Wednesday, April 30, 2014

First Listen: New Releases for April 29

An interesting new release week for us this week, let's dive right in:

Damon Albarn - Everyday Robots: Damon Albarn, lead singer of Blur and member of Gorillaz finally puts out a solo album of his own. To be completely frank, this album would be a lot better if it didn't carry the baggage of Damon Albarn with it. It's got a bit of a slow electronic feel to it which may not be the most exciting thing in the world, but it works in a lot of places. It's just...well, he's the guy from Blur and you end the album wanting more of that. It's worth a listen, but it's likely to be a little polarizing on a whole.

The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger (The GOOAST) - Midnight Sun: This is the current project of Sean Lennon and his girlfriend. I've been a fan of what Sean Lennon's been up to from way, way back when he released his first solo album through Grand Royal back in the 1990s. It appears, though, that Lennon has effectively stopped trying to pretend he's not the progeny of a Beatle and has gone full psych-pop on this latest album. This is not a bad thing, mind you - this is reminiscent of some of the best Elephant Six stuff of a decade-plus ago, and Lennon channels his father incredibly well throughout. "Animals" is a standout track for me, perhaps for the entire year in terms of songs I'm in love with, and the only flaw from the album is that its length is a little tiring on first listen. Overall, an excellent listen, definitely worth firing up.

Prefab Sprout - Crimson/Red: Prefab Sprout was pretty significant in the 1980s and they released a new album this week. It sounds incredibly dated in nearly every way, and, as someone without much context for Prefab Sprout on a whole, this isn't working for me at all. I plead ignorance on this one, folks, sorry.

Pink Mountaintops - Get Back: There is some serious rock being peddled in the latest Pink Mountaintops effort. I've listened to them before, but there's a feeling of urgency throughout this record that I don't recall hearing in the past albums. I really enjoy a lot of what's going on in this album, and it's a loud, rocking effort that is pushing a lot of the right buttons for me on first listen. Give this one a shot.

Wye Oak - Shriek: I only had a passing knowledge of Wye Oak coming into this album, but I have one friend raving about it as he's hitting their concert shortly, and Ken sent this over to me on Spotify as well, so I figured it was worth a listen. This is a really beautiful, indie-tailored synth poppy album that is just as much about the atmosphere created around it than it is about the songs. The songs themselves are great as well, with some R&B overtones mixed into a really solid, melodic effort. I need to spend some more time with this (and with them on a whole), but if you're interested in one of the more ambitious, interesting efforts of late, this is one you need to look into.

Pixies - Indie Cindy: This is a collection of recent EPs put out since Pixies reunited. To be honest, if I can't say anything nice about this, I probably shouldn't say anything at all. I never really liked the band, but even Ken didn't care much for this, so maybe we'll move on.

Pattern is Movement - Pattern is Movement: It's interesting that Pattern in Movement's first album in 8 years comes out at the same time as Wye Oak's latest, as they both occupy a similar sonic space. While Wye Oak is charting new territory, however, Pattern in Movement appears to be continuing in making some fine electronically-influenced music. Worth a listen in any regards with the note that it's really not going to be for everyone. If you have an interest in the sort of synthy indie pop that's become a thing, give this a listen.

Old 97s - Most Messed Up: I've been a fan of The Old 97s for some time now, and, even as a fan, it's been pretty clear that their recent albums haven't been awesome. Their new album, though, is sort of a back-to-basics effort with a lot of good alt-country rock going around, along with a little more urgency and profanity to go with it. I'm really enjoying this album, and I'll be interested to see how much I like it in comparison to their other efforts and other albums this year, but for now this is a high recommendation for me this week.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Gonga and Beth Gibbons of Portishead Cover Black Sabbath

At no point while listening to "Glory Box" or "Sour Times" did I hope to hear the same singer covering "Black Sabbath." Apparently Gonga did, since they brought Beth Gibbons of Portishead in for their cover of the immortal Black Sabbath song. Gonga covering Sabbath is perfectly obvious. Portishead? Not such an obvious choice, but it works brilliantly. Gibbons brings a certain touch to the cover that stays true to the original while still sounding like Beth Gibbons of Portishead. Also, for equal measure they named their version "Black Sabbeth."

