Category Archives: Music

New Music of March & April

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The second of six installments focusing on the new music of 2017 and only a month late, which means I’m regressing!

My favorite album for the months of March and April was Spoon’s Hot Thoughts.  I am a believer that everyone has a band or singer they don’t listen to because of the lead singer’s voice.  I have heard this about Pearl Jam, Radiohead, LIVE, Cloud Nothings, etc.  For me that band has been Spoon.  Whenever I heard a Spoon song on the radio, I always dug what they were doing musically, just not Britt Daniel’s voice.  I have never been able to nail down what it is about his voice that does not resonate with my ears.

With Hot Thoughts I told myself I had to give it a listen, my first full length listen of a Spoon album.  I came to realize just how unique Spoon is; in all of my music listening I have not heard a band quite like them.  Their ability to shift from one sound to another within the context of their album is unlike anyone else in rock right now.  With each listen of this album I find something new to dig my teeth into.  I look forward to delving into the rest of their catalog.

Other albums that have sonically crossed through my earway in March and April:

  • Electric Guest – Plural – Los Angeles duo putting forth their own unique blend of pop, rock, disco, and soul. The singles I have heard of theirs on WEQX have always got my foot tapping, which includes lead single from this album Back For Me.  For some reason though, this album just didn’t do it for me.  While the album sounds great, the songs just don’t strike a chord with these ears of mine.
  • Father John Misty – Pure Comedy – the third album from the provocateur singer/songwriter in which he fully lays out the state of the world, both ours and his, in a surprisingly unnoticeable hour and fourteen minutes. Misty’s previous album, I Love You, Honeybear, was my favorite album of 2015 and I was very interested to see what Father John would come up with this time around.  Much like the new Japandroids album, I am not sure that I like this one better than his previous release, but it feels like the right album for him to release at the right time.  While previous albums had a more tongue in cheek, biographical feel, this album comes from a more melancholy place as Father John steps back and takes a look at the world around him.
  • The Feelies – In Between – I came across this album on a new release list and mistook their name for another band I had heard of, The Weepies. However, I am pleased with this mental lapse of mine.  The Feelies have a long and deep history in rock that I never knew of.  If you are an influence on R.E.M. you are a-okay in my book.  I have yet to explore their discography that starts in 1980, but am very much looking forward to it.  Due to a band hiatus, this is only their sixth studio release.  This is a very solid album with a laid back feel that encourages the listener to come closer and enjoy the intricacies of the music and the band that is closing in on forty years together.
  • Grandaddy – Last Place – I had never heard of Grandaddy until a friend mentioned that I should check out their new album, their first in a decade. I have no idea how these guys never appeared on my music radar, I feel like I really missed something.  Awash in lo-fi sounds, the album moves from a rocking beginning to a more melancholy, subdued sound.  Though I am late to the Grandaddy party, I am just glad that I was still able to get in.
  • Karen Elson – Double Roses – seven years removed from her debut, former model turned singer/songwriter Karen Elson returns with her sophomore album. Jack White, Elson’s ex-husband, had a hand in producing her first album as producer and engineer, along with enlisting his bandmates from his various ventures to help on the debut.  On this record it is hard not to listen and hear references to White throughout.  Elson’s heartbreak shines through as she laments over a love and opportunities lost.  I thoroughly enjoyed Elson’s debut album, as I do most albums touched by Jack White, so I wasn’t sure what to expect or what direction Elson might go in on this release.  I was pleasantly surprised that songwriting and production sound as precise as the first album.  Elson enlisted the help of Patrick Carney (the Black Keys & Jack White nemesis), Josh Tillman (aka Father John Misty), Pat Sansone (Wilco), and Laura Marling.  What really sets this album apart from its predecessor, for me at least, is the emotion in Elson’s lyrics and voice.  It hits a nerve that the listener cannot ignore and you can’t help but feel the pain seep through the speakers.
  • Nelly Furtado – The Ride – Furtado is back with her sixth studio album and her first in five years. I was a big fan of her first two albums, especially the second Folklore.  Admittedly, I was a little disappointed with her shift towards straight pop music, but I will never fault an artist for wanting to try something new.  On this new album, Furtado seems to be shooting to meld her two different musical styles and for the most part it pays off.  Though there might not be anything as catchy or popular as Promiscuous, there are still songs that stick in your earhole after listening, such as Sticks and Stones.
  • Pallbearer – Heartless – I don’t typically listen to a lot of metal, but when I do, I really like it when it sounds like Pallbearer. This the third album from the Little Rock, Arkansas quartet is an hour long epic over seven songs of persistently attacking riffs, thunderous drums and bass, and lead singer Brett Campbell’s captivating voice.  If you are any type of fan of metal, put this album at the top of your must listen list and Pallbearer is a band to keep an eye on in the future.
  • Pontiak – Dialectic of Ignorance – ninth studio album from Van, Jennings, and Lain, the Carney brothers from Virginia. Offering up their blend of heavy, melodic psych rock.  On this endeavor, the shortest song comes in a shade under four minutes and thirty seconds, as the brothers take the listener on an eight song voyage through the sludge, and I mean that in the most complimentary way, of their sound, with three part harmony guiding the way.  For any hard/psych rock aficionados this band is a must listen.
  • Priests – Nothing Feels Natural – first full length album from the Washington DC quartet known for their post punk raucous sound. I was told to check this band out by the proprietor of Pint Sized (go visit their shops!) and I am glad I did.  Though not familiar with their first EP to see how the music has differed, if at all, I was drawn in by the rowdiness of the songs and their ability to shift gears and dynamics.  Listening to this album reminds me of Sonic Youth in their heyday.

