The weekend has come as it always does. This week brought me many more new releases that I'd been looking forward to, as well as some that were kind of a surprise. It might be the most impressive week of new release listening of the year so far, not individually, but in total. Though next week I already have a bunch more lined up which may threaten to take over the title. I also went to a record sale last weekend and picked up some missing classics which I will mix in over the coming weeks. There is one on this week's list, one that is terrible overlooked. Enjoy.
Wolf Parade - EP 4: The first release in six years from the collaborative Canadian indie band from Spencer Krug (Sunset Rubdown, Moonface) and Dan Boeckner (Handsome Furs). I'm so glad these guys have returned, they've never let me down and these four songs are no exception. As with previous releases, the two frontmen trade off, two Spencer songs sandwiched between two of Dan's songs. All are classic Wolf Parade which is refreshing to hear after so long. A must for fans.
The Duke Spirit - KIN: It's been five years since the London band's last album and there's definitely an evolution here. As have many bands in the past several years, Duke Spirit has mellowed a bit in their sound, choosing to go in the direction of dreampop on many of the songs included here. And as with most dreampop, it's very nice to listen to. I've listened to this in the car twice, and it's good driving music. Nothing particularly spectacular or innovative, but quality nonetheless. Oddly though, it's the two rockers, "Hands" and "Side-By-Side" that are standouts for me.
The Strokes - Future Present Past EP: The NYC band's new release is their first new music in three years and it's quite brilliant. This is what radiohead should sound like instead of the sleepy bore that they've become. The Strokes continue to evolve and experiment. These songs are like knotted balls of twine that threaten to unravel, but just as they are pulled the breaking point, they snap back into something wonderful. In some ways, this reminds me of some of Bowie's most daring and creative work. Not for everyone, but if it's for you, it don't get much better.
Band of Skulls - By Default: Released this week is the new album from the London indie band, their fourth, and easily their best since their debut. The funny thing about listening to this during the course of the week is that I found myself thinking, this is very 00's. That's the first time I ever thought that, and it actually made me happy. This is classic '00s indie rock, with garage influences. There are some great songs on here, including "Bodies" which is their best song to date. While I enjoyed their last album, this one is great because it doesn't try to be anything that it's not. Well worth checking out.
Black Pistol Fire - Don't Wake the Riot: The Austin rock band's fourth album is their best yet. Their early garage rock has blossomed into a mixture of garage rock and southern rock, moving them beyond a band that sounded a little like The White Stripes and into a band that sounds original and exceptional. This is one of those records that the more I listen to it, the more I hear and the more I appreciate. Definitely one to check out if you like southern blues rock with an updated feel.
Elton John - Blue Moves: Released a year after Captain Fantastic, this 1976 double album marks the end of Elton's prolific and wonderful '70s heyday in partnership with lyricist Bernie Taupin. Strangely enough, there are no hits on this record, no songs that are known by all, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable than the albums that came before it. The glam era is winding down on here, but there are still some moments where you hear that classic Elton sound. Definitely a nice addition to the catalog. Perhaps not essential, but definitely worthwhile.