Neil Hamburger "Still Dwelling (Drag City)"
Well, this album makes my job very, very easy. Imagine the saccharine-sweet orchestral pop of the ‘60s and ‘70s. A little lounge-y, lots of sweeping strings and groovy bass and choral hints. Now imagine some of the great songs of that time, like The Luckiest Man In This Room, Homeward Bound, Backwards Traveller. Now imagine all of that being “sung” by Neil Hamburger. Yup. Still Dwelling (Drag City) is that. Check out his “singular” interpretation of “Backwards Traveler.”
Sarah Louise "Nighttime Birds And Morning Stars (Thrill Jockey)"
I was not expecting Sarah Louise’s new LP to sound like it does, but I sure do love what it does sound like. I was very familiar with her last release, Deeper Woods, which was a gorgeous collection of folk and Americana-tinged tunes. And Nighttime Birds And Morning Stars (Thrill Jockey) has some of that, but it has so much more. Imagine the Fripp and Eno albums of the past, except if they were folk-leaning and included bird sounds. Yup. Somehow, this is like that. Mixed with her timeless melodies and gorgeous vocals are beds of ambiance, electronic noise, haunting guitar loops, and manipulation of sounds. For a prime example of this new sound, please check out the uplifting “Chitlin Fight.”
Sneaks "Highway Hypnosis (Merge)"
Eva Moolchan aka Sneaks has been dazzling us with her singular hip-hop/post-punk sound for a few years now. It turns out that as talented as she is is also as prolific as she is (I apologize for that “is” heavy, super clunky sentence). At her current rate, she’s releasing one album a year, and I couldn’t be happier about it. No other artist is making music the way she is. She has really expanded her sound from her original releases to include pop music, ‘90s grunge, dub, R&B, and everything else you can think of, yet it all comes out the other end sounding just like Sneaks. Check out the vibey, late night “Money Don’t Grow On Trees.”
Tim Presley's White Fence "I Have To Feed Larry’s Hawk (Drag City)"
If you aren’t already a massive White Fence fan, then I don’t know that there’s much I can do to change your mind. Seeing as I’ve been a huge fan of his pastoral psychedelic sounds for years now, news of I Have To Feed Larry’s Hawk (Drag City) was greeted by a grin on my face bigger than the one on Larry’s hawk when Tim stopped by Larry’s house with a shoebox filled with mice. A little like early Pink Floyd (heavy on the Syd), a bit like The Kinks, but mostly Tim Presley. Check out the disarming “Lorelei.”