A friend hit me up a few weeks ago for some music suggestions, so I got the opportunity to coalesce in an email all the new music I’ve been spinning over this past mild winter. My second in New York, my general musical mood seemed to be marked by transition. Fitting as I am fitfully flung into full adulthood.
The recommendations I selected are below:
Recommended in my email last year, the British songwriter struck hard with his latest release. Just last week he headlined Wembley goddamned Stadium, and serves as evidence that roaddogs can still make it in the age of YouTube. Faves off this one are “I Still Believe,” “Glory Hallelujah” and this leadoff single “I Am Disappeared.”
Shameless shoegaze from Brookline, Mass, onelinedrawing is one of the many pseudonyms of Jonah Martranga. I file in this often in the same playlists as Sigur Ros, Conor Oberst and other introspectives unafraid to scream their guts out when the movement takes them. A touch of post-hardcore desperation clingwrapped in hopeless longing, this record is heart tugger with a few notable standouts, my favorite being “Superhero.”
I am super late to this indie rock party, but somehow after the buzz has worn off a lot of these songs still seem to shine. A little too hipster for my liking when they hit with Mass Romantic now over 11 years ago, I had to concede grudgingly the masterstroke guitar anthems this record affords. ”Letter to an Occupant” features Neko Case’s stunning belt before she would graduate into solo success. This outfit carries strongly in the Canadian indie rock tradition of setting a half dozen or so remarkable songwriters and leaving little inhibition on the cutting room floor.
Providence-born eight bit four-on-the-floor anthems, Math the Band is a duo of RISD students that used to roll in the old as220 crowd I dimly tried to imitate during my time in New England. They bill themselves as Atom and His Package meets Andrew WK. Yeah, you’re going to go one of two ways on this one.
Old punks don’t die - they just cash in. Two former members of Youth Brigade formed in Southern California and honest-to-God, credible bluegrass ensemble capable of some blistering old timey licks. Their first record was a pet project of Fat Mike from NOFX and put out to the popular derision of Pennywise fans on Fat Wreck Chords. Their live show is unbelievably good.
Former Slapstick bassist Brendan Kelly hails from the Chicago punk rock circle that produced Alkaline Trio, Rise Against and Brendan Kelly’s most tenured ensemble The Lawrence Arms. Carrying in the recent trend popularized by Chuck Ragan, Tony Sly and Joey Cape of old punk rock frontmen picking up acoustic guitars, The Wandering Birds record brings a certain legitimate funkiness to the recent post-punk trend. Opening track is pure win.
7) Cake - Showroom of Compassion
Just kidding. They still suck.
Should you be incapable of enjoying country music, this record will definitely not be your speed. However I find folks who think country is what Toby Keith and Shania Twain shake their respective moneymakers to are shocked to be nodding their heads to Lucero, one of the last real whiskey-soaked authentic country acts on the road. Ben Nichols’ rasp has become in his own time as iconic as the endless permutations of the dark, cold bar his songwriting seems to produce. I’m a big fan of his ballads, of which “When I Was Young” should count among his finest.
During a Strokes hiatus, New York retro-rock juggernaut Casablancas put together a solo effort presumably populated by rejects from the critical darlings sudden meteoric ascent during the turn of the century. His trademark deadpan is present along with the garage rock four chord fearlessness, though with the welcome addition of some synthy nostalgia. Opener feels like it belongs in a John Hughes movie.