Out This Week 3/8

Our Music Director, Don Yates, calls Parts & Labor‘s new album, Constant Future, “an excellent set of anthemic noise-pop that rivals their previous 2007 high point, Mapmakers.” Of course, let’s not forget 2008’s KEXP favorite “Nowheres Nigh,” still a staple in DJs’ playlists — the Brookyn trio’s fifth album is full of similar noisy yet hooky songs and happens to be one of a good bunch of excellent new releases making their way to record stores this week. Also, out today is the third album by Wye Oak, whose return Don calls “their most sonically adventurous set, a beguiling blend of fuzzy, at times shoegazerish guitars, atmospheric electronic textures and Jenn Wasner’s smoky vocals.” The Baltimore duo has been a slow burn over the past four years, earning critics’ approval but not the recognition they deserved. That’s all changing now with Civilian, as major media outlets like The Washington Post deems them one of this year’s “Bands with Buzz.” And Time Without Consequence — as if! We’ve waited a long time (five years) for KEXP favorite Alexi Murdoch to follow up that album and finally Towards the Sun is out to fix your folk-pop jones.

Alexi, by the way, will be our guest today as he performs LIVE on KEXP during the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole. Tune in at 3PM!

In other new releases, R.E.M. returns with their followup to the high-energy Accelerate. The new one, Collapse Into Now, (their 15th!) is a more dynamic effort, containing both garage rockers and folky ballads, with their friends Patti Smith, Eddie Vedder and Peaches all making appearances. In all, it has a familiarity that R.E.M. fans will approve. Also out this week are a couple of debuts by bands we’ve featured here recently: Parisian duo Jamaica‘s Daft Punk/Justice-produced No Problem is full of crunchy guitar riffs and 80’s throwback melodies, and Austin trio Ringo Deathstarr‘s Colour Trip is full of U.K.-inspired noise rock recalling most immediately The Jesus & Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine.

Portland’s Starfucker (or STRFKR, depending on your constitution) is back, after experimenting with some name changes, with their second album of tasty electronic dance pop. Stars’ frontman Torquil Campbell and long-time friend Chris Dumont are back as Memphis and their third album is full of darkly melodic songs. Fans of Low Frequency in Stereo and Casiokids will be thrilled with Norwegian band The Megaphonic Thrift‘s debut of “shoegazerish psych-rock reminiscent of Sonic Youth and th’ Faith Healers, combining blistering guitar noise with some sharp melodic hooks.” Many critics are calling Philadelphia singer/guitarist Kurt Vile‘s fourth album, Smoke Ring for My Halo, his best yet, and Beach Fossils follow up their debut with a new EP of lo-fi pop gems.

You can get all of these and more, including the latest solo release from X’s Exene Cervenka, at record stores today. Check Largehearted Boy’s list for a complete lineup and sample the songs collected here:

The Albertans – The Wake (MP3)
from New Age on Ernest Jenning Record Co.

Ancient Astronauts (MP3)
from Into Bass and Time on ESL Music

Richard Ashcroft – Are You Ready (download)
from The United Nations of Sound on Parlophone

Beach Fossils – Calyer (MP3)
from What A Pleasure EP on Captured Tracks

Buffalo Tom – Arise, Watch (MP3)
from Skins on Scrawny Records

Carol Bui – Geisha Means Open Minded (MP3)
from Red Sea on Ex Oh

Exene Cervenka – Already In Love (MP3)
from The Excitement of Maybe on Bloodshot Records

Dinosaur Bones – Royalty (MP3)
from My Divider on Dine Alone Records

Empress Hotel – Bells Ring (MP3)
from Empress Hotel EP on Park the Van

Grails – I Led Three Lives (MP3)
from Deep Politics on Temporary Residence

Jonny Greenwood – original soundtrack
from Norwegian Wood on Sony

Jamaica – Jericho (MP3)
from No Problem (digital) on Cooperative USA/Downtown Music

Matt Lowell – Swan Lake (MP3)
from Swan Lake EP (self-released)

The Megaphonic Thrift – Candy Sin (MP3)
from Decay Decoy on Sonic Unyon

Memphis – Apocalypse Pop Song (MP3)
from Here Comes A City on Arts & Crafts

Alexi Murdoch – The Light (live)
from Towards the Sun on Zero Summer

Parts & Labor – Rest (MP3)
from Constant Future on Jagjaguwar

The Pauses – Go North (MP3)
from A Cautionary Tale on New Granada

Raekwon – Shaolin Vs Wu-Tang
from Shaolin Vs Wu-Tang on Ice H20

Luke Rathborne – Dog Years (MP3)
from Dog Years EP (self-released)

Luke Rathborne – I Can Be One (MP3)
from I Can Be One EP (self-released)

R.E.M. – ÜBerlin
from Collapse Into Now on Warner Bros

Ringo Deathstarr ‒ So High (MP3)
from Colour Trip on Sonic Unyon Records

Rival Schools – Wring It Out
from Pedals on Photo Finish/Atlantic Records

Shotgun Jimmie – Late Last Year (MP3)
from Transistor Sister on You’ve Changed Records

The Sound Of Growing Up – The Kite (MP3)
from Drifting (self-released)

STRFKR – Death As A Fetish (MP3)
from Reptilians on Polyvinyl Records

Typhoon – The Honest Truth (MP3)
from A New Kind of House on Tender Loving Empire

Kurt Vile – Jesus Fever (MP3)
from Smoke Ring for My Halo on Matador

Wye Oak – Civilian (MP3)
from Civilian on Merge Records

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