Wilsen – Ruiner [Secret City]
It’s too early to tell, but I feel like this is one of those albums that sort of flies under a lot of radars, but will get more than enough play in the shop, creating a small pocket of fandom in Phoenix and other areas where other record store clerks can’t get enough of this album, and will eventually hit a critical mass and will take its place among the must-haves of many music lovers. It shares so many qualities with the bands we can’t get enough of, like Wye Oak, Angel Olsen, Widowspeak, Outer Spaces. There’s a lot of music out there and your “playlist” is probably going to miss some really good stuff. Next time you’re in the shop, ask us to put this one on for you. It’ll probably already be in the player.
Wasted Shirt (Brian Chippendale / Ty Segall) – Fungus II [Famous Class]
If you’re familiar with both of these artists, you probably have a good idea of what to expect. What I always find fascinating with these collaborations of strong personalities, is how the collaborators pull each other into their orbits and tame the egos to find some space they can both exist in. This is the most chaotic I’ve heard from (singer) Ty Segall and the most straight forward “rock” I’ve heard from (drummer/singer) Brian Chippendale. Perhaps Segall’s theatrical delivery would have been too much for the kind of raw delivery Chippendale puts out on any Lightning Bolt album and vice versa. But, it almost seems as if they switched rolls on this one! Chippendale’s got a little bit of that Black Sabbath swagger, where Segall adopts more of that “screaming into a blown-out microphone strapped to your face”, kind of vibe. Does it work? Sure…but only because it probably wasn’t meant to “work.”
Agnes Obel – Myopia [Deutsche Grammophon]
Myopia is a beautiful and understated piece of art from Danish musician, Agnes Obel. If you’re familiar with her work, “beautiful and understated” would bring to mind any work that she has done. But, Myopia sheds much of the hooks found in Obel’s earlier works, letting the chord progressions and arrangements carry most of the weight. The result is a more emotional and introspective album than previous releases.
Caribou – Suddenly [Merge]
Caribou has been putting out smart tunes for folks to dance and think to since 2001. Dan Snaith was one of the the pioneers of glitchy IDM music that came out of the late 90s, early 2000s. He’s managed to keep his relevance by adapting his sound and growing with the technology and trends, without pandering or sacrificing the art. This is done, in part, by collaborating with instrumentalists and pulling from current trends in other genres like hip hop and indie rock, but working hard to fuck them up just enough to keep it interesting.
Courtney Barnett – MTV Unplugged Live [Mom+Pop]
Courtney Barnett solidifies her 90s appeal by releasing the most 90s album you can release. MTV Unplugged thrived in the days of grunge, jangle pop and post punk. These recordings always worked best with those artists who maintain some of that “writing in the dark, alone with a guitar” vibe. Some bands create music that strays far from their moment of conception. Artist like Courtney Barnett maintain an underlying vibration that, if you listen closely enough, will phase out all the drums, keys, strings, guitars and leave you with just the artist, alone, in the dark, with a guitar.