Seth McConnell / THE DENVER POST
Courtesy photo/ The Denver Post
Seth McConnell / THE DENVER POST
This week it seems as if every great band is announcing new albums! How exciting!
Just recently, indie-rock legends Built to Spill announced their new album with a blistering single to hold us over. And the biggest one thus far is the announcement of the new Godspeed You! Black Emperor record. Post-rock heads rejoice!
In other news, Radio 1190 will be hosting our first ever Meet and Greet at the radio station in the UMC on Thursday, March 5th from 4 to 10 p.m. There will be free food and drinks for staff and students. For more information, check out our Facebook page or radio1190.org. Anyways, here are some albums we have spinning this week in rotation:
In recent years, ex-Fleet Foxes drummer Josh Tillman, AKA Father John Misty, has really made a name for himself. His 2012 sleeper-hit Fear Fun was an indie-folk highlight of the year, but got pushed under the rug for its mixed-bag style where Tillman takes cues from country, indie-folk and modern rock anthems.
But after this release, Tillman gained a reputation for his charismatic stage performances in which he would play wearing ridiculous heart-shaped sunglasses, strum guitar behind a giant cardboard iPhone, or even sing to a unicorn stick horse that a fan threw on stage. After a semi-viral performance of his song “Bored in the USA” on Letterman (featuring a laugh-track), Tillman announced he would release his new record, I Love You, Honeybear, in early 2015.
Upon release it has received widespread critical acclaim for good reason. The album as a whole is lush, with big band and string arrangements that lay on top of well-crafted indie-folk chord progressions.
But the biggest highlight is the lyrics. Though Tillman’s vocal range is nothing to write home about, his clever word play, vibrant semi-cartoonish imagery and halfway sincere, halfway tongue-in-cheek subject matter is some of the best songwriting in many years. The whole album circles around his feelings for his wife and his life as a performer.
Much like his persona, Tillman lives and speaks behind a cocky and know-it-all facade while giving hints about his true feelings hidden between the lines. While his demeanor is a little bit too snobby for his own good, Tillman finally opens up halfway through the album on the track “The Ideal Husband” in which he confesses that he has done too many drugs, driven home wasted, and that he is aware that his personality alienates himself from others. But after he finally admits all his faults and vices he also admits that he wants to be a better lover, friend, husband and person.
Then after this point of catharsis, Tillman mellows out and ends on an incredibly sweet and honest note with the track “I Went to the Store One Day.” This track tells the story of how he met his wife and that he loves her with all his heart because she looks past all his faults and helps him become a better person. Undoubtedly, I Love You, Honeybear will be one of the most acclaimed albums of the year for its masterful crafting of songs and melody and, of course, for it’s richness of personality, honesty and humor.
On her third release, slacker-rock queen Colleen Green hits her stride with I Want to Grow Up. On this new release on Hardly Art Records, Green sticks with her usual mix of crunchy pop punk and slacker rock. But even though the chord progressions sound happy on the surface, the subject matter is a tad bit deeper.
Even though tracks such as “TV” are about getting stoned and watching the tube, other tracks like “Things That Are Bad for Me” detail the recognition of your poor life choices and their emotional impact.
On every track the melodies may seem sunny, but a sense of apathy and depression is apparent throughout the record. Even though musically the record is not very cerebral, the production, lyrics and personality of the record are enough to make all the SoCal garage-rock heads happy enough to put it on more than once.
After his time with his other project Junip, Swedish singer-songwriter Jose Gonzalez goes back to his roots on Vestiges & Claws to make one of his most solid releases in years. In late 2014, the songwriter released his first single “Leaf Off/The Cave.” It was apparent that Gonzales ditched his recent awkward attempt at mixing indie-folk with jam-band music and replaced it with his main instrument, the nylon acoustic guitar.
The single is a rollicking track that is as earthy as it is progressive. Once the full album was released from Mute Records, the record sticks to the nylon guitar motif with very minimal percussion. Undoubtedly, the album is organic and simple, but the fingerpicking is incredibly hypnotic and gives it an odd psychedelic feel, like a subdued version of The Incredible String Band.
Though the album as a whole is much better than his recent projects, Jose Gonzalez fails to really go anywhere special with the record. Simultaneously, the record could fit in a small coffee house or a large venue. While the songwriting is a tad bit lackluster, it is nonetheless enjoyable.
James Calvet is the music director for Radio 1190