In a musical slump? Try some of our recommendations below to discover a new weekend jam.
Built To Spill – Ultimate Alternative Wavers
The 2014 re-issues have pleasantly overwhelmed me. Between Mobb Deep, Unwound, Slint and RSD’s unveiling of Built To Spill’s Ultimate Alternative Wavers, my cup truly runneth over. There has been fist pumping, guttural jubilee, and probably a spin move or two (not quite as good as MJ, but a close 22nd). Regardless where you stand in the universe’s calendar, know that Built To Spill’s Ultimate Alternative Wavers should be a listening focal point this week. It is always good to be reminded of what the ancients’ influences were and how they stand up today. Get nostalgic. -Rocky
Dauwd – Kindlinn EP
Upshot Welsh producer Dauwd released the first EP on his new label last week: Cologne-based Kompakt, known for their nerd techno. He previously put out tracks on London dubstep label Pictures Music and the pop-oriented Ghostly International imprint. The label-hopping shows that he is still trying to find his style, and Kindlinn sees him moving towards house and techno of the playful synth variety. He is definitely someone to keep an eye on. -Henje
Deleted Scenes – Lithium Burn
My pick for this week is Deleted Scenes’ Lithium Burn. You will find everything here: solid vocals, beautiful harmonies, great guitar licks, thoughtful lyrics, and just about every dynamic in emotive songwriting. Give it a spin. -Jeremy
Four Tet – 1234567890qwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnm (DJ Set)
For me, the last few days have been all about London DJ/producer Kieran Hebden a.k.a. Four Tet. In the last few months he has released a lot of material, including a collection of demos and unreleased tracks, a few early releases from 1998 and 1999 that he posted on Bandcamp, and this really awesome video where he creates a track in 10 minutes using nothing but samples from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”
But what really captured my attention this week was the mix he posted on Soundcloud earlier this year entitled 1234567890qwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnm (DJ mix JAN 2014). The continuous mix lasts just over an hour and consists mainly of house and bass, with a piano interlude at around the 45 minute mark. I think he may have also included a bit of that “Thriller” track somewhere near the end. Check it out. -Christine
Hozier – From Eden EP
Not entirely sure when the EP showed up on Spotify, but I’ve been enjoying Hozier’s (this won’t be a surprise to any of the hobos) latest, From Eden. Combined with his earlier EP, Take Me To Church, it makes for a great 8 song ditty. -Faith
Le Tigre – This Island
I finally watched The Punk Singer – the documentary on Le Tigre & Bikini Kill star and notable punk feminist Kathleen Hanna. This documentary film is a must-watch for anyone interested in the punk / alt scenes in the 1990’s. Kathleen is a strong woman who never let anyone tell her what she could or couldn’t do. She’s served as a role model for young women and is pivotal player in third wave feminism. The documentary is a coming out of sorts for Kathleen, as she finally explains why she disappeared from the scene in 2005. She admits to struggling with an illness – perhaps the only thing that she couldn’t face down by herself through her sheer will power. The documentary is excellent and is a required viewing in my book. -Dave C.
Leif Vollebekk – North Americana
I caught Vollebekk this week as an opener for William Fitzsimmons, and went to see him cold, meaning I had no familiarity with his work. He came on stage by himself and performed a tight set, mostly on guitar but also switching off for keys on a few. Initially, I found myself a bit distracted by his facial gestures while singing, but once I got past that, I immersed myself in the intricate guitar work that reminded me a lot of Joni Mitchell at times, accompanied by beautiful vocals which seemed akin to those of Townes Van Zandt, Bob Dylan, Jeff Buckley and Ryan Adams. Vollebekk also has an easygoing Canadian charm, which made for nice banter.
Since Tuesday, I have been playing non-stop his debut, North Americana, which was released in the U.S. recently. It is a lovely album, full of interesting lyrics, and one that I regret not buying from the merch table after the show (the weather was yucky). Oh well, I’ll just have to look out for his next live performance, which I recommend you do, too. Check out “Cairo Blues,” which he pronounces a bit like Karo, like the corn syrup, which confused me at first, but now I really like the tune. -Qbertplaya
[ed. note: This is the second time we’ve recommended this album, so you best listen!]
Matthew and the Atlas – Other Rivers
The new Matthew and the Atlas album has made for some nice listening. Only negative I can really say about it is that it’s too short at 10 songs with most songs falling in the 3 minute range. Well worth a listen. -Faith
WhoMadeWho – Dreams
Tomas Barfod took the American blog scene by storm in 2012 with a sharp album of electronic cuts, but his main role remains as drummer of WhoMadeWho, a band that has thus far enjoyed greater success in Europe than the United States. Hailing from Denmark, WhoMadeWho stride the line between boundary-pushing Scandinavian synthpop and more formulaic dance-rock represented by UK acts like Franz Ferdinand. Their newest release sees them pushing for more widespread appeal, though their strongest cuts remain the most eclectic. The unique vocal delivery of Jeppe Kjellberg on “This Morning” and the stop and start percussion on “Indian Summer” are highlights, as is the verging-on-disco infectiousness of “Hiding in Darkness.” -Jeff