The Killer Bs – two new albums worth checking out

From two completely different ends of the musical spectrum comes a pair of albums – one new and one upcoming – that both get the coveted GFS stamp of approval.

Build (2008)

First up is the self-titled debut EP from Build (New Amsterdam Records, 2008), a Brooklyn-based indie classical quintet formed in 2006.  Now I know what you’re thinking: “Classical music?  Boring!”  Stop thinking that, you’re wrong.  This are modern, tuneful compositions that bears precious little resemblance to your father’s classical music.

For those familiar with Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Build takes a similar approach to their music.  It’s never stuffy or rigid, although it’s far from poppy or light.  Composer/violinist Matt McBane has written five songs that are challenging enough to reward multiple listens, but aren’t complicated for the sake of being complicated.

You can listen to songs from Build either on the group’s MySpace page or on the New Amsterdam Records site.

Track listing:
“In the Backyard”
“No Response”
“Imagining Winter

The Places We Lived (2008)

Next up is one of my recent favorites – Backyard Tire Fire.  Ed Anderson and the boys are set to release the followup to the superb Vagabonds & Hooligans, The Places We Lived, on August 26.  I’ve only sampled the three streamable tracks on the group’s website, but I like what I’ve heard so far.  It sounds different enough from the last album to indicate some growth, but it still retains the BTF sound I really enjoy.  It treads some of the same alt-country ground as Wilco (a very good thing in my book), but it’s more straightforward.

Those of you in the Midwest can catch BTF live on tour starting in August (dates available from the band’s site).  But everyone can download the the title track from The Places We Lived on the Hyena Records website, or you can just listen to it here (sweet!).

Track listing:
“The Places We Lived”
“Shoulda Shut It”
“Everybody’s Down”
“Time With You”
“Welcome to the Factory”
“How in the Hell Did You Get Back Here?”
“Rainy Day (don’t go away)”
“One Wrong Turn”
“Legal Crime
“Home Today”