Out This Week 9/11

It’s a mind-blowing list of new releases on perhaps the biggest release date of the year, so let’s get started. You’re going to need all the time you can get to pick these up. First up, the long-awaited second album by The xx is potentially KEXP listeners’ album of the year. While it’s but one of a number of hotly anticipated this year -- others come from Dirty Projectors, Animal Collective, and Grizzly Bear -- The xx strip down their sound to a sultry murmur, like a whisper in your ear. Oliver Sim and Romy Madley Croft never sounded so lost in love. “Coexist” is an irony because they do far more than that, and Jamie xx’s production is both more stark and more complex. It is an album to engage listeners rather than prove a point, and it’s going to sit on top of a large pile in your shopping car today.

In that stack, you’ll want to include the debut pairing of David Byrne & St. Vincent. The New Wave and art rock veteran and the buzzed indie diva also known as Annie Clark make for a surprising yet apt duo, creating together what our Music Director, Don Yates, calls “a sometimes playful, sometime dark album that masterfully combines a large brass band, propulsive electronic funk rhythms, occasional bursts of Clark’s inventive, jagged guitar and two of modern music’s more distinctive vocalists into vibrant, arty funk-pop ranging from bouncy dance-floor jams to theatrical torch-songs.” Also, the latest from Portland duo The Helio Sequence can’t be missed. In the time before recording it, vocalist and guitarist Brandon Summers and drummer Benjamin Weikel were forced to abandon a flooded practice space for a more open room that encouraged a deeper creative breath. The result: “a gorgeous set of warm, spacious indie-pop with a reverb-drenched sound combining shimmering guitars, atmospheric synths, majestic song hooks and Brandon Summers’ soaring vocals” -- in other words, an album for new and old fans alike. And who would have thought that Bob Dylan could still outdo himself? Of course, he is Dylan, but even at 72 the songwriting legend can turn his 35th studio album, Tempest, into “an appropriately titled set of lyrically dark and stormy songs expertly clothed in a variety of vintage styles from lightly swinging jump blues, ‘60s soul and early rock ‘n’ roll to Roadhouse Chicago blues and ancient folk ballads, fleshed out by his razor-sharp road band.”

There’s a lot more to pick up besides that, including a few more favorites who change up their sound. Calexico‘s Joey Burns and John Convertino add “hints of New Orleans R&B to the duo’s expansive Southwestern folk-rock sound” on Algiers, their latest and seventh album, “while also incorporating some Mexican folk and other Latin styles with a rich blend of acoustic and electric guitars, horns, strings, piano, pedal steel and more.” Meanwhile, Firewater‘s Tod A completes the trek he started in 2005 and lands finally in Istanbul and Tel Aviv, to create “an adventurous, eclectic blend of hard-driving indie-rock with various Middle Eastern styles, East European folk, ska, reggae, mambo, bhangra and more, combining rock guitars and sampled loops with a variety of traditional instrumentation and politically charged lyrics” on International Orange!. And San Francisco Thee Oh Sees slow down their frenetic psychedelic garage rock on Putrifiers II, for a “diverse set ranging from motorik garage-rock to trippy psych-pop along with an atmospheric dirge or two.”

For more dirgy rock, though at much higher octane, grab the latest from U.K. group Gallon Drunk, whose frontman, James Johnston, served time as a member of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Gallon Drunk themselves have made their own path over the last two decades and The Road Gets Darker from Here finds the band less bassist and friend, Simon Wring, who died a year ago, but no less the fiery passion that they created together. Danish duo The Raveonettes continue their dark sound on their latest LP, yet with “a dark, atmospheric take on their blend of fuzzy shoegazer guitars and nostalgic dream-pop melodies that eventually ignites for album closer, ‘Till the End.’” And NC sensations The Avett Brothers find their dark side on The Carpenter, their followup to their 2009 breakthrough album, I And Love And You, and “another beautifully crafted set of mostly dark folk-pop” featuring “a gorgeous blend of acoustic and electric guitars, prominent piano and cello and occasional banjo and other instrumentation accompanying their increasingly smooth lead vocals and harmonies, wistful lyrics and strong melodies.”

