by: Paul McEldowney
Jens Lekman - An Argument With Myself – (Secretly Canadian)
It is never too soon for more Jens Lekman aka the 15th sexiest man of all the Swedes. The pop superstar and clever man extraordinaire returns with an exploration of psychological split, and internal conflict, regret, uncomfortability and almost solipsistic humor. As usual, the songs are pure gold pop master pieces which are unrivaled in song structure and lyrical form and content, highlighting Jens' absolute strongest suit as a song writer--his knack for creating intimacy and charm.
Sleep ? Over - Forever - (Hippos In Tanks)
The slow dance song that plays at prom re-interpreted 10 different times meets the Disintegration Loops. Or better yet, the weird new Lil Wayne acoustic song where he shows off his sensitive side covered 10 different ways by a band which inhabits some retrofuturistic Bladerunner-Rosemary's Baby cross-universe and who's only heard a description of the song, but has not heard the song directly.
The Drums - Portamento - (Frenchkiss)
Sweet melancholic in-and-out of love jangly bubbly candy-coated surf-pop, which celebrates every part of a relationship that makes you want to throw up. Coming off of their awesome EP from 2009, Portamento is non-stop pop hook after pop hook, with sincere heart-on-sleeve vocal stylings, a driving new order style bass, and guitar and synth shimmers.
Toro Y Moi - Freaking Out - (Carpark)
Bring the cool disco-dance-lounge that you were too not cool to be able to go to wherever you go. Not sure even those cool urban disco-tech clubs exist or are as fun as professional photographers make them out to be. At any rate, Toro Y Moi's newest is way more disco-funk than his previous works, perfecting that french house electronica 'da club' in-a-restrained-way vibe that just makes you feel like one cool cat.
CANT (Chris Taylor) - Dreams Come True - (Terrible)
CANT is Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear's solo moniker. Made with the help of Twin Shadow's George Lewis Jr., CANT's debut Dreams Come True is a collection of hazy down-tempo R&B slow jams featuring the signature alien not-of-this-world vocal stylings of Taylor himself. Smooth like butter on velvet. The album is dedicated to his mom.
Hella - Tripper - (Sargent House)
Downsizing to their original 2 member form, Hella return after their last album from four years ago with their newest incomprehensibly complex, abstract, and alienating mind melter, Tripper. At the same time, Tripper is as R&R celebrational fun head banging tunes on cocaine as it is technical and questionable sheet music scribbled self-aware self-indulgence (I mean this in the most admirable way possible). Really beyond human in every way.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Hysterical - (Self-released)
Their self titled album is pretty much perfect because of its context, and with Funeral is the culmination of that early 2000s indie rock song writing, production, and management style. In only a few years, the musical climate has arguably changed a lot. In a span of a few years, underground music at least feels weirder, more ambiguous, and democratic in whatever way music can be democratic, hinting that something deeper and more structural is going on. In 2011, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah have a new album out that is more symphonic, atmospheric, and grown up in whatever absurd way music or bands grow. It's a great time to reminisce.
Mogwai - Earth Division EP - (Sub Pop)
Post-rock giants return with a 4 song EP featuring more restrained symphonic and acoustic works and a wild card track thats more of a abstract wall of sound electronica techno song. See if you can find which one it is!
Blitzen Trapper - Americano Goldwing - (Sub Pop)
The newest from the I've-been-working-on-the-railroad american classic rocky country superstars Blitzen Trapper. More ho-down than duel. That's all the country tropes I got folks.
Nurses - Dracula - (Dead Oceans)
Hazy and ghostly, in the Casper-the-friendly-ghost way, psychedelic synth-pop. Dracula is like a tropical cruise on the Queen Mary, which did not really turn out to be that scary in the first place. Alternatively (cosmically or, yet keeping with the cruise theme, Dracula can be seen as a sort of rejoicing apocalyptic bermudian trip into the sunset.
Veronica Falls - Veronica Falls - (Slumberland)
No frills 60's style Phil Spector garagey minimal girl/boy pop gems. Cute and sweet as is everything Slumberland. Even gets a little dark and rough around the edges reminiscent of The Raincoats or the first Vivian Girls album.
Alias - Fever Dream – (Anticon)
Atmospheric and dense instrumental hip hop collages in the same spirit as Prefuse 73 or the Books with a tinge of that slow psychedelic ambient R&B/Dubstep a la Burial and How To Dress Well which has been so en vogue. Less left field than some of the other experimental hip hop on Anticon, Alias is more poppy, widely identifiable, and more cerebrally interesting rather than interesting as a club jam.