The Music of January & February

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Here is the first in my six part series of new music in 2017, obviously very late; which is my modus operandi.  I decided to whittle it down from a blog post every month, to doing one every two months.  Even though my posting fell by the wayside last year, I am still determined to become more prolific in my music posting.  I just need to find the right balance of life, work, music, writing, etc.  One of these days I’ll get it down.  Until then, on to the music!

2017 is shaping up to be a killer year of music.  Some much anticipated releases from artists I enjoy are slated for this year, including Japandroids, Father John Misty, Alt-J, Future Islands, Pond, Mac DeMarco, Gorillaz, Arcade Fire, St. Vincent, My Morning Jacket, Modest Mouse, and Queens of the Stone Age just to name a few.  Hell, a release from half of those bands would make it a great year; all of them together could make it a fantastic year.

My favorite album of the first two months of this year goes to Japandroids’ Near To The Wild Heart Of Life.  This was the highly anticipated, five years in the making, follow up to Celebration Rock.  I was quite curious to see what Japandroids would do on this record.  Would they stay with the same sound?  Would they venture out of their tried and true two piece garage rock that blasts you upside the head?  The answer lies somewhere in between.  While sticking with the fundamentals of what works best for them, Japandroids also dabbled in expanding their sonic landscape by adding a few synthesizers and acoustic guitars.

While I keep waffling about which Japandroids album I like better, I strongly believe that this was the exact album that they needed to make.  It stays true to their original sound while venturing outside of that box and exploring new territories that might serve them well on future releases.  It shows that they’re not afraid to go away from what garnered them so much attention to begin with.

