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Best New Music Releases, Week of Sept. 25th – Frightened Rabbit, Mumford & Sons, Sera Cahoone, Dum Dum Girls

statehospitalfrightenedrabbit

While this is not as big of a week for new and anticipated album releases from a gaggle of stellar artists and bands as were the first three weeks of September, there are still plenty of new albums we’re excited about, along with the lead singles from those LPs. One theme that is consistent with the singles from this week is that many can be described as dark, sad and gloomy – it’s interesting how it worked out that way. To purchase fast and easy via Amazon just about any album or EP out this week, see the album list at the end of this post.

From Selkirk, Scotland, Frightened Rabbit tops of our list of new singles this week with “State Hospital,” a melancholic, slow, heartfelt song with a story to tell. As the story unwinds, so does the intensity of the music. The band is really tight and in sync while also standing out individually. By the three-minute mark of “State Hospital,” the tempo builds, and the void fills with a sprawling swirl of airy guitar riffs, epic synth notes, and Scott Hutchinson‘s superb, anguished, vocals.

Recently, Hutchinson told the Herald Scotland about the direction of his songwriting: “I’ve gone in depth with the lyrics and it has, as a result, been quite intense. It’s more interesting imagery when you’re being dark, it’s more difficult to be cheesy when you’re writing dark lyrics. It’s hard to write a happy song without coming across as a total cheese ball.” Do you think he was talking about the band Fun and their smash hit “We Are Young”?

“State Hospital” is the title track for the band’s new EP officially out this week, and also the first single from the band’s upcoming fourth LP, set to drop early in 2013. The EP contains outtakes from the band’s recording session for their upcoming album, and only “State Hospital” is slated to appear on the new album.

“State Hospital”Frightened Rabbit from State Hospital EP on Canvasback / Atlantic

mumfordandsons

Mumford & Son’s Release Sophomore Album, Babel, Amid Mixed Reviews

England’s Mumford & Sons‘ new sophomore LP, Babel, is the follow-up to their award-winning debut, Sigh No More, released in 2009. Even though the band is not well-liked by many indie rockers, and even indie folk fans, the band’s debut album not only made them famous, it spawned a flurry of prestigious awards and nominations, including the Top Rock Album, Top Alternative Album, and Top Alternative Artist of the 2011 Billboard Music Awards, as well as The Brit Award for the British Album of the Year. The band also received four other nominations last year from Billboard, a nomination from the American Music Awards, two Grammy nominations in 2011 as Best New Artist and Best Rock Song (“Little Lion Man”), and earlier this year, four nominations stemming from the song, “The Cave,” which appears on Sigh No More. Other nominations over the past three years include MTV Video Music Awards, NME Awards and the Q Awards.

As of today, Babel is #1 on Amazon’s CD Albums chart (the CD version features three exclusive bonus tracks – get it here) and #1 in MP3 album downloads (for the deluxe edition; #3 for the regular MP3 download. Only the deluxe edition of the MP3 download version of Babel includes the three bonus tracks, one of which is a cover song of Simon & Garfunkel‘s “The Boxer,” featuring ironically enough, Paul Simon and Jerry Douglas. Babel is a manifestation of the band’s continued growth as one of the best good ‘ole folk indie rock bands around. Who knew that Londoners could sound so convincingly American? The band’s latest new single, “I Will Wait,” is an uptempo, foot-stomping romp with wild banjo playing, folksy harmonies and a driving beat.

“I Will Wait”Mumford & Sons from Babel on Glassnote

Babel has received mixed reviews – it was slammed by The Los Angeles Times, Slant, Spin, The UK Observer, Q Magazine, and only given lukewarm receptions by the All Music Guide, The UK Guardian, NME, PopMatters, as well as plenty of thumbs up from Rolling Stone, Mojo, Clash Music, Paste, The Boston Globe and Billboard magazine. We’re not really interested in hearing the album, but we like some of the band’s songs – but still, considering the number of fantastic indie folk rock bands, Mumford & Sons have received more than their fair share of love and recognition.

seracahoonesinger

Sera Cahoone’s Angelic, Aching Vocals, and Dum Dum Girls Hot New Single

Sera Cahoone, with her part angelic, part heart-aching vocals that are evident on the title track of her new album, Deer Creek Canyon, is one of the most talented female folk singer/songwriters that we’ve heard this year. Next, the new Dum Dum Girls‘ single, “Lord Knows,” is a grower – the more we listen to it, the more we like it. Isn’t it weird how some songs can do that? Like throw a monkey wrench into your head and make you doubt something that you eventually turn out liking, or even loving. “Lord Knows” is a drab, throbbing track that breaks out into a chorus while maintaining a gloomy sonic appeal. This is what we meant before about a dark theme in the singles this week.

