Must Have CD's

by Scott Thill

Things are starting to heat up on this melting planet, and I'm not just talking about ice shelves. The music scene is beginning to get interesting, from perennial blockbusters to under-the-radar standouts

Flaming Lips, At War With the Mystics

Sure, Wayne Coyne and Michael Ivins have been chilling their patented freakouts lately on albums like The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, but one listen to "The W.A.N.D." from At War With the Mystics proves they can still bring the noise when they want. But hey, everyone matures, which is not to say that everyone mellows. Coyne's earnest philosophizing on new tracks like "The Yeah Yeah Song" and "The Sound of Failure" is as potent as ever; plus, they've been covering Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" lately. You can’t beat that spectacle, especially live. And boy, are the Flaming Lips playing live this year: Look for them at just about any summer package tour and you're bound to see their bizarre mugs moving the crowd at a stadium or club near you. In more ways than one.


Mogwai, Mr. Beast

This band has been a column staple of mine from jump street, which is another way of saying that no matter which Mogwai effort your take from the shelves, you're likely to go home happy. That said, this latest release condenses the majesty of their earlier 10-minute-plus epics like "Mogwai Fear Satan" and "Like Herod" into more ingestible bite-size nuggets. But the spectrum of their mostly instrumental tunes is as wide as ever. From the beautiful sadness of "Team-Handed" to the guitar Godzilla of "Glasgow Mega-Snake," Mr. Beast is a capable cross-section of what Mogwai can do on any given Sunday. Or any other day of the week, for that matter.


Built to Spill, You in Reverse

Doug Martsch's guitar-tuning collective has made eardrum history with past classics like Perfect From Now On, Ancient Melodies of the Future, and There's Nothing Wrong With Love, so fans -- like yours truly -- have been hotly anticipating the next installment of Built to Spill's axemanship. Martsch, as usual, hasn't failed to fulfill his part of the bargain: New burners like "Conventional Wisdom" will have you fondly recalling Keep It Like a Secret's "Broken Chairs" while Martsch's always reliably Neil Young homage can be found on "Wherever You Go."

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© Melt Magazine 2006