Spin This: March 8
Kurt Vile—Smoke Ring For My Halo: Philly’s Kurt Vile has quietly built a solid repertoire of lo-fi classic rock—the descriptors are seemingly at odds, but it’s obvious he has a love of AM radio fare and bedroom recording. Until now, that is: his fourth full-length (in three years, no less) was produced by John Agnello, a veteran known for his work with Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth. Here, Agnello highlights Vile’s fantastic guitar work. The record is awash in intricate acoustic and electric melodies, all strung together by Vile’s gravelly warble. Take a listen to “Baby’s Arms” below.
Kurt Vile–Baby’s Arms
Wye Oak—Civilian: This Baltimore duo is fast climbing the ranks of indie-dom, and they’re doing in the old-fashioned way: front-to-back solid records and nonstop touring. Wye Oak’s tense songs recall ‘90s shoegaze, but without needless noise. Lead singer Jenn Wasner highlights melody over feedback, and Andy Stack is one of the most inventive drummers in the business. Civilian is the group’s third album and another giant leap forward for a young band. Take a listen to the title track below.
Wye Oak– Civilian
Other notable releases:
Exene Cervenka—Excitement of Maybe: As the frontwoman for X, Cervenka was one of the most dynamic voices in ‘80s punk. Her new album is a continuation of her trailblazing sound, melding country, folk, soul, and punk. Former X guitarist Dave Alvin guests.
The Dodos—No Color: For San Francisco’s The Dodos, the drums are the most important part of the sound. Drummer Logan Kroeber has the versatility of a jazz player mixed with punk-rock fervor, and singer/guitarist Meric Long matches him note for note. No Color is the duo’s fourth album and it unites the group with their original producer, John Askew. Neko Case guests on the record.
REM—Collapse Into Now: The indie godfathers return with another Jacknife Lee-produced album, recorded at Berlin’s famed Hansa Studios, which housed the sessions for David Bowie’s Heroes, U2’s Achtung Baby, and Iggy Pop’s Lust For Life. Special guests include Patti Smith, her guitarist Lenny Kaye, and Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder.
A Hawk and a Hacksaw—Cervantine: One of the many satellite acts of the sprawling Elephant 6 collective, this duo features Jeremy Barnes, a past member of critically-acclaimed act Neutral Milk Hotel. Cervantine is the group’s fifth album, boasting an eclectic mixture of American and Eastern-European folk music.