“Deer Creek Canyon”Sera Cahoone from Deer Creek Canyon on Sub Pop

“Lord Knows”Dum Dum Girls from End of Daze EP on Sub Pop

efterklangPiramida

Mysterious Singles from New LPs by Efterklang and Machine Birds

Efterklang‘s new single, “Apples,” is not light or cheerful as the title may suggest, but rather, the song has a mysterious, even mischievous, essence about it, like it could be on a soundtrack of a crime show on cable. We placed the lead single, “If I” from Norwegian duo Machine Birds new album right after the Efterklang track because they seem perfectly compatible, sequential tracks. Plus, the duo’s vocalist, Maria Skranes, is, like Sera Cahoone, yet another amazing female vocalist among this week’s new albums that we’d never heard of before, but are sure glad we have.

“Apples”Efterklang from Piramida on 4AD

“If I”Machine Birds from Save Yourself EP on Nabovarsel

thesofttrap-strapped

Singles From New Albums by The Soft Pack, Danjo Danjo, Unnatural Helpers

By way of San Diego, the LA located indie rock band The Soft Pack rock it out on “Tallboy,” as does the Unnatural Helpers, both bands we’ve featured in the past, and both beneficiaries of the indie rock wave of popularity over the past five-plus years. The Soft Pack changed their name from The Muslims in 2009 after what they said were “ignorant and racist comments.” Plus, Ringo Deathstarr – that’s a great band name – bring it on the single, “Rip.”

“Tallboy”The Soft Pack from Strapped on Mexican Summer

danjodanjo
Danjo, Danjo draw on 60′s psychedelic rock and new wave influences on their foot-tapping, highly rhythmic new single, “Deleted,” featuring a mean bass line and the Talking Heads-vs-Devo vocals and chorus. It feels like a driving song, but then again, so do many of the songs we choose for our posts. Maybe it’s because it’s like a metaphor for driving, busing or railroading across the country (done them all and throughout the west coast – our favorite region of the U.S.; if you can, do it – it’s an amazing country) through the many wonderful and different landscapes, meeting all kinds of interesting and almost always friendly people, experiencing all kinds of weather and cultures, from small Midwest towns to the big cities of the east coast, from the swamps of Florida to the redwoods of California, from the mind-boggling views of the Grand Canyon to the lighthouses of Maine. One of the best part of road tripping is having a bunch of cool playlists – many of which you can create from songs downloaded for free on Indie Rock Cafe (shameless plug or just the truth?). Wow, look how this song manifested into a meandering tangent.

“Default”Django Django from Django Django on Ribbon Music

“Rip”Ringo Deathstarr from Mauve on Club AC30

unnaturalhelpers

“Lost River”Murder By Death from Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon on Bloodshot Records

“Toil”Unnatural Helpers from Land Grab on Hardly Art

“Where Things Go Wrong”Jason Collett from Reckon on Arts & Crafts

eightbelles
“Nolchi”Eight Belles from Girls Underground (self-released)

“Facemask”Ungdomskulen from Secrecy on YAP Records

“I Have The Gun”Crime and The City Solution from An Introduction To….Crime & The City Solution A History Of Crime – Berlin 1987-1991 on Mute

Amazon Links to Quickly Purchase This Week’s New Album Releases

You can purchase MP3, CD and Vinyl copies of this week’s releases at the end of this post. We’ve coded it so that you just click the version you want to purchase, and it takes you right to the Amazon (better and less expensive than iTunes; plus all Amazon MP3s are compatible with iTunes and all MP3 players). Plus, each time you make a purchase via IRC links, we get a few cents for each one, which if can make a difference over time in helping us pay our server costs so that we can keep bringing you the best new music out today. If you’re planning to buy an album, please remember we have them all organized and make it easy in a couple of clicks to do so.

Apollo RunHere Be Dragons, Vol. III | MP3

As I Lay DyingAwakened | CD Deluxe CD MP3

The Bad PlusMade Possible | CD MP3

Rafiq BhatiaStrata [EP] | MP3

Joe BonamassaBeacon Theatre: Live from New York [Live] | DVD Blue-ray CD MP3

Sera CahooneDeer Creek Canyon | CD Vinyl MP3

Jonas CarpingAll the Time in the World | MP3

CaspianWaking Season | CD Vinyl MP3

The CasualtiesResistance | CD Deluxe CD Vinyl MP3

Cave PaintingVotive Life | MP3

The ChevinBorderland | CD MP3

Chris CohenOvergrown Path | CD Vinyl MP3

Jason CollettReckon | CD Vinyl MP3

The Crane WivesThe Fool in Her Wedding Gown [EP] | CD MP3

Deadmau5> Album Title Goes Here < | CD MP3

DokkenBroken Bones | CD/DVD MP3

DragonetteBodyparts | CD Vinyl MP3

Dum Dum GirlsEnd of Daze [EP] | CD Vinyl MP3

EfterklangPiramida | CD Vinyl MP3

EngelBlood of Saints | CD MP3

Lupe FiascoFood & Liquor 2: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1 | CD MP3 Deluxe MP3