Other albums that have sonically crossed through my earway in January and February:

  • Allison Crutchfield – Tourist in This Town – solo debut from the Alabama born musician who opines about losing her former band and boyfriend in the typical moods that accompany a jilted lover. Through all the despair, a positive light streams its way through the music and lyrics to give the listener the sense of hope that Allison Crutchfield is feeling.
  • Cloud Nothings – Life Without Sound – fifth studio album from the lo-fi Cleveland outfit that tones down some of the sharp edges of their previous releases. A minor departure from their previous sound doesn’t necessarily mean a change of pace; a slightly more mature sound is played with the ferocity that Cloud Nothings is known for.  I really enjoyed this album and the direction that Cloud Nothings veer towards.  Though the last two albums are killer, I liked the slight switch up, while still maintaining their distinct sound.
  • Delicate Steve – This Is Steve – the third album from songwriter and guitar player Steve Marion, under his musical pseudonym Delicate Steve. I wasn’t sure what I was in for when I first went to play this album; what drew me to it was the artist’s name and album cover.  So sometimes I choose music to listen to like I pick out wine; if the name and artwork capture me, I am in.  What I came upon was a pleasant instrumental album with contagious hooks sung to me by Delicate Steve’s guitar.
  • The Molochs – America’s Velvet Glory – debut album from the Los Angeles trio, led by lead singer and songwriter Lucas Fitzsimmons. A collection of songs that combine the sound of 60’s garage rock, a sprinkle of folk, and a dash of the Velvet Underground.
  • Son Volt – Notes of Blue­ – eighth album from the Jay Farrar brainchild Son Volt. This album builds on much of what Son Volt, and for that matter Farrar, are known for; well-crafted songs both musically and lyrically, with Farrar’s reflective lyrics.
  • Tinariwen – Elwan – African refugee band hailing from northern Mali are back with their seventh studio album. For this album and the one prior, Tinariwen had to record in exile due to ongoing conflict plaguing their country.  I was introduced to Tinariwen on their album Tassili, which was an instore play at Barnes & Noble when I was working there.  I was immediately enthralled with their sound and though I don’t quite understand what is being sung, it doesn’t matter, the music is just that good.
  • the XX – I See You – third album from the indie pop group hailing from London. Five years since their last album, the XX have returned with a moody, atmospheric vibe, but push their sound forward with a fuller sound than was seen on the first two releases.  I had mostly considered the XX as mood music to be heard in the background, but on this album there is much more to sink your teeth into.

Music 2016

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I have been doing this year end music blog over the past few years, this year I decided to switch things up a little and give myself the challenge of writing a new music blog for every month.  Needless to say, I have lived up to my slacker stoner stereotype and the monthly/bi-monthly music blog fell by the wayside.

I had grand ambitions of doing a big year end blog where I talked about all the bands I listened to and failed to write a blog for.  However, with the holidays along with family and friends from far and near around, the grand ambition floundered and died.  I think I have come up with a method for staying on top of my music writing for the year 2017, so we’ll see how it goes.

Still, I will give you my favorite album of the year and the list of albums I listened to along with the Spotify playlist, I hope you enjoy.

My favorite album of the year was Sturgill Simpson’s A Sailor’s Guide to Earth.  A country singer who you would be hard pressed to find on any modern country station.  This is the follow up to his 2014 critically acclaimed album Metamodern Sounds in Country Music.

What I love about this album is the way all the songs weave together to form a cohesive story that turns this album into a must listen.  Simpson pens a letter to his son using an array of musical stylings from his arsenal.  Whether it’s the southern rocker “Brace For Impact (Live A Little)”, straight country “Sea Stories”, the soul bearing “Oh Sarah”, or the out of left field cover of Nirvana’s “In Bloom”, there is something for everyone on this album.  Interspersing horns courtesy of the Dap-Kings throughout the album adds an ear pleasing texture to these well written tunes.

