B’stilla is a traditional Moroccan dish often served as a first course for celebratory meals. With that in mind, I wanted something that felt both exotic and upbeat to pair with the recipe posted on eating/sf. Yeasayer‘s forthcoming album, Odd Blood, was that perfect pairing. If you haven’t familiarized yourself with Yeasayer yet, they are a Brooklyn-based band that has previously described themselves as “Middle Eastern-psych-snap-gospel.” And honestly, I had planned to wait to post a review of the album until closer to its official release on February 9th, but this just felt so natural. The album is celebratory, upbeat and to call it merely “exotic” doesn’t do it justice. Odd Blood is a beautiful, lovingly textured, freak-pop, danceable-psych celebration of life. Odd Blood is their sophomore effort. Its relatively sharp left-turn from their previous full length, and it is already one of my two favorite albums of the year (alongside Spoon’s Transference).
While the music and instrumentation on Odd Blood is experimental and psyched-out, the lyrics are pretty down to earth and accessible. The album begins with the slow, clanking and bubbling opener “The Children” before leading into the swirling, life-affirming skank of the album’s first single: “Ambling Alp” which features some of the most positive lyrics in pop history. In addition to the chorus “stick up for yourself son / never mind what anybody else done”, it features verses such as “Now, the world can be an unfair place at times / But your lows will have their complement of highs / And if anyone should cheat you, take advantage of, or beat you / Raise your head and wear your wounds with pride.” Interestingly, the song is about the American heavyweight boxing champion Joe Lewis and references two of his most famous boxing matches against boxers from fascists regimes: Germany’s Max Schmeling and Italy’s Primo Carnera (a.k.a. the Ambling Alp). It is definitely one of the best singles released so far in 2010. The following cut is the shimmering, fuzzed-out “Madder Red” which is about someone coming to grips with the fact that they don’t deserve the love of their partner: “It’s getting hard to keep pretending I’m worth your time / Because lately I’ve wronged you / And not been on your side, love.” Another album highlight is the throbbing, danceable “O.N.E.” which features a combination of organic percussion, synthy melodies and pure awesomeness. And in case you were to wonder what else Odd Blood has to offer, “Love Me Girl” is another shifting, squeaking slice of weird-pop bliss and the next song “Rome” is also a fantastic, stomping hit. Regardless of how you felt about their debut album, you have to get this one for your collection – it is breathtaking in scope, quality and breadth. They are playing at the Fillmore in San Francisco on April 17, 2010. Pre-order Odd Blood from the Yeasayer website.
Head back to eating/sf to read the recipe for Kasey’s b’stilla (Moroccan-style chicken pie).