Out This Week 6/25

Topping this week’s list of new releases is the third album by Chicago band Smith Westerns. While the band’s 2011 release, Dye It Blonde, drew tons of comparisons (and a tiny bit of flak) for its fuzzy glam nods to Nuggets-era gems, their new release finds the band aiming for what our Music Director, Don Yates, describes in his own review as “a softer, more restrained sound that’s masterfully executed with ringing guitar riffs, sparkling synths, piano, strings, wistful melodies and often-dark lyrics.” Call it growing up or call it evolving, the Chicago based group has certainly deepened their sound on this new release without losing sight of many of the inspirations that first turned them on to rock and roll. Seattle group Rose Windows also cultivate a sound steeped in history. Their debut, released on Sub Pop today, but a regular in KEXP rotation for the past months as a self-release, is what Don Yates calls “an impressive album of dark psych-rock incorporating elements of ‘60s-folk-rock, Native American and Middle Eastern music and more on haunting, ritualistic songs combining stately rhythms, trippy psych-rock guitars, searing organ, flute, violin and Rabia Qazi’s strong, husky vocals that are at times reminiscent of Grace Slick. You’ll find heavier riffs here than on a Fleet Foxes album, that’s for sure! (Be sure to tune in this morning at 11AM for an in-studio session with Rose Windows live on KEXP!) Other must-buy releases out this week come from Bass Drum Of Death, a group started by, and mostly composed and recored by, Oxford, MS’s John Barrett, whose sophomore LP is “a strong set of punkish garage-pop with a raw, lo-fi sound featuring fuzzy guitars, pummeling rhythms and lots of catchy pop hooks”; and veteran soul/gospel singer Mavis Staples, whose latest release is her second in a row produced by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, and features superlative voice paired with “spare and restrained accompaniment (with many of the instruments played by Tweedy himself) on this often-potent set of songs ranging from traditional gospel to three Tweedy originals along with covers of Low, Funkadelic, Nick Lowe and the Staples Singers.”

Also among this week’s new releases are a handful of debuts you’ll want to check, including the first from Ann Arbor, MI, band Pity Sex, whose debut is “a promising set of ‘90s-influenced, shoegazerish rock with a reverb-drenched sound combining fuzzy, overdriven guitars, airy male/female vocals and catchy song hooks”; Portland group Hausu, who debut with “an intense, fairly wide-ranging set of post-hardcore, ranging from stormy, dynamic ragers to melodic post-punk, combining dual interweaving guitars, driving rhythms, gloomy vocals and some sharp song hooks”; Light Heat, the new project of Philly’s Quentin Stoltzfus (Mazarin), who starts off with a “well-crafted album of densely layered, hook-filled psych-pop”; and Palms, the new group formed by Deftones’ Chino Moreno and former members if ISIS.

Other recommended new albums out this week come from Lightning Dust, the side project of Vancouver, BC’s Black Mountain members Amber Webber and Josh Wells, whose latests is “a fine set of dreamy electro-pop with atmospheric synths, Wurlitzer piano, gentle beats and Webber’s plaintive crooning”; Nigeria’s Femi Kuti (son of Fela), who returns on his seventh album “to the more undiluted Afro-beat sound of his early records, featuring a fiery set of consistently strong songs with funky, percolating guitars, stabbing horns, interlocking rhythms, call-and-response choruses and politically charged lyrics”; legendary indie group Sebadoh, whose first release in 14 years is “a vibrant five-song EP of punkish, emotionally turbulent pop-rock” and predates a new LP due out this Fall; and Jesus Lizard frontman David Yow, whose solo work is dark and eerie to say the least.

You’ll also want to check out the latest from Doomtree rapper Dessa, the dusky-voiced Portland-based singer and songwriter Alela Diane, living legend Booker T., NYC disco-funksters Escort, young UK raunch-rockers The Orwells, dark-sounding San Francisco electronic artist oOoOO, and the return of Statistics, the Denver Dalley (Desaparecidos)-led project that had long been on hiatus.

You’ll find these and many other great new releases, including the soundtrack to the recent Big Star movie, Nothing Can Hurt Me, in record stores today. Before you head out, sample from this list of the many of the week’s new releases here:

Matias Aguayo – El Sucu Tucu
from The Visitor on Comeme

Jay Arner – Don’t Remind Me (MP3)
from Jay Arner on Mint Records

Bass Drum of Death – Shattered Me (MP3)
from Bass Drum of Death on Innovative Leisure

Big Star – Official Trailer
from Nothing Can Hurt Me (Soundtrack) on Omnivore Recordings

Booker T. – Fun
from Sound The Alarm on Stax Records / Concord Music Group

Dessa – Call Off Your Ghost
from Parts of Speech on Doomtree

Alela Diane – About Farewell
from About Farewell (digital only) on Rusted Blue Records

The-Drum – Sirens (MP3)
from Contact on Audraglint

Escort – Barbarians (Tiger & Woods Remix)
from “Barbarians” (single) on Escort Records

Gambles – Far From Your Arms (MP3)
from Far From Your Arms on GMBLS

Hausu – Chrysanthemum (MP3)
from Total on Hardly Art

Honeyslide – Drippin'(MP3)
from “Drippin'” / “Deep Architecture” on Critical Heights

Femi Kuti – The World is Changing
from No Place For My Dream on Knitting Factory Records

Light Heat – And The Birds…
from Light Heat on Ribbon Music

Lightning Dust – Loaded Gun
from Fantasy on Jagjaguwar

Bob Marley – Three Little Birds (Remix)
from Legend: Remixed on Tuff Gong

The Melodic – On My Way
from On My Way EP on Anti- Records

oOoOO – Mouchette
from Without Your Love on Nihjgt Feelings

The Orwells – Other Voices
from Other Voices EP on Canvasback

Palms – Patagonia
from Palms on Ipecac Recordings

Pity Sex – Wind-Up
from Feast of Love on Run for Cover

Rose Windows – Native Dreams (MP3)
from The Sun Dogs on Sub Pop

Sebadoh – All Kinds
from The Secret EP on Joyful Noise Recordings

Smith Westerns – Varsity (MP3)
from Soft Will on Mom+Pop

Mavis Staples – Can You Get To That
from One True Vine on Anti- Records

Statistics – Nineteen Ninety Nine (MP3)
from Peninsula on Afternoon Records

Transplants – Come Around
from In a Warzone on Epitaph Records

Wise Blood – Universe Is Blessed (MP3)
from id on Dovecote Records

David Yow – Thee Itch
from Tonight You Look Like a Spider on Joyful Noise Recordings

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