Other albums from 2016 that have tickled my eardrum (along with a link to a Spotify playlist with a song from each album that stood out):

Perry’s Playlist 2016

Julune Jamboree
May’s More Than Casually Late Music Blog
March & April Music Awesomeness
February Music
January Jams

  • Allah-Las – Calico Review
  • Avers – Omega/Whatever
  • Band of Skulls – By Default
  • The Beatles – Live At The Hollywood Bowl
  • Benji Hughes – Songs in the Key of Animals
  • Black Mountain – IV
  • Broods – Conscious
  • Brothers Osborne – Pawn Shop
  • Car Seat Headrest – Teens Of Denial
  • Chairlift – Moth
  • Childish Gambino – “Awaken, My Love!”
  • David Bowie – Blackstar
  • Fitz and The Tantrums – Fitz and The Tantrums
  • Frank Ocean – Blonde
  • The Frights – You Are Going to Hate This
  • Fruit Bats – Absolute Loser
  • Glass Animals – How To Be A Human Being
  • Hanni El Khatib – Savage Times Vol. 1-5
  • Hayes Carll – Lovers and Leavers
  • Heron Oblivion – Heron Oblivion
  • Holy Fuck – Congrats
  • Iggy Pop – Post Pop Depression
  • Jack White – Jack White Acoustic Recordings
  • Jagwar Ma – Every Now & Then
  • JEFF The Brotherhood – Zone
  • Jim James – Eternally Even
  • The Joy Formidable – Hitch
  • Joywave – SWISH
  • Kanye West – The Life Of Pablo
  • Kendrick Lamar – untitled unmastered
  • The Kills – Ash & Ice
  • King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Nonagon Infinity
  • KING MUD – Victory Motel Sessions
  • Lera Lynn – Resistor
  • Lewis Del Mar – Lewis Del Mar
  • The Lumineers – Cleopatra
  • M83 – Junk
  • Margo Price – Midwest Farmer’s Daughter
  • Miike Snow – iii
  • Mudcrutch – 2
  • Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Skeleton Tree
  • of Montreal – Innocence Reaches
  • Prophets of Rage – The Party’s Over
  • Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
  • The Record Company – Give It Back To You
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Getaway
  • Santigold – 99 Cents
  • Savages – Adore Life
  • Seratones – Get Gone
  • Shovels & Rope – Little Seeds
  • Sturgill Simpson – A Sailor’s Guide to Earth
  • Sunflower Bean – Human Ceremony
  • Tortoise – The Catastrophist
  • Unloved – Guilty of Love
  • Warpaint – Heads Up
  • The Weeknd – Starboy
  • White Denim – Stiff
  • White Lung – Paradise
  • Whitney – Light Upon the Lake
  • Wild Belle – Dreamland
  • Wild Nothing – Life of Pause
  • Woods – City Sun Eater in the River of Light
  • Young the Giant – Home of the Strange
  • Yuck – Stranger Things

Julune Jamboree

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A constant refrain I have heard recently is that summer has gone by way too fast.  Granted, this is uttered every year, especially in the northeast where winter always seems to be lurking around the corner.  So soaking up as much sun as one can is always a must and it never feels like enough.  However, this summer has flown by.  I can’t believe that we are almost half way through August and I have yet to post a music blog for the summer months.  Between running the roads across the state for different shindigs and going on vacation (which, by the way, definitely check out Pittsburgh if you haven’t), I couldn’t find the time to write a blog for both June and July.  So here is another two month into one music blog, the Julune Jamboree.

