Out This Week 1/24

If 2012 is really the apocalypse, we’ll at least be serenaded by lots of great music as our world goes up in flames. Yes, it’s another great week of new releases filled with KEXP favorites, new and old. In fact, we’ve long been fans of Nada Surf, who return with their sixth album this week, which according to our Music Director, Don Yates, “finds them injecting some welcome additional energy and aggression into their melodic pop-rock sound via quicker tempos and some bristling electric guitar lines.” Fans needn’t fear that the New York band is trying to recapture their youth by knocking over some chairs; no, Matthew Caws’ voice is as melodic as you remember it, but the songs themselves are enlivened with a new energy, and Nada Surf clearly have much more to say.

Another project out of the Big Apple released today comes from Brooklyn’s Mauro Remiddi, who as Porcelain Raft debuts with an LP of “psych-tinged electro-pop, with a woozy, reverb-drenched sound combining trippy synth textures, glitchy beats, shoegazerish electric guitars and strummed acoustics with Remiddi’s high, layered vocals and dreamy pop melodies.” Like Nada Surf, Cleveland’s Cloud Nothings, led by young songwriter Dylan Baldi, is kicking their sound into high gear, trading their more melodic sound for a “heavier ’90s-influenced sound, with thick, distorted basslines, trebly guitars and raw drums reminiscent of Slint, the Wipers and Fugazi, along with more angsty fare like Nirvana, Sunny Day Real Estate and Jawbreaker.” This darker, dramatic shift may jolt some existing fans, but the new album has already gained high critical praise. For sunnier melodies, try the debut LP by Big Deal, the London-based duo of Alice Costelloe and Kacey Underwood, who write fuzzy pop songs sung with intimate yet charming male/female vocals.

Also out this week is the debut solo album from Craig Finn, frontman of The Hold Steady, who turns his typically great storytelling inward, highlighting his introspection with a “low-key rock sound that is more subdued, spacious and occasionally rootsy.” Swedish sister duo of Klara and Johanna Soderberg are back with the anticipated second release of First Aid Kit, featuring fuller instrumentation and production by Bright Eyes’ Mike Mogis (and guest appearances including Conor Oberst). Another band with their second release — but with nearly 18 years after the first one! — Richard Davies and Eric Matthews reunite as Cardinal, who produced a stunning and surprising ’94 album of orchestral pop predating similar sounding bands like Belle & Sebastian. The new album picks up where the duo left off, with “an impressive set of psych-tinged chamber-pop with a variety of well-crafted, beautifully textured songs.”

As if your shopping cart weren’t full enough, other new albums you can’t pass up this week include the latest album from this Portland singer-songwriter Laura Gibson, who “injects her quirky and intimate folk-pop with a fuller, more dynamic and energetic sound, using a wide variety of instrumentation to flesh out the album’s colorful tones, experimental textures and rich melodies with help from a stellar supporting cast including members of Calexico, The Decemberists and The Dodos.” John K. Samson, frontman for Canadian band The Weakerthans, debuts with his solo album, “exploring different roads in Manitoba, with the music ranging from acoustic-oriented folk-pop ballads to anthemic indie-rock.” Seattle band Brokaw also debut, with “a promising set of punkish hard-rock with a noisy, yet expansive sound incorporating elements of stoner-rock, post-punk, drone metal, funk and more.” Plus, there are excellent new releases from quirky pop band Chairlift and a kickin’ new album from guitar virtuosos Rodrigo y Gabriela, who perform with the 13-piece band C.U.B.A. You’ll find all of these and more waiting for you online and at record stores today.

Big Deal – Chair (MP3)
from Lights Out on Mute

Brokaw – Berlin Heart (MP3)
from Interiors on Good to Die Records

Cardinal – Love Like Rain (MP3)
from Hymns on Fire Records

Chairlift – Amanaemonesia
from Something on Columbia Records

Cloud Nothings – No Future/No Past (MP3)
from Attack on Memory on Carpark Records

The Darcys – Josie (MP3) (via Rolling Stone)
from AJA on Arts & Crafts

Madi Diaz – Gimme A Kiss (MP3)
from Plastic Moon on Small Horse Records

Jad Fair + Hifiklub + kptmichigan – Let’s Win (MP3)
from Bird House on Joyful Noise

Dana Falconberry – Petoskey Stone (MP3)
from Though I Didn’t Call It Came EP on Crossbill Records

Craig Finn – Honolulu Blues (MP3)
from Clear Heart Full Eyes on Vagrant Records

First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar
from The Lion’s Roar on Wichita Recordings

Laura Gibson – La Grande (MP3)
from La Grande on Barsuk Records

Gonjasufi – Feedin’ Birds
from MU.ZZ.LE on Warp

Imbogodom – Heir Looms (MP3)
from And They Turned Not When They Went on Thrill Jockey

Leila – (disappointed cloud) anyway (download)
from U&I on Warp

Cheyenne Marie Mize – Wishing Well (MP3)
from We Don’t Need EP on Yep Roc Records

Neal Morgan – Father’s Day (MP3)
from In The Yard (self-released/Drag City)

Nada Surf – When I Was Young (MP3)
from The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy on Barsuk

Pop. 1280 – Bodies in the Dunes (MP3) (via Pitchfork)
from The Horror on Sacred Bones

Porcelain Raft – Put Me to Sleep (MP3)
from Strange Weekend on Secretly Canadian

Rodrigo y Gabriela – Juan Loco (feat. CUBA) (MP3)
from Area 52 on ATO Records

John K. Samson – When I Write My Master’s Thesis
from Provincial on Epitaph / Anti-Records

Jason Urick – Ageless Isms
from I Love You on Thrill Jockey

Grace Woodroofe – Bear (MP3)
from Always Want on Modular Recordings

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  1. mac
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    you are not the real jim beckmann.

  2. Posted January 24, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    That may be true.

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