Basically I listened to the new National record all month, so I’m behind. Again.
Futurebirds — Baba Yaga: more delicious Southern pedal steel flavoured freak out psych-folk from Athens rockers Futurebirds; I occasionally forget how much I enjoy their music, and how soothing and inspiring and visually compelling I find it. Visually compelling seems like a weird thing to say about music, but Futurebirds just always paint me incredibly vivid pictures with their sound. This record also pushes their sound in a few directions they haven’t tried before, including some grungier, twangier, more guitar driven traditional Americana-sounding roots rock. It’s pretty stellar.
The Thermals — Desperate Ground: yes, I will take some more excellent brat pop that sounds like if John Darnielle made garage pop with loads of extra guitars.
The Shouting Matches — Grownass Man: see, the thing is, it’s not that I dislike Bon Iver, or Justin Vernon, or anything; it’s just that his records as Bon Iver have never really done it for me. That’s it, plain and simple: it’s not bad, it just doesn’t push the buttons I want my music to push. So trust it to be the funky, groovetastic Muscle Shoals influenced white soul blues record that he makes with Phil Cook (to be fair, one of my favorite humans and musicians) that I finally love a project from him. Justin Vernon is a genius; Phil Cook is a genius; this is a brilliant record.
Radiation City — Animals In The Median: shuffling, sunny, girl group harmonized indie pop, crashy and full of surf rock guitar lines. It’s got a song about zombies. It sounds kind of like ’50s Buddy Holly pop made under water. It’s full of ear worms and vaguely creepy, delicious love songs. It’s like riding a merry-go-round stoned, but with more synthesizers and off-beat drumming. That’s more than two sentences, but this album deserves all of my weirdest, most descriptive praise.
The Front Bottoms — Talon of the Hawk: summery brat pop with a distinctly ’90s alt rock flavor, this record reminds me a whole lot of my beloved Fizzy Fuzzy Big & Buzzy by the Refreshments; it’s got a great sense of humor in the songwriting, bouncing guitar lines, and shouted choruses. There’s no song over 4 minutes. It’s pretty much my new favorite summer driving record.