The 16 best tracks I’ve heard in the last two weeks, new music from the US, New Zealand and Norway. Nine minute psych-pop epics, three minute indie rockers, and space disco covers of Robert Palmer songs featuring Bryan Ferry are all represented.
Dana Falconberry ‘Palmless’
Produced by Jim Eno from Spoon , this finds the sometime-folkie Falconberry singing crystal clear and playing some reverb-heavy guitar over Radiohead-like rhythms. All kinds of nice.
The Black Keys ‘Fever’
While I can no longer imagine going to see the arena-filling duo live, I’m definitely more of a fan of their Dangermouse produced stuff since Attack & Release onwards than the early garage-blues-rock. This catchy number doesn’t seem like much of a step forward from El Camino, but then that album didn’t seem like much of a step forward from Brothers and was non-the-worse for that.
[The Black Keys]
tUnE-yArDs ‘Water Fountain’
Three years on from last album w h o k i l l Merril Garbus returns with an insistent piece of percussion heavy art pop. Afropop influences are still front and centre but this is alos reminiscent of the NYC-meets-island pop of Tom Tom Club.
The Afghan Whigs ‘Royal Cream’
One of the highlights from the new Afghan Whigs album Due to the Beast, their first album in sixteen years and their first without original guitarist Rick McCollum.
[The Afghan Whigs]
Mikal Cronin ‘Soul in Motion’
Powerpop in the Brendan Benson / Jason Faulkner mode from the singer songwriter (and sometime Ty Segall band member)’s split 7” with WAND.
Future Islands ‘Seasons (Waiting On You)’
Baltimore synthpop soulsters with the lead track from their third album Singles, their first for 4AD.
The Hold Steady ‘On With The Business’
One of the highlights from the band’s sixth album Teeth Dreams.
[The Hold Steady]
Popstrangers ‘Country Kills’
When I first featured this NZ band back in October 2012, I likened the psychedelic-tinged dreampop of ‘Heaven’ to a less stoned Autolux (ITP#20). Since then they’ve moved on to something straightforward and melodic, but still wistful, as first evinced on last year’s ‘Rats In The Palm Trees’ and again here ‘Country Kills’.
Tigers Jaw ‘Nervous Kids’
Scranton, Pennsylvania indie rockers.
Wye Oak ‘Before’
It’s not just the lack of guitars on Shriek that make’s the follow up to the brilliant Civilian (2011) a bit of a let down, the songwriting has also changed, mostly to the album’s detriment. Though it often sounds like the work of a different band, there are still some excellent track, including this opener.
Haunted Hearts ‘Johnny Jupiter’
Husband and wife side psych-pop side project of Dum Dum Girls’ Dee Dee Penny and Crocodiles‘ Brandon Welchez, previously featured here back in December 2012 with ‘Something That Feels Bad Is Something That Feels Good’ (ITP #23).
Woods ‘With Light and With Love’
Nine minutes of epic psych pop from the Brooklyn band. The title track of their forthcoming album.
Sharon Van Etten ‘Taking Chances’
Like Angel Olsen, Sharon Van Etten is in possession of a distinctive voice and a way with an electric guitar, both of which she puts to great effect on this first track from her forthcoming album Are We There? the follow up to the Aaron Dessner produced Tramp (2012).
[Sharon Van Etten]
Mac DeMarco ‘Go Easy’
Taken from the slacker rocker’s excellent new album Salad Days.
Todd Terje ft BryanFerry ‘Johnny and Mary’
Following up hundreds of remixes and his excellent It’s The Arps EP (2012), the Norwegian space disco producer prepares to release his first full length It’s Album Time which includes this cover of Robert Palmer’s Johnny and Mary featuring Bryan Ferry on vocals.
EMA ‘When She Comes’
Many rated Erika M. Anderson’s Past Life Martyred Saints as one of the best albums of 2012. I didn’t fully appreciate it until I caught her live, but the follow up The Future’s Void (due out April 8) is a lot more instant, at least to these ears. This is probably the most understated track on the album.