This has been quite a week for new music releases! Some of our favorite artists have released much-anticipated albums and we can’t get enough of them. Here’s a look at what we’ve been listening to the past few days!
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros have released their long awaited follow up to their hugely successful debut, titled Here. Since their first album, members Alex Ebert and Jade Castrinos have explored solo projects, so it’s nice to hear the group all back together again. If you’ve listened to Alex’s solo album you may hear some of its influence on Here, in the songwriting and gentler feel of the album. The songs feel simpler than their last album, but not in a bad way – they sound like songs performed by a group of friends just hanging out around a bonfire, plucking at guitars and picking up other instruments here and there, with different people chiming in on the lyrics when they know the words. It brings a feeling of nostalgia for bygone days and sixties music communities in places like Laurel Canyon. My favorites songs on the album so far are Mayla, Dear Believer, and Fiya Wata, which sounds a bit different than the rest of the songs on the album and really stands out.
Also if you check out their website they created a site called “Town of Songs” with a really neat concept – each week viewers can construct a song from the album by planting seeds that turn into stems; with each flower you plant a new layer of music starts playing from the song. Check it out here.
When I first listened to this album I was working on something else and had to stop and look at the RDIO page to make sure what I was listening to really was the Walkmen. When I think of them I think of anthemic songs, like “The Rat” and “In the New Year” with singer Hamilton Leithauser’s voice arching over shimmering guitars and a full sound. On Heaven, the album starts with a delicate guitar melody and Leithauser’s soft drawl singing “Golden dreams, all lose their glow/I don’t need perfection, I love the whole/Oh give me a life, that needs correction/Nobody loves, loves perfection.” It’s a beautiful and soothing start to the album, which does have its upbeat moments (“Heartbreaker”) but its high points, in my opinion, are when they show their softer side.
Mark Kozelek has one of my favorite voices. He was the frontman of the band Red House Painters before going off on his own and forming Sun Kil Moon. He’s done some really interesting arrangements of other musician’s music, including an entire album of Modest Mouse songs called Tiny Cities that is definitely worth checking out – but he’s also an extremely talented songwriter. I was pretty excited when I found out he had released a new album, Among the Leaves, this week. As with his other albums, it showcases his amazing vocals and songwriting skills (he composes all the music and lyrics himself). His music is so serene, when I listen to it I feel like I’m on a boat in the middle of the ocean, with no one else around for miles and miles.
Fun fact: he was also in the movie Almost Famous (below, on the right)
Vampire Weekend bassist Chris Baio recently released the EP Sunburn and even though it’s only three tracks we can’t get enough of its funky, high energy sound described as “tropical electronica.” This one will be a must for summer playlists! Vampire Weekend is always a great source of fun summer music, and we can’t wait to see them live at Pitchfork next month!
Check out more indie music we love.