Hardly a season goes by without some sort of release from Robert Pollard or his reunited band Guided by Voices, and among the highlights of this week’s list of new releases is the third GBV album of 2012. So what makes this so special? Our Music Director, Don Yates, thinks it might be “the strongest of the bunch,” featuring among “half-finished sketches” other songs that “sound like fully-formed GBV gems that range from anthemic prog-rock and crunchy power pop to melodic psych-pop and sparse acoustic folk.” And speaking of seasons, it’s almost “tis’ the season,” and Chicago songwriter/composer Sufjan Stevens may be quiet as a mouse when it comes to his proposed state-themed series, he’s been overly prolific with his holiday music. Silver and Gold: Songs for Christmas collects five EPs worth of material, recorded between 2006 and 2010, and features “a mix of Sufjan originals and Christmas traditionals, with the wildly diverse sound ranging from orchestral folk-pop and traditional choral to edgy electro-rock and twisted punk.” And the good news to the humbugs out there: it’s not all directly Christmas related. Plus, the set features fun stickers, booklets and lots of other eye candy. Even the Grinchiest Sufjan Stevens fans will enjoy.
Also out this week, if you want to keep stuffing your stocking, is a new EP from Brooklyn duo, School of Seven Bells, full of “rhythmic dream-pop with fuzzy synths, atmospheric guitars, propulsive, occasionally tribal rhythms and breathy vocals”; the seventh album by UK band Clinic, who darken their sound with “a fine set of moody trance-rock with eerie synths, hypnotic, occasionally motorik rhythms and spooky vocals”; and the equally spooky third self-titled album by Toronto duo Crystal Castles, who ditch the Gameboy goth for a more ferocious, computer free sound. Sweden’s El Perro Del Mar continues “to move away from the ’60s-influenced sounds of her earlier recordings to a more modern electro-pop sound reminiscent at times of Lykke Li” on her fourth album full of “chilly synths, propulsive dance rhythms, ethereal vocals and melancholy lyrics”; and Portland’s Eternal Tapestry weaves yet another “mind-melting set of expansive, mostly instrumental psych-rock jams, with freewheeling guitar solos, psychedelic organ and jazz-tinged rhythms” on their second album this year.
It’s a week for songwriting veterans as well, as Brian Eno, Soundgarden, The Rolling Stones, and Sonic Youth all have new albums out, either as new material, compilations or live recordings. Trent Reznor’s relatively new project How to Destroy Angels — with his wife, Mariqueen Maandig, and long time friend/collaborator Atticus Ross — have finally put out the EP promised a year ago, and Jim Jarmusch & Jozef Van Wissem — the acclaimed indie director and the acclaimed lutist/minimalist/composer — have joined forces for a second album of experimental music cinematography.
All this and more, including an early Mudhoney concert filmed and printed on DVD, await you in stores this week. Don’t forget to sample these recommended releases before you go!
Bambi Lee Savage – Oh Loneliness (MP3)
from Darkness Overshadowed (self-released)
Bear Colony – Flask Retort (MP3)
from Soft Eyes on Esperanza Plantation
Books On Tape – Super Dr. (MP3)
from Retired Numbers on Sorry Juniper!
Clinic – Misty
from Free Reign on Domino Record Co.
Crystal Castles -Affection
from III on Casablanca Records
El Perro Del Mar – Hold Off The Dawn
from Pale Fire on The Control Group
Brian Eno – Lux 1 (exerpt)
from Lux on Warp
Eternal Tapestry – When Gravity Fails (MP3)
from World Out of Time on Thrill Jockey
Guided by Voices – She Lives In An Airport
from The Bears for Lunch on Guided by Voices Inc.
How to Destroy Angels – Keep It Together
from An Omen EP on Columbia Records
Lust For Youth – Behind Curtains
from Growing Seeds on Sacred Bones
MMOSS – Another Dream (MP3)
from Only Children on Trouble in Mind
Mudhoney – If I Think
from Mudhoney: Live in Berlin 1988 (DVD) on !K7 Records
Oh No! Yoko – Mimi Ashi (MP3)
from Mimi Ashi on Alcopop! Records
The Rolling Stones – Doom And Gloom
from GRRR! on ABKCO Music & Records and Universal Music Group
School Of Seven Bells – Secret Days (MP3)
from Put Your Sad Down EP on Vagrant Records
Social Studies – Away For The Weekend (MP3)
from Developer on Antenna Farm Records
Sonic Youth – Intro/Brave Men Run (in my family)
from Smart Bar: Chicago 1985 on Goofin’ Records
Soundgarden – Been Away Too Long
from King Animal on Universal Republic
Sufjan Stevens – Silver & Gold
from Silver and Gold: Songs for Christmas, Volumes 6-10 on Asthmatic Kitty
Jozef Van Wissem & Jim Jarmusch – Etimasia
from The Mystery of Heaven on Sacred Bones Records
The Weeknd – The Zone (ft. Drake)
from Trilogy on Republic Records/XO
Haze Factory – A Bit of Redemption
from Hercules & Love Affair – DJ-Kicks on !K7