There’s some pretty weird stuff out this week. Mid-season releases tend to be that way, including some of the more obscure artists who’d rather not be smothered by the big touring monsters. But maybe it’s the effect of the summer haze, the beach blanket afternoons, extended weekends, outdoor excursions, and pretty much anything to keep you out of the office, classroom, or regular workday grind. The music out this week calls for your escape.
Perhaps it’s the name, but patently cool lo-fi label Woodsist seems like it should be about as far away from its Brooklyn home as you could imagine, and over its relatively short life so far has released some excellent singles and LPs from Woods, Real Estate, Moon Duo, The Fresh & Onlys, Ganglians, Kurt Vile, Blank Dogs, Wavves, Vivian Girls, Crystal Stilts and many others. Out today is their first compilation, Welcome Home / Diggin’ The Universe, released only on cassette (yes, you read that right) and vinyl. Dig out those old boom boxes for this terrific mix of mostly exclusive tracks from Woods, White Fence, Skygreen Leopards, City Center, Nodzzz, caUSE co-MOTION! and many others.
Eclectic clip connoisseurs Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong, aka The Books, return with their fourth release and their first in five years. Shaped mostly from videos and cassettes found during thrift store digs, the songs depart a bit from the folktronic leanings of their previous releases, but The Books never lose their characteristic sense of humor. Chicago’s Mahjongg are also masters of randomized sound and pastiche, though their aesthetic lies somewhere within a collision of electroclash, punk and new age tribalism. Their fourth album is out today, and they just so happen to be playing the Capitol Hill Block Party this Friday!
Also out this week is a project from Richard Swift, mainly known for his singing and songwriting, who this time turns in another bleep and bloop-filled adventure with his purely instrumental and experimental electronic project Instruments of Science & Technology. The release is part of Asthmatic Kitty’s Library Catalog Music Series, which also includes Kristin Miltner‘s Music for Dreaming and Playing.
For a bit more rooted sounds, try the latest from These United States, the hard touring East Coast band, whose new album grew out of songwriter Jesse Elliott’s near drowning on Lake Michigan last year. While the themes of the album are occasionally a bit darker, the songs remain the same tight, upbeat rockin’ twangers they’ve always been. Be sure to tune in at noon one week from today when These United States perform live on KEXP! Even more rustic is the all female trio Mountain Man, whose debut is filled with minimal folk and lush harmonies, and the solo debut of former Be Good Tanyas’ Frazey Ford. And there’s something bad about Dan Sartain’s third release… something so bad it’s good! The Birmingham, Alabama, songwriter’s dark, swamp-bound blues rock recall a young Johnny Dowd (if he had been singing at that age) or a less vamped Lux Interior (R.I.P.).
Check out the rest of this week’s releases below, including yesterday’s Song of the Day artist Sebastian Blanck, and head over to Largehearted Boy for a complete list. And don’t forget to keep it weird!
Sebastian Blanck – Don’t Let The Darkness Gather Me (MP3)
from Alibi Coast on Rare Book Room Studios
The Books – Beautiful People (MP3)
from The Way Out on Temporary Residence
Canby – Rat (MP3)
from Rat on Aqui Estamos Records
Frazey Ford – Lay Down With You
from Obadiah on Nettwerk Records
The Gentle Guest – Judgment (MP3)
from Cast Off Your Human Form on Amble Down
Goodnight Loving – The Pan (MP3)
from The Goodnight Loving Supper Party on Dirtnap Records
Gwyneth & Monko – Good Old Horse (MP3)
from Good Old Horse EP (self-released)
Instruments of Science & Technology – Old Hanshakes (MP3)
from Music for Paradise Armor on Asthmatic Kitty
Lower Dens – Tea Lights (MP3)
from Twin-Hand Movement on Gnomonsong
Mahjonng – Miami Nights
from The Long Shadow of the Paper Tiger on K Records
Kristin Miltner – Dreaming Longing (MP3)
from Music for Dreaming and Playing on Asthmatic Kitty
Mountain Man – Soft Skin (MP3)
from Made the Harbor on Partisan Records
Norfolk & Western – Opinion
from Dinero Severo on 3 Syllables Records
Dan Sartain – Atheist Funeral
from Dan Sartain Lives on One Little Indian
The Streets on Fire – No One’s Fucking to the Radio (MP3)
from This Is Fancy on The Currency Exchange
These United States – The Great Rivers (MP3)
from What Lasts on United Interests
Matthew Young – Dummy Line (MP3)
from Traveler’s Advisory (reissue) on Drag City
Richard Youngs – Love in the Great Outdoors (MP3)
from Beyond the Valley of Ultrahits on Jagjaguwar