Southern Indiana’s Apache Dropout play brash garage rock that’s clearly descended from White Light/White Heat-era VU, the 13th Floor Elevators, and the Nuggets box set. The songs that make up their blistering self-titled debut are shot through with a primitive rock & roll swagger, hooks that also bring to mind present day garage warriors Ty Segall and The Black Lips, and some pretty warped excursions into fuzzed-out noise. It’s easily one of the best straight-up garage rock records I’ve heard all year. Download “I’m So Glad” and “Sam Phillips Rising” and check out the streaming album below.
MP3 :: I’m So Glad
MP3 :: Sam Phillips Rising
(from Apache Dropout. Buy here)
Not too long ago I got a tip from a trusted friend to check out Philly-based folk band The Bailey Hounds. I’ve been listening to their debut, Along the Gallows, the past two nights and can’t help but be reminded of late-period Whiskeytown. These songs are more carefully crafted and produced than the still-rough-around-the-edges Stranger’s Almanac, but the posthumous Pneumonia is an apt reference point, especially on the title track and “Those Devils Don’t Scare Me”. There’s rambling country rock, dusty, lovelorn ballads, and the occasional bluesy shuffle filling Along the Gallows, and the songs are nothing if not consistent. Though Ryan Adams has only managed a handful of good songs and goofy videos since Heartbreaker, bands like The Bailey Hounds are filling the void.
MP3 :: Along the Gallows
(from Along the Gallows. Buy here)
Big time props to Quick Before it Melts for tipping me (us) off to the excellent new album from Expwy. The Montreal “band” is the songwriting vehicle for Matt LeGroulx. On Dance Maul, LeGroulx gathers inspiration from time spent in NYC, which comes through thanks to the throwback sound and old-time artwork that accompanies each track. LeGroulx conjures up a retro, vintage sonic world on the self-recorded album through the use of reverb, ghostly organs, and some righteous guitar solos (I can’t help but hear the fluid jams of the The Allman Brothers in tunes like “Armory Hall”). This one’s a truly pleasant surprise and something well worth checking out. And hey, it’s completely free, so get on it asap.
MP3 :: Armory Hall
MP3 :: Park Row
(from Dance Maul. Download here)
Crystal Shipsss is the latest guise of Berlin-based songwriter Jacob Faurholt, the same dude who’s recently released a brooding folk album (Dark Hours) under his own name and, before that, some blistering indie-rock as Why Write? (download “Burning Holes” below immediately!). Yay shows Faurholt’s adept at yet another genre variation – the ten songs here are an exercise in weird folk/pop concision. Intended to eventually see proper widespread release, Yay sports a disarming falsetto throughout from Faurholt and arrangements that emphasize melody and noise in equal measure. It’s an impressive little record that, on its best songs (“Smile”, “Geyser”, “Uh Huh”), is truly captivating. Check out the streaming record below.
MP3 :: Burning Holes
(from Why Write? EP. Listen here)
MP3 :: Creatures in the Sea
(from Dark Hours. Buy here)
I came across this disarmingly beautiful ambient/pop gem today from Sydney producer Oliver Tank. Love how it mixes gentle electronic clicks and pulses with a natural (or at least natural sounding) string section. “Last Night I Heard Everything in Slow Motion” comes from his forthcoming debut EP, which is out October 24 via Australian label Yes Please.
MP3 :: Last Night I Heard Everything In Slow Motion
Boston indie-rock band Camden is doing something disappointingly rare for 2011 – playing electric guitars that actually sound like electric guitars. I’m no rock purist, but damn we could use more bands like this these days. Camden’s spirited, hook-filled songs are about cars and bars and girls and weekends and other stuff dudes generally enjoy. It doesn’t hurt that lead singer Jason Sibilia sounds an awful lot like Ted Leo. Their new 3-song EP is called Totally Fine, and yeah it totally is.
MP3 :: Mustangs
MP3 :: Diamonds In Bloom
(from Totally Fine. Download here)
Check out the deceptively intricate folk-pop of NYC songwriter Josh Kaufman’s Rocketship Park project. His latest effort, Cakes and Cookies, is as delicious as advertised – seemingly effortless songs revealing layers of carefully arranged sound on close listen – banjos, trombones, strings, pedal steel, etc. – and feature homespun, unaffected melodies that sound like old friends. The record features a wealth of talented collaborators, including The National’s Bryan Devendorf drumming on a handful of tracks.
MP3 :: Swan
MP3 :: Fast Friends
(from Cakes and Cookies. Listen and name your price here)
Capturing a perfect mix of shambling, Nuggets-era garage rock and skuzzy/heroic 90’s lo-fi, Antiques upcoming JWNS is easily one of the better records I’ve heard over the past few weeks. While it’s the Brooklyn/Cambridge/Abilene band’s 4th full length, JWNS is the first to find these ears and has been playing on repeat for a few hours now. As the band says, it’s “Our attempt at the epic garage album. Mostly about misanthropy.” And it works from start to finish – these guys know how to work slow building ballads, tense rockers, and shoestring anthems – making for a record that simultaneously feels cohesive and ready to fall apart at the seams. JWNS drops June 28.
MP3 :: ETC
MP3 :: Everybody! Do the Twist!
(from JWNS. Info here)