Sunday, March 30, 2014

Weekend Music Roundup

After many weeks of moaning, I've finally been rewarded with a week full of new releases to share. This week's list contains only albums released this year, some of which are records I've been looking forward to for quite some time. There's some folkish releases on here, but mostly it consists solidly of indie rock, ending a months long drought of quality in the genre. There always seems to be at least one Roundup a year where many of the records seem to end up on my best of the year list, and this has the promise to be one them. Lots of fun stuff, so find something you enjoy and splurge for the upcoming Record Store Day. Enjoy!

Sivert Höyem - Endless Love: Since the demise of Madrugada, Sivert Höyem has been better than ever. On his fifth solo album, released this past month, the Norwegian singer songwriter seems to have recaptured the demon that gave Madrugada their unique edge. His last album, 2011's Long Slow Distance was a brilliant moody album with spiritual undertones, but on this record, he returns to the bleary eyed indie rock of Madrugada's crowning achievement, 2001's The Nightly Disease. "Enigma Machine," "Wat Tyler" "Little Angel," and "Görlitzer Park" are among my favorites on an album that will most likely make my best of list for the year. 
Future Islands - Singles: For the past several months I've had friends who have raved about this Baltimore band, and with their recent viral waves, I decided it was about time to check them out. This is their fourth album, but the first one I've heard, so I can't really comment on their trajectory or growth, but what I can say is that this is energetic and soulful album. At times, it's not really my thing, reminding me more of a tolerable Phil Collins than a riskier Shout Out Louds, but even then I can still respect the quality and effort. However, there are moments where it is quite brilliant, like on "Seasons (Waiting on You)" and "A Dream of You and Me." A solid okay for me, but I can see how some people would gawk over this.
Timber Timbre - Hot Dreams: Due out this week is the fifth album from the Toronto based contemporary folk band, their first in three years. This record feels like a continuation of their past two albums. All three feel as though they could be different chapters of the same story, but that's not a bad thing. That said, this is their most complete album in my opinion. They have such a distinct sound, part Red House Painters and part Leonard Cohen, creating a wonderful morning listen. It has that feeling of dawn turning to day, easing into the changes of color and mood that are associated with that phase of the day. "Run from Me," "Curtains!?" and "Beat the Drum Slowly" are stand out tracks. 

Band of Skulls - Himalayan: Back in 2009, the London indie band broke onto the scene with their wonderful debut, but seemed to suffer the dreaded sophomore slump with the 2012 follow-up. Due out this week, their third album finds them delivering another quality album to pair up with their first one. From the pulsing opening beats, the garage rock vibe is clear and present. The energy they bring to this album was sorely missing from their last effort and is a welcomed return. There really isn't a bad song on here, but "Asleep at the Wheel," "Nightmares," and "Toreador" are my personal favorites.

Manchester Orchestra - Cope: Three years after their last album, the Atlanta indie rockers return this week with their fifth release. I've been following this band for nearly a decade and have to say this is their best effort to date. Though their last album contained the wonderful track "Simple Math" it lacked a lot of the rock edge that they had shown on prior records. Right way, this album declares itself as a rock record. But despite the heavy rhythms, they haven't lost touch with the emotional subtlety that they've always done so well. "Top Notch," "Trees," and "All That I Really Wanted" are stand out tracks.

Joker's Daughter and The Bullfrogs - Hybrid: The London indie artist's debut was one of my favorite albums of 2009 and I was to see this new EP released last month. Joker's Daughter creates a psychedelic folk sound that feels a bit like a merging of early Pink Floyd and Nick Drake, but with a contemporary flair that incorporates elements of trip hop. This is a beautiful and haunting album of five songs that explore a dark world of reflection. One of those rare albums that would work for a dreary winter day, or a quite summer night. "The Swing" is currently my favorite track. 

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