Spin This: April 12
Sonny & The Sunsets—Hit After Hit: This San Francisco group has a knack for writing a catchy tune—their 2009 debut Tomorrow Is Alright was chock full of them, drawing on ‘50s doo-wop, pop, and early rock and roll. In his downtime, lead singer Sonny Smith embarked on the ambitious “100 Records” project–writing, recording, and fabricating 200 songs for 100 fake bands, including back stories and cover art. He’s back with the Sunsets, joined by a number of San Francisco’s bourgeoning garage-rock scene to create a perfect feel-good record. Take a listen to “I Wanna Do It” below:
Sonny & The Sunsets – I Wanna Do It
Panda Bear—Tomboy: Animal Collective’s Noah Lennox is fast becoming bigger than his own band. As Panda Bear, Lennox gets to call all the shots, resulting in beautiful pop-obsessed experimentalism like 2007’s Person Pitch. Tomboy tones down the song lengths, but Lennox still wraps his golden voice in layers of reverb, slowly building a kind of secular choral music through looped singing and rhythm. Take a listen to “Last Night at the Jetty” below:
Panda Bear – Last Night at the Jetty
Other notable releases:
TV On The Radio—Nine Types of Light: After a yearlong hiatus, in which nearly every member released a solo album or worked as a producer, New York’s TV On the Radio return with their fourth album, playing up the arty R&B of Dear Science to the detriment of their more experimental tendencies. Their once was a time when the group was the most cutting edge thing going in indie, but now they’re settling into a comfortable middle age, employing subtlety more than in-your-face pyrotechnics.
Paul Simon—So Beautiful Or So What: Paul Simon’s latest draws from all over his widely divergent career: folk, pop, the African melodies and rhythms of Graceland, and even Indian music and ambient electronics. But the main draw with Simon has always been his lyrics, and here he doesn’t disappoint, beautifully describing a “pilgrim on a pilgrimage” crossing the Brooklyn Bridge on “Questions for the Angels.”
Bob Dylan—Bob Dylan In Concert: Brandeis University 1963: The tapes of this concert were collecting dust in the archives of Rolling Stone co-founder Ralph Gleason for over forty years, chronicling two Dylan sets at the Brandeis Folk Festival in 1963. This is Dylan in full-on folkie mode, featuring a number of his “talking blues” songs, and the album comes with historical notes penned by longtime Dylan scribe Michael Gray.
The Feelies—Here Before: The Feelies were one of the hottest bands in New York in the ‘80s, releasing a string of albums of jittery, angular art-rock that would go on to influence a number of future indie stars, including REM. Then guitarist Bill Million abruptly moved to Florida, offering no forwarding address or point of contact. In 2008, Million came out his self-imposed exile and reformed the group, and this week sees the release of their first new album in almost twenty years.
Generationals—Actor-Castor: One of the breakout artist at SXSW, this New Orleans duo releases their second album hot on the heels of 2009’s Con Law. Their sound is built around the soulful vocals of Ted Joyner, but updated with synths and Phoenix-like melodies.
Hauschka—Salon Des Amateurs: After leading a conventional orchestra on last year’s Foreign Landscapes, this German composer returns to his “prepared piano” technique—attaching nails, washers, tape, and even ping-pong balls to the piano’s strings to create a unique percussive effect. Salon is a mix of Hauschka’s classical past but combined with electronics and live drumming to create a wholly organic dance record.
Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit—Here We Rest: Former Drive-By Truckers guitarist and singer returns with his third album of modern country-rock. He’s a thoughtful songwriter, with a novelist’s mind but a singer’s heart.
Low—C’Mon: This Minnesota trio started out as a joke, playing as quiet as possible in direct antithesis to the early ‘90s grunge scene that populated their town. But over two decades and eight albums, the group invented “slowcore”—slowing rhythms down to a glacial pace and instead focusing primarily on melody and harmony. Their ninth album is a return to form, as the previous years have found the band expanding their sound with louder guitars and electronics.