2014 Brave Songs: Tricia's Top 35

It 2014 brave songswas, after all, a wonderful year for music. Which you wouldn't know from the hundreds of discarded CDs littering my office right now. But when they were good, they were very, very good. I was in a radio kind of mood this year so I did a top songs list instead of top albums, but rest assured there is an outstanding album behind each and every one of these songs. I'm even pretty confident in the forthcoming Sleater-Kinney album, and so pleased that picking songs instead of albums allowed me to include their single and say how excited I am about their reunion, album, and upcoming tour. Which brings me to the point that it was a very good year for the ladies. Last year I struggled to include five female singers in my Top 35, but this year no less than eleven gals made my list, easily. Go, girls! Anyway, enough talk, start clicking, and listening, the best way is on Spotify, in order just like a radio show, right here:
2014 Brave Songs: Tricia's Top 35 on Spotify. Or you can look them up on your music player of choice, here they are in alphabetical order by artist

[table colwidth="200|200|200"]Artist,Track,Album,
Beautiful Small Machines,Paper Planes,The DJ Stayed Home
Aloe Blacc,Chasing,Lift Your Spirit
Bishop Allen,Start Again,Lights Out
Black English,Leave The Door Wide Open,El Prado
BØRNS,10000 Emerald Pools,Candy
Rosanne Cash,A Feather's Not A Bird,The River & The Thread
Deerhoof,Last Fad,La Isla Bonita
Embrace,Follow You Home,Embrace
Ex Hex,Waterfall,Rips
Fink,Green and the Blue,Hard Believer
Flip Grater,Diggin for the Devil,Pigalle
Glass Animals,Gooey,Gooey
Greyhounds,Whats On Your Mind,Accumulator
Jolie Holland,The Love You Save,Wine Dark Sea
In-Flight Safety,Blue Flares,Conversation
La Sera,Kiss This Town Away,Hour Of The Dawn
Hamilton Leithauser,Alexandra,Black Hours
Luluc,Small Window,Passerby
Stephen Malkmus,Lariat,Wig Out At Jagbags
Steve Mason,A Lot of Love,Monkey Minds in the Devils Time
The New Pornographers,Brill Bruisers,Brill Bruisers
Patrick Park,My Holding Hand Is Empty,Love Like Swords
Protomartyr,Ain't So Simple,Under Color of Official Right
Sea Wolf,The Waters Wide,Song Spells No.1:C
Sleater-Kinney,Bury Our Friends,Bury Our Friends single
Spoon,New York Kiss,They Want My Soul
Chris Staples,Hold Onto Something,American Soft
Strand of Oaks,Goshen '97,HEAL
The Sugar Stems,Baby Teeth,Only Come out at Night
Tacocat,Alien Girl,NVM
Tobacco,Eruption,Ultima II Massage
tUnE-yArDs,Wait for a Minute,niki nack
TV On The Radio,Right Now,Seeds
Tweedy,High As Hello,Sukierae
The War On Drugs,Lost In The Dream,Lost In The Dream

[/table]

Remastered Sleater-Kinney Discography, YUM!

Sleater_StartTogether_1500From www.sleater-kinney.com: On October 21st, Sub Pop Records will release 'Start Together,' a 3,000-copy limited edition deluxe vinyl box set comprised of remastered editions of Sleater-Kinney's seven studio albums spanning 1995 to 2005. The set will include all seven albums pressed on colored vinyl and is accompanied by a 44-page hardcover book featuring never-before-seen photos of the band, as well as a limited edition print. The remastered albums will be released individually on CD and black vinyl on the same day. All are available digitally today as of September 2nd. Full announcement on the remastered releases here.

This is one of my all-time favorite bands and any fan would want this box set I'm sure! The combination of these three musicians was magical, and the fact that they were women that rocked just like the men made it that much more satisfying. I think I might want the vinyl ... although the CDs would be great too ...  cannot wait to browse the photo book!

