Recent Releases We Almost Missed, Vol. XXII – Smith Westerns, Bass Drum of Death, Rose Windows, Palms, Light Heat, Escort
The week of June 25th offered many standout LP and EP releases, including Smith Westerns‘ third album, Soft Will, highlighted by the bliss-tinged single, “Varsity.” If you’re a fan of previous Smith Westerns’ releases, you’re probably going to love Soft Will – it’s a good album for kicking back on a late summer afternoon and chilling, reading or browsing the web.
Next, the morbidly-named band Bass Drum of Death officially released their self-titled sophomore LP this week as the follow-up to their 2011 debut album, GB City, which put BDOD on the indie rock radar. The new single, “Shattered Me,” is a fast-moving surf-rock/psych-pop thriller embellished with hardy beats, distorted guitars, hip-shaking rhythms, robust, melodic keys and reverb-heavy vocals. Bass Drum of Death is the creation of Oxford, Mississippi musician John Barrett, who pretty much does it all – composes, plays all of the instruments, records, mixes and produces. “Shattered Me” is a perfect track to follow the more tame, but equally infectious, single from Smith Westerns, “Varsity.”
The new-to-us Seattle band, Rose Windows, sound like Jane’s Addiction playing psychedelic rock on the single, “Native Dreams,” from Rose Windows’ debut album, The Sun Dogs. The album was initially self-released earlier this year, but it drew such a big following, Sub Pop signed the band to re-release it. A band to watch in 2013, The Orwells, from the UK, are a young and gritty indie rock band that dropped their debut EP, Other Voices, in the last week of June. Also, check out the lead single from musician Jay Arner‘s self-titled debut.
“Varsity” – Smith Westerns from Soft Will via Mom+Pop Records
“Shattered Me” – Bass Drum of Death from Bass Drum of Death on Innovative Leisure
“Native Dreams” – Rose Windows from The Sun Dogs on Sub Pop
“Other Voices” – The Orwells from Other Voices EP on Canvasback
“Don’t Remind Me” – Jay Arner from Jay Arner on Mint Records
Top Singles from Palms, Hausu, Light Heat and Pity Sex
The following batch of lead singles from new albums dropped during the week of June 25th represents a collection of exciting, standout songs from promising, new-to-us bands who are steadily converting growing numbers of music lovers, critics and bloggers, including IRC. All of these singles are from debut album releases. After spending a considerable amount of time screening all of the singles from this particular week’s (the same as for every week of the year, with just a few hiccups, since 2009) new LPs and EPs, the singles were then coded into a playlist which we listen to at least half of a dozen times over the course of a few days to make sure they are “keepers.”
These include the Deftones’ Chino Moreno‘s side project, Palms; post-hardcore hooks and driving beats from Portland band and Hardly Art recording artist, Hausu; the sadly melodic hooks, organ whirling fused with shimmering guitars, driving bass and drumming and the nasally of a project called Light Heat from Mazarin band member Quentin Stoltzfus with the richly textured, organ whirling, hook-filled psych pop track, “And The Birds…” (reminds us a bit of The Walkmen) from the self-titled debut; and the oddly named Pity Sex, a shoegaze/pop rock band from Ann Arbor, Michigan.
“Patagonia” – Palms from Palms on Ipecac Recordings
“Chrysanthemum” – Hausu from Total on Hardly Art
“And The Birds…” – Light Heat from Light Heat on Ribbon Music
“Wind-Up” – Pity Sex from Feast of Love on Run for Cover
More Thumbs Up Singles from Lightning Dust, Sebadoh and The Melodic
The following are singles that are not our favorites for the week, but they definitely get a thumbs up. “Drippin” from the new band Honeyslide (Critical Heights Records) is the first track on the band’s new 10″ release, that contains three other tracks as well. “Drippin” is swathed in reverb, bathed in noise and drowned in in dreamy vocals,” the label notes, to “blend the experimental with the melodic.”
Other recommended new albums out this week include the dreamy electro pop of Fantasy the LP from Lightning Dust, the side project of Black Mountain members Amber Webber and Josh Wells. For the first time in 14 years, the legendary indie group Sebadoh return with an EP of new material drawing from their pop, rock and punk roots. Plus, listen to singles from The Melodic,
“Drippin’” – Honeyslide from Drippin/Deep Architecture on Critical Heights
“Loaded Gun” – Lightning Dust from Fantasy on Jagjaguwar
“All Kinds” – Sebadoh from The Secret EP on Joyful Noise Recordings
Electro and Dance Tracks from oOoOO, Escort, Gambles & Others
There were a number of electronic and dance-oriented tracks out this week as featured below from artists such as oOoOO, Escort, Gambles, The Drum and Wise Blood.
“Mouchette” – oOoOO from Without Your Love on Nihjgt Feelings (SoundCloud version)
“Barbarians” (Tiger & Woods Remix) – Escort from single
“Far From Your Arms” – Gambles from Far From Your Arms on GMBLS
“Sirens” – The-Drum from Contact on Audraglint
“Universe Is Blessed” – Wise Blood from id on Dovecote Records
The Story of Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me
The trailer above is from the film Nothing Can Hurt Me, the story of Big Star, a 70′s glam-rock band that had a huge and lasting impact on pop music, but have only been truly credited for their contributions and influence during the past two decades. Today, Big Star’s identity is that of one of the most over-looked bands of the 70′s, even though their debut album reached No. 1 in the U.S. and around the world. We can’t wait to see this film because the story of Big Star is truly an amazing American story about the highs and lows of rock and roll stardom.
Noteworthy Singles from Statistics, Transplants, David Yow & Booker T.*
In addition to our top recommendations for the Week of June 25th, the following are singles from new-to-us artists and bands that we think are noteworthy enough to throw into the mix for consideration based on the single from the artists’ new albums. We have not listened to the albums, just the singles, from Statistics, Transplants and David Yow‘s (Jesus Lizard), who just released a new solo album. Plus, check out the jazzy funk jam-o-rillo by Booker T. without The MG’s (i.e. “Green Onion”); the instrumental legend from the 60′s is still kicking it!
“Nineteen Ninety Nine” – Statistics from Peninsula on Afternoon Records
“Fun” – Booker T. from Sound The Alarm on Stax Records/Concord Music Group
“Come Around” – Transplants from In a Warzone on Epitaph Records
“Thee Itch” – David Yow from Tonight You Look Like a Spider on Joyful Noise Recordings