Coconut Records

by John Holbo on June 23, 2009

I think the new Coconut Records album, Davy, is Beatlesesque (but less utterly brilliant), Elliott Smithish (but less pained), Weezerlike (but less New Wave ironic-astringent) – and several other things I can’t quite put my finger on – power pop jingle-jangly loud-soft goodness and wholesomeness and not excessive smartypantsness. It’s somewhat better than the new Bishop Allen album Grrrr (just for comparison purposes to something obscure in the general vicinity.) Coconut Records is a solo project by Jason “you saw him first in Rushmore” Schwartzman, formerly of the band Phantom Planet. I mention all this because Amazon has <em>Davy</em> on sale for $1.99 for the next several hours or so. [UPDATE: sale’s over. Sorry.] (Here’s the myspace page.)

Davy is assisting me in the performance of various repetitive tasks today, by letting my mind clack happy through the CD racks of memory, trying to pin down all the little influences. And it’s well produced.

I also like the new Bishop Allen album Grrr pretty well. I mention that because I feel they have been unfairly abused by Pitchfork, which has gotta hurt. Grrr definitely deserves better than a pitiful 3.5. I give it a 7. “The Ancient Commonsense Of Things” is damn catchy. (Myspace page here.)



Phil 06.23.09 at 7:31 am

From the preview clips, Davy is a bit “earthbound cousin of the Shins’ second album”, which is no bad thing to be. Horrible cover art, though.


John Holbo 06.23.09 at 7:38 am

You can listen to the whole album on the myspace page (at any rate several full tracks.) Now that the Amazon sale is done, no need to click over there for the pitiful short samples. I’ve been having tip of the tongue sensations about this album all day. Sort of a High Llamas-y Teenage Fanclub Beach Boys thing. It’s not a Truly Great album, but I’m enjoying it.


Rob S. 06.23.09 at 7:56 am

I’ve found all Bishop Allen’s full length albums a little overproduced. The stripped down sound on the monthly ep’s fits their songs so much better (to my ear).


JSE 06.23.09 at 4:33 pm

I saw Bishop Allen play a free show here last summer, before I’d heard any of their records — they rocked out in an easy-going way, if that makes sense. Grrr left me with a good impression but I remember little about it; so far “Click Click Click Click” has to be counted their in-no-way-original-yet-kind-of-perfect masterpiece. Would go see them play again in a second.

Listening to Coconut Records myspace right now. Sounds good but compared to Bishop Allen is one step towards ’70s AOR and away from, I dunno, Big Star, and to me that’s a step in the wrong direction.


Ben Alpers 06.23.09 at 11:11 pm

As a longtime Bishop Allen fan, I think that their best album is still their first: Charm School. Their songwriting has improved since then, but their last two albums are overproduced IMO. And I agree that the songs that appear on both the monthly EPs and The Broken String are all better on the EPs (like a lot of fans who bought the EPs when they came out, I was disappointed by The Broken String, despite that fact that, taken on its own merits, it’s a fine album). In fact, I think the very best versions of many of these songs–e.g. “Come Clean”/”A Toast from Benefit Street” (which appeared in a less good form as “Clementines” on the October EP), “Middle Management,” “Rain”–were the studio recordings of them from before the EP project. These were made for the second album, which then had the working title Clementines and were leaked to the internet before they were eventually scrapped. In many ways they’re the band’s best studio recordings.

Comments on this entry are closed.