Happy Record Store Day! There's no better way to celebrate my favorite day of the year than by rambling on about music. This week showcases some new albums from some of my favorite artists, and therefore, some of the albums I've been anticipating this year. I'm happy to report that most lived up to my expectations. Hopefully you'll be out there today supporting your local record store, and if you have time to read this before, hopefully there might be something here to look for. Enjoy.
The Black Angels - Death Song: This is the fifth album from the Austin psych rock band. Their debut album, released 11 years ago, was a revelation for me when it came out, and they have never disappointed with any of the albums that followed. This is no exception. Another fantastic psych rock record that stretches the genre while also reinterpreting sounds created by The Doors so many years ago. "Hunt Me Down," "Medicine," and the epic "Life Song" are standouts for me.
Karen Elson - Double Roses: It's been seven years since the former Mrs. Jack White's remarkable debut folk album, making this one of the most anticipated releases of the year for me. This is a departure from the Gothic country sound that made her fist album so memorable. This album is more of a chamber folk record, with lots of string arrangements to highlight her beautiful voice and poetic lyrics. At first listen, it doesn't strike quite the same chord within me, but it's still a great sounding album. "Call Your Name," "Raven," "Wolf," "Million Stars" and "Why Am I Waiting?" are my personal favorites.
Cold War Kids - LA Divine: On their sixth album, the Long Beach indie band pays tribute to the city I love with their most dance/pop effort to date. I've enjoyed following this band since their stellar debut eleven years ago. Their catalog has it's ups and downs following the great first two records, followed by two mediocre records, and then another good one three years ago. This is a down one for me, not because it doesn't do what it sets out to do, but rather because it accomplishes what it sets out to do and that is to be an extremely catchy indie pop. Indie pop just isn't my thing, but this could end up being their most successful album because there are plenty of stadium ready beats on here. For me "Luck Down" is the real standout.
Johnny Flynn - Sillion: Back in 2008, this London folk singer's debut blew me away and I've been following his career ever since. Released at the end of March, this is his fourth album and easily his best since the debut. He branches out a bit here, performing songs that feel deeper than prior efforts. "Heart Sunk Hank," "The Night My Piano Upped and Died," "In the Deepest," and "In Your Pockets" are standouts on this wonderful folk record.
Pinback - Some Offcell Voices: It's been five years since the San Diego indie band has released new music, and still no update on a new album. So this compilation of their 2000 and 2003 EP releases is going to have to hold fans over, and luckily for me, I did have either "Some Voices" or "Offcell", so these are new songs to me and they represent the best of what these guys do best. In many ways they are like a more pop minded version of Fugazi and the songs from "Some Voices" clearly demonstrate that.
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard -Nonagon: I recently reviewed this Australian band's newest album and just received this, their previous record from last year. While I liked their new album, this one is leaps beyond it. The nine tracks extend over forty minutes and bleed into one another making the whole experience feel like one repetitive psychedelic groove. Part metal, part garage rock, part lo-fi electronica, and entirely trippy, this is complicated and simple record at the same time. Certainly one to give a listen to if you're a fan of this kind of thing as I am.