This week’s New Music Tuesday we are just going to drop right here in alphabetical order because, quite frankly, we are pumped to check out this whole list.
This week’s picks:
Alabama Shakes: Sound & Color– This is a band that sort of blew up on the scene with a great throwback EP and debut album. Quick rises come with plenty of fame, but also their share of haters. The Shakes are back with their sophomore album that shows the band’s growth. You decide on whether or not you love it. Ya dig? We dig.
“The album’s twelve songs reveal a band honed by years on the road, and drawing from a wide range of influences. The bluesy groove of “Shoegaze” or the garage-rock freak-out on “The Greatest” give way to the psychedelic space jam “Gemini.” The gently swaying, chiming title song opens the album with what Howard calls “more of a visual thing, I think of this whole scene going on,” then explodes into the urgent, tightly-coiled funk of “Don’t Wanna Fight.” Long instrumental intros and passages create hazy atmosphere, and then the intensity of Howard’s vocals snaps everything back into riveting focus.
Sound & Color also demonstrates the tremendous strides made by a group of musicians who had only been playing together for a few months when they recorded their first album. “These songs are not simple,” says Howard. “They’re intricate, like a spider web or a tapestry. Our drummer, Steve, has put in a lot of work, gotten so much better—we all have.”
With Sound & Color, Alabama Shakes prove that the response to Boys & Girls was no fluke. Expanding on the soulful blues-rock base that made their name, they defy predictable expectations and map an exciting, surprising, and innovative new direction. As they prepare to return to the road, what shines through is a sense of pride and self-assuredness—feelings not often associated with the always-tricky sophomore album.”
Built To Spill: Untethered Moon – “Built to Spill, one of the most endearing and enduring rock bands of its generation, will release their eighth studio album, entitled Untethered Moon, on April 21st. Untethered Moon is the first BTS album recorded with new band members Steve Gere (drums) and Jason Albertini (bass), who join vocalist/guitarist Doug Martsch with guitarists Brett Netson and Jim Roth. Untethered Moon was produced by Martsch and Sam Coomes.”
Great Lake Swimmers: A Forest OF Arms – “‘A Forest Of Arms’ is the sixth album from Tony Dekker’s Great Lake Swimmers and the follow up to 2012’s ‘New Wild Everywhere.’ With a surging rhythm section, razor sharp violins, and flourishing banjo and guitars, Dekker and band mates have pushed their sound significantly, creating some of their most dynamic songs to date.
Those familiar with the decade-long output of Great Lake Swimmers will recognize the thematic threads of beauty in the natural world, environmental issues and explorations of close personal ties that hold us together. The familiar versus the strange theme is also running through this record, both in the instrumentation and in the songwriting (‘Zero In The City,’ ‘I Was A Wayward Pastel Bay’).”
GRRL PAL: Paradise – “Producer, Danny K and vocalist, Jay Le Kat, began creating their synthy-bedroom-pop in 2013. At the beginning of the duo’s short life they released ‘Amazon’ (March 2013) which received attention from Triple J and Triple J Unearthed. Soon after, GRRL PAL began playing live shows, supporting the likes of Rüfüs, The Jungle Giants, Willow Beats, Clubfeet and Miami Horror as well as joining San Cisco on tour.
With their trip to the states and a years worth of song writing, GRRL PAL set out to release a song a month for the duration of 2015 via Soundcloud. Their first release in over a year, ‘PARADISE’ managed to clock up over 150 000 Soundcloud plays in a month, the track also received Triple J love and has maintained high rotation on Unearthed Radio. After the release, GRRL PAL made their return to live shows by opening up ‘CoLAB Festival’ in November 2014.
Before Christmas, Pilerats premiered their second instalment, ‘NGHT’. The Line of Best Fit described the track: “Sing-songy vocals dance their way over a bed of propulsive beats and right into your pleasure centres.” Continuing their song a month ritual, GRRL PAL kicked off 2015 with ‘Dare’ which has so far clocked up over 30,000 plays and also made it onto the Triple J airwaves. February’s track ‘Set Free’ will be the closing track for GRRL PAL’s debut EP.”