Check out the video for "Black Sabbeth" below, which, of course, borrows video from the classic horror film Black Sabbath.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Boston Calling Unveils Their Ridiculous September Line Up

I mean... seriously? Look at that line up. I don't care what Boston Calling has had before, this roster may never be topped ever again. Plenty for old fogies to check out without feeling self conscious (The Replacements, Neutral Milk Hotel, Nas + The Roots, The Hold Steady, Spoon) plus a chance to see some of the up and comers we've been obsessed with without being the Creepy Old Guy. I've wanted to check out Childish Gambino and Girl Talk for a while now, and this may be the chance! And you can check out this Lorde character without being the only adult without a child. Plus, I mean, The Replacements! Neutral Milk Hotel! Nas + The Roots would be kick ass enough by themselves, but Nas with The Roots as his backing band???? Insane. I think The National might be the weak link as far as headliners go, but considering they curated the thing, I can let it slide.

The September 2014 edition of Boston Calling takes place in City Hall Plaza on September 5, 6, & 7. 3 Day and 3 Day VIP passes go on sale today at 10:00. Head on over to for tickets and more info. You can also watch the line up announcement video below.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

First Listen: New Releases for April 22

There's literally something for everyone out this week. The question is whether or not you want to cop to it...

DConstructed: I suppose we should get this out of the way first. Disney has decided to capitalize on the EDM craze with an album of remixes and reimaginations of classic (and not so classic) Disney tunes. If you needed to hear a club version of "Let It Go," or a dubstep version of "Circle of Life," you've come to the right place. I'm sure there's an audience for this, and, given some of the names they got on board to work on this, it's an impressive attempt even if the end result is, frankly, a little horrifying. For me, the highlight was BT (who I'm a longtime fan of) remixing a song I didn't know from a Toy Story short I didn't see. One's enjoyment of this might ultimately come down to your tolerance of the current state of electronic music or how married to the original Disney songs you are. I don't know, for sure, but, well, this is a thing that exists.

Farewell Transmission: The Music of Jason Molina: We also have a tribute album this week to the music of Jason Molina, singer/songwriter for Magnolia Electric Co. and Songs: Ohia who passed away last March. I was never much of a fan of his work on a whole - it was good, but it wasn't for me - and I felt the same way in many regards about this tribute. There's a number of interesting acts on this tribute album, and there are some winners, but this might ultimately be a fans-only type thing.

The Whigs - Modern Creation: I always think The Whigs sound differently than they actually do, so I had initially passed this album by until Ken sent it over to me and it turns out that it's pretty solid indie rock from start to finish. They're not doing anything unique in a lot of ways, but in terms of really solid songs (the first and last songs on the album in particular stand out), you can't really go wrong with this. It's their fifth album, and it's made me want to seek out their other four to see what I've been missing, so this might be worth a listen.

Eels - The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett: The latest Eels album is another more introspective-sounding affair closer to Electro-Shock Blues more than anything else. I'm an Eels fan for sure, but (unlike most, I think) my least favorite albums have been the more slower-paced ones, and this one is no different in that regard. My own biases aside, the songwriting is still tight and the album is a near-perfect length, but the end result of this album for you may be based less on the songwriting and more on what flavor of Eels you enjoy the most.

Black Prairie - Fortune: My favorite album this week is probably Black Prairie's Fortune. It's not fair to call them "The Decemberists Minus Meloy" given the rest of the lineup, but what's interesting about their new album is that they've translated the folky, rootsy feel of their previous records and made a highly-accessible, extremely memorable album from start to finish. The first two tracks in particular are both outstanding, and the band barely slows down the rest of the way. Some of the strongest songwriting I've heard all year, and it's racing to the top of my favorite albums so far this year. A mandatory listen.

