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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Check out this new song and video from Wavves. Demon to Lean On will be on the upcoming Afraid of Heights. The new album is out March 26.
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.
Liars have a new video for WIXIW, the title track to the band’s 2012 album. Check it out below.
Here’s a new video, Ecstasy, from Copenhagen punks Iceage. The young band is releasing its second album, You’re Nothing, on February 19.
Dinosaur Jr. changes a bored couple’s life in this new video.
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.