The year’s not done offering its best new releases just yet. Witness Tame Impala‘s Lonerism, the Perth, Australia band’s eagerly anticipated second album which doesn’t for a moment fail to impress on what our Music Director, Don Yates, calls “another imaginatively crafted set of expansive psych-rock that’s both sonically adventurous and highly melodic, with densely produced songs featuring swirling, effects-laden guitars, spacey synths, fuzzy bass, rumbling drums and Kevin Parker’s dreamy, Lennonesque vocals.” Although you might not always agree with their ratings, Pitchfork gave the album a glowing and extremely rare 9.0 in its Best New Music review, and the buzz is likely to keep growing.
Also topping the list is Django Django, whose Mercury Prize nominated debut we mistakenly thought came out a couple of weeks ago. But now in stores in the U.S., the Scottish band’s self-titled LP is is sure to win you over with its “impressive set of arty, rhythm-driven electro-pop inflected with bits of surf, spaghetti western, folk, Middle Eastern and more on clever, propulsive songs combining buzzing synths, acoustic and electric guitars, choppy rhythms with lots of percussion, bleached harmonies and catchy choral chants.” And fans of Canadian rock and in particular The New Pornographers can rejoice in the new album by A.C. Newman. His third solo effort is “an often-gorgeous set of ‘70s-influenced baroque pop that’s more musically subdued and subtle than his previous releases while also containing the most personal and lyrically direct songs he’s written.” In fact, orchestration doesn’t hook you, the frequent contributions by NP cohort Neko Case certainly will.
There’s even more orchestral pop dominating the roster of this week’s new releases. After wooing listeners with a pair of EPs, LA’s Ben Schneider, a.k.a. Lord Huron, debuts “an expansive set of psych-tinged folk-pop with a reverb-drenched sound featuring jangly electric guitars and strummed acoustics, bells, handclaps and occasional tropical percussion, sunny harmonies and plenty of sparkling melodic hooks” on his Lonesome Dreams LP. New York’s Freelance Whales return with “a bigger, more polished sound, with meticulously crafted songs combining synths, guitars, horns, banjo, glockenspiel, plaintive lead vocals, impressive harmonies and soaring anthemic hooks with lyrics centering around concepts of space exploration” on their second album, and Austin based group Letting Up Despite Great Faults combine “post punk-influenced dream-pop and dance-friendly electro-pop with jangly guitars, atmospheric synths, driving rhythms, soft vocals and wistful melodies” on their sophomore effort also.
But there’s also some big sound to be found too! Toronto trio METZ debut “with a ferocious set of aggressive post-hardcore reminiscent at times of Big Black, The Jesus Lizard and other ‘90s noise-makers, featuring a grimy, bass-heavy and feedback-splattered sound with grungy, fuzz-encrusted guitars, punishing industrialized rhythms and throaty, half-buried vocals.” It’s no wonder their release comes from Sub Pop as the three dudes kick up a riot reminiscent of Nirvana’s Bleach. On another local label, Hardly Art, comes the debut of Brooklyn duo Black Marble, with “a promising set of goth-tinged post-punk with a dark, moody sound combining eerie vintage synths, melodic bass lines, propulsive drum-machine beats and Chris Stewart’s muffled, crooning baritone.” While Brooklyn-via-New Orleans band Callers return “a fine set of jazz-tinged post-punk with intricate, shape-shifting songs combining atmospheric guitars and keyboards with limber rhythms and Sara Lucas’s smoky, agile vocals.” And rockabilly pioneer and legend Wanda Jackson delivers “a strong, diverse set of fiery roots-rock, rockabilly, R&B, blues, honky tonk and more” on her Justin Townes Earle produced album covering Steve Earle, Etta James, Bobby Womack, Townes Van Zandt and others.
Check out all of these and more from the samples below before picking them up at your favorite record store:
Black Marble - A Great Design (MP3)
from A Different Arrangement on Hardly Art
Callers - Heroes
from Reviver on Partisan Records
The Calm Blue Sea - Mary Ann Nichols (MP3)
from Arrivals & Departures on Modern Outsider Records
Django Django – Default
from Django Django on Ribbon Music
Martin Eden - Versions (MP3)
from Dedicate Function on Lefse Records
Dana Falconberry - Crooked River (MP3)
from Leelanau on Antenna Farm Records
Freelance Whales - Locked Out
from Diluvia on Mom+Pop / Frenchkiss
Wanda Jackson - Tore Down
from Unfinished Business on Sugar Hill Records
Letting Up Despite Great Faults - Bulletproof Girl (MP3)
from Untogether on New Words
Lord Huron - Time to Run (MP3)
from Lonesome Dreams on IAMSOUND
Mark Mallman - Double Silhouette (MP3)
from Double Silhouette on Eagle’s Golden Tooth
METZ - Headache (MP3)
from METZ on Sub Pop
A.C. Newman - Encyclopedia of Modern Takedowns (MP3)
from Shut Down the Streets on Matador
PAWS - Miss American Bookworm (MP3)
from Cokefloat! on FatCat Records
Ty Segall - The Hill
from Twins on Drag City
Tamarin - Seems a Laugh (MP3)
from Shake The Ghost on La Société Expéditionnaire
Tame Impala - Elephant
from Lonerism on Modular
Trash Talk - F.E.B.N.
from 119 on Odd Future