Iggy Azalea - The New Classic: I've heard her name around for some time now, but I just kind of wrote Iggy Azalea off. My tastes in rap/hip-hop are pretty much all over the place, I have a tendency to play it kind of safe, and I have an internal bias right now that pretty much assumes every female rapper is like Nicki Minaj (who, "Monster" aside, I don't really enjoy) (and, on the Minaj thing, it's like how every female rapper in high school/college for me was Missy Elliott). I have a large gap in my knowledge in this area, and I fully understand that to be the case independent of anything else. Listening to this album for the first time, I genuinely loved it. I liked a lot of what I was hearing, I find Azalea's delivery to be interesting, and there are a lot of solid songs even beyond what appears to be a hit song in "Fancy" coming down the pike. Reading up on her more today, I see that she is a very polarizing figure, being a white woman from Australia who appears to be rapping with an American southern accent, but taken solely on the merits of the music from someone who is not your standard rap listener? This is a solid piece of work. It's worth a listen, at the very least.

Teen - The Way and Color: I had never heard of Teen prior to this release, and it came recommended from a music blog I trust. This is very stilted, jagged indie rock, and I'm not really sure how to even discuss this one, to be honest. It's worth a listen, but you'll know within minutes whether it's for you. As for me, I might give it one more try, but it wasn't working for me more due to the style than the merits. Think more along the lines of tUnE-yarDs.

Margot and the Nuclear So and So's - Slingshot to Heaven: The latest album from Margot and the Nuclear So and So's is a quiet affair that surprised me a bit, as I've always perceived them as a band that is a lot louder than the quieter, more deliberate affair that Slingshot to Heaven is. It's a good album, but it's not, on first listen, especially memorable. If you're a fan of the band, you might find a lot to like here. If you're looking for something a little quieter compared to most of the rest of this week's offerings, it's also a decent place to look. Overall, worth a listen at least.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Everclear and Liz Phair Collaborate on the Worst Version of "This Land Is Your Land" Ever Made

For the new documentary Farmland, which takes a look at young Americans running farms providing food, the filmmakers decided to record a new version of Woody Guthrie's iconic "This Land Is Your Land." Of all the musicians who have recorded versions of the song in recent years, they somehow chose Everclear and Liz Phair. I have no idea how this happened, since neither act seems to scream organic farming, but it exists. Liz Phair continues her decent into complete irrelevance, going from indie rock goddess to an attempt at top 40 to singing off key in this live performance. I'm sure the studio version is better, but this is a professional singer we're talking about here. This isn't even enough to muster polite applause at your local karaoke dive bar. And Everclear hasn't been cool since... Well, anyways...

I'm sure Farmland is an important documentary, and we should all watch it to become more aware of where our food comes from. You can check out their website for more information. As for the song, listen below if you must. Or you can go here to watch Tom Morello do a better version, complete with the forgotten verse.

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - "She's On It/Jack the Ripper"

Tomorrow is Record Store Day, which usually isn't a big deal for me. It may be blasphemy, but the vast majority of Record Store Day releases are old releases put out in a new format, and I don't want to stand in line for the chance to pay a premium for music I already own. However, this year there is at least one Must Have. The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion has been performing a cover of the Beastie Boy's forgotten classic "She's On It" in a medley with Link Wray's "Jack the Ripper" for a while now, and they recorded an official version of it for release on Record Store Day. It's everything you want it to be. Anytime one of my all time favorite bands records a cover of one of my other favorite bands, I need to have it.

For a list of other Record Store Day releases, head on over to their official website. To check in with Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, check out their website.

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion / She's On It - Jack The Ripper from Patrick McCarthy Aka Patsy Crime on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

First Listen: New Releases for April 15

A slow week for us here, but some tax day goodies came out this week that you might like to hear.

