Release Roundup for June 2nd

Rocky: Landon’s got a bloody demanding job and is not permitted, most Tuesdays, to blather online about new music. So this Release Roundup is an open invitation to any readers who want to pitch music released today: contribute to the comments and we’ll make this a proper conversation.

First release up: Dawes, All Your Favorite Bands.

These guys have made a place for themselves in the landscape of modern hipster rock with earnest, poetic, guitar-driven songs. All Your Favorite Bands delivers on that expectation right from the start, as “Things Happen” (which was released in March) might just be the best bloody song you’ll hear all year and it’s chorus of “Let’s raise a glass to all the people you’re not speaking to” is most certainly the best lyric you’ll hear. It’s worth featuring again, so I will below.

The rest of the album is subtle and simple and so, so good. There are some surprising elements, like a bluesy female backup chorus on “I Can’t Think About It Now.” But mostly it’s Dawes being Dawes, and you just need to get it in your ears.

What new releases today have you jazzed? Florence + The Machine? The Indigo Girls?

Release Roundup 013

A chit chat about the week’s new releases in real time. Newest entries are at the top; scroll down to the beginning.

Rocky (Tuesday, 8:15 am PST): Are you ready for this? Please tell me you didn’t know about this yet. Are you ready for this?

That, my friend, is the first song on the new Waterdeep album. Yes, THAT Waterdeep, the one that we both worshiped at our Kansas college in the late 90’s, the one that hails from Wichita, the very one to whom you owe your original singer/songwriter inspiration after a midwinter performance at the New Earth Coffeehouse in Kansas City, and the one for whom your band opened at a show in the spring of ’98.

The nostalgia is killing me.

As for the album itself, it’s what we knew they did. Lori Chaffer whispers out carefully arranged lyrics backed by Don’s guitar, a piano, and some (shall we say artisinal?) percussion. It always worked, only now the field is more crowded by the likes of The Head And The Heart. Also, the religion in their music was always super nuanced, but I can’t detect it here at all after one listen.

So, you like?

Release Roundup 012

A chit chat about the week’s new releases in real time. Newest entries are at the top; scroll down to the beginning.

Rocky (Wednesday, 2:02 pm pst): Okay, then. You kicked around Louisville for awhile, so I’m sure you’re jazzed about the new My Morning Jacket effort. “Big Decisions” is doing good things for me.

Landon (Wednesday, 11:52 am pst): I have tried to like Best Coast in the same way I tried to like Buffalo Tom in college. Intellectually, I get what folks see in Best Coast, but it just doesn’t connect with me. There’s a garageband feel to it that I’ve never gotten into.

Rocky (Wednesday, 8:34 am pst): The images of you “grinning like a fool” and “cackling with glee” are a lovely way to start my morning. Thank you.

You may be right about those textural decisions. I’m not paying close enough attention. But I have to say that it’s not blowing me away. I clearly have far less emotionally invested than you do in Marcus and the boys, but still, the texture of the album isn’t disrupting my expectations or catching me off guard in the way that, say, the new Death Cab album is doing. I’m missing the Easter eggs, I think.

Okay, so you’ve got an album out this week by a band you’re irrational about, and so do I: Best Coast’s “California Nights.” I wouldn’t love these guys as much as I do if I didn’t live where I live, dig? Their whole vibe is a raspberry from the Golden State to the frozen masses. Even when their songs aren’t about the beach and LA, the music makes you want do hit the 405 with the top down.

“Heaven Sent” and “Feeling Okay” were released last earlier this year. Here’s my favorite new discovery from “California Nights” so far:

They make is sound so easy. Are you into this, or does it lack sufficient angst for your tastes?

Landon (Wednesday, 7:54 am pst): I fully acknowledge that the Mumford backstory plays into my response. It’s similar to my strong positive reaction to Field Report’s Marigolden last year. Because I knew where they had been, the new disc made my day. You, having not spent much time with them, weren’t as impressed. Narrative is all, baby.

I chatted up a friend on Facebook about the album who thinks that what Mumford has done is simply replace banjos for electric guitars. I had to disagree. As I listened to the album I was grinning like a fool because of specific textural decisions made in each and every song I listened to. They made arrangement choices that could only be accomplished by a shift in instrumentation. At one point I swore I heard a banjo, and cackled with glee. I also think their song structure throughout the full album is more nuanced than anything they did on SNM or Babel.

Rocky (Tuesday 8:45 am pst): I don’t know about you, but for me with this album it’s . . . it’s . . . it’s in the eyes.

I’m about halfway through it myself, and I like it. The pieces I like the best so far are the ones I’ve already heard, most notably “Snake Eyes.” Which makes me wonder about this whole industry practice of releasing individual tracks weeks, even months, before the full album releases. Because if I’ve been tracking records as they’re released, then when I get the album the first thing I do is listen to the records I haven’t heard yet. I’d almost rather just hear the whole thing at once. Is anybody doing that?

I don’t know how I would feel about Wilder Mind if I didn’t know Mumford and the whole back story. If this were the first you’d heard of these guys, would you find it so compelling? Or does the well-known drama around the transition away from mandolins and banjos add to your enjoyment?

There are a couple other albums to get to this week, but let’s stay on Mumford for a minute.

Landon (Tuesday 8:08 pst): One word: Mumford.

I’m slack jawed. This album (and I’m not even all the way through it) is incredible. Here’s what does it for me: I can hear the influences, but I can’t name them. Genesis? INXS? Certainly not Coldplay as many are wont to suggest. But Holy WOW.

This disc goes beyond what the three released singles would have ever suggested. I’m wildly impressed.