Sleater-Kinney "Start Together" iTunes | Sub Pop Mega Mart (Fans who pre-order the box set from Sub Pop will receive immediate access to download high-quality remastered files of all the albums.)

Hamilton Leithauser = The Walkmen

hamilton leithauser 300 black hours 2014Excerpted from NPR's First Listen: Hamilton Leithauser, "Black Hours" by Stephen Thompson: "The singer largely tones down the briskly jangled rush of The Walkmen's sound throughout Black Hours, as he steers many of its songs toward a slow-burning seethe that suits him well. But there's still a looseness to the record that allows Leithauser to play around on new terrain ...". Read the rest of NPR's review here.

I've said before in this very space, don't get too bummed out when your favorite band breaks up because it might lead to something delicious. After seven fine albums with the Walkmen and 10+ years, I don't blame Mr. Leithauser for wanting to try something different. Much of what I loved about The Walkmen is still found in his new work, but its also more intimate and allows for a more profound listen if you give it a chance.

Dig in! Hamilton Leithauser "Black Hours" Amazon | iTunes | Artist Site

Take Me To The Augustines' Cruel City Anytime

augustines-augustines.jpg

augustines-augustinesOnce upon a time there was a band called Pela. Pela captivated me with their 2007 album Anytown Graffitti, regrettably released just when my show at KCRW was ending or I would have played the hell out of it there. As it was, I included their song "Lost To The Lonesome" on my "Best of May 2007" list and told anyone who would listen all about it. In October of 2007 I attended the College Music Journal convention in NYC and was lucky enough to catch them at the Bowery Ballroom. The show was memorable to me not only for their amazing performance but because the lead singer Billy McCarthy looked more like a highschool quarterback than an indie rocker. Not to mention a voice that could either be raspy and energetic like Bruce Springsteen or gorgeous and haunting like Gary Lightbody. Lush guitars that were engaging but not overly grand. Their influences, Bloc Party, Springsteen, Interpol were apparent but combined in such a non-conventional way, and with such a distinct sound of their own that it was only appealing. They were indie for sure and I was hooked. I was bummed when I heard that Pela were breaking up in 2009 after just one album and one EP. But looking on the bright side, I thought that maybe the breakup would eventually lead to more wonderful music, like when Uncle Tupelo morphed into Wilco and Son Volt. Or Minneapolis' Lifter Puller became Brooklyn's The Hold Steady. Luckily, my wish came true. By 2011 Billy McCarthy and his Pela bandmate Eric Sanderson had formed a new band called We Are Augustines, recorded a bunch of songs they had been working on when Pela broke up, and released an album titled Rise Ye Sunken Ships that painfully (but beautifully) dealt with the death of McCarthy's mother and the suicide of his brother. Three years later (they don't rush things, do they?) we have what is already a 2014 highlight, the new Augustines album, self-titled. (Slight name change for the band from We Are Augustines to just The Augustines) It has all the qualities I loved about Pela and they've settled into themselves with a confidence that makes it even more appealing. It opens with a beautiful instrumental and the next song, Cruel City, should convert you if you are not already a fan. If you are tired of The National because their songs all sound the same or feel like The Arcade Fire is just a bit overwrought, The Augustines' passionate restraint (I know that's an oxymoron) might be just the ticket for you. And with about 50 U.S. and international dates coming up, they are sure to be near you soon!

The Augustines - The Augustines: Amazon :: iTunes :: Official Site

Another Indie Rocker Gets His Due On Mainstream Awards Show

alex ebert edward sharpe golden globesYou might have missed it since Bono and his moving words about Nelson Mandela were next up on stage, but longtime Los Angeles indie rocker Alex Ebert won the Golden Globe last night for Best Original Score for Robert Redford's film "All Is Lost". Alex was the genius behind Ima Robot from 2003 to 2010 and more recently one of my favorite bands, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros (Edward Sharpe being a ficticious character). If I had made a best of list for 2012 (blame that on the twins), his album "Here" would definitely have been on it. I also love 2009's "Up From Below", it was a slow burner with me but came on strong. We featured the song "40 Day Dream" from that album in the final episode of NBC's much overlooked TV series "Mercy", which starred a then-unknown Taylor Schilling who also received her due last night as a nominee for best actress in a comedy series for her role in "Orange Is The New Black". I wonder what I'm working on now that will show up in Golden Globes in a few years ?!?!