  • Broods – Conscious – sophomore album from the New Zealand siblings that takes their electro-indie sound and aims it for the masses. More upbeat than its predecessor, the Notts sound more confident in their songwriting and it shows on this album.
  • Band of Skulls – By Default – English band back with their fourth album of gritty sounding, bluesy rock. The sound is familiar with crunching, in your face guitars with heavy, driving bass and drums.  Both good and bad as it is the sound you know, but doesn’t do enough to differentiate itself from the bands three previous efforts.
  • Car Seat Headrest – Teens Of Denial – prolific songwriter (this is the seventh album in the past three years) Will Toledo’s newest album, with the full backing of indie label Matador Records, brings seventy minutes of well crafted, lo-fi garage rock to your listening ears. The album tells the trials and tribulations of Joe, an adolescent trying to find his way through the world.  This has been one of my favorite albums of the year so far.
  • Fitz and The Tantrums – Fitz and The Tantrums – third album from the Los Angeles band as they shed their retro 60’s, Motown vibe for a sleeker, dancier sound. While I really enjoy the first single, “HandClap”, the rest of the album just did not capture me.  Perhaps I need to give it another, more intent listen.  Their first two albums had me hooked after my first listen through, the sound undeniably infectious.  I am a firm believer that bands do need to switch up their sound from album to album, not necessarily a complete overhaul, but little tweaks as well.  This one just doesn’t do it for me.
  • Joywave – Swish – named after one of Kanye’s probable album titles; Joywave throws everyone for a loop by repeating the song “Destruction” off their first album nine times, with differing song titles to make a message. This all leads up to the solo original song on the “album”, “Life in a Bubble I Blew”.  It feels cheap to be including this on my list of albums, but I’m doing it anyways.
  • The Kills – Ash & Ice – fifth album from the bluesy, garage rock duo, which sounds familiar, but altogether different from their four previous records. I will admit that this album did not suck me in as much as the prior albums.  I do think that the first two singles “Siberian Nights” and “Doing It to Death” are top notch and rank highly with the rest of their work; just the rest of the album didn’t capture my attention.
  • M83 – Junk – seventh studio album from the French artist. When I first heard “Midnight City” on WEQX, I thought it a decent song and it lead me to checking out the album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming.  Little did I know that I would be sucked in my M83’s mesh of shoegaze, ambient sounds, and textured pop sensibilities.  Junk is no different.  Just put it on and get lost in the sounds.
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Getaway – no slight to Josh Klinghoffer, but to me, nothing will compare to John Frusciante being the guitar player for the Peppers. Just a personal preference.  But on The Getaway, Klinghoffer’s second album with the band, it sounds as if Klinghoffer and the rest of the band have found their groove as a cohesive unit.  While still maintaining the Chili Pepper sound, there are songs that seem to have Klinghoffer’s influence; with disco and psychedelic vibes sprinkled throughout the album.  I really enjoyed this album, I wasn’t sure what to expect this time around, but this album shows that there is plenty of fuel left in the tank and a few tricks still hidden up their sleeves (or socks).

Other things that have come across my sonic radar this month:

In my traversing across New York and Pennsylvania during June and July, I found myself listening to some albums that have come out, and were on my year end listening list, over the past few years.

  • Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit…
  • Jack White – Lazzaretto
  • Lana Del Rey – Ultraviolence
  • MS MR – How Does It Feel
  • Vincent ­– St. Vincent
  • Tame Impala – Currents
  • The War on Drugs – Lost In The Dream
  • Warpaint – Warpaint

May’s More Than Casually Late Music Blog

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My favorite album for the month of May was White Lung’s fourth studio album, Paradise.  The Vancouver based bands’ newest release brings forth a more polished sound to their hardcore/post-punk nature.  Admittedly White Lung is not for everybody.  What drew me to their unabashedly, unapologetic, punch you in the face music was the swiftness in which they present their songs, leaving you in a daze and your ears ringing for more.  Their previous album did not have a song over three minutes, while the new material has a handful of songs clocking in above three minutes, but still under four minutes.  I have found this album to be more accessible than its predecessor, perhaps signaling that White Lung has found their groove and are poised for something bigger.

Other albums released in May that I had a chance to listen to:

