Brother of Pearl — Draggin’ Around: kind of like if a pop punk band listened to a lot of George Strait when they were growing up in Texas; this is a technically strong album, but the songwriting never blew me away. If you like your country a little more mainstream, this would be right up your album. It’s accessible and interesting, but it never staggered me.
Pearl and the Beard — Killing the Darlings: part Americana and part indie rock, this is full of sad indie boy songs sung by full-voiced women, creepy harmonies and lush orchestrations. They’ve played with brand new favorites Holy Ghost Tent Revival and Hoots & Hellmouth, and this falls closer to the rock end of the spectrum than those guys, but with the same clever and original factor. I hear they’re great live.
Stationary Travelers — In Case I Don’t See You EP: oh, holy cow, this EP. There’s so much great music coming out of Michigan these days, you guys, I can’t even; this is part punk and part whiskey-voiced folk and part indie rock, and the songwriting is staggering. I have no idea where I got this, who these guys are, what they’re doing or if they’re touring, but fuck me, it’s phenomenal. Think Ha Ha Tonka’s clever and complicated Americana, but more punk. Amazing.
Barbie Hatch — Hypertrophic Heart: Wye Oak-esque electro-indie-pop layered over by Bjork-esque little girl vocals, except for the points where Hatch stretches and just flat out shows you her range with a wail. Danceable and catchy, with deliciously creepy undertones. Not what I was expecting — but it’s great, at least on par with Wye Oak’s Civilian if not better. (And that album is great, you guys.)
Chimneys — The Antarctic: this four song EP tells the story of the race to the South Pole; it’s dischordant and clamorous, catchy and filled with surprising hooks, all four tracks are delicately put together out of a thousand textured pieces that include goose-bump-raising falsetto vocal harmonies, eerie banjo and thickly layered strings. Obviously made with great care by a group of stellar musicians, I am really excited to see where these guys go. And guess what, Triangle? They’re at the Nightlight tonight, July 26! Go see ’em. (Buy the EP here. Do it.)
Delicate Cutters — Some Creatures: think Lay It Down-era Cowboy Junkies crossed with Zach Condon’s Eastern European sensibilities on the second Beirut album crossed with Sleater-Kinney, and you come close to the power and shake of the second album from Alabama-based Delicate Cutters. I had no expectations for this one, listened to it first thing yesterday morning, and it blew me out of the water. You can’t stay asleep listening to this album, you can’t stay still, and it’s likely to end up in my end of the year top 15, without competition. Try it out? Download “Warm Beer and Sympathy”.