The Secret Sisters - Put Your Needle Down: I fell in love with The Secret Sisters with their first album, which had some nice traditional songs interspersed with some fun originals. Their second album is more of the same in many regards, but doesn't feel like an old retread like some other sophomore efforts do. If you enjoyed The Haden Triplets and their effort this year, you might end up liking this one more.

Jessica Lea Mayfield - Make My Head Sing...: When I first dove into the roots/bluegrass genre a few years back, Jessica Lea Mayfield is a name that popped up semi-regularly. I loved her second album in particular and I've been rather impatient in waiting for a new one to come out. This album is certainly a far cry from the rootsy stuff she started out with, and even her previous album showed signs of trying to branch out and find her sound. That exploration continues with the new album, one that might end up being somewhat polarizing for longtime fans but is actually pretty solid from start to finish, moreso if you leave your expectations of the sound at the door. Definitely one to watch.

Ingrid Michaelson - Lights Out: Ingrid Michaelson was an old Amie Street find, and I know "Be OK" got some radio play. I saw her live, and she's much more popular than you'd think, but I'm still surprised she's not the most famous one out there, it's weird to me. Even so, I felt Human Again was a bit of a misstep for her, but Lights Out is a really solid pop-singer-songwriter album. A lot of memorable songs ("Warpath," "Girls Chase Boys"), not a ton of filler, it's a pretty quality album. If you don't mind a little polish on your music, this might be worth a try for you.

The Birds of Satan - The Birds of Satan: The Birds of Satan are a Foo Fighters side-project of Taylor Hawkins, an album closer to the heavier aspects of Queens of the Stone Age than anything else. I'm not really readily versed in this type of music in particular, but I did enjoy this more than I honestly thought I would. Good if you're into heavier alt-rock, better if you're looking for something different.

Dan Wilson - Love Without Fear: I still can't get over the fact that the Semisonic guy became one of the top songwriters of modern times. His first solo album had a lot of fun stuff on it, his new album also doesn't feel like a collection of stuff Adele wouldn't take on. Noteworthy is "When It Pleases You," a song he wrote for Sara Watkins, which is a take on the song that's quite different from the Watkins version. If you're looking for tight songwriting, this is a good place for you - "Closing Time" was just the beginning.

Duck Sauce - Quack: Your enjoyment of this album will solely be related to whether or not you're nostalgic for 1990s-era party dance music. If that sounds at all like anything you're missing in your life, you will love Quack. If, on the other hand, that sounds horrifying, you might want to skip this. For me, it's the most fun I've had with a dance record since Junior Senior all those years ago.

The Both - The Both: Probably the most anticipated release of the week, The Both is a collaboration between Ted Leo and Aimee Mann. Sometimes you hear Mann stick out, sometimes Leo, but the parts end up being more than the sum in many regards. I don't know what is missing from this on a whole, but as a big fan of Aimee Mann and a more casual fan of Leo, I really thought this might be something more exciting. This might end up being more of a grower, but for now...

Rodney Crowell - Tarpaper Sky: Longtime country singer-songwriter Rodney Crowell has a new one out. I really enjoyed his last album with Emmylou Harris, and "Fate's Right Hand" from a decade ago still gets trapped in my head from time to time, so this is a nice addition even if it's not really too groundbreaking.

The Afghan Whigs - Do to the Beast: This is the first Afghan Whigs album in over 15 years, and they're a band I completely missed out on. They probably released their previous album right before I started getting into indie rock at all, so this album felt very much like a revelation. A lot of crunch to go with some great songwriting, and they feel like a band in its prime as opposed to a band shaking off some cobwebs. Having never listened to them before, it's a reminder for me to look back at their old stuff, but if you're wondering whether this reunion effort is worth it, it's a solid yes from me.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

First Listen: New Releases for April 8

It's like the New Release Gods knew it was my birthday, because this was probably the best week for new releases we've had in 2014 in terms of overall quality. Something for everyone, so let's dive right in.

