things have been a little crazy in the music office. to make it up to you, i present you with more music than you have ears to listen to. some of these may be old news, but if you are interested in expanding yr brain/itunes library, please bear with me and spend a little time with this list. the newer stuff’s towards the end, in case you are 2 Kewl 4 Skewl and, like, already have all of the february releases.
AIR WAVES “Dungeon Dots” [Underwater Peoples]
Garagey-surfey-not-too-pretty songs made of not much more than jangly guitars, laidback drums, and Nicole Schneit’s cloudy and sincere voice. Kind of like if Merrill Garbus and Sharon van Etten had a baby who grew up to be a little less weird but just as (if not more) cool.
JULIANNA BARWICK “The Magic Place” [Asthmatic Kitty]
Imagine, like, a big fairy cathedral surrounded in mist in the middle of a mystical enchanted forest. If aforementioned cathedral was playing (emanating?) music, it would without a doubt be Julianna Barwick. Layer upon layer of reverb-drenched vocals creating serene dreamscapes. She played here last year and it felt like the Mug had become some sort of holy place, an impressive feat if I do say so myself.
THE LOW ANTHEM “Smart Flesh” [Nonesuch]
An amazing 3rd album from a truly amazing band. They’re actually one of my favorites, so allow me to play fangirl for a moment: The Low Anthem take folk and americana with a blues/gospel tinge and make it something that’s moving, sincere, intimate, at moments a little weird (band member Jocie Adams, who also has the most killer snarling howl of a voice, plays the crotales, which is totally sick), and always just so smart and beautiful. Also, see them live if you can, because they’re even better in person. Bonus trivia: If my sources are correct, singer/guitarist/etc Ben Knox Miller is the son of Vassar philosophy professor Mitch Miller.
EAST RIVER PIPE “We Live In Rented Rooms” [Merge]
Seventh album by little-known but apparently much-adored songwriter and full-time Home Depot employee F.M. Cornog. The songs are by turns plain, sad, and beautiful. Musically, the closest current acts I can place are songwriters like Josiah Wolf or Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, but what makes this album stick out is the stories Cornog has to tell, heartbreaking as they may be.
THE CAVE SINGERS “No Witch” [Jagjaguwar]
Gruff, lush folk-and-blues-influenced rock and roll. “All told, there’s treasure to be found here for the biker gang weekender, the double rainbow chaser and all that falls in the valley between them” – could that b u?
SCOTT CHURCHMAN “Scott Churchman 2″ [Single Girl Married Girl]
Super mellowed folk chants with really strange indistinguishable ruffled muffled thrush noises that give the album a haunted and str8 fcked dark slant.
OUTDOORSMEN “You and Me and Rock N’ Roll” [Daggerman] 7″
A four song seven-inch from San Francisco’s reigning kings of ‘don’t give a fuck’ garage-punk. This outing leans on the poppier side of their songbook and has some recent crowd favorites.
PHOTOBOOTH “Da Me Tus Besos” [Daggerman] 7″
First 7″ from one of the best current Bay Area bands. Awesome garage-pop tunes that’ll bounce around in your brain for days. Features former members of FM Knives and Mothballs.
SPIDER BAGS “Hey Delinquents” [Daggerman] 7″
Their first 7″ and a follow-up to their LP on Birdman Records. Spider Bags began as a side-project for Dan McGee, the guitarist of the DC Snipers. Now they’re a North Carolina based drunken shamble of a roots band with feet in the trashy garage and punk worlds. The flip side of this was produced by Camero Werewolf, the scum wiz behind Live Fast Die.
TORO Y MOI “Underneath the Pine” [Carpark]
Prince meets Daft Punk. Less ‘chillwave’ this time. More clearly produced…i.e. more clarity in the sound. Gone are the alt-chill-vibes in favor of a sharper 70’s coked-out-disco setting and Bundick’s (bum dick lol) mellowed out vocals are everywhere. I like this. I like this a lot.
HERMIT THRUSHES “Slight Fountain” [Single Girl Married Girl] LP
AUGH. SO GOOD.
Shifts back and forth from being minimalistic guitar tiddies to fractured thrashing that has a Dirty Projectors feel. Srsly, I know its vinyl but do check it out.
