Vol. 11 Issue 133 October 2016
Are you ready to rock? Are you ready for Rocktober? Maybe someone from the office should walk the couple blocks over to the New York Stock Exchange and holler “are you ready for Stocktober?” Or go to an art class and scream “Who’s ready for Smocktober?” Or maybe I should skip the “jokes" and stick to the new music? Should be easy with a lineup like this. New tunes from Hiss Golden Messenger, American Football, Weyes Blood and many, many more. Enjoy!
Posted by John On Oct 27, 2016
Boo! Scared you, right? Of course your guard is likely already up, since... Read More
- Click to see:
- Side One Dummy
- Temporary Residence
- Hit City
- Fat Cat
- Anyway Records
Hiss Golden Messenger
"Heart Like A Levee"
If I was a younger man, I would likely accuse the new Hiss Golden Messenger album Heart Like a Levee (Merge) of getting me “right in the feels.” But then again in the NYT crossword puzzle yesterday the following was a clue: “Right in the _____ (deeply affecting, in modern slang)” -so all bets are off. Although “deeply affecting” does apply well to this HGM record. Mike Taylor started out writing this album as an art project for Duke University. He was tasked with writing a cycle of songs to accompany a series of black and white photos of life in an Eastern Kentucky coal-mining camp from 1972. He started out doing so, but eventually those photos started staring back… into his soul (I know, sounds scary. But it’s not nearly as scary as all those weird clowns popping up these days). Eventually the photos just served as a bit of a creative jumping off point. Imagine John Mellencamp having taken songwriting classes from Bob Dylan, Marvin Gaye, and Randy Newman all during one semester, and his final project might sound a lot like this singular album. Check out Mike at his most New Morning-era Dylan with “Biloxi.”
"American Football (LP2)"
It has been 17 years since Polyvinyl released what would eventually become the classic self-titled debut from American Football. As you probably know, what happened after that is the stuff of rock legend. The band broke up only having played a handful of small shows. It was only after the band didn’t exist that the record went on to become “one of the single most influential rock records of it’s time” (quote from Noisey, but a sentiment expressed by countless media quote makers). Thankfully, the legendary 2014 reunion shows went as well as they did, because (and I can’t believe I’m writing this) American Football are back with a new self-titled LP! (make sense of THAT discogs!) The same emotionally resonant lyrics tugging at nostalgic heartstrings, the math rock syncopation, the swirling emo interplay, and now Mike’s bro Nate Kinsella laying down the bass. Even more surefooted and (of course) mature then the last time around, this is gonna get you just like the first one did. Prepare for a rush of turn-of-the-century emotions with the first single from the album “I’ve Been So Lost For So Long.”
"Don't Let The Kids Win"
Like a fever dream (or maybe an un-aired episode of VINYL) where Angel Olsen, Bonnie Rait, Mama Cass, and The Shirelles are on a Blues Brothers-esque romp playing all kinds of music in all kinds of places, Julia Jacklin’s debut album is here. Don’t Let The Kids Win (Polyvinyl) is an auspicious introduction to Julia. The first thing you won’t be able to get past is her singular, rich vocals. The next thing you will notice is her songwriting wit-a skill many songwriters are afraid to showcase. Then you’re likely gonna say “how does a 25 year old sound so mature and worldly?” It’s best not to think about such things. As Julia says in the press for the new album “yeah we’re getting older but it’s not so special. It’s not unique. Everyone has dealt with this and it’s going to keep feeling weird.” Indeed Julia - and I guess it’s time I table my “AGING SUCKS” album idea. Check out the dreamy “Pool Party.”
Believe you me, if we had the technology, you would be watching the video for Jeff Rosenstock’s “Wave Goodnight To Me” instead of my goofy blurbs. Why? Because it perfectly encapsulates Jeff in all his ramshackle glory (#teamglumpet). The empowering pop-punk. The glorious DIY-ness. The self-deprecating sense of humor. And don’t forget the hooks. Those candy-coated hooks! At this point, I think everyone knows the ex-Bomb The Music Industry! frontman’s origin story, so you’re likely just ready to dig in to his excellent new release Worry. (Side One Dummy). Far be it from me to keep you from what you wanna do, so check out the aforementioned “Wave Goodnight To Me.”
"Requiem For Hell"
MONO has spent nearly 20 years playing and recording some of the most dramatic instrumental post-rock we have ever heard. Requiem For Hell (Temporary Residence) will do little to shake you of that opinion. It is gorgeous. It is instrumental. It is dramatic. Bonus: It is recorded by Steve Albini. The band smartly went back to recording with the analog wizard for this emotional album. Every tune a movie for your mind. So prepare your brain theater for the Explosions In The Sky sounds of “The Last Scene.”
"Waver The Absolute"
Look, being ex-Silver Apples would likely be enough awesomeness for any musician. But not for Xian Hawkins. His output under his solo moniker Sybarite is the kind of exciting, abstract, experimental electronic music record collectors drool over. Those collectors mouths must be rather dry, as it has been 10 years since there has been a Sybarite release.Well, wait no more dry mouthed record collectors!! Waver The Absolute (Temporary Residence) is here to break that hiatus (and the dry mouth syndrome). Organic and electronic, it shares some of the same sonic space as Dan Deacon or even fellow labelmate Paul De Jong. Check out the swirling vibes of “Valence.”
