Two Cow Garage — The Death of the Self-Preservation Society: not out until September, and obviously given my history there will be a big fat wordy full review later, but basically, if you’ve never heard of Two Cow Garage, this record is about to find you your newest favorite band, and there’s not a band out there that deserves huge fat success for a genius record — their sixth full length, but never mind, it’s okay you’ve been wasting your time all these years, you’re here now — more than Two Cow.
Will Schwartz — New Haircut: if Lousiana novelist Walker Percy made a stripped down acoustic album that’s just vocals and steel and melancholy fingerpicked guitar, it would be this record by Will Schwartz — it’s a deceptively simple and stripped down EP that packs an enormous punch, like Percy’s novels. Simply language and simple sounds that are absolutely rip-your-heart-from-your-chest when you listen closely. This is one of my best totally random discoveries this year thus far. Get it.
Tedo Stone — Good Go Bad: sultry, swampy eletronica-soul; a little psychadelic and a lot all over the place, but in a great way. A record that has depths and that it took me a long time to really grasp; it’s smart and the orchestration and writing are complex and unique. I’m really smitten by this record, actually — something about the piano and the organ and the guitars and the distorted vocals just sings to my soul. Get it from This Is American Music here.
The O’s — Thunderdog: deeply earnest — but not uncharmingly earnest — banjo heavy roots rock. There’s a bit of early Old 97s to the rhythms of the songs, and a bit of the Band, and a bit of my beloved Jones Street Station on their first record. There’s a lot of influences and styles going on, and some work better than others, but none fail; all of the tracks on this record have at least one thing, and most have more, to recommend them. The songwriting is strong, and I think could get stronger. I’d like to see them live, see how some of these songs go over in front of an audience.
Kent Goolsby — Trophies of Youth: good old-fashioned honky tonk, and spectacular, hook-filled songwriting, from the ex-Only Songs frontman. This skips and sings with steel and slide and twang, and is truly one of those records from this year that’s going to be missed by loads of people who would love it, but don’t know about it. So now you know about it.