Out This Week 6/4

It’s always hard to follow up a breakthrough records, but Japandroids have not only met any expectations that may have been placed on them, they’ve set themselves to break out to a bigger audience that no one, even the band themselves, may have ever expected them to reach. Although we’re only halfway through the year, early reviews suggest that Celebration Rock is looking to be near the top of many critics’ Best Of lists. Bigger, tighter, louder, and overall better than their already-stellar 2009 debut, Post-Nothing, the Canadian garage-rock duo take their songwriting to the next level, crafting eight charging, anthemic rockers that will please fans both in and outside of the mosh pit. This is an album that begs to be seen live, so do yourself a favor and catch them at Neumos on June 11th. This is going to be a big year for the band, so catch them while you can still experience their intense live show in a small venue.

If you’re looking for something a little less intense, pick up CrocodilesEndless Flowers. Filled with dreamy guitar-driven psych-pop, the band’s third album picks up where they left off on 2010’s Sleep Forever. Like most records of the genre, it’s a dense, encompassing listen best experienced on headphones. Music Director Don Yates describes the sound of the new album as “reverb-drenched songs combining distorted, atmospheric guitars, ethereal organ, driving rhythms and an abundance of catchy pop hooks.”

In the past few years, Patti Smith has been making more waves in the literary world with her National Book Award-winning memoir Just Kids, but with the release of her eleventh album, Banga, she’s back at her main gig. The set includes eleven new songs (including “That is the Girl”, a tribute to Amy Winehouse) and a stunning cover of Neil Young’s “After The Gold Rush.” Now over forty years into her music career, Smith is just as vibrant and poetic as she’s ever been and expect her to tour behind it after she finishes a run supporting Neil Young and Crazy Horse near the end of this year.

If you’re pining for more steel guitar than reverb, a pair of longtime alt-country heroes return this week after spending some time away from their solo careers. Rhett Miller (of Old 97’s) returns with his sixth studio album, The Dreamer, where he’s backed up by his new band, The Serial Lady Killers. Miller has described the record as a bridge between his solo work and Old 97’s, so fans of both catalogues can enjoy the new tunes when Miller plays the Crocodile on June 22nd. And while The Believer follows Rhett’s last solo album by only three years, Kelly Hogan releases her first solo album in eleven years this week with I Like To Keep Myself In Pain. Hogan has been busy collaborating with the likes of Jakob Dylan, Neko Case, and Mavis Staples for the past few years, but now her beautiful voice is allowed to take center stage. Music director Don Yates describes the album as “an emotionally powerful, beautifully crafted blend of soul, torch-pop, country and roots-rock, with accompaniment by an impressive supporting cast including legendary keyboardist Booker T. Jones, veteran soul drummer James Gadson, Dap-Kings bassist/engineer/songwriter Gabriel Roth and Chicago multi-instrumentalist Scott Ligon.” Her collaborators never outshine Hogan though, and the end result is a beautiful album that Hogan will hopefully follow up a little sooner.

Also out this week is Liars‘ sixth long-player WIXIW (pronounced “wish you”, according to the band), which finds the New York-trio moving in yet another new direction. Liars is one of rock’s most unpredictable bands, and although it could be said that they’re taking a more electronic direction, the only way to try and understand any of the Liars albums is to simply experience it yourself.

Langhorne Slim‘s new album, The Way We Move, may not be as drastic as a jump as Liars’ most recent shift, but it is another set of moving songs laid across delicately beautiful instrumentation from the Langhorne, Pennsylvania, songwriter.

A pair of 60s luminaries return this week after lengthy hiatuses with albums that stand out among their classic discographies. Neil Young and Crazy Horse‘s first album in eight years is Americana, a collection of old American folk songs re-imagined through Neil Young’s burning guitars and piercing vocals. It may sound odd on paper, but if any artist can turn “Oh Susannah” into a ragged, garage rocker, it’s Neil Young. On a different note, The Beach Boys return with That’s Why God Made The Radio, their first album with all of the living original members in decades. It may not reach the stratospheric heights of Pet Sounds, but the album is far better than anyone could have expected. Don Yates says the album’s sound is “lush, sometimes cheesy, but often-gorgeous on songs ranging from sunny beach-pop to melancholy orchestral psych-pop, highlighted by harmonies that sound as glorious as ever.”

