It may be Election Day but it’s also new music Tuesday. Highlighting this week’s new releases: the Casket Girls, Teen Daze and an EP from Dirty Projectors.
Dirty Projectors follows its fine release from earlier this year, Swing Lo Magellan, with the EP About to Die. The release features previously unreleased songs in addition to the title-track single from Magellan. My highlight from the EP is Here Till It Says I’m Not.
For you synth fans, Casket Girls is the new project of Ryan Graveface, who also plays with Black Mother Super Rainbow. Ryan (real name Ryan Manon) made the album, Sleepwalking, with Elsa and Phaedra Greene of Savannah, Georgia. It’s a spooky, electronic gem.
The Inner Mansions is the second album from Teen Daze. This is another electronic album but one with a full, lush sound. The highlight for me is Union, a song with Frankie Rose.
Here’s the official video for About to Die:
Also out today: Prince Rama’s concept album Top Ten Hits of the End of the World. The release features songs by 10 fictitious bands who died in an apocalypse. The album comes complete with a K-tel style cover.
You can tell an album is strong if you’re still listening months after its release. With this feature, Heavy Rotation, I’m taking a look at some of the year’s best releases.
Grizzly Bear – Shields. I love the dramatic flourishes on this album. The singles, Sleeping Ute and Yet Again, may be the best of the bunch. Shields picks up where 2009′s brilliant Veckatimest ended. It’s not equal to that release, but, in fairness, that’s a tough album to follow. Other highlights include the 6-minute A Simple Answer.
Beachwood Sparks – The Tarnished Gold. If you like Gram Parsons, the Byrds, the Jayhawks and Wilco’s early rootsy recordings, you’re going to like The Tarnished Gold. The album is actually a comeback for these guys, who disbanded in 2003, just three years after their debut album was released. The new album has hardly made Beachwood Sparks a household name but it’s worth checking out, especially for you alt-country fans.
DIIV – Oshin. Formerly known as Dive, DIIV sounds like a cross between the chill-wave band Real Estate and New Order. With its fat bass string opening, the new wave-sounding Doused is the standout on this album, and I wish more of the songs on Oshin sounded like it. The band is a side project of Zachary Cole Smith of Beach Fossils.
The new music releases are shooting out like clay pigeons. This Tuesday features the release of new albums by Grizzly Bear, Woods, Dinosaur Jr., Robert Pollard, Sic Alps, Band of Horses, Alt-J, Menomena, the Sea and Cake, the Whigs and others. I predict some of these will be heading toward year-end lists, especially Woods and Grizzly Bear.
Among reissues, check out Fac. Dance 02, the second compilation from the legendary Factory Records of Manchester.
Here’s just the thing for the dog days of summer: A pair of very cool, highly original releases out (today) Tuesday from Dirty Projectors and Dusted. The albums feel like they fall at the opposite ends of some musical spectrum. Dirty Projectors’ Swing Lo Magellan is full of complicated musical arrangements borrowing from many genres, while Dusted’s Total Dust is best described as super lo-fi. Both are highly recommended.
Fans of Dirty Projectors know the very distinct sound of this band but there are some twists and turns on Magellan that we didn’t hear on the 2009 breakthrough Bitte Orca. Maybe it’s the beats? In an interview with the New York Times, frontman David Longstreth said he was influenced by a number of artists during the making of Magellan, including Lil Wayne. ”I love the beats,” Longstreth said, referring to Weezy’s music. Other artists inspiring Magellan: Neil Young, Guided By Voices, Rod Stewart and blues legend Blind Willie Johnson, he told the Times. All in all, Magellan is a strong album and may even best the remarkable Bitte Orca.
Dusted is the vehicle for Brian Borcherdt, best known for his bass, drums and electronica outfit Holy Fuck. Total Dust is a big departure from the boisterous sounds of that band. Musically, Total Dust sounds like what I imagine a collaboration between Woods and Mount Eerie would sound like. As for production, it’s Lou Barlow circa early ’90s. But what a great album Borcherdt put together with the help of collaborator Leon Taheny. Dusted is slow, deliberate and often haunting.
Stream all of Total Dust here.
You can catch Dirty Projectors at Pitchfork fest Friday.
The Super Tuesday of new album releases may have been two weeks ago but today’s smaller group of offerings are better.
New albums by Deerhunter, No Age and Neil Young are destined for year-end lists. Le Noise is a blast from Young playing alone with a tricked-out guitar. No Age gives us its most accessible album yet with Everything In Between and Deerhunter makes another fascinating record, Halcyon Digest.