Mean Creek - Local Losers: Mean Creek feels like a throwback to 1990s alt-rock, and I basically love it. Within the first thirty seconds of the opening song, "Cool Town," you know exactly what you're getting, and, at only around 20 minutes in length, the album doesn't overstay its welcome. A perfectly wonderful album. Ken highlighted one of their songs last fall.

De Lux - Voyage: I don't really remember when the indie dance thing took off. It was before Franz Ferdinand, for sure, but I do remember Moving Units being the band I most associated with it before bands like The Bravery or The Killers made it huge. De Lux is straight out of 2004, and it sounds pretty great even if it's idiosyncratic in a lot of ways and, at 50+ minutes for 9 songs, far too often taking forever to get there. A servicable indie rock record that's certainly worth a listen.

SOHN - Tremors: SOHN is the name of a European electronic producer, this is his first album, and it's pretty great if you're into the sort of electronic stuff that isn't EDM that's been hitting the scene as of late. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and listening to the album for the first time really had me from the start. Definitely a good use of your time.

Tweens - Tweens: Arguably the album of the week here at If It's Too Loud, Tweens is a perfect blend of pop punk and the whole angry girl rawk from years past. It's got some immediacy to it, it's melodic, it's loud without being grating, and their cover of The Teardrops's "I'm Gonna Steal Your Boyfriend" at the end is a magnificant topper to an already solid listen. If you decide to check out one band this week, give Tweens a shot.

School of Language - Old Fears: Maybe my personal favorite album of the week, School of Language's second album kind of defies my ability to describe it. It's not electronic, it's not really indie pop, but this side project of Fields Music (which I don't find especially accessible on a whole) is extremely enjoyable. I'm kind of in love with this album in a way that isn't exactly challenging, but is perhaps more...difficult? I don't know, but I know I like what I'm hearing.

EMA - The Future's Void: My most anticipated album of this week is EMA's The Future's Void. I really, really enjoyed Past Life Martyred Saints for the ambitious, flawed album that it was, even if "Milkman" has been stuck in my head for almost three years. This followup takes a similar route to many other strange-sounding acts by embracing some more mainstream sounds, but EMA hasn't lost the sensibility that makes her sound so different from the rest of the stuff out there. It's still a sonic soundscape, just a lot more melodic. I never thought I'd hear anything like "When She Comes" from her in particular. Absolutely an album that's worth your time this week even if you find it's not your thing.

Joan Osborne - Love and Hate: The album title of Joan Osborne's new album really personifies my relationship with her music. I loved "St. Theresa" before they radio-glammed it up, everyone loved "One of Us," not enough people heard her version of "Cathedrals" (and that might be a good thing). The rest of her stuff? Meh. The new album doesn't sound like what your brain thinks Joan Osborne sounds like if you know three of her songs very well. It's a little more ambitious, a little louder, a little less mainstream. Unfortunately for me, Osborne can't escape that she's Joan Osborne. I listened because I was curious, and I'm not really convinced I need to hear more.

Screaming Females - Live at the Hideout: Of the three venues I've seen live music in Chicago, The Hideout has a special place in my heart. Live albums don't always do the trick, but something about this production works. You get the immediacy of the music, and you really get the way that The Hideout's sound can be filled out. Ken raved about their live show earlier this month, and now that I've heard this and know that I missed them when they were literally 10 minutes down the road, I'm kind of regretting it. One of the better live albums I've heard.

The Mary Onettes - Portico: I feel like I've been listening to The Mary Onettes for a long time, but this synthpop group from Europe just hasn't been around long enough for that to be true. This is not quite an EP, but not quite a full album, either, but it's still a pleasant, unassuming listen. If it didn't come out at the same time as SOHN, I might feel differently about it, though.

RIP Ultimate Warrior

The Ultimate Warrior, iconic WWE wrestler, passed away last evening suddenly. He had recently come back into the wrestling fold and seemed to have exorcised a lot of the demons surrounding his tenure there.

This isn't a wrestling blog, but I highlight his death for two reasons: One, he had one of the great intro themes of all time, one that went right along with his energy and action in the ring as well as being so obviously a product of its time in the late 1980s.

