Grizzly Bear "Painted Ruins"
It’s been 5 years since Grizzly Bear’s last album, but mere seconds into Painted Ruins makes that feel like 10 minutes. Besides having a sound that’s as singular as any band recording music today, their voices are unmistakable. So if it’s been 5 days or 5 years since you’ve last hung with the Bear (they probably say that, right?) you are immediately whisked back to their Beach Boys meets XTC meets Animal Collective meets the future sound. Be prepared for passages of exquisite beauty coupled with jittery percussion and atmospheric unease… for crying out loud, it’s the NEW Grizzly Bear! I don’t even know why I’m trying to convince you of anything. You know you want it. You know I have it. Here it is! Check out the bass-driven groove of “Mourning Sound.”
Rare Energy "Rare Energy (Team Love)"
If you like your drums to have an indie shuffle, your songwriter’s emotions to be worn on their sleeves, and your aesthetic to be of the ‘90s college/indie persuasion, then boy oh boy do I have a new favorite band for you. Rare Energy, the new EP from Guilt Mountain is everything someone could want from a genre that can be decidedly overproduced at times. Sounding a little bit like early Helium tracks with Kate Larson’s vocal delivery reminding me of the Deal sisters at their most conversational, this is the kind of collection that makes you want to start a band immediately. Like, right this second. But you don’t have time for that now, because you need to check out “Fever.”
Rainer Maria "Rainer Maria (Polyvinyl)"
There we were. It was just a regular day at the BRM offices. Jen was being sensible. Pete was wearing a hat. AJ was hungover from the show(s?) he hit the night before. We got an email, just like any other, except it wasn’t. Our buds at Polyvinyl had something to say. “New Rainer Maria!” It didn’t matter what we were doing, when you get an email with music from a band you spent your youth loving and hasn’t released so much as a single in over a decade, you drop what you’re doing and you listen. And listen we did, my friends. Everything was there! Everyone’s favoritist DIY trio was treating our ears to introspective, rocking indie tunes once again. Lemme tell you, there was much rejoicing. You’ll be rejoicing too as you check out the power of the instant classic, “Lower Worlds.”
Third Culture Kings "Is That Light You Carry"
Please get acquainted with Third Culture Kings! Is That Light You Carry is the debut album from the duo consisting of Alap Momin (dälek) and Jan Johansen (Glorybox). Recorded entirely on their iPhones, this is as beguiling and experimental as pop music can be. Utilizing notions of new wave, hip hop, R&B, world music, and many other genres, the whole thing feels spontaneous yet meticulous. It’s moody and sophisticated, like DJ Cam remixing Depeche Mode. Or something else. I’ll admit, this is a hard record to describe. Thankfully, it’s an easy record to love. Check out the detuned Beach Boys meets Tortoise meets Bjork sounds of “Flamingo.”