Preview the song, Snowflake Heart:
HAPPY JAWBONE FAMILY BAND “Return of the Hotel Double Tragedy” [Spooky Town]
Vermont’s unstoppable faux-pop Family follows up their amazing Feeding Tube LP Hotel Double Tragedy with this amazing sequel tape! The Return of Hotel Double Tragedy gives you more of what you know you need. Brilliant, bleak, inspired songwriting; deep layers of messy grooviness; tape loop meditations; and actual real rock n roll vibes! 14 songs for soul-searching or for wildfooting or for lucid dreaming, on really shiny gold tapes
THE GREAT VALLEY “Holinight” [Spooky Town]
The Great Valley put their new spooky beach pop record up for free downloading thru Bandcamp. Just right for summer haunting or a vacation in the Bermuda Triangle.
MOUNTAINHOOD “Shine Shine” [Spooky Town] Cassette
Super haunted warblefolk.
IS/IS “This Happening” [Guilt Ridden Pop]
3 girls play shoegaze that’s not too nice. Very very very much in the vein of Black Tambourine, everything echoes and fuzzes and so on and so forth – all four tracks are solid, check it out.
MIDDLE BROTHER “S/T” [Partisan]
Very straightforward folk rock with a whole lotta twang and a whole lotta heart. Sometimes it’s nice to have someone who really sounds like a real person sing you stories over shuffly old time bells, handclaps and acoustic guitar. Think Avett Brothers or Holy Ghost Tent Revival without the gloss.
SNOWBLINK “Long Live” [Fire]
Beautiful tender sparse folk songs with Daniela Gesundheit(note: I CALL SHENANIGANS THAT IS NOT A REAL NAME)’s lovely vocals. The album sort of runs on its own time, which is cool for a folky album- many of the best tracks are under a minute and a half. Totally worth sitting down and really listening to (also great “OMG NATURE” springtime music, for the tree-huggers among us).
DANIELSON “Best of Gloucester County” [Sounds Familyre]
Jangly psychedelic pop (thing bright strummy guitars and falsetto vocals weighed down with a li’l touch of something darker/weirder). S00000 Elephant Six, right down to the sonic sparkles and tambourine accents.
TELEKINESIS “12 Desperate Straight Lines” [Merge]
Suuuper peppy powerPOP. Perhaps a little too easy to like, but if you’re into the Morning Benders, Woodpigeon, Ra Ra Riot, that kind of thing, go for it, dude.
WINTER’S FALL “At All Angles” [Velvet Blue Music]
Wondering what would happen if Neil Young got into post-rock? Probably something along these lines. Crunchy mountain manly anthems sung with some SERIOUS twang.
THE DISTRICT ATTORNEYS “Orders From…” [S/R]
70s-ish mountain man rock n roll? Kind of like Blitzen Trapper but a lot better. A little country but not too twangy.
TYPHOON “A New Kind Of House” [Tender Loving Empire]
A grandiose but sincere album from massive experimental pop group Typhoon. Not totally sure what to call this guy, perhaps highly emotive arena-folk? Intimate songs with a sprawling sonic presence (which is I guess just what happens when you have 10 people playing a shitload of instruments all together). “Kitchen Tile” (track 4) is particularly beautiful, with a big pastoral chorus of voices harmonizing over a stomping kick drum and acoustic strums.
WITHERED HAND “Good News” [Absolutely Kosher]
Bummed-out folk with the saddest, most beautiful wistful sparkly banjo jams and the most hilarious, and yet totally heart-melting, lyrics ever, sung with a grizzled UK croak that’s hard not to love. Get at “Hard-On.”
THE BABIES “S/R” [Shrimper]
A collaboration between Cassie Ramone from Vivian Girls and Kevin Morby of Woods. Dusty folk rock with reverbed jangling guitars. First song is super catchy. Stomping beats and yelling and stuff. Honestly, I think it’s better than Woods….
REFRIGERATOR “Dangerous” [Shrimper]
Sad warbly acoustic folk. Perhaps not as endearing as clear predecessors Mt. Eerie/Mountain Goats et. al, but if you’re into lo-fi bummercore singer-songwriters, get at this.