You won't be sorry if you spend some time with Alex Ebert's music, easy links below:

edward Sharpe - Up From Below

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros "Up From Below" amzn itun

 

Edward Sharpe - Here

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros "Here" amzn itun

Edward Sharpe self-titled

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros (self-titled) amzn itun

Ima Robot - Another Man's Treasure

Ima Robot "Another Man's Treasure" amzn itun

alexander - all is lost soundtrack

Alexander "All Is Lost" (soundtrack) amzn itun

Best Albums Of 2013

best of 2013 revised 2Some people spend December making lists of gifts ... I spend it making lists of albums. First a "definitely best of" list ... then a "possibly best of" list ... then a "better listen to that" list. Many headphone hours later, I always arrive at a clear cutoff point between the albums I am willing to go to the mat for and the albums that, although good, don't quite measure up to my absolute favorites of the year. I don't pad out the list to make a nice round number, I just let it lie wherever it naturally falls. This year the cutoff came at 35 albums. Now that might seem like a lot of records to you, but I estimate that 5000 albums, at least, passed through my office this year. That means these 35 were not just in the top 1%, but in the top .7% of albums released in 2013. So I think you should check them out. Chances are you'll find something good. Peace, ~tricia P.S. you can easily sample each album by using the Amazon or iTunes links below the artwork - I spent a ridiculous amount of time embedding these links so I hope you use them! Also, here is a BEST OF 2013 SPOTIFY PLAYLIST but be warned that several artists are missing from Spotify, including Thom Yorke's Atoms For Peace, Wildlife, and only two tracks are available from the excellent Storyman album.

P.P.S. They're in alphabetical order by artist name. Adding rankings to this list is futile when I love them all in their own unique way. There would be a different #1 every day!

arthur joseph - ballad of boogie christ 2013

Joseph Arthur Provocative. Thematic. Arresting. amzn band itun

 

atoms for peace - amok

Atoms For Peace ThomYorke. Beauty. Beats. amzn band itun

beach day-trip trap attack 2013

Beach Day Bouncy. Beachy. Fun. amzn band itun

bibio-silver wilkinson 2013

Bibio Melodic. Ambient. Lovely. amzn band itun

 

black rebel motorcycle club - specter at the feast 2013

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club Speeding. Danger. Thrills. amzn band itun

cayucas-bigfoot 2013

Cayucas Delicious. Indiepop. Summer. amzn  band  itun

dale earnhardt jr jr - the speed of things 2013

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. Peppy. Indie. Cinematic. amzn band itun

 

dr dog - b room 2013

Dr. Dog Gritty. Soulful. True. amzn band itun

eels - wonderful glorious 2013

Eels Pretty. Dark. Odd. amzn band itun

fitz and the tantrums - more than just a dream 2013

Fitz & The Tantrums Irresistable. Passionate. Faultless. amzn band itun

frightened rabbit - pedestrian verse 2013

Frightened Rabbit Sparse. Scottish. Epic. amzn band itun

 

front bottoms-talon of the hawk 2013

Front Bottoms Sloppy. Lovable. Punky. amzn band itun

generationals - heza 2013

Generationals Hooky. Lo-Fi. Smart amzn band itun

goldspot - aerogramme 2013

Goldspot Poetic. Dynamic. Brilliant. amzn band itun

 

growlers - hung at heart 2013

Growlers Enigmatic. Warm. Sparkly. amzn band itun

 

head and heart - let's be still 2013

The Head and The Heart Sweet. Melancholy. Acoustic. amzn band itun

 

