Mikal Cronin is back with MCII, his second album and first with Merge Records, out on May 7. It’s killer harmonies, fuzzy, shimmery guitar tones, piano, viola, violin and even slide guitar, all add up together to destroy the sophomore slump jinx that plagues so many musicians and bands. “Weight” (below) is my favorite song on the album. It starts off with a delicate piano intro, which is quickly buried by layers of pounding drums and shimmery/scuzzy guitars. “Shout It Out” (also below) starts out with some noodling guitar, which builds into a frenzy during the first chorus and never lets off from there. Do not sleep on this album, it will blow your mind. Download the songs below, load them onto your favorite listening device, crank them up and enjoy. This is the album of the summer.
Mikal Cronin – Weight from MCII (2013)
Mikal Cronin – Shout It Out from MCII (2013)
Michael Benjamin Lerner is back with his third release, Dormarion, under the Telekinesis moniker. He recorded the album with Spoon drummer and producer Jim Eno at Eno’s Public Hi-Fi studio in Austin, Texas. On Dormarion Lane, to be precise.
Dormarion is catchy as hell. It’s a great follow up to his excellent 2011 release 12 Desperate Straight Lines. On “Empathetic People” (below) the drums blast you into submission as the layers of guitars wind in, out and around Lerner’s fuzzed vocals. Also for your listening pleasure is the over-before-you-know-it “Laissez-faire”. Please enjoy these tracks. Dormarion releases tomorrow, April 2 on Merge Records. You should buy it, it’s indie rock gold and I highly recommend it.
Telekinesis – Empathetic People from Dormarion (2013)
Telekinesis – Laissez-faire from Dormarion (2013)
Shout Out Louds, shouldn’t need an introduction. This 5-piece band out of Sweden has been releasing solid music since 2003. We reviewed them back in ‘07, and I am happy to update this site with their fourth full length album Optica, which was released a few days ago on Merge Records.
The driving bass line and distorted guitar, on the upbeat opening track, “Sugar” (below), combined with Adam Olenius’ voice sounds quite a bit like The Cure, which is definitely not a bad thing, and makes the track one of the standouts on the album. “Blue Ice” (also below), another excellent track from Optica, switches things up a bit, into a more melancholy feel as Olenius sings, “It hurts when I breathe, it hurts when I speak, you want everything I own, everything you wanted.” Optica is a must buy and will end up on lots of year end lists. Enjoy.
Shout Out Louds – Sugar from Optica (2013)
Shout Out Louds – Blue Ice from Optica (2013)
Shout Out Louds
Amor de Días was formed by Alasdair MacLean of The Clientele and Lupe Núñez-Fernández of Pipas back in 2009. They released their debut album with Merge in 2011. Their new album, The House At Sea will be released on January 29th, also with Merge. Their sound is super chill, utilizing mostly two Spanish guitars and their voices, with an occasional rhythm section consisting of former members of The Clientele. Check out below “Voice in the Rose”, one of their more laid back songs with Spanish guitars as the focal point, and “Jean’s Waving”, one of the more peppy songs on the album. Both songs are fantastic, and represent the album well. Enjoy the songs, get out and buy this album, you will not be disappointed.
Amor de Días – Voice in the Rose – from The House At Sea (2013)
Amor de Días – Jean’s Waving – from The House At Sea (2013)
Amor de Días – Jean’s Waving from Merge Records on Vimeo.
Daphni is the new project of Caribou’s Dan Snaith. JIALONG (JOW-long), his debut release as Daphni, is out now on Merge Records.
As Daphni, Dan set out to record a more spontaneous album, without the careful attention to detail that goes into a Caribou release. The results are just as Snaith intended, a loose, spontaneous album perfect for the dance floor. Enjoy.
Daphni – Ye Ye from JIALONG (2012)
Daphni – Pairs from JIALONG (2012)
I’m sure to a lot of you The Mountain Goats are not new, in fact we posted a few of their songs back in 2004. To those of you who haven’t heard of, or taken the time to listen to, them there is never a better time than now.
The Mountain Goats recently released their 14th proper album, Transcendental Youth, with Merge Records. I highly recommend the album. Check out “Cry For Judas” below. It’s one of their more upbeat songs, from the new album, and a great starting point if you’re new to the band. Enjoy.
The Mountain Goats – Cry For Judas from Transcendental Youth (2012)
The Mountain Goats
Here is Sam’s original post from 03.12.2004
John Darnielle may not be singing into his trusty Panasonic boom box anymore, but his incisive, tuneful narratives are as raw and compelling as ever.
Divine Fits is a new side project/new band/supergroup made up of Britt Daniel from Spoon, Dan Boeckner from Handsome Furs and Wolf Parade, and Sam Brown from New Bomb Turks. They are releasing their debut album, A Thing Called Divine Fits on August 28, with Merge Records.
Full of throbbing synths, echoed vocals, and driving beats, A Thing Called Divine Fits is very catchy, just what one would expect after reading the bands lineup. Britt and Dan share lead vocal assignments, each singing lead on half of the album’s tracks. The two tracks included below are samples of each singer’s distinctive voices, and how those voices make each of their respective songs sound unique, but flow well with each other as well. “My Love Is Real”, the opening track sung by Dan, has a dark, fuzzy vibe to it. While “Would That Not Be Nice” sounds pretty much like a Spoon song, with a thumping bass line and maracas ushering in Britt’s vocals. Both songs are really good, and will give you a good idea of how great the entire album is.
Divine Fits – My Love Is Real from A Thing Called Divine Fits (2012)
Divine Fits – Would That Not Be Nice from A Thing Called Divine Fits (2012)
15 years since their last studio album, Redd Kross will release their Merge Records debut, Researching The Blues, on August 7. After a few listens to this album it’s hard to believe that it’s been so long, it is tight and has more hooks than a Frazier/Ali fight.
“Researching The Blues” the album’s title track, included below, kicks things off in a hurry with it’s crashing cymbals and chunky guitar and doesn’t let up for 3 minutes and 53 seconds, leaving you in a puddle of your own sweat and out of breath. Hopefully you won’t destroy your favorite listening device while thrashing about and you can enjoy this song more than once. Enjoy.
Redd Kross – Researching The Blues from Researching The Blues (2012)
M. Ward is releasing his new album, A Wasteland Companion, with Merge on April 10. The album was recorded with 18 musicians from bands like Oakley Hall, Devotchka, Sonic Youth, and Dr. Dog to name a few. Ms. Deschanel sings on a couple of tracks as well. Merge was gracious enough to send us the song “Primitive Girl” from the forthcoming album to share with you. “Primitive Girl” is in classic M. Ward form, although it’s a piano driven track with his guitar skills taking a back seat. The song moves along quickly, finishing well before you want it to. I guarantee at least two repeats. Check it out below, and make sure you get out to your favorite record store on April 10 to get yourself a copy.
M. Ward – Primitive Girl from A Wasteland Companion (2012)
Hospitality is an indie pop trio out of Brooklyn, NY. They released their first full-length, self-titled album on Merge Records last week. This album is catchy as hell, and has been on constant rotation since I received it. The two songs we’ve included below are a mere example of how good this album is. “Friends of Friends” and “Betty Wang” are pure pop gold. Full of fuzz, some surf guitar, and just the right amount of punch. But what really makes these songs stand out, and really the entire album, is Vocalist Amber Papini’s unique style. She sings with a slight English accent. According to Merge, Amber is from Kansas City and learned to sing by imitating Richard Butler on The Psychedelic Furs’ Talk Talk Talk. Enjoy.
Hospitality – Friends of Friends from S/T (2012)
Hospitality – Betty Wang from S/T (2012)