DUM DUM GIRLS “He Gets Me High EP” [Sub Pop]
Wrong feels Right (personal fave on the EP) reminds of Fleetwood Mac a little bit. He gets me High sounds like new Madonna. Take Care of My Baby sounds like a more reverb drowned Cat Power. There is A Light sounds a little heavier version of any girl power rock that would appear on the soundtrack to a 90’s teen romcom. Solid EP
STARFUCKER (aka STRFKR) “Reptilians” [Polyvinyl]
More immensely accessible dance hooks. Apparently, this album focuses primarily on death and the end of the world…though that isn’t the least bit apparent. Vibrant crescendos. Plus, check out this video that Fancy Mechanic’s pal made for the song “Quality Time”:
PARIS SUIT YOURSELF “My Main Shitstain” [Big Dada]
Pedal-to-the-metal polyrhythmic drumming, angry and ecstatic screams/fragile multilingual crooning, rock-solid bass and deranged backing vox. A dash of Mansion at his most accessible and Beck c. Midnite Vultures.These guys are nuts.
DUTCHESS LEO “Golden Gray” [Whale Heart]
Ambient post-rocky elements…dreamscape orchestral folk kind of stuff. The tracks with vocals have a more emotive pop feel. RIYL Sun Airway.
AUSTRA “Beat and the Pulse” [Domino]
Storming, glittery piece of leftfield electropop. In the vain of recent Zola Jesus… a more 1980’s club oriented Zola Jesus.
ANNA CALVI “S/T” [Domino]
Suprisingly distinctive pop. Shimmering, menacing charro-esque guitar moves to more buoyant cinematic songs. Some songs are like a cold-slap in the face. Calvi has a theatrical voice like Kate Bush but much lower pitched.
ACRYLICS “Lives and Treasure” [Friendly Fire/Hot Sand]
Synthetic color, cinematic pop jams. Been characterized as “Teen heartache given pop form”. The male vocalist is like a less fucked up Elliott Smith.
WE ARE ENFANT TERRIBLE “Explicit Pictures” [Last Gang]
SEXelectro dance with blends of 8 bit. On stage, this is all performed live and run through a Nintendo Gameboy. RIYL CSS and Sexy shit from the party monster soundtrack. Like Ladytron. lol.
CHAIN & THE GANG “Music’s Not For Everyone” [K Records]
WAIT….wait…i didn’t know that Chain is Ian Svenonius’ band. Like, Svenonius as in the “Psychic Soviet”…wow. Anyhow. Slapdash, unfussy, and skeletal. But still tuneful. Like a sparse british invasion sound. Pretty rad.
HUNX AND HIS PUNX “Too Young To Be In Love” [Hardly Art]
‘New Oldies’ – that is to say, old skewl bubblegum rock’n’roll that’s straight out of the 50s and 60s, brought to you by the naked guy from Girls’ “Lust For Life” video and his all-girl band (among whom there are some truly amazing voices, check “The Curse of Being Young”). Totally homoerotic and also totally weirdly innocent, you know? Cums personally recommended by the WVKR SXSW delegation.
BRAVE IRENE “S/T” [Slumberland]
Rose Melberg (TIGER TRAP, the Softies) is forever my girl. A perfect pop album from an all-star twee hero. Less fuzzy gurl-punk than Tiger Trap or whatever, more just super super super catchy fast-paced all-girl singalongs. RIYL All Girl Summer Fun Band, Tiger Trap, etc.
DARLINGS “Warma” [Famous Class]
Really nice, kind 90s mellowed-out guitar rawk. Disaffected but still friendly, you know? Think just a teeny bit off-key boy/girl vocals, young person angst with a heavy dose of young person irony. “Big Girl” (track 5) is awesome.
PONYTAIL “Do Whatever You Want All The Time” [We Are Free]
“Loljkwe’renotbreakinup” comeback album from yr fave spastic art-rock band. Spacey synths with high-pitched crazy stacatto guitars and lots of shouting. Really high energy, and also just really fun.
BROWN RECLUSE “Evening Tapestry” [Slumberland]
Unflinchingly pleasant psychedelia-tinged indietweepop. I’m just going to be real with you all, kind of sounds like the Shins. Sunny sunny sunny.