hitchcock robyn - love from london 2013

Robyn Hitchcock Endearing. Quirky. Personal. amzn band itun

houndmouth-from the hills 2013

Houndmouth Kentucky. Lumin-ous. Bright. amzn band itun

iron and wine - ghost on ghost 2013

Iron & Wine Dreamy. Soothing. Lovely. amzn band itun

 

leftover cuties - the spark and the fire 2013

Leftover Cuties Joyful. Relaxing. Shiny. amzn band itun

 

local natives - hummingbird 2013

Local Natives Yearning. Voice. Intricate. amzn band itun

 

marling laura - once i was an eagle 2013

Laura Marling Stunning. Timeless. Husky. amzn band itun

 

moby - innocents 2013

Moby Builds. Rich. Gorgeous. amzn band itun

 

olms - the olms 2013

The Olms PeteYorn. Classic. Organic. amzn band itun

portugal the man - evil friends 2013

Portugal. The Man Bedeviling. Rhythmic. Edgy. amzn band itun

 

ra ra riot - beta love 2013

Ra Ra Riot Love. Dance. Clever. amzn band itun

 

ritter josh - beast in its tracks 2013

Josh Ritter Bare. Heart. Break. amzn band itun

 

royal teeth - glow 2013

Royal Teeth Adorable. Effervescent. NoLa. amzn band itun

 

sin fang - flowers 2013

Sin Fang Giant. Robot. Folk. amzn band itun

storyman - this time round 2013

Storyman Compelling. Guggenheim. Irish. amzn band itun

thao and the get down stay down - we the common

Thao & The Get Down ... Girlfriend. Rock. Art. amzn band itun

tired pony - ghost of the mountain 2013

Tired Pony GaryLightbody. Emotion. Graceful. amzn band itun

vampire weekend - modern vampires of the city 2013

Vampire Weekend Genius. Happy. Songwriting. amzn band itun

 

wildlife - on the heart 2013

Wildlife Wow. Soaring. Celebratory. amzn band itun

 

yeah yeah yeahs - mosquito 2013

Yeah Yeah Yeahs Intimate. Layered. Growly. amzn band itun

 

 

Eight Quick Picks: DB+St.V, Grizzly Bear, Two Gallants, Field Report, Cat Power and more

Hi, I'm back from a maternity break - doubled the size of the family by adding twins! I still found plenty of time to listen to new music, mostly while feeding them. They're the most musically up-to-date newborns around! Here's eight quick picks on recent new releases to make up for my absence, go on, spend that back-to-school money at the record store!

David Byrne & St. Vincent - Love This Giant: Amazon :: iTunes :: Official Site Wacky young songstress teams up with elder statesman of wackiness. Beautiful music ensues.

Field Report - Field Report: Amazon :: iTunes :: Official Site Field Report - Is part of Bon Iver. Done.

Two Gallants - The Bloom and The Blight: Amazon :: iTunes :: Official Site Until further notice you can assume this band and anyone thats part of this band is always on my 'must have' list.

Grizzly Bear - Shields: Amazon :: iTunes :: Official Site Two words: Grizzly. Bear. You already love it.

Ryan Lerman - Pinstripes, The Sky: Amazon :: iTunes :: Official Site Yummy singer-songwriter with intriguing production. Probably the first artist to cover Adele and Elliott Smith on the same album.

Rhett Miller - The Dreamer: Amazon :: iTunes :: Official Site Totally unfair that he is utterly talented and utterly handsome.

Hungry Ghost - Hungry Ghost: Amazon :: iTunes :: Official Site Former members of Unwound make a new sound that is a melange of Led Zeppelin, X, White Stripes, and Sleater-Kinney.

Cat Power - Sun: Amazon :: iTunes :: Official Site Phenomenal return from an indie favorite.

