Best New Releases – Washed Out, Zomby, The Joy Formidable, Eleanor Friedberger, Monarchs, Sons & Daughters, Street Eaters
In the past year, Washed Out has continued to rise as one of the top ‘chillwave’ artists around, despite the fact that hundreds, thousands, of similar artists have tried to replicate his success with their own take on DIY indie electro-pop bedroom recordings that are heavily synthesized, full of reverb and echoing vocal tracks, dubs, computerized beats to create a lazy, warm and fuzzy (yes, that does sound a bit over-stated, but those are commonly used words to describe his music) summer time evoking tracks. In addition to extensive tours, music festival appearances, collaborations with other artists, Washed Out’s lent one of his most popular tracks, “Feel It All Around,” as the theme song for IFC’s show, Portlandia.
Although he has been pumping out tracks for some two years now, Greene only just released his debut album, Within and Without, yesterday on Seattle‘s legendary Sub Pop Records, which is home to some of the best indie artists of the day, and which also has an amazing history of having signed some of the biggest grunge and alternative rock bands of the 1990′s and beyond. Washed Out has great company on Sub Pop, including label mates such as Fleet Foxes, Blitzen Trapper, The Vaselines, The Shins, Iron and Wine, Mudhoney and many, many others. Get the album via iTunes by clicking the album title link below.
Washed Out’s debut includes tracks that were released as DIY singles over the past couple of years, including two EPs, and which helped establish him as a serious artist after a few influential bloggers featured his music after ‘discovering’ his home-made tracks on MySpace. Afterall, if Sub Pop signs an artist to their label, it is only because they are immensely talented, unique and promising. After listening to the tracks below, you can learn more about this fascinating artist from our Washed Out archives, as well as Ernest Greene’s profile in Wikipedia. We expect Within and Without to be one of the top debut albums of 2011 – and so far, based on our own spins of the album – it’s looking like it will definitely be on our 2011 Best Debut Albums list come the end of the year (which amazingly is already half over).
In addition to Washed Out, we were really impressed by the release from another similar artist, UK dubstep/dance producer Zomby. The lead single from the album, “Things Fall Apart” is one of the most delightfully electro-pop, Panda Bear-sounding tracks we’ve heard so far this summer.
The summer sounds are all over this week’s Best New Releases. In addition to Washed Out and Zomby, we’re also excited by the new solo debut of Eleanor Friedberger, who is best known as the other half of the brother (Matthew Friedberger) and sister duo known as The Fiery Furnaces. Friedberger’s appropriately named album, Last Summer (when it was recorded), according to KEXP‘s blog, “waited on a shelf until the appropriate season returned to compliment the album’s warm glow, yet its relative simplicity, compared to the duo’s sometimes difficult songwriting, harkens back to times much further than that…”
There’s an unmistakable string of great female singers among this week’s new releases, from Eleanor Friedberger to Celeste Griffin of the Austin blues folk band, Monarchs. When we heard the track, “Business Casual,” from Monarchs’ new album The Rise and Fall, we couldn’t help but to think of the similarities in her voice to that of Neko Case.
We are fans of The Joy Formidable, so the fact that they have a new live EP, appropriately titled Roarities, is also definitely worth noting, and one which we’ve already listened to in the cafe. There are a number of strong tracks on there, but our favorite is “The Greatest Light is the Greatest Shade.” Also, we’re digging new singles out this week from new albums by Sons & Daughters, Oax, Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs, Street Eaters, Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, Bones Howell, and Thomas Dybdahl. Plus, don’t miss the In Dee Mail artists with new releases this week including Fiction 20 Down,
“Love and Crashing” – Oax from This Distance
“Hair of the Dog” – Bones Howell from Hair of the Dog
This Week’s Best New Releases from In Dee Mail
As much as possible, we also like to highlight artists and bands who have new releases out this week, but they are either on no one’s radar, or they usually are flying below the radar for reasons that we never truly understand. Hundreds of artists every month submit their music to IRC, and mostly because of time limitations, we don’t get around to profiling far to many of them, or we have to simply integrate them into other mixes that we publish to the site all of the time. Because we basically have been receiving and profiling bands who send their music to us via the mail for years, it is important to our readers, because, as mentioned above, there are many cases when an artist or band gets their first ‘big’ exposure on an indie music site via IRC.
As some of you know, we usually keep these artists for the In Dee Mail series, but because of the volume of impressive music we receive all of the time, we’ve had to branch out to include the songs we are receiving in other playlists, including Best New Releases. Therefore, you can call this the In Dee Mail section of the Best New Releases since each of the artists and bands featured below sent their music to us unsolicited, and they also have new albums out this week.
Fiction 20 Down is not as ‘new’ or ‘unknown’ as many other artists that submit music to IRC, but they are also not well-known outside of Baltimore. Yet we love their finely polished reggae rock tracks very much, including the new singles, “Do Not Feed The Radio,” and “Say So Long.” The former track is perfect for a summer cookout party. With a sound similar to 311 and Sublime, Fiction 20 Down have opened for artists such as EVE 6, Supervillains, Iration, Ballyhoo, Jimmie’s Chicken Shack, and The Movement.
“Do Not Feed the Radio” – Fiction 20 Down from Do Not Feed The Radio
“Say So Long” – Fiction 20 Down from Do Not Feed The Radio