Fighting with WireColonel Blood | CD MP3 Deluxe MP3

Frightened RabbitState Hospital | Vinyl MP3

John FrusciantePBX Funicular Intaglio Zone | CD Vinyl

GatekeeperExo | CD Vinyl MP3

Larry Graham & Graham Central StationRaise Up | CD MP3

Green DayUno | CD Deluxe CD Vinyl MP3 Deluxe MP3

Steve HarrisBritish Lion | CD MP3

John HiattMystic Pinball | CD Vinyl MP3

Waylon JenningsGoin’ Down Rockin’: The Last Recordings | CD MP3

Lucy KaplanskyReunion | CD MP3

The KickTonight Changes Everything | MP3

Kid InkUp & Away | CD MP3 Instrumental MP3

KingsfoilA Beating Heart is a Bleeding Heart | MP3

The Late CallPale Morning Light | CD Vinyl MP3

Jim LauderdaleCarolina Moonrise | CD MP3

Lavender DiamondIncorruptible Heart | CD Vinyl MP3

Bettye LaVetteThankful N’ Thoughtful | CD Vinyl MP3 Deluxe MP3

LevekLook a Little Closer | CD Vinyl MP3

Machine BirdsSave Yourself [EP] | MP3

Rhys Marsh and the Autumn GhostThe Blue Hour | MP3

Simon McBrideCrossing the Line | CD MP3

Michael McDermottHit Me Back | CD MP3

Medeski Martin & WoodFree Magic | CD MP3

Melody’s Echo ChamberMelody’s Echo Chamber | CD Vinyl MP3

MetronomyLate Night Tales | CD Vinyl MP3

Cara MitchellHave You Ever Wondered [EP] | MP3

Jason MolinaAutumn Bird Songs | MP3

Gary MooreBlues for Jimi [Live] | DVD Blu-ray CD Vinyl MP3

Murder By DeathBitter Drink, Bitter Moon | CD Vinyl MP3

Murs & FashawnThis Generation | CD

Mumford & SonsBabel | CD Deluxe CD Vinyl MP3 Deluxe MP3

No DoubtPush and Shove | CD Vinyl MP3 Deluxe MP3

Yoko Ono, Kim Gordon, and Thurston MooreYokoKimThurston | CD

OutlawsIt’s About Pride | CD MP3

The Preservation Hall Jazz BandSt. Peter and 57th Street [Live] | CD MP3

The Preservation Hall Jazz BandThe Preservation Hall 50th Anniversary Box Set | CD MP3

Tarrus RileyMecoustic | CD MP3

Ringo DeathstarrMauve | CD Vinyl MP3

Reptile YouthReptile Youth | CD Vinyl

MP3

Rosco BandanaTime to Begin | MP3

Richie SamboraAftermath of the Lowdown | CD MP3

Satellite StoriesPhrases to Break the Ice | MP3

SillyboyNature of Things | MP3

Ricky SkaggsMusic to My Ears | CD

Sofa SurfersSuperluminal | CD Vinyl MP3

The Soft PackStrapped | CD Vinyl MP3

Ben SolleeHalf Made Man | CD Vinyl MP3

Angie StoneRich Girl | CD MP3 Deluxe MP3

Trouble LightsThe Endless Prom | MP3

UngdomskulenSecrecy | MP3

Unnatural HelpersLand Grab | CD Vinyl MP3

Marry Waterson & Oliver KnightHidden | CD MP3

WickerbirdThe Crow Mother | MP3

WitchcraftLegend | CD Vinyl MP3

Zucchini DriveNo Foods But Lots of Weapons | MP3

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8 Comments

  1. Every time I think I’ve heard the greatest song ever, another one pops up. State Hospital is fantastic! As is this site, thank you so much for the horizon expansion.

    • Thanks JJ – and yes ‘State Hospital’ is sick (ok bad pun). We always appreciate it immensely when anyone lets us know how we’re doing and take every constructive comment seriously.

  2. Django Django’s song would make for great driving music, pumping away the miles. living on both coasts and settling in the midwest i know exactly what you mean.
    The Soft Pack’s Tall Boy is a great track. can’t wait to check out the rest of the album.
    If I by The Machine Birds has a drum beat to it that sounds like something off the Better Off Dead soundtrack with a little chillwave mixed in.
    Nolchi by Eight Belles has a awesome twangy western sound to it, her voice has a mix of June Carter and Stevie Nicks. Great Track.
    The I Have A Gun is a great track, just wish the western sound could have lasted the whole way through.
    No plugs needed, another great playlist to add to the soundtrack of the IRC’s fans lives.

  3. Love the new Subpop release from Sera Cahoone!
    Mumford & Sons did it again on their sophomore album:)
    I will give the Frightened Rabbit a spin tomorrow on my Morning Show ChestnutRadio
    thanks for bringing it to my attention:) Indie Rock Cafe is awesome!

    Ralph Rizzo
    ChestnutRadio.com

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