Out This Week 1/31

Remember when Merge Records was synonymous with genre-defining indie rock and had a whole roster of bands whose albums you couldn’t wait to get your hands on? Well, guess what? They still are, and do! The venerable Durham, North Carolina, label proves they’re still up to their game with two releases this week in heavy rotation at KEXP. Bay Area veterans Imperial Teen return with their fifth album overall and their third on Merge, Feel the Sound, which, according to our Music Director, Don Yates, “continues to refine and expand upon their infectious blend of power-pop, synth-pop and bubblegum with some trippy psych, droning prog and pretty chamber-pop,” adding, “what stands out most are the band’s gloriously bright harmonies and transportive pop melodies.” And Merge introduces a new wave of indie rock with Brooklyn trio Hospitality, whose debut of dreamy melodies, “occasional bursts of distortion, rapid time changes and other striking touches” make for “an impressive set of sophisticated indie-pop with beautifully crafted songs featuring treated electric guitars, jangly acoustics, vintage keyboards, smooth horns and synths accompanying Amber Papini’s Anglophilic vocals.” By the way, don’t miss Hospitality live on KEXP from the Cutting Room Studios NYC on Monday, February 20, at 9AM.

Peruvian band Novalima‘s latest is also out this week and it’s “another lively, seamless fusion of traditional Afro-Peruvian rhythms and instrumentation with elements of dub, Afro-beat and various electronic styles.” Fans of all ages have been lining up for the first studio album in eight years from 77-year-old Canadian living legend Leonard Cohen, whose recent work is perhaps “his best in over two decades, combining a stately, stripped-down sound steeped in noir-ish blues, rustic folk-rock, cabaret jazz, gospel hymns and other low-key, rootsy styles with his deep, weathered baritone and finely crafted lyrics that reflect on mortality and failed relationships with wry humor and a deep poignancy.” If that alone doesn’t draw you to your nearest record store, what will?

Other alluring new releases in stores this week come from the much-buzzed Belgian-Australian artist Gotye (pronounced “Go-tea-yay”), whose “adventurous and eclectic sound is fleshed out with lots of off-beat and exotic touches;” the also buzzy and controversial Lana Del Rey, a.k.a. Lizzie Grant, whose hard to deny LP is full of “stylish, ‘60s-influenced orchestral-pop, combining sumptuous arrangements with her sultry, cigarette-stained vocals and decadent lyrics;” The Asteroids Galaxy Tour, a Danish band who make ’60s influenced dance-pop combining chirpy keyboards, soulful horn stabs, funky dance beats, trippy psych-pop textures and Lindberg’s helium vocals;” and the 17-piece New York ensemble Escort, who debut with “an accomplished set of old-school disco incorporating elements of funk and New Wave in ways reminiscent of Chic and Tom Tom Club, with a potent combination of slinky strings, chunky rhythm guitar, glittering synths, Latin percussion, bright horns, pulsing rhythms and silky vocals.”

And that’s hardly all the great new new music this week. Brooklyn trio The Big Sleep are on their third album and it’s a varied mix of shoegaze, psych rock, post-rock and other noisy goodness. And Dandy Warhols frontman Courtney Taylor-Taylor accompanies his recent graphic novel with a musical project of the same name: One Model Nation, which fictionalizes 70’s German guerrillas Red Army Faction in an odd yet compelling Krautrock soundtrack.

You’ll find all of these and much more in record stores today!

Adam Arcuragi – You’d Think This Was Easy (MP3)
from Like a fire that consumes all before it on Thirty Tigers

The Asteroids Galaxy Tour – Major (MP3)
from Out of Frequency on BMG Rights

The Big Sleep – Ace (MP3)
from Nature Experiments on Frenchkiss Records

Carsie Blanton – Backseat (MP3)
from Idiot Heart (self-released)

Black Bananas – Rad Times Express IV (MP3)
from Rad Times on Drag City

Leonard Cohen – Show Me The Place
from Old Ideas on Columbia

Lana Del Ray – Born To Die
from Born to Die on Interscope Records

Elephant Micah – If I Were a Surfer (MP3)
from Louder Than Thou (self-released)

Escort – Makeover (MP3)
from Escort on Escort Records

The Ex-Girlfriends Club – The Witch (The Sonics cover) (MP3)
from Boo Hoo Hoo (self-released)

Gotye – Somebody That I Used To Know (feat. Kimbra)
from Making Mirrors on Universal Republic

Hospitality – Betty Wang (MP3)
from Hospitality on Merge

Imperial Teen – Runaway (MP3)
from Feel the Sound on Merge

The Jealous Sound – Your Eyes Were Shining (MP3)
from A Gentle Reminder on Music Is Subjective

The Library Is On Fire – They Don’t Know You (Like I Know You) (MP3)
from Works On Paper (self-released)

Night Beds – Ramona (MP3)
from Country Sleep on Southstead Records

Night Genes – Cyber Me (MP3)
from Like The Flood (self-released)

Novalima – Festejo (MP3)
from Karimba on ESL Music

One Model Nation – Animatic
from Total Werks Vol. 1 (on The End Records

PacificUV – Funny Girl (MP3)
from WEEKENDS on Mazarine Records

Prinzhorn Dance School – Usurper
from Clay Class on DFA Records

Fionn Regan – 100 Acres of Sycamore (MP3)
from 100 Acres of Sycamore on Heavenly Recordings/Cooperative Music/Downtown

Ringo Starr – Samba
from Ringo 2012 on Hip-O Records

The 2 Bears – Work (MP3)
from Be Strong on DFA Records

Underworld – Scribble
from A Collection & 1992-2012 Anthology on Cooking Vinyl

VA – Music From the Motion Picture Chronicle on Milan Records
Class Actress – Keep You

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