Pedro The Lion "Phoenix (Polyvinyl)"
Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Pedro The Lion is back! Phoenix (Polyvinyl) is the first Pedro The Lion album in 15 years… Oh wait… I can’t start the blurb with that line, the album is called Phoenix! The metaphor was already made! Emergency! Emergency! Uhh… Like a, uh, oh! Like a cicada returning… nah, that’s bleak. Oh well… Too late! David Bazan has dusted off his lion costume and is Pedro The Lion once more (it’s been 15 years, but I’m pretty sure that’s how I remember this working). Back are the labored over arrangements, the meticulous lyrics, the uplifting chord changes, everything. Sure, there have been David Bazan solo albums since the last PTL record, but nothing was going to satisfy fans like a return to form like this. So let the past decade and a half wash away in an instant as you check out the nostalgia of “Yellow Bike.”
Palmer T. Lee "Winebringer (Team Love)"
As one half of The Lowest Pair, Palmer T. Lee has been releasing americana and folk leaning music for years now after falling in love with the medium as a young man. On Winebringer (Team Love), he takes advantage of the decision he made with his musical partner Kendl Winter to devote 2018 to solo projects. Featuring what sounds like every stringed instrument known to man (guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, others) and pouring his soul into every line delivered (in a way that is reminding me a bit of Tallest Man On Earth) this is surely the unfiltered mind of the sensitive soul of Palmer. Check out the twangy ballad “Rag.”
The Twilight Sad "IT WON/T BE LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME (Rock Action)"
It was obviously a very big deal for The Twilight Sad when The Cure’s Robert Smith hand picked them to open for his band on a string of dates because he loves TTS so very much. But the resulting friendship with the band might have been an even bigger deal. When it came time to record their new LP, IT WON/T BE LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME (Rock Action), they sent the demos to Bobby Cure (I’m assuming that’s what they call him. I would). He gave each song a numerical grade out of 10 and told them what they could change to make each song better in his opinion. I mean, if you make gloomy, emotive post-rock like TTS and Robert Smith has suggestions, you take them. It paid off, because I’d give every haunting track on here somewhere between a 9 and a 10 out of a possible 10! What a score! Scotland wins the blurb Olympics! Check out the chilly new wave bounce of the first single “Videograms.”