As a quick note, I am keeping up with the Future albums. I delayed it last week because he was putting out an album this week, and now I'm delaying this week because he apparently has ANOTHER album coming out Friday of this week. So yeah, I'm aware of it.
Artist: Julian Lage & Chris Eldridge
Album: Mount Royal
Quick Description: Gorgeous rootsy folk music.
Why You Should Listen: If you like the sort of stuff we get excited about here, you need to listen to this.
Overall Thoughts: The one problem with the amount of folk-style music we cover here is that there does tend to be a lot of sameness to the music. This isn't a bad thing at all, but when an album jumps out at you the way Mount Royal does, it forces you to pay attention. For me, the guitar playing is sneaky gorgeous, and the vocals are just as solid (especially as a music listener who tends to struggle with male folk voices). Lead track "Bone Collector" sets a solid base for what to expect, and I think my favorite song on first listen was "Sleeping By Myself," but, ultimately, I just wanted to hear the whole thing again and I can't wait to do so. This album needs to shoot to the top of your list this week.
Recommendation: One of the best of the early year so far.
Artist: Funeral Advantage
Album: Please Help Me
Quick Description: New EP from a favorite here.
Why You Should Listen: Funeral Advantage is getting better and better at what they do with every release.
Overall Thoughts: The title track from the album, as Ken noted, is perfect, and the rest of the EP isn't too shabby itself. A solid listen with a lot of good hooks throughout, this is a band to watch, and I hope this is the hint of more music coming from the band in 2017. If there was any justice in the world, "Please Help Me" would be their coming out party.
Recommendation: A fun listen working both the retro and modern sound.
Artist: Los Camposinos!
Album: Sick Scenes
Quick Description: Latest from the indie rock party animals.
Why You Should Listen: You've been keeping up with them since their breakout.
Overall Thoughts: This will always be the band that did "You! Me! Dancing!," which is a bit of a shame because they've done so much since then, but it's hard not to compare this band against such a good song. I feel like this is a standard Los Camposinos! album, which is great in and of itself, but... am I sensing a bit of emo in this? I dunno. Either way, a solid listen.
Recommendation: Good listen, but will be largely dependent on how much of a fan you are of the group.
Artist: Dirty Projectors
Album: Dirty Projectors
Quick Description: New album from the somewhat-experimental indie group.
Why You Should Listen: Dirty Projectors always do something interesting...
Overall Thoughts: ...even if it doesn't really work. I remember when they sort of broke out with Bitte Orca, but they've never grabbed me since then. I can't say I've kept up with them much since then, but this album feels more electronic and mainstream, which might not be what you're looking for from this band. On the other hand, if you've never been into them before, this might be the record to change your mind.
Recommendation: I didn't love this, but you might.
Album: Southside Suicide
Quick Description: Is it punk? Is it psych? Is it something else entirely?
Why You Should Listen: Whatever you think this might be, it's not.
Overall Thoughts: I hate to review this and give away the plot, because I honestly looked into this because of the group's name and the titles of the songs on this album. Whatever I expected and whatever I got are two entirely different things, as this was a really great record. The first song kind of hits right away with some solid instrumentation and a great melody, and I continued to be impressed throughout the entire album. Honestly, on first listen, drchan has a new fan in me, and I'm very excited to explore their back catalog and spend more time with this album.
Recommendation: One of the best of the week. Don't ignore this.
Artist: Old 97s
Album: Graveyard Whistling
Quick Description: Old 97s continue to be their old reliable selves.
Why You Should Listen: You've been happy with their recent output.
Overall Thoughts: Old 97s are a good band. I want to get that out of the way. A lot of their early stuff is essential alt-country, but it has to be said that the recent albums have felt very samey and of limited inspiration. I hate to say that, but there seems to be a formula that's working for them and it's just not wowing me. I want more "Bird in a Cage," I want more "Won't Be Home." I feel like it's been a long time since we got there. This isn't bad, it's just not great.
Recommendation: It's fine.
Artist: Wesley Stace
Album: Wesley Stace's John Wesley Harding
Quick Description: John Wesley Harding comes out from behind the curtain a bit.
Why You Should Listen: This is some solid, classic-sounding pop rock.
Overall Thoughts: I don't pretend to know why John Wesley Harding recorded this under his real name, but the influence of The Jayhawks shines through here and we get some really solid pop music out of this deal. I enjoyed this album, and I expect that if you're into some pretty radio friendly pop rock, this might be your jam. It's not going to blow your mind, but it's not trying to do that. It's just trying to be comfortable and familiar, and it works in that regard. If there's more to it than that, I'll leave it to Stace.
Recommendation: Worth a listen in a busy week.
Artist: King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard
Album: Flying Microtonal Banana
Quick Description: The prolific indie psych band has their most accessible record to date.
Why You Should Listen: You've been a fan so far but wish they were a little more straightforward.
Overall Thoughts: I find myself enjoying this band, but I find them to be a little hit-or-miss. This latest album feels more like a hit, and might be friendlier to the ears if you've been avoiding them so far. The same sensibility is throughout the record, but the result here is one I really thought was cool and inviting, and I'll definitely spend more time with them.
Recommendation: Yes, it's a shift of sorts, but you'll probably dig it.
Also out this week:
* Pissed Jeans - Why Love Now