Out This Week 3/19

It should be no surprise that several of the artists topping this week’s list of new releases were making appearances at SXSW last week, but two of them were also previewing their new songs live on KEXP during our broadcast from Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop. Billy Bragg and Palma Violets both gave memorable performances. Bragg, the veteran songwriter, worked with veteran producer Joe Henry (an accomplished songwriter himself) on his 13th studio album, and first in five years, which our Music Director, Don Yates, says that Tooth and Nail “is steeped in world-weary melancholy and accented with shades of country, folk and soul. While Bragg’s albums have often veered from the political to the personal, those two sides of his music have perhaps never been as seamlessly blended together as they are here.” The younger Brits Palma Violets are taking cues from their elders and debut with “a promising album of ramshackle, psych-tinged garage-rock, featuring a gritty, reverbed sound with trebly, ringing guitars, droning organ, impassioned vocals and strong melodies.” Their performance at our SXSW broadcast was as ferocious as it was precocious. Brooklyn-via-Alabama artist Matthew Houck (aka Phosphorescent) was also making the rounds at SXSW. We didn’t catch up with him there, but Phosphorescent will be playing new songs live on KEXP tomorrow morning (Wednesday, March 20) at 7AM PST from the Cutting Room Studios in NYC. We can’t wait, as his new, sixth album “is a gorgeous set of atmospheric folk-rock with a lush, airy sound using a variety of instrumentation from guitars, strings, brass, piano and pedal steel to synths and drum machines to accompany Houck’s trembling vocals and emotionally vulnerable lyrics.” Duluth trio Low skipped the SXSW madness but will be on the road soon touring their latest. The Invisible Way, out this week, moves in a new direction regarding production — Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy took the reins to provide “a spare, haunting sound that hearkens back to their earlier albums, though it stands out from those albums due to the addition of prominent, rumbling piano along with a greater emphasis on Mimi Parker’s vocals.”

Other new releases you’ll want to pick up this week come from LA group Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, whose sixth LP “is a generally darker, more moody take on the band’s hooky psych-rock,” influenced and inspired by the death of frontman Robert Been’s father Michael (who was the lead singer of ‘80s band The Call and also BRMC’s sound engineer and mentor); NYC artist Marnie Stern, whose latest “features a less densely textured and more direct and melodic sound that’s still propelled by her frenetic, finger-tapping guitar style”; LA collective Fol Chen, whose third album “is a fine set of adventurous electro-pop with glitchy beats, haunting melodies and singer Sinosa Loa’s breathy, sometimes manipulated vocals”; former frontwoman of Boston band Come Thalia Zedek, whose first album in five years “is another fine outing of moody, blues-tinged rock combining rumbling electric guitar, viola and piano with Zedek’s nicotine-stained vocals”; William Tyler, the guitarist of Nashville band Lambchop, whose second solo album “is an accomplished set of expansive psych- and folk-tinged guitar instrumentals, highlighted by Tyler’s beautifully intricate finger-picking style”; and Port Townsend group Solvents, now a duo, who offer on their latest “a warm, intimate recording of acoustic folk-pop pairing some gorgeous violin melodies with Bramson’s warm vocals reminiscent of Josh Tillman.”

Check out all of these, and the first of two reissues of Yo La Tengo bassist James McNew’s project Dump, plus more great new albums at your favorite record store today, but not before you sample these tracks first:

And So I Watch You From Afar – Like a Mouse
from All Hail Bright Futures on Sargent House

Black Pus – 1000 Years (MP3)
from All My Relations on Thrill Jockey

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Let The Day Begin
from Specter At The Feast on Vagrant Records

Boy + Kite – Fall (MP3)
from We Can Go Anywhere We Want (self-released)

Billy Bragg – No One Knows Nothing Anymore
from Tooth & Nail on Cooking Vinyl

Brandt Brauer Frick – Plastic Like Your Mother (feat. Om’mas Keith)
from Miami on !K7 Records

The Cannanes – Crawler (MP3)
from Small Batch EP on exro.fm / Lamingtone

Dump – Superpowerless (MP3)
from Superpowerless (reissue) on Morr Music

Ensemble Pearl – Painting on a Corpse (MP3)
from Ensemble Pearl on Drag City

Fol Chen – I.O.U. (MP3)
from The False Alarms on Asthmatic Kitty

Colleen Green – Heavy Shit (MP3)
from Sock It to Me on Hardly Art

Heavy Hawaii – Airborne Kawasaki (MP3)
from Goosebumps on Art Fag Recordings

Kait Lawson – Memphis (MP3)
from Until We Drown on Madjack Records

Low – Just Make It Stop (MP3)
from The Invisible Way on Sub Pop

Julia Massey & The Five Finger Discount – Top 100
from Five Letters From Far Away (self-released)

The Ocean Blue – Sad Night, Where Is Morning?
from Ultramarine on Korda Records

Palma Violets – Best of Friends
from 180 on Rough Trade

Phosphorescent – Song for Zula
from Muchacho on Dead Oceans

Purling Hiss – Mercury Retrograde (MP3)
from Water on Mars on Drag City

Solvents – Careless Step (MP3)
from Ghetto Moon on Bee Resin Records

Marnie Stern – Year of the Glad
from The Chronicles of Marnia on Kill Rock Stars

Suede – It Starts And Ends With You
from Bloodsports on Ingrooves/Fontana

William Tyler – Cadillac Desert
from Impossible Truth on Merge Records

Thalia Zedek Band – Winning Hand
from Via on Thrill Jockey

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One Comment

  1. Face The King
    Posted March 19, 2013 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Love, “Let The Day Begin,” from the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. The band sounds like southern hard ambient rock fronted by Bono. I suppose that’s the best way I can describe them at the moment. Anyways, my band Face The King is heavily inspired their sound and it would be AWESOME to share the stage with them one day. Sadly enough I don’t own any of their albums but I am going to Spotify this right now.

    Hopefully they’ll be coming to New York some time soon? Fingers crossed.

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