Sunday, April 10, 2016

Weekend Music Roundup

As I've been promising for some time, this is finally the week of new releases. Having cleared through my vinyl buys of the past several weeks, I focused my listening attention to new albums, some eagerly anticipated, others unexpected, and still more simple curiosity based on past habits. As one might expected, the list is heavy on indie folk, psychedelic folk, and indie psych, which have long been my favorite genres of music. Definitely some quality finds here, so hopefully you will check out something and give it a go. Enjoy.

The Lumineers - Cleopatra: The long-awaited follow-up to the Denver band's breakout debut was finally released this week. It is a continuation of their indie folk, americana sound in tradition of '60s and '70s artists. I've been digging the first single, "Ophelia" for the past couple weeks as it's on heavy rotation on my local independent radio station.  It's pretty standard indie folk, with a handful of standout moments that make it worthwhile. "My Eyes," "White Lie," and "Where the Skies Are Blue" are my favorites, along with the lead single.

Sam Beam and Jessica Hoop - Love Letter For Fire: In lieu of any new Iron & Wine material in the past three years, I had to check out the new collaborative album from Sam and singer songwriter Jessica Hoop. The two voices work great together, trading off solos between duets within each song. This is one of those lazy afternoon indie folk records. "Midas Tongue," "Know the Wild That Wants You," are as good as any Iron & Wine song from the last two wonderful albums.

Wavelength - Folk Magic: This is the Belgian band's demo, recorded last year and available for a name your own price download on their Bandcamp site, which I definitely recommend. Reminiscent of Black Mountain this is a mixture of heavy psych and folk music that is pretty incredible. They also manage to create an ethereal world, much like Natural Snow Buildings has, but without drone elements. It is only five songs, but three of them of are of significant length. I look forward to whatever comes in the future. 

Woods - City Sun Eater in the River of Light: Over the last half decade or so, the psychedelic folk band has become one of my favorites in the genre. In the same strain as Skygreen Leopards, these guys create a folk sound inspired by '60s freak out and psychedelic pop. There's something delicate about these songs, as if they were made of blown glass, it's hard to describe, but it makes them brilliant. Easily their best album as they just keep getting better and better. One of my favorites of the year so far.

The Dandy Warhols - Distortland: In the late '90s, the Portland indie band made some of the catchiest records of the era. Then came the next decade where they continued to make albums, though they seemed misguided in ways. Their 10th album comes four years after their last effort and it doesn't stray far from the sound they've established for more than two decades. With the revival of their one time colleagues turned rivals, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, I'd hoped the same might be true for the Dandies. There's a mellower vibe that flows throughout, which serves them well these days. "Give," and "Doves" are beautiful examples of their brand of subtle psychedelia. "Catcher in the Rye," and "All the Girls in London" feel like traditional Warhols. A nice little record, worthy of a try for fans. 

White Denim - Stiff: The Austin indie psych band's seventh album was released last week. I tuned into this band during their early days and was attracted to their garage psych vibe. While that vibe still exists on tracks like "Mirrored in Reverse," they've taken on more of a bluesy soul sound this time around, reminding me a bit of Dirt Bombs with more a guitar rock edge to them. A very enjoyable listen, very up tempo. Good summertime rock n' roll. "Real Deal Momma," "Holda You," and "Take It Easy" are also very good tracks along with "Mirrored in Reverse."

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