Two sentence reviews of reasonably new albums and EPs I listened to in April:
Annuals — Sweet Sister EP: this is deliciously sweet, cleverly layered indie pop, and it’s really good, and it just pisses me off all the worse that Annuals remain one of the most boring live performances I’ve ever had the pleasure of suffering through, because they’re so fucking talented.
Roadside Graves — You Won’t Be Happy With Me EP: most of the time I think that songs over 4 minutes long are wastes of time, and I get bored and am ready to move on about 5:15 in; there are exceptions, though, and one of those exceptions is the seven epic, sweeping minutes of “Liv Tyler”, which in all its extended glory might be the best pop song written this year. Clever, sad and impeccably written, this is exactly what I expect from the Graves in a between-LPs release. (Technically I listened to this in March, it just didn’t make the March round-up.)
Night Driving in Small Towns — Serial Killer: lesson to bands, if your name is interesting, I will listen to your album blind. Complex and shining folky indie rock; I bet I’d enjoy them live the same way I enjoy Wye Oak and Margot & the Nuclear So-And-So’s. The female lead vocalist has a really endearingly unremarkably lovely voice.
Will Stoker & the Embers — self-titled: the older I get, the noisier I’m finding I like my music. Wild feedbacky surf-rock-esque guitar rock and shout-y vocals that isn’t quite my cup of tea but is objectively really, really well-made music that I enjoyed a great deal and I will listen to again.
The Spring Standards — Would Things Be Different: I’d been getting recommendations from a variety of sources for these guys for ages, but I finally got my hands on their recently-released full-length; closely harmonized thickly textured catchy jangle pop of the best sort. I expected it to be folkier than it was, and that was a pleasant surprise.