 

Pick Of The Week: The Dig "Midnight Flowers"

dig-midnight-flowers-2012.jpg

This is The Dig's second album and if I would have blogged more in 2010, their debut would have received a recommend as well. The album is flawlessly produced and every song has some interesting texture to it, I love that. But I don't love it if the songwriting is not there to back it up, and The Dig does not disappoint in that category either. I'm going to say that they're like a mellower Yeah Yeah Yeahs, with a male vocalist. See if I'm right. The Dig - Midnight Flowers: Amazon :: iTunes :: Official Site

PS congratulations to me, as of the end of June we are halfway through the year and I have so far kept my New Years Resolution of posting a recommended album every week - you can count 'em, there are 26 recommendations posted!

Pick Of The Week: Everest

everest-ownerless-2012.jpg

I think if a song can start off sounding like a Johnny Marr riff, segue into a grungy power pop Strokes vibe and then wind up sounding like the Doors, thats a great song. Such is "Rapture", the first track off Everest's new album Ownerless. And many more treats await you after that track. Most reviews of this record call them an 'alt-country' band but I think they owe a bigger debt to classic rockers like Neil Young. But if you don't care for awesome guitar lines, killer drums, great songwriting and heartfelt vocals, just keep moving. Everest - Ownerless: Amazon :: iTunes :: Official Site

 

Pick Of The Week: Glen Hansard solo album

glen-hansard-rhythm-and-repose-2012.jpg

Spectacular Irish band The Frames, heart-stopping duo The Swell Season, and the hugely affecting movie Once have exactly one thing in common - Glen Hansard. He has an almost supernatural gift for live performance that is solidly backed up by first-rate songwriting credentials. A lot of Irishmen, Bono included, think Glen and his band The Frames are the best thing out of Ireland, since, you guessed it, U2. I think they might be the best thing out of any country since U2. This is Glen's first solo album, and it plays like a lost Van Morrison classic in tone and production but the songs are pure Glen - a storyteller on a quest to solve the ever-elusive mystery of true love. Lovers and seekers alike, this one is for you. Glen Hansard - Rhythm And Repose: Amazon :: iTunes :: Official Site

 

Pick Of The Week: Patti Smith "Banga"

patti-smith-banga-2012.jpg

I've listened to this album about eight times in a row now. I wanted to make sure I wasn't just being nostalgic, or 'old', or clinging to the past. But it's just a damn fine release from one of the greatest artists of all time. Unlike many of her peers, she remains interesting and vibrant even 30+ years into her career. Perhaps its partly because she sings about things that are older than rock itself - spirituality, children, historical events. Her style is completely unique and inimitable, she is truly the high priestess of rock. Long may she rule. Patti Smith - Banga: Amazon :: iTunes :: Official Site

 

Picks Of The Week: Thieving Irons and Simone Felice

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Two easy recommends this week, both from artists I've been following for some time. Nate Martinez has always been the secret weapon super-guitarist of Pela, as well as touring with The National and Alexi Murdoch. When Pela broke up, he found his solo voice as Thieving Irons (definitely the silver lining to losing Pela). His voice is comforting like a warm blanket, the production is epic without being overwhelming and both lyrics and musical arrangements are first class. You can put this album on repeat for hours and not get bored. Thieving Irons - Behold, This Dreamer: Amazon :: iTunes :: Official Site

I'm going to caution you against reading Simone Felice's bio because it will likely make you feel a) lazy (he's been in four band projects counting this solo effort, was a major player on five albums plus numerous other album assists, and has five published writing credits including a novel) and/or b) dismayed to learn of his personal tragedies and medical mishaps. So let me sum it up for you: member of The Felice Brothers as well as The Duke and The King, uber-talented songwriter with the chops and style to back it up, first solo release, joing Mumford & Sons on tour right now, don't miss it.

Simone Felice - Simone Felice: Amazon :: iTunes :: Official Site

 

Picks Of The Week: Sigur Rós and Now, Now

sigur-ros-valtari-2012.jpg

I could just skip over this new release because a) you should already know about Sigur Rós, and b) the album is not significantly different than any of their other releases. But it's a truly wonderful listening experience and it feels like the right time for a gorgeous, dreamy, escapist album. Stuck at work on a summer afternoon? Put this album in your headphones and the afternoon will fly by. Feeling some road rage while stuck in traffic? This one will calm you down, Valtari is a blissful state of mind that can be achieved anywhere, even on a congested highway. Sigur Rós - Valtari: Amazon :: iTunes :: Official Site ($5 right now at Amazon. Seriously.)