More great music comes out today from Seattle band Seapony, whose second album “is another first-rate set of dreamy, lo-fi beach-pop with fuzzy, surf-influenced guitars, propulsive rhythms, tambourine, soft, hazy vocals and wistful pop melodies”; Nashville band Turbo Fruits, whose third album “features a revamped lineup and a bit more polished and dynamic take on the band’s heavy garage-rock sound, combining crunchy guitar riffs, driving rhythms and lots of potent song hooks on songs ranging from buzzing stoner-rock to melodic, ‘60s-tinged psych-pop”; Drive-By Truckers frontman Patterson Hood, whose latest is “his most personal record to date, with mostly autobiographical songs set during the troubled years of his twenties contrasted with his more settled life today, featuring “a suitably intimate, mostly low-key roots-rock sound with various guitars and piano along with occasional pedal steel, cello, violin, fiddle, banjo and accordion”; and our recent guests during our broadcast at Portland’s Doug Fir during MusicfestNW, Hello Echo; whose Coffee Cups EP continues their East meets West Coast sound.

Pick up all these and too many others to mention, including the latest from Sea Wolf, Neil Halstead and more. Be sure to sample the recommended new releases gathered below first!

Agent Ribbons - Family Haircut (MP3)
from Let Them Talk on Antenna Farm Records

The Avett Brothers - Live And Die
from The Carpenter on Universal

David Byrne & St. Vincent - Who
from Love This Giant on 4AD/Todo Mundo

Calexico - Para (MP3)
from Algiers on Anti-

Ethan Daniel Davidson - The Dogs Howl, The Caravan Moves On (MP3)
from Silvertooth (self-released)

Bob Dylan - Duquesne Whistle
from Tempest on Columbia

Field Report - I Am Not Waiting Anymore (MP3)
from Field Report on Partisan Records

Firewater - A Little Revolution (MP3)
from International Orange! on Bloodshot Records

Gallon Drunk - A Thousand Years
from The Road Gets Darker From Here on Clouds Hill Records

Will Johnson - You Will Be Here, Mine (MP3)
from Scorpion on Undertow Music

Neil Halstead - Digging Shelters (MP3)
from Palindrome Hunches on Sonic Cathedral Recordings

The Helio Sequence - Hall of Mirrors (MP3)
from Negotiations on Sub Pop

Hello Echo - Country (MP3)
from Coffee Cups EP (self-released)

Helvetia - RyBro (MP3)
from Nothing in Rambling on Joyful Noise Recordings

Patterson Hood - Better Than The Truth
from Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance on ATO

Onuinu - Happy Home
from Mirror Gazer on Bladen County Records / Bad Cop Bad Cop

Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra - The Killing Type (MP3)
from Theater Is Evil on 8ft. Records

The Raveonettes - She Owns the Streets (MP3)
from Observator on Vice Records

Sea Wolf - Old Friend
from Old World Romance on Dangerbird Records

Seapony - Prove to Me (MP3)
from Falling on Hardly Art

Snowblink - Black & White Mountains (MP3)
from Inner Classics on Arts & Crafts

Solos - All My Tribulations (MP3)
from Beast Of Both Worlds on Joyful Noise Recordings

Thee Oh Sees - Flood’s New Light (MP3)
from Putrifiers II on In The Red Records

TOY - Lose My Way
from TOY on Heavenly Recordings / Cooperative Music

Turbo Fruits - Sweet Thang (MP3)
from Butter on Serpents & Snakes

The xx - Chained
from Coexist on Young Turks

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2 Comments

  1. Jerry
    Posted September 11, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Bob Dylan’s “Tempest” is incredible. Easily his best work in awhile. That video for “Duquesne Whistle” is also rad too!

  2. Zen
    Posted September 12, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Yeah I was also surprised that Bob Dylan can still be THAT good, i mean it is really excellent to hear him once again and realize that he became even better.

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