  • The Joy Formidable – Hitch – I was a little apprehensive at first to listen to The Joy Formidable’s new album, not because I expected it to be bad, but clocking in at just over an hour, I was afraid I would come across a spot or two on the album that would seem to drag out. Perhaps it is the day and age we live in, but whenever an artist releases an album with over an hour of material, I start to assume that they did not quite cut off all the fat.  While The Joy Formidable don’t deviate too much sonically from the formula that has brought them to this point, the band’s third effort finds the lyrics taking a more introspective look than their past offerings.
  • King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – Nonagon Infinity – I cannot remember when and where I read about King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, but based on their name alone I had to check them out. Luckily for me they had a new album on the way and it is a psychedelic/prog rock tour de force.  On the Australian bands eighth release all songs flow seamlessly into one another, leaving the listener to wonder exactly where they are in the album.  The band hypes it as the “world’s first infinitely looping album”.  It is an album worth taking a couple of loops through.
  • The Seratones – Get Gone – a very solid debut album for the four piece ensemble out of Shreveport, Louisiana that melds together a blend of rock and soul with a dash of swamp water. Lead singer A.J. Haynes sounds like she would be comfortable singing any genre with her dynamic, powerful voice.
  • Unloved – Guilty of Love – I first read about this band in an interview with Butch Vig and figured if they are good enough for him to name drop in an interview, I had to check them out myself. Their debut album is a retro sound of 60’s psychedelic pop with undertones of cinematic darkness.  A great album to light a joint and sit back and relax to.

Other things that have come across my sonic radar this month:

Recently I have found myself delving into 90’s rock records and reliving my teenage years.  These are some of the albums I cut my music teeth on and have led me down this path of music love over the years of my life.

  • Pearl Jam – No Code
  • Pearl Jam – Vitalogy
  • Radiohead – OK Computer
  • Rage Against The Machine – Evil Empire
  • Soundgarden – Superunknown

March & April Music Awesomeness

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Where did the month of April go?  It seemed to slip away from me.  Before I knew it, the month was half over and I had not written a blog about the new music I listened to in March.  So I scrapped the idea of a March blog and decided to do a two month music spectacular!  Though there isn’t nearly as much new music on this list as one would think; some new releases I listened to in March really ate up a lot of my listening time and are still prominently placed atop my listening list.

Over the past two months I don’t have an album that was my favorite, but all of the albums I listened to in March are easily my favorites of the year so far.  Just a lot of solid releases that I keep coming back to on an almost daily basis and most likely I will keep coming back to these albums as the year trudges on.  So without further ado:

  • Heron Oblivion – Heron Oblivion – described as psychedelic folk-rock, which admittedly is a genre I know very little about; this band and album comes across as something far more potent than any folk band would think of putting out. This is their debut album with members from a handful of other psych folk-rock bands.  Meg Baird is the singer and drummer, providing both an angelic voice and a steady backbeat for guitarists Noel von Harmonson and Charlie Saufley to showcase their playing abilities, which is typically bouncing solos off of one another while bassist Evan Miller locks in with Baird to provide a powerful, steady groove.  These four combined make a very moody, dynamic album that provides a fantastic listen and I’m guessing a great live show.
  • Iggy Pop – Post Pop Depression – I have always known who Iggy Pop is and what his contributions to the punk and for that matter music scene in general, have meant. Yet I have never delved into his catalog as one should.  When I read that he was collaborating with Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Ages), I knew I had to listen.  Rounding out the album with Dean Freitas (Queens of the Stone Ages) and Matt Helders (Arctic Monkeys), the trio provides a lush sonic soundscape that allows Iggy Pop to move freely lyrically and tonally.  I found the album to be much more subdued than anticipated and I think it permits for a more retrospective look back at Iggy Pop’s career.  If this is indeed Pop’s final album, it is one hell of a way to go out.
  • Santigold – 99 Cents – an easily accessible, fun, and playful listen that has pop hooks littered throughout the album. Versatile song writing that weaves different genres of music together for a very cohesive sounding record.
  • White Denim – Stiff – the Austin, Texas based band is back with their sixth studio album and it is a doozy. The nine song album is over before you know it as the energetic songs flow seamlessly from one track to another.  Their intricate playing keeping the listeners attention so that you don’t miss the nuance of the notes being put forth.

Other things that have come across my sonic radar this month:

As I said before, I didn’t listen to much else other than what’s above, but there was time to listen to Prince.  A genuine, one of a kind artist that will certainly be missed, but whose legacy will carry on for future generations to appreciate.

February Music

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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.