Though Ashes and Fire has some stunning acoustic gems and extensive help from the beautiful Norah Jones, Adams doesn’t quite hold up to his pre-hiatus candor and clarity. The album is a without a doubt a folk-rock, easy-listening dream reminiscent of Heartbreaker (his solo debut), but it doesn’t quite have the bite and consistent intensity I’ve come to expect. Adams traded his wild, cocaine-addicted past for his nuptials to Mandy Moore- probably a good life decision but I’m not sure it did much for his music. Still, the album is pretty great and highly recommended.
Indie folk meets late ‘90s alt radio rock- I’m talking Fastball with maybe a little Cat Stevens thrown in. Track #8 is so innocent it’s almost virginal. So break out your olive oil and shed some ironic tears to the sweet sounds of 30-something white hipster ennui. In all seriousness though, it’s a highly listenable record, these guys have their sound honed.
Wilco seems to have mastered the concept of consistency; for three or four albums now their alt-rock sound is relatively unchange, but they never quite stagnate. The Whole Love is great, it’s technically proficient, catchy and melodic, and on par with Wilco’s most mellow successes in albums like Summerteeth and A Ghost is Born. Jeff Tweedy knows what he’s doing by this point, and there’s no indication here that he’ll cede his status as a folk-rock deity anytime soon.
Hailing from Vancouver, Dan Mangan makes dense, vibrant music that is simultaneously effortless and grating, dark and triumphant. It’s folk music in the strictest sense, but the songs on this album are never quite static, they build up and die down only to rise again for a triumphant fall. With cryptic, personal lyrics and a raw core to its fuzzy, washed-out edges, this album is definitely something new on the scene.
This is exactly how I’d expect David Lynch’s music to sound. Super crazy, super clown. It’s definitely got a Twin Peaks vibe to it too- some songs sound really Julee Cruise inspired. He collaborates with Karen O. on track 1 and the album gets progressivley weirder after that. If you’re a fan of David Lynch’s voice and electronic noises, check it out.
Slow wave if ever there was such a genre, very orchestral, sweeping pop music. Faded but not distorted; proficient but in some ways it feels absolutely emotionless. An update on the Twin Peaks soundtrack perhaps?
This is Young Man’s first full length and he plans to release two more within the next two years. It’s slow, guitar-based tracks with psych-infused flavor. Caulfield’s voice sounds a bit like Animal Collective as well.
Jamie Steward is back with his weird ass growth pop and its just as good as ever. His lyrics are shocking, his voice is brooding. Whats not to love? Probably a lot. But if you like Xiu Xiu then give this one a spin!
Sarah’s bluesy, ballsy (hehe) voice went on a date with a drum machine and a new wave/hip-hop producer for Round #2. Though she’s employed more instrumentation Jaffe still evokes a richly depraced, hollow, barebones, sound. She’s pretty brilliant!
Another album from Toro y Moi, oh boy! I totally connect with these songs on a deeper level, in the sense that I too have no idea what I’m doing with my life. This is the perfect summer album, glowing, lo-fi, electric pop. Sorry, its called “chillwave.” This album differs from his previous work though, it has much more of a vintage pop feel to it, guaranteed to make you nostalgic.
Their debut opens with the lines “Bless my heart, bless my soul/Didn’t think I’d make it to 22yrs old” and it’s definitely a statement of purpose. Part ‘60’s soul, part roots rock, there’s nothing but sweat and passion in this music. This band blew up even before their album came out, lead singer Brittany Howard’s prowess is undeniable. Check this shit out.