“High on Tulsa Heat is a triumphant sequel, pulsing with the sharply drawn imagery and cutting vulnerability that his listeners have come to expect. Produced by Moreland, the 10-song collection features a strong cast of players including Jesse Aycock (Hard Working Americans, Secret Sisters), John Calvin Abney (Samantha Crain, The Damn Quails), Jared Tyler (Malcolm Holcombe), Chris Foster, and Kierston White.
Stripped-down arrangements rooted in gritty rock and roll punctuate and cushion Moreland’s compositions. Tracks including “Hang Me in the Tulsa County Stars,” “Heart’s Too Heavy,” and “Cleveland County Blues” set the tone, trafficking in relentless honesty and folk.”
Passion Pit: Kindred – “The music on Kindred is as Passion Pit as ever—more so, if possible—but the stacked shrieking-child vocals and distancing reverb and esoteric lyrical moments are gone. The veils are peeled away.
Michael’s songwriting process for Passion Pit has always been to filter and reshape. Many sounds on Kindred that you’d assume are synths are actually his voice, minced on a computer, morphed by pedals. Michael samples Michael. It’s an ability to look at himself from a slight distance and tweak and adjust, which also extends to his character off record.
Programming is a major element of Passion Pit, but Michael’s also a classicist, in love with traditional pop structures. You can hear it in his bridges. The bridge that alley-oops to the final chorus in “Five Foot Ten.” The funky bridge of “Where the Sky Hangs,” with its ‘90s quarter note strings. The drummer boy bridge of “All I Want.” Where many songs begin to yawn and say, “Look at the time,” Passion Pit songs get a second wind: “Don’t go yet!Let’s watch the sunrise!”’
Peach Kelli Pop: Peach Kelli Pop III – “Peach Kelli Pop’s stellar new album, III, is available today via Burger Records. The project of multi-instrumentalist, Allie Hanlon, Peach Kelli Pop first began when Hanlon decided to start writing and recording songs in her native home of Ottawa, Canada back in 2009. Inspired by video games, conspiracy theorists, and Chinese food, Hanlon also tackles larger, more serious issues such as the pressures and challenges women face and the weight of love.”
Roadkill Ghost Choir: Keep It Undercover EP – One of our favorite rock bands today dropped a surprise EP of 80’s covers on us!
“Hello friends, we had two days in the studio and put together covers of these pure 80’s golden classics for you. These are tunes for drinking, weeping, sleeping and kissing (lots of kissing). We hope you enjoy.
Rocky Votolato: Hospital Handshakes – “Over the course of the last 15 years, Rocky Votolato has produced some of the most powerful music to come out of Seattle, an impressive canon anchored by earnest, lyrical songwriting, and delivered in a unique indie-folk-punk style that has evolved out of the Pacific Northwest music scene he was raised in. He has matured over the course of seven increasingly accomplished solo albums, and writes songs that seem to have been scratched into a boxcar wall by a worn-out and lonesome ghost. He has recently finished work on his eighth solo album with producer Chris Walla (Death Cab For Cutie) and has plans to release the new album on No Sleep Records in the spring of 2015 with extensive touring to follow.
But this isn’t just another album. The new full length, Hospital Handshakes, will mark a turning point in Rocky’s career, the end result of a tumultuous transition that began with the songwriter second-guessing his gift and even considering retiring from music.
Hospital Handshakes, is a surprisingly positive exploration that examines themes of healing from trauma, overcoming depression, spiritual longing and finding true meaning in life. “I feel like this record was all about pushing the boundaries of what I’m capable of creatively, experimenting with collaboration, and finding a new environment for the kind of lyric focused songwriting that I’ve always loved,” Votolato explains. “To stay on the path of a life in music I knew I was gonna have to find a new direction and step outside of my comfort zone. It wasn’t always easy but I’m so excited about the energy this album captures and can’t wait to share these songs with people.”
Ryan Adams: Live At Carnegie Hall – Ryan keeps putting out albums, we keep buying them.
“Many of the songs on Jackrabbit, San Fermin’s second album, existed only on Ludwig-Leone’s laptop for the better part of a year, as he toured and turned the band into an ensemble operation. When at last he revisited them, he knew that they had to be reborn.
“The first record was written in a very pre-composed way, recorded when I didn’t think this would be a band. So I went from being this isolated composer guy to sitting in the back of a crowded van with seven other band members playing shows in rock clubs every night,” he says. “When I got back, I ripped these holes in the middle of the existing songs and added some new ones. I rethought everything I had been writing.”
