I was a little worried that Savages wouldn’t live up to the hype around this UK band’s debut album, Silence Yourself. After the first listen, I was fairly convinced, but after multiple listens I was sold. Savages makes brutally good music. It’s tough, tight and there’s no screwing around. Savages joins a number of new bands who draw heavily on punk and post-punk music with their own modern update. That list includes Metz, Iceage, Suuns, Parquet Courts and No Joy. Savages, however, is clearly one of the bands who has a lot to say.
This is a beast of an album, and it is very highly recommended. Also, make sure you see the band at Pitchfork fest.
Between the jokey name, the silly album art and a funny video, it would be easy to dismiss Wampire as a novelty act. But then you’d be denying yourself a whole lot of enjoyment. Wampire’s debut, Curiosity, is instantly likable from start to finish. It’s a mix of electronic and traditional rock instruments performed by the Portland duo of Rocky Tinder and Eric Phipps. They’re assisted on the album by producer and bassist Jacob Portrait of Unknown Mortal Orchestra. If you’re familiar with UMO, you’ll no doubt hear Portrait’s influence.
Describing the overall sound of Wampire is difficult. Curiosity is a genre-leaping album. “We realized the record began to stray away from having a ‘sound’ and gradually became a platter with an assortment of sounds,” Phipps is quoted as saying in publicity material. Personally, I’m hooked and I can recommend the album.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
The Black Angels have a new album coming out in April, Indigo Meadow. Here’s a song from the release, Evil Things.
Here’s something to get excited about: a new song and album from the Men. The band just released this second song, I Saw Her Face, from the upcoming album New Moon. It’s an awesome country-influenced rocker that sounds a bit like Neil Young and Crazy Horse. New Moon comes out March 5.
Listen to this new song from Thee Oh Sees, Minotaur. It’s not your typical breakneck, frenzy of a psych garage rocker. Minotaur is a slow ballad and an interesting diversion for John Dwyer and his crew.
I’ll be interested to here the rest of the album, Floating Coffin, which is set for an April 16 release.
Psychedelic musician extraordinaire Tim Presley will release a new White Fence album, Cyclops Reap, in April. Hear a cool song from the release, Pink Gorilla.
Charles Bradley has a new album, Victim of Love, coming out in April. Check out this single from the upcoming release.
Here’s a new video, Ecstasy, from Copenhagen punks Iceage. The young band is releasing its second album, You’re Nothing, on February 19.
Sin Fang just released a new video for the song, Look at the Light, ahead of a new album. The LP Flowers is set for relase February 19.
Here’s a catchy new song by Glasgow’s Golden Grrrls. The band plans to put out a self titled album next month. Listen to the single Past Tense below.
Despite the name, there’s no hint of riot grrrl influence in the song. It’s more of an upbeat pop sound.
Portland, Oregon punks the Woolen Men plan to release their debut self-titled album in March. Check out the song Mayonaise from the release below.
You can find the Woolen Men’s self-released EPs on their Bandcamp site. The new album, due out March 5, is being released on Woods’ label, Woodsist.
Last year’s Open Your Heart by the Men made my list of the top 10 best albums of 2012. So I’m thrilled that these guys plan another release, New Moon, scheduled for March 5. Check out a single, Electric, from the new album below. Electric will be released on 7-inch vinyl January 22.
Here’s a new single from Toro Y Moi, So Many Details. The song will be released as a 7-inch next month and will appear on the album, Anything In Return, which is scheduled to be released in January.
Here’s a new song from the Babies, Get Lost. It’s on the new album, Our House on the Hill, to be released next month.
Ty Segall’s Twins has been one my most anticipated albums of the fall. After an initial listen, I can say this one stands up well to his previous releases. More later.
Here’s a new video from Why? , Strawberries, from the album, Mumps, etc. The album comes out next Tuesday.
Here’s a little tease from Ty Segall — a minute-long commercial for the new album Twins, which is scheduled for release October 9. Segall also plays a pair of shows with Thee Oh Sees at Logan Square Auditorium Friday.
Also see New video: Ty Segall’s ‘The Hill’