Laura Veirs released an album called Warp & Weft this week. As a fellow glasses-wearing-girl, I always appreciate her smart lyrics and old-worldy style. There is something very retro about the way she sings and constructs songs. This is another strong album from her. It has a lot of heart and takes her normal sound a step further with more complicated instruments. It is a great follow-up to 2011’s Tumble Bee, an album full of originals and a bunch of folk song covers many of us (or just me) grew up with.
Crocodiles are a San Diego-based band, often mentioned in the same breath as Dum Dum Girls and Wavves. On their latest album, Crimes and Passions, the melodies are catchy and there are elements of both rocking distortion and breezy harmonies. I especially enjoyed the two opening tracks, “Marquis De Sade” and “I Like It In the Dark,” as well. The last track, “Un Chant D’amour,” is definitely a stand-out. It takes the listener out of the noise-pop aesthetic into a new tone of quiet guitars and muted vocals. It is one of the strongest outro sounds I’ve heard in recent memory.
On the comedy front, Kurt Braunohler called How Do I Land? Having seen Braunohler perform two New Years in a row (and being a fan of Bunk), I was looking forward to this release. Spotify only previewed 6 tracks. Out of that small sample (& my previous experience with his stand-up), I believe he is a comedian to watch. I recommend “Three Fun Things” and “Chat Pack.”
The new Braids album, Flourish // Perish, is no doubt a buzzy release, but the psychedelic electro-indie scene is over-saturated with similar releases that I think I’ll just stick to last year’s Grimes’ release.
No Age is an experimental-punk band on Sub Pop. Their new release, An Object, is gritty. It reminds me of earlier releases by Japandriods, but a little less accessible. The grit-punk genre never appealed to me much, but its an album worth a listen if you are into that.
I Hate Music, the new album from Superchunk, is very good. It is an impressive release from this consistently great band and features some of the catchiest songs of the year. “Overflows” and “What Can We Do” are reminiscent of Portastaic songs. Other songs “Me and You and Jackie Mittoo,” “Trees of Barcelona,” “Your Theme,” and “FOH” are upbeat songs. Overall, I highly recommend it. It will be stuck in your head for days.
(Editor’s Note: We are planning a post that will highlight bands who started in the same era as Superchunk – like Guided By Voices and Yo La Tengo – and are currently releasing some of noteworthy material).
AV Undercover is one of my favorite parts about Tuesday. At the beginning of each series, AV Club editors pick a bunch of songs and enlist bands to pick and perform the track however they please The end products range from delightful to terrifying. Sometimes bands put their own spin on classic songs and ther times they do not. Filmed in their Chicago offices, there have been a lot of gems (including Frightened Rabbit performing “Confetti”, The Swell Season performing “Two Headed Boy”, and Young the Giant performing “Ignition (Remix)”.
Each summer, AV Club takes a break from their initial list of covers and lets the band choose a song that fits in with the season (ie. summer). Below is a video of Mac from Superchunk performing Jonathan Richman’s “That Summer Feeling.” He is joined by Kelly Hogan for this song that clocks in at over 6 minutes.
Mac McCaughan & Kelly Hogan cover Jonathan Richman
Also, check out the new Superchunk song “Me & You & Jackie Mittoo” on Pitchfork. Their new album, “I Hate Music,” will be out in August. If you don’t already listen to Superchuck, they are definitely worth checking out. They write some of the catchiest songs ever.
Here is Part 2 of the best songs of 2012:
“Continuous Thunder” – Japanadriods (from Celebration Rock)
Without a doubt, this album should be on just about everyone’s list for the best of the year. This song is one of the best. It is strong like the single (“The House that Heaven Built”), but a bit quieter. The fuzzy guitars are subdued and wonderful. Even though Japandriods are just two people, they create a exuberant sound. As this song progresses, its hard not to imagine driving down a road with windows open during the summer. Its just a great track.
“Heartbreaker” – Walkmen (from Heaven)
The Walkmen are often described as a “Musician’s band” because of their tight melodies and generally strong musicanship. This album is a great display of all of these characteristics. I was able to see the band perform at Bowery Ballroom on June 6, 2012 and they really dazzled the audience during this intimate record release show. This song is one of the best of the album (although just about every other song is great as well).
“I Never Knew You” – The Avett Brothers (from The Carpenter)
These brothers construct a lush sound in every one of their songs. This song starts off with piano and draws the listener in. The harmonies are at the forefront and created a sing-along atmosphere. This is another strong song from a strong album.
“The Descent” – Bob Mould (from Silver Age)
As mentioned in a previous post, Bob Mould is back. This opening track to Silver Age sets the stage for a bunch of charming loud songs about growing old. This one specifically is the most upfront. The lyrics weigh success over artistic individuality. To answer Mould’s question towards the end of the song, he does make it up to us.
“National Anthem” – Gaslight Anthem (from Handwritten)
I was not thrilled by this album’s single (“45”). It seemed too overproduced and too obvious. Instead, I was charmed by “National Anthem.” This song is much simplier and quieter. It showcases Brian Fallon’s voice and lyrical prowess. He is quiet but strong. It is similar to other Gaslight gems like “Here’s Looking at You, Kid” (from The 59 Sound) and “The Navasink Banks” (from Sink or Swim).
“1957” – Milo Green (from 1957)
“Harder Before It Gets Easier” – David Wax Museum (from Knock Knock Get Up)
“This Summer” – Superchunk
“Hey Ho” – Lumineers (from self titled)
“Love Don’t Leave Me Waiting” – Glen Hansard (from Rhythm and Repose)
“Love Love Love” – Of Monsters and Men (from My Head is an Animal)
“In a Big City” – Titus Andronicus (from Local Business)
“Maria” – Justin Townes Earle (from Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now)