Prawn – Kingfisher has been such a pleasant surprise, emotionally tip toeing on a sound that is just as clear as glass
So after a bit of a lull in June and July I've really hit a glut of good to great new releases:
Stein Urheim - Stein Urheim: this one was on the Quietus' mid-year list, and is a wonderfully varied instrumental album which sees Urheim playing primarily acoustic guitar but with a variety of other acoustic, stringed instruments as well. There's a lot of percussion in there too, something which helps these 5 songs not meander too much (although "After the Festival" gets a bit too noodley for my tastes).
Yvette - Process: another Quietus pick; technically a 2013 album (it received a physical release this year), Process sounds like a long-lost collaboration between Liars and HEALTH as LOTS of these bands' signifiers can be heard throughout. These similarities made my first couple of listens a bit awkward, but the more I've dug into the album the more I can start to hear the band's unique qualities come out.
Heterotic - Weird Drift: a solid, if somewhat unspectacular, collection of synth and guitar pop songs which would appeal to fans of Tycho ("Rain," "Triumph"), Classix ("Florence"), and even some of the neu-R&B acts ("Amniotic" and "Boxes"). I think what keeps drawing me back is the variety of the songs, as while a lot of the tracks sound rather different from one another it's not so pronounced that it doesn't feel like the same band.
I realize I'm super late to the party, but I want to echo the earlier praise for Posse's Soft Opening, as it is fantastically melancholic indie pop, and for Under the Color of Official Right by Protomartyr. Same with Perfect Pussy and especially Dave Aju - "Clean Street" has been my fucking jam for the past two or three weeks.
Ty Segall's Manipulator doesn't feel like a new start as much as it does a culmination of what he's done to this point in his career, and I think it's one of the strongest and most consistent albums he's released.
There's a few others I've been enjoying but still need to dig into a bit more, including Leon Vynehall, Joey Anderson, SD Laika and Lee Gamble.
I've heard about half the FKA Twigs album at this point I think. The music's fine, very 2014 sounding. It's just...not music that compels me to rush out and see in concert.
The production of the FKA Twigs album reminds me an awful lot of a lot of witch house albums I have already heard. Like you said, it's fine, but to me it already feels kind of dated and sounds very samey throughout the whole album. The vocals are very nice, but just not strong enough. She stays in this weird mid range the entire time. It's possible it could grow on me, but I wasn't very excited about it and listening to the whole album felt like it took a really a time.
8/23-24/14 FYF Fest - Expo Park //8/25/14 Nine Inch Nails - Hollywood Bowl // 9/6/14 Elvis Costello & Ben Folds - Hollywood Bowl
9/12-14/14 Riotfest - Humboldt Park, Chicago, IL // 9/18/14 Neutral Milk Hotel - Hollywood Bowl
Mt initial impression - a very solid album but not as interesting/intriguing as EP2 - really hasn't changed much, but I certainly don't think it's as boring or bland as you guys are making it out to be. I also think that critics are perhaps letting the story/narrative influence their reviews a bit more than they should, and maybe that's setting some up for disappointment.
The debut self-titled from Royal Blood is a really solid record to enjoy. For it being just 2 guys they do a good job of looping the bass to mimic guitar sounds that generate heavy riffs. Songs like Out of the Black and Figure it Out are very mainstream friendly that mimic Queens of the Stone Age, Local H, and Jack White. I wouldn't call it a mind blowing record but Little Monster is an example of them busting out the loud grooves and making it sound like there's more than 2 people performing.
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Spoon Aug 8 Hollywood
Kasabian Oct 8 Wiltern
The Horrors Oct 14 Santa Ana
2014 Collaborative Playlist on Spotify.
Holy crap I love The Newest Pornographers! So much better than their past two albums. The opening three songs are hard to beat. The momentum drags a bit at the end, but even those moments are as good as the best moments on Together. I hope the energy carries through to their live show this fall. Last time I saw them (5 years ago, granted), Okkervil River blew them off the stage, as the NPs seemed to be phoning it in. This new one has me pumped up.
I am also really liking the new Bishop Allen record. As those of you that have been around here for a long time know, I was a huge proponent of BA in 04-06. Then they kind of went on hiatus and then the released a very lackluster album in Grrrrrrrrrr!!!!. This new one brings back a lot of what I like on Charm School and the best of the EPs they did in 2006. Still twee and precious, but the songs have movement and momentum and avoid the saccharine balladry that their last album leaned too heavily. Interestingly, they kind of adopted a Graceland-vibe that Vampire Weekend originally also had in the mid aughts.
The Replacements - Bryan Ferry - Outkast - The Knife - Dum Dum Girls - Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Broken Bells - Haim - Neko Case - Jagwar Ma - Goat - Waxahatchee
Queens Of The Stone Age - Pet Shop Boys - Chvrches - Mogwai - Warpaint - Washed Out - Future Islands - Ty Seagall - Darkside - Foxygen
Beck - Neutral Milk Hotel - Superchunk - Arcade Fire - Bombino - Daughter - Surfer Blood
I had never seen Okkervil River before, I remember Will Sheff wore this brown suit and I was like, "this dude looks like Napoleon Dynamite." I enjoyed them, they were quite good.
We're here to play some Mississippi Delta Blues. We're in a horrible depression, and I gotta admit - we're starting to like it.
I also really liked the new NP album, seems way more energetic and in line with some of their earlier releases.
Avi Buffalo's new one was a bit of a disappoint for me on first listen. Didn't have as many guitar earworms as the first and some of the lyrical material seems forced.
The Bug - Angels & Demons is a seething slap in the face of dub & grime.
8/16: Anthony Naples, Maxmillion Dunbar @ f8
8/18: Man Man @ The Chapel
8/23-8/24: FYF Fest
8/30: Peaking Lights @ The Chapel
9/3: Bear in Heaven @ The Independent
9/24 - 28: Decibel Festival
10/5: The War on Drugs, Cass McCombs @ The Fillmore
10/18-19: Treasure Island Music Festival
The new album from Earth, Primitive and Deadly, is fantastic. Very heavy but not too droney like some of their previous work. Good balance between doom and drone on this one. There is also a slight psychedelic feel to it. It's definitely not for everyone but it's certainly not too abrasive for people not normally into metal.
August 30 - Sleep
August 31 - Sleep
September 5 - Seth Troxler
September 9 - Black Vice
September 11 - Earthless
September 14 - Lily Allen
September 16 - Earth
September 20 - Skeletonwitch
September 21 - Nails
September 23 - Andy Stott
October 2 - Beck
October 3-5 - Austin City Limits
October 10 - Bonobo
October 20 - Mastodon
October 23 - 26 - Housecore Horror Festival
October 29 - The Melvins
November 7-9 - Fun Fun Fun Fest
November 15 - Primus
November 18 - Slayer
Lose by Cymbals Eat Guitars is pretty good. It's got a fairly disparate sound, jumping between 90s indie/emo, acoustic rock stuff, guitar heroics and one song that sounds straight out of the 80s. There are no bad tracks on the record, but there is one absolute stunner. Place Names started as I was reading an article, and I immediately stopped reading and just fell in love with the song. I'm not going to bother describing it, because y'all should just listen to it.