Before I begin, I must apologize for last weekend. I was caught going between here and there and by the time I got home, I simply had no heart for writing properly about the sacred joy of music. As a result, once again there is a long list of records fighting for space on the Roundup. But sticking to my recent promise, I've decided to keep this week about new releases, and a few leftovers from 2012. There has been a rapid fire of releases recently from bands that were long due for something new. And from looks of things, the madness is only going to increase as April is littered with more such releases. I will dutifully try my best to share my thoughts in a timely manner. Enjoy.
The Flaming Lips - The Terror: Due out on the first day in April, this is the first true follow-up to 2009's spectacular Embryonic for the dust belt kings of neo-psychedelic indie rock. Much like its predecessor, it spins a darker mood and seems to sink inwardly deeper with every track in the same way as the best of Pink Floyd's albums such as Meddle. The wonderful thing about this record is how it captures the terror of feeling insignificant and yet manages to make it beautiful at the same time. "Be Free, A Way" is a real stand out track for me on album that feels much more like an entirety than a series of songs.
First Aid Kit - The Lion's Roar: Released way back in January of last year, this is the Swedish folk duo's second album and it's perfectly beautiful. I came to hear of this album through someone's list of favorite albums of last year. I didn't know the person, but liked all the albums on their list, only this one I didn't know. It's one of those cases of shared taste that paid off because I really love the early 70's influence on this folk record. It reminds me of a more upbeat Smoke Fairies or a country folk interpretation of Mazzy Star. Easily one of the best folk records of last year.
Placebo - B3: This EP came out last October and represents the first new music from London's once upon a time 20th century glam revivalists since 2009's wonderful Battle for the Sun. Over their nearly two decade long career, Placebo have been one of the most consistent British rock bands, releasing quality records and staying true to their guitar and sneer style of rock. These five songs would easily fit into any one of their albums and feel right at home. Though, most likely none of them would be among your favorite songs on the album. So in a way, this is just another five songs, but as a fan, sometimes that's all you need. If you are new to the band, then I recommend going straight for their classic album, Without You I am Nothing.
Uncle Tupelo - The Seven Inch Singles: In the early '90s, Uncle Tupelo basically ushered in the world of alt-country with their landmark album "No Depression." Led by Jeff Tweedy (who would go on to form Wilco) and Jay Farrar (who would go on to form Son Volt), the band brought country music to the indie crowd. Due out next month, this compilation brings together the bands first four singles, A and B sides. More than 20 years later, the songs still sound fresh and meaningful. I can't help but think that Gram Parsons would be proud to have recorded any of these songs.
Jim James - Regions of Light and Sound of God: Released last month, the new solo album from the My Morning Jacket frontman doesn't drift too far from the band's sound, yet includes some Flaming Lips type distorting electronics that really seem to add another quality to his brand of country soul rock. Though this album may not blow anyone away, it's an extremely enjoyable listen and the kind of album that can be heard over and over and continue to offer something new. I get the feeling that this is one of those records that will grow on me with every listen.
Enforcer - Death by Fire: This was my unexpected surprise of the past week. I hadn't heard of this Swedish speed metal band before, despite this being their third album. Released last month, this is an album that doesn't quit, racing ferociously through all eight tracks. This album is so authentic to the speed metal played in the early 80's that it would fool even the most die-hard metal fans. But it's not simply an ode to that music, or a knock-off, more like a re-birth. It's incredibly great, the perfect mix of pounding drums, screeching guitars and classic NWOBHM vocals. I'm absolutely loving this album this week.
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Specter At The Feast: Due out next week, this is the San Fran rockers sixth album, and first since 2010's Beat the Devil's Tattoo. I've been a fan of these guys since their 2001 debut, but my favorite album has always been 2005's Howl which is more blues, folk influenced. For the first time since that album, they've infused some of that into the songs on here. They've also found a Joy Division like melancholy that feels right for the time. A solid effort and a welcome return.