New Music Monday – August 3, 2015

homepage_large.f81f39b6In two years, Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy will be turning 50 years old. With that in mind, it only makes sense that the former folkster-gone-indie rocker made one of the most delightfully discordant records of his career. It’s like a sonic mid-life crisis. Star Wars was released on July 17 on Anti- Records, and it makes its’ way to the KSDB line-up this week.

Wilco established themselves as one of the forerunners of what we now call “modern indie” in 2002 with Yankee Foxtrot Hotel. While Wilco’s previous work may seem forgettable to anyone who wasn’t a pretentious 22-year old back in 2002, Star Wars is an invigorating jolt of energy. “Random Name Generator” boasts a fuzzy guitar riff with a catchy saw tooth hook, while “The Joke Explained” feels like a 1950’s prom shuffle-beat gone awry. At times, the album can seem a bit derivative, but when you step back and consider the different influences (rockabilly and even electronica on “Pickled Ginger”) you realize that a legitimate artist put a great amount of work into this.  Slower ballad-esque cuts like “Your Satellite” and “Magnetized” are even masterfully pulled off. If you are looking for an interesting and artful record to listen to this week, you should definitely consider listening to Star Wars. It’s what the cat on the cover of the album would probably want.


Other albums we’re listening to this week:

HEALTH - Death MagicHEALTH released their first album in six years, titled Death Magic. The noise-rock group’s latest album serves up 12 dense avant-garde tracks that incorporate a variety of sounds and styles including synthpop and even R&B elements. Listen for “Dark Enough” and “Life” on KSDB.

La Luz      Will Seattle ever stop being the epicenter of all things bright and beautiful? Probably not. This  week,  we’re vibing a few albums from Emerald City. La Luz is a vibrant surf-rock band, and their latest  effort, Weirdo  Shrine, was graced by the production genius of the garage rock king Ty Segall.   Seapony’s Falling is the perfect  album for a sun-kissed, late summer adventure. Be sure to look for it this  summer from Hardly Art records.

Mac DeMarco released over half of the tracks to his upcoming Another One. At the end of the album, Mac DeMarco gives away the address to his home in Queens. So far, he says about 30 people have taken him up on his offer to make them coffee. For a cool track-by-track from the Canadian himself, check out his interview on NPR’s All Songs Considered.

Last but not least from the Great North, Slim Twig lets all stops loose on Thank You For Sticking With Slim Twig. It’s a Moog-laden analog adventure accompanied by fat bass and dry drumming. It falls somewhere between the psychedelic jam band sounds of the ’70s and Digital Ash In A Digital Urn. 

To get an idea of what the buzz has been lately, make sure you check out the weekly Spotify playlist:

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KSDB’s Top Albums of 2015 (So Far)

It’s been a great year in music thus far. Our exec staff weighs in on their favorite albums through the first half of 2015 (Spoiler alert: a lot of us like the Kendrick record).

 

Willy Evans – Production Director

5. Courtney Barnett- Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit

I could have easily put Sleater Kinney, Drake, Sufjan, Young Thug, or even Shamir in this slot, but I decided to go with Courtney Barnett’s debut full length album. This album is the kind of post-grunge music that we here at KSDB pound back like an overweight tourist at an all you can eat oyster bar, but this oyster had just enough pearls in that I was forced to hack it back up and examine it more closely. Featuring some of my favorite tracks of the year, Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit is a wonderful album.

4. Vince Staples- Summertime ’06
Vince Staples’ followup to last year’s Hell Can Wait- EP is an hour long 20 track behemoth of an album, and its final track cuts Vince off mid-sentence. From start to finish this album is packed to the gills and it hits far more than it misses. I’ve had less than 2 weeks to listen to this album, and I’m sure it’s only going to improve with repetition.
3. Earl Sweatshirt- I Don’t Like S**t, I Don’t Go Outside
I Don’t Like S**t, I Don’t Go Outside is a completely different animal from 2013’s Doris. It’s almost like Earl is trapped in slow motion. By far the darkest album on my list, Earl is like the weird squid creature in The Fellowship of the Ring who is going to grab you by the ankles and drag you down into the depths. You can fight it all you want, but giving in is so much better. After all, if Inside Out taught me anything, it’s that it’s okay to be sad sometimes.
2. Bully- Feels Likebully
The first time I heard Bully was during their performance at Brooklyn’s Northside festival. They opened for bands like Alvvays, Built to Spill, and Best Coast and for me they were on par with (and occasionally better than) all three. Their debut album Feels Like feels like it was taken from 1990 and magically transported here. Frustrated and self depreciative while simultaneously remaining catchy and upbeat, Feels Like is a modern call back to what made 90s rock great. (Also not to brag, but Alicia Bognanno and I touched the same copy of Surfer Rosa nbd)
1. Kendrick Lamar- To Pimp A Butterfly
The moment the beat kicks in on the first track to Kendrick’s third album feels like sinking into a warm bath. The fluidity of the album consumes you and transports you to Kendrick’s wonderland. It’s a murky world of injustice and outrage, but there is also hope, love, and pride there as well. It’s a hyper-reality, but it never dips into fantasy because it’s always grounded in the real world. To Pimp A Butterfly is easily the album I’ve listen to the most this year. This album is so consistent from top to bottom that 11 of the album’s 16 songs are vying for my favorite track (on the album and of the year).

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Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Multi Love

umoUnknown Mortal Orchestra’s third studio album, Multi-love, isn’t something you’ve heard before. If I had to sum up Ruban Nielson’s newest effort in a few words, it’d be this: Listening to Multi-Love is like traveling in a Prince powered rocket ship of psychedelia through the fringes of sanity, deep into disco-space. If that doesn’t sound confusing enough, may I also inform you that the memories of a failed polyamorous relationship forms the inspiration behind most of the album’s lyrical content. Certainly, Multi-Love isn’t your average indie-pop record. It’s a dense, haunting vision with a groove that unravels at the seams. However, that groove always finds a way to keep tight. By the end you will have danced your way to somewhere far past mental stability, and you’ll be happy to have made the visit.

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Bully – Feels Like

2015Bully_FeelsLike150615.galleryNashville has a new alt-rock group drawing some deserved buzz. Bully brings a not-exactly-new sound to 2015 but a sound that is undeniably catchy, fun, and easy to listen to. It took me a while to figure out why they sounded so familiar until I saw them play a set at Brooklyn’s Northside Festival this summer. A girl at the merch booth was rather stoked to have seen them play. “Don’t they sound just like Hole?” She hit the nail on the head. It’s as if Courtney Love has been reinvented. The 1990s Courtney when Hole was putting out some of the best music of the decade. The 90s may have been over 15 years ago, but Bully brings some of the best highlights back from a decade of low-feeling, depressing music from the grunge era. Bully is different than their 90s predecessors, however. Alicia Bognanno sings a more upbeat, happier, seemingly more hopeful tune. Sure, she drags up old relationship woes in the first track on their debut, “I Remember,” a fast paced, screamingly angry affair. There’s even talk of pregnancy scares and severe problems with herself on “Trying” where Bognanno howls “I am trying to hide from my mind.” Somehow through all of this, Bully conveys a feeling that everything is going to be alright, that sometimes you have to get through some really nasty stuff before things get better. There’s just a lot more nasty stuff in the way than previously thought. “You make me feel like trash,” Bognanno states on “Trash,” the track which gives Bully’s debut its name. Sure, this sounds depressing, hopeless even. But there is beautiful simplicity in such harsh words that bring out a certain level of humanness. The pain, the suffering, the fighting, it’s all there, all human. But what this record is about above all else is how it makes Bognanno feel. (more…)

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