This New Music Tuesday brings us a bunch of good albums for your listening pleasure including a few we have been looking forward to for quite a while!
The 4 albums we are most excited to check out this week:
Lord Huron: Strange Trails – Lord Huron had one of 2012’s best albums with Lonesome Dreams, an album that we think will stand the test of time. Can their third album and follow up stand up to that album? We shall see.
Waxahatchee: Ivy Trip – Waxahatchee made waves with her 2013 album Cerulean Salt and we have been eagerly awaiting the follow up, especially with the great singles like Air that have already been released.
“Katie Crutchfield’s southern roots are undeniable. The name of her solo musical projectWaxahatchee comes from a creek not far from her childhood home in Alabama and seems to represent both where she came from and where she’s going. Waxahatchee’s latest record, Ivy Tripp, drifts confidently from its predecessors and brings forth a more informed and powerful recognition of where Crutchfield has currently found herself. The lament and grieving for her youth seem to have been replaced with control and sheer self-honesty. “My life has changed a lot in the last two years, and it’s been hard for me to process my feelings other than by writing songs,” says Crutchfield. “I think a running theme [of Ivy Tripp]is steadying yourself on shaky ground and reminding yourself that you have control in situations that seem overwhelming, or just being cognizant in moments of deep confusion or sadness, and learning to really feel emotions and to grow from that.”
Recorded and engineered by Kyle Gilbride of Wherever Audio at Crutchfield’s home on New York’s Long Island—with drums recorded in the gym of a local elementary school—Ivy Tripp presents a more developed and aged version of Waxahatchee. “The title Ivy Tripp is really just a term I made up for directionless-ness, specifically of the 20-something, 30-something, 40-something of today, lacking regard for the complaisant life path of our parents and grandparents. I have thought of it like this: [Waxahatchee’s last album] Cerulean Salt is a solid and Ivy Tripp is a gas.””
Toro Y Moi: What For? – Toro Y Moi has been mixing it up for a while through his last few albums, going from chill wave, to more funky beats, to this more sunny indie pop album. But don’t worry, Chaz still brings the funk.
“Opening to the scream of F1’s speeding around a racetrack, and maintaining that intensity with booming guitar riffs and psychedelic effects throughout, the forthcoming album from Toro Y Moi is definitely making a statement. Or maybe a few statements. But Chaz Bundick, the frontman and songwriter, is leaving it up to you to figure out what they are. While it is obvious that each song is crafted around a personally meaningful experience, Chaz seems to purposefully leave the lyrics just vague enough to let each listener mold it into something unique. Chaz presents you with a few themes: love, beauty, nature; and gently lets go of your hand so you can wander off on your own.
A feeling of searching for something threads its way through every song on the album, which is aptly named What For? It feels contradictory in a very human way, like Chaz is swinging between waiting for something and not being able to wait anymore. But the swinging isn’t panicked or frustrated, it’s just a situation that he’s reflecting on. The songs are heavy with nostalgia, too, for simpler times, better music, more fulfilling relationships. Chaz references Weezer to warn you that “there is no one to destroy your sweater” and, in another song, recalls Big Star to declare that “rock and roll is here to stay.” It feels like he misses everything (even things he wasn’t around for yet), but is somehow excited for what comes next.
What For? is a glimpse into the life of a guy trying to figure out what it all means. The music is influenced by bands like Big Star, Talking Heads, Tim Maia, Todd Rundgren, but it doesn’t quite sound like any of them in particular. And it isn’t trying to. It has that special something that Chaz imbues in every Toro Y Moi album, his personal filter on the world he experiences. So whatever message you take from the album, don’t forget that it’s good. As Chaz himself so candidly believes, “Good is good. Good finds its own audience.””
