Generationals "State Dogs – Singles 2017-2018 (Polyvinyl)"
Over the last few years, Generationals have foregone writing a full album in favor of releasing singles whenever they are ready (like the old days! Shout out to the early 60s!). Well, just because the songs came out piecemeal doesn’t mean they can’t be eventually collected and released as one. Case in point? State Dogs – Singles 2017 – 2018 (Polyvinyl). All the hooks! All the fun! All together at last! Check out “Beggars in the House of Plenty.”
Jacco Gardner "Somnium (Polyvinyl)"
In 1608, Johannes Kepler wrote Somnium, which is widely considered to be the first science fiction novel. In 2018, Jacco Gardner recorded Somnium, widely considered to be the first album ever based on what is widely considered to be the first science fiction novel. Jacco challenged himself by deciding to not have any vocals on the album. Having to convey what he wanted via instrumentality offered up a new way of working for Jacco, and it paid off. Hints of Mike Oldfield, Tangerine Dream, Vangelis, classic library music, and everything else I’m looking for when I go to a record show. Check out the positively groovy (yes, I said groovy) “Levania.”
MICK HARVEY & CHRISTOPHER RICHARD BARKER "The Fall And Rise Of Edgar Bourchier And The Traumatic Horror (Mute)"
As far as concept albums go, The Fall And Rise Of Edgar Bourchier (Mute) from Mick Harvey & Christopher Richard Barker puts the artistic layers of House Of Leaves to shame (yes, I know I’m mixing my metaphors – books and albums – but bare with me). The story goes that Christopher Richard Barker has been writing poems as a fictional WWI poet named Edgar Bourchier. Also, this fictitious poet also has a backstory (killed by a tank at 24, his front line poems printed posthumously). He then asked Mick if he’d like to team up with him to record songs based on these poems. I can only assume Mick said yes, because here we are! The genres are all over the place, the only constant the concept of the WWI poetry. From era-appropriate folk songs to “Poor Poor Surgeon Tim,” a song that would sound right at home on The Who’s Tommy (assuming Tommy was about WWI). Check out the first single from the record, the guitar line trading “Lost Bastard Son Of War.”
Planningtorock "Powerhouse (DFA)"
Planningtorock – aka Jam Rostron – has never shied away from making statements with their dance-oriented music and Powerhouse (DFA) is no different. Wait, that sounds weird. I mean, of course it’s different from their other albums, I was just talking statements… oh, never mind. Because it actually is very different from their previous work. Sure, everything is catchy, bubbly, ear worm-y, autotuned, perfectly produced, and just quirky enough but also just club-y enough. But rather than painting the world with broad strokes, here they are specifically writing songs about their “experiences as a non-binary genderqueer artist.” Check out the coy bounce of “Much to Touch.”