Lambchop "This (is what I wanted to tell you) (Merge)"
There is no getting around the fact that the career of Lambchop has been unexpected. It was easy to call them something like alternative country in their first few years, but if in 1998 while I couldn’t stop listening to “What Another Man Spills” you told me that in 20 years Lambchop would be an esoteric autotuned vocals and synth project I don’t know what I would have said. Probably something like “what’s autotune?” But if you really listen to what Kurt Wagner is doing lately, with Mr. M and FLOTUS, and here on This (is what I wanted to tell you) (Merge) he’s doing what he’s always been doing. Subverting expectations all while delivering lyrical mastery that’s nearly unsurpassed. This time we find him paired up with Hiss Golden Messenger and Bon Iver drummer Matthew McCaughan. They formed something of a musical pen-pal relationship. Kurt would send Matt acapella vocal performances, and Matt would arrange something for them using his newly-found love of rack synths. The results are as unexpected and lovely as anything Lambchop has done in their career. Expect the unexpected and you will get exactly what you are looking for here. Check out the subtly groovy “Everything For You.”
American Football "American Football (LP3) (Polyvinyl)"
Look, if this is the first time you are seeing the cover of the new American Football record, I’m sorry I couldn’t warn you that there wasn’t a picture of the house on the cover. I know, I was shocked too. But take a good look at that cover. See how wide open the image is? Guess what? The music is like that too! This album “stretches”! (Using Polyvinyl’s and the band’s word there, but it sure applies). The songs have more room to breathe than ever before. Look, if you already aren’t waiting with bated breath to hear the new AF record, then you are just an emotionless robot-which I can respect but would suggest that you take this opportunity to get in touch with what it means to be human. Check out “Silhouettes.”
Apparat "LP5 (Mute)"
It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly 6 years since we were lucky enough to get a new Apparat record into our ears. Thankfully, the wait is over as LP5 (Mute) is here! Delicate and sophisticated experimental electronic sounds mixed with acoustic instruments and voices, this is Sascha Ring at his minimal best. Horns swell, synths pulse, vocals tease, and we are all better for it. Seriously! I had such a headache before I started listening to this record, and not only is it gone but I’m 6 years younger now! No fooling! Check my driver’s license! While you’re fiddling around in my wallet, give the skittering beauty of “Dawan” a listen.
Bill MacKay "Fountain Fire (Drag City)"
Hey you! Yeah, you playing the Sunday crossword – you need some music to play while you erase all your wrong answers? Then do I have the artist for you! But let’s get there xword style! First name/4 letters: “Paper money.” Last name part one/3 letters: “____ & Me” 80’s ET Rip. Last name part two/3 letters “Every kiss begins with___” Got it? If you fill in your crossword correctly you’ll see it is Bill MacKay! Perfect for your Sunday foibles (an eccentricity in someone’s character) this delightful mix of mostly acoustic instrumentals will def get your cerebrum going and your phalanges tapping. Check out “Try It On” (with vocals!)