Although I hope most readers have heard of Sigur Rós, I have no such delusions about recommendation #2, the album Threads by Minneapolis trio Now, Now. Two girls on guitar (one also the vocalist), and a guy drummer already makes them unique. If you need a big name to convince you, they were signed by Chris Walla (guitarist for Death Cab For Cutie) to his label Trans Record. I love their breathy vocals and smart lyrics over quirky music that doesn't sound like everything else out there. They appear to be on tour right now, try to catch them.

Now, Now - Threads: Amazon :: iTunes :: Official Site

 

Picks Of The Week: Admiral Fallow and Lightships

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It's bold to start your album with the sound of a someone agitating a speaker cord, then lead into a six minute down-tempo duet. But I guess when you have that adorable Scottish accent, you can get away with it. The second song picks up tempo quite a bit, and might remind you of their countrymen Frightened Rabbit ("Swim, until you can't see land ...). I don't think you'll be disappointed if you stick with the album - epic indie rock along the lines of early Snow Patrol. I'm completely hooked. Admiral Fallow - Tree Bursts In Snow: Amazon :: iTunes :: Official Site

 

It's honestly a coincidence that my second pick this week is also from Scotland. Gerard Love is the vocalist, songwriter, and bass player for my long time faves Teenage Fanclub. He's made a gorgeous album under the name Lightships, inviting some of his favorite players from other bands and taking a slightly more freewheeling approach to the music, while still exhibiting his gifts for melody and arrangement. This album is so inviting that I was very nearly distracted from finishing this post while listening to it! So proceed with caution, but if you want to leave planet Earth for awhile, this is for you.

Lightships - Electric Cables: Amazon :: iTunes :: Teenage Fanclub Official Site

 

Picks Of The Week: Beach House and The Wave Pictures

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Welcome back to me! I've been missing from this blog for one month. I worked on two super awesome pilots, both of which you will likely see on NBC in early 2013, and two incredible season finales for Castle and The Big C. Always lots of pressure for great music in those season finales! Then I did take a couple weeks to decompress. Now I'm back, and promise you 'two-fers' for the next four weeks to make up for my absence and because I have so much good music stockpiled here to tell you about! Beach House just released their fourth album, titled "Bloom". This band from Baltimore has been bubbling under for some time, by which I mean that very few people knew about them for the last few albums, but those people told enough friends, who told their friends and now suddenly everybody is a fan for this new album. That's just how it works sometimes. It's a very worthy album for their breakout - slightly darker than their first few (you know I like that.) Beautiful, dreamy, lush, but still indie and interesting. And as a bonus, you can get it on Amazon right now for only $5! I mean, just skip the morning latte and get this album instead, it will last far longer.

Beach House - Bloom: Amazon :: iTunes :: Official Site

For my second pick, I've been pretty intrigued with this album by The Wave Pictures for the last few weeks. It's a melange of many influences that I love, all mashed together into a fun and intriguing new sound. On any given track you might think "Belle & Sebastian", or "early Elvis Costello", "Art Brut", "Vampire Weekend" or even "Marc Almond from Soft Cell". I don't mind obvious influences when they are so varied and plentiful! The Wave Pictures write angular, clever, upbeat songs about strange characters living dark lives, and it's just refreshing and a whole lot of fun.

