For the past few weeks I’ve had one album pretty steadily on repeat: Isles by Wild Belle. If you haven’t heard this album yet, listen to it now! It is amazing, upbeat, reggae-tinged indie pop that will make your ears so incredibly happy. It has my mind itching for summer – popsicles and swimming pools, bare feet, windows down. It seems to encapsulate all these feelings that come along with summer in musical form, and will no doubt be one of my top played albums this summer. Wild Belle consists of brother/sister duo Elliot and Natalie Bergman, who have raw talent in their genes and amazing style to boot. They were one of the buzzed-about bands at this year’s SXSW and I’m looking forward to catching them at Coachella too! My favorite tracks are the infectious opener “Keep You” and summery jam “Shine.”
Image by Jennifer Tzar.
Devandra Banhart’s new album Mala is now out, his first since 2009’s What Will We Be. Banhart is a very creative, independent spirit and never ceases to experiment through his music. I love that about him – he’ll never do something mainstream or just because he knows it will be a hit. On Mala he showcases a softer side that is really beautiful. The opening song “Golden Girls” is short and slightly eerie, setting the tone for an album that is hushed, intimate, and makes me want to curl up amidst fuzzy blankets on a rainy day with a cup of tea and someone I love. This album won’t put you to sleep though, it will hold your attention and keep you slightly on edge. “Fur Hildegard von Bingen” is a slow burner with a very addicting beat and the following track “Never Seen Such Good Things” is one of my favorites on the album.
Caveman’s self-titled follow up to 2011’s CoCo Beware comes out next Tuesday but the entire album is available for streaming this week on NPR. I’m so impressed by this band’s ability to sound like they’ve been together for years when this is only their second album. Their sound is smooth, polished and atmospheric – full of vast spacey soundscapes, but they don’t overpower you, they just gently sweep you up and carry you along on their journey. There’s a bit of an 80’s vibe to this album that I’m really enjoying, and lead singer Matthew Iwanusa’s voice shines. I knew he had a great voice on the last album, but on some of the new songs it really stands out and takes my breath away. In the times I’ve spoken with them, Caveman talks a lot about their music having a very clear vibe and on this album they have really refined and singled out that vibe as distinctly their own.
Stream the album here.
Lastly, I have mentioned the band Phosphorescent before but the full album Muchacho is now out and I also had the chance to see them at SXSW, where they put on one of my favorite shows of the weekend. Matthew Houck has a beautiful voice that I could listen to for hours and hours, and when it combines with the guitar, strings, and percussion, it creates the most soothing sound. Amid the chaos of SXSW his show was like a breath of fresh air as he played to a mellow crowd during magic hour on Saturday. His music reminds me of the wide open landscapes out west…listening to the album I picture painted deserts and sunsets over sun baked earth. My favorite tracks on the album so far are “Song For Zula” and the gorgeous “Terror in the Canyons.”