Out This Week 6/12

Following an 18-year hiatus, soul singer Bobby Womack returns to top this week’s list of new releases with The Bravest Man In The Universe, which easily ranks among the legendary singer’s best albums to date. Following the approach he took with the late Gil Scott-Heron’s excellent final record, producer and XL Recordings head Richard Russell, along with co-producer and Blur/Gorillaz-leader Damon Albarn, adds moody electronics and trip-hop beats to create, what our Music Director, Don Yates, calls “masterful set of electro-soul” whose “spacious, modern production makes a surprisingly effective showcase for Womack’s grainy, deeply soulful vocals and new songs of spiritual struggles and triumphs.” Also back this week is the London-based electronic group Hot Chip, who return with their fifth album, In Our Heads. Across their twelve years as a band, Alexis Taylor and co. have become one of music’s most dependable acts, constantly churning out album after album full of tightly produced and sleek electropop, “incorporating elements of house, techno, funk, R&B/soul and other dance-friendly styles, fleshed out with chirpy synths, atmospheric guitars, funky bass lines, smooth vocals, heartfelt lyrics and gleaming pop hooks.” In Our Heads continues that winning streak, providing eleven catchy new tunes for fans to nod their heads to, in the British band’s “warmest, most inviting release to date.”

KEXP DJs and listeners are super-excited about the latest from Swedish singer-songwriter Kristian Matsson, a.k.a. The Tallest Man On Earth, whose third full-length “is another stunning set of spare, melancholy folk-pop, though with a more relaxed, less strident and slightly more produced sound, with gentle fingerpicking acoustic and muted electric guitar along with occasional pedal steel accompanying his reedy, nasal vocals and dark, elliptical lyrics.” Kristian is one of the most engaging live performers, certainly one of the best single performers you’re likely to ever see on stage, and you’re not going to want to miss him when he comes back to town, just as you’re not going to want to not know his new songs by then — so grab There’s No Leaving Now at your local record store. And if you’re looking for more rootsy rock, be sure to also pick up the self-titled album by These United States, their fifth actually, which is also “one of their strongest releases to date, blending psych-rock, folk-rock and other classic styles into tuneful, hook-filled rock gems with help from a large cast of collaborators including Deer Tick’s John McCauley, Phosphorescent’s Matthew Houck, The Mynabirds’ Laura Burhenn, Cotton Jones’s Michael Nau, Ben Sollee and over a dozen other indie musicians.”

Other new albums that should be filling up your shopping cart include the new one from Guided By Voices — only his second so far this year! Yes, the reunited classic lineup of the band is already in full productivity mode and offer this solid 21-track album of “crunchy power pop and thundering hard rock to trippy psych-pop and stripped-down folk-pop.” Another ridiculously prolific artist, Howe Gelb, returns with his project Giant Giant Sand — no, that’s not a typo. The extra “Giant” means more musicians and more great music “weaving atmospheric-folk, country, spaghetti western, mariachi, Tex-Mex, cumbia, noir-ish torch-pop, psych-rock, soul/R&B and ’50s rock ‘n’ roll into dusty, haunted songs fleshed out with acoustic and electric guitars, horns, strings, pedal steel and more.”

If you’re looking for more in the way of psych-tinged garage-pop or just something that rocks, check out the latest from Milwaukee trio Jaill, or the Neil Young-y vibe of Austin’s The Young, or the second album from San Francisco’s Magic Trick, the bedroom project of The Fresh & Onlys frontman Tim Cohen. Meanwhile, a wide variety of more electronic pop comes this week from Oxford, Mississippi’s Dent May, who trades ukulele for synth and guitar; from Cookie Duster, the dance-friendly electro-pop project of Broken Social Scene’s Brendan Canning; from darkly mesmerizing Brooklyn duo The Hundred In The Hands; and from Seattle songwriter Nouela, formerly known of People Eating People, who offers “a fine set of sparse, piano-driven pop that’s not far-removed from Fiona Apple or Seattle’s Kaylee Cole.”

There’s a much, much more waiting for you in record stores today, including Jimmy Fallon‘s music-based comedy album (Tebowie!), the latest from British crooner Richard Hawley, a re-envision version of The Morning Benders now called POP ETC, the latest from fan-favorites Metric, and a new album of moody gothy folk pop from Emily Jane White. You can sample all of these below before heading out to go get you some of your own.

Jonathan Boulet – You’re A Animal (MP3)
from We Keep The Beat, Found The Sound, See The Need, Start The Heart on Modular

Bouncing Souls – Static
from Comet on Rise Records / Chunksaah Records

Capitol 6 – Cold Ride (MP3)
from Pretty Lost on Light Organ Records

Cookie Duster – Two Feet Stand Up
from When Flying Was Easy on SQE Music

The Driftwood Singers – Tennessee Honey (MP3)
from The Driftwood Singers on Trailer Fire Records

Jimmy Fallon – Tebowie
from Blow Your Pants Off on Warner Bros. Records

Fallon Cush – Honey Honey (MP3)
from April (self-released)

Future of the Left – Sheena Is a T-shirt Salesman
from The Plot Against Common Sense on Xtra Mile

Giant Giant Sand – Detained (MP3)
From Tucson on Fire Records

Guided By Voices – Class Clown Spots a UFO (MP3)
From Class Clown Spots a UFO on Guided By Voices, Inc.

Richard Hawley – Leave Your Body Behind You (MP3)
from Standing at the Sky’s Edge on Mute

Hot Chip – Night and Day
from In Our Heads on Domino

The Hundred In The Hands – Faded
from Red Night on Warp Records

The Inner Banks – Ana Peru (MP3)
from Wild on Dag! Records

Jaill – Perfect Ten (MP3)
From Traps on Sub Pop

Kandodo – Laud the Hyena (MP3)
From Kandodo on Thrill Jockey

Magic Trick – Torture (MP3)
from Ruler of the Night on Hardly Art

Dent May – Fun (MP3)
from Do Things on Paw Tracks

Metric – Youth Without Youth
from Synthetica on Metric Music International

Nouela – Fight (MP3)
from Chants on The Control Group

Phoebe Jean – Day Is Gone (MP3)
From Heartbreakers on Lentonia

POP ETC – Live It Up
from POP ETC on Rough Trade

Sea of Bees – “Broke” (MP3)
From Orangefarben on Team Love

Stepdad – Must Land Running (MP3)
From Wildlife Pop on Black Bell Records

The Tallest Man on Earth – 1904 (MP3)
From There’s No Leaving Now on Dead Oceans

These United States – Born Young (MP3)
From These United States on United Interests

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs – Tapes & Money
from Trouble on Casablanca Records

Variety Lights – Silent Too Long (MP3)
from Central Flow on Fire Records

Various artists – ITAL’s Bola Megamix (MP3)
from Bola Remixes on Awesome Tapes From Africa

volcano! – Long Gone
from Piñata on The Leaf Label

Emily Jane White – Requiem Waltz (MP3)
from Ode To Sentience on Antenna Farm

Bobby Womack – Please Forgive My Heart
from The Bravest Man In The Universe on XL Recordings

Wood Ear – Leave My Walls (MP3)
from Steeple Vultures EP on Churchkey Records

The Young – Livin’ Free (MP3)
from Dub Egg on Matador

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