillips
      Welcome to Under the Radar's Weekly Playlist, where we compile the best songs to debut in the last week (or thereabouts). In this mix, we've got new tracks from La Sera, Wild Nothing, Dinner, Britta Phillips, Harriet, Brass Bed, Pauline Andrès, Terribly Yours, Monika, Dana Falconberry and Medicine Bow, Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop, and more.
    • Watch Ty Segall’s Creepy Performance of “Candy Sam” on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”
      Ty Segall released his new album, Emotional Mugger, last month via Drag City. Last night Segall and his current backing band The Muggers took the stage on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert for an intense and creepy performance of "Candy Sam." Segall and band were adorned in white makeup and performed with the baby head album artwork looming behind […]
    • Premiere: Mr. Bones – “You Ruined It”
      In two weeks, Portland's Mr. Bones will offer up their sophomore LP, Bites. Ahead of the release, we're sharing the single "You Ruined It."
    • Listen: La Sera - “I Need An Angel” (Produced by Ryan Adams)
      La Sera is releasing a new album, Music For Listening to Music To, on March 4 via Polyvinyl. Previously we were treated to a trailer for the album and the album's first single, "High Notes." Now here's another song from it, "I Need An Angel." Listen below, followed by the band's upcoming tour dates.
    • Car Seat Headrest
      Speaking to Will Toledo, the 23-year-old mastermind of Car Seat Headrest, as he's preparing to release his Matador debut Teens of Style, culled from his 11 Bandcamp releases over the course of five years, feels a bit awkward. 
    • SVIIB
      This is a very good pop record. Opening track "Ablaze" sets the tone with euphoric synths and 'ah's, getting you moving right from the start. Nitpicking, but this extended intro (the vocals don't come in until 0:51) leaves one hoping for a single edit that will get us to the dreamy sway of the verse that much quicker. 
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    • First Thoughts On Kanye West's Next Step February 12, 2016
      'The Life Of Pablo' is finally here...We’re approaching a year now since Kanye West presented his ‘So Help Me God’ single at The BRIT Awards and that legendary surprise show at KOKO. The album has had multiple album changes, including two in the past month alone – but last Kanye took over Madison Square Garden as the world watched to simultaneously […]
    • Playlist: The Revenge Picks Valentine's Bangers February 12, 2016
      Strictly disco, soul and funk...Disco is, essentially, about love. A sound that arose from the love that dare not speak its name demanding visibility in the mainstream, disco is at its finest when focussing on matters of the heart. Perfect fare for a Valentine's playlist, then. Impeccable selector The Revenge is planning a Valentine's disco throwdo […]
    • Tom Shorterz Reviews The Singles February 12, 2016
      In his own idiosyncratic style...Tom Shorterz is blessed with nigh-on boundless energy. The Brum rising star can zip from club to club, venue to venue, a bag of records on his back leaving vibes in his wake. Part of the more interesting aspect of UK house, his roots in bassline frequently show through - which is probably where he gets all that energy from... […]
    • Lion Babe - Begin February 12, 2016
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    • Heart Is Full: Miike Snow Interviewed February 12, 2016
      Pop, performance and the creative aspect of an acid trip...With just two releases in their nine active years - and none in the past four - one could be forgiven for suggesting Miike Snow’s press team would need to work overtime, weekends and Bank Holidays to drum up interest in forthcoming third album ‘iii’. Fortunately for the fine folks at Atlantic Records […]
    • Download: Bossy Love - 'Clyde' February 12, 2016
      It's a Valentine's Day banger...Valentine's Day is a con trick. An excuse for corporations to fleece lovers both young and old, to impose some sense of event capitalism on top of true romance. It's also an excuse for a party, and Glasgow-based producer Nightwave isn't one to turn down an invitation. The DJ's Heka Trax imprint is […]
    • Live Gallery: Drenge Smash Into Brixton Academy February 12, 2016
      ...and Clash gains some intimate accessDrenge are a band to be savoured in the live environment, the electricity of both the system and the crowd seeming to flip unforeseen switches in their music. The Sheffield duo breezed into London last night (February 11th) as part of the NME Awards Tour show at the fabled Brixton Academy venue. A package event, the ban […]
    • Throwing Snow Presents 'Axioms' February 12, 2016
      The packaging is stunning...Throwing Snow has gathered together three vital single releases as 'Axioms'. ‘Lumen’, ‘Glower’ and ‘Xema’ were initially released in 2015, and feature some of the producer's most potent music to date. Lauded by everyone from Four Tet to Sasha, the singles - containing six blasts of music - will be gathered on ' […]
    • Everyone Is Mocking John Humphrys' "Grime" Rap On R4 February 12, 2016
      Broadcaster spits over Skepta but makes important point about the BRITs...It’s might be all about Kanye today, but Radio 4 listeners this morning were surprised to hear John Humphrys dropping some bars of his own over a Skepta track. The 72-year-old broadcaster launched into an impromptu rap over ‘That’s Not Me’ on this morning’s Today programme and it’s… un […]
    • Premiere: Fallulah Teases 'Perfect Tense' February 12, 2016
      Check it out now...Fallulah knows that in music, success can count for very little. The Danish artist has already gone platinum twice over, and won a Grammy in the process. Yet on her new album, Fallulah pushes herself further than ever. 'Perfect Tense' arrives on February 26th, following sessions in London with producer Liam Howe. Fallulah explain […]
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Best Albums of 2012: Japandroids ‘Celebration Rock’