Two, because it reminded me of the Warrior's participation in a Phil Collins music video. Maybe you don't have the nostalgia for Phil Collins that I do, but that's fine. Look out for Gilbert Gottfried as well!

Rest in peace, Warrior. My childhood wouldn't have been the same if you weren't part of it.

Courtney Barnett Covers the Lemonheads' "Bein' Around"

I really don't know anything about Courtney Barnett, but when you cover the Lemonheads you're almost guaranteed to have me check it out. "Bein' Around" might be my least favorite Lemonheads song, but it's still a Lemonheads song. It's not that it's a bad song, but it just seems to be the one song that always gets played at every Lemonheads/Evan Dando show. 

Courtney Barnett has a really fresh take on the song. Gone is the slight country drawl in Evan's original, replaced by a dreamy, more ethereal sound. It's a way to make a song I've heard roughly 10,000 times new again, and is totally worth a listen.

To learn more about Courtney Barnett, check out her website. For more information on what Evan Dando and the Lemonheads are up to, check out their criminally out of date website. (Also, I have listened to some of her own music. It's pretty spectacular. Go here to watch her beyond great "Avant Gardener."

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Benjamin Booker - "Violent Shiver"

Ever since it was announced that he was playing the Newport Folk Festival, I've been obsessed with Benjamin Booker. With only two videos on all of YouTube, you couldn't help but wonder where he came from, and listening to his music was a revelation. It combines equal parts Delta Blues and the MC5. It's a combination that doesn't break new ground while somehow sounding completely fresh and vital.

Today, we finally see the premiere of a new official video from Benjamin Booker for the song "Violent Shiver." It's a song that showed up on a previous YouTube video, but it means that we're that much closer to an official release. You can even now download the song off iTunes. I absolutely can't wait for this album, or even an official release date for it.

Right now, you can go over to Benjamin Booker's page on the ATO Records website for more information. We can all hope that an album release in Fall 2014 means as early in the fall as possible.

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Julie Ruin and Screaming Females, Flywheel, Easthampton, MA 4/1/14

I've been dying to see The Julie Ruin ever since the band announced they existed, so when they're tour finally came to New England, I knew I had to go. Unfortunately, their Boston date didn't work with my schedule, but luckily they were starting the tour in Easthampton, MA, so I headed west for the show.

The Flywheel is an odd, yet cool venue. It's an "arts collective" that is housed in the former town hall. They have a bunch of art classes offered, and I'm pretty sure the room bands play in is used as a daycare during the day. There are even bins filled with blocks and kids' toys in the corner. It's an all ages venue, which means the crowd was young. Really young. Luckily, there were enough solo middle aged guys like myself milling about to keep the creepy old guy factor down to a minimum. Plus, it really was an all ages show. At one point I found myself between a 60 year old woman and a 10 year old girl. Not the usual club gig.

Screaming Females opened the show with a 45 minute set. I've been into them for a while, but I've never quite made it out to see them. I completely regret that now. Led by Marissa Paternoster, Screaming Females tore through songs such as "Rotten Apple" with a vengeance. Marissa plays guitar with the passion of Kurt Cobain mixed with the guitar solos of J Mascis. J Mascis was even at the show and moved right in front of the stage during their set to watch her play. When absolute legends are that interested in your technique, you're doing something right. Their sound is on the more aggressive side of early 90s alternative mixed with punk and melodies. They're definitely worth braving an all ages show for.

I assumed the kids would start filing out after Screaming Females set, but they stayed and were even more enthusiastic for The Julie Ruin, exploding as soon as Kathleen Hanna took the stage. The Julie Ruin are much more fun than Bikini Kill, while still keeping the political side of things (Kathleen Hanna introduced one song by saying "This one's about identity politics."). Live I heard more of a B-52s sound that I somehow missed on the album. Kathleen was pretty chatty and clearly enjoying being back on stage. At one point she told a story about inadvertently getting free yoga from a women's cancer center. With only one album and one EP for a catalog, they reached back for a Bikini Kill song, "This Is Not a Test," and one from Le Tigre, "Eau d'Bedroom Dancing." Absolute highlights of the show included "Oh Come On" and "Cookie Road."