“THINGS I’VE BEEN DOING SINCE TRANSCENDENTAL YOUTH:
1) raising first son, assisting in debut of second son
2) seeing novel Wolf in White Van through publication, nomination for National Book Award, NY Times Bestseller list, repeatedly pinching self and writing letters to younger self about how awesome 2014 is
3) writing songs in living room, office, van, hotel rooms, basement
SUBJECTS OF SONGS I HAVE WRITTEN SINCE TRANSCENDENTAL YOUTH:
1) vultures, pigs, dinosaurs, necklaces, plates with pictures of cats on them, attachable dragon tails
2) the career trajectory of Black Sabbath
3) professional wrestling
THREE NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS I KNOW I’M GOING TO KEEP
1) write more
2) tour more
3) release album of songs about professional wrestling
The songs about the animals and dinosaurs you can only wrangle out of me if 1) you’re one of my sons or 2) I’m feeling sentimental, and the Ozzy songs must ripen in the darkness until the fullness of the last days. But the wrestling songs, several of which, surprise surprise, are really more about death and difficult-to-navigate interior spaces than wrestling — those will all be let out of their cages on April 7th in North America. (Europe and the UK prefer to let the album cellar for a week to develop its bouquet, so it comes out there on April 13th. Australia and NZ are always first in everything as we know so y’all get it on April 3rd.) The album’s called Beat the Champ, and features cover art by Leela Corman; the vinyl will be two LPs at 45 rpm with lyrics printed on the gatefold. Why lyrics now, after a whole career of refusing to print lyrics? I don’t know. Instinct. I am especially proud of these ones. They are rather more emotional than you might guess at first blush.”
More albums we are looking forward to checking out this week:
American Wrestlers: Self Titled – From Stereogum “American Wrestlers is the project of an unidentified Scotsman now living in Missouri. As the story goes, the musician in question grew up in Glasgow and later moved to Manchester, where he met his future wife and eventually followed her stateside to get married. Here in the US, he started recording on a Tascam 8-track with pawn shop instruments, and American Wrestlers was born. Now the band has signed to Fat Possum and will release debut single “I Can Do No Wrong” early next year. The song is masterful and difficult to define: translucent lo-fi new wave laced with rustic strums and jazzy flourishes, sung with a gentle falsetto akin to Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor but with additional whimsy.”
Brian Wilson: No Pier Pressure – “Brian’s brand-new release, No Pier Pressure, marks his eleventh studio release as a solo artist. Already a critical favorite, the album features Brian’s typically gorgeous harmonies with lead vocals performed by some of today’s top singers, including Zoey Deschanel, Nate Reuss, Sebu Simonian, Kacey Musgraves, Peter Hollens, as well as longtime cohorts Al Jardine, Blondie Chaplin and David Marks. Brian’s 2004 opus SMiLE debuted at #13 on the Billboard Charts, and became his biggest solo commercial success to date. It also charted higher than any Beach Boys’ studio album since 1976’s 15 Big Ones – and the second highest since “Pet Sounds” hit the Top 10 in 1966.”
Delta Rae: After It All – “There is the richness of Americana, of gospel, bluegrass, blues and pop, but there is also the well-oaked, deep-rooted tradition of storytelling, folklore, mythology. There is a thread that binds together west coast harmonies and the gospel choir, Southern gothic and civil rights, all of the tensions and the joys and the fierce, bright hope of America’s great cultural, geographical, musical journey.”
Doldrums: The Air Conditioned Nightmare – “The Air Conditioned Nightmare is an album of texture and taste, an extra-sensory overload. Weaving through the mix are Woodhead’s own androgynous, tweaked vocals singing snatches of lyrics like voices down broken phone-lines. Newly- signed to Sub Pop, currently home to – amongst others – the weird and wonderful likes of Mogwai, Goat, Shabazz Palaces as well as being, yes, the label that reshaped modern rock music via the likes of Nirvana et al, Doldrums occupy their own sonic sphere. This is music born of the 21st century.”
Drug Cabin: Wiggle Room – “Drug Cabin comprised of onetime Ambulance LTD frontman Marcus Congleton and former Pretty Girls Make Graves guitarist Nathan Thelen, released their debut album, Yard Work, on February 24 and have already announced its follow-up, Wiggle Room. The album will be available on CD, cassette tape, and digital formats on April 7 via 401K Music. The prolific due released “Handsome” from Wiggle Room which premiered this week on Pure Volume. Drug Cabin’s Nathan Thelen told Pure Volume, ”We recorded ‘Handsome’ at our pal Cundo’s studio in MacArthur Park during theWiggle Room sessions. It was only a half-finished idea up till the morning of the session, so I took a walk around the lake there and came up with the rest by the time we began. Perhaps where all the water reference sprang from. Eugene added the Motown intro idea and we really tried to hit some Bee Gees notes in the chorus, and it all came together nice and easy.””