Recorded piecemeal in many sessions under Ludwig-Leone’s watchful eye, Jackrabbit bears the scars of experience admirably. If San Fermin could seem prepared and guarded to the point of being polite, Jackrabbit lines that record’s complicated compositional maneuvers and grandiose pop eruptions with necessary aggression. It is urgent and in your face, like a band sweating and singing in a cramped venue. It is emotionally complicated, too, like a group of strangers who have suddenly had their lives interrupted and linked by unexpected circumstances.
Fittingly, Jackrabbit is filled with moments in which each member of the band is prominently featured: John Brandon (trumpet), Stephen Chen (saxophone), Rebekah Durham (violin/vocals), Michael Hanf (drums), Charlene Kaye (lead vocals), Tyler McDiarmid (guitar), and Allen Tate (lead vocals). The two discrete characters born by the debut album have been replaced by multiple personalities, treading new and difficult terrain.
This evolution is at the heart of Jackrabbit, a powerful record where moments beautiful, brutal and a bit of both produce songs that don’t know how to let you out of their clutches or console you with easy answers. At once lived-in and sophisticated, Jackrabbit feels a lot like real life—charmed, challenging, and wonderfully compulsory.”
Speedy Ortiz: Foil Deer – “When considering Massachusetts’ Speedy Ortiz, that line from Virginia Woolf comes to mind. Not only for the obvious echoes to DIY, a form and function that’s characterized the band’s nascency, but in the proto-feminist undertones driving much of their sophomore album, Foil Deer. “I’m not bossy, I’m the boss,” Sadie Dupuis sings on “Raising the Skate,” invoking in spirit one half of the Carter-Knowles clan and echoing the other’s wordplay. And wordplay makes sense, considering Dupuis—the band’s songwriter, guitarist, and frontwoman—spent the band’s first few years teaching writing at UMass Amherst. She’s drawn to the dense complexity of Pynchon, the dreamlike geometry of Bolaño, the confounded yearning of Plath—all attributes you could easily apply to the band’s 2013 debut Major Arcana, which fans and press alike have invested with a sense of purpose and merit uncommon in contemporary guitar rock.
The group, including Mike Falcone on drums, Darl Ferm on bass, and new addition Devin McKnight of Grass is Green on guitar, have spent the last year on an almost endless cross-continental touring jag, tagging along with the likes of The Breeders, Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, and Thurston Moore. That shift into full-time musicianship brought with it an attendant reordering of priorities when it came to songwriting, and the band members’ lives in general. They would get the damn flowers themselves.”
They Might Be Giants: Glean – “2015 is already a landmark year in two-time Grammy winners They Might Be Giants’ illustrious career. With the return of their Dial-A-Song service, the band is posting a new track each week to unanimous exclamations of joy from fans old and new. With a toll-free number at (844) 387-6962 and a sweet new web site at dialasong.com, most of the tracks arrive with fully produced animations. A video contest for the lead single ”Erase” judged by Black Francis of the Pixies is sure to elicit a spectacular original clip.
In celebration, the band is releasing GLEAN on April 21. It includes 16 songs direct from these first weeks of their Dial-A-Song service. The range of these recordings is truly staggering. From the manic violin-driven ”Music Jail, Pt. 1 & 2” to the bluesy grinding of ”Underwater Woman,” Glean comprises some of They Might Be Giants’ most vital work of their 30+ year career. With the album, TMBG’s sound is in equal turns as rocking, surprising, effervescent, and truly original as they have ever been. The highly anticipated album is produced with long-time collaborator Pat Dillett (St. Vincent, Mike Doughty, Donald Fagen, Mary J. Blige, David Byrne, etc), and comes hot on the heels of 2013 s wildly popular Nanobots.”
Turbo Fruits: No Control – “Nashville, Tennessee band Turbo Fruits have made their name with notoriously wild live shows and frenetic rock songs about girls, drugs and frying their brains. On ‘No Control’ their fourth and most self-aware album, the band emerges from their teenage haze of pot smoke with a fresh perspective, directly addressing the uncertainties and fear of serious relationships, real life and the chaos that can be created by life on the road …”
Listen to all of the albums through our New Music Tuesday playlist on Spotify: