Out This Week 6/18

K-vicker? No, K-vaker! Today’s release of Sigur Rós‘ 2013 album, Kveikur, may seem like a speedy turn-around on the heels of their 2012 LP, Valtari, but the ground-shaking sound on the new LP is what the Icelandic band has been building toward over the past few years. While the relatively placid Valtari surfaced some earlier Sigur Rós compositions, Kveikur churns out a loud moody sound. As our Music Director, Don Yates, notes, this one “finds them dramatically shifting to a notably darker, more aggressive take on the band’s ambient post-rock sound by way of an ominous blend of rumbling electric guitars, atmospheric synths, mournful strings, fuzzy bass and clattering drums accompanying Jonsi’s ethereal vocals.” Kveikur is easily one of this year’s best albums to date, but it’s certainly not the only one you’ll want to pick up this week.

Other top new releases out today include the second album from Toronto-based Austra, which, according to Don Yates, “features a fuller, more dance-oriented sound than their 2011 debut full-length, combining pulsing house and techno rhythms with icy synths, lush orchestration, a variety of percussion, choral backing vocals and [pianist/vocalist Katie] Stelmanis’ soaring, dramatic lead vocals and intimate lyrics.” Veteran Scottish band Primal Scream return with their tenth album, “a sprawling, densely layered and politically charged blend of psych-rock, dance-pop, blues rock, dub, jazz and much more.” And Mark Mulcahy, former frontman of 90’s band Miracle Legion — touted (and covered) by top shelf artists like Thom Yorke, Frank Black, The National, Dinosaur Jr., Michael Stipe, and others — is releasing his first album of new material in eight years.

Other new releases you’ll want to pick up this week come from Hollywood, FL, trio Beach Day, whose debut is “a summery, hook-filled blend of garage-rock, ‘60s girl groups and surf, combining fuzzy guitars, sultry organ, lots of tambourine, commanding vocals and sparkling pop melodies”; legendary Memphis garage band Oblivians, whose first album in 16 years is “an impressively fierce set of primal garage-punk inflected with R&B, soul, blues, vintage rock ‘n’ roll and other styles, combining a raw, lo-fi sound with scuzzy guitars, energetic rhythms and infectious song hooks”; Bay Area band The Mantles, whose sophomore effort on Slumberland Records is “a sturdy set of psych-tinged garage-pop with jangly guitars and breezy pop melodies reminiscent of New Zealand bats like The Bats and The Clean”; Austin troubadour Slaid Cleaves, whose latest is “another often-poignant set of finely chiseled folk-rock ranging from trenchant songs of social commentary in the spirit of Woody Guthrie to love songs, meditations on mortality and a loving tribute to Austin’s late yodeling country singer Don Walser”; UK project Spectrals, whose Chet “JR” White produced second album features “a cleaner, more polished sound on this solid set of rootsy power pop reminiscent at times of Elvis Costello and Dave Edmunds”; another UK group Tunng, whose fifth LP is “another warm, inventive set of pastoral pop led by sweeping arrangements that impressively fuse acoustic and electronic instruments into an inviting, organic whole, providing a fitting backdrop for their charming melodies and expansive-folk tendencies”; and Australian duo Empire of the Sun, whose follow up to their flamboyant debut is “an ultra-polished set of ‘80s-inspired electro-pop, with a huge, often-bombastic sound combining bright synths, propulsive beats, falsetto vocals, anthemic choruses and monster song hooks.”

Among local releases, long running Seattle band The Purrs carry on with their seventh album featuring “another fine set of muscular psych-rock combining jangly, shoegazerish guitars with catchy pop hooks.” Seattle label Light In The Attic presents Twitch and Gloam: Dark Sounds from the Pacific Northwest, compilation that examines a current trend in NW music that touches on dark post-punk, goth, industrial and related styles. If you like that sort of thing, there’s a CD release for Twitch and Gloam at Chop Suey on Thursday. Though not a NW artist, LitA is also re-releasing First Issue, the 1978 debut of Public Image Ltd, which previously never saw a U.S. release. You can now pick it up, along with more new discoveries and a stack of your favorites, in record stores today.

Austra – Painful Like
from Olympia on Domino Record Co.

Beach Day – Stay
from Trip Trap Attack on Kanine Records

Slaid Cleaves – Still Fighting the War
from Still Fighting the War on Music Road

Empire Of The Sun – Alive
from Ice On The Dune on Astralwerks

Natasha Kmeto – Idiot Proof
from Crisis on Dropping Gems

Lemuria – Brilliant Dancer
from The Distance Is So Big on Bridge Nine

The Mantles – Hello (MP3)
from Long Enough to Leave on Slumberland Records

Mark Mulcahy – Let the Fireflies Fly Away
from Dear Mark J Mulcahy, I Love You on Mezzotint

Primal Scream – Invisible City
from More Light on First International

The Purrs – Rotting on the Vine (MP3)
from The Boy With Astronaut Eyes on Fin Records

Said The Whale – I Love You
from I Love You EP (self-released)

Sigur Rós – Brennisteinn
from Kveikur on XL Recordings

Spectrals – Sob Story
from Sob Story on Slumberland Records

Tunng – The Village
from Turbines on Full Time Hobby

Jack Wilson – Masterplan (MP3)
from Spare Key on Fluff and Gravy Records

Various Artists:

Twitch and Gloam: Dark Sounds from the Pacific Northwest
on Flat Field Records
Nightmare Fortress – Faces in the Dark

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