Fred Nicolaus, of Department of Eagles, is back with a second album as the impetus behind Golden Suits. Whereas the last self-titled album was a highly literate, meticulous album, Kubla Khan (Hit City USA) is the sound of Fred loosening up. Gone are the fretted over chord voicings. In their place? Some big, bold Petty-esque choruses. Remember choruses? Fred does. Also, his sound is less folk, and more… Hmmm. Music writers haven’t come up with a genre name for the ‘80s throwback-y AOR sounds of bands like The War On Drugs yet, have they? Well, I’m not here to do their job. So whatever that is called, this is that. And then some. Friendly. Sardonic. Clap-a-long-able, stadium sized verses, quiet, intimate moments. This is a dramatic good time, with a bit of everything thrown in for good measure. Check out the Arcade Fire covering Bruce Springsteen sounds of “Gold Feeling.”
"In The Garden"
I’m not the first person to compare Emil Amos to Jim O’Rourke. Like O’Rourke, Amos has nearly countless bands, Holy Sons here (plus Om, Lilacs and Champagne, Grails) and solo outings and guest turns. Much like the last release from Jim O’Rourke as well, In The Garden (Partisan) appears to be both a forward thinking love letter to the easy rocking ‘70s, as well as a song cycle that is the culmination of a lifetime spent listening to and recording music. A swan song? Well, no. It’s way too early for that. But definitely a high water mark (having the lovely and talented John Agnello in the studio sure doesn’t hurt.) Check out the Cure covering Phosphorescencesounds of “Robbed and Gifted.”
"The Midnight Sun"
You want BRM to perk up when reading the press for a record? Then take a note from C Duncan and talk about how your new album was born from your fascination withThe Twilight Zone. Make sure to mention that you wanted the album to have an atmosphere that ties all the songs together, just like the famous anthology series.Also, naming your album after an episode of The Twilight Zone helps. (Extra credit to the first of our bands that fills their press with Odd Couple references and pictures of Albert Brooks). The Midnight Sun (Fat Cat) is exactly what Chris set out to do. Each of the songs feel like they come from the same beautiful, jittery, claustrophobic, synth-y world. Imagine the Carpenter-esque score of Stranger Things written by an ‘80s Doobie Brothers and you sort of get the idea behind the stunning vibes of Duncan’s dream-pop. Check out the Portisehead-y trip hop of “Other Side.”
The playful indie-pop sounds of Mary Lynn are in full effect on her latest release My Animal. A striking combo of piano, guitars, hints of noise rock, fuzzed out bass, and Mary’s hook-heavy way with upbeat melodies. An almost pop-punk approach at songwriting, the names “Jeff Rosenstock” and “Zoey Deschanel” popped into my head more than once as I listened to this record (Hey, you weirdos! Get out of there! That’s where I keep my memories!) Every tune a different sort of thing, but all in the realm of the pop kingdom. Check out the top 10 in a perfect world pop-bliss of “Um.”
Moby & the Void Pacific Choir
"These Systems Are Failing"
Moby is mad as hell, and he’s not gonna take it anymore. These Systems Are Failing (Mute), the debut album from Moby & The Void Pacific Choir, is an overtly political album. The sound of it is a bit of a throwback to his early days with Ultra Vivid Scene and Vatican Commandos, or his late ‘90s alt-record Animal Rights. It would appear that when the going gets tough, Moby turns to hardcore to soothe his savage beast (right there with ya buddy). This time around though, he has added in elements of the electronica he is most famous for. Actual guitars, keyboards; pulsing and distorted, this is the danceable (or at least thrashable) sound of Moby’s disillusionment. Can you blame him? Misery loves company, so check out the Joy Division meets Atari Teenage Riot sounds of “The Light Is Clear In My Eyes.”
Multi-instrumentalist Yann Tiersen has returned with an oh so beautiful album of solo piano pieces entitled Eusa (Mute). Each piece specific to a spot on the island of Ushant, off the coast of Brittany (‘Eusa’ in Breton), which is where Yann resides. Originally an album of field recording of each spot was made to accompany a book of piano music, so that you could play the album yourself at home and hopefully connect in some cosmic way to the spot Yann was at when he wrote the album. But since most people sound more like Jerry Lewis than Jerry Lee Lewis on the piano, Mr. Tiersen was kind enough to record the songs himself in the famed Abbey Road Studios. Haunting, sophisticated, achingly beautiful, and pastoral, it’s pretty obvious YT is in love with his homeland. This is as amazing as Yann has been since his famed work on the Amélie soundtrack. Check out the less angular Philip Glass vibes of “Penn ar Roc’h.”
