Also check out this cool remix of the single from the album, Illusions.
Mikal Cronin sets up his new album, MCII, nicely with the first song, Weight, a bouncy power pop number. That song sets the stage for an enjoyable collection of fuzzy, melodic tunes. Perhaps Cronin is still best known as Ty Segall’s collaborator and traveling band mate but the guitarist shows on his sophomore album that he is a highly entertaining solo artist as well.
There is an interesting movement in California that is resulting in excellent music from artists who are (mostly) influenced by ’60s psychedelia, ’70s classic rock and metal, and yet they produce very relevant music today. Cronin, Segall, Thee Oh Sees and Sic Alps all largely draw from the same well but they’re also producing some of the finest music.
Cronin’s album is highly recommended.
Kurt Vile is that rare artist who is so confident and focused that he consistently puts out great albums by simply sticking to his knitting. His voice and guitar are unmistakably identifiable yet each new album sounds unique and fresh. His latest album, Walkin on a Pretty Daze, is no exception.
Kurt and his band, the Violators, play a sold out show at Lincoln Hall Tuesday night. Steve Gunn opens.
Also, check out this fan video pairing Gangs in the Garden with Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon.
Bill Callahan hasn’t yet followed up his great piece of work, Apocalypse, from 2011, but there was a tour documentary released last year. Callahan is on the road for several tour dates this month, including one in Chicago at the Garfield Park Conservatory Monday (May 6). Doors open 6:30 and the show is 7 with Flat Foot opening. Garfield Park Conservatory is at 300 N. Central Park Ave. in Chicago.
Advance tickets appear to be gone. The show is being put on by Land and Sea Dept.
UPDATE: Bad news for you Bill Callahan fans who didn’t buy a ticket in advance: The show tonight (Monday) is sold out.
The Canadian duo known as Majical Cloudz just shared this sparse, captivating song, Bugs Don’t Buzz, ahead of the album Impersonator, which is out May 21.
Majical Cloudz open for Youth Lagoon at Metro May 15.
Bugs Don’t Buzz – Majical Cloudz
The Portland, Oregon, duo known as Wampire is about to release the band’s debut album, Curiosity, in a couple of weeks. Here’s a song, Trains, from the record.
Seattle musician Jesse Lortz, formerly of the Dutchess and the Duke, is about to release his second album with his latest project Case Studies. Give this song, Driving East, and Through Her, a listen. It’s very cool and will appear on This Is Another Life, which is due out in June.
I like this single, Stand in the Sand, from Chicago’s Twin Peaks. The song will appear on the band’s debut album, Sunken, which is scheduled for release in July.
You can download the song here.
GRMLN is Southern Californian Yoodoo Park, who made an interesting pop EP last year, Explore. In June, Park is releasing a full album as GRMLN, Empire. Check out the song below, Hand Pistol, which is more of an uptempo rock song.
Judging from the first two songs released from Empire, the album will be a much different style than Park’s EP.
Also listen to this earlier single from the new album, Teenage Rhythm.
A cool, fun band at the Bottle for free? Seems like a no brainer.
Phosphorescent is Alabama native Matthew Houck, a singer-songwriter who draws comparisons as varied as Bonnie “Prince” Billy to Fleet Foxes. Houck, who now resides in Brooklyn, just made a fascinating album, Muchacho. The release is getting a lot of well-deserved buzz, which explains why he sold out a Saturday night show at Lincoln Hall.
If you snagged a ticket, consider yourself lucky to be able to see a rising artist. Strand of Oaks opens.
Woods often has an anachronistic sound, especially on last year’s brilliant Bend Beyond. So why wouldn’t the band cover a 1971 Kinks song, God’s Children? The song will be the B-side on an upcoming 7-inch.
Also check out the band’s excellent new album, You’re Nothing.
Lollapalooza single-day tickets reportedly sold out within an hour of going on sale this week. Since three-day passes were already gone, that left only some overpriced travel packages.
What’s stunning is that this mad rush for Lolla tickets was achieved with the stellar headliner lineup of Mumford & Sons, the Killers and the Cure. I’m still floored that Mumford is a headliner at Lolla.
But think of the possibility for next year? Taylor Swift? Adele? Any finalists from American Idol? Gotta get Dave Matthews, John Mayer or Jack Johnson, eh?
Bradley, a former James Brown impersonator now in his 60s, is a true soul man with a painful past who has only made two albums. I suppose these records could be dismissed as revivalist gimmicks but there’s an honesty to Bradley’s songs. I can’t embrace every track on Victim but when he’s on, Bradley is taking me back to another era — the ’60s and ’70s soul heyday — and it’s a very cool experience.
Aside from Strictly Reserved for You, the other highlights include Let Love Stand a Chance and Confusion. I also like the ultra-groovy Where Do We Go from Here?
