Okkervil River – I Am Very Far
I Am Very Far finds Will Sheff’s highly literate indie/folk band successfully trying out a variety of new sounds, themes, and motifs. A challenging first listen, I Am Very Far is quite a grower, with highlights like “Rider” and “Mermaid” recalling old favorites and mid-album mini-epics “Show Yourself” and “We Need A Myth” breaking new ground for the band. Though probably not a record that’s going to be remembered as fondly, on a wide scale, as Black Sheep Boy or The Stage Names, I Am Very Far is an emotionally wracked, brutal world unto itself that could become a dark horse favorite for the band.
MP3 :: Wake And Be Fine
(from I Am Very Far. Buy here)
The Vaccines – What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?
The debut from these Brits is full of vigorous, bar-ready anthems and stadium-sized hooks. If the one-two punch of “Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)” and “If You Wanna” somehow doesn’t knock your knickers off, then you better check your pulse.
Tyler, the Creator – Goblin
For falling into the hype cycle generated by the 20-year-old hip-hop phenom a few months back, I’m guilty as charged. But seriously, the video for “Yonkers” still hasn’t been topped this year, and that Fallon performance was one for the ages. But now the (deserved) backlash, best expressed in that eloquently worded message from Tegan & Sara, has begun in earnest against the supremely immature Tyler. As far as the music goes though, if you can put all the hateful messages (fiction or not) and irresponsibility aside for a minute, what your left with is an album that doesn’t work because while several songs show great promise, the rest are just flat-out boring. Unsurprisingly, CMG nails it.
MP3 :: Yonkers
(from Goblin. Buy here)
Frank Ocean – Nostalgia, Ultra
Curious listeners interested in what’s coming out of the OFWGKTA camp would be better served downloading the 4 or 5 listenable songs from Goblin and grabbing Frank Ocean’s free Nostalgia, Ultra. Ocean is more interested in reviving organic sounding, sexually-charged R&B that’s big on low end bass and low on potentially offensive subject matter. His songs and voice are silky smooth, and he samples Radiohead and, er, The Eagles ferchrissakes.
MP3 :: Songs for Women
MP3 :: There Will Be Tears
(from Nostalgia, Ultra. Download here)