Posted by falconi5 on June 16, 2012

Japandroids – Celebration Rock (Rating 4 out of 5)


In their Progress Report interview, and in this Pitchfork interview, the two fairly unassuming late-20s dudes in Japandroids talk a lot about how they love touring and hate recording. Touring the world, for two guys from Vancouver who’d never had the chance, was a revelation, and so they went into the studio to record Celebration Rock just so they’d have an excuse to spend another couple of years on the road. The band had almost ended a ton of times, because they’d come close to breaking up around the time their 2009 debut Post-Nothing came out or because a perforated ulcer seriously threatened frontman Brian King’s health. So it was a fucking miracle that they got to meet people and play this music across the world, and they couldn’t wait to do it again. I like to think that I can hear that mad urgency in Celebration Rock. It’s an album that needs to exist so that the people who made it can return to this improbably glorious life, and it sounds like it.

Japandroids have also talked a bunch about how songwriting doesn’t come easily to them and how each song requires serious work, and you can hear that, too. Because virtually every moment on Celebration Rock seems calibrated for maximum punch-the-air-and-scream-along potential. Like that part on opener “The Nights Of Wine And Roses” where King belts out, “We yell like hell to the heavens,” a mid-song pause stretches out, and then “Hey!” when the instruments rush back in. Or this one from “Adrenaline Nightshift”: “Death’s got no respect for love and you’ve no respect for meeeeaay!” This is big, messy, emotive, heart-on-sleeve rock, every hook coming on like a headrush so extreme that you can’t even see.

I thought Post-Nothing was a reasonably fun bit of ’90s-indie pastiche, but the band didn’t really click with me until the 2010 single “Younger Us,” a tunefully feral burst of sentimentality from two guys just barely old enough to be feeling that ache for the first time. Celebration Rock, it turns out, just builds and builds on that feeling. It is music for drunkenly hugging your best friend, and maybe for crying while doing it. It’s great stuff.

Celebration Rock isn’t a particularly boundary-shattering or ambitious record, but it hits a primal chord with me like no album since Titus Andronicus’s The Monitor — obviously-smart guys writing big, dumb hooks, recording them to sound big and dumb and unstoppable. They deliver hooks like gigantic enthusiastic puppies show affection. With its eight songs rocketing by in 35 minutes, it works as a compressed machine-gun burst of raw-nerve energy and feeling. There’s one cover here, of the Gun Club’s “For The Love Of Ivy,” and it’s be pretty easy to play spot-the-influence with the rest of it. But that would be beside the point, since this isn’t an album about music; it’s an album about need and immediacy and getting shit off your chest. There’s no holding it back.

And the most reserved and quietest track here, closer, “Continuous Thunder,” shows that there’s plenty more to the band than enthusiasm. In that Pitchfork interview, they talk about how they wanted to write one song that wasn’t straight-up “blitzkrieg,” to see if they could make something less epic. Well, they can’t. Instead, they made something even more epic and resonant than anything else they’ve yet come up with. And if they’re capable of writing a song like that as a thought experiment, it’s almost scary to consider how great they could become if they can force themselves to keep recording albums.

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