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.
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros … Here … 2012
Banjo plucking in the Appalachian mountains is the lifestyle Edward Sharpe & his cult of smiley people are trying to emulate — and they’re succeeding. This album is soulful, almost religious in tone, and full of love.
The Walkmen used to be a wild young act - this album settles into a sophisticated and contented “heaven,” - the happiness of fatherhood, the grace of everyday life. Early Strokes-esque guitars gives this album an edge, and the singer sounds a bit like a more masculine Ezra Koenig (of Vampire Weekend).
Born in the Republic of Cameroon, Aime Roger Ribouem launched his musical career playing night clubs in the 80s. His jazz is influenced by the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Smith, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker.
The Cinematic Orchestra … The Cinematic Orchestra Presents: In Motion #1 (feat Dorian Concept, Tom Chant, Grey Reverend, Austin Peralta) … 2012
Jason Swinscoe of The Cinematic Orchestra has long been intrigued by the link between vision and sound. This album uses his favorite musician to produce soundtracks to, or musical reimaginings of, seminal work by avant-garde filmmakers. Cool stuff.
The Tallest Man on Earth … There’s No Leaving Now … 2012
Not as star-studded as Mattson’s previous albums, but in no way is this a dud. This album is more about progress - a maturation of style, a growth in production value and a relaxation of delivery. Quieter and calmer. Highly recommended.
A rip-roaring album about being young and irresponsible - pretty standard, I know, but they do it really well. This album is really a celebration of rock. Recommended! RIYL No Age, The Gaslight Anthem, Husker Du, Wavves, Titus Andronicus & The Replacements.
It’s amazing how much can be done with so little. Mount Eerie is basically an extension of The Microphones, with the same singer, the same monotonous poetic lyricism, the same ceiling-high distortion with quiet guitar strumming. Great album, highly recommended.
This album is comprised of musical skits from his late-night TV show. It’s hilarious and actually pretty awesome. He does a killer Neil Young, and there are stellar guest performances on here. Including Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney (singing “Scrambled Eggs,” the original lyrics for his hit “Yesterday”), and Justin Timberlake. Super good.
This album is all over the place. The only thing tying tracks together is the lo-fi don’tgiveaf**k attitude. It really seems like Guided By Voices has hit a place in its career where they can have fun, poop out an album, and make some money. Good for them.
Grungy post-punk out of Austin, TX. This has its roots in 1970s punk and acid-induced psychedelia. Today The Young shares the stage with acts similar to and including Kurt Vile. This is really, really cool. Check it out.
Sound-wise, Animal Collective reaches farther into outer space for inspiration on this masterful EP. The classic psychedelic lyricism is as animal-collective as always, so although this 2-song-EP is “out there,” it maintains a strong tie to the band’s history. “Honeycomb” is exactly as distinctly sweet as promised by its title, and “Gotham” as hopeless and wretched.
Their new album Centipede Hz will impact radio in early September.