Following his impressive 2011 debut, No Time for Dreaming, Bradley is more on than off on Victim.
If you’re going to Lollapalooza, check him out on Saturday (August 3).
The Lollapalooza lineup was officially announced Monday and, yes, Mumford & Sons is a headliner. Granted, the big fest hasn’t been cutting edge for years but can we agree that Saturday’s headliner, Mumford & Sons, is a new low? The other top acts are Friday’s headliner the Killers and Sunday’s top act, the Cure. I’m sorry. I just nodded off thinking about it.
Nine Inch Nails, the Postal Service and Phoenix are also listed near the top of the bill. No doubt at least two of the days will feature competing headline acts. Others with prime slots include New Order, Queens of the Stone Age, the National, the Lumineers and Vampire Weekend. I’m happy for the National, which appear to have a late show for Saturday night.
With an event as big as Lolla, there are certainly some shows to get excited about. New Order could be a highlight. Grizzly Bear probably will play a number of songs from its excellent 2012 album Shields. Hot Chip was a blast at Pitchfork last year. I’m sure it will be just as fun this year at Lolla. I’m curious how Father John Misty comes off live. I’d love to see soul man Charles Bradley. There are several early day acts worth catching, including Unknown Mortal Orchestra.
Tickets are reportedly selling fast and all three-day passes are gone. Single-day passes go on sale Wednesday, April 3. See the lineup for the August 2-4 fest here.
The National is a bright spot among an otherwise disappointing list of acts at this year’s Lolla.
Though his roots are in lo-fi, Nathan Williams’ latest album as Wavves, Afraid of Heights, is a well-polished, slickly produced offering. Stylistically, it doesn’t stray that far from 2010′s King of the Beach, though it is a step forward. I’m blown away by the first two songs on the album, Sail to the Sun and Demon to Lean On. If only Williams would have kept that momentum through the rest of the album, Afraid of Heights would be a contender for one of the best releases of the year. There are plenty of other fine moments on Afraid and overall it’s good.
Wavves plays a sold-out show at Subterranean Monday night. Fidlar opens.
Pitchfork rounded out the lineup for its annual three-day Chicago festival and there’s a lot to like this year. I’ve said that this is one of the most interesting music festivals regardless of headliners. The up-and-coming early acts are often a highlight for me.
The biggest name added to the fest is M.I.A., who will play Sunday night before R. Kelly (at least that’s how the schedule appears now). Also joining the lineup are indie vets Yo La Tengo (Sunday) and the punk legends of Wire (Friday).
What really excites me are the additions of Woods, Frankie Rose and Mikal Cronin Friday; Parquet Courts and Metz Saturday; and Waxahatchee and Glass Candy Sunday. But there are a number of other highlights. See the full schedule here. The festival runs July 19-21.
Monomania, the new album from Deerhunter, is scheduled for release May 7. That’s something to get excited about. We haven’t seen a new Deerhunter album since Halcyon Digest in 2010. The press release announcing the new album is pretty funny. Monomania is a “mystery disc of nocturnal garage,” the statement reads. “New format is avant-garde (?) but only in context not form.”
Here’s a new video for the Woolen Men’s Hold It Up. It’s a cool song from a good band. I’m high on these guys and their new self-titled album.
Listen to a B-side song from White Fence, Fragility, for the 7-inch release of Pink Gorilla. The latter song is on the new album Cyclops Reap, which is due out April 9.
The latest relese by the Men, New Moon, starts with a country-style ballad. It’s not what you’d expect after last year’s burner Open Your Heart. But it prepares you for the other country-tinged songs on the album. Don’t get me wrong – this isn’t a country album. The Men blend a number of styles — garage, alt-country, punk. Though the album starts off with a slow song, it quickly picks up with Half Angel Half Light, an upbeat almost clasic rock number that reminds me of Tom Petty. The momentum continues through the next track, Without a Face.
My favorite song on the album is I Saw Her Face, a Neil Young and Crazy Horse-style rocker, which could have been the album’s climax. But two songs later, we’re treated to The Brass, an aggressive punky number that makes you realize New Moon sounds almost like a compilation rather than a cohesive album. Electric is another great anthemic number. At this point in the album, you’re thinking the focus has really shifted from country to punk. But then here comes another classic country-rock type number, Bird Song, followed by another catchy punk song, Freaky.
The story of this album has been told a few times already. These guys from Brooklyn took off to the Catskills to record the album in a cabin. That explains the country influence, right?
The album closes on the eight-minute long MC5 homage jam, New Moon. After listening a few times, I’m not sure that the jam holds up for the entire eight minutes. But this album, overall, holds up very well. It’s the best thing I’ve heard this year and it’s highly recommended.
These guys were previewing their recently released material as early as SXSW last year.
The Men play Chicago’s Lincoln Hall April 11.