For more information on the tour, check out the websites for both Screaming Females and The Julie Ruin

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

First Listen: New Releases for April 1

This new release period was really, really annoying. On top of everything else with this week, the new Nickel Creek (the only album I really wanted to hear this week) isn't on Spotify yet, so I'm stuck with, frankly, a lot of underwhelming stuff this week. Ah well, I listen to it so you don't have to, right?

Steel Panther - All You Can Eat: Listen, there's definitely a part of me a few years ago that really liked what Steel Panther was doing. The joke band doing overly sexualized hair metal, however, has really run its course for me, and the wit behind it just feels gone for me. If you're still into it, I won't judge at all, but you'll know VERY quickly if this is still your thing within a few songs.

Cloud Nothings - Here and Nowhere Else: Cloud Nothings are a bit of a buzzy band. They seem to have settled into this not-quite-punk thing that comes across as more noisy than revolutionary for me. Whatever genre you want to put them into, this feels like a natural evolution from their previous album (which also didn't wow me), so this might be another one of those things that I'm just not getting.

Thievery Corporation - Saudade: Thievery Corporation has done a sort of bossa nova jazzy electronic thing for some time, and Saudade is their attempt at the Brazilian genre of the same name. It's actually pretty good overall, assuming you're into this sort of thing. It's absolutely worth giving a shot.

S. Carey - Range of Light: S. Carey is the name of the drummer for Bon Iver, and the album is a bit of a folky take overall without the weird Bon Iverian vocal stylings. It's good, but nothing in it especially stands out in my mind. For fans of folky stuff of Bon Iver, I think.

Manchester Orchestra - Cope: Now this is probably the highlight of the week for me. I've been enjoying Manchester Orchestra ever since hearing "I've Got Friends" from a few years ago. This album is about as epic as indie rock can generally get - the right mix of melodic rock and some heavy crunch. It's absolutely a highlight of recent releases, and anyone who is looking for a good rock record should really check this one out.

Kaiser Chiefs - Education, Education, Education and War: Kaiser Chiefs are another one of those bands that had a killer, killer debut album and haven't quite done the trick for me since. "Ruby" was a great song a few years ago, but, overall, I've found them to not quite reach the heights of their first attempt. The new album certainly has some moments, but lacking a standout track or any real solid sound to push it across the finish line...

Punk Goes 90s Volume 2: Cover compilations can be very hit and miss. Outside of the cover of Natalie Imbruglia's "Torn," I have nothing nice to say about this at all. Moving on...

White Hinterland - Baby: White Hinterland sounds like a musical act that still isn't quite sure what they're trying to be. This sounds like a knock against them here, but it's not. While I think this album feels uneven, it's still very interesting as a whole, and I enjoy listening to it as a somewhat difficult album. The problem I have is that it comes across as almost incomplete or unwilling to take the plunge into the genres its dabbling in. That will keep it from being a classic, but it's still a solid album to listen to overall.

Dillon - The Unknown: I've been trying to figure out how to describe Dillon for days. It's not quite singer-songwritery, it's not really electronic, it's accessible with a degree of difficulty attached to it. The piano that starts the album doesn't lend itself to the beats that persist through much of the album. In a sense, it's a very mysterious record; different from everything around it. It's refreshing, for sure, but whether I love it remains to be seen.

Band of Skulls - Himalayan: The British outfit Band of Skulls comes back with some more melodic indie rock to close things out this week. Between this and Manchester Orchestra, it's a good week for indie rock, as this one is a little less rawk and a little more melodic. It feels right in line with their earlier work, perhaps it's more mainstream sounding in some places, but overall, perhaps my favorite album of the week. Definitely worth a listen.