The Wave Pictures - Long Black Cars: Amazon :: iTunes :: Official Site

Picks Of The Week: The 88 & Avalanche City

88-actors-ep-2012.jpg

Super quick double recommend this week to make up for last week - April is a very busy time in TV land! Now in case you haven't noticed, I'm fond of albums. Singles & EPs I have no love for. They're at best too short to get an idea what a band is all about and at worst just an early release of something you're going to get later on an album anyway, and rarely worth it. So these two releases already had a hurdle to overcome with me but I've had to make exceptions to my album-only policy! First off, a band I've loved forever, The 88, has made a new EP that took my breath away even considering my high expectations of them. It takes an incredible amount of determination, perseverance, and talent to just stay together and survive as a band for 10 years in LA, let alone stay at the top of their creative game and do it without major label assistance. A standing ovation please for The 88! This EP has five solid tunes on it, I am particularly fond of "Do You Love Me" which has been known to be played on repeat in this house several times in a row.

The 88 - Actors EP: Amazon :: iTunes :: Official Site

Secondly, I came across a video so charming (and I generally have little use for music videos) and a song so sweet that I was immediately hooked. Dave Baxter is the 'epicentre' (according to his website) of Avalanche City out of New Zealand. The debut album is available as an import, but a four song EP just came out in the U.S. digitally and I'm sure the album won't be far behind. So, so, so, so GOOD! It's impossible to feel sad while listening to this song or watching the video so keep it handy for those times when you feel blue.

Avalanche City - Love Love Love EP: Amazon :: iTunes :: Official Site (Watch the video here!)

 

Pick Of The Week: The Shins "Port Of Morrow"

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Dear James Mercer, you really are a terrible boyfriend. You've spent five years away from the Shins, philandering openly with Dangermouse on the Broken Bells project, which although lovely didn't quite utilize your songwriting talents, did it? And now you bring us a new album and I suppose you'd like to be back in our affections as though nothing had changed. Well, we'll just see about that. Listen #1: We admit "For A Fool" is properly apologetic. And it is nice to hear your voice again. But we'll remain strong. Five years away, after all! Perhaps one more listen just to make sure. Listen #2: "It's Only Life" is very comforting. How is this album lush, yet also stripped down? Inventive yet classic. And oh, how we've missed your clever lyrics! We must get a grip! We're just being nostalgic. One more time, we'll keep our heads straight this time. Listen #3: We're melted. All is forgiven. Welcome back. The Shins - Port Of Morrow: Amazon :: iTunes :: Official Site

 

Pick Of The Week: Delta Spirit

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Yes, this recommend is a few days behind schedule. But I did not receive this album until today so it all worked out for the best! I'm already a big Delta Spirit fan, so I'm not sure why it was not on my doorstep the day of release, but I'm just happy I have it now. This will be in constant rotation as I'm now an even bigger fan - they flesh out their strengths of classic, timeless rock on this new release. And while I am truly sorry that lead singer Matt Vasquez has apparently been suffering some heartbreak I must say it makes for some stellar new songs. His voice is unmistakable and his unaffected delivery very compelling - the production (by Chris Coady, who has worked with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, TV On The Radio, Beach House and the Smith Westerns) is excellent, lots of cool layering and breakdowns. Plus, they have a very sharp website and all kinds of free downloads on there, so do visit. If you like a good live show, they're crossing the United States on a three month tour right now, go see it! Delta Spirit - Delta Spirit: Amazon :: iTunes :: Official Site

Pick Of The Week: She Keeps Bees "Dig On"

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I liked this record when it came out last year but as time has passed I have become slightly obsessed with it so it's definitely due for a mention. Just imagine if The Black Keys were fronted by a woman, or if Cat Power became a power rocker. You'd like that, right? It's only $9 on Amazon, what are you waiting for? She Keeps Bees - Dig On: Amazon :: iTunes :: Official Site

 

Pick Of The Week: Yellow Ostrich

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Singer-guitarist Alex Schaaf takes his work into expanded territory on Yellow Ostrich's second album, Strange Land. His first album was a bedroom project but now with a complete band there's new instrumentation and a much bigger sound that comes from touring everywhere in the last year. Its still quirky, lovable, dynamic, fresh-sounding, and well worth a listen and a 'buy'. But you probably knew that from looking at the artwork! Yellow Ostrich - Strange Land: Amazon :: iTunes :: Official Site