Archive for the ‘Released this Week’ Category

Released This Week: Veronica Falls, Twin Sister, Youth Lagoon

Another week, another chunk of albums released. Here are three that may have flown under your radar more than, say, new Bjork or Wilco. I’m sure, however, there’s plenty I’ve missed, so send it along!


Twin Sister — In Heaven

I first saw Twin Sister open for Beirut in Salt Lake City. Until I heard In Heaven in its entirety, my knowledge was limited to basically that. That this is their debut LP might be a little hard to believe — it’s mature, inviting and a nice electronic indie pop record.



Veronica Falls — Veronica Falls

Everybody needs some noisy C86-style indie pop once in a while. When you can’t be arsed to get out your tapes, try this debut LP from Veronica Falls. It’s two years in the making and well worth the wait. Need a track to start with? Try “Stephen.”



Youth Lagoon — The Year of Hibernation

No week would be quite right without a reverby pop mess of an album — especially when that album is actually pretty good despite it all. Youth Lagoon is more in that synthesized-but-lush vein and it’s well worth a listen.


Released This Week: Sept. 20

Right, here are three albums released this week that I thought were worth touching on. If I’ve missed something you really enjoyed, please, let me know. Preferably not by yelling, but do what you must.

Ivy — All Hours

Full album stream (Soundcloud)


Here’s some interesting indie pop that delves into the electronic side of things. If you like what you hear from a few tracks, you’ll probably like the whole thing, though personally the strict rhythmic nature gets a bit overbearing at times. If you listen to the full album stream, you can catch some interesting thoughts from French-born Dominique Durand on the album — and that might make the whole thing worth a listen. It disrupts the flow of the album, sure, but it’s fun. Why not?


Clap Your Hands Say Yeah — Hysterical

Full album stream (NPR)


To be completely honest, I never really cared about Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Just one of those band names, you know? Something about that name doesn’t sit right with me. Who knows why. Anyway, I don’t hate the music, though if you only read the first line of that, you’d think I did, and that’s only my fault. Hysterical’s more of that energetic pop music you may or may not love (hopefully for better reasons than I.) Who knows, maybe this album will finally change my unjustified opinion. Hell, if it holds up after this good first listen, I’ll change opinion immediately. At any rate, my rambling says nothing about the album.

Jens Lekman — An Argument With Myself (EP)

Full album stream (Soundcloud)


We all love things that remind us of a surprisingly effective but sadly imaginary collaboration between The Smiths and Stephin Merritt, and An Argument With Myself (especially that title track!) fits that mold surprisingly precisely. If this is a precursor to a third full-length, count me among those who are now sold on it. You see, this EP is really, really good.

Released This Week: AA Bondy, Girls, Mates of State, Wild Flag

AA Bondy — Believers


Well, he’s done it. He’s gone and changed his signature style. You know the one: stripped-down recordings, acoustic guitars, that voice of his. Thankfully, the change really is quite good: Believers is lush, evocative, and most importantly, an enjoyable 40 minutes of great songwriting.

Girls — Father, Son, Holy Ghost


I reviewed this album last week because I’ve been consistently impressed by the band and thought the new album would probably be worth a go. I think that may be the understatement of the year (though perhaps that’s an overstatement). Anyway, the album’s quite good. I’d parrot a bit of my review, but why don’t you just read it? Girls — Father, Son, Holy Ghost review []

Mates of State — Mountaintops


If more husband-and-wife indie pop, male and female harmonies leading the way, is what you want, Mates of State have predictably done it again. By their seventh album, they’ve got a very clear idea about how to do this sort of thing, and they aren’t straying too far from the ground they helped to establish in the genre.

Wild Flag — Wild Flag


Wild Flag are sort of this indie rock female supergroup featuring some names you’ll probably recognize — and one you’ll most definitely recognize (apologies if you don’t recognize her name!): Carrie Brownstein, best known for her work in Sleater-Kinney — though her sketch comedy show Portlandia is certainly growing in name recognition as well. Anyway, this album’s really, really good. Listen to it.

Released this Week: Regina, The Rapture, The Horrible Crowes, Roberts & Lord

Every week, we’ll take a look at some new releases (not all of them, unfortunately!) and talk a little about them and give you a chance to listen. God bless Tuesdays!

Regina — Soita Mulle

While people in the U.S. are busy sleeping, Regina are busy making beautiful indie pop in Helsinki. Unless they record at night. That’s possible. Check out “Unessa” and “Haluan Sinut” from Soita Mulle, due out September 20 on Friendly Fire. They’ll be releasing the album in Finland tomorrow.


The Rapture — In the Grace Of Your Love

In The Grace Of Your Love: More dance rock from the band that helped kick off the post-punk revival in the early 2000s. Stream it right here and give it a listen while you make some food. Or, you know, something. Dance, maybe.


