I had no idea who Keaton Henson was two days ago, until I received a text from my cousin Ben, “Holy shit man, I am getting my world rocked right now by Keaton Henson’s album Birthdays. I feel like I am not worthy enough to listen to this singer-songwriter, and I am guaranteed to go to Hell, if there is such a place, because I am just learning about him. It’s the most simple but elegant music, with some of the best lyrics I have heard in a long time.”
After reading Ben’s text, I jumped on Spotify and listened to Birthdays for myself. It is just how Ben described, “…the most simple but elegant music…”. Check out “You” (below), one of the standout tracks from the album. The song consists mostly of 24 year old Henson’s soft, but powerful voice, accompanied mostly by guitar, with a few more stringed instruments sprinkled throughout. Birthdays was released by Anti at the beginning of April. It’s an intense album. I highly recommend it. Thanks for the tip Ben.
Keaton Henson – You from Birthdays (2013)
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)
It’s been pretty cold where I live. Mother Nature has been teasing us with hints of spring for the past few weeks. Giving us a warm day followed by a week of cold days. The forecast looks to be in our favor, finally, with consistent warm days coming up in the forecast. The warm, almost tropical sounds of Cayucas debut album, Bigfoot, has been the perfect soundtrack to get me through these cold days. Check out the driving beat, shimmery guitars and Zach Yudin’s echoed vocals on, opening track, “Cayucos” (below), It’s the perfect song for that summer mix tape, and is just a taste of Bigfoot‘s awesomeness. Be sure to snag Bigfoot on April 30, from Secretly Canadian.
Cayucas – Cayucos from Bigfoot (2013)
Orange County’s The Lovely Bad Things are right up my alley. They play infectious, hook-driven garage rock, sounding like a mixture of The Soviettes, Pretty Girls Make Graves and The Pixies. They also appeal to the geek in me by referencing Star Wars and Macho Man Randy Savage on three of their song titles. They even have an image of Bigfoot on the album cover.
The Pixies influence is strong on “Fried Eyes” (below) with spoken-word vocals and the laid-back, Kim Deal bass line. “Hear or Anywhere” (also below) the opening track from their new album, The Late Great Whatever, starts the album off right with sugar-sweet female vocals and pounding drums. The Late Great Whatever is out now on Volcom. For all of the analog lovers out there you can get this on cassette as well from Burger Records.
The Lovely Bad Things – Fried Eyes from The Late Great Whatever (2013)
The Lovely Bad Things – Hear or Anywhere from The Late Great Whatever (2013)
The Lovely Bad Things
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)
Will Courtney’s debut solo release A Century Behind, is a longtime coming for me. I am a huge fan of his other band, Brothers and Sisters, and was bummed out when they went on hiatus back in 2010. Since then, I’ve been cyber-stalking Will, anxiously awaiting the announcement of this new album, which will finally be released in April.
The haunting organ tones, acoustic and surf-rock guitars, along with Will’s smooth vocals make “There’s No Answer” (below) one of the best tracks on the album. Whether you are brand new to Will’s music, or have been a fan of his for years, A Century Behind is a must own. Enjoy.
Will Courtney – There’s No Answer – from A Century Behind (2013)
Will Courtney (Reverbnation)
Will Courtney (FB)
The Cave Singers are back with Naomi, their fourth LP and second release with Jagjaguwar. Vocalist Peter Quirk’s raspy voice is the real star on this album. “Have To Pretend” (below), with it’s driving rhythm section, oohs, and noodly guitar is one of the standout tracks on the album, and really showcases what the Cave Singers do best. Please enjoy, and be sure to catch them on tour in a neighborhood near you.
The Cave Singers – Have To Pretend from Naomi (2013)
The Cave Singers
3hive post from 2011
In this world of lo-fi music around every corner, Jeff Walls’ Campfires is a breath of fresh air. Utilizing layers of jangly guitar, and just the right amount of fuzz, Jeff has created a sunny brand of lo-fi pop music sure to make fans of bands like The Kinks take notice. He just released his first full length LP as Campfires, Tomorrow, Tomorrow on Fire Talk Records. Check out the songs below, I am sure you will be adding them to your new summertime mix tape.
Campfires – Fortune Teller from Tomorrow, Tomorrow (2013)
Campfires – Bayonet from Tomorrow, Tomorrow (2013)
Fire Talk Records
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
Maston (Frank Maston) is a California-based multi-instrumentalist. He recently released his first proper album, Shadows on Trouble In Mind. Maston played all instruments on the album (except for the harp, played by Ana Caravelle).
I have been listening to, and enjoying this album for several weeks now, but have been struggling to find the right words to describe it. The best I can come up with this, a psychedelic, surf, pop rock album that sounds like it could have been recorded in the 60’s. Check out “Young Hearts” below, It’s damn good, and a great example of the entire album.
Maston – Young Hearts from Shadows (2013)
Trouble In Mind