This was sort of a busy week for me. I didn't get to listen to a lot of new music...mostly just the shuffle on my iPod, which is all familiar music. But as I mentioned last week, I had a backlog of great new music that I've been grooving to over the past month or so, giving me plenty of ammunition for the Roundup. There's definitely a summer theme to this week's list. All of these albums are the kind of bright and up-tempo albums that I like to listen to throughout warmish summer days--some a little more so though than others, but all in all, a solid offering. Enjoy.
Chromatics - Kill for Love: This is the Seattle, now Portland, band's 6th album, but the first I've listened to. Released a few months ago, I mostly got it for the opening cover of Neil Young's "Hey, Hey, My, My" (labeled here by it's subtitle "Into the Black"). The cover is fantastic, but so is the rest of the album. It has a sort of 90's dream rock sound like Slowdive or Ride but with an updated current shoegazer quality. It's a great summer morning album and really worth checking out.
Lissy Trullie - Lissy Trullie: I was originally intrigued by Lissy back in 2009 with her debut EP Self Taught Learner which featured a great cover of Hot Chip's "Ready for the Floor." It took until this spring for this full length debut to be released. Her voice actually reminds me a lot of Scarlett Johansson's. There is a nice mix of fuzzy dream pop and harder edged tunes that sound like an updated Pat Benatar. Stand out track is "It's Only You, Isn't It."
Graham Coxen - A+E: The Blur gutarist's 9th full length solo album is another quality effort. Graham was always the more punk influenced member of Blur and his solo albums tend to show that, except for the more folk oriented releases like The Sky is Too High. The guitar work on this one is great, very reminiscent of late 90's Blur. There's also a nice inclusion of some new wave elements that work well with the lo-fi elements. I'm really enjoying this, and seem to enjoy it more with each listen.
Paloma Faith - Fall to Grace: I really loved Paloma's 2009 debut, Do You Want the Truth... It was extremely poppy, but also soulful, well done and beautiful. Now, three years later, there is finally a follow-up. The new album doesn't stray far, blending soaring pop melody with Paloma's amazing voice into beautiful ballads. It hasn't quite captured me like the first...yet. But given that this is a genre I don't typically listen to, it might take a while to truly grow on me. The acoustic versions on the deluxe edition are well worth it.
O. Children - Apnea: This is the London band's second album, following 2010's self-titled. Their sound harkens back to goth greats like Bauhaus, but incorporates the darker, heavier pulse of recent Scandanavian rock bands. They take a big step forward on this record. The songs feel more focused and more complex. It took a few listens before I truly loved this album, but I find myself listening to it quite often now.
The Enemy - Streets in the Sky: The lads from West Midlands are a little older and wiser for their third album, and first in three years. It's the same kind of agro pub rock featured in their previous albums, but there's definitely a maturity here. They have a bit more to say about life, making their anthems even more enjoyable than before. Just straight forward rock 'n' roll with a sneering attitude. Nothing more, nothing less...but good for what it does.
The Hives - Lex Hives: At the beginning of the last decade, this Swedish garage band was poised to take over the world with their electric 2000 album, Veni Vidi Vicious. Then two disappointing albums in 2004 and 2007 sunk the momentum. Well, they're back now and dare I say, as good as ever. Though the genre has worn a little thin in the last decade, Howlin' Pelle can still command attention with his dynamic delivery. Nothing earth shattering here, but still a darn good garage rock album.