Horse Feathers - Thistled Spring [Kill Rock Stars]
A pretty sweet folk americana style group out of Portland. First thing that stands out to me is the vocals, high pitched and fragile but still powerful and soulful (i.e. not hushed). Actually, the album in general sort of has that weird contrast going on. Its tender and sad but also so pretty/nice that it is also comforting. There's no one whining or being telling you a sob story, more just tapping the sensitivity of natural melancholy. A keeper for sure.
Plants And Animals - La La Land [Secret City Records]
How is this band just three people? I mean, I can believe it, it isn't that there's tons of instruments (its jus' da good ol' regular power-trio formula with a few guest musicians here and there), its just very full and awesome. Part of it is the production, but its also got the kind of songwriting that fills the room itself. So anyway, the sound: hoppin' in between folk-rock, glam, psych, and just good ol' power pop. Great.
Hotels - The Heart that hears like a bat [Hidden Shoal]
This a single plus remixes of other songs of this album that will be frickin' rad. The first track is this sweet noir-style pop song that is also sort of surf and shoegazer-y. Also I read someone call them sci-fi pop which makes that song a lot cooler to and so now it makes me think of Blade Runner.
Avi Buffalo - Avi Buffalo [Subpop]
This is really nice catchy indie-pop album, but I'll be honest. I just sort of the have the second track, "What's in it for?," on repeat instead of listening to the whole thing. The rest of the album is good, but uh, I'm pretty sure this second track is the indie pop hit of the year.
Free Electric State - Caress [Churchkey]
Sort of punk-y rock along the lines of Pretty Girls Make Graves, Stellastar, and plus a little kraut influence. Punchy basslines, sweet girl vox.
Typhoon - Hunger and Thirst [Tender Loving Empire]
A new release from a cool label that also makes comics and more. A full folk inflected orchestral indie rock band with long well-crafted songs. There's a lot to uncover here, so give it a spin.
Dosh - Tommy [Anticon]
This sort of sounds like Jaga Jazzist but a little more fun and relate-able. A little jazz-y, a little worldly, and a lil' booty shakin (and a lil trip-hop). This is some hi-q(uality) stuff.
Cate Le Bon - Me Oh My [Control Group]
I'm gonna have to quote the mirror on this, "part folk minstrel part psychedelic goddess." Anyway, so we got this Welsh girl who'll hit you with a folk song ala Cat Power, then kick it with a sweeeeeeet fuzz guitar riff (which are the songs I personally prefer.) Oh man I just noticed that some of the credits are in Welsh. Don't know how Welsh looks? Like this : Cynhyrchywd (srsly).
Unkle - Where Did The Night Go [Surrender All]
Whoa awesome. This a big well-produced album that, just, well sounds pretty epic. Its sort of hard to hit the nail on the head where this band sounds, but I'm hearing a little bit of Big Pink, electronica, sultry and powerful female vocals, post-punk and psych all in one big atmospheric package. A+. I mean it.
Caribou - Swim [Merge]
Up-beat dance-y electronica pop stuff. Dan Snaith, the dude behind it, says the album focuses a little more on being a little more "organic" and "liquid" instead of metallic and rigid, and it succeeds.
Captain Ahab - The End Of Irony [Deathbomb Arc]
The most bombastic electronic duo is back with another album of hyper-synths, cheesy breakdowns and funny lyrics. Its pretty cool since you think a band that focus on being a cheesy techno band would fall into a rut, but this album range proves thats not the case (i.e. the disco metal track, 'The Calm Before the Sword')
Antn Hrkwk - Thoroughbred [Life's Blood]
Another electronica album, this one a little more glitchy (but not too much) and eccentric. Poppy and fun with a lot of vocal (but not lyrical) sampling that makes it pretty coo.
Goes Calypso - Mitt Liv Som Katt [Life's Blood]
A bunch of synth-gems that sort of drone-y but song-y at the same time, not too far off from the F*ck Buttons.
Blunt Mechanic - World Record [Barsuk]
A great band wrote a song once called "All you need is pop." Thats how I feel when I put this CD in. From Ben Barnett of Kind of Like Spitting, comes this rad lo-fi classic sounding no-frills indie pop album. Don't get me wrong though, the song-writing and guitar-riffs are awesome and not no-frills themselves. I won't rant about my criticism of no-frills lo-fi, but I wish the bar was set for that sound with an album like this. Quick five words : positive raw indie pop gems. For fans of early Of Montreal, Yo La Tengo.
Ojo Rojos - Disappear [Cobraside]
Tight, shoegazer psych rock out of Claremont. This is way high-quality too, with drops of Spacemen 3 and My Bloody Valentine to round out this group. I'm moderately surprised I haven't heard these guys before since they've been around for a few years and even toured out of the US. Quick four words: Pleasantly heavy ultra melody.
Twinkranes - Spektrum Theatre Snakes [B Music]
A new (as in not a re-issue of 60s garage bands from Mongolia) from B-Music/Finders Keepers! Here is a kraut/prog pop album out of Dublin. This is a pretty unbelievable record for anyone into kraut-rock since its just as catchy and full of hooks as it is true to its roots which makes it one of the few kraut-rock albums that pretty much anybody can get into. CHECK IT.
Unnatural Helpers - Cracked Love and Other Drugs [Hardly Art]
Do you like to rock? Well these Seattle dudes got some classic style rock n roll ala Stooges and all that jazz even featuring guests from Kinski and Dutchess & the Duke. Nothin like a band with pop sensibilities that will also punch you in the face.
The Henry Clay People - Somewhere on the Golden Coast [TBD]
Jangly guitar pop rock n roll that rules. the LA times said "if brains were noise, they'd be the Henry Clay People." LA Times apparently thinks brains are unrestrained fun, the replacements, the hold steady, a barbecue, listening to the descendents when you were 12 years old, drinking two maybe three (not too many) beers at that aforementioned barbecue if its in Gainesville Florida, and doing whats right when whats right also is fun. Whoa, thats what I call a brain.
Robby Moncrieff - Who Do You think you aren't? [Porter Records]
FEATURING ZACH HILL. Piano drums and saxophone come together to make a fun progg-y jazz album.
Child Abuse- Cut and Run [Lovepump United]
There's something therapeutic about hardcore noise grind band. Its a huge mess of noise from real instruments with a little bit of metal righteousness that sort of cleans your brain with steel wool. If you agree this is for you.
Sightings - City of Straw - [Brah]
I don't know about you but all these releases have been quite poppy. Well here is an awesome minimalist noise rock band, a combo I can't remember hearing ever. Its cool since they identify as a pop band, and you can sort of hear it but barely. Sort of like Throbbing Gristle covering Big Black. Beats of static, guitar washes and eerie creaky sounding feedback. But its quiet (except for like 2 tracks) which is what makes this stand out so much. Also an imprint of Jagjaguwar released this so ++ cred points fyi.
Polar Bear - Peepers [Leaf Label]
This is really cool, I wouldnt call it free jazz, but it is pretty jangly. Oh, its jangly jazz.
Nigeria Special - Vol. 2 [soundway]
70s nigerian music ala afro-beat jazz and bluez.