Where TOTAL STRIFE FOREVER looked inwards and was about the need for escapism and freedom, CULTURE OF VOLUME sees a more outward looking approach – one fuelled by coming out of isolation and being thrust into a wider and more open social circle, one that I’ve experienced during my time in London over the last three years, as the East India Youth project has gone from strength to strength. Whilst this new album still deals with the internal, the anxiety, its own flaws and its own skeletons, it does so with a conversation and an audience in mind, far from the monologue of the first album. Its main influence has been a strong environment and a connection with people, two things that the recording of TOTAL STRIFE FOREVER lacked. As such, this has also had a great impact on the sonic qualities of the record and could not have been completed without the trusted ears of Graham Sutton, during the mixing phase, and the attention to detail taken by George Hider while recording the vocals – the wider focus on which also marks a step forward in the EIY sound. I’d like to thank both of them along with all other people who have helped add to the colour of this record. I’m really proud of this album and the progression it has taken and I really hope you, the listener, will enjoy it too. I’m looking forward to playing you the new songs on tour this year, the dates of which can be found at eastindiayouth.co.uk/tour. Stay tuned as we add further shows to the list.
Thanks very much for your support!
Folk Family Revival: Water Walker – “Armed with a sound that mixes the rootsy stomp of the Southern states with the trippy swoon of the West Coast, Folk Family Revival make music for rock clubs and rodeos, dive bars and honky-tonks, or campfires and cantinas. A throwback to a time when Southern rock and psychedelic music dominated the airwaves, they may be best described as a psychedelic folk- country rock and roll band, but they’re not wild about labeling their sound. They’d rather let the music do the talking.”
Fred Thomas: All Are Saved – “Even though a small audience of ravenous music fans could cite Fred Thomas as the brains behind Michigan’s Saturday Looks Good To Me, even most of those obscurists might have blinked for long enough to miss portions of Thomas’ 15 year stretch of constant output with projects as diverse as his aforementioned pop band, experimental noise acts or his own softspoken solo material.
Never settling down for a second, he’s spent the last decade-and-a-half flying just beneath the radar of most listeners, but amassing a dedicated grassroots collection of fans, friends, collaborators, and admirers.
Heavy, poetic lyrics are more spoken than sung, recalling the urgency and straightforwardness of cult bands like The Van Pelt or Life Without Buildings, while each song builds on a patchwork of grainy samples, dreamlike guitar figures and deftly produced clashes of organic instrumentation and vintage synth textures.
Fred’s dabblings in melancholic chamber pop (SLGTM), ambient electronics (City Center), jangly but angular guitar playing (Failed Flowers), experimental production and jaw-droppingly confessional lyricism are all distilled into one unflinching statement.”
Josh Rouse: The Embers Of Time – “A career peak, The Embers of Time takes inspiration from his self-admitted crisis of confidence and bouts with existential psychotherapy in his adopted home of Valencia, Spain. The 10-song collection of originals contains some of Rouse’s most beautiful arrangements and complex songwriting to date.
First song and lead single “Some Days I’m Golden All Night” channels Glen Campbell-style Countrypolitan pop mastery through ‘Self Portrait’-era Dylan confessional lyrics.”
Matt and Kim: New Glow – From iTunes “Over the course of a decade, four albums, and uncountable miles of touring, Matt and Kim have made a good career out of powerhouse drums, cheesy synths, impassioned vocals, and songs that get pulses racing and feet moving. Like a toybox punk-pop dance machine that will stop working forever if it stops moving just once, they always seem like they’re in a rush to get the song they are playing over with so they can jump feet-first into the next one. Their fifth album, New Glow, has a solid core of songs like that, but Matt and Kim also stretch out into modern mainstream pop territory on a few songs, drop some hip-hop beats, and even end the album on a straight-up ballad.”
