Weekly Release: Drive-By Truckers, Bright Eyes, PJ Harvey and More

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Still no standout rap album releases to speak of this week, but there is a new album from 90′s R&B sensation Ginuwine! That has to count for something, right? No, it doesn’t, so we won’t be talking about it. Feel free to drop us a line and tell us how it sounds if you give it a listen.

As for us, we’ve got new albums from Bright Eyes, PJ Harvey, Robotanists and the almighty Drive-By Truckers. Let’s get to it.

This is your Weekly Release for the third week of February, 2011…

Robotanists – Plans In Progress

Robotanists - Plans in Progress Album Cover

So you’ve probably heard by now that Radiohead has a new album coming out this Saturday. To get worked up or, more likely, calmed down to celebrate that epic happening, you’ve probably been breaking out your worn out copies of OK Computer and Kid A and such. Or maybe you’ve been turning to more recent stuff like Florence and the Machine or The XX. But why limit yourself to “the oldies” when you could pick up something new to occupy the long, lonely hours between now and Saturday? Like what? Hey, glad you asked!

Robotanists may not be a band you’ve heard of yet, but you will. Even if you can’t be bothered to check the video we’ve been so kind to post below, you will hear about them eventually. They’re pretty damn great. And they’ve got a new album, Plans In Progress, out today. Trust us when we say that it will fill the synth pop void currently blackening your heart while you count down the days until that new Radiohead album is in your hot little iPod. Check out the video below, and then head to their official website and pick up the new album.

PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

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After 2007′s moody, mostly piano driven White Chalk, it’s good to hear PJ Harvey pick up the pace once again on Let England Shake. Not that White Chalk wasn’t a great album, but coming from the woman behind alternative classics like Rid of Me and Dry, it still left us longing to hear Polly Jean tear some shit up.

Let England Shake finds Harvey revisiting the falsetto she employed on White Chalk, but this time around, it’s set to a slightly more rocking foundation. But that turn for the upbeat definitely won’t be mistaken for anything happy. Let England Shake is still an incredibly dark record, possibly the darkest record she’s ever made. If you know anything of her previous work, then you know that’s saying quite a bit about how brooding of an affair Let England Shake is. But damn if it isn’t one of the most enjoyable listens in her remarkably impressive catalog.

Bright Eyes – The People’s Key

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It’s been a long time since the world last heard from Bright Eyes… sort of. After the triumph of 2005′s simultaneously released I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning and Digital Ash in a Digital Urn, the band hit a bump in the road with 2007′s underwhelming Cassadaga. Since then, front man Conor Oberst has released a couple of “solo” albums and released his one of his best songs ever (“Man Named Truth”) as part of the aptly-named folk rock super group Monsters of Folk.

But now, Bright Eyes is back in business, and the time off has served them well. The People’s Key plays like all of the finer points of the last three albums combined to make one nearly perfect album. It’s not just the best Bright Eyes album in recent memory, it’s one of the band’s best ever. The spoken word interludes are a bit distracting and awfully difficult to take seriously, but other than that, The People’s Key is a winner.

The Drive-By Truckers – Go-Go Boots

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The Drive-By Truckers have quietly been one of the best bands in America for over a decade now. Scratch that. The Drive-By Truckers are the best band in America. Over the years, they’ve survived an insane amount of lineup changes, but no matter who surrounds them, the nucleus of Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley rarely fail to deliver the goods. Their latest effort, Go-Go Boots, is definitely no exception to that rule.

Coming hot on the heels of last year’s stellar, more rock driven The Big To-Do, DBT circa 2011 finds the band in full on Muscle Shoals mode. Delving into the soul side of things is nothing new for the mighty Truckers, but doing it for an entire album is a bit of a departure from standard operating procedure. But it shouldn’t come as a surprise, given their recent collaborations with soul legends Booker T. and Bettye Lavette. It should also come as no surprise that the band sounds like they’ve been making albums like this their entire career.

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