This is a new side project from David Bazan of Pedro the Lion. T.W. Walsh from Pedro also joins him on guitar as well as two old friends from Starflyer 59. This is a great rock and roll album and I have to thank Colin Stringer for introducing me to it. I love when people recommend bands to me that turn out to be my new favorites.
Fleet Foxes is back with their third album. We've had to wait six long years for this guy, but it was well worth the wait. Robin Pecknold is not short on the sweeping harmonies that make these foxes fleet. My favorite song on the album is the epic Third of May / Odaigahara clocking in at a mere 8:45 and captivating every second. I was pretty worried about this album when it came out and instead it's been incredibly compelling.
On The National's seventh album, Matt Beringer takes us down less than anthemic territory into a more raw, unsettling sound. Many of these songs were written with his wife by his side and with the truthfulness of these lyrics, as only Matt Beringer can do, it makes you respect the hell out of their relationship. That must require an incredible honesty and vulnerability.
Vagabon is Laetitia Tamko. A Cameroon transplant in New York, Laetitia graduated college in 2015 and really only did music as a side project. But, destiny led her to produce this album, very slowly to much acclaim. This is Indie Rock at its finest. Impressively intimate with a strong musical backdrop, it is easy to get lost in this brief trek through emotion. The only reason this isn't higher in the charts is because that's how good shit is about to get.
This is Black Lips eighth album and acts as a concept album. That's probably what pulled me in. I generally listen to Black Lips albums and enjoy them, but usually not enough to make the Top 50. This one was different. Apparently, they are in a new line-up and having been a psychedelic experimental band for some time, this romp into seeming coherence seemed like the next step. There's a lot of great stuff in this album, including a Beatles cover, so give it a chance and spend some time with it.
This may be the most lyrical Octopus Project album out to date. It continues in their wildly experimental avant-pop sound. I remember the first time I saw these guys live and it's one of those experiences that has endeared me to the band for eternity. Things like sampling the sound of a champagne cork popping on Small Hundred or the swirling electronics that envelope Wrong Gong are what keep me coming back to this album and this band. They play here frequently and if you haven't seen them live yet, make it a point, it's a dance party like no other. Check out the preview video in true OP fashion below...
Equal parts soul, funk, R&B and punk, Thundercat's third album is a masterpiece. The fusion of styles followed by his insane bass playing make for a romp through the 70's with an incredible attention to modernity. This is a light-hearted album with crazy bass lines, but my favorite part would have to be the inclusion of Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins on 'Show You The Way', which is in the video below.
Oh how I love this woman. After meeting her after shows, she is always one of the nicest, sweetest people in the world. This is her second album after that incredible debut, Pushin' Against a Stone, which you can see here. If you haven't sat down with Valerie June, make it a date now. Her music is infectious and her gospelesque vocals will have you singing along in no time.
It's really only the fifth album from James Mercer's The Shins. Instantly classic and new all at once, this album is his second album since returning after a decade, and this one is five years since Port of Morrow, which I wrote about here. Part of the reason there's been such a gap is that Mercer fired all his bandmates. He has done numerous side projects in the last decade, but now the 'band' is a man of one.
It's not often you see a band return after 22 years, and usually the effort is less than praiseworthy. On the shoegaze band's newest self-titled, they achieve majestic glory. Neil Halstead, one of the songwriters and vocalists went on after their last album to form the incredible Mojave 3 and also had a short solo stint. Remember when I talk about a band saving their self-titled album for their masterpiece? While the Slowdive of old is fantastic, this added maturity and excellence has only brought about an album that delivers.
This is Surfer Blood's fourth album. Surfer Blood has had its share of afflictions. John Paul Pitts arrested for domestic violence in 2013 and their guitarist dying of stomach cancer at the ripe age of 27 just last year. These sort of calamities would normally bury a band, after all, it's hard enough to keep a band together as it is. But they return with an album of rather surf heavy, jangly pop rock that I found immensely refreshing from the beleaguered band.
This sprawling work is a composition about our solar system arranged by composer, Nico Muhly. However, Sufjan Stevens seems to add a lot of his style and lyrics to the pieces, with James McAlister collaborating on percussion and Bryce Dressner of The National handling the guitars. At first I thought this album was quaint, but the more I have listened to it, the more I love it. It's definitely worth listening to as an ambient, background album, but the lyrics and Sufjan style songs are worth listening to attentively. Check out the video below from the last track, Mercury.
Katie Crutchfield returns on her fourth album as Waxahatchee with a rousing, in your face sound. What attracted me to this artist initially was the intimacy with a heavy backhand of music that still remained incredibly subtle. She made this list with her last album, Ivy Tripp, here. Out in the Storm is the realization of an artist who has evolved from humble, raw beginnings and holding onto those as production values get better and therefore the impact of her voice and lyrics still shine through.
Unfortunately I was out of town when this band came through OKC in October. I hope you got to see them. Four of the five band members went to New York Purchase and Tina Halladay is the powerful lead. The Philadelphia based band harbor some ELO, Styx, Violent Femmes, and Queen in their up-front, powerful style. This album is a must hear before the year is over. You can listen to the entire album from their Bandcamp page below.
I love when an artist pulls me into their world with a whisper. Phoebe's songs are intimate and immediate. They make me want to put on headphones and get lost for a day. This is the 23 year old's debut album and she shows an amazing maturity in her music and lyrics for being so young. She toured with Pinegrove this year, another artist who cuts to the core. Check out her website below....phoebefuckingbridgers.com!
Thanks for stopping by. I listen to entirely too much music and love sharing music almost as much as I love listening to it. The purpose of this blog is to do just that and perhaps introduce you to bands you've never heard. If you happen to be one of those bands and do not like the fact that I have given a sample of your music in an effort to promote your band, please email me and I will gladly remove the link.