My favorite album for the month of February was the band Yuck’s newest release, Stranger Things. This is the bands third album, second without lead singer and founding member Daniel Blumberg. Having only listened to their first album sometime in the past, and enjoying it, I was delighted to find out that they had a new release. I have found Stranger Things to be a very accessible listen, with the perfect mix of pop melodies and fuzzed out guitars; harkening back to 90’s bands such as Pavement and the Pixies.
Other albums released in February that I got to listen to were:
- Benji Hughes – Songs in the Key of Animals – a singer/songwriter, with a history of jingle writing, whose second album’s first half showcases his lightheartedness with a breezy, summer vibe that doesn’t take itself too seriously. I found the back half of the album to be the pared down, straight forward type of songwriting that I prefer.
- The Frights – You Are Going To Hate This – trio that blends punk, surfer, and indie rock together into a cohesive sound that is all their own. Having never been much of a punk listener, I thought that this was a solid album, and clocking in at only thirty-three minutes, a quick listen.
- KING MUD – Victory Motel Sessions – a dirty blues rock duo comprised by two musicians from bands I had never heard of before; but after listening to the album, I will definitely seek them out. Recorded in only five days allows the album to capture the rawness and intensity of the group. Perfect album to listen to on a Saturday afternoon with a beer in one hand and a joint in the other.
- Sunflower Bean – Human Ceremony – young, as in not old enough to buy beer young, trio out of Brooklyn that thoroughly impresses on their debut album. The musicianship is top notch and would be able to pass as a band that has been around awhile. The future for these kids is very bright.
Other things that have come across my sonic radar this month:
- Bad Bad Hats – Psychic Reader – debut album from a Minnesota trio that offers up lo-fi pop rock songs.
- King Tuff – Was Dead – a recommended listen from Matt Norlander, is the debut album of musician Kyle Thomas from 2008. Filled with an array of catchy tunes, this album showcases the songwriting prowess of Thomas that he was unable to put forth in the many other projects he has been a part of.
- The Velvet Underground – after watching the second episode of HBO’s new show Vinyl, in which Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground make an appearance, I had to go on a Velvet Underground binge. This is one of my favorite bands and I feel that sometimes they, and Lou Reed in particular, are underrated for their contributions and influences to music and bands around the world. They are unabashedly themselves, putting forth art that is truly their own and not caving to any pressures to make their music more accessible for a wider audience. Either you like it or you don’t and Lou Reed doesn’t care either way.
- The Weeknd – Beauty Behind the Madness – admittedly I knew very little about The Weeknd up until a few months ago. I thought that this was a group and was a little surprised to find out that The Weeknd is just one dude. I was introduced to this album by my fiancée who had it playing in her car non-stop. After a few listens through I found myself humming to songs while at work and now understand what all the fuss has been about.