Today is being called the Super Tuesday of new music because of the abundance of album releases. On my radar: Black Mountain, Superchunk, Walkmen, Vaselines, Mavis Staples and Grinderman.
There are a couple of new albums worth checking out. Best Coast just played Pitchfork. Its debut full-length, Crazy for You, got an official release today. This is the chill album of the summer. Menomena also released a new album, Mines. Both sound great.
It’s time for a roundup. Wavves put out a single and Dum Dum Girls just released a video. Japandroids have a new song. And, of course, Arcade Fire teases us with new tracks.
The latest buzz band from Brooklyn, the Drums, releases its self-titled, full-length debut Tuesday.
Other releases: Here We Go Magic’s Pigeons, Deer Tick’s The Black Dirt Sessions, Tokyo Police Club’s Champ, Teenage Fanclub’s Shadows and Before Today by Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti. Also, Golden Smog’s Down By the Old Mainstream is re-released on vinyl.
It’s not a blockbuster day for releases, but there are a couple of new ones worth checking out.
Beach Fossils release their self-titled debut and Kurt Vile has followed last year’s great Childish Prodigy with an EP, Square Shells. (If you hurry, you can download the Kurt Vile EP for free at Matador now.)
There’s been a lot of cool music released lately (both songs and full albums). The Black Keys and Wolf Parade each released a pair of tracks to promote upcoming albums. The Hold Steady’s new album, Heaven Is Whenever, came out this week. Interpol, Crystal Castles and (in case you haven’t heard) M.I.A. released new songs. Here’s a grab bag of new stuff.
There are two new songs out by Wolf Parade in advance of the late June release of Expo 86.
Why two songs? Well, because there are two songwriters. One is by Spencer Krug and the other is by Dan Boeckner. Both songs sound pretty good. And believe it or not, it’s only Wolf Parade’s third full-length album.
New songs continue to trickle out as we wait for the next wave of album releases. The National is stirring a lot of interest in its upcoming album High Violet. Fans got a taste this past week with the release of the song Bloodbuzz Ohio.
Here are some other singles from Dosh, Holy Fuck and Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti. The electronic artist Dosh releases Tommy next month (Andrew Bird appears on the single Number 41). Holy Fuck releases Latin in May. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti is an interesting experimental synth-pop act that’s finishing a new album.
Massive Attack’s Heligoland is my top pick for new albums out Tuesday, a big day for strong releases.
I’m a little surprised at my own recommendation because I’ve never been a super huge fan of trip hop, but I can’t stop listening to Heligoland. It’s that good.
Also worth noting: Beach House’s excellent new release, Teen Dream.
Los Campesinos! releases Romance is Boring Jan. 26, while Midlake’s The Courage of Others is expected Feb. 2.
Nirvana brought in the ’90s and Neutral Milk Hotel punctuated the end of the decade. Nirvana’s “Bleach” and both Neutral Milk Hotel’s albums, “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” and “On Avery Island,” are reissued Tuesday.
They’re among several reissues, including Devo’s “Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!” and “Freedom of Choice.”
There’s really interesting music coming out of Portland. Two of the bands responsible — Hockey and Portugal. The Man — are playing a pair of shows at Schubas this weekend. Portugal. The Man has a throwback sound that reminds me of the ’70s. Its single, “People Say,” is one of my favorite songs this year.
Hockey has a fun, pop sound and may be destined for (gasp) commercial radio play. Amid an onslaught of new releases this past week, Hockey put out its debut album “Mind Chaos” on a major label.
Speaking of new releases, a couple of artists with new ones featured in a post earlier this week are playing over the next few days.
Chicago’s very own Califone just put out “All My Friends Are Funeral Singers.” The band plays two nights at the Museum of Contemporary Art. And Philadelphia’s Kurt Vile, who released “Childish Prodigy” last week, plays Empty Bottle Tuesday.
It was such a big day for album releases, I couldn’t cram everything into one post (though I see some blogs handled it just fine). As one of my blogger brothers said, there are probably a number of new albums out today that will end up on year-end, best-of lists. Way too much to absorb in one week.
I’ve spent the most time with Built To Spill’s “There Is No Enemy,” which I really like (and I’m not a huge fan of these guys).
Mission of Burma’s “The Sound The Speed The Light” has a cool, heavy sound that recalls the band’s short-lived ’80s heyday (at least in parts). But to be honest, I haven’t fully processed this one yet.
Check out Largehearted Boy for a full list of notable releases.