Vivian Girls Katy Goodman and Cassie Ramone were quite productive a year ago. Each just released side project albums as well as a full-length from the band, which was supported by a tour. Now, Goodman is back with a second album, Sees the Light, from her solo effort, La Sera. Yet, another original member of the band — former drummer Frankie Rose — is grabbing the most attention with her new release, Interstellar.
Rose, who plays Township in Logan Square Monday night, really distances herself from the Vivian Girls sound on Interstellar. The album has much more in common with ’80s mainstream and indie pop than with the ’60s girl group sound that’s still at the core of the Vivian Girls. In addition to that band, Rose also drummed with the like-minded Dum Dum Girls and Crystal Stilts. Interstellar is even a departure from Rose’s first album, which she recorded as Frankie Rose and the Outs in 2010. The more I listen to Interstellar, the more I like it.
That’s not to shortchange La Sera’s new album, which is very good. Goodman improves on her first album with an exciting half hour of tight and mostly rocking songs. La Sera also is scheduled to play Township on May 15.
Finally, Chicago’s Hollows follow the Vivian Girls/Dum Dum Girls model pretty closely. Still, the band turns out a great release despite the seeming oversaturation of this style. Vulture is a lively, fun album that will keep your head bopping. Hollows play Subterranean May 17.
Ty Segall will release his first album recorded with his touring band June 26. To promote the upcoming release, the Ty Segall Band just released the single Wave Goodbye off the new album, Slaughterhouse.
Segall just released another album, Hair, with White Fence. Segall and White Fence play Lincoln Hall May 10.
The Chicagoans are still promoting their excellent 2011 release Neverendless, and they play a show at Empty Bottle Saturday night. The show is free if you RSVP before midnight tonight. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you hate synthesizers, you probably should stop reading. If you like synthesizers — a lot of synthesizers — the new Bear in Heaven album may be for you. Idle Heart — the first song on I Love You, It’s Cool — sounds like it is straight off a 1990s Pet Shop Boys album. The rest of the album is ’80s and ’90s synth love. I hear a lot of New Order and even the Smiths — Sinful Nature reminds me so much of How Soon Is Now?
Does this eventually wear thin? Maybe. But I’d say I Love You, It’s Cool is very enjoyable, and the album is much more than a nostalgia act. It’s original.
Bear in Heaven is in Chicago two nights, Wednesday and Thursday, playing Schubas.
The Minneapolis pop trio Now, Now has the aura of an up-and-coming band. Honestly, the group sounds a bit too polished in parts of the new album Threads, but these guys defintely deliver some nice hooks and good riffs amid singer Cacie Dalager’s heartfelt vocals. You can catch Now, Now opening for the Naked and Famous at the Vic Sunday night.
If you’re a fan of psych-garage, I highly recommend the soon-to-be-released collaboration between Ty Segall and White Fence (aka musician Tim Presley). The album, Hair, due out April 24, has pretty much lived up to my expectations, which were high.
Check out the video below of Scissor People – an extended live version – and download the song, I Am Not a Game. Both songs appear on Hair. Segall, White Fence and Presley’s other band, Strange Boys, play Lincoln Hall May. 10.
Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley joined Chicago’s Disappears in late 2010, and if you’re curious how that affects the band’s sound, just listen to the new album, Pre Language. Shelley is an excellent complement to the driving guitar sound of Disappears. Play this album loud.
If you’re a fan of Bradford Cox, I’m pretty sure you’ll really like Spooky Action at a Distance, the new album by Deerhunter guitarist Lockett Pundt’s solo project Lotus Plaza. The jangly guitar featured on Deerhunter songs and the pace of the music is very similar. This is a really great solo offering. Lotus Plaza also plays this year’s Pitchfork fest.
Tonight, Lotus Plaza opens for Disappears at Lincoln Hall.
The Lollapalooza headliner that really made me stop and ponder: The reunited Black Sabbath. It’s an all-rock top of the bill at the big fest this year: Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Black Keys, Jack White and …Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. What a weird addition. I saw the original Black Sabbath play Ozzfest in 2001 and it wasn’t that great. How much better can the band be 11 years later? Drummer Bill Ward won’t play the latest reunion because of a contract dispute and guitarist Tony Iommi has cancer. I guess Ozzy will have to carry the show. Hmm. Ozzfest was canceled last year with the promise of a return this year. So why is Sabbath playing Lolla?
I’m not heartbroken but a little surprised that there’s not a hip hop headliner. Afterall, the original Lolla broke ground in the early ’90s by including rappers Ice-T and Ice Cube among a lineup that included alterna-rockers such as … well, the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
All in all, I don’t think it’s the worst lineup Lolla ever offered. I’m a huge Jack White fan — so I think he deserves a top billing. And how can you argue with the popularity of the Black Keys? I saw the Black Keys at Lolla 2010 when the band played a late afternoon/early evening set. I suspect there will be a lot more fanfare with this year’s show.
Check out the rest of the lineup here.
And just for the record, Sabbath was awesome back in the day:
The full lineup for Pitchfork Music Festival was released today. A number of ATYP faves were added, including Wild Flag, Atlas Sound, Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, Lower Dens, Beach House and Real Estate. Read the full list here.
As new releases pour out, I’ll highlight the best albums of 2012. So, to elaborate on a post last month, here are a couple more recommendations for new albums.
I’m a little late to the party in discovering The Men. But now that I’ve spent some time with the band’s Open Your Heart, I’m a big fan. The Men made possibly the best rock album of the year and it’s an early contender for my top release of 2012. The Men play punk, post-punk and whatever other genre you want to throw in. When I listen to Open Your Heart, I’m reminded of so many different bands that it’s hard to zero in on just one. You really have to give it a try. The Men play Pitchfork fest in July.
If you love power pop, check out Nada Surf’s The Stars are Indifferent to Astronomy. The album is the first release of new music for the band in four years but Nada Surf picks up where it left off with really great songs. The music should appeal to fans of Rogue Wave, Fountains of Wayne and similar bands. Nada Surf plays Metro Monday night (April 2). An Horse opens.