Marriages: Salome – “Back in Los Angeles, Marriages spent the end of 2014 completing Salome, a timeless 9-song monolith of a debut LP. Propulsive, frequently iridescent, the compositions on Salome are confident and evocative, the sound of a band focusing their strengths to great effect. Nowhere is this focus more evident than on opening track, “The Liar”. Frontwoman Rundle wastes no time settling into a haunting earworm of a riff, before unleashing a moody tangle of slides and reverb. Her breathy voice, veiled in subtle effects, elicits irresistible curiosity; though it may not always be clear what she’s saying, there’s undeniably something to the way she’s saying it. Bubbling just under the surface is the overdriven bass of fellow Sparowes alum Greg Burns, who conjures a menacing rumble from his instrument in glorious contrast to the glassy needles of Rundle’s wailing guitar. New addition Clinco, whose formidable presence appears largely responsible for the kinetic reconfiguration of the band’s sound, functions as both an anchor and a jostling wave, holding it all together with precision while he rattles his cage. Second track, “Skin”, is perhaps even more infectious, to the point where becoming engulfed in the emotional tide of the song is simply unavoidable. Its indelible chorus is one of the album’s most iconic passages. Here, especially, Marriages wear their influences on their sleeves, a convincing amalgamation of mid-eighties postpunk (Cocteau Twins, The Cure, etc.) and what ought to be called poststonermetal. Their shoegaze aesthetic combined with Rundle’s crushing riffs make Marriages unique among their contemporaries. The tumbling urgency of “Southern Eye” could fit comfortably on Echo and the Bunnymen‘s Heaven Up Here yet somehow sits squarely within the realm of Sargent House labelmates Russian Circles. Elsewhere, Marriages toy with a pop approach before invariably releasing a torrent of cascading noise, though never enough to bury the hook they’ve so cleverly constructed. Title track “Salome” is the album’s centerpiece. An ominous, otherworldly swell of emotional waxing and waning, it finds Rundle at her most vulnerable, strokes of Kate Bush and Sinead O’Connor writ large over a canvas of brooding, fuzz-pedal density. Comparatively subdued, though by no means anemic, “Contender” closes the album on a tentative note, its unresolved final chord a sobering wake-up suddenly casting doubt on the probability of the previous 43 minutes.”
Royal Thunder: Crooked Doors – “Atlanta’s ROYAL THUNDER reemerge with their stunning sophomore LP ‘Crooked Doors’. Propelled by the powerfully emotional voice of Mlny Parsonz, Royal Thunder seamlessly blends the great parts of heavy classic rock, 90s grunge and the forward thinking guitar heroics of contemporary metal bands like Mastodon and Baroness to create a sound unmistakably their own. Rarely has a band so naturally tied together 3 generations of hard rock into one triumphantly magnificent album.”
Sam Vicari: Giving Up – “Sam Vicari started out like most start out: idolizing bands and quietly recording bedroom demos onto cassette tapes. Growing up in Crown Point, IN made it fairly easy to retreat to Chicago on weekends to immerse himself in a city known for exceptional music. He excitedly attended dozens of shows. Once, while watching Mike Hard of the seminal noise-rock band God Bullies perform, Hard accidentally punched Vicari in the face (don’t worry, they’re both okay).
He went on to release his first proper full-length, Keep Careful, in 2010. Chicagoist called the record “an undiscovered gem” and even named it one of the best local releases of the year (even though he still lived in Indiana at the time, shh…). In 2012, Vicari finally DID move to Chicago and immediately began recording his second record. That record, Heart Explosion, was independently released in the summer of 2013, accompanied by weeks of national touring and airplay on Bagel Radio (San Francisco), WLUW (Chicago), KXSC (Los Angeles), KPSU (Portland), and many others.
Vicari’s third record, Giving Up, is 10 songs and 26 minutes of wailing guitars and crashing drums, urgently delivered under the assumption that the listener has no time to waste. ”
Say Lou Lou: Lucid Dreaming – “Say Lou Lou is an Australian/Swedish dream pop duo formed by twin sisters Elektra and Miranda Kilbey. The sisters spent much of their young lives commuting back and forth between their mother’s home in Stockholm and their father’s (the Church frontman Steve Kilbey) in Sydney, and that geographical disconnect shows in their worldly and distant-sounding musical landscapes. Their self-released debut single, “Maybe You,” caught the attention of French electronic label Kitsuné, which released the song in 2012, essentially launching the band’s career. Their first live performances followed, and in 2013 the sisters formed their own record label, À Deux, and released the EP Julian before striking a deal with Columbia Records for their follow-up EP, Better in the Dark. The duo spent the latter portion of 2013 recording their Columbia debut album Lucid Dreaming, which arrived in April 2015.”
