If you’ve been following The National on YouTube you’ll know they’ve been slowly releasing tracks from their upcoming album. The latest is Day I Die and it follows the formula of the past three in being pure uncompromising signature The National.
The new album is titled Sleep Well Beast and you can preorder it in multiple formats on Amazon.
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If you’ve been a reader here on TWF over the years you know that I have long been a proponent of Zach Williams. His current band is The Lone Bellow and their sophomore album is widely available starting next week. If you’d like to take a listen before you buy NPR’s First Listen is streaming the album now.
I highly recommend seeing them in a live setting as their energy and harmonies are infectious. I’ve never again witnessed someone signing so passionately as I did when The Lone Bellow played a small concert venue here in Indianapolis. For a hint at what you can expect take a second and watch their Tiny Desk Concert.
Enjoy the music.
Kishi Bashi has a fantastic new album called Lighght which is hard to describe. Essentially it’s pure fun. At times during the album you can hear influences such as Sufjan Stevens, Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, and Phoenix. If that doesn’t pique your interest know that he used to play violin with Of Montreal. Oh, he also sings ~20% of the lyrics in Japanese. What more could you want?
mp3: Kishi Bashi – In fantasia
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I sat down last night to write a brief and witty review of the newest album from The Thermals. My internet connection rebelled and I think that might have been a good thing. This album, Desperate Ground (amazon) (itunes), is great. It’s really great. For the past week I have been using it quite heavily in my playlist at work. All day long I listen to albums. Back to back to back albums. Since Desperate Ground entered that list I have literally played it in direct rotation with all other albums. By that I mean I listen to album A, then once through Desperate Ground, then album B, back to Desperate Ground, etc.
All told I reckon I’ve listened straight through this album at least twenty five times. It helps that it runs a brisk 26+ minutes and no song clocks in longer than 3:20. It also helps that every song is a perfect fit on the album. There isn’t a moment that you begin to feel temptation to skip to the next track. There are no low points to speak of. This is pure guitar driven rock (or punk, or post-punk, or whatever label you can come up with) with no other purpose than to have a good time. It will give you motivation on a Monday morning. It will help you push through random paperwork. It will keep your feet tapping and your head bouncing along to the beat.
mp3 : The Thermals – Our Love Survives
At the end of this year I can guarantee this album will still be in my top ten. If you haven’t heard them before and you like this small sample go ahead and order their album from Saddle Creek (you get a load of swag for preordering). Then stop and drop them an email or tweet and ask them why they’re not playing a show in Indiana.
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The Strokes have unleashed a new album into the world and on first listen I can’t really grasp what their vision for the album was. Their guitar/synth mashup style has now seemingly eschewed their wall of fuzz trademark and Julian’s vocals are even more unintelligible than usual. On the opening track, Tap Out, it feels like the boys are gassed and are consciously trolling their fans, peers, and label. The song has the pep and bounce you would expect, but the formula is missing something. On previous efforts it felt as if The Strokes didn’t care an ounce and yet they combined that with an effortless sense of cool. Here it feels, at times, like they genuinely just don’t care.
Elsewhere on the album you can hear their genius. To be fair, I think this is the problem. When viewing The Strokes through the lens of their previous efforts it’s easy to say they’re coming up short. To label Comedown Machine (amazon) (itunes) as a poor effort is easy to do when you have Is This It sitting on the shelf. It’s the same routine that has plagued other bands like Weezer or even Arcade Fire. When your debut is so breathtakingly spot on everything you do after that will fall short of the impossible litmus test.
mp3 : The Strokes – One Way Trigger
All of that is true, and yet this is still a fun album from The Strokes. It has some forgettable moments, but it also has a few songs that will stick with you and keep you trudging back through the full track list looking for that hidden spark. Still it’s songs and demos like the following that make me wish for what could still come from the New York boys.
mp3 : The Strokes – I’ll Try Anything Once (You Only Live Once Demo)
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With their latest album, Love (buy on their site) (amazon) (itunes), Cloud Cult continues to prove that some bands get better and better the longer they make music. I have tried to come up with a witty review for this album and I find myself returning over and over again to this simple phrase; Love is a perfect Cloud Cult album. On a track by track basis you can clearly hear their past musical styles shine through and ultimately blend together into what is essentially a “best of” album composed entirely of new songs.
I have long talked about Cloud Cult as the best band you’ve never listened to. This album proves it and would be an excellent starting point for any new fan.
mp3 : Cloud Cult – Complicated Creation
mp3 : Cloud Cult – Meet Me Where You’re Going
If I’ve piqued your interest in the least you can sample more of their music in a rather long ode I wrote about the band a few months ago (click here).
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I have been following a musician named Zach Williams almost as long as I’ve been writing this blog. I first stumbled upon his music when his moniker was Zach Williams and The Ramparts. Those were the heady days of Myspace and random music links that led you farther and farther down the rabbit hole. I followed his career as he made the move to NYC and at one point we started to email back and forth occasionally. I recall vividly a time when he was playing a lot of local shows in the New York area and I convinced an old high school chum to go and see a show. He ended up staying after the concert and meeting Zach in person; he described Zach as personable, friendly, and a very emotional performer.
After awhile my correspondence fell off and there were rumours that Zach was done with his pursuit of music. And then the latest chapter in his career started with The Lone Bellow. Originally running as another “Zach Williams and the” effort they eventually settled on the simpler moniker of The Lone Bellow. Eventually they decided a full length album was worth a try and they raised funding on kickstarter to get it made. Those of us fortunate enough to support the album were treated with digital and physical media alongside some magnificent live recording sessions that really captured everything I’ve always been told about their live sets.
mp3 : The Lone Bellow – Tree To Grow
If you haven’t heard of this band yet rest assured that they will be growing in popularity in the months and years to come. They’re at their best when Zach is emotionally filling out a lyrical melody and the music swells to meet his voice. Go buy their album from Amazon or iTunes today and keep supporting great music. (And Zach – you need to play a show in Indianapolis)
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