After spending a year on the road as a part of Bright Eyes’ touring band, Laura Burhenn returns with The Mynabirds‘ second album, Generals. Produced by Richard Swift, the album takes a sharp stylistic turn from their first album, replacing the Laurel Canyon-esque pop of their debut with chilling tones and politically charged lyrics. Where so many artists come off as pretentious or pompous, the Mynabirds are moving and relatable, which is no easy feat to pull off. PUJOL also return with a socially conscious album, United States of Being, but unlike the Mynabirds, PUJOL’s sheer intensity and energy makes the album accessible for listeners who are looking to jump in the pit as well as examine life through Daniel Pujol’s thoughtful lyrics.

Also out this week are new albums are anniversary re-issues of Paul Simon’s Graceland and David Bowie’s The Rise And Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, both classics, plus new releases from Thieving Irons, Alejandro Escovedo, The Hives, Dntel, The Temper Trap and many others. Check out samples from this week’s long list of new releases before heading off to your favorite record store:

James Apollo – Two x Two (MP3)
from Little War, Little Less on Marterry Music

Jherek Bischoff – Young & Lovely (featuring Zac Pennington & Soko)
from Composed on Brassland

David Bowie – album sampler
from The Rise And Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (40th Anniversary Remastered Edition) on EMI

Crocodiles – Sunday (Psychedelic Conversation #9) – (MP3)
from Endless Flowers on Frenchkiss

Curumin – Selvage (MP3)
from Arrocha on Six Degrees Records

Dntel – Bright Night (MP3)
from Aimlessness on Pampa

Alejandro Escovedo – Man of the World (Live)
from Big Station on Fantasy/Concord

The Hives – Come On!
from Lex Hives on Disques Hives

Kelly Hogan – Plant White Roses (MP3)
from I Like to Keep Myself in Pain on ANTI-

Japandroids – The House That Heaven Built (MP3)
from Celebration Rock on Polyvinyl

KNESSET – Steady Hands (MP3)
from Coming of Age on & Records

Amanda Mair – Sense (MP3)
from Amanda Mair on Labrador

Ian McGlynn – Gold Morning Mend (MP3)
from Now We’re Golden on Bailey Park Records

mbilly – all lives lived (MP3)
from Malheur (self-released)

Michael The Blind – Sympathies (MP3)
from Are’s & Els on Alder Street Records

Mynabirds – Body of Work (MP3)
from Generals on Saddle Creek

Mystery Jets – Sister Everett
from Radlands on Rough Trade

Pomegranates – Pass Away (MP3)
from Heaven on Modern Outsider Records

Pujol – Providence (MP3)
from United States of Being on Saddle Creek

Masha Qrella – Crooked Dreams (MP3)
from Analogies on Morr Music

Kelli Scarr – Dangling Teeth (MP3)
from Dangling Teeth on Silence Breaks Records

Schmu – House of Stares (MP3)
from Discipline/Communication on Grand Theft Zamboni Records

Paul Simon – The Story of Graceland
from Graceland (25th Anniversary Edition) on Sony Legacy

Patti Smith – Banga (track discussion)
from Banga on Columbia

Swansea – A Light While She Sleeps (MP3)
from Old Blood (self-released)

Teen Daze – Brooklyn Sunburn (MP3)
from All Of Us on Lefse Records

The Temper Trap – Trembling Hands
from The Temper Trap on Glassnote/Columbia

Anna Ternheim – Walking Aimlessly (feat. Will Oldham) (MP3)
from The Night Visitor on V2/Cooperative Music

Thieving Irons – Sleepwalking Into The Ocean (MP3)
from Behold, This Dreamer! (self-released)

Neil Young – Oh Susannah
from Americana on Reprise

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