Grandchildren "Grandchildren (EJRC)"
Grandchildren have been a band for about a decade now, and frontwoman Shari Bolar and songwriter Aleks Martray have been a couple for nearly that long. The songs appearing on this self-titled album all started out as “musical love letters.” Cute! I don’t know about you, but I’m not nearly cynical enough to not think that is adorable! This record finds the band stripping away some of the lush orchestrations of their previous work and focusing on intimate, acoustic sounds that reflect their relationship. Like it says in the album premiere on PopMatters “The material is ultimately “harmonic conversations about their past, present and future”, forming “a narrative of both love and longing” and much more.” Check out the simple pleasures of the uplifting “Zuni.”
Masaki Batoh "Nowhere (Drag City)"
A mostly acoustically driven collection of psychedelia, Masaki Batoh’s Nowhere is a very easy pill to swallow. Just like the pills taken to best enjoy this pastoral freak-out. Kidding! I kid. No drugs needed to enjoy this modern take on the ‘60s underground psych-folk sound. Alternating between lyrics in English and his native Japanese, with drone-y acoustic lines other and lush instrumentation. This one is gonna make you long for the lovely days of summer. So kick back in a field somewhere warm (I’m pretending that’s possible, leave me be. It’s literally 10 degrees out as I write this) and check out the shimmering beauty of “Tower Of The Silence.”
Tiny Ruins "Olympic Girls (Ba Da Bing!)"
Tiny Ruins has shifted from a sparse, delicate sounding band to something more akin to Van Dyke Parks so skilfully I almost forget what they sounded like before their latest release, Olympic Girls (Ba Da Bing). But I certainly won’t soon forget what this one sounds like. Full of big, lush ideas (and sounds! Hooray music!). Combine the aforementioned lush-ness musical sounds with Hollie Fullbrook’s Leonard Cohen-esque literate folk-pop vocals (Cohen-esque in lyrical writing, not vocal stylings) and you have quite a combo. Check out the single, “Holograms” for an early entrant to the “chorus of the year” award.