Another week has passed, another collection of albums gathered for review. I'm still giving a break from reviewing the trunk load of vinyl purchased on my West Coast swing, deciding instead to catch up with more current releases. Next week I certainly will be going exclusively through the vinyl treasures, so consider yourself warned. There's a lot of summerish music on here, which should fit perfectly with the calendar. Enjoy.
Magnolia Electric Co. - Sojourner: I've had this box set since its 2007 release, but have been listening to it quite a bit lately and wanted to highlight it for the many who probably have never heard of it. Consisting of five discs (four discs of music and one DVD) and packaged in a wooden case, this is easily one of the most collectable albums of the last decade as far as I'm concerned. Jason Molina is a singer songwriter channeling his inner Neil Young for a new generation. His songs are powerful and emotional, and with just the amount of country folk rock genius. A true must have.
Santigold - Master of My Make-Believe: The long awaited second album from Santigold is pretty much what one might expect. It doesn't drift too far away from the sound that made her 2008 debut a monster record. You'll find the same clever beats and intelligent lyrics along with her dynamic delivery. What you won't find is anything really new and after 4 years, you might expect to. I enjoyed this album, but unlike the previous one, there are no tracks that really leaped out and grabbed me. A solid effort, but I somehow doubt I'll still be jamming to this 4 years from now the way I am to her first album.
Psychic Ills - Hazed Dream: I've been familiar with this Brooklyn based psychedelic rock band for some time, and this is easily their most complete release to date. It's more focused than some of their more manic early work. A soft spoken album with rich landscapes and eerie moods, I've been listening to this quite a bit. It reminds me of another brilliant, now defunct, New York band called The Occasion. A great mood record for lazy summer afternoons.
The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Aufheben: After last year's terribly disappointing Who Killed Sgt. Pepper? I'd worried this influential band had come to a creative end. I'm happy to report that those fears were premature. Though not as great as the band's late 90's work, this is still a return to form of sorts. It's a return to the neo-psychedelic sound they are known for, be it a little more subdued than other efforts. A solid addition to the catalog, but certainly start with Thank God for Mental Illness or Their Satanic Majesties' Second Request if your are new to the band.
Moonface - Heartbreaking Bravery: What started as a side project for Spencer Krug (of Wolf Parade and Sunset Rubdown) has become a primary focus for the talented songwriter. Having just released an album last year, one of my top albums of the year, this follow-up comes right on the heels and features some of his best songs in years. His blend of north of the border indie art rock centers around songs crafted with literary beauty and, as the album title says, heartbreaking bravery.
Mount Eerie - Clear Moon: The newest album by Phil Elverum is a fine example of what he is best known for, lo-fi psychedelic folk. This album is a little closer in feel to his former band The Microphones masterpiece The Glow Pt. 2, though certainly without the epic scope, than other Mount Eerie releases that I've heard. The album feels a bit like wandering through somebody's dream, with all the disjointed confusion that would entail. A wonderful record for anyone, who like me, is into this kind of esoteric music.
Brother Sun, Sister Moon: This debut album is a beautifully minimal dream ambient record that reminds me of Boards of Canada. There's a lot of swirling tracks and good use of electronic elements to create one of those records that are perfect background music for sunny summer days. It has a very late '90s feel in that way. I've been enjoying this album much more than I would have thought.