"Front Row Seat To Earth"
Ok. This is gonna be tough blurb to write. Why is that? Because usually when I get an album to write about, listen to it and write about it all during my first listen. Somehow I let this new Weyes Blood get under my skin before I wrote about it. So what does Front Row Seat To Earth (Mexican Summer) sound like? Well, frankly, it sounds like every walk, every car ride, every moment of headphoned solitude I’ve had over the last month. I can remember thinking during that first listen (ahh, I was so young then) that it reminded me a little of a world where Karen Carpenter fronted a Pink Floyd who played New Age in like 1973. Do I still think that? Honestly, I don’t even know anymore. This is a trippy, gorgeous, personal, forward thinking album. If you are anything like me, you will be obsessed with it. Take a deep breath, because you are about to enter a strange, beautiful world. Check out the first single from the album “Do You Need My Love.”
I was about to write “if there’s one thing Kevin Devine is know for” but quickly thought better of it. Why? Because KD is known for lots of things. His introspective lyrics. His ability to change from solo acoustic to rollicking rock and roll. His prolific discography. His awesome last name. His bionic heat vision. Ok. Now I’m starting to make stuff up. But I’m not making this up: Instigator (Procrastinate! Music Traitors), Kevin’s 9th studio album (that number at least triples if you include live albums, other projects, EPs, singles…), is everything we love about Kevin. Elliot Smith-esque confessions and vocal melodies, Weezer-y hooks, simple math rock complexities (yeah, I know that doesn’t make sense, but listen and you’ll see I’m right), and all produced by the lovely and talented John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr.).Check out the title track “Instigator.”
The Slow Show
Ok. So I’m normally here in blurb-writing land to try and describe a new album as succinctly as possible, and try to throw a few “jokes” in too. I’m also here to step aside when a band’s press is so good that after reading it I can’t even begin to do better than it. Such is the case with The Slow Show’s new album Dream Darling. When Picadilly Records says “a delicate varnish of Americana, sparse piano, guitar chords in minor keys, tender brass, swelling strings and choirs, each element combines to infuse the album with a northern soul” I know good enough to step aside. Somewhere between the Annie Lennox choral arrangements and Coldplay lies the sound of The Slow Show. Check out the devastation of “Hurts."
It isn’t an easy trick to be an effective, moving musician that generally is known for the classic folk pairing of voice and guitar and also NOT be considered a folk musician. Thankfully, Luke Roberts has traversed those choppy waters and has made a name for himself with his sparse yet expansive sound. At first blush, his resonating voice and sparse arrangements might remind you of Mark Kozelek, but those comparisons are superficial. His sound actually has more in common with Bonnie “Prince” Billy in it’s heartwarming/heartworn wistfulness. Luke has begrudgingly referred to his genre as “redemptive blues,” and though he didn’t want to label, it’s a pretty accurate description of his sepia-toned Americana-esque sound. Dig into Sunlit Cross (Thrill Jockey) with the autumn-in-the-air sounds of “Run.”
“So refreshingly anti-bullshit are Oozing Wound that they could conceivably turn out to be the Nirvana of thrash.” So said Noisey. That is some heavy praise. But it totally works. These dudes love music, love making music, and have no pretensions about themselves. They write songs about nonexistent Rambo movies, their favorite episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space 9, late cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov, and other awesome things for dudes to write songs about. All the while, the drums roll, the guitars buzz, and the vocals are screamed. This is not a passive listen. Whatever Forever (Thrill Jockey) is thrash metal at it’s punishing best. Check out the relentless “Tachycardia.”
Hey places that aren’t Norway, get ready to meet Norway’s Nils Bech. See, Nils is already a revered vocalist/stage actor in his come country, and DFA aims to correct that by releasing his self-titled DFA debut. Paired here with Drippin’, the underground DJ, producer, and beat creator who has worked with LE1F and Cakes Da Killa (and no, I don’t know what any of those things mean), Nils’s soaring falsetto vocals soar above stuttering, futuristic beats. Here he has created a new sound, one that can sound a bit like classical music, a bit like Bjork, and a bit like European house and trance music. It’s been a while since I saw the movie, but something about the sound reminds me of the future music being performed in The Fifth Element. Am I right? Not sure. What am I gonna do? Google something? Eh… I don’t know that any amount of words I throw at you will do his musical stylings justice, so get to know Nils with the triumphant “Echo.”
"Here Comes The Wave"
Oh man. This newShana Falana. If you liked the dreamy, gaze at your shoes, sludgedelica of her last album, then get ready to adore Here Comes The Wave (Team Love). The guitars are thick and crunchy, the ‘80s indebted drums adding to the mystery, with Shana’s reverb-soaked vocals just out of reach. The benchmarks of the first album are here, Siouxsie and The Banshees-esque hooks mixed with goth-leaning sludge rock,it’s the kind of record that makes you regret every band practice you ever skipped, because boy oh boy does it sound like they are having the time of their lives making this record. You’ll have quite the time yourself checking out “Cool Kids.”
Philly psych rockers Purling Hiss are back! High Bias (Drag City) is everything you love about the trio. 6 albums into their career, and they are only getting better with each release. Fuzzed out garage rock a la Cali’s Ty Segall scene, plus a bit of the new/old brit-psych a la The Apples In Stereo (note to self: you aren’t allowed to say “a la” for at least 30 blurbs) and the gauzy reverb rock of Black Mountains. Check out the albums first track, the viral symptoms of “Fever.”