Shana Falana: Set Your Lightning Fire Free – “It’s been a busy couple of years since New York’s Shana Falana went solo, self-releasing 2011’s In The Light EP. The veteran dream pop artist has toured all over the US and Europe. She’s released two Bandcamp-only collections of lo-fi works, Channel and Velvet Pop, as well as a cassette-only document of her early-career music, Shana Falana Sings Herself To Sleep, which raised over $10k for the Euro Tour. She frequently throws new song ideas onto her Soundcloud, often recorded directly to her phone. But for all her globetrotting, archiving, and micro-releasing, this is the moment we’ve been waiting for: Set Your Lightning Fire Free.
A lightning fire is exactly what it sounds like, the earth at odds with itself, burning itself to the ground and starting from scratch. On this, her debut LP, Shana Falana makes a point of breaking her own rules. “I’ve always kept the different sides of my music separate. The ambient ballads, the fuzzed out stuff, they all needed to exist as their own statements,” says Falana. “I would have two or three bands at one time: a sludge rock band; a Bulgarian women’s choir; a pretty, dreamy organ and guitar duo. This is the first record where I’ve combined all of that, sometimes in the course of one song.””
The Very Best: Makes a King – From iTunes “Formed by Malawian singer Esau Mwamwaya and British DJ/production duo Radioclit (Johan Karlberg and Etienne Tron), electro-Afro-pop outfit the Very Best came to fruition in 2008 after the trio’s free online mixtape found unexpected global success — their spirited remixes of obscure/popular pop, dance, indie rock, and Afro-pop tunes, all of which were tied together by Mwamwaya’s hypnotic Chichewa, Swahili, Portuguese, and English vocals, found favor with everyone from Pitchfork to Radar to Rolling Stone. In 2009, the group unleashed its first physical product, Warm Heart of Africa. Released on New York City’s Green Owl label, the album featured all original material and included guest appearances from M.I.A. and Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig. The Moshi Moshi imprint released Remixes by the Very Best in mid-2010, followed a year later by the self-released mixtape Super Mom. MTMTMK, the band’s next full-length offering, arrived in July 2012 and found the Very Best collaborating with Amadou & Mariam, Baaba Maal, and K’naan. Makes a King, the global pop duo’s third studio long-player, was released in 2015.”
Will Hoge: Small Town Dreams – “”It’s a reflection of where I am currently in my life,” says Hoge of Small Town Dreams, “but also where I grew up, and, ultimately, where I think I’m going.” From the streets of the town where he was raised, to the sidewalks of cities a hundred times the size, we all have dreams; and these are the stories of growing up, looking back and passing on those dreams, told as only Hoge can. Nostalgia, in his hands, is truly magic.
An extremely prolific songwriter with ten albums under his belt and countless songs written for others (including a Grammy nomination for Eli Young Band’s number-one hit, “Even If Breaks Your Heart,” co-written with Paslay), Hoge saw this next phase of his journey as an opportunity to explore even deeper into both his country and rock & roll roots. Never fitting particularly neatly into a genre box, he’s always just made the music that moved him – but it’s safe to say that he feels more kinship with the country community than ever, particularly as a storyteller. ”
Young Fathers: White Men Are Black Men Too – “Mercury Prize-winning band Young Fathers will release new album White Men Are Black Men Too next Tuesday, April 7 on Big Dada. The adventurous 12-track set from the UK-based trio was written and recorded throughout 2014 while they were touring around the world, and then completed at their studio in Edinburgh.
Young Fathers are ‘G’ Hastings, Alloysious Massaquoi and Kayus Bankole. The three men are each named after their fathers—a unifying bond for a band that pushes against the binds of definition. They are rock and pop, hiphop and punk, and anything else you want to label them as, but really, they are none and all of these. They released one of the most original albums of 2014 with DEAD, which won them the 2014 Mercury Prize—the UK’s highest honor for an album.”
Want to easily check out all of these albums this week, here is our New Music Tuesday Spotify playlist: