I've returned! Though CMJ in New York was a blast, as always, it's a relief to be back in colorful Colorado while there's still some fall left to savor. I heard a ton of excellent music, made some awesome friends and have returned with a plethora of badass new music to round out this year on a strong note.
We have some of my favorite releases of the whole year all landing this week, and I honestly could not be a bigger advocate of going out and buying these records this very second.
Hailing all the way from Australia, Courtney Barnett's new sort-of album The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas channels singer-songwriters of every era into something that feels hopelessly dazed, and yet endlessly curious all at once. With a band that fills out her twangy garage numbers in an old-school jam vibe (more The Band style than The Grateful Dead), Barnett whittles out observations with the wit of Stephen Malkmus and the scorn of Bob Dylan, and the resulting collection of songs is one of the most confidently shy records of the year.
Tim Hecker has established himself over a number of albums as one of the pioneers of abstract sonic music today, but his new album Virgins takes a markedly different approach from his previous distortion-laden outings. Virgins features live instrumentation — including pianos, strings and some sounds which may have been built on the spot to complement Hecker's vision. The results are disorienting, haunting and — as always with Hecker — stunningly mesmerizing.
Though many artists might slow down by the time they reach a 12th studio album, Kevin Barnes from Of Montreal doesn't know the meaning of taking a break. The new release Lousy with Sylvanbriar sees the group moving away from some of the schizophrenic electronics of its past few records and indulging in a more laid-back, folk-rock style. The results are some of the most consistent work Of Montreal has put out in some time.
Other additions include:
* One Breath, Anna Calvi
* Bitter Rivals, Sleigh Bells
* s/t, Fuzz
Sam Goldner is the music director at Radio 1190