The Horrible Crowes — Elsie

The Horrible Crowes, Brian Fallon’s new project, ranges from moody to energetic, but it usually falls on the side of the former. The instrumentation’s solid if not stunning, and that’s probably enough motive to give it a listen. If you’re only up for one track, try “Sugar,” but the whole thing’s available on SoundCloud.


Roberts & Lord — Eponymous

Rafter Roberts & Simon Lord have produced an endearing debut on Asthmatic Kitty: Eponymous promises some vaguely unconventional instrumentation and a wonderful sense of timing. Listen to “Oblique” and “Windmill” below and try not to get sucked into the sound. Check out more from Roberts in his project Rafters and more from Lord in Simian.


Released This Week: Esben and the Witch – Violet Cries

Esben and the Witch - Violet Cries

Violet Cries is the full-length debut from Esben and the Witch, and it’s been launched on the ever-effervescent Matador Records. It’s a brooding, self-reflective release and it’s hard to catch the vision sometimes. Those difficulties are quelled throughout, but lingering doubts harm the effectiveness of this record.

Esben and the Witch – “Warpath” (download)
[audio:|titles=Esben and the Witch – “Warpath”]

Throughout Violet Cries, I’m never sure whether something more exciting is going to come into play — and that’s after several listens. When the pace gets frenzied, I almost expect something bombastic and vibrant, but instead, Esben and the Witch stay the course.

It’s hard not to be impressed by this debut, but it’s also hard to fully enjoy it during the first few listens. I can’t complain about the result, and while it was a hard one to dig into, but I’ve since gained a real appreciation of it.

Incendiary new Alkaline Trio album smashes into stores

Alkaline Trio

Alkaline Trio

On February 23rd, 2010, Alkaline Trio released their 7th studio album, This Addiction. The album opens with the explosive title track, “This Addiction.” Fast paced and full of catchy guitar riffs, if the opening track is any sign of what’s to come with this album, it’s sure to be an instant hit. The album continues with “Dine, Dine My Darling,” which is full of big guitars and anthemic vocals. From the first two tracks alone, it’s obvious that the band is trying to get back to their punk rock roots, and it seems to be working.

Alkaline Trio started in 1996, releasing their first full length EP in 1998, Goddamnit. In the last 14 years since Alkaline Trio’s inception, they have seen great success with their often dark and macabre lyrics mixed with catchy punk rock guitar. The band saw their first big success with the release of From Here to Infirmary in 2001. Nine years later, the band has left their major label and self-released the new album on guitarist and vocalist Matt Skiba’s own Heart and Skull label, in conjunction with Epitaph. Skiba has attributed Alkaline Trio’s move from major label Epic to their own label to releases such as Nine Inch Nails’ Ghosts I-IV (2007) and Radiohead’s In Rainbows (2007).


Review: Emiliana Torrini – Me and Armini

Emiliani Torrini - Me and ArminiEmiliana Torrini
Me and Armini
Rough Trade, September 9, 2008

On its face, Me and Armini could be just like a number of female-fronted pop records; Emiliana Torrini has a simultaneously marketable and enjoyable vocal style that wouldn’t bring any surprises if it reached mainstream success. Me and Armini, though, is much more than a simple throw-away pop release, and Torrini’s silky vocals are only the tip of a musical iceberg.

Emiliana Torrini – “Me and Armini” | download

Torrini might be best known for performing “Gollum’s Song” from 2002’s The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, but Me and Armini could change her status from being a slight footnote in mainstream pop culture, whic she attained both for “Gollum’s Song” and for co-writing two tracks from Kylie Minogue’s Body Language. A footnote, though, doesn’t seem to be Torrini’s favorite option, so with Me and Armini she’s released a powerful, engaging picture of her musical talent of the Iceland native. (more…)

Released This Week: Salme Dahlstrom – The Acid Cowgirl Audio Trade

Salme Dahlstrom - The Acid Cowgirl Audio TradeSalme Dahlstrom
The Acid Cowgirl Audio Trade
Kontainer Music, 2008

Salme Dahlstrom – “Superstar Crash” | download

Electronically oriented pop music hits all the right spots for some people: Salme Dahlstrom, for those people, can’t be hitting too far off those. The Acid Cowgirl Audio Trade is full of interesting synthetic textures and sounds, but at some points, it lacks a bit of that important impact.

Other times, though, Dahlstrom demonstrates a nice understanding with the pop music she’s writing, and it’s those points that really define the record. While this certainly won’t be named electronic album of the year, it does feature some engaging tracks. Where Dahlstrom really succeeds is not her writing, though: Her vocals are straight from the style’s top shelf, shifting with some abandon between a sassy, in-your-face attitude and nicely harmonized standard modern pop.

Sure, The Acid Cowgirl Audio Trade isn’t the best album of the year, but Dahlstrom’s vocals will be enough for some to keep listening, and the writing, while fairly typical of pop-centric electronica, isn’t bad enough to drive away listeners.