Heavy Rotation: Grizzly Bear, Beachwood Sparks, DIIV

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 BearShields. 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 SparksThe 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.

Sparks Fly Again – Beachwood Sparks

Forget The Song – Beachwood Sparks

DIIVOshin. 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.

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